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My first studio setup

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My first studio setup

Postby p3go0 » Sun Sep 23, 2018 10:46 pm

Hi,
Im currently setting up my first recording setup and have a few questions about what I'll actually need. I'm a complete beginner and don't know almost anything about the studio world and recording. The instruments I'm planning on recording are synth and guitar. I want to be able to get studio quality from this setup. I want to get the most, or atleast try to, of the things right at the beginning.

For recording synth, the signal chain I'm planning on putting together is as following: ROLI Seaboard Block (paired with ROLIS software synth Cypher2) -> Delay and Reverb guitar pedals in stereo -> Interface -> Macbook Pro 2012 with Logic -> JBL LSR 308

I have heard a bunch of different thoughts about plugging in synths to guitar pedals. Will I be able to put together a signalchain like this to use with my synth and recording it to the DAW hassle free?

I will use a Kemper Amplifier to record guitar and will be running either two XLR:s or SPDIF from it directly into the interface I'll be using.

When it comes to interfaces, I have heard and seen alot of good things about the Apollo Twin. It seems to be very popular. The setup I'm planning on running doesn't include any microphones. Would it still be worth it to purchase one? I hear that their preamps are really good, but that's only relevant if you're using microphones right? Maybe something like a Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 2nd Gen would be better suited for my needs?

Thank You
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Re: My first studio setup

Postby Jumpeyspyder » Mon Sep 24, 2018 1:07 am

That's a really nice and interesting setup!

The kemper is very great piece of gear.
the Roli block + Cypher will make a very good synth and controller - but the Block is only two octaves which whist being very expressive may also be a little constrictive.

I'd advise spending less on the audio interface and more on monitors and (depending on your studio space /room) some acoustic treatment is likely to yield better long term results than fancy audio interface.

Synths into guitar pedals is fun and can give some great sounds, but the cypher already has in built effects so I would probably advise keeping things simple and sticking with them to start with. (Also Logic will have a bunch of effect plugins)

Recording wise there is no great need to go for crazy high sample rates e.g. 192Khz - for most purposes 44.1 Khz at 24 bits is more than adequate.

hope this helps!
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Re: My first studio setup

Postby ef37a » Mon Sep 24, 2018 9:34 am

I agree with Jumpeyspyder, a £150/£200 interface will give you excellent results and (of course!) I have to mention the Native Instruments KA6. Has the S/PDIF you mentioned plus 4 analogue inputs and you are only paying for two mic pres! Tascam, Presonus and others also make some very good interfaces.

Monitors. Synths* go low but much depends upon the size of your room. You will not get much below 40Hz in a tiny bedroom and the response will be terribly "peaky" and almost impossible to "trap out". I am sure the experts here will correct me but, if you have a tiny room ( say, under 1500cu ft) go for small monitors but pay as much as you can, e.g the wee Genelecs.

If you have a truly nice big room that you can treat properly, go for bigger monitors and pay even more!

Last thing, bit of a hobby horse! What do you know about electronics and specifically audio circuits and decibels? I strongly urge you to learn at least some basics and get a feel for decibels and "operating levels".

*can he extend the kbd with a "dumb" one JSPR?

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Re: My first studio setup

Postby p3go0 » Mon Sep 24, 2018 10:06 am

Thank you for the replies guys!

I've heard alot of good things about the JBL:s and that they are very good for their price. Do you have any particular monitor in mind that would be better suited for me? I was thinking about the Yamaha HS8:s for a while, but many people commented that they had a little bit harsher mids/lower bass and that the JBL:s were better sounding overall, even if they are cheaper. I will be using the monitors as speakers for the Kemper aswell and want something that is not too "sterile"/ "lifeless" sounding, but ofcourse also good for recording and mixing. Perhaps very subjective, but what do you think? My room is pretty big and tall (about 2700 cu ft, if I got the m2->cu ft conversion right) and I want something in the 8-inch size so I also can use the monitors for the Kemper.

So there is no real difference between the interfaces when it comes to for example latency between a cheaper Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 and an Apollo Twin? Mainly the preamps differ? I also see that most of the cheaper interfaces uses USB instead of Thunderbolt, will this not affect anything?

The Native Instruments KA6 does look really good. It has alot of outputs for such a small box! Is there any reason you mentioned the Native Instruments KA6 instead of any of the Scarletts? I've seen alot of people use the cheaper scarletts.

When it comes to electronics and specifically audio circuits and decibels, I know very little. I've watched alot of videos about it on youtube at the moment to be more prepared when I get the gear. Is there a good article/video were the basics are explained in particular you would recommend?

Thanks again guys!
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Re: My first studio setup

Postby blinddrew » Mon Sep 24, 2018 11:30 am

I've put a very similar comment on another thread but it's worth repeating,
If you're starting from scratch, I'd recommend getting a copy of 'Recording Secrets for the Small Studio' by Mike Senior (a regular commenter her and columnist for SoS), and the companion 'Mixing Secrets'. These are a great resource to build your knowledge in good sized chunks.

