#1
Me and my band are working on building a home recording studio and so far we've gotten some pretty good sounding recordings. It's come to the time where we want to step it up a notch though and we can't agree on what's the next thing to buy.

As far as an interface, we use an M-Audio Delta-44. I forget the exact mixer we have but it's some kind of relatively cheap 8 input thing. We don't have monitors at all. We mix everything through headphones and bring it out to the car to see how it sounds on speakers. I find this a huge pain but my other guitarist wants to get a new interface first. He wants one with like 12 inputs so he can have a seperate track for each piece of the drumset. And he also wants to spend about $800 on monitors when we do decide to get them. I honestly thing that's a little overkill on monitors since we're just a home studio and we don't need everything to be that perfect. What do you guys think our next piece of equipment should be?
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#2
8 inputs should be enough to get drums, depending on your set up.

How are you guys recording? Laying drums, then layering on top of that?


As for the monitors, you have to remember, the mix is in the end the most important thing you are after, as it is what it's going to sound like. (obviously) $800 may be a little steep, but it is important IMO to have at least some decently good monitors. Good call on the cross referencing with other speakers though.
#3
Quote by El Tostito
8 inputs should be enough to get drums, depending on your set up.

How are you guys recording? Laying drums, then layering on top of that?


As for the monitors, you have to remember, the mix is in the end the most important thing you are after, as it is what it's going to sound like. (obviously) $800 may be a little steep, but it is important IMO to have at least some decently good monitors. Good call on the cross referencing with other speakers though.

We've actually been doing Guitars, Drums, Bass, then Vocals. I know this is the completely wrong way to do it but that's just what we've ended up doing. We'll probably do it differently in the future.

I'm not saying to cheap out on monitors, but I was really expecting to be spending closer to 300-400$. I just want to be able to listen to our music without putting on headphones. He doesn't even have regular computer speakers. And we don't really have 8 inputs because the interface only has 4. (I don't know a ton about recording, this is just what my bandmates tell me)
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#4
If you change soundcards you may introduce headaches .... especially if you have laid down tracks with the Delta -- it's a good card, you really do not need more than that for a home studio, in my opinion.

M-Audio also makes decent monitors for home recording use -- AV 40's will run you just over $150 and will pass most taste tests.

What are you using for a DAW?
#5
Quote by Zen Skin
If you change soundcards you may introduce headaches .... especially if you have laid down tracks with the Delta -- it's a good card, you really do not need more than that for a home studio, in my opinion.

M-Audio also makes decent monitors for home recording use -- AV 40's will run you just over $150 and will pass most taste tests.

What are you using for a DAW?

I don't know a ton about this kind of thing, but that's what I was thinking. He was originally looking at that bigger version of the Delta. (Delta 66 maybe?) but then he started looking at rackmount equipment which to me seems like it would just make things more complicated.

and really? $150 is about the cheapest I've heard of for studio monitors. My guitarist who runs most of the studio is so hardheaded that I'd have a hard time convicing him to spend under $600 let alone under $200.

Edit: for a DAW we're using Sonar 6... or 7. I forget. Maybe 8 actually. haha
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#6
I have to agree with your guitarist on monitors. You get what you pay for. I haven't heard anything I'd want to mix on under $500.

As far as the mixer goes, I wouldn't go rack mount unless I had a patch bay. You certainly should be able to mic up the drum kit with 8 inputs but I don't know how big it is and what sound you're going for. Maybe more inputs would work for you guys. You'd have to be summing them down anyways with that interface having only four inputs.
#7
Quote by Zen Skin
M-Audio also makes decent monitors for home recording use -- AV 40's will run you just over $150 and will pass most taste tests.


The AV-40s are nothing more than overpriced bookshelf speakers (trust me, I own them). Look into the KRKs. The Rockit line is the best in its price range.

Rackmount equipment isn't that complicated. Look into the Focusrite Saffire Pro 40. Its an amazing interface that lets you record up to 8 inputs simultaneously (honestly, you're not going to need 12 inputs, 8 at the most for home drum recordings). Focusrite is known for its quality products and has been getting a little favoritism around here.

