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#1
We are putting together a professional budget oriented studio. Pro tools seems like the go to choice for software but cost vs payoff is important to me as well.
I'm aware that there are alternatives, Logic Pro (Apple), Reaper (Cheap), but I've no idea how they all stack up.

My main concern is recouping costs if we were to fail in this endeavor. Pro tools 12 is ~800$ Canadian for the standard version and we might be able to qualify for the academic version at half the price, but I'm not sure what the difference is and what limitations we might face using the academic version in a professional setting. 

So while Pro Tools is expensive, if I could resell the license then cost is no object. Otherwise I'm interested in learning more about the potential alternatives. We also don't want to end up buying something that is 75% the cost of pro tools and having no one take us seriously as a result.
Something like Reaper wouldn't be as big a deal because it's only 60$, and while I know a lot of the draw/cost of Pro Tools these days is in the name, there is always going to be some level of "you get what you pay for".
Interested to hear the thoughts of the community, any input is greatly appreciated.
Last edited by Mkjms at Apr 10, 2017,
#2
 Just realized Reaper is 240$ for commercial use, so that is off the table. 
#3
OK, so is this just about the DAW, or everything else?

If you're worried about being taken seriously because of your DAW, you already fail. If I walk into a studio and see that it's set up for, say, Logic... OK. Not my preference (as is will known) but I can work with that. What preamps are there? What compressors, gates, EQs, timeFX, etc. are more important. What mics are available? What does the ROOM sound like? What monitors? What console (if any) or controller? These all factor in more than the DAW. I've recorded entire CDs in Audacity and the room/equipment was perfect and allowed me to do it.

You cannot recoup most DAW costs, so accept that. A new studio BLEEDS money. Even big studios bleed money from time to time (console overhauls, rack maintenance, facilities upkeep).

So first, so we know what you want to accomplish, list your goals:

1) Style. Studios/rooms are often geared to a style (metal, rock, folk)
2) BUDGET! This is a factor that is of the utmost importance.
3) Experience. If you have very little, pull out now. Nothing will sink your name faster than being ill-prepared.

Next, list your ideas:

1) Costing. Very important. You need to:
a) remain competitive
b) recoup your start up cost
c) not outprice your abilities
d) find clients that can afford that fit your niche

2) Understanding of the industry from this side. MTV/Much! and such are not very representative. Making of are also useless. A lot happens in a recording session that you never see. Have you recorded before? Do you understand the laws involved (Copyright, trademark, CC, PD, SOCAN rights, publishing law)?

3) Are you able to do your own maintenance (soldering, biasing, rewinding PS units)? Do you have the mathematical understanding of Ohms law? Do you understand computer technology, both hardware and software?

Post some ideas and I'll try to guide you as best as possible.
Quote by Watterboy
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#4
Quote by the chemist
OK, so is this just about the DAW, or everything else?

If you're worried about being taken seriously because of your DAW, you already fail. If I walk into a studio and see that it's set up for, say, Logic... OK. Not my preference (as is will known) but I can work with that. What preamps are there? What compressors, gates, EQs, timeFX, etc. are more important. What mics are available? What does the ROOM sound like? What monitors? What console (if any) or controller? These all factor in more than the DAW. I've recorded entire CDs in Audacity and the room/equipment was perfect and allowed me to do it.

You cannot recoup most DAW costs, so accept that. A new studio BLEEDS money. Even big studios bleed money from time to time (console overhauls, rack maintenance, facilities upkeep).

So first, so we know what you want to accomplish, list your goals:

1) Style. Studios/rooms are often geared to a style (metal, rock, folk)
2) BUDGET! This is a factor that is of the utmost importance.
3) Experience. If you have very little, pull out now. Nothing will sink your name faster than being ill-prepared.

Next, list your ideas:

1) Costing. Very important. You need to:
  a) remain competitive
  b) recoup your start up cost
  c) not outprice your abilities
  d) find clients that can afford that fit your niche

2) Understanding of the industry from this side. MTV/Much! and such are not very representative. Making of  are also useless. A lot happens in a recording session that you never see. Have you recorded before? Do you understand the laws involved (Copyright, trademark, CC, PD, SOCAN rights, publishing law)?

3) Are you able to do your own maintenance (soldering, biasing, rewinding PS units)? Do you have the mathematical understanding of Ohms law? Do you understand computer technology, both hardware and software?

Post some ideas and I'll try to guide you as best as possible.

Well, let's get one thing out of the way right now, you're not going to talk me/us out of this project regardless of how unprepared you may think I am
With that aside, I appreciate your taking the time to help me out, and I'm happy to divert into discussing other aspects of the business plan besides the DAW.

I do understand the DAW is only one component of a successful setup, I wasn't trying to imply that I am laser focused on the DAW, I just wanted to take it one forum thread at a time.
We are trying to work this to avoid "bleeding money" as much as possible. Of course there are going to be some losses if we fail, and I am under no illusions about our success rates having worked in other startup companies before. However there is a big difference between being inexperienced, and making short sighted, costly decisions with no guarantee of a long term payoff.

Our business plan is simple enough. We are renting out a residential home and turning most of the top floor into a studio. We will be living on site, and the rent has to be paid anyways, so there is minimal overhead costs for the space. I intend to buy used gear only from reliable brands, certainly things will fail from time to time, but it is better to spend money on quality if the goal is to recoup as much money as possible. 

1) Style: 
We are trying to appeal to as wide an audience as possible, but this is always easier said than done. Our initial target market is the proverbial "little guy". We have experienced musicians on the team that enjoy a wide variety of music, so we are determined to be accommodating to as many genres as possible.

2) Budget:
Technically the sky is the limit, but I'm not about to drop in more than 5k right from the start, because that would be a rather shortsighted decision. We start small, and build with the profit, selling the used gear and upgrading as needed. I'm am not one to spend money on snake oil either, if we can't hear the difference, then we don't it. 

3) Nope, I'm a rather stubborn mule Could you clarify though? For example, I do have many years of experience as a multi instrumentalist, many years of experience with computers/I.T, many years of experience with audio science. Of course this is all hobbyist experience, regardless of my dedication it has never been tested in a professional setting. As they say, no risk no reward.
 
1) Costs:
A) Indeed, we are comparing pricing of our competitors based on their respective capabilities.
B) Minimal, software is the only thing that producers/corporations seem to think should not be subject to the free market and secondary resale, I would certainly appreciate any info on the resale of pro tools, and/or the use of the student version in a professional setting. How much profit can we bring in before we are deemed "commercial"?
C) See A
D) We can't afford to have a niche

2) We have an individual on board with an educated understanding of music business. I can't speak for him but I've heard him throw around at least some of these terms.

3) Capable yes, but only when the costs of repair would really make DIY beneficial. I do have an understanding of ohms laws, as well as other aspects of electrical engineering, and audio related physics. I do understand computer technology both hardware and software, as does our audio engineer.
  
My ideas all revolve around a simple concept. Turn our passion into our livelihood, without incurring significant financial loss. I believe it can be done, and no one is going to talk us out of it

I'd love to hear more about this concept of an Audacity driven studio. If everything else was in line with your ideal studio environment, would you really record in this hypothetical studio? How many others who do not have your understanding of everything we are discussing here would do the same? That is the really difficult question that can only be answered by gathering as many opinions as possible, both informed (as you seem to be) and uninformed. 
Last edited by Mkjms at Apr 7, 2017,
#5
So that's good to read. You definitely understand that this whole thing could just fall flat and fail bad. It happens a lot.

First and foremost, Audacity is NOT usable. I can be done, but it sucks BAD. For me it was that my Mac had died and that's all we had access to on someone's desktop with my interface. Do NOT do this ever.

With that being said we now need to look at a few more things before I can start recommending hardware/software (from experience).

1) What kind of studio do you want to run?

This will account for the majority of your purchase criteria. I'm going to break this into the 'three main' types of house.

a) ITB (In The Box) - obviously the cheapest to start and ultimately maintain, but lacks that OOMPH that equipment will lend you. Everything is done inside the computer. Audio recording in, final mix out. Usually will require a beefier computer and more cost for intangible assets (plugins, VSTs, etc). If the computer dies, you come to a complete stop.

b) Hybrid - this is my preference for working, and probably the most common. A computer is the main driver in the setup, but there is outboard gear because that stuff is better (IMO) than any plugin. The computer is used with this outboard to get the results. Usually you'll have some compressors, EQs, and reverb units (from common experience) as well as some lunchbox preamps for flavor. You can mix and match this as needed. Usually this would also involve either a summing mixer or a small format console (think like an API The Box or a SSL Matrix, but could also be a 01V96i or a lower-end analog desk).

c) OTB (Out of The Box) - I have a fair amount of experience with this style, and it's almost dead nowadays except in big houses (and even then DAWs are being used to process in those situations as well). Lots of outboard, big format console or desk. The computer is more of an editing and file-storing tool than the heart of the studio. Unless you have tonnes of cash and a phenominal understanding of the audio-electric workflow for maintenance, steer away from this.

For the DAW, it's all preference. Although it's well known that I'm a Pro-Tools guy, I'm looking at making the switch to Studio One soon as Avid is fucking retarded. I hate that company. Plus, Studio One's integration with their hardware is well above Avid's. So I won't make a DAW recommendation. Fool around with some and see what you like and dislike. They all do the same thing at the end of the day. I used Cubase and Logic for years and enjoyed them. Reaper and I don't mix (I don't really like insane customization options) very well, but other guys I know swear by it.


