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Recording your songs with a home studio on a budget with plenty of expansion

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Recording your songs with a home studio on a budget with plenty of expansion

Postby uselessoldman » Sun May 31, 2020 4:27 pm

Ok where do I start. :crazy: https://www.soundonsound.com/forum/post ... post&f=15#

My goal is to be a jack of all trades, I have guitars smart midi NI NKS keyboards and want to mix/record/master in the most flexible and studio like style possible. I also wanted multi track/channel workflow for expansion and flexibility.

I have an old Yamaha 01x digimixers (has since new) which has served me for many a year but decided to buy some new toys to play with WITHOUT breaking the bank. I have searched researched and considered long and hard before making a choice so as to have some idea what I wanted to achieve and how to get there. I also have an old Yamaha DG1000 ore amp I like a lot although many a sim will do the same thing. I have various amps and cabs when and if I like to be unsociable.

i started with the computer audio interface, a Focusrite Liquid 56 cos with USB4, firewire will no longer be an issue as USB4 will include thunderbolt so is future proof and was almost the same price as its little brother the pro 40 with some bolt on extras.

To this I added the Behringer Di Pro SI 8000 cos its 8 channel and cheap... I just bought the Samson S patch plus as my patchpanel cos for the money that was a no brainer.

Now what I want to add is a multi channel box (mic splitter) to records the cabs using mics. Again I want to have 6 to 8 channels available. I have Sure 57/58 mics and some other I want the front input box to be in front of the patch panel the Yamaha 01x and Focustrite run on separate computers so I need to split the input into separate output channels. Mad I know but I like cables.

I believe the Behringer Ultralink units are rubbish MX882 and MS8000 ? so next thing up is the Studiospares RED800 which has -40dB attenuation pad and ground lift no Phase Reverse ( I can solder reverse cables) but very few reviews so realistically no idea what it will be like.

QUESTION
Taking I crank up the volume and have mics front & rear of cabs and spacial (around room for ambiance/body) lets say min of 4 what type of box do I need that will take the mic inputs and give me the output signals that can be sent through the patch panel to the respective audio interface. Since these are high volume mic signals do I need attenuation and where? The DI Pro has -30 pads but thats TSR and I want to use XLR inputs (from my 8 XLR input snake) with XLR/TSR balances output through the patch.

SO I want a box to plug the snakes XLR into that then sends the signal channels to the TSR patch and onto the audio interfaces. It would be good if the box can take dry and wet signal from the guitar/s and would like it all to be uplinked in front of the patch panel.

8 way Multi-core looms with various configs XLR/XLR and XLR /TRS TS balanced/unbalanced are not an issue I have loads of them.

If this is confusing please forgive me I am not an audio engineer just an old computer geek whose sole aim in life is to make my own life as difficult and confusing as possible. https://www.soundonsound.com/forum/post ... post&f=15#
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Re: Recording your songs with a home studio on a budget with plenty of expansion

Postby Sam Spoons » Sun May 31, 2020 5:31 pm

uselessoldman wrote:Ok where do I start. :crazy:

...........

If this is confusing please forgive me I am not an audio engineer just an old computer geek whose sole aim in life is to make my own life as difficult and confusing as possible.

I'd say you're well on the way to that last aim :D

First question, do you want to play with technology or record music? I enjoy both but the priority is always trying to record music. To achieve that it's probably best to keep things a bit simpler, buy less (but maybe better) equipment and set things up so you just need to move a couple of mics or replug a keyboard then press 'record'.

Second question, what do you intend to do with any recordings you make? Whatever you do with them, some kind of acoustic treatment will make anything recorded with a mic sound much (much) better. it could be a couple of well placed duvets or a room full of professionally made panels, once you have recorded in a treated space there's no going back.

Assuming your answer to question 1 was "To make music" I would start with the Liquid 56 (nice interface BTW) and a few mics and cables and, not much else. You have enough inputs to mic or DI anything you are likely to need and with a template setup in your DAW of choice you can just arm a channel and press record*.

* I use Reaper and an X32 as my audio interface (I'm a retired live sound guy and guitar player so the X32 was my main live desk) . It means I can have everything set up and ready to go.
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Re: Recording your songs with a home studio on a budget with plenty of expansion

Postby James Perrett » Sun May 31, 2020 9:55 pm

Once you started talking about mic splitters I stopped reading. I get the impression that you are making things far more complicated than they need to be.
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Re: Recording your songs with a home studio on a budget with plenty of expansion

Postby resistorman » Mon Jun 01, 2020 3:50 am

Way too complicated. Listen to Sam. Splitting mics and running them through patch panels and using two computers is asking for trouble and unnecessary. One computer and interface, a well treated room and some mics is all you need.
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Re: Recording your songs with a home studio on a budget with plenty of expansion

