New home studio setup question

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by pertusis1, Jun 27, 2014.

  1. pertusis1 macrumors 6502

    Jul 25, 2010
    Hi folks,

    This is my first post in the Digital Audio forum, but I'm wondering if anyone here could give me some guidance. I am a long time mac user, but I am almost completely ignorant about audio stuff. I am reading all sorts of places to educate myself, but I thought I'd put my situation out to this forum for advice.

    Here's my situation:

    Sometime later this fall, a friend of my sister's is supposed to come down to record about 100 songs. She is a vocalist, though we may try to add music to her recordings later. Although it's an odd project, they're basically old Sunday School songs that we can't find music for anymore (not sure it ever existed in written form). My sister and I are trying to record the songs sung by someone with a decent voice before they become extinct. I know I could just hook a microphone up to our computer and have her belt the songs out, but I would like the recordings to be halfway 'professional'.

    Our initial plan was to have the songs recorded at a local small recording studio, but the owners recently dismantled the studio and moved it out to the west coast. I've asked around, and the nearest studio is about 90 miles away....

    Which is where you all come in. I've pretty much decided that if we're going to be able to go forward with the project, I'm going to have to come up with some sort of a recording 'studio' at my place. I have a couple of rooms in my house that could be used, but we have 5 young kids and hardwood floors. Needless to say, insulating a room in our house would be a bear of a project. We also have a 16 by 20 foot out-building that is insulated, and I think would work. I'm currently using it as a shop, but I could pretty easily clean it out and carpet it. I think that's going to give me my best bet at some semblance of sound isolation/insulation. I'm hoping I could set up some sound insulation inside and make it an acceptable recording area. Any advice on insulating a room this size would be welcome. Also, I'm wondering how you insulate the recording mic from sounds the computer will make.

    OK, so down to the hardware, which is what it seems like most people in this forum talk about. All I have at the moment is a Mac Pro 5,1. If the specs matter, it's a 12-core 2.4 GHz with 48 GB RAM, two spinning HDs and a 7970 video card. I am hoping to install a SSD in the next few months. For the most part, unless I'm running a game, the computer seems fairly quiet. Sure, I'd love to get a 12-core nMP, but that's not quite in the budget ;)

    I don't have an audio interface, microphone (except for a Shure PG58 microphone), monitors, headphones, or DAW software. I haven't really set a budget for the project, but I'm thinking that up to $2,500 for hardware and setup is probably doable. Of course, I'd love to come in well under that cost, but I know you 'get what you pay for'. Used stuff is fine as far as I'm concerned.

    I would love input re: hardware setup, and as mentioned earlier, acoustic barrier setup.

    Many thanks,

    P.S. - also, any sage advice on the pitfalls a novice like myself encounters would be welcome!
  2. SimonUK5 macrumors 6502

    Nov 26, 2010
    Dude thats a massive budget to record some home vocals, you'll get some killer recordings with that price.


    And i realised i missed on on Monitors.

    A Pair of Yamaha HS5's will do you nicely, and a set of Audio Technica M50s will do for some headphones, that will have around 500 overall, still leaving you around 400 short of your budget :)

    Thats a pretty damn good setup, needs some acoustics, and IMO, you don't need anything more than GarageBand, but you could pick up Logic X if you felt inclined.

    What you have there, is Studio Quality Mic and Mic Pre, and then a small interface to get it into the computer.

    Acoustics wise, i would probably just hang some carpet up on the wall, or if the room your recording in sounds ok, just rock with that. I personally, HATE recording in iso booths, or rooms that are really really dead sounding.
  3. angusmcfisher macrumors regular

    Dec 18, 2009
    It isn't necessary to get insulation. You could easily just do the recording in any room in your house, maybe even use curtains or bookcases just to contain some of the reflections. As for the computer, the simplest solution would be to put the computer in an adjacent room, and just use a long cable. To be honest though, I record in my bedroom using an iMac with spinning drives, and have no problem with noise.

    Those specs are more than enough. You don't need an SSD to record audio, especially if it is just one track you are recording.