I'm going to roughly spec out a hybrid that I would use 100 times out of 100, and I'm not overly picky.

As you're in Canada (based on your CAD reference) I'm going to mix Long Dong McQuaid and Economik in Montreal for pricing as they're kinda the go-to b'ys. I prefer Economik (best support and service I've ever had), but Long Dong will work for a lot of this.

So I'm going to assume a budget of $20 000 CAD as that's where I'd start. Knowing that you want to be an all-comers room, that really opens up your ability to get gear. You will see some lower priced gear that may not look as professional; if so I've used the piece and liked it enough to recommend it. Also note this is assuming you have a computer built already.

http://www.economik.com/rme/fireface-ufx/ - One of the best interfaces I have ever used. Clean, clear, stable. Also only 2400 bucks, which is fantastic.

http://www.economik.com/dangerous-music/2-bus-lt/ - Summing is a MUST for Hybrid and ITB. This also lets you add a patchbay to your outputs to use some of your outboard on things like Snare, bass, kick, vocals, etc.

http://www.economik.com/warm-audio/wa412/ - Killer preamps. The Pres on the Fireface are very clean... these are very in your face API. and for 1650, killer.

2 x https://www.long-mcquade.com/12781/Pro_Audio_Recording/Signal_Processors/DBX/266XS_-_2_Channel_Compressor_Gate.htm - Nice compressors for Drums.

2 x http://www.economik.com/warm-audio/wa76/ - Goddam these kill. Just as good as the real thing, and for about 1/3 the price.

2 x http://www.economik.com/golden-age-project/eq73/ - Very nice EQ. I use these on vocals and acoustic a lot

http://www.economik.com/drawmer/1978/ - For the path between box and interface to print your mix. One of the nicest buss compressors I've used not made by SSL/Neve/API


So far we have a very stable USB interface with 4 extra preamps, 6 channels of killer compression, 2 very nice EQs, and a summing box (with added mix buss compression).

Mics are a bit of a challenge, but we'll hammer this out as well.

2 x http://www.economik.com/slate-digital/vms/ - Ungodly replication of fantastic mics and preamps. A bit of a learning curve as to how everything interacts, but amazing all the same

5 x http://www.economik.com/shure/sm57-lc/ - Derp.

http://www.economik.com/akg/d-112-mkii/ - Need bass drum and bass guitar

http://www.economik.com/oktava/mk-012-20/ - Stereo SDCs? Value for money in the Oktavas. Plus they're sexy AF.

2 x http://www.economik.com/audio-technica/at4050/ - I prefer the 4050 over the 414. A bit brighter, but the bottom end is a bit more robust and less prone to go brittle.

From here, we need cables. You can get these just about anywhere, but you WILL need these ones:

http://www.economik.com/redco/tt-db25-96pt-patchbay/ - Patchbays are not cheap, but worth their weight in paygold. One should do this setup for now

6 x http://www.economik.com/hosa/dtp-802/ not cheap but needed

32 x http://www.economik.com/digiflex/tt-1-5/ - TT cables is expensive.

You'll need 2 female XLRs to get outputs 1&2 from the Fireface, so that's an extra 5 bucks or so.

From here the usual XLR and instrument cables.

2 x https://www.long-mcquade.com/20981/Pro-Audio---Recording/Studio-Monitors/Yamaha/8-inch-Powered-Studio-Reference-Monitor.htm Monitors. I use Yamahas, never had a problem. But you'll need a controller for these, so....

https://www.long-mcquade.com/73905/Pro-Audio---Recording/Studio-Monitors/JBL/M-Patch-Active-1-Active-Precision-Monitor-Controller.htm - Monitor output from your box into this, monitors plug into this. Plus, no more reaching over to your interface or summing box to adjust monitoring level.

You'll need a rack. You may want a controller (I recommend the Presonus Faderport 8) and you should be well on your way.
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#6
Once upon a time a new owner came on and my position as engineer was affected.
I thought about going in direct competition with the studio I was let go from. I put some numbers together, it came out between $15-$20k.
OP, you DO need PT, but you also need the $4k Mac or PC to run it, at least 24 input interface, clock sync, A/D converters, some outboard, mics, etc.
Pro Tools HD system is probably only the start.

Regardless of what anyone tells you, people will walk out of there unless they see PT setup. Only if you're lowest of lowliest budget recording place you would be able to get away with another DAW.

If you look at big name producers, there are only few that work outside of PT. Not that I'm a fan, actually not at all. I've happily put PT behind me once I walked out of there, only occasionally track drums on it when I need a big room sound.

This might get you started:
https://www.sweetwater.com/insync/avid-pro-tools-101-buying-guide/

Minimum starter interface for studio
https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/PTNativeHDAna

Some system builders
http://pcaudiolabs.com/pro-audio-software-and-hardware/

https://www.adkproaudio.com/music-production-desktops

There is a way to run PT in different architecture, I personally think their A/D coverters are garbage as I've done the comparisons vs Apogee and Apogee murdered Avid in every sound test, but for budget studio it is negligible.

So on top of the $7k Avid system, you'd need a $2k and up PC or Mac to run it.

About $1k in monitors, $3k in mics, some outboard, video monitors, desk, sound iso, mic stands, cables, gobos...maybe even a big desk. Even though most studios barely use them (basically as glorified stereo output systems), the sight of big desks are still important to clients, as every big producer takes a pic in front of one.

Btw, the chemist did really good on speccibg the rest. I might even applaud the RME option, although I am still wary of PT running stable on anything but their HD system for pro use. Since we're talking budget studio...maybe doable.

I think @thechemist might be overselling too much outboard for starters. I'd say at this stage you don't need anything a good vocal strip, Avalon or UAD preamp maybe, everything else in the box.
#7
Quote by diabolical
Once upon a time a new owner came on and my position as engineer was affected.
I thought about going in direct competition with the studio I was let go from. I put some numbers together, it came out between $15-$20k.
OP, you DO need PT, but you also need the $4k Mac or PC to run it, at least 24 input interface, clock sync, A/D converters, some outboard, mics, etc.
Pro Tools HD system is probably only the start.

Regardless of what anyone tells you, people will walk out of there unless they see PT setup. Only if you're lowest of lowliest budget recording place you would be able to get away with another DAW.

If you look at big name producers, there are only few that work outside of PT. Not that I'm a fan, actually not at all. I've happily put PT behind me once I walked out of there, only occasionally track drums on it when I need a big room sound.

This might get you started:
https://www.sweetwater.com/insync/avid-pro-tools-101-buying-guide/

Minimum starter interface for studio
https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/PTNativeHDAna

Some system builders
http://pcaudiolabs.com/pro-audio-software-and-hardware/

https://www.adkproaudio.com/music-production-desktops

There is a way to run PT in different architecture, I personally think their A/D coverters are garbage as I've done the comparisons vs Apogee and Apogee murdered Avid in every sound test, but for budget studio it is negligible.

So on top of the $7k Avid system, you'd need a $2k and up PC or Mac to run it.

About $1k in monitors, $3k in mics, some outboard, video monitors, desk, sound iso, mic stands, cables, gobos...maybe even a big desk. Even though most studios barely use them (basically as glorified stereo output systems), the sight of big desks are still important to clients, as every big producer takes a pic in front of one.

Btw, the chemist did really good on speccibg the rest. I might even applaud the RME option, although I am still wary of PT running stable on anything but their HD system for pro use. Since we're talking budget studio...maybe doable.

I think @thechemist might be overselling too much outboard for starters. I'd say at this stage you don't need anything a good vocal strip, Avalon or UAD preamp maybe, everything else in the box.


I've been running PTHD with Firefaces since the option existed, and have no issue with stability at all. None.

as to the outboard gear, you may be right. But, on the other hand, I think having that hardware is a good start. Maybe drop the EQs and pick up 2 channels of SSL or Neve, sure.
Quote by Watterboy
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#8
While there is some very good advice here, I feel as though I have fallen victim to that classic forum peculiarity wherein I give in and specify a rough budget, and I'm immediately provided "options" that are so absurdly above budget while I have no knowledge of the differences between a 300$ interface and a 3000$ interface (although I do have a technical understanding of the specs and the ability to learn quickly).

I appreciate the advice guys but we are noobs to this game, and we aren't about to jump in at the deep end. I'm talking about whether or not we should go in for Pro Tools software (400$ student edition or 800$ full edition) and you're throwing around recommendations for a 7000$ interface...??? I'm not putting a team with limited real world experience in front of 7000$ equipment, it's just not going to happen. 

We are located in a relatively small city on the East Coast of Canada, certainly there are moderately big studios here, but you'd be hard pressed to find any of them using a $7k interface, and we aren't trying to compete with them anyways. 

Here are our competition:
https://www.thebasementhalifax.ca/
http://villagesound.ca/

Here are the folks we aren't even trying to compete with:
http://www.thesonictemple.ca/
http://www.codapop.com/

To be honest there really isn't much in between these 2 tiers. So perhaps the market has already monopolized. We will need to set ourselves apart in any way possible to gain market share and eventually compete with the big names, but we have to start somewhere.
 
Last edited by Mkjms at Apr 8, 2017,
#9
So let's start at the beginning:
Can I resell a Pro Tools license legally?
What is the difference between a Focusrite Scarlet 2i2, vs a 1000$ interface? Sound quality and latency are of top concern to me.

Just keep in mind that we are targeting the little guy here, those that would like to record and would prefer a dedicated studio rather than a guy with an interface and a mac book pro in an untreated room. 7000$ interfaces and 24 input boards need not apply, not for a year or 2 anyways.
#10
But see dude I am telling you that for bare bones low end studio you have to start at about $13-$20k, you might not have the latest rig, a lot of places in town are using Pro Tools 8-9 still with older Macs, but at least the local market to even be in the beginner studio bracket you'd have to invest at say about $10k if you're going used.

In your case I see the Basement studio, wonder why anyone would want to record there...but OK, just price something along with their equipment.
Personally, I won't putz with anyone that is running Pro Tools on anything but HD as that is a recipe for disaster, but to each his own...
The Apollo is a good home recording interface I guess, I wouldn't want to subject a paying client to that though - 10 inputs only, so good luck tracking drums right on that and capturing band performing in the same room. It could be done...I am running similar now syncing mine with a friend's FP10 for 16 inputs but it is not something I'll charge for, I do it pro bono.

Maybe I am being a bit "snobbish" as studios like the one I specced out above are available for at about $45-65/hr and still not many people visit.
I use studios now just to track drums and that's unless I feel adventurous and like the way the band sounds in their rehearsal space - then I track it there.

At $25/hr you're not even paying what I'd want hourly as an engineer so that's why I usually stay away from these places
Let's be honest here - at $25/hr you're taking something akin to minimum wage plus your room + equipment cost, I guess if you could do it for the love of the game...


PT student/education vs Pro Tools Professional - there really is no difference but the license for educational is not supposed to be used "professionally".
It should run OK and be identical in any other way. At $25/hr I doubt your client will even know anything about software so you can even track them in Reaper or some other budget DAW.
#11
Quote by diabolical
But see dude I am telling you that for bare bones low end studio you have to start at about $13-$20k, you might not have the latest rig, a lot of places in town are using Pro Tools 8-9 still with older Macs, but at least the local market to even be in the beginner studio bracket you'd have to invest at say about $10k if you're going used.

In your case I see the Basement studio, wonder why anyone would want to record there...but OK, just price something along with their equipment.
Personally, I won't putz with anyone that is running Pro Tools on anything but HD as that is a recipe for disaster, but to each his own...
The Apollo is a good home recording interface I guess, I wouldn't want to subject a paying client to that though - 10 inputs only, so good luck tracking drums right on that and capturing band performing in the same room. It could be done...I am running similar now syncing mine with a friend's FP10 for 16 inputs but it is not something I'll charge for, I do it pro bono.

Maybe I am being a bit "snobbish" as studios like the one I specced out above are available for at about $45-65/hr and still not many people visit.
I use studios now just to track drums and that's unless I feel adventurous and like the way the band sounds in their rehearsal space - then I track it there.

At $25/hr you're not even paying what I'd want hourly as an engineer  so that's why I usually stay away from these places
Let's be honest here - at $25/hr you're taking something akin to minimum wage plus your room + equipment cost, I guess if you could do it for the love of the game...


PT student/education vs Pro Tools Professional - there really is no difference but the license for educational is not supposed to be used "professionally".
It should run OK and be identical in any other way. At $25/hr I doubt your client will even know anything about software so you can even track them in Reaper or some other budget DAW.


Yeah I get it. We have 4-5 guys on the team right now and we are pretty much just doing it for the love of the game at this point in time, most of the team is paid on commission though. To bring in some worthwhile coin in a year or 2 we are going to have to either upgrade equipment and become competitive at the $50+ bracket, or diversify into far more than recording. We already have in house distribution, and plans to expand into selling tracks created by studio artists. At the end of the day it's as the old saying goes, there isn't much money in music. To maintain the team long term we are going to need everyone to be generating income working on different projects, many of which will not be directly related to recording artists. Sort of like multiple businesses operating under one name. 

So why is it beneficial to direct input mics to an audio interface? Based on the definition of an interface, one would think it's purpose is to bring the analog audio into the digital realm, to be mixed and mastered using the workstation. Would it not make more sense to handle the bulk of the inputs with a mixing board and send them to a few inputs on the interface? Sure I understand that sending as many separate channels into the DAW as possible provides more flexibility, but it is also very expensive for that reason. If I had to prioritize sound quality vs flexibility, sound quality wins every time. 

We are recording arts hobbyists with little more experience than mixing on a 2 channel audio interface, we wouldn't be taking full advantage of that added flexibility. As I said, I have plenty of knowledge that "relates" to starting a studio, but I am the first to admit that I still have a lot to learn about the practical application, and the best way to learn is by jumping in and giving it a try. I could either put a 10000$ recording arts degree on my resume that is money and time I will never get back, or I can invest in this project and have a real portfolio, real business experience, and a hell of a lot more fun  
Last edited by Mkjms at Apr 8, 2017,
#12
Quote by Mkjms
We are recording arts hobbyists with little more experience than mixing on a 2 channel audio interface, we wouldn't be taking full advantage of that added flexibility. As I said, I have plenty of knowledge that "relates" to starting a studio, but I am the first to admit that I still have a lot to learn about the practical application, and the best way to learn is by jumping in and giving it a try. I could either put a 10000$ recording arts degree on my resume that is money I will never get back, or I can invest in this project and have a real portfolio and real business experience. 


NO no no no no. That is the very WRONG way to learn how to run a studio. Intern at an existing studio.

As to reselling a Pro-Tools license.... good luck. You can do it, but finding a buyer, considering you can get a subscription to Pro-Tools for about 30 CAD/month... no one's really buying anymore. Plus, Pro-Tools is definitely on the rougher end of the learning curve. Most people are going Logic/StudioOne at your budget.

As to this nugget:

While there is some very good advice here, I feel as though I have fallen victim to that classic forum peculiarity wherein I give in and specify a rough budget, and I'm immediately provided "options" that are so absurdly above budget while I have no knowledge of the differences between a 300$ interface and a 3000$ interface (although I do have a technical understanding of the specs and the ability to learn quickly).

I appreciate the advice guys but we are noobs to this game, and we aren't about to jump in at the deep end. I'm talking about whether or not we should go in for Pro Tools software (400$ student edition or 800$ full edition) and you're throwing around recommendations for a 7000$ interface...??? I'm not putting a team with limited real world experience in front of 7000$ equipment, it's just not going to happen.


Well, you never specified a budget to begin with; I moved forward as to how to start a small recording ROOM.

As well, I'm going to give you some very good advice: You will NOT be able to compete without spending the cash. The system I built only STARTS to compete with Village and Basement. Don't try with Sonic or Coda (coincidentally 2 studios I do a lot of work in). There's more than gear at play:

Do you know how to mix?
Do you know mic technique?
Do you know how to match a mic and pre to a voice?

There's a list of questions I can get into here that your answer will, based on what you've already said, is NO.

I don't think you actually know what you're trying to get yourself into here, and you don't want to go down this road.
Quote by Watterboy
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#13
With that in mind, don't be discouraged, start small and build up. Get PT, get an interface, start working, move up to bigger stuff. Plunging head down into a biz situation is recipe for disaster. Lije I said, I'm out of it as $25/hr underutilizes my knowledge. I rather just do few projects for fun, unless salary goes up, you won't see me doing this pro again.
#14
Quote by the chemist
NO no no no no. That is the very WRONG way to learn how to run a studio. Intern at an existing studio.

As to reselling a Pro-Tools license.... good luck. You can do it, but finding a buyer, considering you can get a subscription to Pro-Tools for about 30 CAD/month... no one's really buying anymore. Plus, Pro-Tools is definitely on the rougher end of the learning curve. Most people are going Logic/StudioOne at your budget.

As to this nugget:


Well, you never specified a budget to begin with; I moved forward as to how to start a small recording ROOM.

As well, I'm going to give you some very good advice: You will NOT be able to compete without spending the cash. The system I built only STARTS to compete with Village and Basement. Don't try with Sonic or Coda (coincidentally 2 studios I do a lot of work in). There's more than gear at play:

Do you know how to mix?
Do you know mic technique?
Do you know how to match a mic and pre to a voice?

There's a list of questions I can get into here that your answer will, based on what you've already said, is NO.

I don't think you actually know what you're trying to get yourself into here, and you don't want to go down this road.


Alright mate, I gave you the benefit of the doubt for awhile but I can see now that you are more concerned with appearing to be knowledgeable than you are with trying to be helpful. That's fine, this is a public forum and you are under no obligation to be helpful, just don't be offended if I don't take all of your advice to heart.
So you are just mentioning the monthly Pro Tools subscription now? That would have been far more helpful advice than a few dozen equipment recommendations with no information on why I should go with said equipment, along with your business advice from someone who has evidently only ever been behind an instrument in a studio setting.