Postby cyrano.mac » Mon Jun 01, 2020 10:53 am

Actually, a second computer isn't such a bad idea. Allows to keep the audio machine clean. Also allows to watch the Tube while recording... :bouncy:
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Re: Recording your songs with a home studio on a budget with plenty of expansion

Postby resistorman » Mon Jun 01, 2020 4:09 pm

cyrano.mac wrote:Actually, a second computer isn't such a bad idea. Allows to keep the audio machine clean. Also allows to watch the Tube while recording... :bouncy:

True, I’ve got 3 or 4! However, it seems like they wants to record into both simultaneously via splitters.
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Re: Recording your songs with a home studio on a budget with plenty of expansion

Postby resistorman » Mon Jun 01, 2020 4:10 pm

resistorman wrote:
cyrano.mac wrote:Actually, a second computer isn't such a bad idea. Allows to keep the audio machine clean. Also allows to watch the Tube while recording... :bouncy:

True, I’ve got 3 or 4! However, it seems like they want to record into both simultaneously via splitters.
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Re: Recording your songs with a home studio on a budget with plenty of expansion

Postby Sam Spoons » Mon Jun 01, 2020 4:19 pm

I use a 2012 MBP for day to day stuff, my 2008 Mac Pro in the studio and have another 2008 Mac Pro in the office (more as a spare for the studio one though). And my wife currently has my old/spare 2011 MBP for giving zoom ballet lessons.

So clearly I'm well in favour of more than one computer (sorry forgot to mention the other Mac Pro 1.1 and the two G5s) but not so much for recording, more for keeping the other stuff away from the studio computer.
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Re: Recording your songs with a home studio on a budget with plenty of expansion

Postby uselessoldman » Mon Jun 01, 2020 6:01 pm

OK so what is my aim, my goal my challenge. SIMPLE. With the prospect of USB4 being Thunderbolt and therefore Firewire compatible it opens up a new world to the music industry that before you only could achieve via USB2/3 (not thunderbolt/firewire) and that is Virtualisation.

For those of you who are not IT savvy Virualisation is when you run virtual computers inside a master computer that share common resources. So you have a master server with lots of CPU cores RAM and storage which all the virtual machines share. So you only need one well specified server to run many virtual machines and you get the benefit of snapshots and quick and easy backups. I tend to use VMWare Workstation Pro. No more hours wasted REBUILDING you pride and job, your damn audio workstation. You just run a client locally and log into a virtual machine and your away. If one crashes, restore on the fly from backup or swap to another working machine.

So to achieve this you want to be able to split your mics instruments and lines into channels that can be configured for each machines requirements, maybe recording guitars mics or what ever, mixing mastering. But you need a central patch panel for the audio interface you want to use, Great for schools Uni and larger studios cos it would save them a fortune on duplication and they can share your expensive resources. With voicemeeter you can easily configure your audio networking !!!!!

Ok so thats the plan...... so far I have my interface my mixer my DI box and a patch panel, now I need a mic splitter so as to have the flexibility to split it between my audio interface and mixer. I want to keep the audio interfaces for what there supposed to do but via the patch panel not directly since I can use it from the bedrooms living room or study, cos there available over the network and it dont matter what computer I use so long as I can log into my vmware server

I have a data cabinet with a server switches patch panel audio interface even my pre amps and DI box cos there all rack mounted and sit out of the way in my study. Another reason I wanted 8 channel, this can easily be expanded just add more boxes.
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Re: Recording your songs with a home studio on a budget with plenty of expansion

Postby Sam Spoons » Mon Jun 01, 2020 6:40 pm

I still don't understand what the advantage of having the same mics routed to two different destinations? Or the advantage of having both the Focusrite AI and the Yamaha mixer connected to two different computers

For me I want everything in the same DAW project. If it's current I can store it in dropbox and have access to it from two or more different computers*, if my studio computer fails I can simply plug the MacBook into the X32 and carry on where I left off until the studio machine is fixed.

You still haven't answered question one "Is your aim to make music or to play with technology?"

* I'm collaborating with my drummer mate using dropbox to save our joint projects, my other 'solo' stuff gets backed up to a separate HDD in the main computer using 'time machine'.
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Re: Recording your songs with a home studio on a budget with plenty of expansion

Postby resistorman » Mon Jun 01, 2020 6:40 pm

You can do all that much easier by using a Dante network. Any computer with an Ethernet port and an inexpensive driver can record anything on the network.

https://www.audinate.com/products/softw ... -soundcard
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Re: Recording your songs with a home studio on a budget with plenty of expansion

Postby uselessoldman » Mon Jun 01, 2020 7:06 pm

Yes resistorman you can use Dante for your audio networking as you can voicemeeter. I have 4 computers. What it means is I don't have to worry about what is installed on what computer or the memory cpu cores and storage as its all central and a server that has 128Gb Ram too many cores to count and I think it has about 25Tb of storage more than enough for my needs. My main two computers are pretty beefy as I have only just upgraded them but this is for next year as only ASRock have AMD Ryzen motherboards with Thunderbolt, not my first choice of suppliers so I am looking ahead to DDR5 with Thunderbolt

The advantage is as they would say business continuity, One machine crashes gets a virus or just screws itself up I can jump to another box - delete the screwed one and reconfigure a new one, it takes about 2 mins and your back where you started, not facing hours restoring everything and fingers crossed it works first time. I do actually run system center but thats my other hobby as I was a senior IT architect designer/project manager.

