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My Studio Budget
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MojoPin
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 22, 2009 12:15 am    Post subject: My Studio Budget Reply with quote

So whats the best recording setup I can get for 1000$? I'm really frustrated and confused and want some direction. For one thing I know I want a Midi and Abelton interface and probably will need to use 200 to upgrade my desktop

I Think I want to use a sound card to mixer approach. As of now I have only a 4 track cassette and some vintage soviet Octavia mics that I can't find the connections for.

The thing is that I've heard really hi fi digital recording studios and I hated it but I love the ability to loop and sample music. Suggestions?
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cobascis
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 22, 2009 1:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mac or PC?

Presonus Firebox, a TUBE MP for vocals maybe? These are the only two I can speak for. you'll need few sm57s and 58s, too.
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Sublimedo
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 22, 2009 8:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

cobascis wrote:
you'll need few sm57s and 58s, too.


NO!!
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MojoPin
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 22, 2009 12:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

cobascis wrote:
Mac or PC?

Presonus Firebox, a TUBE MP for vocals maybe? These are the only two I can speak for. you'll need few sm57s and 58s, too.


I have a PC. I'm not sure about firewire is that really best? I am kind of concerned about latency issues.
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Johno
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 22, 2009 12:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Line 6 UX2 comes bundled with goodies
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cobascis
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 22, 2009 2:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sublimedo wrote:
cobascis wrote:
you'll need few sm57s and 58s, too.


NO!!


Question
Enlighten me.
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laterallateral
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 22, 2009 4:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SM57's and 58's are essentially the same mic with a different windscreen. The 58 has a pop sheild which is inteneded to maximise it's utility as a vocal mic by cutting down proximity effect. Some people also think that the pop sheild alters the 58's pickup patten slightly, resuting in a slightly flatter response around the 9kh range but in my (and several other people's) opinion, the difference is mostly negligeable. Both of these mics are awesome and anybody with a lofty studio budget should consider getting a few of each but when trying to do things on the cheap, for the sake of diversity, getting one of each would be somewhat redundant.

I would say consider the Sennheiser e835 for vocals and close micing cabs and check out AKG Perception 120 for micing rooms and for use as an overhead on drums and what not.
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Mages
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2009 12:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

laterallateral wrote:
SM57's and 58's are essentially the same mic with a different windscreen. The 58 has a pop sheild which is inteneded to maximise it's utility as a vocal mic by cutting down proximity effect.

I think you mean plosives not proximity effect.

MojoPin wrote:
The thing is that I've heard really hi fi digital recording studios and I hated it but I love the ability to loop and sample music. Suggestions?

well, probably about 95% of recorded music today is digital and there's a lot of good music being recorded so I'm not sure what you don't like. analog is great but it can be expensive and is very inflexible. you can do a lot to make digital recordings sound better by using good mics and mic pres. You will basically need:
  • DAW software (pro tools, logic, etc.)
  • an audio interface (m-box, or a multitude of cheaper options))
  • mic pres (optional but can give you some nice sounds)
  • mics (how many and what kind depends of what you are going to record)
if you're going to record drums you gotta think that's a mic for at least, snare, kick, hi hat, toms and cymbals. so at least 5 mics but probably more like 7 or 8 (prolly wanna mic the snare bottom too). 5 SM57s, a Beta 52 for the kick, and two condenser mics of some sort for the cymbals.

if you just want to record guitar and vocals that's simple. SM57 for the guitar cab and you can use it for vocals as well if you use a pop filter.
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James
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2009 12:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mage wrote:
laterallateral wrote:
SM57's and 58's are essentially the same mic with a different windscreen. The 58 has a pop sheild which is inteneded to maximise it's utility as a vocal mic by cutting down proximity effect.

I think you mean plosives not proximity effect.


Actually, the idea is that you can get closer to it and increase proximity effect. It's by cutting down plosives and breath noise, but proximity effect is useful on mics like that when used for vocals.
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Mages
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2009 12:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

James wrote:
mage wrote:
laterallateral wrote:
SM57's and 58's are essentially the same mic with a different windscreen. The 58 has a pop sheild which is inteneded to maximise it's utility as a vocal mic by cutting down proximity effect.

I think you mean plosives not proximity effect.

Actually, the idea is that you can get closer to it and increase proximity effect. It's by cutting down plosives and breath noise, but proximity effect is useful on mics like that when used for vocals.

right. proximity effect is how you get that movie trailer announcer voice.
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James
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2009 12:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know next to fuck all about which models of modern digital things are good value, so I'll ignore that bit and be generic. This is my suggestion for a setup...

Check the value of the Octavia mics. If it's not ridiculous because of 'teh vintage' you should look into adding an XLR connection to them. or look into the stock connection and make a short stock > xlr cable so you can attach a standard XLR cable. The choice is yours as to which and it depends on what the stock connection is like.

