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help me build a cheap windows based studio!

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by hateater, Nov 4, 2004.

  1. hateater

    hateater snatch canadian cream

    May 4, 2001
    Eugene, OR
    I am lucky because my parents are giving me a couple of thousand dollars to do what i can with a windows xp based studio.... someone tell me what are some good products for affordable prices!
  2. Go Linux...


    Seriously, I would try and get Pro tools, and get a decent mixing board, compressor, headphone amp, mixing moniters, and a lot of good microphones (the more the better! you can never have to many microphones!)
  3. Bigwig


    Dec 27, 2003
    good luck getting all that for under 2000
  4. Skorzen


    Mar 15, 2002
    Springfield MA
    check out the windows board over at digidesign.com. There is a tone of info there I would HIGHLY recomend going pro tools. You can get a pc for under a grand that will run it quite well. as for "studio" what are you looking to do actually do? record bands or just mess around with your own stuff? If you wanna record a band you probably want to go with the digi002 rack which will allow you to record 8(16 with a adat converter thingy) tracks simultainiously. that'll run somewhere around $1200 I think. The other option is the mbox which is about $400. that will only give you two channels of input. with about $2000 you need to way what you want to spend money on now, and what to upgrade later. Like if you have a computer that will run the softwar you can spend a little more money on things like mics ect. also you mentioned that you want to go with a windows system, some poeple will probably tell you that you need to go with a mac for audio. They are wrong. When asked one of the Digidesign reps in the area actually said that for a ProTools LE(harder on the computer much cheaper this is what the Mbox and 002 run) a pc is actually a better way to go than a mac. plus the price difference is huge. well yeah there's my 3 cents on the topic.
  5. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
  6. Bass


    Nov 10, 2003
    I use Kristal software on a PC because it's free, good and easy to use. I have 6 mics plugged into a Behringer UB1202 (also cheap) mixer and the mixer is plugged into the computer. 1 mic for guitars, 1 for bass, 1 for vocals and 3 for drums. We're not pros but we recently made a demo disc. It sounded pretty good for cheap recording gear.

    For $2000 you can set up a far better studio than this.
  7. Passinwind

    Passinwind I Know Nothing Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics

    You probably will end in in that forum anyway, no?

    Personally, I'd spend my money in roughly equal parts:


    Soundcard and small mixer (might not need this with right card setup)


    Microphones, stands, cables, DI or preamp

    If you get the right soundcard bundle, half your software needs should be covered. I'd look at which software appeals to you, and buy a bundle that incorporates that.

    I have a few friends with Pro Tools systems. They're not necessarily getting better results than other friends who use N-Track, which is like $60. The weakest link is usually the operator, for at least a year or two, IMHO.

    Have fun! :cool:
  8. hateater

    hateater snatch canadian cream

    May 4, 2001
    Eugene, OR
    I should have been more clear. I have a xp on pentium 4 with TONS of ram. For programs, I have cool edit pro, and Reason 2.5. Oh yeah, finale pro too. I have my bass amp + cab... no real moiniters. Then there are my guitars and keyboard thjat is midi capable.
  9. msquared


    Sep 19, 2004
    Kansas City
    I used N-Track for a long time. It's a good program but it has some stability issues. I ended up with Sonar and like it a whole lot more.

    The question you're asking is tough to answer without knowing what your goals are, but this question is asked and answered all over the place. Search on Usenet and other web boards. There is a lot of good advice already out there. You will get a lot better use out of your money if you do some research beforehand. Don't just get excited about having a 'studio' and buy a bunch of things that look shiny.
  10. Passinwind

    Passinwind I Know Nothing Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    Heh, I never had a hint of a stability issue with any version of N-Track, and none of the Cakewalk/Sonar versions ever worked well at all for me. That's why I advanced the idea of buying a compatible bundle of some sort. I just bought a card that was developed with Cubase/Wavelab in mind, so that's what I'll be using now. I've used Wavelab for years already, and that influenced my decision greatly.

    But I agree, there are a ton of good online resources already out there. The FAQ I linked to points to some.

    Hateater: how many inputs and outputs do you contemplate needing? Do you even need mikes for what you want to do ?
  11. hateater

    hateater snatch canadian cream

    May 4, 2001
    Eugene, OR
    possibly 2 mic inputs, 4 outs.
  12. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    Check out ST audio for converters. I got an 8 in, 8 out box with two mic inputs and phantom power for a little over $300 on ebay. Sounds really good, although you'll want to check compatibility issues first. Regardless of the software you use, this could be a great choice.
  13. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Yes, the sound card is the most important consideration. Ask yourself these questions, in order:

    1. How many tracks to I need to record "at once"? Most of us can probably get away with two, although if you're recording live drums or an orchestra, eight might be helpful, and in that case an outboard ProTools box or a Delta 1010 might serve you well.

    2. What kind of audio quality do I "really" need? For most purposes, 44.1/16 (ie CD quality) is sufficient. However if you're interested in "super high quality" audio, maybe 96/24 is more up your alley. If you're just goofing around, a 29 dollar sound blaster card might be adequate.

    3. What is the primary purpose for my recordings? Is it home musical recording, or do I intend to do professional quality movie soundtracks? If the latter, you'll probably need some powerful editing capabilities that wouldn't ordinarily be needed in a rock 'n' roll situation (time expansion/compression, that kind of thing - if you're intending to produce soundtracks for commercials, you'll need to target to a very specific duration and etc, and in that case Cakewalk might not be good enough - or at least it would become annoying pretty quickly).

    4. Is my existing computer system sufficiently free of clutter, from an operational perspective? For the most part, anything else "other than audio" that has to coexist on your computer will cause performance problems. If you're connecting to the Internet at the same time you're doing 8-track digital recording and playback, expect some glitches.

    The answer to these four questions will reduce the complexity of your decision making process, and often narrow down the range of acceptable solutions to one or maybe two choices.
  14. Bard2dbone


    Aug 4, 2002
    Arlington TX
    I'm just posting here to subscribe to this thread.

    I was on the way to building up a computer recording setup when things got different money-wise. I got the new computer it's waaaaaay more powerful than my other computer. I was then looking at a digi002 setup.

    Then I was suddenly making almost enough money to cover my house payment and car payment. After that, I fritter away money on fripperies like gas, food...etc.

    Unfortunately, that makes studio purchases fairly unlikely for a while.
  15. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    Shouldn't this be in Recording Gear and Equipment?
  16. msquared


    Sep 19, 2004
    Kansas City
    It seems very dependant on hardware with no rhyme or reason to what works. When I started with N-Track on a PIII/500 laptop, it was rock solid. The better hardware I got, the worse it behaved. A guitarist friend of mine has it on a smoking machine and it's a joy to use at his place.

    The older Sonar stuff was pretty sketchy, but they seem to have ironed most of the showstoppers out as of 3.1. I'm interested to hear what hardware you're running that the new Sonar breaks on while the new N-Track is fine.
  17. Cakewalk Home Studio 2XL has been pretty much bullet proof for me running on an AMD XP3000 with only 512mb of ram. Great program in my book. I still use Cool Edit to edit waves and export mp3's since Calkwalk has a time limited mp3 decoder :meh: