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  #1  
Old 11-20-2016, 10:13 AM
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DanielH DanielH is offline
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Default First Home Studio Advice

Hi, first post in the forums! Hopefully doing this topic in the right section!

Looking for a bit of confirmation / further advice here today. Been looking into getting my first home setup together. Whilst future proofing myself for several years on a new computer in the process.

Aiming for following specs for an iMac as I don't need to be portable.

iMac (Mid 15/Late 14/Late 13)
16GB RAM
3.5Ghz Processor (Quad Core)

The RAM I'll upgrade at a later stage to 32GB, but 16GB I've seen recommended to start on over a 8GB. I presume I can mix and match the Apple RAM and the Crucial 16GB kit?

The processor isn't something you can easily upgrade, I have experience fixing iPhones, but wouldn't want to risk opening up a Mac... So should I invest more to get a 4.0Ghz outright? Is there really much of a difference/need?

External SSD
It's not until I came onto these forums that I discovered the use of an external drive to write data onto, to refrain from overworking the main drive. I'm looking for something around the following details:

7,200 RPM - 64 MB cache - 300 or more MB/s

A user suggested a: Samsung 850 EVO 500 GB 2.5 inch Solid State Drive, into a Sabrent 2.5-Inch SATA to USB 3.0 Tool-free External Hard Drive Enclosure

Interface
I won't be needing more than 2 inputs for now as I'm a 'bedroom based guitarist', so a Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 2nd Edition is sufficient for my needs. I'm mostly getting the setup together to learn/put mixing skills to practice.

And of course, Pro Tools 12 is on my list of purchase too.

Is there anything else I might need to know?

Thanks to all.
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  #2  
Old 11-20-2016, 11:55 AM
sw rec sw rec is offline
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Default Re: First Home Studio Advice

Mixing and matching RAM is just asking for it. Make sure all your RAM sticks are identical.
And avoid Fusion drives.
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  #3  
Old 11-20-2016, 04:28 PM
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EdgarRothermich EdgarRothermich is offline
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Default Re: First Home Studio Advice

SSD is the way to go if you have the option and can spend the premium money.
Also, SSD don't have RPM specs, that is for spinning drives (Rotation Per Minute).

If you run only small projects, then you can get an internal SSD drive, assuming that you don't have much other storage needs (video, etc). This also speeds up your boot up time and application related storage processes. You can always add an external drive later. The time is on your side, because SSD drives still getting cheaper by the minute.

Don't sweat the processor speed unless you have a seriously underpowered MacBook Air or some older gear. Again, with smaller Projects, this should be any bottleneck.
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  #4  
Old 11-20-2016, 04:48 PM
Darryl Ramm Darryl Ramm is offline
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Default Re: First Home Studio Advice

Quote:
External SSD
It's not until I came onto these forums that I discovered the use of an external drive to write data onto, to refrain from overworking the main drive. I'm looking for something around the following details:

7,200 RPM - 64 MB cache - 300 or more MB/s

A user suggested a: Samsung 850 EVO 500 GB 2.5 inch Solid State Drive, into a Sabrent 2.5-Inch SATA to USB 3.0 Tool-free External Hard Drive Enclosure
The best performing/easy to use storage you can get on a modern iMac is the internal PCIe SSD. That is faster than multiple separate external SSDs (well SATA based SSDs at least). You can ignore usual advice about needing multiple separate drives with these modern very fast 4 lane x PCIe 3 SSDs. So max out the SSD in the iMac when you order it. Yes just pay the Apple tax here, it's worth it. And especially do not order an iMac with a Fusion drive. They can be problematic, and are just a bad idea.
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  #5  
Old 11-20-2016, 05:07 PM
Darryl Ramm Darryl Ramm is offline
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Default Re: First Home Studio Advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by DanielH View Post
Interface
I won't be needing more than 2 inputs for now as I'm a 'bedroom based guitarist', so a Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 2nd Edition is sufficient for my needs. I'm mostly getting the setup together to learn/put mixing skills to practice.

And of course, Pro Tools 12 is on my list of purchase too.

Is there anything else I might need to know?

Thanks to all.
What exact guitar(s) with what pickups and if electric what amp/cabs do you have? What microphones do you own now? Are you recording vocals? Vocals while you play or separate?

