Taking the plunge and joining you guys...

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by Jac Shalare, May 22, 2003.

  1. Jac Shalare

    Jac Shalare Guest

    Hey Guys,

    How's it goin? I've been reading some of the advice on this forum and believe it to be of a particularly high quality so I'm sure I'll find the answers I need right here.

    I'm 30 years old, Irish, based in Dublin, Ireland and I'm about to quit my full time job as a software engineer to embark on the career I should've began 7 years ago. I'm opening a recording studio.

    I realise that besides the obvious considerations of location, acoustic properties of the premises and whether or not I'm stone deaf, the next most important component of the studio is going to be the gear. Over the last 6 months or so I have read every spec and data sheet, every white, blue, green and pink paper, every schematic, every brochure, every information pamphlet, every discussion thread, every web advertisement about microphones, monitors, signal processors, outboard, onboard and cup-holders for under your board, control surfaces, DAWS, SAWS, Pres, modules, sync units, HD Drives,plug-insand heard every opinion from Joe Bloggs, John Doe, Mary Poppins and little Johnny from down the street!

    To be honest, I was a touch overwhelmed. But I finally (after much procrastinating) settled on a final Kit List which I will be travelling to The States to pick up in mid June.

    What I would like to ask of yourselves is do you think it is sufficient to start my studio. I should mention here that I do have experience in analog studios from 10 years ago and while fully digital studios were around, they were few and far between because of the financial restrictions of the time. The purpose of the studio will be (to begin with) recording demos for local bands, just 2-3 day jobs that I can turn around quickly and jingle and signiture tune work for radio and TV.

    Am I missing some integral piece of gear which will make it difficult for me to begin operating relatively quickly?

    Thanks Guys, look forward to hearing form you,

    1 x Digidesign Control 24
    1 x Digidesign HD 2 system
    2 x Digidesign 192 i/o's
    1 x Pro tools 6.01
    1 x Logic Audio 6.0
    1 x Glyph HDD (2 x 73GB, 10,000 rpm, DVD-R, 50Gb tape backup)
    1 x Waves Platinum for TDM systems
    1 x Pair Earthworks Sigma 6.2's
    2 x Earthworks SR77's
    1 x Neumann TLM103
    1 x Millennia Media Origin
    1 x Lexicon MPX-1
    1 x MOTI MIDI Timepiece AV
    1 x Furman PL-Tuner-E tuner Power conditioner and spike protection
    1 x Roland v-drum system
    1 x Roland XV-88 workstation
    2 x 20" Formac TFT displays
    1 x Apple Mac G4 1.42Ghz Dual

    I already have:

    1 x Spirit 20:2 (Stereo Pair) analog mixer
    1 x Emu ESI 32 Sampler (8 MB ROM)
    1 x Yamaha CS1-X synth
    1 x Boss SE 50 FX (Display is shot)
    1 x D4 drum module (display is shot, Damn those power spikes!!)
    1 x Sony MDX 4 track minidisk recorder (no digital i/o, what a waste of money!)
    1 x pretty slow PC running Logic 5.2or somthing
    1 x dinky little mini compressor. Noisy as hell.

    a bunch of sm58's and miscellaneous cables.
  2. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Well-Known Member

    Mar 28, 2001
    ...I myself have come to HATE tape backup..but that's my opinion. The route I'd take is to get a two or four bay granite firewire chassis ($200 to $400 US if I'm nit mistaken)...then for another $29US for each carrier plus a firewire drive you can add LOTS of swappable storage. Each client ( for about the cost of between a reel of 1/2" to 2") can have as much space as they need....and you can keep your scssi drives clean...to use a a "work" space....hardrive space get's eaten up in a hurry...and firewire is without a doubt the cheapesr and best solution. NEVER not have amything backed up twice at all times. Couple that with a superdreive (in your new MAC) to burn DVD-roms...they hold 4.7GB. If you stay on top of your data and burn only the Final composited tracks you can get songs down to 1.5 to 3 GB... I've gotten all tracks for an 11song album (48tracks per song) on two DVD's...and at 2X burn speed it's compatible to tape. Also...tape backup requires software that encodes...so there's a big lag time to getting things back...whereas DVD mounts on your desktop and anyhting can be dragged and opened almost as fast as a harddrive....so my recommendation is...scssi & firewire drives and compacted dvd-rom long term.

    Other plugins:
    -MacDSP: FilterBank & Compressor bank...excellant & cheap...Get the software bundle when you buy your rig...you'll get this and the Sony Eq's etc...worth it.
    -Soundreplacer (replace/augment drum's with samples
    -Sample CD's: DrumDocterII, Vintage Keys, etc.
    -A softsampler (I forget...HD doesn't support sample cell...but I hear there's one that does)

    1 x MOTI MIDI Timepiece AV

    You don't need this....over kill...just get the Digi midi interface.

