#1
Starting next summer, I am going to save up my money and build a studio in my dad's basement. Here is my current rig:

20" new Apple iMac
Line 6 Toneport Ux2
MXL 990 / 991
Reason 3.0
Logic Studio

as you can see this is not that great of a setup except for the computer stuff. I need something that can get me a near professional, if not, professional sound. I plan to save up $5,000 so that should be enough to get a decent rig. I will be recording only guitars, bass, and vocals. I use Reason for all my synths and percussion so I don't really think I need a mixer. I do not play in a band so I only record one track at a time. I also do not know anything about acoustic treatment so someone will need to help me out on that. I plan to have a control room and a small walk-in closet as my actual recording room.

Here is what I am thinking:

Interface = Motu 828MKII $750
Preamp = Great River MP2NV $2,150
Microphones = Cascade Fathead II and Shure SM57 $300
Acoustic Treatment = $900
Monitors = MackieHR624MKII Pair $900


Computer = 20" iMac
Software = Reason 3.0 / Logic Studio

how does that look?
#2
Good. altho u could probably get cheaper stuff that would work just as well, it looks good. even if itll take several years to finally get.
#3
If you're going to spend all that money, invest in gear to be able to record ANYTHING. You might not need to do any drums for yourself, but you have no idea how many young up and coming bands are in desperate need of cheap recording. You can definitely make some cash.
#4
people say that preamps are the most important part of a rig but is buying that nice of a preamp justified?

EDIT: and to above, somewhere down the road, i will definently buy a drum kit, a mixer, and microphones. But now is just not the time.
#5
A good preamp is extremely important, because it'll transform the signals that mikes pick up from being average to great.

That said, if you spend too much money on it, to the extent that you have to economise elsewhere, you'll just be jepordising another link in the signal chain, which could negate the benefit the preamp gives in the first place!

A signal chain is only as strong as its weakest link, after all.

You could save money on monitors and improve them. Check out the Yamaha NS10, or the budget version (which are just as good, if not better) from www.studiospares.com.

It occurs to me that if you're going to spend thousands on a preamp, you could get a tube mixing desk - two functions for the price of one.

Don't forget stands and cables. They add up quickly and are very expensive.
#6
Quote by BrianApocalypse

It occurs to me that if you're going to spend thousands on a preamp, you could get a tube mixing desk - two functions for the price of one.

Don't forget stands and cables. They add up quickly and are very expensive.


what do you mean "two functions for the price of one"? Wouldn't the preamps on a $2,000 preamp sound way better than a $2,000 mixer's pres?

and I already have many stands and cables, I probably have 6-8 stands (which is too many for what I am doing now but they were free) and I have wayyy too many cables
Last edited by Guitar328 at Oct 28, 2007,
#7
Not nessacarily. There's a lot of utterly fantastic vintage new old component desks out there.

Some of them are amazing.

Also, bear in mind that if you want to build additional rooms, you'll need to think about wall boxes and the like.
#10
It looks like you have done your homework, and are really serious about what you are doing.

Quote by BrianApocalypse

You could save money on monitors and improve them. Check out the Yamaha NS10, or the budget version (which are just as good, if not better) from www.studiospares.com.


Yamaha NS10's are awful sounding monitors. They are a popular as being a low end real world monitor, and the old saying goes "If it sounds good on an NS10 it'll sound good on anything.

You will not be able to buy a vintage console of that quality for 2,000.00 and if you do, you are one lucky guy. If you want the same quality preamp in each channel of a console, it's going to cost you at least 2,000.00 per channel, so you do the math.

This is probably the wrong forum for you to be asking such a question though. You'd probably get a better response on Gear Slutz or Studio Central.
#11
yea, thats what I was thinking. It just sounded like a great deal to have excellent preamps on a mixer with 8 inputs or so.

And to the other replier, I already have an iMac. I know that mac pros are amazing for this stuff and the industry standard but I am only 15. I am pretty much giving up a whole summer worth of money to build a studio which I really want. I hope to have bought everything except the preamp by xmas '08 and then the preamp might be able to come summer '09.

