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Old 05-09-2019, 03:40 PM
FlyWilde FlyWilde is offline
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Default Advice on Setting up a Recording Studio

The amount of info involved seems a bit overwhelming to an old fart like me.

Tried to ask questions on another forum and got zippo so figured I would try a different approach.

Here's the background info:

I’m an older guy who plays acoustic and electric guitar. Having just moved into a house, I have a dedicated practice room aka fledgling studio. It is climate controlled and the walls are insulated and the ‘clap in the corner’ test sounds pretty ‘dead’ and non-echo-ey to me. I assume this is a good sign. I’m getting old enough that I’m running out of vices, besides GAS, so I’d rather do it right the 1st time and be done. Cry once makes sense to me.

GOALS: I want to make recordings for my granddaughter. I would like to be able to do the audio stuff for the videos I take with my digital SLR. Nothing fancy, just some basic stuff (I assume it’s basic) like add narration, background music or edit stuff. I would like to make quality recordings.
So based on my ‘vast experience’ of reading stuff on the internet till my eyes bled for the last 2 weeks here are my questions. Feel free to laugh out loud if my ‘instant internet expert’ perspective is way off base.
I have iRig stuff, and iPad and Garage Band. I’ve been told by someone with a week’s more experience than me, that upgrading now will better suit my long term goal of quality and ‘cry once’ on gear since I want to add the video soundtrack factor to the equation.

Current nominees for gear are:
1. Audient Audio Interface iD22
2. Ultimate Support JS-MS70 Jam Stands Series Studio Monitor Stands
3. Studio monitors being considered are:
a. KRK V8 G4 with Kevlar
b. KRK RP8
c. Yamaha HS8S
d. ADAM Audio A7X
The reason I’m going with 8 inch versions is what I read that I won’t need a sub-woofer with 8 inch speakers. Remember the part where I said “based on my vast experience”? Well, feel free to laugh if that’s a silly reason for 8 inch speakers.
Which software to use is a difficult choice. What I read indicated that ProTools was the industry standard and had a steep learning curve. I’m OK with that and the cost is not much, if any, of a factor. I don’t know if that is a smart move or not.

Part of me says "screw it, stick with the iRig and Garage Band" and part of me does want to get a year down the road and starting over on new gear and new software because it's time to upgrade. Maybe trying to get gear to 'grow into' is dumb, or maybe it's a good idea. Obviously this is a question I'd like to discuss.

Feel free to provide recommendations of who you think I should talk with.

Thank you in advance for your help.

Victor
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Last edited by srick; 05-10-2019 at 11:53 AM.
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Old 05-09-2019, 04:24 PM
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You can budget hundreds to tens of thousands of dollars towards this and the quality of your recordings may vary widely at any price point.

Everyone has their biases about what to do mainly centered around what they have done and what they have bought. By the time you are done
listening to all the varying opinions you may well be still lost as to what to do.

However browse through the many threads on the topics of interest. Zero in on the people playing the same type of music you are interested in
and whose results you like the look and sound of. See what you can pick up there.
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Old 05-09-2019, 05:18 PM
guitarua guitarua is offline
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Spend money on these two things:

Room treatment - no amount of awesome gear can undo the sound of a bad room

Monitors - you can't hear what you can't hear if your room is treated well and you have solid monitors then you will get an accurate picture of what it will sound like elsewhere
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Old 05-09-2019, 05:34 PM
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Mr. Womack - are you out there??
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Old 05-09-2019, 05:48 PM
Trevor B. Trevor B. is offline
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Hello Victor,
I'm a semi-retired classical guitarist who has dabbled in home studio setups going back to the heyday of the Tascam 388 multi-track recorder. About 5 years ago I decided to take the home recording studio idea more seriously and now have a studio that meets my current needs. That said, there are many people on this forum with a GREAT DEAL MORE EXPERTISE than me! Hopefully they'll chime in shortly.
So.....I don't want your money but will help as much as I can.
The first step many here on the AGF will advise you to take is acoustically treating your recording space. Baffles, wall panels, ceiling panels, etc.. Here's a link to an old thread from this site that addresses the issue from a DIY perspective.
https://www.acousticguitarforum.com/...d.php?t=251366
The next critical step is probably choosing a microphone or microphones. In my experience condenser mikes are the way to go but there are so many choices you might want to start with a budget to expedite the search.
Your current nominees for audio interface and monitors looks good to me. I have a pair of Adam 7" monitors and they're ideal for my purposes. Having said that I rely as much on my headphones as I do on my monitors, especially during the recording phase. Like microphones the headphone selection is vast. So here again I decided on the budget first then choose the most highly rated set accessible at that price point where I live. Consequently I use Shure SRH 840 headphones most of the time.
Perhaps the best advise I can offer at this point is that you should at least consider upgrading to a more fully featured DAW than GarageBand sooner rather than later. While GB does offer some editing options it's very limited compared to many other recording softwares like Logic Pro X which is the most logical step up from GB. At the very least you'll want a DAW that lets you use sends for time based effects (delay, reverb, chorus etc.).
I'll follow along as this thread develops. Hope some of my comments are helpful.
Good luck!
Trevor
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Old 05-10-2019, 07:33 AM
FlyWilde FlyWilde is offline
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First step is room treatment. That perspective is VERY useful. I am obviously going to have to do some more research and re-read the linked thread several times. Sure is useful to know to get that taken care of before I start setting up gear. Much thanks for that info.

