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Home studio in a week?

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by Tom7, Jun 22, 2005.

  1. Tom7

    Tom7 I'm so bright, my mom called me son! ;-)

    Jan 31, 2000
    Eagle River, Alaska
    I'd like to quickly get set up to do light weight recording in my home, and wouldn't mind some experienced advice.

    My budget is very good, so let's not worry about that for now at least.

    I've looked at Boss and Roland recorders online. The video clips showing them off are very impressive to me.

    On the other hand, I've been on Cakewalk's website too and Cakewalk Sonar looks like a great way to go too.

    I have 5 new laptops in my house (I have 7 kids), and 1 could easily be repurposed for recording. I could also get one of the dedicated desktop PC setups too if that is what is strongly recommended, but I like the laptop idea more.

    I have a GREAT mixer, a Yamaha MG32/14FX and would like to use that if I could.

    Any guidance?
  2. SlavaF


    Jul 31, 2002
    Edmonton AB
    Cakewalk Sonar is where it's at for me, it is pretty amazing software!
  3. After fighting with the whole computer thing for almost a year I gave up and got a Tascam DP-01-FX($499), was recording the same day and have not looked back. Getting a good quality sound into the computer was my stumbling block because nothing was satisfactory for my needs and I woulda spent a whole lot more than 500 bucks to get there. Digital 8 tracks is enough for me and if I need more tracks then I do have the computer to use for production. The other plus of the porta studio is it's ez for me to get tracks from other musicians cuz I can take my studio to theirs.
    ps. I've already made my money back doing singer/songwriter sessions for other folks.
  4. SubMonkey


    May 3, 2004
    Denver, CO
    +1 on Cakewalk and an interface (I'm using an M-Audio 1010 and a 44)

  5. msquared


    Sep 19, 2004
    Kansas City
    I use Cakewalk Sonar exclusively after a few years of N-Track, Cubase, and some others. I love it.

    I've used a laptop for multichannel (up to 18 channels) before. I can recommend it as long as you are using a firewire interface and recording to a firewire hard disk, but a lot of laptops out there don't have enough bandwidth on the bus to do it right and the built in disks are selected for stability and coolness over speed, which hurts you.

    Consider: http://www.carillonusa.com/

    The interface I use is a Mark of the Unicorn 828 and I like it a whole lot. Also consider Presonus gear. I've had great luck with their customer support and the hardware is rock solid.

    If your budget is very good, check out http://www.mercenary.com for some good mic preamps and microphones. You can't go wrong with Great River or, if your budget is merely good, FMR.
  6. Bob the Bass

    Bob the Bass

    Aug 13, 2004
    Roland BR-1600 - can't fault it, its an amazing piece of kit !
  7. hyperlitem

    hyperlitem Guest

    Jul 25, 2001
    Indianapolis, IN
    pro tools digi002 rack. much much much better in the long run.
  8. nemo


    Mar 19, 2004
    If you don't already have great nearfield monitors, and money are no concern, I would consider buying them first. Check i.e. Genelec, Mackie, Dynaudio, Adam brands.
    I too recommend laptop + audio interface solution for flexibility.
  9. SubMonkey


    May 3, 2004
    Denver, CO
    I'm also having good luck with my Event PS-6's

    since we're slowly but surely building an inventory list on how to do this in a week;

    I might also suggest, and some of this assumes you're system is stationary and that you're recording good old fashioned analog drums, the way they should be ;)

    a seperate control room if possible,
    an XLR snake with appropriate channels for sends and returns.
    a mixer with phantom power (your mixer seems fine for the job)
    a small array of mics (preferably at least 2 large diaphragm condensers and whatever dynamics work for you)
    various stands, clamps and cables to support said mics
    possibly a headphone amp...

    anything else anyone ?

  10. Tom7

    Tom7 I'm so bright, my mom called me son! ;-)

    Jan 31, 2000
    Eagle River, Alaska
    Sorry for the absence ... long story. And thanks for the suggestions!