I did specify a budget, that would be 5k or less, read over my posts to find this info, or don't, I couldn't care less about your input at this point.
Again with the presumptuous attitude, what makes you certain this is good advice? What do you assume we are trying to compete with? The market spans everything from bedroom studios to Codapop and Sonic, with a customer base across the range. Of course the prices vary significantly and of course we are not trying to compete with the top tier, nor anything close. 
We could be competitive with Village and Basement at ~half the cost of your recommended set of gear, quite a bit less factoring in used market prices, it's as though you didn't even look at the gear list to make comparisons. If you had you would have realized that these studios have a fair amount of redundancy, multiple software brands and hardware brands in an effort to capture as much of the market as possible. Anyone with an eye for business knows this is a bad idea from a cost perspective, particularly when Pro Tools occupies such a large portion of the market share.

You are jumping to the conclusion that just because I am not up on the specs and configuration of high end recording gear that I/others on the team don't understand basic recording techniques? Alright then champ, you can assume I'm as educated as a pile of turds for all I care

Perhaps you are better of staying behind an instrument rather than trying to start a business. The meager knowledge of music business I possess makes it evident to me why you would fail in this endeavor. In a way you have been quite helpful (perhaps unintentionally), as most of the advice you are providing are great examples of what to do if we desire to immediately crash and burn. We need only do the exact opposite to increase our chances of success

If you really think individuals with success in business know what they are getting themselves into all the time, that is why you fail. There is a degree of risk to any endeavor, success is in the ability to adapt.
Last edited by Mkjms at Apr 8, 2017,
#15
Quote by diabolical
With that in mind, don't be discouraged, start small and build up. Get PT, get an interface, start working, move up to bigger stuff. Plunging head down into a biz situation is recipe for disaster. Lije I said, I'm out of it as $25/hr underutilizes my knowledge. I rather just do few projects for fun, unless salary goes up, you won't see me doing this pro again.

That's the plan, the trick is ensuring that our name doesn't outpace our capabilities or equipment. I appreciate your advice nonetheless, some of it is certainly applicable to us regardless of the budget we are working with. As long as it is the life experience that matters to me more than the money, it is unlikely that I will be discouraged

Worst case scenario is we crash and burn, and drive our brand name into the mud. We can always try again in the future with a re-branding, so long as we keep our personal identities on the down low during the startup phase.
Last edited by Mkjms at Apr 8, 2017,
#16
Yes, you may be able to sell your Protools license at 25% of it's cost.   I don't recommend it.  Avid is a royal PITA and I ditched that crap several years ago.  

If you are building a studio and targeting the "little guy" who has zero money to spend, you are in for some harsh reality.  The fastest way to make a small fortune in the recording business is to start with a large fortune.  No joke.  I have a friend who engineers feature film soundtracks and has 20yrs of A-List projects, album credits, major advertising jingles for Apple, and he has difficulty getting the "little guy" to shell out enough cash to get a decent demo recording done right at $60/hr. If you want to build a physical studio and attract real paying clients, you will need $20k minimum and some GREAT examples of your past work to be taken seriously at all.  

If you want to get into this biz with a lot less investment, consider mobile location recording.  A good Mac laptop, Logic Pro, a dozen mics, stands, cords, and a 16x interface and you are good to go.  Record live demos at gigs, record in the bands rehearsal studio or garage, record anywhere and everywhere you can and develop a body of work that will earn the respect of current and future clients.  $5k might just get you going for a setup like this and some heavy hitters already do this a lot rather than providing a studio with all the trappings.  

I spent 2 days with Rob Hoffman on a remote recording session and his end product was stellar.  You may have heard of him (Quincy Jones, Michael Jackson, Etta James, Christina Aguilera).  He has a nice mic locker, but more importantly he has supreme skills as an audio engineer.  Watching this guy work was eye opening.
http://www.robmixmusic.com/about
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
Last edited by Cajundaddy at Apr 10, 2017,
#17
Quote by Cajundaddy
Yes, you may be able to sell your Protools license at 25% of it's cost.   I don't recommend it.  Avid is a royal PITA and I ditched that crap several years ago.  

If you are building a studio and targeting the "little guy" who has zero money to spend, you are in for some harsh reality.  The fastest way to make a small fortune in the recording business is to start with a large fortune.  No joke.  I have a friend who engineers feature film soundtracks and has 20yrs of A-List projects, album credits, major advertising jingles for Apple, and he has difficulty getting the "little guy" to shell out enough cash to get a decent demo recording done right. If you want to build a physical studio and attract real paying clients, you will need $20k minimum and some GREAT examples of your past work to be taken seriously at all.  

If you want to get into this biz with a lot less investment, consider mobile location recording.  A good Mac laptop, Logic Pro, a dozen mics, stands, cords, and a 16x interface and you are good to go.  Record live demos at gigs, record in the bands rehearsal studio or garage, record anywhere and everywhere you can and develop a body of work that will earn the respect of current and future clients.  $5k might just get you going for a setup like this and some heavy hitters already do this a lot rather than providing a studio with all the trappings.  I spent 2 days with Rob Hoffman on a remote recording session and his end product was stellar.  You may have heard of him (Quincy Jones, Michael Jackson, Etta James, Christina Aguilera).  He has a nice mic locker, but more importantly he has supreme skills as an audio engineer.
http://www.robmixmusic.com/about


It's not that I don't understand this. I realize that you need to spend money to make money, but our capabilities just don't match 20k worth of equipment. We don't have 20 years of experience. 
Last edited by Mkjms at Apr 8, 2017,
#18
So start doing location recording, develop your chops, develop relationships, develop a body of work, and once you are super busy with location recording gigs because you have developed a rep for getting it done right, then invest in a studio... or rent one that already exists as needed and pass the cost on to your paying clients.  Take a page out of the pros playbook.  Skill, talent, and word of mouth from satisfied clients will make this project fly, not a room full of shiny new toys.
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
Last edited by Cajundaddy at Apr 8, 2017,
#19
Quote by Mkjms
Alright mate, I gave you the benefit of the doubt for awhile but I can see now that you are more concerned with appearing to be knowledgeable than you are with trying to be helpful. That's fine, this is a public forum and you are under no obligation to be helpful, just don't be offended if I don't take all of your advice to heart.
So you are just mentioning the monthly Pro Tools subscription now? That would have been far more helpful advice than a few dozen equipment recommendations with no information on why I should go with said equipment, along with your business advice from someone who has evidently only ever been behind an instrument in a studio setting.


Right. Sure thing man.

Quote by Mkjms
I did specify a budget, that would be 5k or less, read over my posts to find this info, or don't, I couldn't care less about your input at this point.
Again with the presumptuous attitude, what makes you certain this is good advice? What do you assume we are trying to compete with? The market spans everything from bedroom studios to Codapop and Sonic, with a customer base across the range. Of course the prices vary significantly and of course we are not trying to compete with the top tier, nor anything close. 
We could be competitive with Village and Basement at ~half the cost of your recommended set of gear, quite a bit less factoring in used market prices, it's as though you didn't even look at the gear list to make comparisons. If you had you would have realized that these studios have a fair amount of redundancy, multiple software brands and hardware brands in an effort to capture as much of the market as possible. Anyone with an eye for business knows this is a bad idea from a cost perspective, particularly when Pro Tools occupies such a large portion of the market share.


A few things here:

1) My gear recommenations... Basement lists and Apollo QUAD as the interface... which is about 4000 CAD. RME Fireface is about 2400 CAD. He's also dropped (off the top of my head) a few thousand on Waves and UAD plugins. He has a very tiny mic selection.

2) Studios don't buy gear based on 'capturing as much of the market share as possible'. It's on sound and use. Everything I recommended a) sounds good and b) can be used on any style of music at any time.

3) At the time that list was made, I had no reference as to your competition. You stated 'Budget Professional', I went 'Budget Professional'.

Quote by Mkjms
You are jumping to the conclusion that just because I am not up on the specs and configuration of high end recording gear that I/others on the team don't understand basic recording techniques? Alright then champ, you can assume I'm as educated as a pile of turds for all I care


No, I'm jumping to this conclusion because you are here asking this question. Based on some of your statements, you don't understand what this type gear does, which is incredibly important to be an engineer and a studio owner:

So why is it beneficial to direct input mics to an audio interface?
We are recording arts hobbyists with little more experience than mixing on a 2 channel audio interface, we wouldn't be taking full advantage of that added flexibility
My main concern is recouping costs if we were to fail in this endeavor. Pro tools 12 is ~800$ Canadian for the standard version and we might be able to qualify for the academic version at half the price, - This makes question if you understand how Avid/Apple/Yamaha/Cakewalk classify Academic software (hint: you need to provide proof you are a verified educator or a student of a verified educator, involving online registration with that institute)
I could either put a 10000$ recording arts degree on my resume that is money and time I will never get back, or I can invest in this project and have a real portfolio, real business experience, and a hell of a lot more fun

That last one is my sticking point. How much fun are you gonna have when you are stuck in the middle of a session because you can't get something to do what you want it to with a band/artist staring you? How much fun are you having when your other partners decide they want out and want their share of equity back? Who in this group is legally responsible for insurance with SOCAN? Who verifies, if you get a official gig for a radio add, that if you use a musician that you aren't violating Msuician Union law or regulation for radio ads? There's a lot of fun to be had for sure. Ask other engineers, there's nothing fun about 12, 14, 16 hour studio marathons, or something shitting itself.

