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Comment on my home recording set-up (planned and already in place)

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by dnp41, Jul 23, 2018.

  1. dnp41


    May 10, 2016
    Hi Guys,

    I'm planning to take a short brake from performing and focusing more on recording. My goal is to create an own record (LP or EP) where I will do most of the work myself. I will try to write all the songs, sing on them, play bass, and play e-guitar. I will most likely not use any other instruments (perhaps some piano or synth stuff, but only on occasion).

    I' wondering what you guys think of my current set-up and what you would recommend gearwise to achieve a "fairly good sounding, although not professional grade" Album or EP:

    - Audient ID4 usb audio interface
    - Studio grade KRK headphones (can't recall exact model number)
    - Monitors (JBL SR305)

    For bass:
    - variety of P basses (and one J bass coming up)
    - Sansamp VT DI
    - Some other effects
    - Will use the Audient ID4 DI in most of the time

    For vocals:
    - Shure Beta 58 and normal 58 (my room is not threaded so these mics work pretty okay for this room)
    - Audio Technica AT 2010 (planned, as a higher quality mic after some room threatment)
    - Vocal Plugin pack from waves (planned)
    - DBX 286 S as a vocal processor, to have some on board compression, de-esser, phantom power etc. (planned)

    For guitars:
    A PRS Tremonti Single Cut and a Custom build Strat
    - Waves Guitar plugin pack (planned)

    so my main questions are:
    - what are your recommendations, am I missing something?
    - what do you think of my "planned" purchases? Makes sense or wrong priority or even wrong product type?
  2. DirtDog


    Jun 7, 2002
    The Deep North
    Check out the Scheps Omni Channel plug in from Waves. May eliminate your need for separate vocal and guitar plug ins and the dbx unit.

    Since I started using the Scheps, I haven’t touched my rack mounted channel strip. I use it on drums (EZDrummer) and vocal tracks mostly.
    dnp41 likes this.
  3. dnp41


    May 10, 2016
    I would need the guitar plug-ins also for the guitar amps, but the channel strips looks pretty awesome!
    DirtDog likes this.
  4. Mcgiver69


    Sep 28, 2005
    I would rather get the Audio Technica AT2020 instead of the AT2010. It is a condenser mic which could be better for vocal recording, if your room is not treated I would recommend one of those portable vocal booth.

    Maybe a midi controller wouldn't do any harm.

    The rest of your configuration sounds solid.
    DirtDog and MonetBass like this.
  5. dnp41


    May 10, 2016
    I was under the impression that AT's are the same with the only difference the casings. The 2010 would have the benefit of potential live use. The 2020 is however cheaper so if it is a better choice I would definitely go for that.
  6. DirtDog


    Jun 7, 2002
    The Deep North
    I may now look into the Waves guitar plug ins based on my experience with the Omni Channel. I'm using the stock amp/FX stuff that comes with Logic Pro X, which is pretty good. But always on the lookout for something new and interesting.
  7. DirtDog


    Jun 7, 2002
    The Deep North
    More two cents:

    I'm using the AT2035 which is not that much more expensive and has a greater dynamic range and lower noise level than the 2020. Also has a switchable HPF and a 10dB pad.

    Another vote for a midi controller. I've got a Yamaha 49 key and an M-Audio 25 key that I swap around from time to time. Actually, see below for my home studio gear list...a work in progress!

    One thing I just cannot live without anymore is this bad boy...I just cannot mix with a mouse anymore. If I hadn't gotten such a good deal on this FP8, I most likely would have sprung for the FP16.


    27" iMac running High Sierra
    Logic Pro X
    Waves Scheps Omni Channel

    Outboard (mounted in rolling rack):
    MOTU 828mk3 interface
    SansAmp RBI
    ART ProChannel II
    ART HeadAmp 6
    ART P48 Patchbay

    Yamaha KX 49
    M-Audio Oxygen 26
    Presonus FaderPort 8

    AT2035 x1 (large diaphragm condenser) on a boom mount
    SM58 x2
    SM57 x2
    M-Audio Pulsar II (pair small diaphragm condenser mics)

    plus multiple amps, guitars, basses, FX pedals, DIs, headphones and whatnot.

