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also for any one wondering what im running:

 

my main front end is a focusrite clarett 8preX(which to my ears edges out the UA apollo stuff in terms of preamp headroom/cleaness, and AD/DA) i also have a UA 4-710D feeding into the clarett via ADAT. i can currently do 18 in at a time, but i can expand up to 26. i also have some nice outboard pre's/comp's/eq's. mostly running protools 10. real happy with this setup!

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I think in another life I'd get into audio engineering or professional recording. I don't even know what most of those racks do but I am still jealous. That looks sweet. Is this for a home recording studio?

 

I've done home recording since I was 12, back when I needed to use a very primitive recording software, cheap computer mic, and putting left channel for guitar and right channel for vocal, then mixing to mono.... Sadly, while I've gotten better than that, I currently use a Blue Spark Digital USB mic and (gasp) GarageBand for most of the recording I do these days. Someday I'll make the switch to Logic and a better microphone, but I've always been more interested in the process of adding tracks and playing lots of instruments over recording quality/sound/precision. But as I venture into being more of an audiophile, I have been more aware of my shortcomings in recording.

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I don't own a computer. I've got three different tape 4-tracks and a stand alone digital 16-track Fostex DAW. Four of those cheap focusrite starved Tube pre-amps. Mogami cables. 57, 58, beta 57, senheiser e835, a pair of SM94's (cheaper than 81's and do the job), and one of those god-awful Beringer B-2 LDC. I use an old BoomBox as a Room Mic...compression on that thing does some fun stuff.

Sometimes I record digitally and run it through one of the decks....sometimes to tape and dump it to digital....sometimes send it off to friends with Pro-Tools to tweak and play with. I've got an older model Boss digital 8-track that took a hard drop and quit recording, but all the goofy digital effects still work so I use it as a make-shift outboard all-in-one box.

I monitor with a pair of AKG K240's

My shit isn't "pro" by any means. But I've also never tried to let anybody pay me for the recordings. Super fun to demo shit on though. It gets aggravating sometimes...but it's what I got. Reading the TapeOp article about Sufjan's entire album being recorded and mixed on one of these stand alone DAWs and a pair of headphones was invigorating and appalling to say the least, he got much better signals than i try to get.

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I think in another life I'd get into audio engineering or professional recording. I don't even know what most of those racks do but I am still jealous. That looks sweet. Is this for a home recording studio?

 

I've done home recording since I was 12, back when I needed to use a very primitive recording software, cheap computer mic, and putting left channel for guitar and right channel for vocal, then mixing to mono.... Sadly, while I've gotten better than that, I currently use a Blue Spark Digital USB mic and (gasp) GarageBand for most of the recording I do these days. Someday I'll make the switch to Logic and a better microphone, but I've always been more interested in the process of adding tracks and playing lots of instruments over recording quality/sound/precision. But as I venture into being more of an audiophile, I have been more aware of my shortcomings in recording.

Thanks man! they do a lot of different stuff but for the most part they are mic preamps and analog to digital converters, with a few compressors and EQ's thrown in their for that analog flavour haha. its for  a recording studio i run with a friend of mine. we have a pretty cool live room that i will snap a picture or two of later today.

 

Also, that is EXACTLY how i started recording haha. some of the best results can come from extreme limitations. also, its surprising what can be done with a USB mic and garage band. i know someone who writes/records stuff for degrassi using an apogee usb mic into an ipad, which is pretty wild imo haha

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I don't own a computer. I've got three different tape 4-tracks and a stand alone digital 16-track Fostex DAW. Four of those cheap focusrite starved Tube pre-amps. Mogami cables. 57, 58, beta 57, senheiser e835, a pair of SM94's (cheaper than 81's and do the job), and one of those god-awful Beringer B-2 LDC. I use an old BoomBox as a Room Mic...compression on that thing does some fun stuff.

Sometimes I record digitally and run it through one of the decks....sometimes to tape and dump it to digital....sometimes send it off to friends with Pro-Tools to tweak and play with. I've got an older model Boss digital 8-track that took a hard drop and quit recording, but all the goofy digital effects still work so I use it as a make-shift outboard all-in-one box.

