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Home Studio

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Joined: 07 Sep 2014
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Sun Sep 07, 2014 3:54 pm    Post subject: Home Studio Reply with quote

Hi everyone,

I am interested in starting up my own studio at home but am struggling at what type of equipment/programs/amps/speakers/mics/cables etc. I need to get things going.

Currently only have a pa50 and pa800.

Suggestions and advice will be highly appreciated!

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Bald Eagle
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Joined: 25 Jan 2009
Posts: 2277
Location: Long Island, NY

PostPosted: Sun Sep 07, 2014 7:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you are starting from scratch it can be a bit overwhelming at first. There could be an entire book on the subject but I will be brief. You will need a computer, DAW software, an audio interface, cables and headphones or monitors.

When I first started out I made the mistake of going minimal with everything to save a few dollars but quickly outgrew my equipment and then spent even more money on upgrades. So that being said you should plan ahead and get more than you need today.

First choose your computer, a PC or Mac, and then start looking at compatible software and hardware.

I use a fairly high end Windows 8 PC and Sonar Producer. There are other very nice DAW's available too. Get a good audio interface with I/O to spare. It's hard to recommend one without knowing your budget but I use a MOTU 896 which was $995.00. There are better ones and also many that are less expensive but be sure you have room for growth.

Headphones or monitors are your choice and really depends on your needs. Having both is a plus if it's within your budget. But as with everything else, you get what you pay for and you shouldn't want to compromise on the quality of what you are hearing after investing so much in everything else. I use headphones most of the time to avoid complaints from the neighbors so for me higher end headphones and lower end monitors were my choice.

Short balanced cables are usually the best choice but that will depend on how things are setup. I have some long cable runs using unbalanced cables and have needed a hum eliminator to get a good signal.

If vocals are important a good quality mic is a must, otherwise something less expensive would do.

MIDI connectivity is also a consideration. Connecting a few keyboards together with the built in MIDI In/Out/Thru works fine and USB MIDI works fine too. If your keyboard collection grows a MIDI interface might come into the picture. I use a MOTU MIDI Express XT for my MIDI needs. It has 8 in and 8 out and can route anything to anything.

And finally, a place to put it all and other little annoying necessities like UPS, power strips, stands, racks and other things to drain your bank account. But the most important advice I can give is do not rush into anything. Do your research and plan everything in advance and you will end up will a nice system that will satisfy yours needs for many years.
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Approved Merchant
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Joined: 27 Jan 2014
Posts: 1612
Location: Hilton Head Island, SC

PostPosted: Sun Sep 07, 2014 9:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bald Eagle is 100% right, if you planning have studio, don't try to save on cheap equipment, later you going upgrading and stuck useless devices.
my advice, .. 1-st you need decide what you going to do, record your songs, mixing or recording live with vocal or else...
Is all imported which direction you go with equipment.
After you decide ask here, we can always give honest advice.
Creating Studio is costing a lot, but you can do step by step, imported is don't buy anything you going to get stuck with later, is always better thinking ahead, you will save that way.
Korg Pa600, Novation UltraNova, Akai Professional MPK49, Akai Professional MPK225 , Alesis QX-49, APC25 Keys, Launchpad MK2
MOTU Midi Express XT, FCB1010 with UnO, Behringer X2222 USB, Presonus AudioBox96, M-Track Plus
Fl Studio 12, Ableton Live 10 Suite.
Performers Heaven
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Joined: 21 Oct 2009
Posts: 1384

PostPosted: Sun Sep 07, 2014 11:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bald Eagle gave a great overview, but here are my perspectives on the matter–

•Find a DAW that works for you. While studios with lots of money can afford to record to mediums like tape (which have some boons, but many vices including cost), the layman producer and the majority of studios work digitally. Each DAW will offer you something different; for example, I find Ableton Live really good for creativity, idea generation and sound design, but not so much for tracking audio. Meanwhile, Pro Tools is great at recording and slicing up audio, but a very meh creative tool. Logic Pro was my first DAW, which I found nice both for composing and tracking. Look around.

•Get your listening device(s)– and don't skimp out here. Until your ear has learned to hear how speakers sound, you're going to want something that's more transparent and full spectrum. Rokit 5s are on the cheap end of the spectrum, yet still quality. Having nice monitor speakers also allows you to work quieter digitally, allowing you more headroom in your mixes. As for headphones, I don't like working with them usually– but they allow you some mobility and tend to make hearing a song's stereo image easier. I use ATH-M50S as they are quite transparent.

•Audio interface– this is the hub where sounds enter the digital domain. Two aspects to look out for are the sample rate and bit depth; I personally record at 44.1/24-bit, though even cheap interfaces nowadays offer higher sampling rates than that. Another very important thing to read about is preamps in the interface; good preamps are essential when you're recording any sort of audio that needs to be brought to line level (DI Guitar, Microphones) etc. Many microphones need phantom power, which is good to have built-in to your interface. I also seek to have MIDI implemented as well for the purpose of sequencing my synthesizers. You'll want to check out the amount of inputs the interface has, as well; for example, I needed quite a few to run all my synths simultaneously with stereo. Things like micing up drums will require a lot of preamped inputs for all the mics involved. As a warning, I'd steer clear of M-Audio Fast Track series interfaces or the PreSonus Firestudio Mobile– both have given me lots of trouble.

•Accessories– depending on what you're recording, you'll need plenty of 1/4" and XLR cables.

These are the bare essentials to get started with recording– additional gear really depends on what styles you're working in and what your preferred workflow is.
Current: MS-20 Mini, Minilogue, SY77
Past: Korg R3, Volca Bass, X50, Mg Slim Phatty, Rld Gaia SH-01, Yamaha TX81Z
Have my freebie granular plug-in: https://www.muffwiggler.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=192886
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Joined: 10 Jul 2010
Posts: 3371
Location: Middle of nowhere

PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2014 10:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I bought my first inexpensive mixer it was and is, still use it, a cheap yamaha mg10. Little did I realize it cost double to just get some basic cabling going on. The rep at my mom and pop store looks at me and say, "You have jut discovered the hidden cost of mixing!" Cable cost sneak up on you real quick and I could still use more!
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