#1
Hello, I am looking to set up a basic home studio setup. I intend to use my bathroom as it sounds the best, so the less gear the better. I am not too concerned with mixing and layering, as I am not looking for pro quality. I would just like to go through the vocals and acoustic in one take.

I would be recording onto my MacBook Pro, and I was wondering what kind of interface I would need. I would be using 2 mics, and to repeat myself, I would like to be able to record both the acoustic and my voice at the same time.

Are tube preamps superior? Would they have a warmer sound than a non tube based preamp? I haven't found any tube preamps with 2 inputs, but I hear very nice things about the ones with single inputs.

Is recording the vocals and acoustic at the same time a bad idea?

What gear should I look at. I would like to do everything for $700.00. That would include mics, stands, cables, interface, headphones, preamps, and anything else I'm not thinking about.
#2
I don't think you'll need a tube preamp. Just make sure the interface you get has fairly nice preamps on board.

Recording the vocals and acoustic at the same time won't make as precise a recording, and you won't be able to mix your tracks as well. In addition, if you use a 2 input interface, it'll mean you can only use one mic on your guitar and one on vox, whereas it's often preferable to use two on an acoustic guitar.

However, on the plus side, you'll get a more natural recording, and because you are probably more comfortable doing it this way, you'll probably record a far better performance. That's how it is when I do something similar.

So you could get yourself a two input interface, with a large diaphragm condenser for vocals, and possibly a small diaphragm one for acoustic, which many people prefer (although I do like the sound of large diaphragm on acoustic). If I were you, I'd get some monitors as well, but I'm not sure if your budget will cover it (and you won't be able to do too much mixing anyway, with both the mics spilling into each other a fair bit) so you'll probably get away with a nice pair of headphones for the minute. You could save up for monitors later because they really are great things to have.

Here's a list of purchases which you could think about.


Mackie Onyx Satellite Firewire interface. $180

http://www.zzounds.com/item--MACONYXSAT

Large diaphragm condenser $230

http://www.zzounds.com/item--RODNT1A

Small diaphragm condenser $150

http://www.zzounds.com/item--AKGPERCEPTION170

2 x XLR leads $20

http://www.zzounds.com/item--WHRMC20

You'll need two mic stands as well, I think moody or someone has a link to cheap ones with a fully adjustable boom. Wait for them to come in.

Pop shield $20

http://www.zzounds.com/item--MUSASVS6GB

Headphones

I haven't budgeted much left for headphones, you could go with the best set you can afford from the Sennheiser HD line, they're pretty good cans. Someone else will have more recommendations, I pretty much only use my headphones for tracking.


That list is just an idea of things you could purchase for the setup you need. Other people will have different opinions about the mics you should get, etc. But you have everything there you need.
There is poetry in despair.
#3
Recording the vocal and the guitar at the same time is the best way to do it if you can and you really get a performance thing going. If the takes no good then just go again until you get that take with the great feel. Ive tried hundreds of different set ups over the years in the studio and by far the best way to tackle it is to use two ribbon mics. Ribbons have a figure 8 pattern and very pronounced null points at the sides and by postioning them carefully you can get a great guitar sound with very little vocal and visa versa on the vocal mic, You can experiment with more traditional condenser mic setups but they will get more cross talk. there are some video clips here http://www.recording-microphones.co.uk/recording-Acoustic-Guitars.shtml

Good luck
#4
I would advise you to take every precaution to make sure you are picking up as little crossover as possible. It can really dampen/distort the sounds.
This would prolly be easiest with directional mics (point them diff. directions and you shouldn't get much crossover)

-Ryan
#5
Quote by johnreelsound
Ribbons have a figure 8 pattern and very pronounced null points at the sides and by postioning them carefully you can get a great guitar sound with very little vocal and visa versa on the vocal mic, You can experiment with more traditional condenser mic setups but they will get more cross talk.


Careful here. You're getting polar pattern with cartridge technology. Lots of condensors have figure-8 polar patterns, and lots of ribbon mics are cardiod. Ribbons, condensors, figure-8 mics, cardiod mics, and their possible combinations are all useful. The one you are suggesting is the most unique and desirable setup for using figure-8 mics.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#7
I it were me, I would save a bit more and go for:

Mackie onyx satellite $180

MATCHED PAIR of rode nt1-a's $550

DECENT QUALITY xlr $30 x2

Pop sheild/s Bent coat hanger and pair of old tights stretched over a few times

Mic Stand $35 x2

Beyerdynamic DT100's $160

It all comes to $1020 and you'l get professional results (if you know how to use the kit properly..). If you get your mixing/mastering chops up you could easily produce quality track's that are PLENTY good enough to sell as finished album tracks etc.

Decent cables are MASSIVLY important. They carry all the information from your mic to the desk/interface/preamp. Seriously don't skimp on cables. I can't stress that enough.

The rode nt1-a is the worlds quietest studio mic and it's got ****ing good audio quality. You could happily mic up a kit with 2 of these and as they're matched they have the same response to audio. So stereo ambient recordings such as you with your guitar would sound spot on, instead of a bit lopsided, be it bass heavy on the left/right or whatever.