I monitor with a pair of AKG K240's

My shit isn't "pro" by any means. But I've also never tried to let anybody pay me for the recordings. Super fun to demo shit on though. It gets aggravating sometimes...but it's what I got. Reading the TapeOp article about Sufjan's entire album being recorded and mixed on one of these stand alone DAWs and a pair of headphones was invigorating and appalling to say the least, he got much better signals than i try to get.

oh man, that sounds pretty cool. id love to hear some tracks, if you care to share. that sounds like a really cool setup.

 

also, fuck yeah tapeop. ive learned so much from that magazine haha.

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It's weird....I work with a guy that's done some big records, and his studio here and one other studio here are so out of place in BHam, but absolutely world-class studios (All analog, neve consoles, Neumann mics....ect) and decent producers....it's intimidating just talking to these guys, even though I've worked with some of them for 3-4 years now. I've been recordin in some degree for 14 years and I'm still like baby-stepping along.

TapeOp party's are so much fun....just so many pretentious dudes trying to network and I'm like "I roll with a Tascam 4-track most of the time" and they just give you this look like you're out of your mind and wasting their air. But the magazine is such a great tool

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It's weird....I work with a guy that's done some big records, and his studio here and one other studio here are so out of place in BHam, but absolutely world-class studios (All analog, neve consoles, Neumann mics....ect) and decent producers....it's intimidating just talking to these guys, even though I've worked with some of them for 3-4 years now. I've been recordin in some degree for 14 years and I'm still like baby-stepping along.

TapeOp party's are so much fun....just so many pretentious dudes trying to network and I'm like "I roll with a Tascam 4-track most of the time" and they just give you this look like you're out of your mind and wasting their air. But the magazine is such a great tool

thats so cool. my friend engineers at a studio that just got a neve(not OG neve, but like AMS era neve. still pretty cool though).

 

but yeah, if you cant get down with a tascam recorder, you shouldnt be recording at all but hey, thats just one guys opinion

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I'm not a studio engineer, but I do work in radio and one major part of my job is recording talk shows. I don't have a current pic of my main studio, but this is the board I use:

http://www.bswusa.com/Consoles-Audioarts-R55E-12-P893.aspx

ive never really got a chance to look *too* closely at brodcast consoles, but it seems like they always have pretty crazy routing matrix's. definitely looks pretty cool!

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jealous of original posters rig.

 

I just started using the Focusrite Scarlette 18i20 and love it so far. My set up is minimal but I'm looking to get just a few really awesome pieces to do the small amount of stuff i do. Renting a Great River preamp this month sometime to give it a whirl. 

 

Mics:

SM7B

Rode K2

Rode NT5 (pair)

Sm57s

SM58s

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do you exist? i cant be the only one, right?

what kind of rigs are y'all running?

im just in the midst of some pretty big reno's at my studio, and im really excited to see everything finally coming together.

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Is that a UA4-710 in the left rack in that pic? I've just started using one this past year and I fucking love it.

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  • 3 months later...

Sorry to bump an old thread, but I'm thinking of doing some recording this summer, and want to add a few things in order to do some multitracking as well as up the quality of my recordings. Feedback on any of the following is appreciated!


First and foremost, I have a line via Kijiji on a bunch of mics - Shure SM57, SM58, SM94, plus two Audio Technica drum mics (kick and tom I think), all for $200 CAD. I'm pretty sure I can use most of these (not the 58) to record drums. Decent enough deal? Previously I had recorded drums into one track using a USB mic. Passable, but definitely not good...

 

I need a USB interface. I'm strongly leaning towards the Focusrite Scarlett 18i8. I don't imagine using more than 4 drum mics at a time. It seems that the Focusrite is a better option than the Presonus Audiobox 44vsl. Any other ones worth taking a look at?


Currently I'm using Garageband on a recent Macbook Pro. I'm strongly considering jumping to Logic. To be honest, I've been quite happy with Garageband, though it definitely has limitations. As I become more of an audiophile, and learn more about some of the details about compression and EQ, I am really seeing some of the limits.

