starting home recording studio

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by n8g14, Jul 27, 2003.

  1. n8g14


    Apr 1, 2003
    i'm thinking of building a recording studio in my basement with the help of my band members. the problem is i know very little about recording, so i'm hoping you can help me out. to record using my computer, what equipment do i need to produce good sound quality for a low price, preferably $450 or less? there are 4 guys in my band- 2 vocal/guitar, bass, and drums. any advice and brand names would help a lot. thanks!
  2. n8g14


    Apr 1, 2003
    one more thing i forgot: if i bought a digital recorder, what equipment would that make up for? in other words, would that make it so i wouldn't have to buy a better soundcard, mixer, etc.?
  3. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    Apart from the recording programs and a shed load of microphones the item you will need for PC recording is some kind of interface or breakout box. This will give you a number of inputs/tracks to play with. Otherwise you are limited in the number of tracks you can record at any given time. PC recording's not my bag baby so I'll move on.

    RE the digital recorder, you are on the right track (sic). Many digital recorders incorporate a mixer sextion and some have CD drives. However many will only record 2 tracks at any given time.

    I suggest that you make a list of your requirements ie how many inputs you need (drums need 4 maybe 3 but 2 is pushing it). Then simply eliminate any system that will not meet those requirements. Take out those over budget and there you go, one shortlist reeady for checking out.
  4. n8g14


    Apr 1, 2003
    i'm thinking that i will go the digital recorder route. what other equipment do i need- mics, monitors...? also, with the digital recorder, is the quality of my sound card still important?
  5. Butterpump


    Jul 24, 2003
    Recording direct to your computer can be very disappointing. Unless you want to get into using a several thousand dollar Pro Tools set up. With most computers nowadays, you will run into clicks and pops in the recording, even when using good quality interfaces. After spending loads of money on dialing my computer in, I had to give up, and reverted to analog tape. I have now begun using the Yamaha AW4416 digital recorder, and like it's ease of use, but it still sounds brittle on some tracks.

    Over all, I would say, save the headache, and go with a stand alone recorder and a pro cd burner. You will be much happier with the result.

    Just my humble opinion.
  6. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    Butterpump, that's more than slightly inaccurate. You don't need ProTools to get a good sounding recording going on.

    If you're loose of morals, you can find a pirated copy of Sonic Foundry Vegas Audio -- professional quality, easy-to-learn-pain-to-truly-master mutli-track recording program.

    I've been in the school's studio a number of times during recording sessions. Since you probably don't want to go too expensive, I'd suggest 2 AKGs to mic the drums and a Shure SM57 for the kick. Make sure they're all on separate tracks when you record. I wouldn't suggest recording more than one track at a time, because that way, if someone does a really smokin' job and someone screws up, you only have to redo the one track instead of the whole thing. Also, this lets you edit each track individually without fear of a little bit of your buddy's guitar leaking into the vocal tracks. It also lets you keep costs on buying microphones down. You'll probably be fine with 2 AKG drum mics, 1 SM57 (bass and bass drum), and 2 SM58's (guitars and vocals -- there are probably going to be points where you'll record both at one time, so I'd advise 2 mics). A decent sound card -- Soundblaster Audigy should be exellent -- would be needed. You won't need a huge mixer, probably just an 8 channel one.

    By the way, I'd also suggest a really nice set of speakers. Stereo, at least, surround if you can spare the money. That way if you get inspiration to do some crazy swirling drum solo (easily done with Vegas Audio) or something, you can see how it'd sound for people with that kind of setup. To see what that kind of stuff sounds like, I'll point you in the direction of Victor Wooten's Yin Yang album. "Hormones in the Headphones", of course, but there's a number of songs where he's mixed some neat little stereo effects into there (Yinnin' and Yangin', Singing My Song, and Kaila Raps all come to mind as well).
  7. Butterpump


    Jul 24, 2003
    The Sonic Foundry program is what I was using, with a Lexicon sound card interface. I recorded several songs, but was frustrated with thefinal result. I guess we all have our experiences, good and bad, but PC recording is not for me. I often visit the local recording school, The Conservatory of Recording Science, as my best friends brother teaches there. I have heard some good recordings on a MAC, but even the best PC's they have aren't very impressive. Even the Pro Tools system leaves a little to ponder. Just my experience. In addition, you will spend hours involved in learning the program, instead of recording. Again, just my humble opinion. Not the only opinion, I am sure.....
  8. baba

    baba Supporting Member

    Jan 22, 2002
    3rd stone from the sun
    I recommend M-Audio sound cards for an affordable high quality direct to PC recording. I have their Delta 44 and it is excellent and very cheap. Check out their products.

    Quality sound programs (you don't need Pro Tools) can be had for very cheap or even free if you are ok with Kazaa.
  9. 12notes


    Jul 15, 2003
    I have excellent result recording with my pc laptop. With an outboard USB AD interface.

    I use both Acid (came with my laptop) and Cakewalk (came with my MIDI keyboard).

    You can get Pro Tool free legally. The catch is only if you use Win 98.

    Also. I've test drived the n-track studio. Like it a lot too. It's only $50. for the full version.

    But still I'd go with a stand alone recorder if I'm not already very familiar with computer geeky stuff.

    Oh. Use a decent playback system for mixing. I use a high-end audio system for final mixing.