    Originally wanted to put something up in a week to record a friend (vocalist) who is moving away (to Brazil). I've long wanted a home studio anyway and was going to use this as the excuse to get off the dime and get it done, but I'm too lost to know what to get.

    By the way, thank you all for the compliment of assuming I know anything. Unfortunately, I don't; I could barely understand what some of you were saying. :)

    If I understand correctly, there are two general directions: a standalone workstation (like the Tascam DP-01-FX and the Roland BR-1600), and a computer-based recording setup (a la Cakewalk). The standalone stations are turnkey and do good quality from what I've read. Cakewalk is much more sophisticated, but it goes places the standalones cannot.

    I wonder if I need a hybrid of these.

    For me, ideas can be pretty fragile. I have literally left the shower to sing into my HP iPaq PocketPC so that I don't forget an idea. If I had to boot a PC and fire up software and gear, I'll have long forgotten the idea. I can see how the no-hassle (yet powerful) Roland BR-1600 would be the ticket. On the other hand, the more I read about Sonar, the more intrigued I get.

    Submonkey, how would my mixer connect to a PC? Is there a gadget(s) that goes in between?

  11. SubMonkey


    May 3, 2004
    Denver, CO
    Just a 1/4 inch balanced cable snake from the mixer to whatever audio interface you decide to go with... (I'm using m-audio stuff, but you'll probably also get very good advice suggesting DIGI, MOTU, AARDVARK or a few other manufacturers)

    I'm not familiar with your specific mixer so you may have "busses" available or "direct-outs" available per channel....
    but either way anything with a 32/14 designation probably has more routing options than you'll need :D

  12. WalterBush


    Feb 27, 2005
    Yuma, Az
    Full disclosure, I'm a certified Fender technician working in a music store that carries Fender, Yamaha, and Ibanez products among others.
    I'd say avoid Pro Tools if you're PC-based. I have yet to see the PC-based Pro Tools system that doesn't go buggy during certain operations, and sometimes for no apparent reason. I say this as a guy who uses a Pro Tools /HD system at least twice a week.

    In my own setup at home, I use Sonar 4 PE, and I've been a loyal Cakewalk guy since Cakewalk Pro Audio 6. I'd also recommend looking at the Echo website for a frontend--I love the way the Echo Layla/24 sounds, and it interfaces nicely with other studios' ADAT hardware.

    The Echo (or Aardvark, or MOTU, or whatever audio interface you get) needs input from some kind of mic pre. Your MG32/14FX has enough sends to pack out the input section of any computer interface, and Yamaha makes nice sounding preamps for their boards. After a while, though, tearing apart the studio to do a live gig gets annoying. I'd consider going with a dedicated set of mic pres, such as presonus offers in its Digimax 96k. The Digimax offers 8 mic pres with analog and ADAT digital out simultaneous. Between the Echo and the Digimax, I've got 16 channels in and 8 out simultaneous playback/record. Presonus also makes an excellent all-in-one box, the Firepod. The software bundled with it is NOT good, but it has mic pres and computer interface in one box.

    Hmmm, this is getting pretty long, so I'll just say that all the info above is based on my experience, which may be different than someone else's, and that the Mix magazine seminars on demand are an excellent resource:


    There's video demos of how recording is usually done, and watching this could help you determine where you want to sink your dough first.
    Have fun!
  13. Tom7

    Tom7 I'm so bright, my mom called me son! ;-)

    Jan 31, 2000
    Eagle River, Alaska
    What a helpful post, thanks. Meanwhile, I've been buying magazines (and a couple of books) and reading and trying to get studied up on stuff ... Mix Magazine being one of the magazines I've been studying. I'll check out the video link today if I can.

    By the way, I was leaning Sonar, but these mags are starting to tilt me to Tracktion 2.0. If you (or anyone else) has any experience or advice to share I'd appreciate it.

    Thanks again.


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