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What's your Home Studio Setup?


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Initial post: Oct 25, 2011 12:25:28 PM PDT
I want to setup a home studio but don't really know what I need to get it started. What is your home studio setup? This will help me with some ideas on what to look for.

Thanks!

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 25, 2011 9:39:41 PM PDT
The main basics you would probably need is a mic, computer (with enough data storage), good monitors, mixer, recording software, and any instrument you would prefer for recording. as for setup depending how you wanna recording my suggestion would be go out and compare prices because either way your going to spend, but it all depends what you buy that will benefit you on pricing and quality. for Microbooth there's a website called microbooth unlimited where they give you a easy built one's for under 360.00 or so and that includes studio foam and acoustic sound proofing all in one. then after your mic booth try to find the best and yet affordable software and try to do this for a week because there's alot of software out there and prices will vary every other day. after you find what you need out of all of this you should be ready to start your studio.

Posted on Oct 31, 2011 6:18:05 AM PDT
Robert Brown says:
There are several free recording programs available for PC (audacity.sourceforge.net), and as a start, you could go with a USB cardioid microphone (www.samsontech.com/samson/products/microphones/usb.) but I would suggest going a little better w/ an actual mic interface or a USB mixer (Behringer or similar http://www.behringer.com/EN/Products/1204FX.aspx)... they are relatively inexpensive, and are MUCH better sounding than the USB mics due to better pre amps and supplied power. To start, a quiet room w/ a couple of thick second hand store curtains or moving blankets will suffice... I actually found some office partition walls and stacked them... or for a natural acoustic reverb, try recording vocals in the shower... this is a place to start with low to moderate funds... but you can go WAY BETTER if you do a little research... hope this helps

Posted on Nov 1, 2011 8:02:16 PM PDT
Get a firewire interface,its Way better than usb interfaces,you will need to put in a firewire card. you need more than one hard drive,in Pro tools you use one drive for playback and one for recording,the recording drive stores the large files while conserving resources on the playback drive,i am always backing all mt sessions and projects up,it sucks to loose all your hard work to computer meltdowns! Dont surf the web on your recording computer either, not worth the viruses, i use a separate computer for that.i like to use two monitors so i can separate different windows, mixers,plug ins,etc. if you are using a pc you can configure your system, typing msconfig into run, and check, Hide all Microsoft services,in the Services tab,then in the startup tab check you want to diable everything not pertaining to your recording software, things like anti virus and other programs that otherwise use precious cpu resources. install as much memory as your computer can handle.i could go on and on, not sure if this will help, good luck.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 3, 2011 6:19:20 AM PDT
I recently set up a video blog studio in my former office. I created a "so you want to" list as part of my Amazon profile. This equipment is not "top of the line" but considering my productions go out over the internet, much higher quality is not worth a serious investment. Short list is: AT2020 mic, Allen & Heath Zed10fx mixer, Mac Power Book, Canon XF100 (okay, that's a lot of camera for the net, but I was thinking of the future), LED lights, various stands and cables. I'll be using a stripped down list for productions coming from Aruba beginning in a few weeks. We'll see how that goes. But very much enjoying the process and responses the productions garner.

Posted on Nov 3, 2011 11:43:16 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Nov 3, 2011 11:47:42 AM PDT
Sean says:
I didn't read the responses but heres my recommendations (I also wrote up a guide):
1) audio interface best sub $300 choices: Roland Quad Capture for usb 2.0 and less inputs and outputs and Focusrite Saffire Pro 24 for Firewire and if you need more inputs and outputs.
2) condenser mic sub $250: Mxl 2003a (great almost flat recording response, cheap mics generally have a high frequency boost that gives it a not so great sound i.e. Nt1a - the 2003a does not have the same characteristics), Blue Bluebird is pretty good too if you rap/mid range male vocs/ or acoustic guitar, but it has a freq boost too.
3) if you plan on recording through midi: you have a bunch of options. 49 keys is my preference, but I play piano. If you don't need all the keys go with 25. I personally like the Novation midi keyboards, but the M-Audio Axiom series is pretty good too they have a nice feel.
4) DAW: This is everyone's personal choice kind of thing, but Sonar x1 is great for windows 64 bit and easy to use. Reaper is the cheapest. For Apple go Logic. Reason I'm not saying pro-tools is because I only use pro tools when I know I need to work with others, but its not my favorite.

