I Want to Make a Personal Studio

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by djproject, Jul 16, 2001.

  1. Here's the situation:

    I want a personal studios to being work on learning how to record and make songs/albums since my career destination is music producer. I will have $2000+ by the time I enter William and Mary. Now what do I get?

    * Do I get a simple mixer and studio software?
    * Do I get a mixer/recording station and studio software (in case I want to dump more tracks)?
    * Do I get just a mixer/recording station?
    * Do I get just recording software?

    Now here's what I already have:

    * Ibanez SR400 bass
    * Yamaha CS2X synthesizer
    * Dell OptiPlex GX400 computer (with Pentium 4 1.4 GHz processor, 256 MB RDRAM, 16X DVD-ROM with SW Decode, 12X CDRW second drive, Sound Blaster Live! Sound Card, two 20GB EIDE Hard Drive, 1.44 MB Floppy, Windows 2000 Pro)

    And anything else I should need, let me know as well (I know I probably should get a preamp for the bass).

    Thank you,

    Derek J. Power
  2. DaveB


    Mar 29, 2000
    Toronto Ontario
    Two grand seems to be about everybody's entry level cash position. Here's my 2 cents worth.

    I'll also assume you want to record more than 2 tracks simultaneously (maybe you don't though)

    You could get a decent standalone digital recorder/mixer for $2000 and that would get you into the home recording game. But to make your own CD's (assuming you want to do that) you still need to interface with your computer.Also, depending on the standalone you may need to do a final mix either before of after the data gets into your computer ( more money). I 've done that and while it works I think there is a better way.

    You already have a good computer for recording purposes ( including the CD writer). I would build on what you have.
    (1) Get a good recording software program eg. Cubase or Cakewalk
    (2) Get rid of the Soundblaster Live soundcard for a card that has eight balanced inputs. The alternative could be an outboard analog mixer with a A/D converter. The SBLive might get you by for awhile then. The soundcard is a lot simpler though.

    The software and good soundcard will set you back less than $2000.Don't worry though there will be LOTS of places you can spend anything left over.
  3. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses, Hipshot products
    What he said.

    I dropped about a grand (actually it was a gift) on a KORG D16 about 6 months ago, and I'm realizing I could have done a lot more inside my computer with that money. I'd go with a really good program like Cubase and an updated card. I have Soundblaster Live and it seems like it gives me more trouble than it's worth.

    I'd also read a real lot on the web, in Recording magazine, EQ, Electronic Musician, etc.

    Good luck!
  4. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    Cakewalks Sonar and and Steinberg's Wavelab make a good team. Let me echo the ditch the SoundBlaster sentiment, there are MUCH better cards out there. You may want to investigate the USB in options as well. Have fun man, your 9/10's the way there already.
  5. oddentity

    oddentity Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    I second the recommendation of Cubase. I'm using a slightly old version (3.7) and supposedly the new version, 5.0, is killer.

    I also suggest dropping the Soundblaster. I've had excellent luck running my Mackie 1202VLZ into a MOTU 828 -- it's a Firewire interface with analog and digital I/O; and the D/A convertors sound great, plus there are 2 mic inputs with phantom power in addition to 1/4" analog. Firewire cards are cheap (I got my Adaptec for around $50) and it's WAY faster than USB. I'm also running an external Firewire hard drive to hold the audio files, and the whole rig works like a charm (recording at 24-bit).
  6. Thanks again for all of your input. If you have any more things to tell me (from other people but I wouldn't mind the same answering), feel free.

    Actually I've been thinking about the sound card thing too (in fact I knew I would have to change it because 1) what I would be doing and 2) I knew I was going to get strong opinions). :)

    And actually, I've been thinking about the whole recording thing. For a while I was too overwhelmed by the possiblities. Even with the reassurance (when I finally got it :)), I'm holding off until later. I still want to learn and I'll know that I'll get this stuff soon.

    But again, thank you...

    Derek J. Power