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Old 26th August 2008 , 03:49 PM
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Default Help with A Home Studio on a Budget..

Hi. I am in need of some help please. I am wanting to set up my own half decent studio on a decent budget. I am wanting to record over the top of pre recorded sets. At the min i have my laptop, a behringer ub1002 mixing desk, a pair of powered monitors(behringer truth 2030a) and a Shure SM58. I am wanting to use my laptop to record and i am also wanting to purchase a new condenser microphone to record. What i need to know is what else i would need to start recording some good sets of music. would i need a external sound card etc...i just don't know as i am not the bestest with Audio equipment and would reall apreciate some proffesional halp....Thanks very Much...Dan
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Old 26th August 2008 , 03:55 PM
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This will be a standard first response, but... what precisely is your budget? How much do you have to spend?

Secondly, I know you are unsure of what you need, but will your budget also need to include instruments of any kind, or do you alrteady have that covered and only need the condenser mic and audio interface (soundcard) you have already mentioned?

The more detail you can give, the better advice you will get from the many knowledgable people here.

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Old 26th August 2008 , 03:59 PM
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Well i wont be using any instruments. I am just wanting to record Over mp3 that i would play through my laptop. I only have around 400 so is on a tight budget. I was looking at an audio technica Mic and i'm not sure how the sound cards work. Thanks for the help so far...
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Old 26th August 2008 , 04:12 PM
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Also what would be the best programme to use to record so i can adjust mic volume afterwards. Thanks...
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Old 26th August 2008 , 04:23 PM
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You probably have 2 routes you can take. One is to use a USB audio interface with built-in mic preamps, the other is also with a USB interface, but with the addition of a small mixer.

If you are only ever going to record mono takes with the microphone each time then I'd plump for a USB interface with built-in preamp and a good condenser.

For the microphone, given your budget, my personal recommendation would be a Rode NT2a - Rode NT2-A Studio Condenser Microphone at DV247.COM, but remember to also budget for a shock-mount (Rode NTSM2 Suspension Mount For Rode Microphones at DV247.COM) and a good mic stand, mic cable and pop-shield. The Rode NT1a is also good, and cheaper than the NT2a, but this is at the cost of no pickup pattern options and no pad or LPF.

For the soundcard, check out something along these lines:

PreSonus AudioBox USB Portable 2x2 USB Recording S at DV247.COM
Yamaha Audiogram 6 USB Audio Interface with Steinb at DV247.COM
Lexicon Omega Desktop Recording Studio at DV247.COM

As a possible second option, something like the Behringer XENYX 1204 or Yamaha MW10C mixer might not be a bad idea as it is a combined mixer AND USB audio interface with some reasonable preamps and EQ for it's price-range.

Behringer XENYX 1204FX Premium Mixer at DV247.COM
Yamaha MW10C USB Mixing Studio / Mixer at DV247.COM

I've not used any soundcards at the lower end of the price-range for quite some time, so perhaps someone else will chip in with some recommendations based on first hand experience. Whichever route you choose, be sure your soundcard (or mixer) offers "phantom power" on the microphone inputs as this is required to use a condenser microphone.

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Old 26th August 2008 , 04:38 PM
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The Lexicon Omega looks like a good bet, it includes Cubase LE as well, although I've heard it might have some PC driver issues (a friend of mine in the US had one and returned it, but he wasn't too computer savvy and I wasn't there to help him set it up, so who knows what the story is).

If you need to save even a few more pennies, I'd look at:

Tascam US-122L USB Audio/MIDI Interface at DV247.COM

If you have a firewire port on your computer and you want a slightly more robust connection maybe something like this would be a good idea:

Mackie Onyx Satellite Two Piece Firewire Recording at DV247.COM

And on the mic side of things, if you don't need the multi-patterns of the Rode mic Dave suggested, you might also consider one of these:

CAD M177 Condenser Microphone at DV247.COM

Excellent mic at any price, IMO - and I'm not knocking the Rode options, they make great starter mics as well, although I've found a lot of my colleagues have 'grown out of them' - I think the Rodes don't sit well in a mic collection that gets upgraded over time, if that makes any sense? As in, there isn't much of a niche for them that isn't taken over if you ever get a nice 414 or whatever the more-expensive-German-counterpart of any given Rode mic is. On the other hand, I'll use those CAD mics on toms until the day they pry them out of my cold, dead hands.