    Also have a Presonus SL16.4.2 if I need to track more than 8 channels at a time - so doesn't get pulled out unless in a band tracking setting.

    WANT: some sort of e-drum setup, probably Roland or Alesis. I rent a kit for a couple of months at a time each winter. I figure I could have bought a kit for the amount I've spent over the last several years, but at least I can access the latest technology without paying full retail. I tend to be more musically creative during the long winter months anyways...not so much in the summer.
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2018
    Bodeanly and dnp41 like this.
  8. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    Your general plan is fine. I would make a few tweaks for my taste, but what you've got in mind will get the job done. I'm surprised to see that you don't have any provisions for percussion. A simple MIDI controller, as has been mentioned earlier, and a couple of VSTs will get you a long way towards a more full arrangement. Drums, percussion, electronic percussion, etc. can all be triggered and recorded as MIDI via the same controller that will be running the piano and synth stuff that you mentioned in your OP.

    Here are the tweaks I'd make, again, for my taste:

    As far as I'm concerned there is NOTHING that KRK currently makes that qualifies as studio grade. Their stuff all has this baked-in curve to it despite what their product literature has to say. If all you're using it for is to check the low end (which you should do via headphones since you've mentioned that your room is untreated) and to check for any binaural anomalies (pans being too wide, automation moves causing distracting stereo imaging problems, etc.) then they're probably be fine. If you're going to be doing any of the actual mixing on them I'd find look elsewhere.

    Treated or untreated rooms don't dictate what mic you should be using. The polar pattern is about the only distinguishing factor that you should consider with a mic relative to room treatments. Generally speaking you want a mic with more cancellation in an untreated space to keep as much room sound out of the mic as possible. Use the 58 if you want the sound of a dynamic mic. Use the Beta 58 if you want a dynamic mic sound with a little more top end. Both are cardioid patterns and will do fine, relatively speaking, in an untreated space.

    It's not "higher quality" than a 58, it's just a different sound. Generally speaking it will be a wider frequency response, which may or may not be what you're after. I believe the 2010 and 2020 are both cardioid, or are selectable for cardioid and will therefore work just as well in an untreated space as your 58 and Beta 58.

    I'm generally not a Waves user and have gone over almost exclusively to Izotope for mixing plugins. Give them a look. Picking up one of their package deals with Neutron, Ozone and Nectar would get you everything you need except for amp sims on the guitar side.

    If you're new at this I would avoid committing to anything on the way in. Ditch this piece of outboard gear, save yourself a little dough and deal with these processes in the box.

    I'd skip this entirely and go with Positive Grid Bias 2. It's a killer amp modeler, and is pretty low cost considering everything you get. Combine this with the Izotope stuff I mentioned earlier and you can build a killer guitar signal path without needing to mic an amp.
    TheEmptyCell, JACink, JRA and 2 others like this.
  9. dnp41


    May 10, 2016
    Thanks, super helpful tips and I will definitely look into other plugins! I forgot to mention that I plan to use ez drummer for drums
    DirtDog likes this.
  10. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    looks like silky smoove 's suggestions are practical and thoughtful. i think he has you covered. if you've never recorded with a decent (can be pretty cheap!) large diaphragm condenser mic --- it can change your perspective on the recording process (positively!). skip the things silky and others have suggested and think about a condenser as an alternative to the cardioids you have...it can change the way you perform/record/produce vocals.

    good luck with your recording! :thumbsup:
  11. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    The AT2010 that the OP has planned is a condenser.

    Condenser refers to the type of microphone (dynamic, condenser, ribbon, electret, etc.) whereas cardioid refers to a polar pattern which may be present on any type of microphone.
    dnp41 and DirtDog like this.
  12. DirtDog


    Jun 7, 2002
    The Deep North
    AT2020 and AT2035 are also condenser mics (with cardioid patterns)
  13. dnp41


    May 10, 2016
    is there any cheap MIDI fader controller that you guys would recommend? Also what other plugins would you recommend? The Izotope stuff looks awesome, but also pricey
  14. DirtDog


    Jun 7, 2002
    The Deep North
    Behringer X Touch Compact is the only one that is cheap ($299) and has MIDI I/O that I've found. Never used it, so can't comment on it.

