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If you had only an empty room and a card table...

 

OK GO! :)

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First you must decide what the rooms goals are.

Peter Fuino

Yeah, I'm going to agree. What kind of studio? Are you just mixing or mastering? Are you tracking in there? I can burn $3500 of your budget on just a computer, throw in another $600 for Pro Tools and you almost have enough left for a decent mic. Actually, that would get you an AEA R84 last I checked, but you've still got nothing to hook it up to.

 

Specifics. Do you really only have an empty room, or do you have a computer and audio interface in there under the table?

 

I'm fighting this battle right now myself. I've only got a 4 channel interface, but then I don't have enough computer to worry about recording more channels. Besides, if you can mic a drum set with 4 mics, you don't need more than 4 channels. The question becomes what else do you need? Four mics, stands, do you need pre-amps for the mics? Tracking drums? You'll want compression. I'm trying to find 4 channels of decent compression right now, it's not cheap.

 

 

Well let's say this: You also have a computer. A pretty good one. And you want your studio to be fairly versatile. Or just pick a genre/style...all up to you.

 

OK GO NOW!

Ok. I'd start with an Echo AudioFire 12. Never know when the inputs will come in handy ($600) but it has no pres so you'd want some channel strips, say something with compression built in like the dbx 376, call it 4 of those (remember that drum thing?) at $500 each ($2000).

 

So you've spent $2600 and have $2400 left. I'd pick up a copy of Pro Tools 9 ($600) leaving $1800.

 

You could probably get 4 good, versatile Mics (not great mics, just good) that you could use for everything from vocals to amps and acoustic instruments for $1000 pretty easily. A pair of ST31's for drum overheads ($200), a 57 for snares ($100), maybe a 52A for kick ($200) or maybe just use your vocal mic with the pad for the kick. I like my NT-2 enough to suspect the NT2-A might make a good go to for that ($400). Passing on the 52A leaves you $300 to get some stands/mounts/cables for your mics.

 

The rest of that 800, I'd put into MIDI if you want versatile. A good keyboard/controller will set you back $300-$500, and you may even want some dedicated MIDI software (Reason?) which you should be able to just fit in under the wire.

 

None of that equipment will win you any awards on it's own merit, but it will get you started. 

The only thing that will win awards is talent in front of the gear and the right ears behind it.  Period.

Drew Sanford said:

Ok. I'd start with an Echo AudioFire 12. Never know when the inputs will come in handy ($600) but it has no pres so you'd want some channel strips, say something with compression built in like the dbx 376, call it 4 of those (remember that drum thing?) at $500 each ($2000).

 

So you've spent $2600 and have $2400 left. I'd pick up a copy of Pro Tools 9 ($600) leaving $1800.

 

You could probably get 4 good, versatile Mics (not great mics, just good) that you could use for everything from vocals to amps and acoustic instruments for $1000 pretty easily. A pair of ST31's for drum overheads ($200), a 57 for snares ($100), maybe a 52A for kick ($200) or maybe just use your vocal mic with the pad for the kick. I like my NT-2 enough to suspect the NT2-A might make a good go to for that ($400). Passing on the 52A leaves you $300 to get some stands/mounts/cables for your mics.

 

The rest of that 800, I'd put into MIDI if you want versatile. A good keyboard/controller will set you back $300-$500, and you may even want some dedicated MIDI software (Reason?) which you should be able to just fit in under the wire.

 

None of that equipment will win you any awards on it's own merit, but it will get you started. 

• Best $500 in the interface world:  M-Audio ProFire2626.  26 ins and outs.  Solid preamps, great converters and clock.  Oodles of expandibility options.

 

• $600 for a copy of ProTools 9

• $450 for Large Diaphragm Condenser: M-Audio Sputnik

• $200 for any number of great Small Diaphragm Condenser Mics (Miktek, local in Nashville, might be more, but worth checking out)

• $250 for Stereo/Mono Tube Tracking compressor that will give similar results to the big boys: ART PRO VLA II

• $175 for RNC little transparent stereo compressor.  Now you have 4 channels of compression.

• $50 (aprox) USED Behringer REV2496 V-Verb Pro.  Phenomenal outboard verb for tracking or mixing.

• $700 for DynAudio Bm5a (pair) Studio Monitors.  (if you decide to get any of this stuff, I have a guy for these prices... lower on some stuff)

• $120 for ATH-M50 Headphones (for the engineer)

• $100 for Sony MD7506 (for the artist)

 

Total: $3135

So, now what?  Up to you... $1865 leftover...

 

Stuff you will need as well...

Tons of cables, extra utility microphones. - XLR cables, stereo patch cables, mono patch cables, optical and spdif.

How about a control surface with faders?  $200 - $$$$$

Need a midi keyboard?  Axiom Pro series is great with ProTools.

Guitar amp? Many options, the Bugera V22 is awesome to track and hella cheap.

