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Topic: Studio equiptment

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  1. #1
    Senior Member Sonare Coeli's Avatar
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    Studio equiptment

    Hello everyone,
    We're putting a recording studio in the basement (I'll post some work in progress pictures soon) and I need to start thinking about recording gear. I'm running a Macbook Pro 2.4 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 2 gigs of ram. I'm trying to decide between the Mbox 2 Pro with Protools, when the Leopard compatible version is released, or Apple Logic Studio.

    So far I've been thinking that the Mbox 2 Pro would be the better choice. The factory bundle includes pretty much everything I would need in terms of a core interface, with the Mbox and Protools software.

    I thought I would look into Apple as well, though. If I were to get Logic Studio, what interface would be best to use?

    As for the kind of recording, I'd be doing a pretty equal combination of live audio and midi, I can't really have a system that lacks in either. I'll be looking at mics soon, and I have a midi keyboard for midi work with GPO.

    Any suggestions?

  2. #2

    Re: Studio equiptment

    Hi Sonare,

    What's your ballpark budget and how extensive of a studio are you planning to build? Are you going to have clients, or is it for personal use?

    Best,
    Reegs

  3. #3
    Senior Member Sonare Coeli's Avatar
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    Re: Studio equiptment

    Quote Originally Posted by Reegs View Post
    Hi Sonare,

    What's your ballpark budget and how extensive of a studio are you planning to build? Are you going to have clients, or is it for personal use?

    Best,
    Reegs
    I'm still trying to decide my budget, but I'm more concerned about having enough not to be limited by my studio for what I do. It will mostly be for personal use, but I will probably have clients run through. I'll be recording solo singing and upright bass, small rock, jazz, and bluegrass groups, and choral groups.

    The studio itself will be pretty extensive for a home studio. There will be a good sized studio space, and a separate listening room where all of the gear will be. There's a window between the two rooms, and when I get further along, we'll figure out the right combination of foam and diffusers. It will most likely have a laminate wood floor.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Styxx's Avatar
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    Re: Studio equiptment

    Hey, you have basement poles? Don't forget the "pole wrap" it sure caps off those eye sores. Try this link. http://www.google.com/aclk?sa=L&ai=B...ecoverings.com

    I'm sure you will agree it will make a nice finish to your rooms IF you have those unsightly poles in your basement.

    Try this link too - http://www.polewrap.com/
    Styxx

  5. #5

    Re: Studio equiptment

    Okay, in that case (having clients and not wanting to be limited), I suggest you consider a more robust recording interface. Those smaller interfaces are just not going to have the inputs if you're tracking multiple players simultaneously.

    Having a Pro Tools studio is always an advertising perk. In addition, Pro Tools provides near-absolute zero latency for monitoring applications and very stable drivers on Mac platforms. Be advised that Pro Tools is severely lagging in the MIDI department (though improving!) and that plugins need to run in the proprietary RTAS format (or TDM if on HD systems). While many VSTi's are available in RTAS form, many others are not, and there are reports of difficulties "wrapping" VST to RTAS.

    If you're considering a Pro Tools LE-based system for a decently sized studio, I recommend an 003 Rack. This is a firewire unit, with four good built-in preamps, four additional line-ins, switchable between -10 and +4 standards, and 8 channels of ADAT expandability (16 ins total). MBoxes can be flaky in my experience. The 003 is also available as the Factory model, which is pretty nifty because it functions as a control surface for PT simultaneously.

    I've touched Logic a total of three times. Clearly I am an expert at it, so take the following with a pail of salt. Logic does well, and you have more options in terms of interfaces and plugins. Editing and controls on MIDI in the new Logic Studio is intuitive. Soundwise, I'm sure its mix engine is capable of competing with that of ProTools, and with the Studio Bundle, you get a lot of extra useful stuff. Check out some of the MOTU units for interfaces. If you're sure that you can make due with a small interface and are sold on Logic, go for the Apogee Duet.

    Remember that good monitoring systems and acoustic treatments are tantamount in importance to the interface and DAW however, and it's ultimately your design on the studio.

    Best,
    Reegs

  6. #6
    Senior Member Sonare Coeli's Avatar
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    Re: Studio equiptment

    Thank you very much for your response. The 003 has been looking better and better.

    What types of deficiencies does Pro Tools' have in regards to MIDI? Are you saying that there are some things that it simply cannot do, or that the interface is clumsy and difficult to deal with? I can cope with one, but not really the other, haha.

    I've also heard some bad things about the 003 factory model, which is the one I'm planning on getting, things about the control surfaces not working right and such; mostly just general bugs. Have these things been taken care of, or did they never really exist?

    The RTAS format should be fine, I've only worked with GPO so far, but I'm pretty sure most, if not all, of the libraries that I would purchase would most likely include the RTAS format.

    The studio should be done soon, so I should hopefully be purchasing equipment pretty quick.

    I found a nice looking package on a music website that includes:
    Digidesign 003 Factory Pro Tools LE Workstation
    M-Audio Keystation Pro 88 MIDI Controller
    Akai MPD24 USB Controller
    Fostex PM0.4 Powered Studio Monitor pair (2)
    MXL 9000 Tube Condenser Microphone
    CAD EPF-15A 6-Inch Flexible Pop Filter
    2 x 20 ft. Lo-Z Microphone Cables
    Tripod Mic Stand with Fixed Boom
    2 x 5 ft. TRS-TRS Balanced Patch Cable.

    Here's the link: http://www.musiciansfriend.com/produ...age?sku=482343

    Would this be a good option? Or do you think the other items are low quality? It kind of popped out at me because it includes pretty much everything that was on my list, plus a few extras. That probably should make me a little more weary than anything else, haha.