Quote by Mkjms
Perhaps you are better of staying behind an instrument rather than trying to start a business. The meager knowledge of music business I possess makes it evident to me why you would fail in this endeavor. In a way you have been quite helpful (perhaps unintentionally), as most of the advice you are providing are great examples of what to do if we desire to immediately crash and burn. We need only do the exact opposite to increase our chances of success

If you really think individuals with success in business know what they are getting themselves into all the time, that is why you fail. There is a degree of risk to any endeavor, the success is in the ability to adapt.


If you're so serious about starting a studio, why are you on a guitar forum asking for recommendations? Why aren't you over at Gearslutz or SOS forums, or Sayer's, or any of the other recording forums? I think there's maybe 5 guys here total who are engineers that do more than bedroom demo work, and 2 of them have already been in this thread.

Quote by Mkjms
Worst case scenario is we crash and burn, and drive our brand name into the mud. We can always try again in the future with a re-branding, so long as we keep our personal identities on the down low during the startup phase.


Not so easy to do. You're in the HRM dude... musicians talk. Studios talk to each other all the time. Your name is EVERYTHING in this industry, and you are only remembered by the last work you did. So good luck! From one Haligonian to another, I wish you well.
Quote by Watterboy
Do you have any dilithium crystals or fresh warm dumps for sale
#20
Quote by the chemist
Right. Sure thing man.


A few things here:

1) My gear recommenations... Basement lists and Apollo QUAD as the interface... which is about 4000 CAD. RME Fireface is about 2400 CAD. He's also dropped (off the top of my head) a few thousand on Waves and UAD plugins. He has a very tiny mic selection.

2) Studios don't buy gear based on 'capturing as much of the market share as possible'. It's on sound and use. Everything I recommended a) sounds good and b) can be used on any style of music at any time.

3) At the time that list was made, I had no reference as to your competition. You stated 'Budget Professional', I went 'Budget Professional'.


No, I'm jumping to this conclusion because you are here asking this question. Based on some of your statements, you don't understand what this type gear does, which is incredibly important to be an engineer and a studio owner:

So why is it beneficial to direct input mics to an audio interface?
We are recording arts hobbyists with little more experience than mixing on a 2 channel audio interface, we wouldn't be taking full advantage of that added flexibility
My main concern is recouping costs if we were to fail in this endeavor. Pro tools 12 is ~800$ Canadian for the standard version and we might be able to qualify for the academic version at half the price, - This makes question if you understand how Avid/Apple/Yamaha/Cakewalk classify Academic software (hint: you need to provide proof you are a verified educator or a student of a verified educator, involving online registration with that institute)
I could either put a 10000$ recording arts degree on my resume that is money and time I will never get back, or I can invest in this project and have a real portfolio, real business experience, and a hell of a lot more fun

That last one is my sticking point. How much fun are you gonna have when you are stuck in the middle of a session because you can't get something to do what you want it to with a band/artist staring you? How much fun are you having when your other partners decide they want out and want their share of equity back? Who in this group is legally responsible for insurance with SOCAN? Who verifies, if you get a official gig for a radio add, that if you use a musician that you aren't violating Msuician Union law or regulation for radio ads? There's a lot of fun to be had for sure. Ask other engineers, there's nothing fun about 12, 14, 16 hour studio marathons, or something shitting itself.


If you're so serious about starting a studio, why are you on a guitar forum asking for recommendations? Why aren't you over at Gearslutz or SOS forums, or Sayer's, or any of the other recording forums? I think there's maybe 5 guys here total who are engineers that do more than bedroom demo work, and 2 of them have already been in this thread.


Not so easy to do. You're in the HRM dude... musicians talk. Studios talk to each other all the time. Your name is EVERYTHING in this industry, and you are only remembered by the last work you did. So good luck! From one Haligonian to another, I wish you well.


More of the same. You assume we are incompetent amateurs and yet you recommend $10000+ worth of gear or that we just give up entirely, rather than recommending we take the reasonable middle ground route of building up gradually.

You make recommendations with no clarification as to the usefulness of said devices compared against more modestly priced alternatives, even as you assume that we can't figure any of this out for ourselves. You reference a question I asked regarding the use of an interface vs a mixer, and yet you provide no clarification of where I am going wrong.
You continue to make assumptions about how the business is setup, and how much risk I am supposedly taking. 

Then you go on to self deprecate, suggesting I go elsewhere to seek more competent advice. 
All of this while conveniently avoiding answering any of my direct questions.
Can you really not understand why I am hesitant to believe the sincerity of your advice?
Last edited by Mkjms at Apr 8, 2017,
#21
I totally understand why, and years ago I'd be the person in your shoes. I've learned a lot in 20 years, and I'm not afraid to tell people that sometimes, you gotta hear some bad words.

You want to know why I didn't recommend a console?

Too goddam expensive. A recording console with dedicated outputs on each channel is way above your budget with a quality of sound that justifies the cost. An interface is just that: Audio in > Converted to digital. From there your DAW is now the mixer. Less hardware to breakdown, easier to work. I will never own one again. Ever. Too much money, too much maintenance (rough math on a 24 channel analogue desk... 5000 CAD/year with moderate use), too much space wasted.

Consoles/Mixers (I'll refer to them as mixers going forward) are great, but also limiting as well. You only have X many tracks to use OUT the DAW based on the interface. You'd still need an interface with the Mixer anyways; the right interface will give you preamps that on their own may be worth more than the interface itself (case in point are the UA or RME interfaces).

Another reason I wouldn't recommend a mixer, outside of cost or maintenance is size. To get a decent enough channel count to actually use it as a mixer, you're looking at a large amount of space. Sure, you could do digital, but again the cost is a factor. With digital mixers you also need to look at the digital component as well. Yamaha makes the 096Vi, which sounds great and is readily expandable up to 32 tracks, but the screen + navigation sucks (bad contrast, multiple menu layers) The Tascam D-3200 is the same. I have little experience with the StudioLive series from PreSonus, but they're more designed for live (and live recording) applications. That being said you can still use them in a studio, but they're not optimal (no insert points isn't very good for studio work).

You stated you want to be a professional studio. That's fine, and a great goal and ultimately I wish you all the luck in that, I honestly do. I think, personally, you may want to classify as a Project Studio instead. I don't want to see someone fail; I've been there and had to declare bankruptcy because of it. Luckily I learned a lot about studio completion since and always caution against starting a studio, especially when you are already facing a lot of competition (and in Halifax, I can think of about 10 other Project Studios).

You're mistaken that I think of you as incompetent amateurs. Just amateurs. That's not a bad label; we all start as amateurs. An incompetent person would have just gone out and bought gear and said 'Here I am, throw me money'. I'm terrible at explaining things, so I'll try:

Before you do this, and pull any triggers, MAKE SURE you understand that if this fails, it can financially ruin you. You will live each day, once you go commercial (ie: charging money and having a website), worrying about your livelyhood. You will go weeks without sufficient income from this, and most weeks you will bleed money. If you have a day job that pays well enough to cover costs, and you plan on doing this at night/on weekends, then you're good to go.

The biggest mistake made is not having a firm grasp about what you are doing on a technical level. Passion is great (as you can tell, we're having this dumb-assed argument), but if you can't deliver on the passion, where's that taking you?

I would recommend first just buying any 8in 8out interface and working on technique. Track drums, learn how to edit and mix them. Learn how to negate phase issues between microphones. Learn what mic placement does. Learn how to key compressors, learn how to parallel compress. Learn how the different EQs and Compressors sound and work. Experiment with mixing, editing, tracking. Learn how to run a session (notes, practices to save time)

Get some friends who jam and record them. Learn the flaws and positives of multitracking. Learn how to track off the floor effectively.

Your DAW choice irrelevant; most project and lower end studios are probably using Logic or Cubase. Some may be using Studio One. And at the end of the day, they all do the same thing.
Quote by Watterboy
Do you have any dilithium crystals or fresh warm dumps for sale
Last edited by the chemist at Apr 8, 2017,
#22
And Cajundaddy stated it, without a portfolio, not many people will be willing to spend cash.
Quote by Watterboy
Do you have any dilithium crystals or fresh warm dumps for sale
#23
Quote by the chemist
I totally understand why, and years ago I'd be the person in your shoes. I've learned a lot in 20 years, and I'm not afraid to tell people that sometimes, you gotta hear some bad words.

You want to know why I didn't recommend a console?

Too goddam expensive. A recording console with dedicated outputs on each channel is way above your budget with a quality of sound that justifies the cost. An interface is just that: Audio in > Converted to digital. From there your DAW is now the mixer. Less hardware to breakdown, easier to work. I will never own one again. Ever. Too much money, too much maintenance (rough math on a 24 channel analogue desk... 5000 CAD/year with moderate use), too much space wasted.

Consoles/Mixers (I'll refer to them as mixers going forward) are great, but also limiting as well. You only have X many tracks to use OUT the DAW based on the interface. You'd still need an interface with the Mixer anyways; the right interface will give you preamps that on their own may be worth more than the interface itself (case in point are the UA or RME interfaces).

Another reason I wouldn't recommend a mixer, outside of cost or maintenance is size. To get a decent enough channel count to actually use it as a mixer, you're looking at a large amount of space. Sure, you could do digital, but again the cost is a factor. With digital mixers you also need to look at the digital component as well. Yamaha makes the 096Vi, which sounds great and is readily expandable up to 32 tracks, but the screen + navigation sucks (bad contrast, multiple menu layers) The Tascam D-3200 is the same. I have little experience with the StudioLive series from PreSonus, but they're more designed for live (and live recording) applications. That being said you can still use them in a studio, but they're not optimal (no insert points isn't very good for studio work).