Better mics?  Peluso 2247 SE - $1400

Better mic-preamps?  What flavor? API A2D will go digital into the M-Audio for 2 channels of API at around $1500

 

PS Since you mentioned a single room and a 5K budget, I have a feeling you will not be tracking drums in there.  But be on the lookout for a used MIDI drumkit and buy a copy of ToonTrack Superior Drummer.  Best of both worlds, and it makes no noise  ;-)

 

 

Russell Wolff said:

• Best $500 in the interface world:  M-Audio ProFire2626.  26 ins and outs.  Solid preamps, great converters and clock.  Oodles of expandibility options.

 

 

I absolutely agree with Russell on this one. I use an M-audio profire 2626 in combination with an Alesis HD24xr to interface 24i/o with an analog desk.

On it's own, 8 preamps are handy but there is a clearly defined upgrade path with the extra 16 digital i/o channels so the 2626 will grow with you as your channel count increases. Also, it's one of the few units on the market that actually bypasses the mic gain stage when you plug in a line input from an external preamp. 

It is remarkably uncolored sounding, and sure beats the pants off of any of the digidesign boxes. Of course, whatever you buy, buy used. I have made some really great finds on craigslist.

SO here's my suggestion:

Profire 2626 - $450 (got mine on the bay for $400 even, used)

Daw of your choice, we'll say Pro Tools 9 - $600

Acoustic treatment DIY rockwool panels for first reflection points and corner bass traps- $500

A decent set of monitors and monitor stands - $1000

Two pair of good closed back headphones, say ultrasone HFI-580 - $300

Put together a small collection of quality mid level mics that suit your common instrumentation. Go with the stuff that's common for live engineers to use. You'll get fine quality out of 'em and you'll get a lot more versatility and lower used prices. This is another path to upgrade, one piece at a time. 8 starter mics and a couple of DI boxes - $1500

Miscellany, cables, pop filters, mic stands, extension cords, music stand, coffee maker, picture of elvis, ect. - $500

Insurance - $200 or less per year. This is important. really.

Mix in the box with stock or freeware plugins for now, upgrade plugs as you can.

A good interface, great monitoring and a well treated room would be my priorities before anything else. I mean, come on... if you can't hear what you're doing, then you can't hear what you're doing!

 

 

Clearly. It's a little tongue in cheek humor.

Russell Wolff said:
The only thing that will win awards is talent in front of the gear and the right ears behind it.  Period.

Drew Sanford said:

Ok. I'd start with an Echo AudioFire 12. Never know when the inputs will come in handy ($600) but it has no pres so you'd want some channel strips, say something with compression built in like the dbx 376, call it 4 of those (remember that drum thing?) at $500 each ($2000).

 

So you've spent $2600 and have $2400 left. I'd pick up a copy of Pro Tools 9 ($600) leaving $1800.

 

You could probably get 4 good, versatile Mics (not great mics, just good) that you could use for everything from vocals to amps and acoustic instruments for $1000 pretty easily. A pair of ST31's for drum overheads ($200), a 57 for snares ($100), maybe a 52A for kick ($200) or maybe just use your vocal mic with the pad for the kick. I like my NT-2 enough to suspect the NT2-A might make a good go to for that ($400). Passing on the 52A leaves you $300 to get some stands/mounts/cables for your mics.

 

The rest of that 800, I'd put into MIDI if you want versatile. A good keyboard/controller will set you back $300-$500, and you may even want some dedicated MIDI software (Reason?) which you should be able to just fit in under the wire.

 

None of that equipment will win you any awards on it's own merit, but it will get you started. 

Indeed  :-)

Drew Sanford said:
Clearly. It's a little tongue in cheek humor.

Russell Wolff said:
The only thing that will win awards is talent in front of the gear and the right ears behind it.  Period.

Drew Sanford said:

None of that equipment will win you any awards on it's own merit, but it will get you started. 

Alex-do you have adedicated computer that has been tweaked for digital audio production? If not get in touch with me . I build them and can save you a good deal of money on a custom built unit.

dawsrus@gmail.com


Alexzandra Geyerman said:

Well let's say this: You also have a computer. A pretty good one. And you want your studio to be fairly versatile. Or just pick a genre/style...all up to you.

 

OK GO NOW!

I've got an iMac desktop right now..running PT8 on both Mac and Windows 7 sides, along with a boatload of decent plugins. What kind of "tweaking"?

 


Alan Brian Curtis said:

Alex-do you have adedicated computer that has been tweaked for digital audio production? If not get in touch with me . I build them and can save you a good deal of money on a custom built unit.

dawsrus@gmail.com


Alexzandra Geyerman said:

Well let's say this: You also have a computer. A pretty good one. And you want your studio to be fairly versatile. Or just pick a genre/style...all up to you.

 

OK GO NOW!

don't worry about the tweaking.  your iMac is what you have.  and it is good enough for 99% my work.

 

handled without a hiccup.

 

you WILL want the PT9 Upgrade without question.  for a million reasons, but start with Automatic Delay Compensation for your plugins.

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