    Lots more choice on the USB I/O side of things (that sends/receives MIDI signal over USB).

    More important to know which protocol works with your DAW (MCU or HUI), then think about connectivity, then your functional requirements before choosing your controller. Even then, not every DAW plays nice with every controller that uses a specific protocol. Some tweaking may be required for MIDI parameters/mapping. Do some research.
    dnp41 likes this.
  15. TheEmptyCell

    TheEmptyCell Bearded Dingwall Enthusiast Supporting Member

    Jul 16, 2005
    Los Angeles, CA
    The Presonus Faderport FP8 mentioned earlier has great reviews. I don’t think I’d go cheaper than that unless you get the original 1-fader Faderport and learn all the keyboard shortcuts (get one of the silicone keyboard overlays, some engineers consider them cheating but it really does help learn the shortcuts). Personally, I’m used to mixing via keyboard and trackpad, but when I finally get around to putting together a desktop mixing setup I’ll be getting a trackball.

    Rather than a different vocal mic, consider investing in room treatment or one of the many vocal mic isolating shields available.

    I also second the recommendation to go for Bias 2. If you want til Black Friday there will be great sales from every plugin manufacturer. I use Waves Gold and Izotope, but there are some Steven Slate plugins I’d like to get eventually. I tend to mostly use the stock EQ plug ins in ProTools unless I need linear phase EQ or something like that.

    I’d recommend some sort of MIDI controller; whatever you’ll be comfortable using to program drums. Something you can hit with drum sticks is good, and cathartic.

    KRK headphones are a nope from me as well. I have two pairs of phones I like; Audio Technica M50x and AKG K240mkii. I track with the M50x and mix mostly with the K240mkii, but swap back and forth to check the mix. Since I don’t use monitors (apartment dwelling) I check on as many different systems as I can get my ears between.
    DirtDog and dnp41 like this.
  16. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    some of the large diaphragm condenser mics available (cheaply) allow for different patterns. and then there's this: a condenser mic treats the 'space recorded' differently than a dynamic mic regardless of available/optimum pattern.

    that's why i made a suggestion. and thanks for sharing. ;)
  17. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    While that's a definite plus for many folks, I think the OP should avoid any polar pattern that isn't cardioid or possibly hyper cardioid since the room is untreated. The more rejection the better in that case.

    Sure does, but it's really just a matter of frequency response and SPL handling. Stay within the allowable SPL range and pick a mic that has the frequency response you're looking for. There's not really any magic to it beyond that. Most of the condensers in the OP's price range have a noticeably hyped top end to make them sound more expensive, and it's precisely that hyped top end that I hear ruining a lot of folks early mixing attempts, mine included. In this price range I almost always recommend that people stick with a middle-of-the-road dynamic mic than a condenser due to the more natural sounding top end of a dynamic mic and the, by comparison, more narrow frequency response.
    dnp41 likes this.
  18. Bertr


    May 6, 2013
    A mixing desk for the analog recording maybe? In my studio I have a soundcraft that allows to have kbds, palmer gtr sims, bass preamps, drum machine to be connected all the time. I route the auxiliaries (pre EQ) to soundcard in and soundcard out to a stereo in of the desk. That way, no problems with latencies, monitor volume, hardware insert adjust or input levels.
    And honestly, the preamps of say a used MPM (or even better a GB) are more than decent.
  19. Mcgiver69


    Sep 28, 2005
    The positive Bias 2 advice is
    Just to let you know, Positive Grid has a flash sale with $30 off, right now their Standard Bundle is going for $49 which is a steal IMHO.

    Use the discount code: FLASHFXBUNDLES30

    Offer ends 07/30

    Note: I do not have any commercial association Positive Bias or any related company.
    DirtDog and dnp41 like this.
  20. dnp41


    May 10, 2016
    ...annndddd... place order.

    thanks for the hint
    DirtDog likes this.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Feb 28, 2021

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