For the cheapest low gear but IMO nicest quality set up:
1) Roland Quad Capture
2) MXL 2003a
3) M audio Axiom 25 2nd generation
3) Sonar x1 (or reaper for cheapest) or Logic (for Apple)

My personal set up includes lots of mics, V Studio 700, KrK monitors, Novation Mk 2 49, Sonar x1 for myself, Pro tools 10 when working with others, and Grace m101 mic preamp.

Happy recording!

Posted on Nov 5, 2011 8:02:25 AM PDT
My home studio is somewhat different than most, I am midi and digital and don't use preamps or mics.
And it is a rock /metal /blues studio....not rap crap.
I have a rmc fire face uc' into an imac running pro tools 9 ,a command 8 control surface , dsm- 3 moniters, for guitar and bass I use pod farm, a line 6 xt live floor board, guitars and bass are ibanez and a line 6 Variax digital guitar. For drums I use Roland v-drums , via midi to fire superior drummer in protools ..I fool almost anyone with great drum sounds...may not sound as good as great outboard gear, however the tones are usable, and tweekable after the fact, can reamp guitar and bass and change the whole drumset ...very cool, I can also write songs at 3am and not bother anyone...to me it's the best set up I can think of for a HOME studio. Only problem is vocals....that needs a great booth, pres, and mics. So that is done elsewhere.

Posted on Nov 5, 2011 2:31:54 PM PDT
I used various sound cards over the years including the Audigy Platinum, some DAWs like Logic Pro, Cakewalk and Cubase. I lately bought the Line 6 POD Studio UX2. I am sold to that one. I did some little teaks for a latency problem and now I have all I need. It plugs into a USB 2.0 port. It's packed with some great software : Ableton Live Lite 7 (upgradable to 8 for free) Line 6 version (16 tracks instead of 8 for the non-line 6 edition) and POD Farm 2.5. That last one is a killer for guitar players. Even without the additional packages POD farm gives a really great range of different guitar tones. The USB module has two instrument ports, two mic ports and lines in for other instruments. It's around 250$ for the Ux2 studio. The rest is your choice of instruments. With it I use a Roland TD9, an LTD SC-208, a shure PG58 mic, a Yamaha DGX-620 Keyboard, a Yamaha 6 string accoustic guitar and a Seagull 12 strings accoustic guitar.

Posted on Nov 5, 2011 7:32:49 PM PDT
Trooper7psp says:
I keep it as simple and as cheap as I can.
I have:
A Blue Snowball Microphone
A M-Audio KeyStudio
A M-Audio FastTrack (One XLR input, One 1/8 input)
Pro Tools M-Powered
And FL Studio
Oh yeah, and 2 pairs of monitors. One a really good pair, and one that my buddy gave to me from the 90s so i can hear how it sounds on crappy speakers.
For anything recording heavy, I use Pro Tools, while anything that's really midi heavy, I use FL Studio.
Pro Tools can be a bugger to first learn though.
And FL Studio feels backwards compared to most DAW's out there.
Whatever really floats your boat really... In reality, this ain't exactly cheap, when I think about it. That's like $300 in hardware and like $200 in software... I guess you wouldn't need a keystudio, but it makes life 200x harder without it. Like not even worth it hard. You wouldn't think velocity mattered until you hear a track without it.
ANYWAY. Do what you do.
Keep Rockin'.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 6, 2011 10:22:05 PM PST
Smith says:
Hey, just a recommendation. Before you spend any money copying other's setups (which is a good idea) you should read the guide. http://www.tweakheadz.com/guide.htm
read it all. i read it over the summer, purchased an audio interface and a mic. am now saving for new software, a new mic, a mixer, etc. I couldn't be happier with my purchases.