You stated you want to be a professional studio. That's fine, and a great goal and ultimately I wish you all the luck in that, I honestly do. I think, personally, you may want to classify as a Project Studio instead. I don't want to see someone fail; I've been there and had to declare bankruptcy because of it. Luckily I learned a lot about studio completion since and always caution against starting a studio, especially when you are already facing a lot of competition (and in Halifax, I can think of about 10 other Project Studios).

You're mistaken that I think of you as incompetent amateurs. Just amateurs. That's not a bad label; we all start as amateurs. An incompetent person would have just gone out and bought gear and said 'Here I am, throw me money'. I'm terrible at explaining things, so I'll try:

Before you do this, and pull any triggers, MAKE SURE you understand that if this fails, it can financially ruin you. You will live each day, once you go commercial (ie: charging money and having a website), worrying about your livelyhood. You will go weeks without sufficient income from this, and most weeks you will bleed money. If you have a day job that pays well enough to cover costs, and you plan on doing this at night/on weekends, then you're good to go.

The biggest mistake made is not having a firm grasp about what you are doing on a technical level. Passion is great (as you can tell, we're having this dumb-assed argument), but if you can't deliver on the passion, where's that taking you?

I would recommend first just buying any 8in 8out interface and working on technique. Track drums, learn how to edit and mix them. Learn how to negate phase issues between microphones. Learn what mic placement does. Learn how to key compressors, learn how to parallel compress. Learn how the different EQs and Compressors sound and work. Experiment with mixing, editing, tracking. Learn how to run a session (notes, practices to save time)

Get some friends who jam and record them. Learn the flaws and positives of multitracking. Learn how to track off the floor effectively.

Your DAW choice irrelevant; most project and lower end studios are probably using Logic or Cubase. Some may be using Studio One. And at the end of the day, they all do the same thing.


Alright, I'm willing to let bigones be and extend an olive branch. Calling this venture a professional studio was probably misleading (though it was an honest mistake). That and you missed the budget I posted.  As a result, an argument ensued where we both made a few assumptions, that's fair and I apologize for my part in it. If I'd bothered to glance at your profile I'd have realized you are an audio engineer by trade, rather than simply a "resident session player".
What I am willing to invest initially is 5k, no exceptions. You can safely assume that I know very little about recording hardware and software, my knowledge is really centered on Information Tech, Musicianship and Audio Science. What I don't know I am certainly willing to learn as quickly as possible.

What you have provided above is very valuable information, I have far more reason to heed advice that is delivered with a concise, well reasoned explanation. I have yet to fully compare the costs of mixers vs interfaces but I will certainly keep all of this in mind. You see, I was under the (apparently false) impression that the analog to digital nature of the inputs on an interface would significantly add to the costs of additional inputs, whereas the fully analog nature of the inputs on mixing boards would not significantly add to the costs. Perhaps that assumption is partly true, in that it is much easier to find mixing boards with a large number of inputs in the lower price brackets, but if the quality suffers significantly than I evidently have a lot more research to do, and real world comparisons to make.

Regarding labeling ourselves as a project studio, this sounds like reasonable advice as well. I wasn't aware of the distinction of professional vs project studios in the world of recording, but now that you mention it The Basement does classify as a project studio as well.
Financial ruin isn't a big concern for me, I am not incurring debt of any kind in this venture, and I am financially secure. I do sincerely ask you though, in what ways could I find myself in debt as a result of this venture, if we assume that I am funding the entire thing via disposable funds? If there is something I am not considering, I would certainly appreciate someone pointing it out.

Perhaps we should refrain from branding ourselves until we have solidified our capabilities as you say, not a bad idea at all. 
Regarding the DAW, Logic and Cubase aren't really cheap alternatives, unless we are comparing against the full Pro Tools Package. Certainly Logic is fairly cheap by itself, but when you consider we would have to use overpriced mac hardware vs a used component system that we can custom build ourselves and tailor it to our needs, it is a less attractive option. Hackintosh builds aren't exactly the most professional nor legal setups. Studio One looks interesting, but does it have any more of a name for itself in professional markets than Reaper? I was mistaken that we can't use the cheaper variant of Reaper, apparently we are good up until 20000$ US of revenue. Though how we are going to safely gauge when to upgrade with the volatility of the Canadian $ is anyone's guess.

 
Last edited by Mkjms at Apr 9, 2017,
#24
Quote by Mkjms
Alright, I'm willing to let bigones be, You missed the budget I posted and an argument ensued as a result where we both made a few assumptions, that's fair and I apologize for my part in it. 


Shit happens, we move on, agreed.

Quote by Mkjms
What I am willing to invest initially is 5k, no exceptions. You can safely assume that I know very little about recording hardware and software, my knowledge is really centered on Information Tech, and Audio Science. What I don't know I am certainly willing to learn as quickly as possible.


You can still do a lot with 5k.

Before I recommend anything, we'll address this question:

Quote by Mkjms
Regarding the DAW, Logic and Cubase aren't really cheap alternatives, unless we are comparing against the full Pro Tools Package. Certainly Logic is fairly cheap by itself, but when you consider we would have to use overpriced mac hardware vs a used component system that we can custom build ourselves and tailor it to our needs, it is a less attractive option. Hackintosh builds aren't exactly the most professional nor legal setups. Studio One looks interesting, but does it have any more of a name for itself in professional markets than Reaper? I was mistaken that we can't use the cheaper variant of Reaper, apparently we are good up until 20000$ US of revenue. Though how we are going to safely gauge when to upgrade with the volatility of the Canadian $ is anyone's guess.


For full versions, not really. Pro Tools = Logic = Cubase.

I mentioned earlier on that I'm getting away from Pro Tools. A lot of people are, especially in classical and rock. A lot of guys are going to Studio One, which from Long Dong McQuaid is 399 for the full version. I have limited experience (I used v2 on a classical recording in Moncton and quite enjoyed it) and with Avid's support being what it is, it's very viable. A lot of people are jumping ship (some of that is due to the StudioLive series as well). If you have no experience with a DAW then you won't really know the differences between them. Again, this is all personal preferences.

All DAWS have a lighter version (except Pro Tools as we don't talk about their free thing they offer). With Pro-Tools though, you are limited to one format of plugins: AAX. That's it. Others like Studio One, Cubase, etc. all use VST (Logic uses AU, but can use VST as well AFAIK, I may be wrong) so you have more options for plugins. There are some great free plugins out there in the VST format.

So, let's look at at this.

Using only Long Dong:

DAW: I'm looking at Studio One. It's easy, it's powerful (as long as you optimize your computer for Audio work. NO STEAM GAMES!)

https://www.long-mcquade.com/72143/Software/Recording_Software/Presonus/Studio_One_3_Artist_-_Download.htm

What's the difference between Artist and Professional? Artist doesn't have:

Video support
Use of the craptsatic iPad app
Lacks some effects (Multiband Compressor is the only one that would kill it for me, but can get VST ones everywhere)
No arranger track or Scratch Pad (really cool feature allowing you to switch between mixes and options, really cool IMO)

But it's 119CAD. If you don't like you can probably flip it for some value. The upgrade to professional is a but pricey (349CAD) but it's a decision you can make down the road.

Knowing that the DAW is Studio One, I would AVOID the PreSonus boxes. The Studio 192 is notoriously flaky (USB3 that has more latency than USB2, WTF?) and the input jacks feel cheap.

https://www.long-mcquade.com/60170/Pro_Audio_Recording/Audio_Interfaces/Mark_Of_The_Unicorn/18_x_18_USB_AVB_Audio_Interface.htm

This is the ultimate mobile recording workhorse. Built like a tank (even moreso than RMEs), sounds good, and has amazing I/O and specs. It's basically a poor-man's RME interface (You'll see a lot of MotU gear around film shoots and location audio events). The A/D isn't world beating, but in most situations very good. A note is it's exceptionally stable, like most MotU boxes are. Preamps are on par with any Focusrite or Audient box. and it's only 860CAD, so a worthy investment. Down the road if you upgrade, keep this around for mobile and location recording.

So we have a DAW (119) and an Interface (999), bringing us to about 1118 if my mental math is right. So, let's get some preamps and mics.

Here's my secret (I own 4 of these fuckers)

https://www.long-mcquade.com/61519/Pro_Audio_Recording/Mic_Preamps_DI_Boxes/Golden_Age_Project/1073-Style_1-Channel_Mic_Pre_DI.htm

A 1073 for 339 bucks. I'd recommend two. These are amazing workhorses. Drums, bass, vocals, keys, everything. So we'll add 2 to the list, bringing us to 2318CAD so far. But, we're still missing channel count. Right. We'll fix that. We're up to 4 mics in so far. Let's add 8 utility channels, that you see in just about every Project Studio:

https://www.long-mcquade.com/5450/Pro_Audio_Recording/Mic_Preamps_DI_Boxes/Presonus/Digimax_FS.htm

Clean, uncolored preamps. Drum overheads, toms, acoustic guitars, electric guitars, vocals, keys, whatever. They're 600CAD for 8 channels. ADAT is included, so you're not eating inputs to your MotU. You may have a hard time finding these (I think PreSonus discontinued them). If you can't find them, hunt for the newer DP88s, which are practically the same but better.

