Recording studio equipment suggestions

theWhiteKeys

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So time has come to the point where I am interested in setting up my own recording studio. Just something to mess around with friends...nothing to make money or start a business with...just pure fun. But sadly I have no idea about this "world". And this world is so much more confusing than the guitar world. So I am looking for people who know the recording world to help me put together a checklist for a home studio. I am hoping to obtain two lists.

List one will consist of brands and equipment that are regarded as the market standard. The brands most regarded as the pillars of the industry. Such as your Gibson, Fender, PRS, and such. Brands that are well known and well regarded for quality, functionality, and mostly reliability. I am not looking for top top really expensive shelf...but top shelf, think Gibson LP Standard or Traditional status here, not custom shop status.

List two will consist of great brands that provide great quality at a great price. Think Epiphone Casino, Sheraton, and MIM Fenders status...maybe even Gibson Studios back when they were more reasonable..although the gibson 335 studio is pretty reasonable for a 335...the point is I am looking for brands that are maybe not "pro studio" worthy but still fantastic reliable products at a great price.

I am more interested in list two as that is most likely how I will spend my money. I am no corksniffer, even if I like my Gibsons and USA Fenders. But I find my MIM Fender and Epiphones to be just as good in some aspects.

Things to leave out of the lists are microphones. That is the only area that I am confident in and there is already a wealth of information on this forum about mics. Same goes for DAWs. There is a whole bunch to be found on DAWs. Also I already read up a great deal on acoustic panels and bass traps so we will exclude those as well. And we will assume the computer is taken care of as well. My personal preference would be with a mixer or interface with faders that you can use yourself to adjust. I just enjoy twisting, sliding, and pushing buttons over using things in a DAW. A big bonus would be a product that allows you to use both! And lets stick to ones with 24-channels or that can be expanded to that size or larger. So a typical list will include

1. Interface
2. Control Surface/Mixers
3.Monitors
4. Power Supply
5. Mic Preamps
6. Headphone amp
7. Direct Boxes
8. Power Conditioner
9. Cables
10.Monitor Management System

I am not sure if all of this is even needed for a studio or if I left something out. So please add or take away from your lists as you see fit.

As you can tell I absolutely have no idea what I am talking about but I am eager to learn and constantly reading around to fill in the gaps. I wish there was a sticky for something like this as it would greatly help us noobies to know what direction to start looking in.
 

lucidspoon

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1. Interface - Presonus and Focusrite are often the 2 most popular. Size / number of inputs depends on your use.
2. Control Surface/Mixers - I think most home recorders don't worry about this, and just use the DAW controls. Best consumer one seems to be: Mackie Control Universal Pro | Sweetwater.com
3.Monitors - Equator D5s. Great mix of quality and price.
5. Mic Preamps - Focusrite has good consumer level pramps
10.Monitor Management System - Probably not a whole lot of need for more than a couple monitors, so no need for a system to manage.
 

BuzzHaze

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The best I an suggest is what I did in my home studio. It's a 24 track Yamaha board that records and cuts CD's. As you can see in the pics, I have the room set up with a guitar & amp section, a drum area, keyboard, bass rig and the monitor system. I have the board on a swivel table and can move it around the room so I can reach it from the drums or keyboard. I start with a click track and add instruments as I go. I add vocals at the end. I spent a fair amount of money to get all the stuff but it was well worth it. I have a few 57's, 58's, Senns and a really good Neumann mic. Everything is wired up with digital cables and always connected, ready for jams or recordings at a moments notice. It's an old school setup but it's easy to learn and use. Works well for me. You can hear a bunch of my recordings in SoundClick under my signature at the bottom of the page. I play all the parts and do everything solo. I'm not a great drummer, bass player or keyboard player but I manage.

Feel free to ask me any questions about my setup or procedures. Here's a few pics that show the studio areas.

I have a small 1600w PA system for live jams and practice.



My amps and guitars





My guitars are kind of covering the drums haha





My Keyboard and Bass rig, plus you can see the Yamaha 24 track board









My monitor/mixdown system which are Yorkvilles.



 

blues_n_cues

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I have the board on a swivel table and can move it around the room Everything is wired up with digital cables and always connected, ready for jams or recordings at a moments notice. It's an old

Feel free to ask me any questions about my setup or procedures.

My Keyboard and Bass rig, plus you can see the Yamaha 24 track board



that seems like quite a bit of stress on the jacks/plugs @ the board w/ all the cables just hanging like that or am I missing something underneath the table?
 

BuzzHaze

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that seems like quite a bit of stress on the jacks/plugs @ the board w/ all the cables just hanging like that or am I missing something underneath the table?

There hasn't been any issues so far and they have been hanging there for years. They are super light-weight digital cables, not the standard heavy rubber XLR cables. I had them custom made for all my gear. They are dead quiet and look great in purple haha
 

aikiguy

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Get yourself some kind of a channel strip. I picked up an ART Pro Channel for cheap. They have a preamp, compressor, and EQ built right in and really help warm up your sound. Better than the preamps in most interfaces I think. Also good for recording vox, guitars, whatever else...
 

KP11520

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First things that come to mind and aren't on your list:

The brain, core and center of the studio.

PC or Mac?

If a PC, are you capable of building one that will run your DAW of choice now and in the future? Building one at $1K, 2K or 3k, gets you more Horsepower than buying one complete.

