Newbie - Home studio setup - HELP!

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by kostein, Jun 14, 2004.

  1. kostein

    kostein Guest

    This is my first post here so I would like to say hello to everyone. I've been looking for a forum like this a few days now and all I have to say is that I'm amazed by the content I found here.

    I'm planning to build a small home studio for myself using my desktop pc as the cornerstone of my setup. I'll be recording electric guitars, bass guitars and vocals mostly. What I wanna do basically is record my own music - which happens to be heavy metal - mix it and burn it on CD. I have little experience with recording equipment, my previous setup only consisting of just an M-Audio Omni Studio. I wasn't happy with the results so I made the decision to spend a few extra bugs to get something that will satisfy my needs.

    My desktop PC is a P4 2.4Ghz on a Abit IC7-G board with 512MB memory. I'm gonna use Cubase for all the recording/mixing.

    So the question is, what do I need for my application? I've been thinking of getting a MOTU 828mkII as the base of my setup but I'm not really sure if it would be a waste of money. Will I need pre's? EQ's? Compressors? Monitors? A mixer? I have a very general idea about these stuff and I don't know where to start. Any direction/help would be very much appreciated.

    While I'm at it, I'd like to ask a dumb question. What's the difference between active monitors and non active monitors? Are there any benefits by using one type or another?

    Well that's about it. I wanna thank everyone who read this far :lol: and anyone who might post with some helpful information :)

    / kostein
  2. Markd102

    Markd102 Well-Known Member

    Apr 24, 2001
    Hi Kostein, welcome to RO.

    Can you give us a bit more information about how you intend to go about the recording process?
    for example......
    Are you doing everything yourself, or do you have a band?
    How are you planning on doing drums? Recording them yourself, importing pre-recorded tracks or programming midi?
    What guitar amps do you have? Are you planning to mic amps or record with an amp simulator?
    What level of quality are you expecting at the end?
    Also, and most importantly........ what is your budget?

    All these will have a large influence on what we can suggest and recommend.

    Oh, and active monitors have amps built in, and passive monitors need an external amp. There are pros and cons for each.
    The main advantage of passive is that they are cheaper to change or replace because you don't need to replace the amp.
    The main advantage of active is that you don't need an external amp, and the amps that are inside the speakers are well matched to the box.
    I hope this makes sense :?
  3. kostein

    kostein Guest

    Thanks for replying Mark :)

    I'm planning to do everything myself actually, except for drums which I'm gonna use a VSTi for that. On my previous setup I was working with NI Battery equipped with some good samples and I was satisfied with the result, so for the moment I will keep it like that.

    As for recording guitars, I wanna try different methods of recording just to gain more experience as I love recording guitars. The amp I have right now is a sh*tty Fender 10W amp. I'm planning of getting a Marshall MG10CD Combo Amp as I've heard you can get good results when you mic it. Has anyone had any experience with it?

    Hmmm level of quality... I'm looking to get good enough quality to make a demo which I'll send to record companies. I don't know how good it should sound so you tell me :) By all means though it doesn't have to be top notch cause I realise I'll need to give both my arms for equipment capable of that. To sum it up, sound quality - as good as it can get.

    My starting budget is around $2000. What I'm planning to do is to start with the necessary and then buy whatever else I need.

    / kostein
  4. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    How many channels at once do you think you will need to record? If you only need a couple channels at once, your $2000 budget will go a long way .... If you want to record 8 or more channels at once, then things can start to get tight ...

    Do you want something with built in mic pres or do you want to pick your own front end? Good pres are the shortest path to good sound ...
  5. kostein

    kostein Guest

    I'm gonna record a single instrument at a time so I won't need more than 2 channels. I don't wanna limit myself though, so I'm aiming for something between 4 to 8 channels.

    I don't really mind if that something has built in mic pres or not. The only thing that really matters is if I can get a good sound out of it. I'm open to any combination of equipment as long as I can get quality sound.