 

I'm thinking I might rent a higher quality AKG or Neumann mic for a week in the summer to record vocals/acoustic guitars too....

 

Any thoughts or experiences with home recording with any suggestions would very much be appreciated.

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I've gotten okay results using a 58 on a kick drum before.   It's all about what you're trying to capture and what sounds you're going for.  I can't imagine ever renting a high-end mic like that unless I'm using a really nice pre and if it was for something that was going to get a real release (for a label, regardless of size).   Personally, I can't see a point in renting the mic without a decent preamp for it as well.  That's all the 2cents I have for this.  I've never used a computer to record before so I can't give anything on the ins and outs of those

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That mic deal is worth it.

 

My advice for home recording is that unless you are up against a deadline, experiment constantly with mic placement. Especially if you have a limited arsenal to work with and especially, especially on drums. Learn to use your ears by constantly doing a/b critical listening. It doesn't hurt to research the pickup pattern/frequency response of a particular mic as sort of a baseline to know pretty much what you're going to use the mic for, but after that spend a few hours just moving the mic around to see what a difference a few inches/degrees of incline can make. You would be surprised how good a 58 can sound as a mono room mic with the right positioning/eq/compression/limiting on it. 

 

I can rep the Focusrite. In that price range you are not going to find a better USB interface. Clear, high quality preamps that are fairly transparent and don't add any noise until you start adding more gain than you would ever need. It is my go to interface when doing home scratch tracks or demos. 

 

I love GarageBand for what it is, but if you have the money Logic will be worth it. Especially if you are already pretty comfortable with some of the more advanced features of GarageBand. Logic is like the grownup version of GarageBand (in a good way). 

 

Finally, I gotta agree with @birdwell on this one. Don't rent any of those fancy mics. For the money you would spend renting a Neumann for 2-3 days you could buy Logic and probably another decent entry level vocal mic. Hell, get a wind screen and sing in to the 58. It was/is a good enough mic for lots and lots of very successful musicians. Before you go nuts with your microphones learn the basics of making a voice/instrument/whatever A: sound natural and B: fit in the mix. People are always looking for the "magic bullet" to make a great sounding record. There are no magic bullets.  

 

Attention to detail in your recording technique (mic choice, mic placement, gain staging, any analog processing done to your input signal) and a good solid grasp of EQ (THE most important tool of an engineer) and compression will ALWAYS beat out even the most high end gear in the hands of someone who doesn't take the time to learn how to pay attention to those details. 

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1 hour ago, atticus said:

 Hell, get a wind screen and sing in to the 58. It was/is a good enough mic for lots and lots of very successful musicians. Before you go nuts with your microphones learn the basics of making a voice/instrument/whatever A: sound natural and B: fit in the mix. People are always looking for the "magic bullet" to make a great sounding record. There are no magic bullets.  

 

Attention to detail in your recording technique (mic choice, mic placement, gain staging, any analog processing done to your input signal) and a good solid grasp of EQ (THE most important tool of an engineer) and compression will ALWAYS beat out even the most high end gear in the hands of someone who doesn't take the time to learn how to pay attention to those details. 

 

EQ indeed......I still struggle with proper EQ (a lot of that is me having to use submenus versus a real board to tweak more easily by turning knobs on channel).  I feel like is 90% of learning to really get a decent sounding mix is EQ.

 

 

really wish I had more time to dedicate to recording...or bands/artists that would allow me to record them

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Thanks so much @birdwell and @atticus. I think I needed to hear that kind of thing from folks with more experience than me. I do love experimenting with sounds, so being creative with mic placements will be fun.  

 

I bought the mics. Tested them and they all look good.

 

I'm currently bidding on an Apogee Duet on Ebay, with some mild hope that it will end well. Otherwise, I think the Focusrite will be the way to go. 


Thanks for the advise against renting the Neumann. I will hold off and see what I can do with the mics I now have. I'm excited to explore this summer and create some fun home recordings.