    1 x Apple Mac G4 1.42Ghz Dual

    ....GET the superdrive...you'll be glad. Plus...for about $1600US you could get FinalCutPro and DVDpro ...and another $650US for a miniDV camera and you could jumo into a the video market....a whole other revenue stream.


    ....I've gotten so use to a mouse that I'm not sure of the bennefits/cost ratio of this controller...plus the pre's are only so-so....for cost performace ratio...I'd look into say, 8 channels of used API mic pre's, 4 API 550eq's and a pair of VintechsX81 (4 band neve clones)...and somethinng like a used mackie mixer. 10 channels of HIGH end pre's will make a BIGGER difference in your sound....the mackei (or equivlalet) would cover such things as hat, ride, extra toms, room, etc when cutting a whole band live.
    Add a couple of those new summit half rack space limmiters (around $500US per) and some RNC compressors, and a pair of distressors...and you could cut some great stuff.
    So check out on a better analog front end and you'll amke up in sound what you lose in the tactile area.
  3. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Well-Known Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    RecorderMan speaks with wisdom from experience. Nice to see you RM! Kurt
  4. Jac Shalare

    Jac Shalare Guest

    Thank you RecorderMan. I'm off to ponder and I'll get back to you.
  5. vinniesrs

    vinniesrs Active Member

    May 12, 2003
    Jac. With the band thing, do you think a little compression might be a good idea? Look into a two channel compgate. dbx, drawmer, alesis. Avoid the behringer.(please) And what happens when your computer goes down? Corporate contract delays are not fun, and bands get bitter quickly.
    Perhaps you could consider a used adat xt, and a dat machine-da 20 or better. You can get the jlcooper datamaster and synchronize to mtc, sympte, or if you're used to the analog world, get the BRC and you have a user friendly interface as master.
    I suggest this because if worse comes to worse, you could track to the adat and mix through the board to a Dat tape. No lost sessions, no lost money.
    I dont worry about cancelling anything until I'm dead.
  6. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Well-Known Member

    Mar 28, 2001
    with do respect...if your getting an HD rig forget that ADAT. They're junk; both sonically and mechanically. If you get client that has stuff on adat's just rent one with a brc (charged to client) and with the new "USD" (whatever the HD name is for it) you can import as many tapes as you need..all locked.

    A s to compressors...ambsoluetly...the ones I previuoslly are a good way to go as far as cost/quality/versatillity.
    Avoid compressors that have gates buit in...usually on the bottom end of the price chain and not very good as far as compression goes. You really only NEED compression for Vocals. The rest you CAN get by with out...doesn't hurt to squeeze bass and rooms/ect...so a few will get you by.
    GATES: you can get by without any anlog gates....I've yet to come across a situation where I HAD to record with them. Also, once in pro tools you have acccess to very good gates...not to metion Pro Tools by it's very nature saves on this.

    These are some mic's I'd get:
    -Royer121 [ribbons] (get a pair)
    (get three...toms/kick/gtrs)
    -SM57 ...need I say more (get four)
    -SM7 [dynamic] This is a MUST. This mic is not only my favorite mic for ride cymbal..but it is an outstanding vocal mic. Sibilant singers, Singers tracking with the band, Overly loud singers, Singers that sing flat on headphones and tht need to sing in the control room in front of the monitors with little bleed...this mic fixes all of that (or you can use a sm57...it's jsut that the SM7 has a very cool wind screen with the mic element at a better distamce and roll-off and HMF boost).
    -AKG451 [condenser] (get a pair) these are real workorse mics..they'll cover oh's/Acoustic Gtrs'/Piano, etc
    -Nueman km184 (one) more expnsive than the AKG451...so get one for hat/Agtr/ect.


    Also, you can repalce the 421's with some of the newer clip on dynamic mic's out there...I think a senheisser 604?(help with this model people)...have had good result...saves you from the mic stand hassle.
    In this case...try to get at least one 421 and one D112. The 421 will be usefull on: kick/toms/e-gtr amp/bass amp/horns/vocals.
    ...By the way the par of royers and the 3 421's would set you up fine for horns.

    Add a pair of LargeDiaphram condesers :
    _SHURE KSM44 ..great value...pattern choice/pad/roll-off (get two)
    -Large Diaphram Tube MIc (your principle big dollar vocal mic)...check out some of the newer makes for this...maybe Audio Tecnica.

    ....let us knwo how you're doing.
  7. mixman77

    mixman77 Guest

    How many clients do you have now. If there are many, did you get a deposit on the session. If you are starting cold then I would say don't quit your day job. Build up your client list working at night or whenever you are off. Once you have a good client list and can book time into your day job hours then go for it. Studio's rarely jump straight up off the ground into success. You can have all the best equipment but with no clients or even more important a reputation for being good in your studio you will find yourself broke and beggin for that job back. I would really think this one out before diving in head first. Good Luck!