I found this on Ebay: http://cgi.ebay.com/Focusrite-Saffire-Pro40-Firewire-Recording-Interface-/310293650588?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item483ef15c9c

Basically, the Saffire Pro 40, a pair of KRK Rokit 8's and some XLRs for $800. The Saffire Pro is $500 on MF and other sites and the Rokits are $250 a speaker. So you end up saving about $200 and getting a shit ton of XLRs
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#8
hmmm. well thanks. I don't know if we'd be able to spend that much right now. We're all pretty low on cash.

Tbh that's on of the reasons I didn't want to spend so much on monitors. Cause I know if we decided we were going to invest $800 into them we probably wouldn't end up getting them for like a year. And if we spend $800 on something I think it should be on a new guitar cab (he's running a 5150 through a Peavey Windsor cab )

I am actually pretty much content with our recording quality right now and just wanted to be able to have SOME kind of monitors. I mean, anything is better than listening in our cars. We actually tossed around the idea of buying super cheap monitors just for the time being so we could at least have SOMETHING
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#9
Quote by lockwolf
The AV-40s are nothing more than overpriced bookshelf speakers (trust me, I own them). Look into the KRKs. The Rockit line is the best in its price range.
..



Heh

I am an old rocker who has tinnitus from standing to close to the PA at CBGB's ... they sound good to me -- but my hearing is not what it was.

My thinking is that if you spend a lot of cash on a home studio, you probably are not taking into consideration that a lot of what will be produced is going to be played as an mp3 through through $10 earplugs.

If one were an audio engineer, different story -- you are aiming for CD quality. But, musicians getting decent demos together, I'd say get the gear you can afford that you will use -- AV40's are glorified computer speakers, not much more -- on the other hand almost anyone who you play a demo for will be listening on cheaper equipment.

Just my $0.02
#10
I'll vote for the monitors too, and agree that there isn't anything I'd be interested in mixing on for less than $500 either.

And though it seems reasonable that "something is better than nothing", this is not the place for that argument. Consider this analogy:

I need a drill. I can't afford one, so I'll just use a hammer. After all, something is better than nothing.

Well... no. A hammer will not get you where a drill will go, and regular ol' speakers will not get you where a proper set of monitors will go.

Sure, they look the same, and appear to serve the same function, but that's where the similarities stop.

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.
#11
When you guys say you wouldn't mix on anything under $500, do you mean $500 each or $500 for the pair? We are just on a pretty tight budget. We were checking some out i'n GC today and there were some by Yamaha that I liked. I forget what they were called but the speaker cone was white and they were $400 for the pair. They sounded similar to a much more expensive pair.
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#12
Once again, I read the first post and start to think of my answer... then see that CT, and this time suppositron and lockwolf, have said similar things!

So to try and add to that - I'd say that you could improve a great deal by getting an interface with 8+ inputs for your tracking, purely because you will then be able to mix the drums properly, instead of summing everything on a (probably cheap and nasty sounding) mixer before hitting the nicer preamps and A/D conversion stage of the interface/soundcard.

And yeah - for your budget, I appreciate you can't do much, but your guitarist is fairly correct (although $800 might be a lot for a first set of monitors). I own KRK Rokit RP6's, and I'd say if you can't afford the 8's, maybe look for these, but when I tested in a local shop there was a huge difference between the 5's and the 6's. The 8's don't seem as different from the 6's but they do go down a bit lower, and they are also flatter across the freq. spectrum (quoted as ± 1dB from 49Hz-20kHz I think it was)
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#13
Quote by QuantumMechanix
When you guys say you wouldn't mix on anything under $500, do you mean $500 each or $500 for the pair? We are just on a pretty tight budget. We were checking some out i'n GC today and there were some by Yamaha that I liked. I forget what they were called but the speaker cone was white and they were $400 for the pair. They sounded similar to a much more expensive pair.


Good question, as they ARE sold and priced separately, so you need to buy TWO. The ballpark price of $500 is for the pair.

The Yamaha ones... probably good. There are a few product lines, and the ones with the white cones are designed to be reminiscent of the old NS-10's. A friend of mine has a set of the newer incarnations, and quite honestly, they kick ass. They are better than the NS-10's and just might be better than my Yorkville YSM-1's. I'd have to hear my own monitors in a proper listening environment again to be sure. My "new" studio for the past three years really sucks donkey balls in terms of being a good listening space. When my "new" new studio is finished and I move all my gear in to the new space, I'll know better. (2 months, maybe... )

But keep in mind... not all of their product lines - despite the white cones - are equal.

