Help me build my recording setup!

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by indierthanthou, Feb 17, 2009.

  1. indierthanthou macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2007
    #1
    Ok so I finally have enough material to warrant recording an album. It is for my solo folk/indie act called Jensen&Sweet. Here is what I want:

    Firewire interface, at least 2 channels, but the more the better, since I plan on eventually offering recording services to other local bands, basically because I can afford the equipment and they can't.

    2 decent recording mics, one for vocals, one for instruments

    Mic stands

    Decent pair of monitors

    good sized external firewire hard drive (1tb maybe? I would keep my photos [negative scans, .psd files, finished images] on it as well)

    I have Garageband with all 6 jampacks, and a midi keyboard already. I also have a 2.2 santarosa (i think) macbook white with 4gb ram and 320gb hd.

    My budget is $1000 total. I have a friend who may be able to get some of the stuff, such as microphones, at a reasonably discounted price, his dad has an account with a music retailer.

    I have my eye on this package, but i think the mics and monitors are a bit suspect: http://pro-audio.musiciansfriend.co...restudio-Project-Recording-Package?sku=482341

    Suggestions?
     
  2. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    toronto
    #2
    you don't have enough budget to record bands.

    for a bit over $1000, you could get enough kit to decently record acoustic guitar and vox, if i'm correct in assuming that's what you're after for your album. sadly, monitors won't be a part of that equation, partly because you have to spend a few bucks to get anything halfway decent, but mostly because you don't have much leftover budget for room treatment.

    i suggest:

    - $300 for a portable vocal booth
    - $200 for a pair of AT2020 mics
    - $125 for a good pair of headphones
    - $500 for an apogee duet
    - $60 for 3 mic stands (two for mics, one for the PVB)
    - $80 for 2 mogami mic cables

    use the PVB for all recording, *listen* as you set it up. for acoustic guitar, you can set up the mics in an x-y configuration for stereo recording.

    this is a good enough kit where the limitations will be your engineering skills, not the gear. if you make compromises in the list, that statement may no longer hold.
     
  3. indierthanthou thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2007
    #3
    Crap, thanks for reminding me. I plan on building a portable vocal booth, it looks like that thing is just acoustic foam and some c-channel for the frame. That wasnt part of the budget, either. Also, I thought the booth went between the mic boom and the stand, so you use one stand for mic and booth?

    Is it ok to use vocal mics for recording instruments? I had heard somewhere (don't ask where) that using mics designed for vocals for recording instruments would damage the mic.

    I would also prefer more hardware mixing, I like to be able to turn knobs as opposed to clicking sliders. But if the duet is better than the other stuff (that I can afford) then so be it. Its more of an aesthetic thing anyway.

    Also, are there effects for guitars and such in Garageband, or would they have to be external hardware, or can I route the signal through an effects program, then to Garageband?
     
  4. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    toronto
    #4
    don't use acoustic foam, you'll kill your high end and do nothing to manage the lows. use Owens Corning 703 panels. actually, as many of those as you can jam into a room (covered with a loose-weave fabric), the better.

    the RealTraps PVB mounts on a mic stand; i wasn't clear on that.

    yes. a "vocal mic" is simply one that has frequency-response properties the manufacturer thinks is suited for vocals. in reality, that's crap. if a mic sounds good on a source, it sounds good on a source.

    regarding damage, each mic has a published SPL (sound pressure level), expressed in dB. you don't want to give it a signal that exceeds that level. for example, you wouldn't want to put a low-SPL ribbon mic right up against the cabinet of a super-loud guitar amp.

    for your budget, the only hardware mixers you can afford won't sound very good. you're better off mixing ITB (in the box), imho.

    GB, along with all other DAWs (digital audio workstations) allow for plugins. whether or not they're any good is another matter, but they are available both included with the program, downloadable for free, and for purchase.
     
  5. indierthanthou thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2007
    #5
    So would it be a good idea to get an SPL meter as well, or should I just not be an idiot when I mic the amp? I have a few songs I plan on using a miked amp for, but most will be a miked acoustic guitar.

    Are some of these included in the jampacks? I don't see anything new that says PLUGINS or anything, or are the plugins separate programs?
     
  6. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    toronto
    #6
    common sense is fine. if you're going to be mic'ing amps, you'll eventually want an sm57, and those things are indestructible.

    someone else will have to help you here; i'm not familiar w/ GB.
     
  7. indierthanthou thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2007
    #7
    What about the icontrol? is that still usable with gb 08?

    by the way, thanks for all your help, zim!
     
  8. chasemac macrumors 6502a

    chasemac

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2005
    Location:
    In a house.
    #8
    I would start with the Apogee Duet along with two mics, the sm57 & sm58 . This will leave you with a little breathing room for a good set of head phones and maybe a PreSonus HP4. As you build from this then get yourself a good pair of monitors but take it this far for now. Get paid then buy more as you need. Work that thing!
     
