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Studio Equipment

For everything after the recording stage: hardware/software and how you use it.

Studio Equipment

Postby jamroll99 » Wed Apr 25, 2012 4:19 pm

Hi there!

I am looking to start a small personal studio and I'm looking for some advise. I have BTEC ND in Music Tech which has left me hungry and inspired to start recording myself before I go to Uni in a years time. Unfortunately despite the my eagerness and research I don't have enough equipment knowledge to fully understand what I am buying. I have not set a budget for this, however I currently have £6000 saved.

Current Equipment - PC QUAD CORE, 16GB RAM WINDOWS 7 64BIT, Pro Tools 9, SE2200A Condensor mic, Numan condensor, two SE stereo paired condensors, SE Ribbon mic, shure drum mic kit and a studio space.

I'm really confused on what route to take in terms of console, a/d converter, pre amps and so on.
From my research I came to a conclusion that It would be more effective for me to buy a high spec a/d converter and then buy various types of pre amps and out board gear. Steering away from a large expensive console and sticking to digital mixing in pro tools. At least then I would still have high quality and a variety of pre amps and outboard gear without breaking the bank with a console with the same pre amp for every channel. Do you think this a good way to go?
I have considered saving up for a Pro Tools HD package but then again I don't fully understand the advantages or even some of the specs and abilities of it. I would preferably like atleast 8 xlr inputs and at least 2 DI's. I am stuck and I really need some advise guys, I can't tell you how appreciated it would be.

I was lucky enough to record my friend who is an up and coming solo artist. I recorded and produced his E.P at my college studio. He currently has a record label discussing contracts with him and they want to hear his new material recorded, I really want to be the person to work with him on this but obviously having left college I now need my own equipment.

Thanks for your time,

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Re: Studio Equipment

Postby Scramble » Wed Apr 25, 2012 7:50 pm

A high-spec A/D converter is not the best use of money. Once you spend a certain level on that sort of thing then it takes a lot more money to hear much difference. Get a medium-spec one. Get some reasonably decent pre-amps, but again don't go spending too much on those. Don't spend all your money at once -- start getting into recording with what you've already got and see how you go, then you'll gradually work out what more you need. And if you're going to Uni you'll want to keep some of your money for that anyway.

Don't get too excited about the record company interest. Whether or not it does anything for your friend's career, it's unlikely to do much for yours. Obviously get as much as you can out of it while it lasts, but even if a record company did eventually decide, against all the odds, to pour some money into your friend's career, they'll want him recorded by a pro, not by a mate in a bedroom studio.
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Re: Studio Equipment

Postby zenguitar » Wed Apr 25, 2012 8:44 pm


If you think it would be a valuable experience to work more with your friend on a real world project then you might want to invest a small part of your savings on hiring a well equipped studio for a couple of days to record using their equipment. And then take those raw tracks home to mix and edit on your existing system.

Think of it like hiring a lot of great gear for a few days to try it out before you make up your mind what to buy.

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Re: Studio Equipment

Postby porthoss78 » Wed Apr 25, 2012 9:13 pm


Sounds like you've made a good start with a nice set of mics to keep you going for a while (some of Ellie Goulding's Bright Lights album was recorded with a SE2200A through a Focusrite Twin Track Pro).

You could get some thing like a Focusrite Saffire Pro 40 firewire interface. Has 8 XLR/Line ins, a couple of DI/Instrument ins and great pre amps (which you could then colour using plugins), it's also expandable with ADAT I/O so you could add another 8 XLR inputs using something like an Octopre.

I wouldn't spend all the money you have saved up, things will change as you progress and the equipment you think you need now might not be any use to you.

If I were you I'd get yourself a reasonable audio interface that has the connections you need (as above), some decent monitors that fit your studio space (which is acoustically treated already, right?) and a good set of open headphones (maybe some cheaper closed ones for tracking). If you feel you need a 'proper' mic pre there are good ones that won't break the bank like Golden Age Project 73, DAV BG1, Focusrite ISA One etc.

If you feel much more comfortable on a desk there are a few about now with built in audio interfaces but they will cost a bit more than a standard interface.

Make sure your PC has a good backup system in place (on and off site) and learn Pro Tools and the plugins inside out!

Hope this helps a little...
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Re: Studio Equipment

Postby Bob Bickerton » Wed Apr 25, 2012 9:26 pm

I'd be thinking quality portable solutions (rather than a console) and looking to acoustically treat your studio if you haven't already.

Also, one thing I've learnt over the years, and have been pretty fortunate with, is to invest in gear which may still be useful in ten years time, not just 10 months. Upgrading gear after two or three years is expensive.

The one interface that I think has a lot of potential right now is the UAD Apollo ( being reviewed in SOS next month) appears to have four good preamps, onboard UAD card, good conversion, but let's see what the SOS gurus say. It also has Thunderbolt which looks like it may supersede FireWire. Add to that some boutique preamps, say DAV BG2, and you have a very powerful solution, which you're not likely to tire of for some time.

Add to that good monitoring and then you can focus on spending the rest of your life collecting microphones.......... ;)

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Re: Studio Equipment

Postby whis4ey » Thu Apr 26, 2012 8:18 am

A Liquid Channel, a couple of good monitors and a pair of Beyer770Pro headphones?
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