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.
#14
Quote by axemanchris
Good question, as they ARE sold and priced separately, so you need to buy TWO. The ballpark price of $500 is for the pair.

The Yamaha ones... probably good. There are a few product lines, and the ones with the white cones are designed to be reminiscent of the old NS-10's. A friend of mine has a set of the newer incarnations, and quite honestly, they kick ass. They are better than the NS-10's and just might be better than my Yorkville YSM-1's. I'd have to hear my own monitors in a proper listening environment again to be sure. My "new" studio for the past three years really sucks donkey balls in terms of being a good listening space. When my "new" new studio is finished and I move all my gear in to the new space, I'll know better. (2 months, maybe... )

But keep in mind... not all of their product lines - despite the white cones - are equal.

CT

I have to go against you for once about the NS-10 comment

NS-10s are seen as so good for reasons other than being the best speaker from most points-of-view...it's mainly because a) they got commonplace, so most engineers were familiar with their sound; b) they're a sealed box design so they have a much better transient response compared to the HS series I think you're referring to, which are ported and suffer from phase distortion lot more as the low end can buffet around inside the speaker enclosure and prevent the speaker cone from stopping as quick (lower damping factor is the result); and c) the lack of low end made it easier for people to get the midrange (arguably the most important bit due to vocals and melodic instruments plus definition of percussive sounds) right, and as a result many people still mix on NS-10s (and even Avantone Mixcubes) and switch a sub in and out/A-B with a larger, ported pair to check the low end/work more on it.

Hopefully you're on about some other model though

I just feel the NS-10s need defending, because the HS series is just Yamaha trying to make a quick buck off the back of the NS-10's fame, despite them being completely difference after appearance.
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#15
Quote by DisarmGoliath


I just feel the NS-10s need defending, because the HS series is just Yamaha trying to make a quick buck off the back of the NS-10's fame, despite them being completely difference after appearance.



while it is true they advertise the HS80's to be the new NS-10's, they are still excellent monitors. they dont sound a thing like the NS-10's, but from what i hear they are the best monitors for the money. i dont really have any first hand experience with them, but this comes from people i know and trust personally as well as people online and in music stores. and they all agree they're nothing like NS-10's...

the HS50's on the other hand have awful bass response as can be expected from a cone that size (that's personal experience right there...). i would recommend a larger KRK over those any day.
#16
I believe it is the HS80's that he has. I heard them and *instantly* perceived them as being better than the NS-10's I remember hearing. Of course, I was not doing a side-by-side comparison.

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.
#17
Quote by QuantumMechanix
When you guys say you wouldn't mix on anything under $500, do you mean $500 each or $500 for the pair? We are just on a pretty tight budget. We were checking some out i'n GC today and there were some by Yamaha that I liked. I forget what they were called but the speaker cone was white and they were $400 for the pair. They sounded similar to a much more expensive pair.


I know axeman already answered, but I'd like to concur. $500 for a pair. Hey, if you find a pair for a bit cheaper that sound just as good, go for it. You're already on the right track by going and listening before you buy.
#18
I'm still trying to convince my guitarist not to get the most expensive pair out there are here's why: He's playing through an $80 cab, using a $100 mixer. Isn't your studio only as good as it's weakest link? I'd rather spend a little less on monitors and actually be able to upgrade those things. I don't care how good your monitors are, you're not gonna get the perfect tone out o a Peavey Windsor cab.
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#19
well if you cant hear everything accurately, you cant mix accurately. if you buy cheap monitors and then realize a little later that you want to be able to hear things better, you'll have to shell out more money. $400 is a lot of money, but it will only get you so strong of a link. i, for one, dont like to spend money on something i'll want to replace any time in the near future. that means i wait longer to get the things i want/need, but i can keep them for a lot longer.

you're call. decide what the band needs more.

dont forget that there are some excellent amp sims out there for not much money.