  9. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #9
    That means you'd be mixing live in real time. Hard to do that and play at the same time. Better to just set the levels and record into the computer and then later adjust the mix. That way you get to try it, listen and re-do the mix controls.

    I know what you are saying about adjusting levels with a mouse. It is not easy to do. But you don't have to. Even Garageband has level automation. You can assign levels to tracks at various points on the time line and GB will"push" the sliders for you so as to hit those points at the right time. If you don't like it you edit the points.
     
  10. pkoch1 macrumors 6502a

    pkoch1

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2007
    Location:
    Boston
    #10
    Well, that's not to say a controller won't work. You would not need an analog console or anything. You could always get a controller like the Presonus FaderPort (about $200) , the Behringer BCF2000 (about $200), The Euphonix MC Mix (about $900) or the Mackie Control Universal (about $1300)
     
  11. munson macrumors 6502

    munson

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2008
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    #11
    There are no mics that are "for vocals" only. There are certain types of mics that will work better with certain decibel levels. Mics that capture vox well should generally not be used to capture sound from a kick drum. This being said, depending on the microphone, too high of a sound input could actually damage the mic.

    Before getting into buying microphones, I would do some research on the types of microphones and what sort of things each could be used for. Not only will it help you make a good purchase, but will help you when actually recording.
     
  12. pkoch1 macrumors 6502a

    pkoch1

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2007
    Location:
    Boston
    #12
    The SM-7 for example is great on both vocals and kick drum. It's more about frequency response than SPL level, as proper mic placement can solve all of those issues. That's not to say SPL isn't a consideration, but it doesn't make or break a mic. I wouldn't be against trying a U87 on a kick drum. I wouldn't stick a ribbon mic inside the drum, but I would never rule it out.
     
  13. munson macrumors 6502

    munson

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2008
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    #13
    SM57 and SM58 are great mics that really can be used for anything.

    Sticking a ribbon mic IN a kick drum is an AWFUL idea, haha. If anything, I would consider ribbon mics "vocal" mics, or at least something soft, like a flute, etc.
     
  14. indierthanthou thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2007
    #14
    Flute?! SOFT?! I almost married the principal flutist from WSU's concert band, she would almost make my ears bleed! lol.

    Anyway, here is the tentative setup:

    AT2020 & AT2021 mic package (though i might just get the AT2020 and an SM57 instead of the AT2021)
    http://pro-audio.musiciansfriend.co...41SP-AT2020-AT2021-Microphone-Pack?sku=270455

    Apogee Duet
    http://pro-audio.musiciansfriend.com/product/Apogee-Duet-Firewire-Interface?sku=234444

    M-Audio Studiophile Q40 Dynamic Headphones
    http://pro-audio.musiciansfriend.com/product/MAudio-Q40-Studiophile-Dynamic-Headphones?sku=241798

    (2) mogami silver series mic cables
    http://accessories.musiciansfriend.com/product/Mogami-Silver-Series-Microphone-Cable?sku=339029

    (2) mic stands (in my experience, the cast base is more stable than tripods)
    http://accessories.musiciansfriend....r-Microphone-Stand-with-Fixed-Boom?sku=450463

    and a home built portable vocal booth, made with owens corning 703 panels.
    http://www.atsacoustics.com/item--Owens-Corning-703-Case-of-6--1004.html (6 case because that way i can build a few acoustic panels for the rest of the room, but if you dont think its necessary, then ill just get the individual 24x48" for 14.95)

    What do you think?

    EDIT: and maybe the duet breakout box, those breakout cables look flimsy http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...kout_BREAKOUT_duet_BREAKOUT_Breakout_Box.html
     
  15. lord patton macrumors 65816

    lord patton

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2005
    Location:
    Chicago
    #15
    Although it may not be in your first round of purchasing, consider getting a better DAW than GarageBand. Logic Express is $150 from Amazon, which is a stupid good deal. It's GarageBand's "big brother" in a way, and can even open your GB files when your ready.

    The audio you record into GB will sound as good there as in any other DAW. For me, though, GB is a nightmare to navigate through. Moving the playhead, editing regions, zooming, opening the mixer (or file list, loop browser, etc), copying channel presets, can be done *very* quickly in Logic, if you take the time to learn the program.

    And for that I'd recommend this book. IMO, you'd get more productivity from spending $200 on the book and program than you would on a hardware fader.
     
  16. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    toronto
    #16
    the reason i mentioned a pair of 2020's is so that you could record in stereo. not sure if that's a consideration for you.

    i've not used the 2021, but i wouldn't mind giving it a go some day.

    not heard them; fwiw, i do like the $100 Sony MDR7506.

    the more the merrier! seriously, i've got 13 703 traps in a 9x14' room.

    this is a really great start. good bang-for-the-buck, and with pieces you won't outgrow anytime soon.
     

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