Now in this case you do have a low-end mixer already, albeit without digital, so you could connect it to any of these soundcards if you really needed to, but for the record:

I'm still against the new mixer idea if you don't have a lot of mics or things to connect to it, and the problem with the mixers that have digital outs is they're limited to 16-bit audio whereas virtually all of the audio interfaces we've listed so far will handle 24-bit audio. I think you're better off multi-tracking for now and using the virtual mixer in your DAW of choice. Later on if you really want to add stuff or have a more hands-on mix approach then you can look at getting something a little nicer than what the entry level pricepoint offers. YMMV, of course.

Don't forget to budget for leads, a mic stand or two, and a pop shield!

Finally, if you're working with a laptop, adding an external hard drive might also be a necessity. You'll be able to do a certain amount to the internal drive but if you get up to anything more complex than a few tracks at a time it might choke. Depends on your system really.

Also, one thing I forgot, if you have no acoustic treatment at all, you might consider getting one of these + a stand (save up!)

http://www.dv247.com/invt/31474/

It's not a be-all-end-all perfect solution, but if you have a lousy room, it will fall under the category of 'better than nothing' for doing the sort of thing you want to do.
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Old 26th August 2008 , 04:40 PM
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Just caught your MySpace request... so given that you're possibly after this new gear to record your rapping over pre-existing tracks, you'll also need to figure in the cost of a good pair of headphones for monitoring whilst tracking your vocal takes.

You're going to be looking at the lower end of the price range on your budget, but it might be worth looking for a second hand pair of Beyerdynamic DT100 cans on eBay... I've managed to get good quality 2nd hand pairs for between 40 and 50.
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Old 26th August 2008 , 04:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by terminal3 View Post
... and the problem with the mixers that have digital outs is they're limited to 16-bit audio whereas virtually all of the audio interfaces we've listed so far will handle 24-bit audio.
Fair point.
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Old 26th August 2008 , 05:24 PM
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If you're going to use an interface like the Presonus piece, then just skip the Behringer mixer...there's really no point in it. The Presonus preamps will probably smoke the Berry pre's, and the shorter the signal chain the less chance there is to induce noise. There will also be fewer connections to troubleshoot should anything go wrong.

Frank
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Old 26th August 2008 , 06:05 PM
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Thats brilliant that info there thanks very much. So with the Sound card you basically just plug the mic directly into it ,with the sound card to the usb port, but where would you put the headphones? I think that the Behringer XENYX 1204FX Premium Mixer looks a brilliant but. Would cubase be the best thing to use for recording then? As for the booth that looks brilliant...Much appreciate the help, i might be a different sort of musician to most on here but that doesn't make me an idiot or anything i just want to get some big sets up and running Thanks people....
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Old 26th August 2008 , 06:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MCRafta View Post
Thats brilliant that info there thanks very much. So with the Sound card you basically just plug the mic directly into it ,with the sound card to the usb port, but where would you put the headphones? I think that the Behringer XENYX 1204FX Premium Mixer looks a brilliant but. Would cubase be the best thing to use for recording then? As for the booth that looks brilliant...Much appreciate the help, i might be a different sort of musician to most on here but that doesn't make me an idiot or anything i just want to get some big sets up and running Thanks people....
Headphones plug into the sound card as well in most cases. You may have to monitor with a bit of latency, it depends on the design of the soundcard and also on your system's capability. Some soundcards will allow direct monitoring of the incoming source, this could be very useful to you.

I'm sure Cubase will be fine for you, I don't personally like it but if you're just starting out then use what's available to you. The reasons I don't like it are strictly relative to the DAWs I already know how to use, not because it's limiting in any way.

There are some cheap/free DAWs out there too - this one gets a lot of love from certain circles.
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Old 26th August 2008 , 06:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by terminal3 View Post
I'm sure Cubase will be fine for you, I don't personally like it...
Ooohhhh man...well, there goes the "brothers" thing.

Frank
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Old 26th August 2008 , 07:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankGIK View Post
Ooohhhh man...well, there goes the "brothers" thing.

Frank
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Old 2nd April 2009 , 06:43 PM
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You can do wonders with low budget, but you have to choose the right microphones.

http://homestudioproject.blogspot.co...me-studio.html

You'll find there the best mics for a home studio
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