Yea, so I am two summers away from a studio haha

EDIT: and to anyone who is wondering how a 15 year old can make so much in a summer, i work at Best Buy
Last edited by Guitar328 at Oct 28, 2007,
#12
Quote by take_it_t
Yamaha NS10's are awful sounding monitors. They are a popular as being a low end real world monitor, and the old saying goes "If it sounds good on an NS10 it'll sound good on anything.



Fair play, I'd not realised that, but had many a time heard the old saying, and had percieved that as a strength.

That said, I've predominantly used them to fine detail single tracks (forgive me, I don't know the preamp model) admittedly they'd not be a top dog choice for the big picture.

You will not be able to buy a vintage console of that quality for 2,000.00 and if you do, you are one lucky guy. If you want the same quality preamp in each channel of a console, it's going to cost you at least 2,000.00 per channel, so you do the math.


I've been using one of these recently, it's f*cking brilliant.

http://www.dv247.com/invt/36182/

This is the type of thing I was getting at. Like I say, they aren't vintage, they're N/O stock type desks.

But yeah, whatever.
#13
Ok I see a few problems with this setup. While most of the gear mentioned is good gear - it doesn't fit given the context. For instance, you have a several thousand dollar preamp and two mics. Are you planning on only recording two sources and know for a fact that the great river will sound good with both?

Also - why bother with 8 channels on your interface if you are only going to be using one or two tops at a time? How are you going to use all eight with two mics?

It looks like you are setting up a studio for only voice-over and vocals recordings, and if such is the case then I would ditch the Motu interface, get a Metric halo, and forget all the mics besides an RE20 or SM7b, and possibly a Neumann U87.

Is that what you are really going for though? If that is all you want to do then this studio should work, however, if you want to record bands and make a possibly make a profit then you will need a LOT more variety. Get cheaper preamps, but get more channels - RNP's are great for this. Get a kick drum mic and some good acoustic guitar/ overhead mics. Replace those MXL's. ...so I guess what matters is what you are planning to do with it.
PM Me for any help you need with recording systems/tips
Quote by BrianApocalypse
Good call

Man, you should be a mod, you know everything.

#14
Quote by thrice_removed
Ok I see a few problems with this setup. While most of the gear mentioned is good gear - it doesn't fit given the context. For instance, you have a several thousand dollar preamp and two mics. Are you planning on only recording two sources and know for a fact that the great river will sound good with both?

Also - why bother with 8 channels on your interface if you are only going to be using one or two tops at a time? How are you going to use all eight with two mics?

It looks like you are setting up a studio for only voice-over and vocals recordings, and if such is the case then I would ditch the Motu interface, get a Metric halo, and forget all the mics besides an RE20 or SM7b, and possibly a Neumann U87.

Is that what you are really going for though? If that is all you want to do then this studio should work, however, if you want to record bands and make a possibly make a profit then you will need a LOT more variety. Get cheaper preamps, but get more channels - RNP's are great for this. Get a kick drum mic and some good acoustic guitar/ overhead mics. Replace those MXL's. ...so I guess what matters is what you are planning to do with it.


1. yes, I am only recording one track at a time. I am going to use the fathead and shure sm57 for the electric guitar. Ill use the fathead and maybe one of the MXLs for my acoustic guitars. For vocals, ill probably use the fathead as well.


2. The reason I need the MOTU828 is because it as ADAT which will be good when I get a mixer and record full bands which I plan to do somewhere down the road

3. no, im not doing it for voiceovers

4. As I said, yes, I am going to record my own album on this setup. However, when I get more money, I will invest in a nice mixer maybe another preamp, and more mics for a drum set. I would probably never record a live band though so I don't need to much more stuff. This studio will not be in its finished form, however I will record my album with this setup.


THANKS
#15
3 questions


1. what does adat have to do with a mixer.... unless its a digital mixer then i understand

2. why record one track at a time... you have 8 inputs... 2 of them preamps on the 828 ( i have one which i connect to my mixer with a multicore) you can record 8 tracks at once...

