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View Full Version : Help Me Upgrade My Recording Set-Up




IKEA
Aug 23, 2005, 01:50 PM
Here's the deal: I have a mac-centred, semi-professional small studio set-up. Here's how it looks:


Logic Express 7 (www.apple.com/logicexpress/) with a couple of extra AU plug-ins
1 GB RAM
Edirol UA-25 (http://www.edirol.com/products/info/ua25.html) audio interface (2XLR/line inputs + MIDI in/out)
An AKG C1000S (http://www.akg.com/products/powerslave,mynodeid,186,id,759,pid,759,_language,EN.html) condenser microphone (allround microphone)
An AKG C2000B (http://www.akg.com/products/powerslave,mynodeid,186,id,221,pid,221,_language,EN.html) condenser microphone (tom drum/vocal/wind instrument microphone)
Keyboard + Headphones + Cables + Adapters + various other accessories


I now have around 600 euros at my disposal, and I plan to use them to upgrade my set-up. The question is: what should I get? I've been thinking of getting an upgrade to Logic Pro or a control surface for nicer mixing, or perhaps a RAM upgrade, or an audio interface with more inputs (this would also require more mics, but which?) so I can record live takes or better sounding drum recordings.
Some people have also suggested things like pop filters or hardware mixers, to which I usually respond: why? Why are pop filters necessary? It's worked fine so far without them, and I probably don't need a hardware mixer at this stage. (do I even need one at all? I've got a perfectly fine software one)

Suggestions and help would be most appreciated.
Thanks,
IKEA



Yebot
Aug 23, 2005, 02:35 PM
A few ideas:

Perhaps your mic collection could use the addition of a high sound pressure level (SPL) dynamic mic. Condensers generally capture clear, accurate, detailed and delicate sounds, where a dynamic will stand up to the brute force of drums, loud horns, guitar cabinets etc.

Would Logic Pro ($999) really give you that much more ability than Logic Express? You may have already seen the Logic comparison chart. If not --> http://www.apple.com/logicexpress/comparison.html

Pop filters are necessary when you sing into a nice condenser and use the letter 'P.' They're also nice for blocking spit. I have the AKG c3000 and the difference with and without the pop filter is noticeable.

If I were you, I'd be happier with more inputs on a breakout box as opposed to adding a hardware mixer. I hear good things about the following breakout boxes: Presonus Firebox, MOTU 828.

Also, your breakout is USB-based. Firewire-based breakouts normally have less of a latency factor than USB-based ones.

faintember
Aug 23, 2005, 08:58 PM
I agree with Yewbot's suggestions, but may i suggest the Presonus Firepod (http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/Firepod/) as well. FW is much better than a USB audio device. Also check out the Focusrite Saffire (http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/Saffire/) as it does some on-board dsp (i.e., less processor load).

Maybe a external HD (FW of course) for audio recording?

Maybe a small mixer?

Or you could loan me the money for a new audio interface!!! :p ;) :D

Have fun with your studio upgrade!

IKEA
Aug 24, 2005, 11:04 AM
Thanks for all the input (no pun intended). The reason I wanted the Logic Pro upgrade was not for the main features, but for all the extras you get :). Guitar Amp Pro and the new synths look delicious. Based on your suggestions and my own searching, I now have these potential investments (of course I only have enough money to buy a little of what's listed here):


Popkiller, 19.90
Presonus Firepod (8in FW audio interface), 688.00
Behringer BCF2000 (control surface with various faders & knobs), 185.00
NativeInstruments Guitar Rig (cool amp emulator. I don't play guitar but I do a lot of recordings involving them), 299.00
Microphones!


I still don't know which microphone(s) to buy, somebody suggested a dynamic one. I need one that basically does allround (for guitar amps) but can also be used for snare and/or kick drum recording. Maybe if I do end up having enough money I'll buy two or three mics (two is likely). If I do, what would people suggest, taking into consideration what I have so far? I don't know a lot about this, so my own research isn't taking me very far.

faintember
Aug 24, 2005, 01:17 PM
Dont worry about buying a pop filter unless you just want to spend money.
Buy a pair of pantyhose, bend a metal coat hanger into a circle, and cover the reformed coat hanger with the pantyhose. Instant (cheap) pop filter. Also, as has been noted on these forums before and many other places, if you are still having trouble with plosives, put a pencil inbetween the vocalist/speaker and the mic. This disrupts the air flow and typically helps to dissipate plosives.

As far as dynamic mics go, look into the Shure 57 or the 58 (or both, as they are cheap!) I have a few 57's that have been around forever, and they work well in a variety of settings (live and recording), as well as work well with with guitar amps and the like as well. At around $90 USD the 57's are great mics IMHO.

Personally i hate amp emulators, but that is just me. I am picky that way. :p That and it is expensive for just being an amp emulator. Typically i have no real reason to emulate an amp, and if i do i just run my audio through some modules that i already have. However if you do a lot of guitar recording like you said, it may be an option that pays off in the long run!

Good luck with making up your mind! (It can be so hard!!! :D)

IKEA
Aug 24, 2005, 03:20 PM
Awesome! Thanks for the quick reply!
Yeah, I probably won't be buying the guitar emu. I will be buying the pop filter, though, probably, because I don't really have a spare pantyhose lying around at the moment (and sue me, but I prefer the look of the 20 euro one over a DIY one :P).
What I'm looking at right now is buying the control surface (mixing really can be a pain without it) and the popkiller, and waiting until I have enough money again so I can buy the interface along with a few mics. No use buying it now if I only have two mics in the first place. Some people mentioned that USB interfaces are laggier than FW ones, but I don't really have a problem. The lag is considerably less than for an AU to convert MIDI data into audio, and even that is almost not hearable on my mac.

As a sidenote: I bought and read "Mixing Engineer's Handbook" and have ordered (but not yet read) "Recording Engineer's Handbook". Does anyone else have any recommendations as to what I should read? (Internet tutorials, books, magazines, whatever)


Thanks again,
IKEA

faintember
Aug 24, 2005, 07:55 PM
Some people mentioned that USB interfaces are laggier than FW ones, but I don't really have a problem. The lag is considerably less than for an AU to convert MIDI data into audio, and even that is almost not hearable on my mac.
Just wait until you want to mix a whole band at same time! Then you will see! And just because a problem has not occurred does not meant it will not occur. Speaking from experience, every FW device i have used worked better than my Mbox, which is USB based.

Yeah pantyhose and a coat hanger dont look great, but hell, i am cheap! :p

As a sidenote: I bought and read "Mixing Engineer's Handbook" and have ordered (but not yet read) "Recording Engineer's Handbook". Does anyone else have any recommendations as to what I should read? (Internet tutorials, books, magazines, whatever)
On this i have no clue. What little i have learned was passed down by word of mouth or just from experience. Some other MR members would prob be a much better resource about what books/etc to look into.