    You could easily get away with spending a few hundred and get a decent setup. For this project, I wouldn't invest unless it was something you wanted to do after it. M-Audio do some decent budget interfaces, and Focusrite are good. For Mic's, I'd go with a large diaphragm condensor - maybe something like a Rode NT2000 which again is great quality for the price. For monitors, there's plenty of options. Again, on a small budget, if you went for something like KRK G2s, they would be adequate. On the other hand, if you wanted to spend more money some Dynaudios or Yamaha NS10's would be a worthy investment. You can pick up NS10's on eBay for a good price. For a DAW, I'd just go with Logic X. It's good value and it can do pretty much everything you would want. If you took it further and made a business out of it, buying Pro Tools would be a good, but costly investment.

    Just enjoy it. For mixing I recommend reading Mixing with your Mind by Stavros
    and Mixing Audio: Concepts, Practices and Tools by Roey Izhaki
  4. SimonUK5 macrumors 6502

    Nov 26, 2010
    i 100% would NOT be buying KRK's for recording vocals, or doing any real live audio work.

    I'd personally only buy KRKs if i was working on EDM.
  5. pertusis1 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 25, 2010
    Thanks for the advice so far, guys. It sounds like I'll probably be able to stay well below my budget. Reading your advice about insulation got me to wondering...

    I have quite a bit of extra fiberglass insulation left over from when we built our house a few years ago. I wonder if I could do most of my insulation just strategically sticking that stuff up on the walls...

    As I mentioned earlier, this project will occur over the next several months, but I'll let you know what I end up doing.


    Sorry for the ignorance, but is EDM 'electronic dance music'? We almost definitely won't be producing that, but do you agree with his other mic suggestions?
  6. BigRed1 macrumors 6502

    Dec 13, 2011
    I personally love the blue baby bottle for vocals, but it definitely has its own character:

    Think about that in addition to the apogee one:
  7. SimonUK5 macrumors 6502

    Nov 26, 2010
    Yeha EDM is Dance music.

    Ehh, its a very personal thing, i personally think Rode mice have a very individual sound, which i don't like.

    Neumann, are fantastic, warm sounding mic's. I spend as much as you can on getting a good Mic.
  8. BigRed1 macrumors 6502

    Dec 13, 2011
    I have a Neumann that I like quite a bit, particularly for my acoustic guitar. I prefer my Blue mic for vocals, though. It's smooth, and the included pop filter is useful.
  9. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    I'd suggest an audio interface with two XLR input channels.

    The MacPro still has firewire input, is that correct?
    In that case, I'd recommend a firewire based interface, primarily because just about all firewire interfaces are "CORE Audio compliant" -- that is to say, they utilize the CORE drivers that are built right into the Mac OS, instead of relying on "3rd party driver software".

    Something like this would serve you well (no financial connection to auction):

    I use an Echo Audiofire8 and it was arguably the easiest peripheral I've ever connected to the Mac -- just plug it in, and "there it is" -- ready to be used by all the audio apps (again, no financial interest):

    You can use either the built-in mic preamps of the interface, OR, you could use a standalone preamp such as the FNR RNP, very nice little "box" for the money.

    I'd also suggest a TWO-mic setup, otherwise your recording will be "plain mono".

    For vocals, you'll probably want a large-diameter condensor format.

    Mics are a whole topic of discussion in themselves, but you'd probably do fine with a pair of Shure KSM-27 or KSM-32 mics.

    For digital audio software, there are numerous choices.
    You might even be able to start out with GarageBand, since you're going to be recording only one item (single vocal).
    There are several others, but some involve "learning curves".

    My personal preference is Cubase, which combines power with ease of editing and is very "learnable" and usable early on.
  10. ChrisA, Jul 1, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2014

    ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Don't design anything you can't measure and test.

    Also what you will find is that the fiberglass is the cheapest part of the sound panel. You will need wood frames and backs and come kind of cloth covering and also some of that 3M spray adhesive to make it all stick together. I thnk the fiber glass is about 20% of the total cost.

    But the big think is the design. How much and where you place it. Does it go in the corners, the ceiling or does it cover 20% of a wall's square area or 40%

    Don't over do it or the room will be "dead". Hardwood floors are find. what is to be avoided is a box with six flat reflective surfaces. Mix it up. Make some cloth covered fib glass panels and some wood curved surfaces and some bookcases and a sofa and make some tests and then changes stuff. The well designed studios are setup so you can change them quickly by say flipping over panel so either the hard or soft side face out.