3. drum mics are dirt cheap these days... have a look around.
#16
I am still trying to figure out why you are planning on running $100-200 MXL mics into a $2,000 preamp. Huge imbalance there. The difference should be nowhere near that massive.

And yeah, what does ADAT have to do with a mixer? Eight channels should be plenty enough for recording bands, and I have no idea what you plan to do with a mixer - its not like you will need extra inputs, eight should be fine for doing drums.

Also, what about vocal mics? The MXL's are the VERY bottom rung when it comes to mics, while the Great River is used right along $20,000 gear.

The best analogy I can think of is a hobo buying a Rolex watch - its an incredibly nice watch, but what he really needs are CLOTHES. The rolex will make almost any outfit look good, given the outfit is not utterly bottom rung to begin with (such as the case with the MXL's). Even the most expensive watch/preamp will not be able to cover that up.
PM Me for any help you need with recording systems/tips
Quote by BrianApocalypse
Good call

Man, you should be a mod, you know everything.

#17
Well then can you guys reccomend me some mics? Obviously you are against the idea of having cascades plugged into a great river

and i got a quick question, you just use an XLR>1/4 to plug mics into the interface right? I'm assuming yes

I think the Cascades and Shure will definently work for electric guitar


Maybe I need an acoustic guitar mic and vocal mic
#18
I am not against the Cascades or the Shure SM57 at all. I would just recommend those mics + others. They're not bad mics, they just offer you very little variety. Also - you still don't have any "vocal" mics.
PM Me for any help you need with recording systems/tips
Quote by BrianApocalypse
Good call

Man, you should be a mod, you know everything.

#19
Quote by thrice_removed
I am not against the Cascades or the Shure SM57 at all. I would just recommend those mics + others. They're not bad mics, they just offer you very little variety. Also - you still don't have any "vocal" mics.



i was thinking about getting the Rode NT1-A

any good? i've heard great things about it
#20
It is a wonderful mic. You might be able to do better though, if you can jump into a higher price range.
PM Me for any help you need with recording systems/tips
Quote by BrianApocalypse
Good call

Man, you should be a mod, you know everything.

#21
if you want a decent vocal mic and have about £300/400 laying around, get either Rode NT2000 or the AKG C414.
The NT1-a is a very good mic and cheaper alternate for those two just mentioned, it has pretty much the same frequency response and dips in the same places, but doesn't have any functions to change the polar parterns around.
#22
Quote by Guitar328
Starting next summer, I am going to save up my money and build a studio in my dad's basement. Here is my current rig:

20" new Apple iMac
Line 6 Toneport Ux2
MXL 990 / 991
Reason 3.0
Logic Studio

I plan to save up $5,000 so that should be enough to get a decent rig. I will be recording only guitars, bass, and vocals. I use Reason for all my synths and percussion so I don't really think I need a mixer. I do not play in a band so I only record one track at a time. I also do not know anything about acoustic treatment so someone will need to help me out on that. I plan to have a control room and a small walk-in closet as my actual recording room.

Here is what I am thinking:

Interface = Motu 828MKII $750
Preamp = Great River MP2NV $2,150
Microphones = Cascade Fathead II and Shure SM57 $300
Acoustic Treatment = $900
Monitors = MackieHR624MKII Pair $900


Computer = 20" iMac
Software = Reason 3.0 / Logic Studio

how does that look?


You could replace the MOTU with a Presonus Firestudio/Firestudio Tube, then use the money saved to upgrade to Reason 4.0. The Firestudio's really good since you can easily connect a monitor switcher/headphone amp to it, saving you lots of time checking your mix between monitors and adjusting the volume (and giving you talkback). They both have ADAT, so you can expand it later with their Digimax FS. Also, it's a good idea for running monitor mixes through the Hear Back Hub system.

The Great River preamp, though great, is overkill, especially since the MOTU's analog-to-digital converters aren't really that good. I'd go for an FMR RNP, if you must have a boutique preamp. It runs $400, but it is insanely hi-fi.