I'd also consider getting a decent set of headphones to mix on as well - particularly when checking the low end.
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Re: My first studio setup

Postby ef37a » Mon Sep 24, 2018 12:29 pm

Why the NI Ka6?
I have one as does another forumite and I know of at least two others that are happy with theirs.

Nothing against the 6i6, The Mkll especially is very good and the price comparable to the KA6. Maybe someone here has one and can comment on latency and diver stability? Both are excellent on the KA6.

The Apollo will have very high end converter specifications, dynamic range close to 120dB? That is getting on for 20dB better than either the NI or the F'rite but in reality you could never tell. What is the baseline noise out of a synth? Not -120dB I'll bet you my KA6 and all my mics (4, cheap ones!) . The "self noise" of any but the very best active monitors would probably degrade the Twin's performance.

See! I am chucking in some technical stuff, you need to know some of this to make valid decisions. (but for now just ask!) So, one day the rest of your system and your skill MIGHT justify a £700 interface but "it all hangs together"..."weakest link" and all that and at the moment your weakest link is going to bee the monitors you can afford (?) and especially the room they will be in.

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Re: My first studio setup

Postby Humble Bee » Mon Sep 24, 2018 12:48 pm

I've said it before and say it again.

Get the Apollo twin only if you need the unison preamp technology. If you don't get something that you can plug all that you use into. This will be a lot less money.

The Apollo racks (Apollo8, 8p and 16 all mk2) have come down in price a bit on the used market after the release of the Apollo X series and should represent more bang for the buck than a current twin. I've seen the Apollo 8 duo go for €1100 on eBay.

If you need UAD plugins only for mixing get a satellite.

I repeat my self. If you don't think you will use the Unison tech go for something else. You will get much more for less money.

And yes do BUY and READ the two Mike Senior books mentioned above! You will learn a lot and you will know what to buy to get the best results. And it will save you a lot of money spent on gear you don't need.
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Re: My first studio setup

Postby CS70 » Mon Sep 24, 2018 2:58 pm

If you need only line-ins, and in the foreseeable future you will only need line-ins, then no, little sense in a Twin.. unless you plan to use UAD plugns. Even if Twins do more (they are full interfaces) you usually find them in the used market less expensive than the Satellite (the run-plugins-only, non-interface variant). Probably because more of them are sold.

But if your situation is "only line ins, not interested in UAD plugin", any of the mentioned interface are a better way to use your money. I can also mention old RME line-in only interfaces like Multiface, you can find them quite cheaply used and they do the job perfectly.
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Re: My first studio setup

Postby jaminem » Thu Sep 27, 2018 9:17 am

Hi there, all valid points have been made above, and I've no reason to disagree with any of them...

I guess my question would be - do you already have the Kemper?
I understand this is an amazing piece of kit, and it should be for £1,800.

If you haven't and are planning to buy this as part of your initial setup, then you could reconsider the Apollo Twin, since it has a decent guitar DI input, and the Unison technology allows you to play 'through' UA's guitar amp sims using their Unison technology - the ones i've heard are very very good.

At which point - you'd be getting the same functionality from a £700 Apollo twin (albeit the guitar sounds probably won't be AS good as the Kemper but would definitely be good enough for the professional results you seek) as you would from the Kemper, and a KA6 or 6i6 or whatever.

That's leaving you £1,100 for better monitors, room treatment, some decent headphones (essential in my opinion) some soft synths and of course copies of Mike's excellent books.

And you'd be totally mobile, still have 2 mic pre's if you wanted to do vocals in the future, 2 line ins for your synths and also have access to UA's excellent plugins - which are superb.

Good luck though, you're about to have yourself a whole heap of fun...
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Re: My first studio setup

Postby Humble Bee » Thu Sep 27, 2018 5:27 pm

jaminem wrote:Hi there, all valid points have been made above, and I've no reason to disagree with any of them...

I guess my question would be - do you already have the Kemper?
I understand this is an amazing piece of kit, and it should be for £1,800.

If you haven't and are planning to buy this as part of your initial setup, then you could reconsider the Apollo Twin, since it has a decent guitar DI input, and the Unison technology allows you to play 'through' UA's guitar amp sims using their Unison technology - the ones i've heard are very very good.

At which point - you'd be getting the same functionality from a £700 Apollo twin (albeit the guitar sounds probably won't be AS good as the Kemper but would definitely be good enough for the professional results you seek) as you would from the Kemper, and a KA6 or 6i6 or whatever.

That's leaving you £1,100 for better monitors, room treatment, some decent headphones (essential in my opinion) some soft synths and of course copies of Mike's excellent books.

And you'd be totally mobile, still have 2 mic pre's if you wanted to do vocals in the future, 2 line ins for your synths and also have access to UA's excellent plugins - which are superb.