The point about monitors makes sense. Seems obvious once someone else says it. I am now much more comfortable about why it is worth it to buy really good monitors from the get go.

I appreciate the time and effort put forth to help me work this out. Your input is very helpful. Thank you. Keep it coming.
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Old 05-10-2019, 12:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyWilde View Post
First step is room treatment. That perspective is VERY useful. I am obviously going to have to do some more research and re-read the linked thread several times. Sure is useful to know to get that taken care of before I start setting up gear. Much thanks for that info.

The point about monitors makes sense. Seems obvious once someone else says it. I am now much more comfortable about why it is worth it to buy really good monitors from the get go.

I appreciate the time and effort put forth to help me work this out. Your input is very helpful. Thank you. Keep it coming.
Personally I prefer using headphones for something as simple as guitar or guitar plus voice. Most people will listen to your stuff on headphones anyway,
plus the family will appreciate not having to hear your recordings while you are tweaking the sound of them. My preferred headphone is the Grado 225e.
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Old 05-10-2019, 01:55 PM
Trevor B. Trevor B. is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rick-slo View Post
Personally I prefer using headphones for something as simple as guitar or guitar plus voice. Most people will listen to your stuff on headphones anyway,
plus the family will appreciate not having to hear your recordings while you are tweaking the sound of them. My preferred headphone is the Grado 225e.
Even though there's a point in every project where I like to hear what I've done coming out of my monitors I use headphones exclusively when recording and for most of the mixing. In my little studio there's no choice but to use headphones when recording. The alternative is ear bleeding feedback! I can live without that.
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Old 05-10-2019, 02:23 PM
jim1960 jim1960 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyWilde View Post
I’m an older guy who plays acoustic and electric guitar. Having just moved into a house, I have a dedicated practice room aka fledgling studio. It is climate controlled and the walls are insulated and the ‘clap in the corner’ test sounds pretty ‘dead’ and non-echo-ey to me.
The biggest mistake most beginners make when they first venture down this road is avoiding the investment in room treatment. It's unlikely your room is dead and you start to hear that in your recordings, you should address the problem (and that's a whole other area of research). Something you didn't tell us are the dimensions of the room and that's important information.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyWilde View Post
...I’d rather do it right the 1st time and be done. Cry once makes sense to me.
Whether you'll have done it right the first time will depend upon a bunch of things you don't really know yet, including whether the setup you buy produces results that match your expectations. None of us can get inside your head to know those things, so you'll have to see how things shape up for you as you move forward.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyWilde View Post
GOALS: I want to make recordings for my granddaughter. I would like to be able to do the audio stuff for the videos I take with my digital SLR. Nothing fancy, just some basic stuff (I assume it’s basic) like add narration, background music or edit stuff. I would like to make quality recordings.
That's a lovely goal. And keep in mind that your granddaughter isn't going to critique the quality of the audio; she's simply going to love that she'll have these memories of you to look back on.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyWilde View Post
I have iRig stuff, and iPad and Garage Band. I’ve been told by someone with a week’s more experience than me, that upgrading now will better suit my long term goal of quality and ‘cry once’ on gear since I want to add the video soundtrack factor to the equation.
I'm not sure how much you'll be limited if you're using an ipad. Others can probably weigh in on that.
Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyWilde View Post
Current nominees for gear are:
1. Audient Audio Interface iD22
2. Ultimate Support JS-MS70 Jam Stands Series Studio Monitor Stands
I don't know anything about the quality of the preamps in the Audient. At that price point, they're probably not great but they may be usable if they're not too noisy.
Whether you need stands depends upon the size of the monitors, the size of the room, and how you plan to layout your gear.
Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyWilde View Post
3. Studio monitors being considered are:
a. KRK V8 G4 with Kevlar
b. KRK RP8
c. Yamaha HS8S
d. ADAM Audio A7X
The reason I’m going with 8 inch versions is what I read that I won’t need a sub-woofer with 8 inch speakers. Remember the part where I said “based on my vast experience”? Well, feel free to laugh if that’s a silly reason for 8 inch speakers.
I've never heard anyone tell me they really love their KRK monitors. I'm sure there are some people out there who do but I haven't run into any. The Yamaha monitors are pretty popular for a couple of reasons. First, the price is friendly. Second, they're not very forgiving. What I mean by that is if you get something sounding nice on the Yamahas, it usually transfers well to other listening devices. The downside is that they can be a bit fatiguing on the ears. The Adam monitors have a great rep and are the opposite of fatiguing.

