NEW TO ALL THIS! HELP! Advice on what gear to buy

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by funk_drummer, Oct 9, 2011.

  1. funk_drummer

    funk_drummer Member

    Oct 9, 2011
    Stoke on Trent
    Hello, firstly thank you for reading!

    Im setting up my own studio at home. Its actually in a stone building next to my house. Im going to use the upstairs as the recording room. My idea is to

    1. record my own band to take rough recordings for ideas etc
    2.record demos of the band (live recordings and record each person separately)
    3. (in time) start to record acoustic guitar players as a business, on the cheap, and then move on to bands when I'm more capable
    4. (in time) set up an online session drumming business.

    Even though this is all new to me, i dont like to skimp on buying cheap equipment, it will either break, be poor quality or end up replacing it anyway. I'm looking to the future, money permitting. I also understand that i myself have to know what I'm doing to get a good sound, this should not decide what i buy, its something totally different in my opinion.

    I have about to 1500 quid(english) to spend on a desk, i was thinking the allen and heath firewire 16 channel(which is about 1500) OR can i get an equivalent desk and buy two 8 channel interfaces that will do the same or as good job, maybe buy second hand.

    I don't want to go digital, i prefer the traditional way.

    Then am i right in thinking i will need to buy a preamp for either of these solutions?

    Yes i will need more than 8 channels before anyone asks haha.

    Thanks for you time
  2. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    Jan 23, 2010
    Boulder, Colorado
    Home Page:
    Um, a mixer has a bunch of preamps in it, so you wouldn't need to buy one for that. Some interfaces have preamps and some don't.

    That old joke about playing music also applies to recording. How do you end up with a million quid after running a studio for a year? Start with two million quid.
  3. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Apr 19, 2006
    Home Page:
    What do you mean by saying you "don't want to go digital"? If you end up producing a CD at the end of it, you have to "go digital" somewhere in the chain. If you mean that you don't want to mix using a program running in the computer (mixing "in the box", or ITB), then there are ways of doing this that still involving digital recording (as opposed to analog tape, for example).

    In your post you said you were thinking of the A+H Zed-R16, which indeed is a very good 16-channel analog mixer with FireWire interface included. I have used one for recording (to a PC) followed by analog mixdown to 2-track, and got excellent results. Bear in mind, though, that in terms of facilities it is essentially a live sound mixer, so is a little limited in number of auxes and buses for applying complex effects at mixdown.

    There are other ways of avoiding mixing ITB. You could record using something like an Alesis HD24XR 24-track recorder fronted by a bunch of pre-amps and then replay the result into a conventional analog mixer. The HD24 works very well for recording new tracks while replaying what has been recorded so far (tracking). For mixdown, the HD24's analog outputs can be sent to the mixer, and the 2-track mix captured on two of the HD24's 24 tracks. The mix can then be transferred digitally to a PC for CD burning or to a device like the Alesis MasterLink if you wanted to avoid using a PC altogether.

    Don't forget also that the gear to capture and mix the sound is only a small part of a studio operation. Microphones and monitoring (both loudspeakers for mixing and headphones for tracking) are both significant costs, as is the necessary acoustic treatment of the recording and monitoring spaces.

    I think you have to tell us a bit more about how you would like to work, along with what aspects of a computer you want to avoid, and what your overall budget is supposed to cover.
  4. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    Jan 23, 2010
    Boulder, Colorado
    Home Page:
    What the OP needs is a couple years of experience with recording gear before he can even know the right questions to ask. You can't buy your way into the skill it takes to run a complex recording setup and a forum can't substitute for real experience. In my opinion the smart thing for him to do is get a 2-channel interface and get good with that. Then he can build on that experience to get a bigger setup that suits him.
  5. GZsound

    GZsound Active Member

    Mar 20, 2001
    Near Portland, Oregon
    Home Page:
    The idea of buying gear to record an entire rock and roll band needs to be very well researched before any buying starts.

    Certainly a multichannel mixer is a workable piece of gear. Then a computer with enough horsepower to record multiple tracks is necessary.

    That only scratches the surface as to what is needed. There are mics needed for drums, mics or DI for bass, instrument mics, vocal mics, mic stands, mic cables, headphones, headphone amps, headphone extension cables, etc. Doing it properly requires a LOT of investment and a lot of gear...and of couse, there is always the room..
  6. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Apr 4, 2006
    Blacksburg, VA
    Some other questions you might answer (besides Boswell's question about "going digital") in order to get better information. What is the instrumentation and genre of your band? What do you have in terms of microphones, DI boxes, amps with direct outs that you are currently using with your band.

    Without that kind of info it's hard to give much advice. But I think that for someone running a band it's kind of hard to go wrong with buying a good sixteen channel mixer. It's a good basic tool for all kinds of jobs, not just recording. As said above the mixer gives you 16 usable preamps. (This is basically the definition of a "good" mixer.) And if you buy one with firewire out (or USB 3 or Thunderbolt or whatever is the state of the art when you make your purchase) the mixer can function as your interface. It's a bit of a Swiss Army Knife situation where every component can be improved, but it will get you started in a hurry and you'll keep it around long after you buy better equipment.

    Then all you have to do is buy mics, stands, cables, monitors, a DAW, a better computer, plugins,....
  7. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    As a newbie, you have to be realistic. We all wanted a race car before we could ever drive. But we didn't wait until we could afford one to start driving. We all drove used jalopies (us poor folk not my rich friends that started with Jaguars). We would crunch that one and then moved on to the next. Over time, we learn how not to crunch them. You must use the same equation/theory. I can play recordings that I made with a pair of cheap omnidirectional Electro-Voice dynamic microphones plugged directly into a consumer quarter track stereo reel to reel recorder with a 3 channel passive mixer I built out of Radio Shaft parts at 14 years of age. Whilst I'll still put that recording up against most anybody's modern incarnation. I still love listening to some of this stuff today and marvel at what a fine job I did at 14 and I'll be 56 on the 15th. So I'm still trying to figure out how to do this correctly? And basically I'm still using equipment that's over 30 years old today. But my 30-year-old equipment is better than most new stuff. Sort of like a fully restored Rolls-Royce in comparison to a brand-new one. It's all in what you want out of it. You don't want any equipment that's brand-new, clean, state-of-the-art. Would you need to do is to learn how to get good sound out of old crap. Then when you get the good stuff you'll be 10 times better and ready for it. Okay okay, I cut my teeth on API consoles when I was only 17 but that was in an emergency when the music engineer didn't show up. The rest of the time at that studio, I was doing duplication of cassettes, pulsing tones for AV slideshows, editing commercials on a TEAC Model 10 fake audio console. What a horrible dog that was but that's what I had to use most of the time. It was the same as the API. Sound when in and something like sound came out (albeit horribly disfigured). And the major full orchestrated jingles I produced for a multimillion dollar international advertising agency were all recorded on a what? Recorded on a crappy Yamaha PM 1000 PA board. Yuck! Sure, it sounded fine going through that board once. But after numerous passes, bouncing, layup mixes, the board sounded like mud. It didn't matter. You engineer around that muck, you don't have a choice and you make it happen. I'm happy to let you hear everything I've talked about if you want to PM me I'll send you some MP3's. So I enjoy the art of recording not the art of recording science. I don't record science. I record real musicians.

    With 6 you get egg roll
    Mx. Remy Ann David
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