Do you have band members or friends who have gear you can play with to get started?

If you are working with electric guitar or bass you should look at an Eleven Rack as an interface, easy to get started with, end especially if recording at home the amp/effects sims can really help. And you can use it to mic a cab when you want to . And you'll get good support from folks on DUC with questions. The Fractal Axe FX II and Line 6 Helix guitar processors also act as interfaces.

Traps for first time players, are underestimating the importance of room treatments/good monitor setup, having decent monitors and headphones (for mixing and tracking) etc. Costs for all that add up quickly. Work up a budget and include things you may need like microphones, microphone stands, monitor stand, mic and monitor cables, etc., etc. I often see folks jump in and throw money at things like plugins etc. I'd suggest slowing down and getting as good a basic stuff as you can get to start with.
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  #6  
Old 11-21-2016, 03:25 PM
PMF Media PMF Media is offline
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Default Re: First Home Studio Advice

Great advice from Darryl! I add my 2 cents worth as well, if you're buying a new iMac go for the i7 rather than the i5, if you go for the 27 inch ram is easily upgraded but the 21 inch can't be without opening the machine - PITA (the screen is glued to the body) and as stated, avoid mixing different ram.

As for the room/bedroom, you really need to look at some sound deadening/damping treatment (I didn't say sound proofing on purpose as this is possibly going to be almost impossible without major reno's), making the room less reverberant will help you hear/understand reverb and delay - important tools for any guitarist.

Good Luck!
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  #7  
Old 11-22-2016, 01:56 PM
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DanielH DanielH is offline
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Default Re: First Home Studio Advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darryl Ramm View Post
The best performing/easy to use storage you can get on a modern iMac is the internal PCIe SSD. And especially do not order an iMac with a Fusion drive.
I'd much prefer to have an internal drive separate to the main drive! Is it a case of adding "flash storage", or a different action? Looking over the specs on the Apple website that's the only thing different to Fusion Drive. Which isn't what I want.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darryl Ramm View Post
underestimating the importance of room treatments/good monitor setup, having decent monitors and headphones (for mixing and tracking) etc. Costs for all that add up quickly. I often see folks jump in and throw money at things like plugins etc.
I won't be buying plug-ins. Plenty of stock plug-ins available that can get a job done. I'd rather learn to use the tools I have, than pointlessly adding more tools and still not understanding the use of them.

I'm going to start on headphones and get monitors later down the road. I understand the importance of monitors, and trust me, I will get some. Just later. Plus I share a bedroom with my partner in a shared house, so there isn't opportunity to soundproof until I move out. The important thing for me at the moment is futureproofing myself with a good desktop. So that when I can get to the next stage, I already have most of my setup ready.

I have a full setup as a guitarist, so a 4x12cab, amp head, pedalboard, and several guitars. One day a Axe FX would replace most of my current setup. Which likely will become the interface if I only want to do guitar related things.
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  #8  
Old 11-22-2016, 02:17 PM
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JFreak JFreak is online now
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Default Re: First Home Studio Advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by DanielH View Post
Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 2nd Edition is sufficient for my needs.
If your computer has ThunderBolt, why not consider Focusrite Clarett 2Pre instead? Much better experience and less hassle with other stuff.
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  #9  
Old 11-22-2016, 02:19 PM
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Default Re: First Home Studio Advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by DanielH View Post
I'm going to start on headphones and get monitors later down the road.
Which headphones? If your budget doesn't allow something like Sennheiser HD650 then I would suggest you buy Shure SE215 in-ears because decent (mixing-wise) headphones cost more than decent in-ears.
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Old 11-22-2016, 02:21 PM
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Default Re: First Home Studio Advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by PMF Media View Post
As for the room/bedroom, you really need to look at some sound deadening/damping treatment (I didn't say sound proofing on purpose as this is possibly going to be almost impossible without major reno's), making the room less reverberant will help you hear/understand reverb and delay - important tools for any guitarist.

Good Luck!
...or simply placing the mic closer to the cab and playing it lower volume. That tames the room sound, but in this scenario you would want to have in-ears to boost the volume to get the "real vibe" without spill to the mic
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