How many simultaneous tracks will be recorded at the same time, now and in the future?

For processing, is your budget large enough to bulk up on the gamut of equipment or will you be using mostly Plug-Ins, or somewhere in between?

Will this ever need to deliver truly Pro results?

This really needs to be hammered out before the flow chart starts to be spec'd. Then a balanced assignment can be built around the core for best results at the peak of value.

I hope this makes sense.
 

mcphaul

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The industry names are Neve, API, and SSL. The high end is in consoles, but most of them have pre's and or Eq's that are available as either a 19" rack mount piece or as a 500 series piece.

You left compressors off of your list and I expect that you plan to use only software comps, but outboard gear is very nice before the converters at times. Comps can be expensive but this isn't a cheap game to play.

The Epi variants are the clones of these and their offspring.


When I was working from my home my rig was as follows:

RME Fireface 800 for I/O, overflow preamps and clock (rock solid drivers for PC) This gives 4 mic pres and 8 line in's but only 10 of them really work at the same time. ( Mic pre 1 +2 are redundant to line in 1 + 2 on the back.)

1 - API 3124+ mic preamp. 4 Industry Standard pre's.
1 - Great River MB2NV preamp. 2 Neve'esk preamps.
2 - Vintech X73i preamp/Eq. 2 Neve'esk preamps.

1 - API A2D preamp. 2 great preamps plus spdif outputs. This let me record 12 channels simultaneously through the Fireface 800.

2 - Distressor compressors. Industry standard comp's.

Presonus Central Station monitor controller. This allows multiple ins and outs, Talkback, and headphone control in a single 19" space. It was very helpful but is kind of a home studio thing. I'm not sure how it would stand up to A/B'ing against some of the real Pro stuff.

2 - Adam A7 near field monitors. You need good monitoring or you can't make good choices. (After moving to a real studio I know how much I was missing even with these.)

I had it all powered through a Monster Power Pro3500

Radial makes great DI and other boxes that you'll want.

Cables are probably best if you make your own. Good cables are expensive!


You ask about control surfaces and 24 channels of I/O but I'm not sure you need either of those.

Automation inside a DAW is the easiest way to build a mix and it's easy to control via a mouse and keyboard. It takes some work to learn and build up speed but everything takes some work.

Working from home I didn't have the space or isolation to even think about needing 24 inputs. Working at a professional studio I don't need it that often.

I've got a great live room with 3 iso's off of it, plus the "B" room with 2 rooms that can be used as iso's and still don't Need 24 inputs all that often.

My home rig was somewhere north of $15,000 and that only let me track 12 channels at a time. All of the pre's and eq's are worth more now than I paid for them. All of my pro-sumer gear was worth penny's on the dollar when I sold it.

I know that you want to get up and going and it seems like quantity is the main factor. When you buy quality you tend to only buy it once. When you by pro-sumer stuff you tend to keep buying slightly better gear until you end up buying the quality that you should have started with.

Start slow and build up a nice set of tools and you'll be happier in the end.

On the other hand a buddy on mine has a PreSonus StudioLive 24 that he uses on Live Gigs for front of house and tracking. He likes it. He also owns a Neve Console in his home studio so I trust him when he says he likes it.
 

Freddy G

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You left compressors off of your list and I expect that you plan to use only software comps, but outboard gear is very nice before the converters at times. Comps can be expensive but this isn't a cheap game to play.

Although I like mixing in the box, hardware compressors are probably my favorite toys next to hardware EQs!


Cables are probably best if you make your own. Good cables are expensive!

Agreed. I'm just wiring up a patchbay for my set-up and man... just the connectors are costing me a lot! But I'm going for highest quality available.



All of the pre's and eq's are worth more now than I paid for them. All of my pro-sumer gear was worth penny's on the dollar when I sold it.

yep....the big boy stuff is timeless :cool:

On the other hand a buddy on mine has a PreSonus StudioLive 24 that he uses on Live Gigs for front of house and tracking. He likes it. He also owns a Neve Console in his home studio so I trust him when he says he likes it.

I'm glad to hear that Will. My band is looking for a console for rehearsal/recording and we've been looking at one of those and also a "gulp" :eek: Behringer X32
 

mcphaul

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I've got no experience with the Behringer X32 but the PreSonus has served my buddy well for several years now.

I've heard several things tracked through it and it's just fine. It isn't a character mic pre or the best, but it serves it's purpose well.
 

sikoniko

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The following is my wish list:
Furman 1800 at
Apogee symphony 8x8
2x mohog mofet76 1176 clone

This is where I am undecided...

2x neve 5052
Or
2x heritage audio 1073/500

Undecided of any other pre's.
 

mcphaul

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The following is my wish list:
Furman 1800 at
Apogee symphony 8x8
2x mohog mofet76 1176 clone

This is where I am undecided...

2x neve 5052
Or
2x heritage audio 1073/500

Undecided of any other pre's.

I've heard good things about the mohog line, but never tried one. I bought a Purple MC77 and we liked it so much the studio bought another to pair with mine.

Also, I haven't tried the new Neve stuff or the Heritage Audio but it's worth checking out BAE too. I've got the 19" 1023 pre/eq and all I can say is WOW!

I know they do a 500 series unit.

The Heritage 500 series rack with summing looks really nice. I'd really like to hear it in action.
 

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