EDIT: My advice on buying monitors is do not go any cheaper than Rokit 8's. if you can at all, get something better, but that's pretty much my bottom line right there.
Last edited by sandyman323 at Apr 6, 2011,
#20
Quote by sandyman323
well if you cant hear everything accurately, you cant mix accurately. if you buy cheap monitors and then realize a little later that you want to be able to hear things better, you'll have to shell out more money. $400 is a lot of money, but it will only get you so strong of a link. i, for one, dont like to spend money on something i'll want to replace any time in the near future. that means i wait longer to get the things i want/need, but i can keep them for a lot longer.

you're call. decide what the band needs more.

dont forget that there are some excellent amp sims out there for not much money.

EDIT: My advice on buying monitors is do not go any cheaper than Rokit 8's. if you can at all, get something better, but that's pretty much my bottom line right there.

Well the thing is, we're not a professional studio. We're just trying to get some decent recordings for the band. Even $400 is a lot of money for us. And we've tried amp sims before and had no luck. I would just rather him buy a new cab and improve our live sound and studio sound. I just honestly don't even think he will notice the difference between a $400 pair of monitors and a $800 pair. And I don't care how well you can mix, you won't sound good unless you can actually get a good tone
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#21
Quote by QuantumMechanix
Well the thing is, we're not a professional studio. We're just trying to get some decent recordings for the band.


So, if someone suggested using a saw to cut wood instead of a butter knife, would you say, "well, I'm not a professional carpenter. I'm just trying to build a decent bookshelf"?

The point is, you need a tool and you don't have one. We're not suggesting buying a $4000 pair of JBL's or something.

Quote by QuantumMechanix

I just honestly don't even think he will notice the difference between a $400 pair of monitors and a $800 pair.


Maybe not, but the people who listen to your mixes will be able to tell.

Quote by QuantumMechanix

And I don't care how well you can mix, you won't sound good unless you can actually get a good tone


And similarly, I don't care how good your tone is if it all goes to hell because you can't dial in a good mix.

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.
#22
So, $400 on monitors isn't even enough to get decent sounding mixes? A saw is made for cutting wood; a butter knife is not. Monitors are made for mixing; even the cheap ones. Is everything under $500 really just useless?

How would listeners have a more discerning ear than musicians?

And yes, I understand it's about give and take, compromise. I just didn't think $400 dollars was really "cheaping out" on monitors. I thought that was a pretty reasonable budget.
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Last edited by QuantumMechanix at Apr 7, 2011,
#23
Quote by QuantumMechanix
So, $400 on monitors isn't even enough to get decent sounding mixes?


Well, I would call it a bare minimum.

Quote by QuantumMechanix

A saw is made for cutting wood; a butter knife is not. Monitors are made for mixing; even the cheap ones.


Right, but knives are made for cutting. So are saws. Stereo speakers are made for listening to music. So are monitors. It does not mean that they are similar tools.

It was your language here, or maybe more so the tone:

We're just trying to get some decent recordings for the band. Even $400 is a lot of money for us. And we've tried amp sims before and had no luck. I would just rather him buy a new cab and improve our live sound and studio sound. I just honestly don't even think he will notice the difference between a $400 pair of monitors and a $800 pair. And I don't care how well you can mix, you won't sound good unless you can actually get a good tone


... that suggested to me you were trying to get out of buying a pair of monitors, perhaps at all.

Quote by QuantumMechanix

Is everything under $500 really just useless?


Mmm.... let's say anything under $400.

Quote by QuantumMechanix

How would listeners have a more discerning ear than musicians?


Your listeners won't hear your monitors. But they will hear the mixes you make on those monitors. It's like your buddy won't see the saw you used for the bookshelf, but he WILL see the end result. One built by sawing wood with a butter knife will look a lot different than one built by sawing wood with a proper saw.

Right now, you don't have a saw, and are instead looking at perhaps buying a router. Sure, it will be useful, but it doesn't change the fact that you're still trying to cut wood with a butter knife.

Quote by QuantumMechanix

And yes, I understand it's about give and take, compromise. I just didn't think $400 dollars was really "cheaping out" on monitors. I thought that was a pretty reasonable budget.


It's somewhere between acceptable and reasonable. I'm far from a gear snob. I don't sit around bashing Behringer because I'm too good for them or whatever. But with monitors, they ARE expensive, and you do generally get what you pay for. I think a good entry-level pair of monitors that you will still be happy with in five years will probably cost you closer to $600 for a pair. But $400.... acceptable. I would call pretty much anything less than that "cheaping out."

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.