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Home studio budget

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by Jim Nazium, Nov 24, 2010.

  1. Planning a project studio for next year. I already have an interface & control surface. This is what I have tentatively planned for everything else:

    room treatment 1000
    computer 1500
    monitors 1000
    software 500
    mics 300
    drums 1000
    digital piano 1000
    guitar amp 300
    cables, etc 400
    Total 7000

    Did I miss anything? Anyplace where I could reallocate to get more bang for the buck?
  2. relwof


    May 7, 2010
    Marietta, GA
    If you plan on doing much acoustic recording, you'll need a good mic preamp (and probably want more than one), and $300 might be thin for mics.
  3. scottbass

    scottbass Bass lines like a big, funky giant

    Jul 13, 2004
    Southern MN
    IME that's way too little for mic's. Unless all you are going to be recording with a mic (a large condenser) is your own voice. Even then you're gonna need a decent preamp for that condenser mic. (The preamps built into most mixers aren't real optimal for the task.) If you're gonna mic acoustic guitar you should probably get a pair of small condensers to use in an X-Y configuration. And if you're gonna mic real drums, then you'll need a kick drum mic and half a dozen or so dynamic mics.

    Everything else in your budget should be doable. Maybe you should scale down the computer, drums and digital piano allowances to give you more room for mics and preamps.

    And where in the budget are your DI's?
  4. Jonyak


    Oct 2, 2007
    Ottawa, Ont
    lol, sorry I just saw your sig.

    on topic. I spent $300 just on mics for my drums.

    and then $150 each for vocal mics ( i have 3), and another $300 for a good condenser.

    and I don't even have a good guitar am mic yet.

    I cheaped out on the computer, I only spent about $500 and it runs all the software I need perfectly. I recorded 14 tracks simultaneously the other day with no issues.

    I still need to do some room treatment though.

    you migth want a good direct box, or as relwof said a good mic preamp.
  5. M0ses


    Sep 11, 2009
    Los Angeles
    I don't think you need to spend that much on an digital piano. You can satisfy anyone but the most picky pianists with a good MIDI controller and standalone synths: I'd suggest the Alesis NanoPiano, you can get them for sub-$200 on ebay. That'll also cover a lot of other great keyboard sounds. Probably $300-400 on a nice controller.
  6. pfschim

    pfschim Just a Skeleton with a Jazz bass

    Apr 26, 2006
    SF Bay Area
    I would trim the computer budget to $1k. Unless you're going Mac, you can get a lot of processing power for $1k. Then, up the mic budget to $6-800.
  7. Yeah, I though the mic budget was probably a bit low ... I just got scared by the total! I have a decent MIDI keyboard that I can use for now, and spend little more on mics.

    Thanks for the suggestions!
  8. Jonyak


    Oct 2, 2007
    Ottawa, Ont
    I find it best not to look at the total and just slowly buy stuff over time. :D
  9. relwof


    May 7, 2010
    Marietta, GA
    If you've already got a decent set of keys, I would highly recommend you go get a software-based piano - much cheaper, leaves more money for mics. I don't know what the latest greatest is, but GigaPiano was amazingly good ten years ago.

    On a related note : $1000 for drums? Might be tough getting a decent digital set for that. You might be able to get an workable acoustic kit for $1k, but then you'd need another $K in mics and preamps to record it.
  10. pgolliher


    Apr 27, 2010
    Santa Cruz, CA
    +1 on need more money for mics and a mic pre. As the old saying goes, garbage in, garbage out. Without decent mics, you will have a hard time getting a good sounds and you will drive yourself crazy and spend hours trying in vain to try to get it to sound good post recording. Even a cheap mic pre can make a world of difference. A rule that I have - any recording you do will take 2-3 times longer than you think it will. (even longer for vocals and lead guitar). My friend Matt Peterson from Digidesign/Protools also has a rule: "Every piece of gear requires two more." -it is sooo true. You buy a mic, and you need a cable and stand, you buy an interface and you need a board and cables....etc
  11. RoosterRusek


    Dec 13, 2002
    Atlanta, Ga
    Dood....I spent about 500 on a PC, use Nuendo, have really nice Event monitors, use M-Audio interface and my shiat sounds great (according to others duh LOL). High end recording gear does not garuntee great sounds...getting to know your equipment will do that.

    And my PC runs about 64 channels with EQ's and effects and doesn't skip a beat. Don't let someone tell you that you have to spend a ton of cash. Unless you are setting up a studio for commercial use or have alot of money (PM me for my specs on a new bass you can get me for this advice) then choose carefully for what you really need.