I guess I could get a wireless box I might suggest that to the girlfriend for xmas. But I have enough of a challenge right now although everything is currently working fine, I just need to seriously shorten some of my loom cables.

Sam you can forget about the Yamaha 01x I have owned it since new and its got sentimental value. It will only run on a test windows environment, not advisable since it uses XP drivers !!!! yip and still works sort of under windows 10x64. SO I run it on a dedicated SSD with dual boot. Splitting the channels just means I dont have to mess about with cables and it costs me peanuts in truth.
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Re: Recording your songs with a home studio on a budget with plenty of expansion

Postby Sam Spoons » Mon Jun 01, 2020 8:40 pm

I'm beginning to feel like Father Douglas again..... I'm still not getting it..... Why do you need mic splitters of you are only using a single audio interface?

all what is the nature of music you record, you mention guitars and keys, but do you record bands or is it just you playing all the instruments?

I'm seriously impressed by your setup, especially a server with 25TB of storage, virtual machines is fascinating too.
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Re: Recording your songs with a home studio on a budget with plenty of expansion

Postby CS70 » Mon Jun 01, 2020 8:57 pm

Odd thinking. I am pretty familiar with virtualization in general and VMWare specifically, and the advantages in costs and time when you have to provision a dozen machines a week for new employees, who will mostly run Office or something.

But for audio, how often do you really need to re-spawn an identical machine when doing studio work? Besides, even if virtual, they will be seen as different hosts from the various licensed plugins, so if you really want to have identical images running concurrently, you need a pool of license (and not sure how many licensing systems support this kind of dynamic licensing).

Yes, you can go to the kitchen a fire up an identical VM there, but why? A studio is so much more than just the computer, it's the room sound ,the outboard, the monitoring.. nothing of which can be virtualized. And if you do all in the box stuff with headphones, just buy a laptop and you can go mixing at the local Starbucks if you so wish.

As for instantaneous access to data, I do a lot of location recording and I have simply projects in Dropbox folders which syncs of data without having to worry one bit. I make sure the laptop and the main hosts are running the same (or project-file compatible) version of the DAW and the few plugins I need in both, I have assigned two different licenses to the plugin (many plugin vendors grant you a couple of licenses exactly for that situation). So when I record, I come back home and my files are ready to mix on the desktop.

Sure there's the odd occasion when a machine blows (but honestly, in many years I have never suffered a delay for a wrecked computer.. I don't use Macs tough ;-) ) but you pay a price every day for the rare, occasional occurrence... if you Dropbox your projects you automatically have audio files and project backup - which is the critical stuff. Everything else, at most you have to reinstall.. painful yes but if it happens often you should have a look at the state of the electrical wiring in your house, not go virtualizing?

But of course I may be missing something..
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Re: Recording your songs with a home studio on a budget with plenty of expansion

Postby uselessoldman » Tue Jun 02, 2020 12:14 am

cs70 you are not missing anything and what you said is perfectly correct. I do have two main interfaces the Yamaha 01x and a Focusrite Liquid 56 there are a couple of other old ones in the drawers somewhere but I never use them. As I said the reason for two computers is the Yamaha uses mLan over Firewire/ASIO the drivers are seriously old (WIndows XP) so Windows has to be run in test mode. I have a SSD just for this and boot of M2 for the Focusrite. The other computer uses the focusrite and is really only a backup or playing backing tracks, multi tracks so I can play over them.

I play guitar (Ibanez RG570's) and Keyboards NI Komplete S49/61 the reason I am doing it is cos I like a challenge and its something I have always wanted to do just never quite had the time. As for recording, I used to play in bands years ago and was a so called midi expert, in truth I just understood computers more than most so it came naturally.

Yes you are also correct about licensing, NI allow you to install each license on two machines, but many do not cover such a setup, it is something they should think about !! I really only use one license on one computer the other has cakewalk and NI and only a handful of plugins that I bought - usually when there is a sale on.

Thats the advantage of living on your own no silly women around to complain about cables speakers computers and clutter. My girlfriend visits now and again, usually I just go to hers - for a break.
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