Good luck though, you're about to have yourself a whole heap of fun...

Ok I'm sorry to say this but, even if I have an Apollo twin mk2 and love the UAD Amp simulations from softube and bx, it is not comparable with a Kemper. And after you have bought the amps that you want you will have spent more than on a Kemper. The cheepest UAD Amp is the plexi at $149 and most are $199. Apollos get pretty expensive if you want to put its capacities to full use. It is very, very good tho but I wouldn't find any moneysaving argument for buying into it. And the Kemper is a fine piece of kit. It is also a lot more gigable then an Apollo. If it sounds better than the UAD stuff is a matter of taste.

All this said if I had €2k to spend on guitar tone I would start with an UAD Ox and add another tube head to the ones I already have. Now that's the best home studio guitar tone I've ever heard.

My 2 cents
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Re: My first studio setup

Postby Music Wolf » Thu Sep 27, 2018 5:50 pm

I use a Kemper in the studio and live and I love it. If there is a downside it is that the 3rd party profiles, from people such as The Amp Factory, are a little too competitively priced. They aren't exactly pocket money but they do fall into the impulse purchase category (especially when an offer lands in your inbox on a Friday evening following a tough week at work). Add to that the rig exchange with thousands of free profiles and you find yourself swamped with options. I think that I've got something like 600 profiles + 12,000 available on exchange. You can have too much of a good thing.
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Re: My first studio setup

Postby cloverfield » Fri Sep 28, 2018 7:54 am

hey i am trying to setup my home studio too... ( a little bit of room and lots of time lately) just not too much budget.
thanks for your sharing. trying to see if i can work out a studio similar to youurs!
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Re: My first studio setup

Postby ef37a » Fri Sep 28, 2018 11:28 am

cloverfield wrote:hey i am trying to setup my home studio too... ( a little bit of room and lots of time lately) just not too much budget.
thanks for your sharing. trying to see if i can work out a studio similar to youurs!

Hi Cloverfield and welcome.
I suggest you start your own thread, it is always a pain having multiple people with similar issues in the same thread.

Then you can tell us..
Actual dimensions of room.
What instruments you want to record and if say, electric guitar, do you have a decent amp and can you make a bit of noise with it? "Miccing up" a cooking rig is usually the best route to a good tone but not everybody has tolerant neighbours or family!

Acoustic guitar and speech for instance will demand a very quiet recording space. Sound PROOFING* is all but impossible in domestic dwellings and fiercely expensive anyway but you can often work in the wee smalls.

If keyboards, synths are your bag are you aware/interested in MIDI? If so that will have a bearing on your choice of Audio Interface. .....SO many beginners buy a bit of lit and then come here or other forums and ask "how does it work? why won't it work? or "why does it do THAT and not THAT?!" Read as many reviews of the things you THINK you need then ASK!

*As against Room Treatment. That is vital and need not be too expensive. Trawl back through the vast number of "Studio SOS" articles and get a feel for what is and isn't possible in the tiny rooms most of us are stuck with.

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Re: My first studio setup

Postby jaminem » Fri Sep 28, 2018 11:35 am

Humble Bee wrote:
Ok I'm sorry to say this but, even if I have an Apollo twin mk2 and love the UAD Amp simulations from softube and bx, it is not comparable with a Kemper. And after you have bought the amps that you want you will have spent more than on a Kemper. The cheepest UAD Amp is the plexi at $149 and most are $199. Apollos get pretty expensive if you want to put its capacities to full use. It is very, very good tho but I wouldn't find any moneysaving argument for buying into it. And the Kemper is a fine piece of kit. It is also a lot more gigable then an Apollo. If it sounds better than the UAD stuff is a matter of taste.

All this said if I had €2k to spend on guitar tone I would start with an UAD Ox and add another tube head to the ones I already have. Now that's the best home studio guitar tone I've ever heard.

My 2 cents

hhhhmmmm - i'm sorry too....


The Apollo twin comes with the Plexi model
UAD plugs are always on sale so it needn't be as expensive

..and you've kinda missed the point which was, if you have say £2.5K to start building a studio and you DON'T have a Kemper, then is using 70% of your available budget to buy one absolutely necessary?

At which point, regardless of your personal feelings towards the Apollo it becomes worth a look, as it does pretty much everything the OP asked for, and is expandable...

And no, I don't have one (I have the PCI UAD cards/Satellite & RME) so its not a case of 'I bought it so it must be good' it just seems to to fit what the OP was asking for....
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Re: My first studio setup

Postby Humble Bee » Fri Sep 28, 2018 1:40 pm

I would go RME Babyface pro + UAD quad satellite over Apollo twin. Just happened to get a damn good deal on my twin at the time.
A twin is not going to be a comparable alternative to a Kemper if that's what you are after.
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