    Last, if I WERE to spend $$$$, it would for sure be on better mics and pre's.
  12. EricF

    EricF Habitual User

    Sep 26, 2005
    Pasadena, CA
    You don't have any AD/DA conversion on your list. How will you get your signal into the computer? Being that you don't have any pres listed either, I'd suggest an interface with built-in pres (Presonus Firestudio, maybe). This is a place worth spending a decent chunk of your money. Pres and AD/DA conversion are an important part of the equation.

    You can save some money on your digital piano. The Casio PX-series digital pianos are excellent for the money (great key feel).

    It's good to see you have acoustic treatment figured into your budget. Do some research, and do it right. "Right" does NOT equal foam products. Proper bass traps and broadband absorbers filled with rigid fiberglass insulation or mineral wool will do a MUCH better job for you.
  13. Please excuse the ebay link but this will be my purchase in the Spring.

    This will cover your mixer, ad/da, mics/pres, headphones, cables, software (includes a nice recording program)...all for a meager $2400 and you can use it as a live mixer as well. You can record 18 tracks at once...even live if you want...Only drawback ....it is firewire so you will be limited on a computer unless you go Mac.

  14. A good budget, nice to see room treatment involved :) You have included a lot of the dull stuff that most people forget, which is good, but you are scrimping on the really important stuff!

    For a 7000 setup spending 300 on mics is silly, mics are the main event when it comes to recording. I'd spend less on the computer and piano and maybe even the monitors and get more mics. And s others have suggested, you have no way of getting anything into your computer yet. you need an interface, and for your budget that should be the main consideration after computer and room treatment.

    Get a nice interface with some pres built in, a nice set of mics, a computer, monitors and room treatment and you are good to go. You could save cash on cables as well by making your own.

    You could save a lot on room treatment as well, its SO importnat but doesn't have to be expensive. In my home setup I use acoustic rockwool wrapped in cling film hung on the walls, then covered with curtains. essentially the same as the expensive stuff but I spent $100 treating the whole room. With a bit of inginuity you can make corner traps from the same stuff.

    I'm not suggesting scrimp on the room treatment, but its an area you can easily DIY if you are willing to put the time in.

    I'd budget $1000 for an interface and the same for mics, $300 at most for room treatment (though that implies a lot of work). $800 for a computer, $200 for cables and the rest as you have it if you deem them necessary.

    Monitors are a funny one, I LOVE working on mine (as does Tom Lord-Alge, superstar mixer :) ), and they cost $250. With the right approach many cheap speakers are great for monitoring. But if you want to get a nice set then your budget is probably about right.

    Welcome to the wallet weight-loss program! It sucks, you're gonna love it :)
  15. MNAirHead

    MNAirHead Supporting Member

    unsure if you're doing the recording or will host other folks.. there are things on there that may not get used.
  16. Answering some questions:

    I do have an interface; it's a Tascam 1641 which has 8 mic pre's built in. I also have an old Mackie control surface.

    I definitely want real drums. I play a lot of jazz, and an electronic kit that you can play with brushes costs a fortune. So yeah, I'm gonna need to buy some drum mics. It sounds like I need to budget at least $1000 for mics.

    This "studio" is both for me to record stuff and for friends to come over and jam and record their stuff. So the guitar amp, for example, might or might not get used, but at least everything will be there so people don't have to bring a bunch of their own gear.

    It sounds like a quad-core computer with 2 TB of disk space isn't really necessary? That's good news. I'd also be willing to DIY the room treatment if it won't look totally ghetto :)
  17. Mics are super important. I would buy one Neumann and a whole bunch of SM57's :) (mainly I don't know much about mics)... I found a lot of information insulating my basement on Gearslutz.com. I bought a cheap drum kit and have slowly put better stuff on it...kick pedal, cymbals and I'm saving up for possibly a better snare.

    The red insulated sound baffles I learned how to make on Gear slutz...

  18. Dutchyman


    Sep 11, 2009
    Shelburne, VT
    One way you could shave off some $ is by going open source for your software. Linux has come a long way in it's usability, and there are a few distributions geared towards the arts. Ubuntu Studio is a great distro for recording (though it is geared towards both music and video), and there is an Argentinian distro called Musix that I've been reading rave reviews over, and have been considering loading onto my computer.
    The great part about all this is that it's almost completely free! And there are many linux equivalents to commercial software that are on par in terms of quality and usability.
    The downside is that there is no real support offered for some of them. While you can subscribe to Ubuntu's support services (for a reasonable fee), Musix isn't supported in the same way, and some of the applications you'd run will be the same.
    That being said, the community is great, and very helpful. Chances are, there is someone who's had the same problem, and is more than willing to help. MIJ-VI here on TB even posted a thread regarding Ubuntu Studio here!
    In any case, I encourage you to take a look at open source options for your software cost.

    I'll get off my soapbox now...

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