    I'm gonna ask something specific this time :) Can you recommend me with some mics that are good for recording vocals and electric guitars / bass guitars?

    One little note: I'm gonna buy all the stuff off the internet since where I live I do not have access to such variety of stuff. I won't be able to test anything so I need to make the right choice only by your recommendations.

    Thanks for replying guys :) Really appreciate it!

    / kostein
  6. kostein

    kostein Guest

    I've been looking over some stuff and I'm quite confused. Is it better to have a unit that has all the necessary things to start recording or to have seperate units that do one specific job each?

    / kostein
  7. GuitarMag

    GuitarMag Guest

    ---Also my first post in here so hello everyone---

    Now, straight to the point cuz that's how I like it.

    MOTU 828 is a nice piece of equipment but I think u can find a cheaper device that will do the job. You'll probably want to stay with a firewire interface so why not go for M-Audio 410. The money u save can get u a nice pair of active speakers.

    I'm not sure if you already own a midi keyboard, if not - get one. It's a lot easier to record those sampled drums. And u don't have to be a piano player to throw in some pads into your tracks.
    (Remote 25, or cheaper ones from Edirol, Evolution - check their websites)

    As for mics - the best sollution for those heavy guitars of yours would be a Shure SM57 (but u already know it , don't u?)
    U might wanna get a condenser mic too but mics stuff is not my ponny so I won't help u here (I record my guitars directly - I wish I had 2000$ too) :lol:

    U won't really need a hardware mixer cuz you're going to record a single instr. at once. Cubase's virtual mixer will do the rest.

    As for the rest - U wrote:

    "I've been looking over some stuff and I'm quite confused. Is it better to have a unit that has all the necessary things to start recording or to have seperate units that do one specific job each? "

    I would go for a software option. There's a lot of plug-ins out there that can make your home recordings sound pretty good. And all in unit - COMPUTER.

    Here's what I use:
    -TC Works Native Bundle
    -Waves Platinum bundle
    (these alone could take care of EQ, compression, effects)
    -PSP Audioware Lexicons, Vintage Warmer, StereoPack (I'd recommend everithing they got and not only because they're Polish :lol: )
    -Izotope Ozone and T-Racks for mastering - great stuff
    - Amplitube (for bass too), Warp, Simulanalog etc. - guitar stuff

    Now, if u decide to go for this option u'll probably need more Ram!!!, another 512 would be fine.

    I'm relatively new to home recording but after a long research I finally set everything up and it's all working fine for me. I know how confusing it is at a beginning so I thought I'll share with my idea of home based studio.

    P.S. If U'd like to chat about recording electric guitars I'll be more than happy to hear from U

    Good Luck
  8. kostein

    kostein Guest

    I'm not too keen on M-Audio stuff since my Delta-44 was fried...
    Can you guys recommend me some interfaces for my applications?

  9. Markd102

    Markd102 Well-Known Member

    Apr 24, 2001
    Have a look at the RME Fireface
  10. kostein

    kostein Guest

    Wow! That's an interesting piece of hardware! It looks awesome but is way too much for my doing. The most I will ever need is maybe 8 channels and this beast has 56! I wish they had a toned down version of it.

    How about the other RME products like the HDSP 9632? Seems quite good for my application.

    Btw is it better to go with a FireWire or a PCI interface? I feel that going with FireWire it would be the easiest way of setting it all up and start recording but with PCI I probably won't have any annoying bugs/problems come up which are likely to occur with FW.

    Keep those recommendations coming!
  11. Bhennies

    Bhennies Guest

    are you totally set on cubase? If not, maybe you should check out the DIGI 002 rack (although Cubase WILL run with it if you decided you want to use it in addition to the bundled Pro Tools software). For 2 grand, you could get that unit (1200) then an sm57, and a studio projects c3 condenser mic. That leaves you about 500 for monitors (I don't know much about cheap monitors so others will have to help you out there). The 002's pres (4 pres) and converters are actually pretty nice. That's a pretty stellar "demo" kit that will certainly give you great results. Plus, it's a more expandable purchase...if you decide to build on your studio down the road (which you will :) you won't have to trade up or sell gear (excpet for better monitors)- it'll all mesh into intermediate and even advanced level gear / engineering.
  12. kostein

    kostein Guest

    To Bhennies: Yes I'm totally on Cubase and I don't plan to use anything else for the time being or in the foreseeable future. I can't be bothered to start learning another host program from scratch 8)

    I've decided to go with the RME Multiface. I've been reading that RME products are rock solid when it comes to performance and compatibility. As a matter of fact I haven't seen anyone complain about anything regarding RME stuff. Do you guys think it's a good choice? It will cost me roughly $1000. If you think there are better alternatives for the price (or cheaper even) feel free to say so :)

    So that will leave me with around a grand for everything else. I would like to stress the fact that I don't mind if I go a little over my budget, I wanna be a bit flexible as long as the quality justifies the price.

    Mics: Condenser/Dynamic, what's the difference? I know for sure that I'll definately need an SM57 for guitars/bass. Will I need anything else for recording these? As for the vocals I don't have the slightest clue. Would an SM58 cut it? From what I gather vocals are recorded with condensers. Please give me as many details as you can cause like I said, I don't have the slightest clue when it comes to mics.

    Pre's: I think that a 4 channel pre will be sufficient for me. It's the ideal choice I think. Two channels sound like too little and more than four like a waste. I've learned by browsing the site that the higher the price on the pres the better the quality. For example if a single channel pre and a four channel pre cost the same, the single one will most likely be far better. I know for a fact though that a good pre is the best way to get quality sound, so I'm really open to recommendations.

    Monitors: "It's a matter of preference" That's what everyone says about monitors. This makes it really hard for me as I won't be able to hear to any cause I will be ordering online. I think the best way to make a decision is to go with a set of monitors that are well known and most people like them.

    Well that's it for now....

    *Waiting eagerly for advice*

    / kostein

    P.S. If Mr. Kurt Foster would reply I would be mostly delighted :D
  13. Bhennies

    Bhennies Guest

    Read my signature- RME makes good stuff :)
  14. kostein

    kostein Guest

    After doing a lot of research I've decided to buy the Yamaha MSP5's for monitors. It seems that a lot of people like them. That leaves me with roughly $500 for the rest. It seems that I'll need to raise the bar another 500 or maybe even a grand to get to get better results. That would put me a bit to quite over my initial budget but what the heck... :roll: I prefer to buy stuff that will stick with me for a long time to come instead of buying cheap replacements every now and then.

    Now the only thing left to decide upon is the preamp and the mics... SM57 is must. C1 seems to be versatile enough to have. Still looking over for a vocal mic. I've seen people recommend the Audio-Technica AT4050/CM5 Condenser. How good is it for its price range? (350-400 on ebay)

    As for preamps, the only one that really cought my eye thus far is the Sytek MPX-4Aii. I've seen a lot people recommend it stating that you can't have a better 4channel pre within its price range. (800-900 on ebay). I'd like a pre best suited for recording electric guitar, bass and vocals.

    I'm gonna do a little more research and report back with my findings :)
  15. Drawn_Away

    Drawn_Away Guest

    Did you ever finish buying everything? If so, what all did you buy and how is it working out for you? I'm asking because I was looking through the forums for information on some budget monitors and I came across your post. I'm about to purchase the things I have been wanting for my studio as well but I want to find a good bang for my buck for monitors since I won't have a lot of money left. Well, reply back because I'm interested in seeing what you ended up with.
  16. stickers

    stickers Active Member

    Jan 31, 2005
    Lowell MA
    Home Page:
    I have good suggestion for an interface that has 4 good pres build in..
    the mackie onyx 400. its costs $700.

    Mackie Onyx 400f

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