It varies with what you're going to want to record, but you're likely going to want a setup with two different dynamic mics and one or two condensors (possibly the same type for stereo use). I don't know what type the Octavia ones will be but you could certainly use those. Owning one SM57 or SM58 isnt a bad idea because they're very good all round mics. They're rarely the best choice, but they're also rarely the wrong one. You could then own a more specialised mic. Perhaps one good for bass frequencies that you could use for kick drums, bass amps, vocals and other things.

For condensors, don't pay much attention to small vs large diaphragm mics. They're different but only just. There's a misconception that you should always have a good LDC (large diaphragm condensor) when a good SDC (small...) will do the job just as well, perhaps it just wont look the part.

For the software, you'll be best trying to pick up a cheap copy of Logic pr Pro Tools. The Steinberg stuff (Cubase and Nuendo) is ok but not really in the same league as the other stuff for recording. It's aimed more at sequencing I think, or at least feels that way. Depending on which way you go with the software, you might change your hardware consideration a little. You'll probably want something like an 8 i/o interface that goes direct to your soundcard. If you're buying software, the interface, mics (and the necessary stands and cables) as well as upgrading your PC a little, you might be best off mixing in the software to begin with as a mixer might stretch your budget. Also consider some good quality headphones in the budget if you don't already have some, you can get pretty good ones for very cheap.

So my advice is
- 8 i/o or similar relatively low end but flexible interface (you may need to use it as a headphone amp if you're doing multiple instruments when recording)
- Logic or Pro Tools if cheap enough
- Get a small mic collection along the lines of 2 dynamics, 2 condensors
- Don't go all out on things like a mixer that you'll be able to do without for now, even if the idea of having physical faders seems alluring.
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James
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2009 12:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mage wrote:
if you're going to record drums you gotta think that's a mic for at least, snare, kick, hi hat, toms and cymbals. so at least 5 mics but probably more like 7 or 8 (prolly wanna mic the snare bottom too). 5 SM57s, a Beta 52 for the kick, and two condenser mics of some sort for the cymbals.


I'd disagree with this. There are lots of fantastic three mic techniques. Doog has done a lot of great recordings with two, and of course there have been great recordings with one. I'd put three as a minimum for most scenarios and would say that four is probably the most common for most. Kick, Snare, Overheads. You can quite easily get good results with Kick, Overheads if you place the overheads well.

I've never enjoyed recording with 7 or 8 drum mics. It mostly just pisses me off. The exception I can think of is having one mic on the low tom if the drummer uses it a lot, and maybe one between the rack toms. Really though four was my favourite for a drummer I didn't know and if it was the guy I recorded with most we'd try three from time to time.
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Mike
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2009 12:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Depends how tom heavy the drummer is, and what his toms sound like, sometimes it can be hard to manage them in the mix if you're only using overheads.
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James
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2009 1:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can see the use, but going from a casette 4 track to mic'ing drums like you're recording Tool is going to be too big of a leap. Four will cover most situations and be pretty passable in the ones it doesnt quite work for.
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cobascis
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2009 1:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In my low budget drum setup I have as follows:

Dynamic mics on snare and kick drum, 1 condenser overhead, 1 dynamic. It works decently, but the floor tom can get drowned out a bit -- but the condenser picks up most anything you want and don't want to hear.
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2009 1:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

James wrote:
I can see the use, but going from a casette 4 track to mic'ing drums like you're recording Tool is going to be too big of a leap. Four will cover most situations and be pretty passable in the ones it doesnt quite work for.


No, absolutely you're right for this guy's wants and needs. It was just a general statement I was making that probably I could have left out of the thread.
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Mages
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2009 1:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I mean it just depends on how much control you want to have with the mix. if you miced up every drum you are going to be able to balance everything exactly how you want it. I would say to be able to have some semblance of control, five mics is the minimum. If you're able to get a sound you like out of three that's fine but you're giving up the flexibility of shifting things around when it comes to mixing.
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James
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2009 1:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I haven't recorded drums for years, and I also don't think I've recorded drums where the drummer uses his toms enough for it to be important they come across but in a way where the cymbal/tom balance was off to the extent mic'ing the toms would be useful. Having never really come across the situation and generally not being that fond of toms it's easy for me to forget that it works sometimes.
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Mages
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2009 1:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

but yea, I agree with you though, for this guys situation 3 should be fine. heck, if I was gonna record something at home I probably wouldn't do any more than that either.
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James
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2009 1:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mage wrote:
I mean it just depends on how much control you want to have with the mix. if you miced up every drum you are going to be able to balance everything exactly how you want it. I would say to be able to have some semblance of control, five mics is the minimum. If you're able to get a sound you like out of three that's fine but you're giving up the flexibility of shifting things around when it comes to mixing.


I'd say this is the start to a dangerous road. You may as well have used the phrase 'fix it in the mix'.

Recording is most enjoyable and successful once you establish the idea that the best practice is to record things the way you want them to sound to begin with. You want some flexibility of course, and you rarely want to slam things with compression when you record them even if that's the final intention. Especially with difficult things like drums it's best to get them sounding good through the mics before you even hit record. The idea of mic'ing up everything and then figuring you have individual control over the elements and can balance them later is asking for trouble.
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