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Old 09-10-2013, 08:50 AM
Joeyjampa Joeyjampa is offline
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Default How to build a quality home studio on a budget

So there’s a lot of info out there about this here and there, but I wanted to start this thread to get down to the bare basics and have all the info in one place…

I’ve had a lot of people starting home studios ask my advice on what’s necessary to record well – I tell them a computer, a microphone, an interface, and protools. But this isn’t always what they want to hear.

Imagine you’re just starting out, and you want the real studio experience on a budget – control board with motorized faders, professional quality monitors, a quality interface, quality condenser microphone, a set of good instrument mics, etc. You already have a computer with protools (pretend it’s up to standard and HD ready in case you want to go that route) - You just sold your used car and your budget is $4000 (let’s say you’re moving to the city so you don’t need it anymore). You don’t mind buying second hand if the equipment works fine.

With all the knowledge you have now, what gear would you buy on that budget to get a studio up and going that has everything you need (bare essentials) and still gives the impression you’re a professional. Assume that musicians will bring their own instruments, effects, and beats. (Aside from the obvious things like soundproofing, cables, mic stands, and effects plug-ins – although of course they are important – feel free to list if you have some extra room on the budget, but I’m asking specifically gear here.)

Here are the requirements:

Budget=$4000

-Must be able to record at least 16 channels simultaneously
-Must be able to record analog/digital inputs
-Must be able to record acoustic drums
-Must be able to record electrical instruments through the use of microphone and line in
-Must be able to record acoustic instruments through the use of a microphone
-Must be able to record Vocals
-Must be able to manipulate the mix digitally and physically (analog experience – i.e. faders, pan knobs etc)
-Must be able to provide hear back for at least 4 musicians at once
-Must be able to hear mix through at least one set of monitors
-Must have the ability to “talk back” over intercom

I think that should be good, the rest is up to you! If you can think of any good requirements let me know and I’ll add them. This should be fun – looking forward to your responses!

I’ll start:

Digi002r interface - $300
Behringer ADA (for extra 8 inputs) - $150
ProControl main unit - $1000
Procontrol extra fader unit - $700
Yamaha NS-10s - $500
SM-58 microphone - $90
4x SM-57 microphones - $220
2x Rode NT3 microphones - $400
AT4040 microphone - $300
4x Behringer HPS3000 head phones - $80
Behringer AMP800 4-Channel Headphone Amp - $70

(trying my best to estimate prices second hand)

Last edited by Joeyjampa; 09-10-2013 at 09:53 AM.
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  #2  
Old 09-10-2013, 09:48 AM
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YYR123 YYR123 is offline
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Default Re: How to build a quality home studio on a budget

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joeyjampa View Post

Budget=$4000

-Must be able to record at least 16 channels simultaneously
-Must be able to record analog/digital inputs
-Must be able to record acoustic drums
-Must be able to record electrical instruments

Digi002 interface - $300
Behringer ADA (for extra 8 inputs) - $150
DiGi 003r or 003 and knock out two birds


Also LS56 with a octo pre mk3 with onboard dynamics (drums would be nice also)

Ls56 used 600
Octo pre mk3 with dynamics - used 500
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Old 09-10-2013, 02:19 PM
Craig F Craig F is offline
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Default Re: How to build a quality home studio on a budget

Ask the question: why do you want to do this?
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Old 09-10-2013, 02:33 PM
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dr_daw dr_daw is offline
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Default Re: How to build a quality home studio on a budget

+1 to what Craig F is saying.

I see what you're trying to do with this thread, and am entertained by the idea. But it's important to be realistic when doing this. You have to remember that cabling can be upwards of 50% of your budget. You want 16ch's to get to that mixer or 16ch's of pre's, you're going to need a quality snake and cables.