So now we have 12 mic pres, onto mics

https://www.long-mcquade.com/6620/Pro_Audio_Recording/Microphones/Shure/DMK57-52_Drum_Mic_Kit.htm

SM57 and beta52, shouldn't need to explain. 519 gets you the pack.

https://www.long-mcquade.com/556/Pro_Audio_Recording/Microphones/Rode/NT5_-_Stereo_Pair_Cardioid_Condensers.htm

These are really good at 539CAD for a pair. They're not going to beat AKGs or DPAs or anything crazy like that, but you shouldn't expect them to. These will be workhorses for drum overheads, acoustics, piano, other instruments, basically anywhere you want to use them they'll work.

https://www.long-mcquade.com/64051/Pro_Audio_Recording/Microphones/Rode/NT2A_Studio_Solution_Package.htm

Ultimately, you need to constrain to a budget. I originally had a WA87 here, but figured that was overkill, so let's move on to the NT2a which is a great workhorse for under 600 CAD. I have the original NT2 and it works (Note, I modded mine with a capsule for a C12, so the sound isn't quite the same). Vocals, acoustics, piano, whatever. Again, I went for utility over laser guided application.

1587CAD for mics. Again, you can adjust this by getting used 57s (probably easy as hell) or finding comparable, such as a Sontronics STC-2 in place of the NT2a. This mic locker will get you started. And should maintain resale fairly well.

1156 left, movin' on up.

I didn't realize Yamaha stopped making the monitors I use, so I can't recommend those.

So let's go with HS8s

https://www.long-mcquade.com/20981/Pro-Audio---Recording/Studio-Monitors/Yamaha/8-inch-Powered-Studio-Reference-Monitor.htm

These replaced the HS8Ms. Sound the same AFAIK. Good clean clear monitors.

278 left. Well, things are getting tight.

https://www.long-mcquade.com/73905/Pro-Audio---Recording/Studio-Monitors/JBL/M-Patch-Active-1-Active-Precision-Monitor-Controller.htm

You need a monitor controller. Using a master fader in a DAW or a know on an interface is stupid.

You are about 12 over budget before tax. Note that not all of this needs to be done at once.

Quote by Mkjms
What you have provided above is very valuable information, I have far more reason to heed advice that is delivered with a concise, well reasoned explanation. I have yet to fully compare the costs of mixers vs interfaces but I will certainly keep all of this in mind. You see, I was under the (apparently false) impression that the analog to digital nature of the inputs on an interface would significantly add to the costs of additional inputs, whereas the fully analog nature of the inputs on mixing boards would not significantly add to the costs. Perhaps that assumption is partly true, in that it is much easier to find mixing boards with a large number of inputs in the lower price brackets, but if the quality suffers significantly than I evidently have a lot more research to do, and real world comparisons to make.


The quality of the A/D D/A conversion, and any mic preamps add to the cost more than the number of inputs does.

Regarding labeling ourselves as a project studio, this sounds like reasonable advice as well. I wasn't aware of the distinction of professional vs project studios in the world of recording, but now that you mention it The Basement does classify as a project studio as well.
Financial ruin isn't a big concern for me, I am not incurring debt of any kind in this venture, and I am financially secure. I do sincerely ask you though, in what ways could I find myself in debt as a result of this venture, if we assume that I am funding the entire thing via disposable funds? If there is something I am not considering, I would certainly appreciate someone pointing it out.

Say, if you tried to make this your living, or only you specifically spend money on it. If this is something on the side, I'd worry little about it.

Quote by Mkjms
Perhaps we should refrain from branding ourselves until we have solidified our capabilities as you say, not a bad idea at all. 

 


Probably for the best in the near future.
Quote by Watterboy
Do you have any dilithium crystals or fresh warm dumps for sale
#25
Personally, I'd just mimic the other studio with the UAD and add 8 more adat channels via Focusrite or Presonus pres.
The Yamaha monitors are great, so 2nd that.

Btw, at $25/pop don't expect to get much quality in terms of musicianship. You would be recording bad guitars and some scary bad music, even at $65 to $120 a pop it was still pretty bad. 1 out of 20 would have something in terms of talent that won't make you take an icepick to the ears. Just saying....it is not as glamorous job, you would be shoveling turds most of the time, occasionally you might find a diamond ring lodged in one.

You could possibly scout talent and start a label, it worked for Noise records. Bad studio, cheap in house production gave them a financial edge that turned profit under budget. You could possibly find and produce talent if you know what you're doing.

I'm glad I did it, it was fun at times, I can tell you some stories about things that happened there that are on par with sone of the craziest studio tales.
I occasionally miss it, but then I mix myself a top shelf margarita and host a party on a weekend, during which in those days I'd be crawling under the mixing desk tracing a short to discover that the moronic intern miswired it again...or id be 12hrs into tracking a karaoke singer.
#26
If you are starting off worrying about being able to re-sell a licensed Pro Tools you really should reexamine this whole project. This is not meant to discourage you and I hope it all works out but the advice here is meant to help you go into this with as much knowledge as possible. Lots of great advice here from people who have been there/done that. I agree with these guys. I also have been there. I worked in two functioning pro studios, one as an unpaid "gopher"  which meant empty ashtrays, hook up mics then putting mics and cables away after a session and taking down mixer settings and clearing the board after a session (this was before digital mixers with memory). I moved on to full engineer at another studio. There was so much I didn't know mostly about the business of keeping a studio open, paying the bills and upgrading equipment which is a non-stop issue. Without a serious financial backup and the ability to go at least a year without seeing any profit, a real pro studio is unlikely to succeed. 

As for the initial question about software, I think that the best choice of software is the one one you are most experienced in. If you know Pro Tools on a pro level, that's the choice. People are paying for your experience and expertise if you don't have an advanced knowledge of Pro Tools (or whatever DAW you choose), get it before you even think about doing a full blown studio. Look on YouTube at other pro studios. If you can't match what you see, you can't compete in that market. If you are watching some YouTube videos about recording advice from pros and they are using terms that you are not familiar with (I'm often lost with some of the newest technology) it may require a rethink. Good luck. Don't give up, just move slowly.
Yes I am guitarded also, nice to meet you.
Last edited by Rickholly74 at Apr 9, 2017,
#27
Btw, in some of the recording magazines (Rec, SOS) from what I read, for the most part the way the grizzled veterans make it work is to buy property in upcoming neighborhood. Then move the studio there and even they say it usually runs at loss or break even for the most part, but pays the mortgage, partially at least.

So, maybe buy a crash pad or a home as an investment, then rock in there. If anything, the place would've appreciated in value.

Then when the property appreciates in say 10 yrs, sell and move to new place.
The studio I was affiliated with is renting 2 of its rooms now, studio A and studio C, to producers monthly and they're still scraping by.

The owner practically begged me to take my business back in there, but the price rates weren't right, and studio B that was the gem for live tracking as it had great drum room, 3 big iso booths for amps and vocal iso booth got destroyed by their current house engineer.
He recut the size of the rooms, moved the console in the live room, and killed all the functionality as the iso booths are unusable now being behind the board. Morons...
They're actually scraping by from rent of the two rooms that house some gangsta karaoke producers, and one studio produces the garbage from this kid, whose main reason that he's there is because he's cheap. Btw, equipment-wise it hasn't moved since I've been out of there. Same board and A/D, new PC.
#28
Quote by diabolical
Btw, in some of the recording magazines (Rec, SOS) from what I read, for the most part the way the grizzled veterans make it work is to buy property in upcoming neighborhood. Then move the studio there and even they say it usually runs at loss or break even for the most part, but pays the mortgage, partially at least.

So, maybe buy a crash pad or a home as an investment, then rock in there. If anything, the place would've appreciated in value.

Then when the property appreciates in say 10 yrs, sell and move to new place.
The studio I was affiliated with is renting 2 of its rooms now, studio A and studio C, to producers monthly and they're still scraping by.

The owner practically begged me to take my business back in there, but the price rates weren't right, and studio B that was the gem for live tracking as it had great drum room, 3 big iso booths for amps and vocal iso booth got destroyed by their current house engineer.
He recut the size of the rooms, moved the console in the live room, and killed all the functionality as the iso booths are unusable now being behind the board. Morons...
They're actually scraping by from rent of the two rooms that house some gangsta karaoke producers, and one studio produces the garbage from this kid, whose main reason that he's there is because he's cheap. Btw, equipment-wise it hasn't moved since I've been out of there. Same board and A/D, new PC.

Such is the reality of studios in this day and age. Laptop warriors with Kontakt and SIKK BEATZZ
Quote by Watterboy
Do you have any dilithium crystals or fresh warm dumps for sale
#29
the chemist 

Much appreciated, there is a lot to take in here.
Studio One certainly sounds like it is worthy of consideration and is a good value. It will all come down to ease of use for our main engineer.
No immediate questions regarding the interface, but I still have a lot of research to do in any case. 
On the topic of Mics, I really had no idea how expensive a microphone could be, I was reading up on the At4050 The Basement is using and comments like "good moderately priced mic" really put this into perspective for me. The classiest mic I have ever used is the Sm57, I had no idea those were the budget/low end option. So what it is it that the 500-1000$ mics do so much better at than the Sm57/58?