    About the computer. This is audio NOT video. The Mac Pro is total over kill. Be sure to have plenty of backups. Make an off site backup and at least one un-plugged backup and maybe use a cloud backup service.

    I like Apple's "Logic". In fact if you decide not to use Logic. Buy a custom PC with no fan. The nay reason to use a Mac is so you can run software that ONLY runs on a Mac.
  11. pertusis1 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 25, 2010
    Thanks for the software advice. I was thinking I may just use garage band, and upgrade if I find it limiting.

    Fwiw, I would not have gotten the mac pro for audio. It just happens to be what I have.
  12. BigRed1 macrumors 6502

    Dec 13, 2011
    +1 for Logic. For the price, it can't be beat.
  13. Destroysall macrumors 65816

    Feb 28, 2012
    United States
    Interesting for you to say that. Can I ask what specs would you generally recommend for audio production?
  14. tuxon86 macrumors 65816

    May 22, 2012
    For an amateur, an iMac is totally fine for Logic Pro X. I would go with the 27" for the screen real estate. I would also max the ram. Hell, some evn use the Mac Mini for audio production.

    It's only if you are bringing into the mix multiple virtual instrument with a full range of effect and plugins that a more powerful computer make sense. But from your OP I don't think that will be the case.

    Presently I'm running Logic Pro X on a 2010 i3 21.5" iMac with a 27" second screen and 8gigs of ram and in my project I've yet to max out the processing power.
  15. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    If this is a home living room where the computer and microphones are close to reach other then the #1 spec is NO FAN NOISE from the computer. A notebook with SSD drives. Of course if this is a more advanced setup with some kind of sound isolation the fan and hard disk noise does not mater.

    Do the math on the data rates 48K samples per secondhand 24 bits per sample is 0.15 megabytes per second. Not a lot of data per track. Even at 96K stereo you are still at under 1MB/Second.

    if doing only a few tracks any current Mac will work.

    What likely matters more is screen space.

    The Mini is good because you can lock it in some sound proof place. iMacs have fan noise. so you need some distance between the iMac and any microphone.
  16. D*I*S_Frontman macrumors 6502

    May 20, 2002
    Lombard, IL
    Digital audio gear, even the budget stuff, is so good now that it's hard to go wrong no matter what way you go.

    I had a professional engineer tell me that the key to quality production is "transducers in, transducers out." This means quality mics and quality monitors. The Yamaha HS5s or HS8s are good bang-for-the-buck monitors that don't lie to you. The KRK stuff sounds good, but that's not the point--you want honest monitoring that sounds like crap when your mix sounds like crap.

    The other factor, which isn't nearly as "sexy" as buying shiny new gear is room treatment. I am glad it has already been mentioned, so just let me second the admonitions of others: stay away from parallel walls and ceilings that generate standing waves. Have a recording area with obscure reflections (like a bookcase) and a hardwood floor.

    If you have rolls of Owens Corning, you can leave them in the plastic wrap, wrap the with blankets, and stack them like columns in the corners to eat up bass. Rigid fiberglass panels in wood frames, wrapped in burlap, make great sound eaters. A few on the ceiling wouldn't hurt.

    Here's a great place to start.

    If you have a sense of humor and don't mind the risque, he put out this video to explain some of these principles in a way that will generally hold the heterosexual male mind's attention.
  17. pertusis1 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 25, 2010
    Well, thanks to everyone for their responses. It generated a few more questions.

    1) Fishrrman suggested TWO microphones. Since my mic is likely to be the most expensive component of my setup, I am disinclined to buy a second mic. Does anyone else have an opinion on this?

    2) The whole pre-amp thing is a bit confusing. My understanding is that most of the USB interfaces have a pre-amp, but that buying a separate dedicated pre-amp will improve the sound input. Is this correct? If so, what is the difference likely to be in sound quality between, say, the Focusrite ISA One preamp with Scarlet 2i2 vs. the Apogee duet? Does the duet have a good quality pre-amp included? Or are you just paying a ton for good marketing and versatility?

    Also, I came across the SPL Crimson. It's a bit more than either of the aforementioned products, but I am wondering if it is in any way superior.

    3) Fishrrman also mentioned that it is better to use firewire (which my computer does have), or is USB just as good at this point? I expect that this will be my last firewire computer, although I expect it to last a while. I suppose the Focusrite Saffire Pro 24 DSP, or the Echo Audiofire4 would be options?