All you really need to get started is a good computer, a good audio interface, and a good mic.

My setup:

Shure SM57
Tascam US-144mkII
Cubase and Audacity (for now... ugh i hate hate hate it)

good luck!

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 11, 2011 2:20:27 PM PST
Ruben Smith says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 16, 2011 1:57:54 PM PST
DB says:
I have the zoom r16 interface,best 8 track for the money IMO, cpu running cubase le 4 (free with the interface) $399
KRK rockit 5's $300 for the pair
art tps 2 tube pre amp $139
samson s-com compressor $129
a bunch of mics, but the shure sm57 is a must $99 (most places)
a good condenser i picked up the audio technica at2035 for $149
also the mxl r44 ribbon is very nice for $99
and the blue spark is great for $199
not to mention investing in good cables right away, they will make your sound much better.

so my setup, well the simplified version at least will run you about $1500, but wont leave you looking to upgrade within the first year. Ive been recording with this setup for about three years now, and still havent found a need to replace any of these items. Of course theres a million different opinions on this subject, but I like the way my setup works and sounds. And having the 8 tracks, even if you dont need them at first, is well worth the extra cash up front. You'll want them later.

Posted on Nov 18, 2011 9:40:51 PM PST
[Deleted by the author on Aug 8, 2013 1:55:22 PM PDT]

Posted on Nov 19, 2011 8:19:30 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 19, 2011 8:32:34 AM PST
For making Music:

These are what I use in my home studio right now after selling a lot of my gear for unrelated reasons :(

MPC2000XL
Triton
Axis
Micro Korg
Ion
Maschine
Ton of E-Mu racks
My newest toy the Ax-Synth! *LOVE IT!

For Recording Music:

A bunch of mics mostly AT stuff now

Soundkitz AE-F *LOVE IT!
Pro tools 8 with the MA firewire mixer
KP3 for fooling with effects
Old KRK RP8's The square ones before they went all sleek looking
The rest are mostly just onboard editing programs on my pc.
Oh and my Lexicon MPX 500

If you're making your first studio it really depends on what you plan to do with it, don't go broke getting the most expensive everything just because you think you need it or someone else is using it.

I found stuff like the Soundkitz AE-F most helpful for vocal sessions because I don't need a sound booth and it sound really good in an open room with it.

I brought the MPC2KXL long ago because it's a sampler and I can map samples to my Keyboard so really you can get a lot done with just it alone if your looking to make music.

There's a lot of keyboards (well I own a lot) but try to find some used ones at your local music shop or gulp* ebay. I collect gear and sometimes 2nd had you get the best deals.

An MPC and a good keyboard are a good start for making music.

Something like the AE-F and a mid level mic like the audio Technica gear is nice or even Beringer if your pockets aren't that deep.

For recording in the old days I would have said to start with a home recorder like the old DSP12's but now it's better to just jump into computer recording software because really it's cheaper. Check out some of the M powered protools stuff.

A cheap mixing interface and M powered software is a good catch.

Just start simple and as you get more into it you'll get the idea of what you want for your music. Good luck!

Posted on Nov 19, 2011 10:42:25 AM PST
Wow, thanks to everyone that has replied thus far! I really appreciate it! I was hoping to get some kind of consensus on what to buy to get my home studio started but it's amazing how many choices you have out there. It almost makes this a little bit harder than I thought. I have some research to do....

Posted on Nov 23, 2011 12:44:36 PM PST
Tom Fleming says:
I purchased a used Gemini PS-626USB mixer (no software was included???). I connected it to my computer and I got a message indicating it found the necessary drivers. However, I have no idea what software, setup, etc I need to do to to see if it's working with the USB interface, on either play or record. Should I be able to play an MP3 on Windows Media Player and without any additional computer setup, see a signal on the VU display? Thanks

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 27, 2011 7:00:34 PM PST
IMO, go with an external Firewire or PCI card > External device for all of your I/O. Get that PC out of the signal chain as much as possible.
I'd even be looking at fully stand alone recorders that dump to SD/HDD, then mix on the computer via software and good monitors. (good, being subjective / price)

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 29, 2011 8:02:10 AM PST
SERIO says:
What exactly do you want to be able to do with your home studio setup? What will you be recording? Will you be on a Mac or PC? Answer these questions, and people may be able to provide better, more specific product suggestions. Forgot one of the most important questions! What is your budget?

Posted on Dec 1, 2011 2:50:33 PM PST
Kevinjhcw says:
Sorry to go against any previous suggestions but take it from me, don't go cheap! get a Mac and Apogee interface, a Universal Audio Preamp, A good mic (Blue, Rode, Newmann or equivalent) some great cables and some great monitors, spend $4-5K and be done with it for a while. The cheap road keeps you upgrading and wasting money.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 1, 2011 2:58:06 PM PST
Sean says:
I agree with Kevinjhcw...if you spend $500 now, you will really find yourself wanting to upgrade soon after... you don't necessarily need to drop 4-5k for a great home studio. for many things except microphones, you can go the Used route and get huge savings.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 1, 2011 6:13:27 PM PST
M. Stevens says:
I use an Apple computer, and it has been a while since the PC days, but I think you have to select the mixer in the control panel as the output for the PC. I don't think you can do it from within Media Player. you could check this article for more info:
http://wiki.audacityteam.org/wiki/Mixer_Toolbar_Issues

Posted on Dec 12, 2011 1:15:09 AM PST
Computer: iMac running Logic Studio with an Apogee Duet interface.
Keyboard: Korg Kontrol 49
Monitors: KRK Rokit 3s
Mic/Instrument Preamp: Universal Audio Solo 610
Dynamic Mic: Heil PR30, Condenser: AT420, CAD E-200, etc.
Fender Strat, amps, software plugins (Waves, Superior Drummer, etc.)

Posted on Dec 13, 2011 5:34:18 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 13, 2011 5:51:18 PM PST
Matthew says:
MacBook Pro (2009) running Lion
Apogee One
Logic and Garageband
Korg MicroKey
Toontrack Superior Drummer 2.0 with Metal Foundry expansion and I also have some of their ezdrummer stuff
I've never really settled on any particular amp modeling software, but I definitely can't be bothered to mic up my amp.
Oh, and for monitoring I use a pair of Audio Technica headphones, ATH M350 I think they're called.

Actually, I just ordered a guitar interface for my iPhone and I'm pretty excited about that, at least for writing.

Most important of all is my Gibson Les Paul Traditional Plus. Love the fat neck and monstrous tone.

Posted on Dec 14, 2011 12:30:30 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 14, 2011 12:41:28 PM PST
Josh says:
Hello, I can tell you about my setup but I think I first need to emphasize that it all depends on what YOU intend to DO with your studio. That's part of why you're getting so many varied responses. Everyone's going to have a unique setup that is a function of their individual needs and the results of their personal experimentation.

In any case, your microphones, your interface and your computer are going to be the foundation of your studio around which everything else will be built. Many people say that microphones are the most important investment and I don't disagree. If you want good sound it starts with good mics. But the interface is something you will have to research extensively and be prepared to make a serious investment because if it is not what you need you may find yourself having to upgrade once you run into its limitations.

I CONCUR WITH THOSE WHO WARN YOU AGAINST GOING CHEAP. You will need to do your homework and be prepared to get decent gear right up front, otherwise (if you are serious and continue pursuing this) you WILL need to buy new stuff when you realize what you have is not cutting it.

However, I'm sure some people aren't going to like this, but I don't agree with the notion that you NEED to use Apple computers to make music. This used to be somewhat true, but not so much anymore IMO. Yes, they are proven and reliable, but let's say you're just not an Apple person? Or maybe you don't want to pay twice as much for similar hardware. There are PLENTY of fantastic software and interface options for PCs (and the software is a lot easier to *acquire*), so just be sure to weigh your options.