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19 hours ago, birdwell said:

 

EQ indeed......I still struggle with proper EQ (a lot of that is me having to use submenus versus a real board to tweak more easily by turning knobs on channel).  I feel like is 90% of learning to really get a decent sounding mix is EQ.

 

 

really wish I had more time to dedicate to recording...or bands/artists that would allow me to record them

The thing about EQ in a mix is that it's sort of counter intuitive. It's a balance between making the source sound natural vs. making it sit in the mix so to speak. Part of your brain is telling you, "this is what instrument X sounds like, I need to eq it this way." But if instrument X, Y, and Z all need similar frequency ranges to sound like themselves, they are going to muddy the mix so you have to choose which one needs a specific frequency range the most. 

 

I harped on mic selection and placement above and I will again, the more you can get your source to sound natural before doing anything to it, the easier it will be to fit it in the mix. This is because you're only having to carve EQ space to make the sound fit in the mix rather than having to do a bunch of corrective EQ and then making things fit. This is especially helpful in the analog world where you can't just stack 4 or 5 EQs on top of each other in a plugin chain. It is always worth spending a little extra time making sure you have the right mic in the right place for peak sonic efficiency. 

 

A tip I learned when I was starting out (that I still use today on more complex projects with lots of tracks) is to keep an EQ chart. It is time consuming and a little tedious, but when you are looking at starting to create a cohesive mix it serves as a sort of road map to get you where you need to go. In your mix log (I use an old spiral bound notebook) keep a track list and note the fundamental frequency/range of each instrument. Then list any boosts or cuts you make as you are prepping your tracks for the mix. When you go to put everything together you can look and see which instruments share the same areas of the sonic spectrum and start to make decisions as to what might still sound ok with a little less of that area and what starts to suffer if you take too much away. Getting a clear mix is almost all EQ.

Thinking of it as a puzzle helps. When you're putting a puzzle together, to get a clear picture you have to fit all of the pieces together. If you fit some of the pieces together but then just stack other pieces on top of each other, you may get an idea of what it is supposed to look like, but it won't be the clear finished product you were going for. 

 

Sorry for rambling. TL;DR don't rush anything. The time spent getting things right on the front end will pay off on the long run. 

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32 minutes ago, Sidney Crosley said:

Thanks so much @birdwell and @atticus. I think I needed to hear that kind of thing from folks with more experience than me. I do love experimenting with sounds, so being creative with mic placements will be fun.  

 

I bought the mics. Tested them and they all look good.

 

I'm currently bidding on an Apogee Duet on Ebay, with some mild hope that it will end well. Otherwise, I think the Focusrite will be the way to go. 


Thanks for the advise against renting the Neumann. I will hold off and see what I can do with the mics I now have. I'm excited to explore this summer and create some fun home recordings.

I hope everything goes well, I love talking about this stuff (as evidenced by my long, rambling, preachy posts above). Always fun to see someone else's experiments. Would love to hear what you come up with! 

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@atticus this is my main problem with my set up that's I've used for years...the stand-alone DAW im using is hard as hell to swap between tracks and then individually high, mid, low for EQ...and it doesn't really give me like a visual readout or anything on what frequencies are on each track....now I could use the RTA Lite app on my phone to listen to each track solo during playback and get a decent picture....buuuut this becomes problematic with stuff like the drums where I may be using 2-3 mics and they don't really have separation between tracks...got floor tom and a ride or crash on the same track and I don't have access to a graphic EQ for that track where I could effectively isolate both of those frequency ranges and cut the rest.

 

basically what you said above is what I've wanted to do in the past, but with my primordial equipment it is horrendously next to impossible.  And subsequently, all my mixes end up sounding muddy as hell

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Also, I've done basic tracking for stuff for friends and then burned a CD-R with each track (channel) as a separate track onto the CD-R where my friends could dump them into pro-tools and let them mix....and because of even the basic plug-ins they have the mixes they can get always end up sounding just exponentially better than anything I can do with my stand alone DAW (which shouldn't be terribly surprising by any stretch of the imagination).    So where my burden lies is, are my ears THAT bad or do I truly just not have access to the proper tools I need?

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