    I'm still vacillating on the microphone choice, but I've decided to go with the Yamaha HS5 speakers and the Audiotechnica M50 headset.

    FWIW, thanks for D*I*S for the room setup hints. We'll be tackling that after we gather the equipment.
  18. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    OP wrote above:
    [[ Fishrrman suggested TWO microphones. Since my mic is likely to be the most expensive component of my setup, I am disinclined to buy a second mic. Does anyone else have an opinion on this? ]]

    Use one mic if you wish. But realize the recording is going to be monophonic, and that's it. If you want more "dimension" and "spatiality", you'll need more than one mic.

    My opinion only, but most of your $$$ should go into getting the best mics possible.

    [[ The whole pre-amp thing is a bit confusing. My understanding is that most of the USB interfaces have a pre-amp, but that buying a separate dedicated pre-amp will improve the sound input. Is this correct? ]]

    The preamps on most interfaces today are pretty good.
    Select a good interface, do some test recordings using the internal preamps, and see how you (and your subject) likes them.
    Again, having good mics can make the difference here.

    The FMR "RNP" is a very nice quality pre-amp at a good price.

    [[ I suppose the Focusrite Saffire Pro 24 DSP, or the Echo Audiofire4 would be options? ]]

    Find an AudioFire4 (or an AudioFire8) lightly used at a good price, and I believe you'll be very happy with the results.
    For new, the Focusrite would be fine, price isn't bad, either.
  19. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Your thinking here is way over the top for a hoe studio recording some sunday school songs. Here is what really matters

    1) The room itself. Do you have a large walk-in closet with clothing hanging on all for walls. That would be the ideal room. Lacking that look around in yur house for the best room you have. Typically this is going to be a bedroom but maybe not. TEST the room by recording a stand-in even some one who can't sing well. LISTEN to the recording. Dosome minor fixes if you must, hang a thick rug on a wall if you must but rig it so it is easy to take down.

    2) In a home studio with poor sound isolation and not perfect rooms you want the microphone to be CLOSE. This way it picks up more of the vocalist and less of everything else.

    +++++ stop here until you have done the above +++

    3) Do not go nuts on equipment. You need deselect "large condenser" microphone but don't spend $500. Many of the Chinese made ones are just fine. I bought a used AGK for $80. You can buy a new AudioTecnica AT2020 for cheap. Something along those lines. The 2020 is good. If you have the bucks the Rode NT1A. It's hard to say until you've heard the vocalist and tried a few microphones. You can't so just get a decent general purpose on like the 2020.

    4) the idea to use two mice is not helpful. Get one that is very close and use a pop shield. You can listen after each take and make fine adjustments remember you are NOT recording a one-time event. You don't need backup systems

    5) The preamps build into even $150 USB audio interfaces are good enough. Yuowill not hear the difference if you upgrade to outbound preamps. If the microphone is reasonably sensitive and if it is close and if the vocalist is reasonably loud this will be a very easy job for the built-in preamp. Try the built-in preamp first and ONLY if you KNOW you have a problem then spend $1k on a preamp. What maters most is the gear that is closest to the sound. First is the singer, then the room then the microphone then the amps and interface

    6) that bit about fire wire vs. USB is "bunk" and matters not in your case. OK if you have 16 channels of 96K/24-bit audio it matters but your one or two tracks does not clone CLOSE to stressing USB. Two good audio interfaces to look at are
    Presonus "Audiobox" and
    Focusright "Scarlett 2i2"
    This audio interface you listed are just "nuts" for this application and for a one of two channel recording are a total waste of money.
    Both are $150 and about as good as you could want.

    Do not blindly copy what people do in studios. This is a home recording made in a not-perfect space with dogs barking and trucks outdoors and who know what else.

    Have the person face a non-reflective surface. An open closet with hanging cloths works. Get the mic up close and use a pop filter.

    VERY IMPORTANT: record this using 24-bit samples and do NOT let the level go even close to clipping.

    You should be able to set up everything you need for $400 total, mic, interface, cable, stand and filter. (Assumes you have computer, headphones stereo speakers and audio amplifier.)

    Do NOT buy any expensive gear unless you can positively hear a defect in the less expensive stuff and KNOW an upgrade will fix it.