Here are some questions to consider before piecing together your wish list:

Do you plan to record vocals?
Are you recording multiple musicians at once? If so, do you need full track isolation?
Are you a guitar player?
Are you going to be recording live drums?
Are you interested in producing electronic music, or simply recording live instruments/vocals using microphones?

If you are producing music on the fly using computers, or if you are planning to monitor live input THROUGH your computer, or if you are using MIDI instruments, then you need to think about *latency.*

If you are recording guitars/basses, you may also want to think about the quality of the power sources in your studio (esp. home studio), as this is the most common way by which unwanted noise is introduced into the signal. At the very least, make sure the circuit is not being shared by fluorescent or CFL lights, computers (including your RECORDING computer) motors, A/C, refrigeration, etc. as all of these introduce noise with electric instruments. I had to drill a hole into my garage and run an extension for my laptop because the big honkin' power supply was causing a crackling sound in all of my amps.

Here are my personal needs, this will explain why I chose my setup...
--I record 2-4 musicians at a time, with no need for full track isolation because our style of music is live/improvisational and for us, editing or post-production of any kind would be a crime. So we all play in the same space and don't worry about our mics picking up other instruments. We can still adjust the levels within a certain range in case someone comes through too loud or soft in the mix.
--We do not need to record vocals
--I require up to 8 mic inputs (4 are for the drum mics).
--I am primarily a guitar player. My guitar does not need to be monitored or modulated within the computer, simply recorded.
--I use a MIDI keyboard and a laptop to produce electronic sounds which are recorded directly. My latency is a minor issue at about 5ms, but is still an issue in some cases.
--My monitors need to be loud enough for my drummer to hear the MIDI/electronic sounds.
--The acoustics of the room are a potential issue due to our loud volumes and the way we mic the room.

And here is my setup...
--INTERFACE: Tascam US1641 16 track (USB, 8 XLR in, 2 instrument in, 4 additional balanced inputs in rear). About $400. (Wish I had gone with a more expensive RME unit, to get lower latencies.)
--MIDI CONTROLLERS: Novation SL MKii 49 key (awesome) (retails for 500 but that's not what I paid)
Novation Launchpad (about $100)
Assorted other MIDI capable crap I've collected over the years
--PC: Toshiba Qosmio, i7, 16GB RAM running Win7 (1300 Bucks- needed the extreme processing power to run Ableton and Reason simultaneously, WHILE recording, at low latencies. My interface is currently the weakest link.)
--MONITORS: I use an old VocoPro 420W power amp that I found in a karaoke machine, fed into a pair of 15 inch speakers (just whatever I could find). $0
--SOFTWARE: Reason, Live, occasionally use Reaper and Audacity
--A Cheap set of drum mics: about 75 bucks
--Assorted condenser and cardioid mics acquired over the years: a couple hundred bucks probably (and I need new ones now, because I went cheap!)
--Lots of decent quality instrument, mic and midi cables: another couple hundred bucks
--And some cheap foam material that my drummer found somewhere and nailed up in the barest corner of the room: 0$
(not professional, but it WORKS -- there's a lesson there somewhere I think)

(I will not get into my guitar rig and pedalboard which is the bulk of my investment.)

I hope that is in some way helpful. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to waste time at work. Good luck!

Posted on Dec 28, 2011 4:52:09 PM PST
MAC BOOK PRO (2 of them)
2 M audio short keys
1 Arturia drum machine
Moog voyager
Moog III C, refurbished..don't ask, cost a FRIGGIN fortune..still have pro patchers tutoring me
REASON
ABLETON LIVE
REAKTOR
NI
MIC one needs to beHU GE RUBBERY EXPANDING
SIMPLE MIXER
FENDER ACOUSTIC w/ BARCUS BARRY PICUPS
NUDE LIVE WOMEN COVERING WALLS FOR BREASTSOUNDS...a new thing I discovered...OH YEAH...
I lied about EVERYTHING except for macs, moog and reason...that is all CAM SPEWING PRUCK SHUFT
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