16ch snake w/ 4 TRS returns for Headphones - $1000
16 XLR cables - $560
2 balance speaker cables or XLR - $70
FW cables - $100
4 x Headphone extensions - $100
4 x Headphones - $500

Don't forget that you want to protect all that 'expensive' gear you're going to plug in

Power conditioner - $150


Haven't even gotten to one piece of gear and our total is = $2410

Be realistic here guys, dreaming is good for long term goals...but reality is...reality.
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Old 09-10-2013, 03:35 PM
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John_Toolbox John_Toolbox is offline
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Default Re: How to build a quality home studio on a budget

+1 to Dr. Daw. Everyone goes through this when they start out, but it really is important to look at the big picture and not just the budget for gear. Like the cabling, if you price out all of the materials for acoustic treatment/soundproofing, even if you do all the work yourself... you're going to find the budget will expand even more. If you are in the business of recording bands, and want to be viewed as a professional, you're going to need to fully treat/soundproof 2 rooms, and probably have a lounge/kitchenette area for them to hang out in as well.

The other often overlooked consideration is location. Basically, if parking is not a problem, you're probably not in a good location.
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Old 09-10-2013, 06:06 PM
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zedhed zedhed is offline
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Default Re: How to build a quality home studio on a budget

IMHO the answer is simple; Quality and budget don't go together.
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Old 09-10-2013, 06:32 PM
propower propower is offline
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Default Re: How to build a quality home studio on a budget

In my experience ---

spend 1/2 of your budget on acoustic treatment.

All the equipment in the world won't help a crappy sounding room.

If you had a more reasonable budget I would recommend $4K on acoustic treatment
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Old 09-10-2013, 07:47 PM
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YYR123 YYR123 is offline
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Default Re: How to build a quality home studio on a budget

You don't have to spend that much on a snake - nor 4k on room treatment

The guy didn't say he wanted to have a Grammy with his first disk out of the place (not like it would matter)

To start up all you need is desire - and yes cash but to say you can't start a small studio unless u have 10k or above with alist clientele is not quite right

Cash yes - it would be best to print your own - but heck run it out of your house (if your serious and can't rent a place) remodel the entrance and living space as a main room

Or go rent a studio and live in the back - (how many people have done this?)
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Old 09-11-2013, 06:43 AM
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dr_daw dr_daw is offline
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Default Re: How to build a quality home studio on a budget

YYR123, I hear what you're saying; I simply was just giving the example that even in a small setup in many occassions your cabling is anywhere up to 50% of your budget.

I ran a project studio out of my parents basement for years and years while I managed/Engineered in another bigger studio.

Another note I'd like to add; I started my business back up after a 7 year hiatus. The best thing you can do for yourself is to do a business plan. Even if you're not planning on going after financial support it is a good way to set business goals, budgets, and whether or not you're going to be able to break even at some point then make money.

With my new rig it was $5k with no cabling or accoustic treatment (already have cabling, and am still renting so not mounting treatment) Also my rig is completely mobile

MBP i7 2500
Glyph session drive 190
PT 10 (pre 11r rack sale...still upset about that) 699
Focusrite saffire Pro40 500
Power conditioner 150
SkB rolling rack 350
rack shelf 50

If I had a 4k budget, I'd forget about trying to record 16 tracks at once. I'd lean more towards spending money on 8ch's of quality pre's/ADA. I'd throw the idea of having a physical mixer out the window as well. Unless you wanted to go with the PreSonus board (but I'm not sold on their mic pre's)

You don't want to give the 'impression' you're a professional; you want to be professional. Clients have a greater deal of respect for you if you're not trying to pull the wool over their eyes. Things don't always need to 'look' good, they just need to sound good and that comes down to YOUR skills.
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Old 09-11-2013, 06:54 AM
Bookerv12 Bookerv12 is offline
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Default Re: How to build a quality home studio on a budget

Knowing what I know now, that can't really happen.
Even if you eliminate useless things like control surfaces and bad monitors.
It seems that there is a canned expectation of what a real studio experience is supposed to be among newbies.

Like everyone else said, even if you economize and make your own, the cables and accessories would eat that budget.

I think if you sell your other car as well and double the budget, you'll get something functional.
Pro studio experience?
You'll have to multiply it by 20.
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