    Nothing wrong with buying loads of high end gear IF YOU NEED IT. If you said you were recording a full jazz band with a live drum kit and grand piano, upright string bas and so on. Then yes you'd be looking at 24 channels, firewire and just tons and tons of gear. But a solo vocalist? You don't need much.

    Look at this recording and LISTEN to the music. See the simple setup just a mic plugged straight into the $149 box and a Macbook. (I would have lowered the volume on the guitar, it over powered the voice)

    Or look at this video. I like it better. But same gear setup using Presonus. Again just amid plugged into the $149 audio box and a computer. The mix is better too. It shows off what can be done with a SIMPLE setup.
    Presonus video

    Listen to the above and if your ears hear that this sounds like rubbish because of the cheap built-in preamp then go buy an outbound pre.

  20. ChrisA, Aug 3, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2014

    ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    The nueman mic and preamp are bit over the top for a home recording. I'd bit the price of the gear that hardly anyone would hear the difference if you bought a an AT2035 and plugged it straight into the Focusright audio interface.

    For a bit more the Rode is a little better and comes with the shock mount and filter and even the XLR cable included. It's a good bundle

    Going much pst this level is not going to be productive or make noticeable difference.

    After you get this gear listen to the results. Prehaps you need to fix something but ONLy buy more if you have a problem.

    What problems will you really have: All of these studio microphones are ultra sensitive and have "figure eight" polar patterns. The were designed for use in STUDIOS. they will pick up the sound of a refrigerator running down stairs and the next door neighbor's TV set and the sound of the disk drive spinning.

    It is almost better to tell you to buy a Sure SM58 microphone with a big foam wind screen and tell yu vocalist to hand hold the mic literally two inches fem her mouth. Seriously this works. Lots of time this works 100X better then your $2,000 setup. The Sm58 is by far the word's most popular microphone for live performance. It does NOT pick up background noise because it is unidirectional and deaf to anything that is two feet away. It is a good sounding microphone and cost about $100. If you have every hear Mic Jagger of the Rolling Stones you know the sound of the SM58. That is what he uses. He sigs loud with mic almost touching lips. Go to Sure web site and find vieo of them towing an SM58 off a tall building, running over it with a car, drop kicking it and still making recording with it. Hint, don't try that with the Nueman.

    Invest in a Rode Nt1A and an SM58 and you will have the start of a great kit. DOn't send a bundle on just one microphone it is more important to have different types. Don't over spend
  21. pertusis1 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 25, 2010
    I can't do a full update from my iphone, but I just decided to ask the singer what microphone she had found worked well with her voice. She just got back to me... Telefunken AK-47 MKII

    Heh heh. Seems a little hard to justify. Guess I'd better get back to work. :-0
  22. headstack macrumors newbie

    Aug 12, 2014
    Before every one gets totally nuts with microphones, have your vocalist check out a Shure SM-7 for $350.00.
    This is a great mic on a range of voices, even good enough for Michael Jackson and his engineer Bruce Swedien, who happens to own 200+ mics with prices ranging up to $20,000 or so.
    This mic is a dynamic with a tight polar pattern, and will help deal with a multitude of problems encountered in less than flawless acoustic spaces.
    For a mic pre, the Grace Designs M101 for $700 new and way less used is a fantastic starter pre, is quite capable of professional results, and is extremely quiet and transparent.
    Do not worry about getting THE pre with character that so and so says you just have to have.
    Character is a very subjective thing, and if it turns out the subjectively it is not working, you will spend a lot of time de-characterizing the chain.
    The number of plugins to "sweeten" a track are so vast, you could spend a month messing with them to see which ones you like on "this" mix.
    The comment about condenser mics having a figure 8 pattern and picking up the neighbors fridge?
    The only mics that have a fixed figure 8 pattern are, nearly all ribbon mics, and mics specifically designed with a bi-directional (fig8) capsule, otherwise the mic will typically have a variable pattern design.
    The most common with a figure 8 being a cardioid, omni, fig8.
    One of the most famous mics that is cardiod/fig8 only, is the Neumann, U-48, and that is a bit more than your budget covers.
    Good luck in your quest, and have a fantastic session.
    I will leave you with one last pearl.
    The right microphone, preamp, converter, etc. is the one that sounds good to YOU!
    There are very few rules, and a lot of what you will read are people spouting what they have read, heard from others or, what they like.
    They are not listening with your ears, and are perfectly happy to spend your money for you.
    Try as much stuff as you can in person, or buy nice used stuff and sell what does not work for your tastes/workflow.
  23. DPUser macrumors 6502a

    Jan 17, 2012
    I'd definitely recommend a condenser mic over dynamic, as I expect you want to capture the natural full-range of your vocalist's "instrument" in this a cappella situation, and condenser mics have the superior high frequency response that allows "air" to be captured. Lots of great choices, consider Rode or AT.