Havn't had experience with the mackie interface, but it's mackie. 'Nuff said. It should be really decent.

Google DIY pop sheilds. They work brilliantly. Cost essentially nothing if you have spare coat hangers and you can blag a pair of tights from somewhere.

The headphones I listed (DT100's) are superb.


Se Electronics SE2200A Mic's are also very good. I was hugely impressed with them and they were my "go to" mic's for ages for almost everything.


Also, don't worry about mic bleeding too much. I have recorded full bands in a church, with condensers bleeding all over the place and got fantastic results. It DOES NOT matter. As long as you mix it nicely I often think it sounds considerably nicer. Much more natural and "big". Not like artificially produced, thin, fake sounding crap.
Last edited by willieturnip at Dec 12, 2008,
#8
Quote by willieturnip
I it were me, I would save a bit more and go for:

Mackie onyx satellite $180

MATCHED PAIR of rode nt1-a's $550

DECENT QUALITY xlr $30 x2

Pop sheild/s Bent coat hanger and pair of old tights stretched over a few times

Mic Stand $35 x2

Beyerdynamic DT100's $160

It all comes to $1020 and you'l get professional results


You'll get very usable results. Professional.... no, not really. You can't begin to compare the results you'll get with this gear with something like a U87 going into an Avalon pre. Night and day.

Quote by willieturnip

(if you know how to use the kit properly..). If you get your mixing/mastering chops up you could easily produce quality track's that are PLENTY good enough to sell as finished album tracks etc.


Yes, important point. You can't just buy gear and expect results.

Quote by willieturnip

Decent cables are MASSIVLY important. They carry all the information from your mic to the desk/interface/preamp. Seriously don't skimp on cables. I can't stress that enough.


Well.... $30 cables are about average. You're not skimping, but you're hardly going all-out on cables. I would recommend average cables. Too cheap isn't good, but most of us are miles away from having gear that would be able to tell the difference between a $30 cable and a $100 cable.

Quote by willieturnip

The rode nt1-a is the worlds quietest studio mic and it's got ****ing good audio quality. You could happily mic up a kit with 2 of these and as they're matched they have the same response to audio.


It is a decent mic. My 'go to' mic is an NT-1 (before the NT1-A came out). But 'world's quietest studio mic?' Where do you get that from?

Careful too... no two mics are matched unless they are advertised as a matched pair. I don't think you'll *ever* get a matched pair of NT1's, as they are assembly line built, packaged, and shipped. There's no room on the line for sorting and testing for matched pairs. That said, Rode's quality control is quite good, so they won't be too far off.

Quote by willieturnip

Havn't had experience with the mackie interface, but it's mackie. 'Nuff said. It should be really decent.


Mackie is decent, but isn't really the cat's meow or anything. It's a made in China with cheap parts, but boasts a solid build quality and has good reliability. Sound quality between Mackie and Behringer are basically the same. Good for entry-level stuff, but hardly an SSL or Neve or anything. Next noticeable step up would be a Soundcraft, which are priced fairly reasonably for what you get.

Quote by willieturnip

Google DIY pop sheilds. They work brilliantly. Cost essentially nothing if you have spare coat hangers and you can blag a pair of tights from somewhere.


This is a design that I used. It looks and works a heck of a lot better than any coathanger design. Be sure not to put any more than two layers of nylon (one each over front and back), as too much mass will start to muffle the sound.

http://www.deansabatino.com/2005/08/21/67/

Quote by willieturnip

Also, don't worry about mic bleeding too much. I have recorded full bands in a church, with condensers bleeding all over the place and got fantastic results. It DOES NOT matter. As long as you mix it nicely I often think it sounds considerably nicer. Much more natural and "big". Not like artificially produced, thin, fake sounding crap.


I mostly agree with this. It's not so much *if* they bleed that is the problem... it is *how* they bleed. Experiment a lot with mic placement, as phasing issues, etc. can make mixing a nightmare. If you have bleed and can make it work for you instead of against you, it really does add ambience to your tracks.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#10
World's quietest studio mic...No, and they don't claim that, but they do claim this -

"State-of-the-art surface-mount electronics and transformerless circuitry used in the NT1-A make it one of the quietest microphones in the world - at any price range."


Although I have seen the NT-1A with a heading saying 'Is this the world's quietest studio mic?', the question mark obviously covering their backs.

Also, they are available in a matched pair.
There is poetry in despair.
#11
Ah they must have changed it since I last looked then.

They definitely used to claim that.

And by professional results, I mean something I would be happy buying in a shop. Not the best recording ever produced in the history of the world.

And I'm pretty sure if you gave that kit to a man who new what they were doing it'd be decent.
#12
Decent, absolutely. Would it sound like something Bob Rock put out? No.

We used a similar quality setup (though bigger and more elaborate, but on a similar quality scale, to record our album, and it certainly came out to our liking. People are consistently surprised that we recorded it at my house.

Lots of examples in my profile.

NT-1 (and various other mics) > Behringer mixer (and another tube mic pre) > Delta 1010.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.