    Otherwise I would go and pick out gear personally, though I probably wouldn't have any more of a chance to try it first. This would be more expensive, but that's really alright if I'm getting good gear.

  7. #7

    Re: Studio equiptment

    Hey,
    congratulations on the new studio. sounds like fun. just a couple of comments .
    as far as midi in pro tools goes, I use midi in pro tools almost every day and it works very well. I tried logic a few times and i could never quite get a handle on it like i could with pro tools. logic always seemed a little too convoluted. pro tools does, however, have a few minor drawbacks. for instance, you can only view and edit one midi control at a time, which isn't a big deal but i think in logic an cubase you can edit multiple controllers at a time. but still, you get used to it. and pro tools is very stable, in my experience.

    your package deal looks OK. but you don't have to get it just because it's a package. If I were you, i'd get a better pair of monitors, especially if you're going to have clients listening. get something with at least 6 inch woofers or even 8. maybe they can customize a package for you. I like these:
    http://www.musiciansfriend.com/produ...ors?sku=603273

    also, I think a better choice for a mic in that price range would be the Rode NT1-A

    hope this helps
    have fun.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Sonare Coeli's Avatar
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    Re: Studio equiptment

    Quote Originally Posted by conwaylemmon View Post
    Hey,
    congratulations on the new studio. sounds like fun. just a couple of comments .
    as far as midi in pro tools goes, I use midi in pro tools almost every day and it works very well. I tried logic a few times and i could never quite get a handle on it like i could with pro tools. logic always seemed a little too convoluted. pro tools does, however, have a few minor drawbacks. for instance, you can only view and edit one midi control at a time, which isn't a big deal but i think in logic an cubase you can edit multiple controllers at a time. but still, you get used to it. and pro tools is very stable, in my experience.

    your package deal looks OK. but you don't have to get it just because it's a package. If I were you, i'd get a better pair of monitors, especially if you're going to have clients listening. get something with at least 6 inch woofers or even 8. maybe they can customize a package for you. I like these:
    http://www.musiciansfriend.com/produ...ors?sku=603273

    also, I think a better choice for a mic in that price range would be the Rode NT1-A

    hope this helps
    have fun.

    Thank you very much!

    I thought about that shortly after posting the package deal. When I actually go to purchase the gear (most likely at my local guitar center), I'll have a chance to try some monitors out (I think), and really center in on what I need. As far as mics go, this will be a harder choice. I'll keep your suggestion in mind. Would that work well for classical recording? I know very little about mics. My ideal starter package would be either two classically-oriented mics of the same kind for stereo recording of an ensemble, such as a choir or small chamber group, or two different mics, one for classical recording, and one sm57 for all-around studio recording of some of the more modern ensembles that I mentioned (rock, bluegrass, jazz). Over time I'll add more mics, but I need something to give me good options right now. My uncle runs his own studio as well, and has mics that I can either rent or borrow from him if I need something that I don't have.

    I've been looking at the 003 option a little more, as Pro Tools really sounds like the option that I want to go with, and I think I'm leaning more towards the rack mount. From what I can see, it has all of the same options as the board version, of course without the control surface. I was told that you can access all of the same controls within Pro Tools itself. I have two computer monitors to work with, so I thought this would be a great option, and it would cost a lot less and give me the exact same control. Would this be the case?

  9. #9

    Re: Studio equiptment

    Quote Originally Posted by Sonare Coeli View Post
    Thank you very much!

    I thought about that shortly after posting the package deal. When I actually go to purchase the gear (most likely at my local guitar center), I'll have a chance to try some monitors out (I think), and really center in on what I need. As far as mics go, this will be a harder choice. I'll keep your suggestion in mind. Would that work well for classical recording? I know very little about mics. My ideal starter package would be either two classically-oriented mics of the same kind for stereo recording of an ensemble, such as a choir or small chamber group, or two different mics, one for classical recording, and one sm57 for all-around studio recording of some of the more modern ensembles that I mentioned (rock, bluegrass, jazz). Over time I'll add more mics, but I need something to give me good options right now. My uncle runs his own studio as well, and has mics that I can either rent or borrow from him if I need something that I don't have.
    The QA on MXL mics isn't the greatest, and any tube mic that costs that little is not going to sound good. By and large, microphones are devices where you get what you pay for.

    Now, for stereo classical recording, as well as an all-around mic, you can't go wrong with a pair of AKG C414s. They'll cost you some dough, but they're real workhorses (good on vocals, brass, guitar, as overheads, and room mics; get the XLS series as their frequency response is going to be more 'natural' than their XLII brothers).

    And yeah, pick up a 57 or two. 60 bucks usually on craigslist.

    I've been looking at the 003 option a little more, as Pro Tools really sounds like the option that I want to go with, and I think I'm leaning more towards the rack mount. From what I can see, it has all of the same options as the board version, of course without the control surface. I was told that you can access all of the same controls within Pro Tools itself. I have two computer monitors to work with, so I thought this would be a great option, and it would cost a lot less and give me the exact same control. Would this be the case?
    Yes, and if you're coming from a world of not ordinarily using a control surface, you won't miss it .

    Reegs

  10. #10

    Re: Studio equiptment

    i'm with reegs on the 414's. they are excellent mic's for many, many situations. if you have $2000 for a pair, it's a great choice. but for the $200 range, you cant beat the rode.

    as for the control surface - I use a command 8 with pro tools hd, which is similar to the 003 control surface. I would not want to go back to mixing with the mouse, ever. I do post production mixing for documentaries, so I need that control. if you are going to do a lot of mixing, you know, with faders and pan pots and leveling and plug in automation, why not get the control surface. it will give your mouse hand a break, it's more fun, and you can adjust and record automation for many parameters at a time, rather than just 1 with a mouse.

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