    I'll second the remarks about not going overboard… your requirements are very simple, and will not stress any computer or interface. Laptops or iMacs are ideal because they are quiet.

    Close mic in a quiet, acoustically "dead" room (hang blankets around the singing area if necessary) with a pop screen. Use headphones to monitor while recording

    24 bits and don't clip.

    Send your recordings (Drop Box or equivalent) to a qualified audio engineer to edit, compress, EQ/de-noise, add some great reverb, and master and you will be way ahead of the game. If you connect with the studio in advance, you can do some test recordings and send them to the engineer for comments/adjustments before you get rolling on the final recordings.
  24. headstack macrumors newbie

    Aug 12, 2014
    If you have your heart set on a U-47 type clone, check out the TAB Funkenwerk Black Spade UM-17.
    The non "R" version runs about $999.00 and will come closer to your Telefunken than anything else around.
    In fact, the fellow making these mics designed what is now the Telefunken AK-47.
    The "R" version is built with a Theirsch capsule which is what are in the U-47, U-49, they make some of the finest capsules in the world today.
    Most of the modestly priced Asian mics I have worked with have a strident character to them that is not really pleasing.
    While real C-12 is airy, I never found them to ever get screechy, even with a big lift from a Pultec or a multitude of active EQs.
    I have played with a decent bit of the modestly priced stuff to see what they have to offer, and some of what is there is quite decent, especially for the money.
    That said, the magical sound of a truly great mic is something to behold, not to be found at budget prices, and worth every penny.
    You may like the Audio Technica 4047sv, which runs around $550.00 is extremely quiet, and built around the tonal character of the old Neuman FET-47.
    I have a pair that gets used often on instruments, and when it sounds good on a voice, it can really be a beautiful microphone.
    Charter Oak would be my other recommendation of manufacturer to have a look at.
    They make some truly beautiful sounding and well built tube mics, and when tube replacement time comes round, are covered by fantastic warranty.
    Some shops like Zen Pro Audio and Vintage King, and I'm sure others, allow you to audition a loaner in your studio before you commit.
    This is an incredible service with products like microphones, mic pres, and dynamic processors where personal tastes being so variable are vital to a customer's happines with a hopefully long term relationship with a device.
    As for a dynamic not being able to capture the full frequency range of a human voice...
    After about 10k-12k there is not much there even harmonically to be captured, so even a fairly cheap dynamic is capable of reaching 10-15k.
    What we hear when a mic sounds dull, is the response of the transducer and any circuitry, i.e. a transformer.
    A ribbon mic is a dynamic, and is very good at capturing transient energy.
    Some of the ribbons that have been around forever are still in use today, and now that the devices used to record and store the event are capable of good bandwidth, they sound they capture is extremely full, and with a bit of lift, reasonably airy.
    Check out some sound files from the SE Electronics Neve RNR-1, get back to us and see if those sound dull in the top end;)
  25. pertusis1 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 25, 2010
    Hi folks, Thanks for all of the above advice. I read and re-read most of the posts many times, and here's what I ended up with.

    Mic - Rode NT 2000 ($600 new)
    Preamp - Apogee Duet 2 USB ($405 used) - judging from my initial impression, this is the component that is most likely to be replaced before too long, but we'll see
    Headset - AudioTechnica M50x ($110 "used", but oddly still in the original packaging, etc.)
    Monitor speakers - Yamaha HS5 pair ($250 new)
    Logic Pro X ($199)

    I was able to stay well below my initial equipment budget, but I still have to treat the room. I'm going to follow several people's advice and do this piecemeal until it sounds all right.

    I just want to add one thing. I'm obviously a rookie at this stuff, and I have found some youtube videos by musictechhelpguy to be extremely helpful and well put together. Software tutorial videos are not easy to do well, and this guy is obviously a natural. I would highly recommend them.

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