The fact that microphones are inherently vulnerable to damage by the client puts a different spin on things. I'm already picturing bolting the mic to the wall and doing everything possible to idiot proof the booth against damage. 
That brings up an interesting topic, do the big studios usually have some fine print going in their contracts regarding damage to equipment?  

I appreciate your providing a good solid starting point for me to base my ongoing research on. I'm just not to type to purchase all of this without doing extensive research and comparisons, I'm sure it would make life easier if I was, but I wouldn't learn anything that way. The value in this conversation is putting things into perspective for me, and giving me some idea of just how much I have to learn. Much appreciated
Last edited by Mkjms at Apr 9, 2017,
#30
Mkjms haven't seen anything about equipment damage in studios I've been in.
Generally the head engineer is the final call on that, if people horse around with equipment, he's the one to put a stop to that.
I've heard some people were thrown out (punk bands) and their gear held until they replace broken equipment.
That's the thing though, people hire studios for the gear, you essentially are getting use of their Neumanns and Telefunken mics for hourly rate, which are now about $65/hr. You have to have at least one high end strip and vocal mic to be taken seriously.
There is just some staple gear that is necessary.
AT4040 or 4050 is a great mic. Maintenance and repair is on you. They break...I've had a MXL mic (about $350) go bad during, no fault of performer, you just eat the repair cost.
Things especially hairy with drum mics. Is it the drummer's fault, probably not as he has to play and hit the drums they're on. Ribbon mics might slip off the stand due to nobody's fault and break.
Which brings me to another point - quality studio stands, something you can't cheap out on.
#31
We handle all the mics and recording gear so almost never any serious damage.  Just normal wear and tear, cord shorts etc.  The bands we work with are pretty respectful of gear so damage is just not an issue.  Stuff still breaks though.  
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
#32
Oh well, better to risk not being taken seriously rather than throwing away thousands of $ with nothing to show for it. I feel like I am just wasting both your and chemists time at this point. You've enlightened me, and I've no wish to throw away thousands of dollars with the potential for permanent damage to my reputation and the reputation of other team members. I'm still going to go ahead with this in some limited form, but it will be a small project for now, unless we somehow rake in a drastically unexpected amount of money with the meager equipment I am willing to initially invest in. 

I don't know just how durable a 500-1000$ microphone is but it better be built like a damn tank if it's going to be in the room with amateur musicians who wouldn't know how to properly handle equipment even if they had any idea what it all costs. Investing in high end studio equipment in the hands of our engineer is one thing, putting expensive equipment in the hands of wreckless clients is quite another. I'll need to hear some mic comparisons before I decide for myself what this is all worth to me.
Thanks anyways guys, sorry if I lead you all down a garden path with nothing interesting at the end, nothing to see here :p /thread
#33
Sadly the most expensive mics are often the most delicate.  A U-47 is big $$, and drop it once it's seriously damaged or done.  A 58 can be dropped off a 3 story building and might even sound better after the experience.  Mine is from 1982 and still gigs regularly.
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
#34
AT4040 is a tank. I've had a pair that saw a lot of sessions, tooks some falls, etc. and didn't skip a beat.

Now you see why the sm57 is the ubiquitous mic - they take a serious beating and keep working with little if any issues.

Talking about this - my drummer just destroyed a pzm mic connector and input today, just by taking the wrong step. Now I'm facing 1hr soldering...fun times.

If I were in your shoes, I'd see if I can get a production deal somewhere for cut rate, take clients there for drum tracking or big sessions, and work on getting stable system and few mics for overdubs. Most of the time youre about to use 2-3 channels out of the multitrack inputs, so a good solid vocal strip and a recording booth might be all you need for most projects. Drum tracking usually takes about 3hrs per song, including setup, so you can pay $45 or whatever session rates, then take the rest at your "studio", while you build clientele.
#35
Quote by diabolical

If I were in your shoes, I'd see if I can get a production deal somewhere for cut rate, take clients there for drum tracking or big sessions, and work on getting stable system and few mics for overdubs. Most of the time youre about to use 2-3 channels out of the multitrack inputs, so a good solid vocal strip and a recording booth might be all you need for most projects. Drum tracking usually takes about 3hrs per song, including setup, so you can pay $45 or whatever session rates, then take the rest at your "studio", while you build clientele.

This is what I do.

I work in a studio for Drums, vocals, and mixing (when I actually mix which is rare) and do all guitars/bass/other instruments in a small room that contains everything. Drum rooms are expensive and touchy.

As to stands, I would agree. K&M are easily the best. 

There's other things that never get factored into studio costs:

Cables
Stands
Spare clips and cradles
pop filters
extension cords
music stands
headphones
cases
spare guitars and bases (most studios will own or provide some instruments)

In terms of what makes a mic more expensive than others is a combination of:

Brand (big deal... Neumann put out a mic a few years ago that was absolute garbage but was still expensive)
Sound (a combination of capsule and circuitry determine this) 
Design (tubes are inherently more expensive and maintenance intensive, ribbons are inherently fragile)
Capsule (the caps in say C12s are way more expensive than most, as are K47s)

That being said, you can cheat this system by swapping capsules on mics to improve them (best example is the MXR 900, change out the capsule to a 100 dollar K47 and giggle as you get roughly the same tone as you would from a TLM103)
Quote by Watterboy
Do you have any dilithium crystals or fresh warm dumps for sale
#36
I don't know, I'm sort of in a state of awe at this point. I went through the list of gear The Basement has on tap, easily 15k worth, much of it redundant/different brands of essentially the same thing, but still rather awe inspiring. That someone would fill a room with 15000$ worth of equipment for 25$ an hour just boggles the mind. I could bump my wage up to 25$ an hour with 1000$ worth of IT training. I guess it could be worse, scores of people routinely buy into university programs and get 0$ back along with no guarantee of employment...
#37
I wouldn't worry as much about clients destroying a microphone as I would about headphones. You will spend a considerable amount of money constantly replacing or repairing headphones and headphone boxes. Having to buy one new set of headphones will eat the profits of any session. Make sure someone or hopefully everyone on your team is good with a soldering iron for this and many other projects. You need to have someone with some basic electronics knowledge who can fix things quickly. You can't be running things to the local repair guy who will have it for a month or so. You need to be able to fix mic and instrument cables at the very least. You can't just buy new ones all the time and they do break.
Yes I am guitarded also, nice to meet you.
Last edited by Rickholly74 at Apr 10, 2017,
#38
Now you're catching on what I was talking about regarding the $25/hr. That's insane if you want to make a living wage.


Or maybe that studio has another profit structure? Co-ownership of material, more expensive mixing and mastering sessions, or they drag a project longer? There's got to be some catch.


Quote by Mkjms
I don't know, I'm sort of in a state of awe at this point. I went through the list of gear The Basement has on tap, easily 15k worth, much of it redundant/different brands of essentially the same thing, but still rather awe inspiring. That someone would fill a room with 15000$ worth of equipment for 25$ an hour just boggles the mind. I could bump my wage up to 25$ an hour with 1000$ worth of IT training. I guess it could be worse, scores of people routinely buy into university programs and get 0$ back along with no guarantee of employment...
#39
Quote by Rickholly74
I wouldn't worry as much about clients destroying a microphone as I would about headphones. You will spend a considerable amount of money constantly replacing or repairing headphones and headphone boxes. Having to buy one new set of headphones will eat the profits of any session. Make sure someone or hopefully everyone on your team is good with a soldering iron for this and many other projects. You need to have someone with some basic electronics knowledge who can fix things quickly. You can't be running things to the local repair guy who will have it for a month or so. You need to be able to fix mic and instrument cables at the very least. You can't just buy new ones all the time and they do break.

Why? The good headphone (Hd600's) are Engineer hands only, and the Hd600s are fully modular and rather tankish. I've been an audio hobbyist for 10 years now so I know a thing or 2 in that area. For open backs I know where the quality/value is at (Philips 9500's), closed backs we just aren't going to get quality at any reasonable price so I'm not going to try.

The fact that you can get a very good set of headphones for 60$ that offer up ~90% of Hd600 performance leaves me wondering how mics compare. Does a sm58 offer up 90% of the performance of an at4050? Can we just cheat and swap out some parts as another user already mentioned?
#40
The effect is cumulative though. If a mic misses about 10% of a U87s lush sparkly high end, then you have degrading quality effect the more tracks that you need with that quality.
In the studio I had a very good set of Sennheiser spot drum mics, Shure B52 kick mics, SM58 snare mic, 2x AT4040 overhead mics, some Oktava condenser pencil mic for hats, good PZMs for room mics, about $1600-$2000 in total. It sounded very good and we made some decent records.
Here comes this Christian label...AKG 414s, Senn dynamics, Neumann U87s and the small vocal mics (K66s?) as many as God would provide and the congregation had deeep pockets. I was literally given about $30k worth of mics for that kit. I spot miked every tom with a 414, U87s for room mics, Senn dynamics on kicks, K66s on snare top and bottom, and it was like up until then I've been deaf in one ear and haven't heard that kit. It was amazing.
So this is basucally difference between a GnR session and yours. That's why they sound like that.
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