I'm a bit ambivalent on having a ribbon instead of a condenser for a detail oriented microphone, as there are wonderfully versatile condensers (Rode NT2000) that can handle a variety of sources. Also, while the SM57 should be in your collection, if you are doing male vocals, then look into a big dynamic microphone like a E-V RE20/27 or a Sennheiser MD421.

For percussion, get a MIDI controller like the Akai MPD24/32 or a KORG padKontrol. It's just more fun making beats that way.

Finally, for monitors, I'd look into JBL's LSR4300 collection too. They have some room-compensation algorithms that may help you work properly in a bad room, especially if you only have $900 for acoustic treatment. You may also want a second pair of speakers for an opinion on bass deficient consumer systems/iPod earbuds...Avantone Actives are very good.
Quote by keiron_d
thank you sooooooo much for the advice Fast_Fingers...i would hug you if i could...i looooove you!


True love exists in UG. Can you feel it?

Recording Guitar Amps 101
Last edited by Fast_Fingers at Dec 8, 2008,
#23
I agree, in principle with everything Fast Fingers said.

Quote by Guitar328


Interface = Motu 828MKII $750
Preamp = Great River MP2NV $2,150
Microphones = Cascade Fathead II and Shure SM57 $300
Acoustic Treatment = $900
Monitors = MackieHR624MKII Pair $900


Computer = 20" iMac
Software = Reason 3.0 / Logic Studio

how does that look?


Also consider an interface that has built-in pres. There is the one from Presonus. Also TC Electronics has one, as does M-Audio (called the Octane). The new one from Steinberg is apparently the bees knees too. They are all solid name brands, and will sound great. At least seeing as your budget, though, good, is not what most people would call heavy duty.

The Great River IS an awesome pre. Also look at FMR RNP, which has been mentioned. Also check Grace pres and in the price range you don't seem to mind looking, Avalons are amazing. Expensive, but not really any moreso than the Great River. If you can get your hands on a used (no longer in production) Peavey VMP-2, I've heard tons of great things about them.

For monitors, also worth checking is the Yorkville YSM-1's. Mine were about $500-600 for the pair. Very nice, accurate, and not too expensive.

Your biggest hole is your mics. They are *the* most important thing in your studio... moreso than the preamps, generally, and yet with your proposed setup, they are your weakest link. The Rode NT1 is a decent mic. I have one. With the money you're looking at spending, you could either get one of those and have lots left over for other mics that will allow you to have more flexibility and versatility, or you could just go gangbusters and get something like a TLM103 from Neumann for about a grand. As gorgeous as a U87 is, you won't get to touch one for under about 3 grand. You do want *some* money left for other things. Nobody disses a TLM103. OTOH, the Rode NT2000 represents a nice compromise.

If you're doing electric guitars, you can't really do without a 57 in there somewhere, but I would also look at getting a Sennheiser e609, and/or a Sennheiser MD421 too.

For acoustic guitars, you could use any of those vocal condensors with great results.

Also for a bit of variety, a large-diaphragm dynamic like the EV RE-20 (also a great kick mic), or the Shure SM7 (used on the lead vocals on Michael Jackson's Thriller album) are good choices for when the large diaphragm condensor doesn't quite give you what you want.

Acoustic treatment.... what do you hope to achieve? Soundproofing is pretty much impossible without spending *heaps* of money, and even then.... Controlling reflections and absorption is your best bet in most cases. That too can get *very* expensive - especially if you are looking at re-constructing walls and rooms to avoid parallel surfaces. Given your budget, your best bet is probably a few well-placed wall panels, a cloud or two, and a nice bass trap.... and maybe a large-ish area rug and some hardwood laminate so you can choose whether you want a live floor or an absorptive one. Even building a proper vocal booth could set you back a grand on a DIY project.

Oh, and you could probably save about a grand on your computer by going with an average-spec PC, which will be up to the job just fine. Use some of that money to buy a second 20" monitor.

For software, also consider Cubase 4. I think it is about the same price. It excels at both audio and midi. I love it. I've used proTools (though not Logic... at least not in about 12 years), and I can't imagine switching.

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.
Last edited by axemanchris at Dec 8, 2008,