  8. Jac Shalare

    Jac Shalare Guest

    Guys thanks for all this advice and keep it comin!!

    Steve, some outboard compression was something I overlooked and I'll definately invest in some, maybe a pair of API 225l's? What do you think?

    With regard to back-up multi-track I was going to invest in a Mackie HDR 24/96 when I started putting together my kit list but when I upgraded the entire ensemble it got chucked for the HD rig. Maybe an SDR 24/96 would be a good back-up?

    RecorderMan, thanks a million for the in-depth microphone advice, I'll be paying another visit to the local dealers for a 5 hour demo on Saturday of all your recommendations.

    Your piece of advice was the one that struck me the most. Just to point out that I have left a 4-5 month overlap between quitting the software job and going into the studio full-time. I am, however, very conscious of the fact that I'm giving up the security of a fairly decent monthly paycheck for what could be percieved as a rather precarious profession, that as a studio owner/engineer. If I could ask, how did you guys handle that transition? When (or if) it came to the final change over, was there anything you guys would have done differently? Are there any magic spells or potions I can purchase to give my bank manager just before I aks for another extension on the overdraught?
  9. golli

    golli Active Member

    Apr 17, 2003
    Recorderman is right with the Sennheizer 604's
    They're exelent tom mics, and they're very light sitting on the drumhoop so they dont change the tuning of the drum. But the Sennheizer 421's and Shure SM57's have to be mounted with a gooseneck.
  10. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Well-Known Member

    Mar 28, 2001
    Yeah...I'd keep the day job for a bit....start you're audio Biz on the week-ends and nights. At least untill tou have a six-month war chest.
    Also...get FinalCut4 & DVDpro...they'll set you back only$1500.00 US together, and with them you can cut movies/commercials/bamd videos, etc...as a studio owner, branch out in A/V as soon as you can. You'll find that in the long run this will cover alot of what would be deadtime if you try and rely on music only. If you do let me know, I myself have been learnig FCP the last few weeks, and I found the ferfect "beginner/for dummies" book on it.
    Also..if you just add a 3-chip miniDV camera (I know...more money) or even a comsumer 1chip miniDV, to the above your set for event videography...believe it or not people pay $2k and up fro wedding videos.
    Now I know that som of the above is not glamour...but...it can pay your bills and it eats up deadtime that music only can provide. Also, it measn you can be more choosy about the music you do and breath easier. My point being that all the gera your already getting (computer, drives, etc) get's you 9/10's+ into the A/V land....also, ProTools 6.0 and Mac OSX alow you to spit the Quicktime Movie that's in a session out firewire through your DV camera to a monitor...no need for a separate capture card...so you can do voice over/adr/foley to picture.

    API compressors are allright...not my first choice though for vocal's...and that's how I raet compressors...how they handle vocals.
  11. Jac Shalare

    Jac Shalare Guest

    Dead time is something I won't be able to afford on a regular basis. The wedding video idea is something I hadn't thought of but a revenue stream is a revenue stream. Anyway, since they introduced divorce into Irish law around 8 years ago, the number of 2nd (and 3rd) marriages has rocketed!
  12. Nate Tschetter

    Nate Tschetter Active Member

    Feb 28, 2001

    I'm envious of your being able to start with a clean slate and get good stuff from the beginning.

    Don't forget about stuff that doesn't get recorded. For example, headphone cue systems. I've never made a better investment than giving the control of monitor mix back to the individual musicians. WHAT you use doesn't matter (I'm using the Furman HDS-6 / HR-6 combination...HEAR makes a nice one as does AVIOM) as long as YOU aren't the one worrying about it.

    Also consider the "vibe" of your recording space. I have a lot of repeat clients that I constantly try to get into a "real" studio. They always tell me "I like recording at your place, I feel comfortable". I can't argue with that at all 'cos if they give a great performance, it doesn't matter if I recorded it with a 251 or PZM taped to their butt.

    Being a keyboard guy, I'd get one good weighted-action MIDI controller (a Yamaha P80 wil do nicely) and one of these small controllers with knobs on (Novation has one just out called the Remote 25). Then get a collection of softsynths and a soft sampler. Access has the Virus in TDM format, NI makes a number of great intsruments.

    Its nice to have a strat, tele and a p-bass around as well as a couple of small guitar amps, at least one of which should say "Fender". Hand percussion is good for inspiration as well.

    Don't put expensive mics on cheap stands! :)

    Buy a comfortable chair.

    Keep good scotch around for the end of the day.
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