The Layman's Studio...

Discussion in 'Microphones & Recording' started by Zurawa, Aug 2, 2007.

  1. Zurawa

    Zurawa Guest


    I've been a musician for a few years now and I've had a little experience recording and whatnot. However, now I'm looking to expand my capabilities at home in my free time. I made this thread so hopefully get some input on where to go from here.

    As of now the way I record I patch whatever instruments, mics, etc into a Tascam Portastudio multitrack for it's EQ, and then from there into my computer via a Creative Audigy 2 ZS Platinum Pro sound card. I use primarily Magix Audio Studio 6 Deluxe, but I also have Cakewalk Sonar 6 producer edition, but haven't gotten around to learning how to use it.

    Lately I've been recording and working on some songs for a few friends, and I'm considering the potential of setting up a studio to "professionally" record a few years down the road.

    Aside from soundproofing, etc, what would the bare essentials be for turning a small personal recording set up like mine into a quality studio?
    I really don't have much of any knowledge of record engineering other than the very basics, so any input is appreciated.
  2. MadMax

    MadMax Well-Known Member

    Mar 18, 2001
    Sunny & warm NC
    Home Page:
    Ooof... think you coulda' picked an easier set of questions to get answered??? (heheheheh)

    I really like to see guys start down this road and get to completion... with a good facility. HOWEVER... the vast majority don't want to take the time to listen to someone else who's started where you are... and been through it... and then apply what experience has been learned. Then they end up all pissed off that things turn out sounding like poo.

    You can probably have a great sounding and very workable operation, but your budget is going to be your limiting factor.

    Try to get the money sussed out first... but also know that in the end, you'll probably end up spending at least twice that amount.... if not more.... MUCH more.

    Now before you guys go off on a rant... I started off with about $300 worth of gear and blankets and egg carton mentality. Now, I'm just over $100k into it on gear and $75k in a building, with a bit over $50k to go for a build and somewhere between $150-300k for gear. So my word of wisdom... be careful what you ask for and seek... you might just end up there!!!

    After you get a budget, pop up to the Acoustics Forum a coupla flights up from here. Get your space straight FIRST!

    Then get after your gear.

    There's nothing wrong with your current software... other than really start learning it.

    Figure out where you really want to end up... but only AFTER you've started digging into this for a bit longer.

    Read EVERYTHING you can get your hands on regarding acoustic treatments and soundproofing. They are two completely different things. Get our acoustic environment set up FIRST... oh yeah... I think I mentioned that.

    One last thing... just remember this and you'll be OK; Good stuff ain't cheap, and cheap stuff ain't always good.
  3. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    MadMax has invested a bundle as I have and we're still not there! We both want the good stuff. We both own the good stuff. We want more good stuff. But it's not enough. We want/need more stuff. It's never-ending. A Studio is always a work in progress, whether it is a fixed base studio or like the fourth complete upgrade I'm currently doing to my remote truck in the 17 years I've had it.

    But for those of you newbies that don't have $100,000 + to throw at your first home studio, I'll provide you with my stock suggestions.

    First: a bag full of Shure SM57's/58's microphones. That's all you need. You don't need no stinkin' cheap Chinese/Russian condensers. Better you should waste your money on an SM58.

    Second: A Mackie Onyx 1640 with the FireWire option.

    Third: a couple of decent self powered near field monitors, headphones and headphone amplifiers.

    You're still looking at a $3000 investment but you will have the capabilities of making killer professional rock-and-roll recordings, provided you work on your technique and chops.

    Acoustics? Highly overrated when it comes rock-and-roll. Living rooms, basements and garages work just fine for rock-and-roll and government work. The more junk laying around the room the better the diffusion will be and resonant flutter echos and standing waves will be less of a problem. Throw a couch in for more absorption. Generally decent studios are designed to sound like good living rooms, with additional bass trapping. Decent reverb times only come from larger rooms. If you room is small, you don't want any reverb from your room. Because it will suck. So it's obvious, size does matter.

    Not a size queen
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  4. MadMax

    MadMax Well-Known Member

    Mar 18, 2001
    Sunny & warm NC
    Home Page:
    Queen Remy's spot on!

    Lemme do a little quick damage control here...

    The main reason I say get your acoustics right FIRST;
    Most of the time it takes a LOT longer than you can imagine to do get to completion. If you do it right, there's design, planning, checking, rework, and then the final construction. And you DON'T want to have to rip all that work out if you do it wrong. Plus... if you're married, there's the whole compromise thing.

    Depending on the style of music you do and how much room you have, you really don't want a lousy sounding room... provided your style/space are subject to/reliant upon room influences.

    If you're into acoustic, jazz, country, etc... where room ambiance is all important... address that first!

    If it's straight ahead R-n-R... not so important... EXCEPT 1 room/space. Your vocal area.

    I don't think Remy would argue that if there's one space that does need to be thought out, its your Control Room. And a close second would be vocals.

    This doesn't mean you can't do anything else like gear acquisition and tracking. Just the opposite. Get/keep going as you never have before!

    Just be forwarned... Gear Acquisition Syndrom is HIGHLY contagious. That's how a $300 hobby has, some 12 years later, turned into a $250,000 addiction! (Which is why I mentioned your budget!)

    However, I gotta call BS on her majesty (heheheh)... Remy, you know darned good and well that you cannot waste money on 57's and 58's! Getting those mic's are NEVER wasting money. I look at em' as penicillin. They'll cure about anything you catch! Gimme' a dozen 57's and I'll give you an album that's suitable for distribution/framing.

    I love the Alesis M1 Actives I have. To me, they're the new NS10's. I haven't heard the new version, so I don't know if they're as good as the original. The best part is they're inexpensive and very telling of what's in the mix... especially in the ice pick range.

    Professional studio results on a hobby budget are possible... good luck keeping yourself on that budget though... There's just too much temptation to do otherwise! :D

  5. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    Hello! My name is Remy Ann David and I am a soundaholic. I've been a soundaholic for almost 45 years.

    The lowest point of my life was when I found myself passed out under my console. I had been abusing my wire strippers and crimp tool all day to excess. I don't remember anything after that? It was very difficult to crawl out from under and raise myself above the half ton addicting multi-pin laden pit.

    And here I am today! Healthy. Happy..... but unfortunately still a financially destroyed, poor soundaholic.

    Some things never change.....
    Ms. Remy Ann David

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