But here's the thing about monitors... they're a very personal choice. And no matter what monitors you choose, you'll have to learn them. By that I mean you'll have to listen to things you mix on the monitors in other places to uncover how your monitors are lying to your ears. For example, an untreated room tends to have a bit of bass rumble going on. You might mix something in your room and it sounds fine, then listen in your car and it sounds thin because all that bass buildup you're hearing in your room isn't present in the car.

And speaking of bass, if all you're recording is acoustic guitar, there's no real need for a subwoofer. The lowest note on the acoustic guitar is about 83Hz. Even the 5" Yamahas will be enough to hear that. If you went with a quality pair of smaller nearfield monitors, you could put them on your mixing desk and use something like the Isoacoustic stands instead of the monitor stands on your list.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyWilde View Post
Which software to use is a difficult choice. What I read indicated that ProTools was the industry standard and had a steep learning curve. I’m OK with that and the cost is not much, if any, of a factor. I don’t know if that is a smart move or not.

Part of me says "screw it, stick with the iRig and Garage Band" and part of me does want to get a year down the road and starting over on new gear and new software because it's time to upgrade. Maybe trying to get gear to 'grow into' is dumb, or maybe it's a good idea. Obviously this is a question I'd like to discuss.
I think you're being smart in recognizing that investing a year or two in one DAW and then changing is not the best use of your time. I've only ever used Pro Tools so I can't offer any comparisons but I'm sure others can. If you're limited to using the iPad, that may hinder your options though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyWilde View Post
Feel free to provide recommendations of who you think I should talk with.
A bit more information would help. As I said earlier, knowing your room dimensions would help, as would having some idea about how you're going to lay out your gear (in a corner, middle of the room, up against a wall, etc). Also, we know what your short terms goals but what are your long term goals? What would you like to eventually be able to produce other than memories for your granddaughter?
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Old 05-10-2019, 03:23 PM
Trevor B. Trevor B. is offline
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Originally Posted by jim1960 View Post
I think you're being smart in recognizing that investing a year or two in one DAW and then changing is not the best use of your time. I've only ever used Pro Tools so I can't offer any comparisons but I'm sure others can. If you're limited to using the iPad, that may hinder your options though.
The DAW that bears the closest resemblance to GarageBand is Logic Pro X. They even look alike. There's no question that I have a bias having started out on GB before moving to Logic Pro X because the editing and mixing limitations in the former soon became too frustrating to tolerate. Like all fully featured DAWs Logic Pro X has a steep learning curve but for basic recording it's pretty straight-forward and there's no shortage of literature and videos that cover everything from the simplest home recording approaches to producing full-blown commercial releases. And........it's only $199.00 for Americans!
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Old 05-10-2019, 04:40 PM
jim1960 jim1960 is offline
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The DAW that bears the closest resemblance to GarageBand is Logic Pro X. They even look alike. There's no question that I have a bias having started out on GB before moving to Logic Pro X because the editing and mixing limitations in the former soon became too frustrating to tolerate. Like all fully featured DAWs Logic Pro X has a steep learning curve but for basic recording it's pretty straight-forward and there's no shortage of literature and videos that cover everything from the simplest home recording approaches to producing full-blown commercial releases. And........it's only $199.00 for Americans!
I started out on Pro Tools because the friend who was helping me get set up was using Pro Tools. Nearly 20 years later I'm still using Pro Tools because he's still using Pro Tools and he's my first call when I'm either having an issue or need to figure out how to do something new. I don't need the help nearly as much these days but every now and again something will come up. After all these years, I have no interest in learning a new program.
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Old 05-10-2019, 04:56 PM
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Some have mentioned it but I want to reiterate it
You can have loads of great gear and it will not sound as good as, say a Zoom recorder in a great sounding room.

here’s a web site that could educate you. You don’t have to spend loads of money on the room but you should put aside some for the basics
https://realtraps.com/

Edit....in regards to DAWs...all have some bit of a learning curve, especially if you are new to digital recording. so it might be worth taking online lessons for what ever DAW you choose.

I been using calkwalk Sonar for years and it’s now free.
But once again there is a bit of a leaning curve if you don’t have any experience setting it up
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Old 05-10-2019, 05:25 PM
Trevor B. Trevor B. is offline
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Originally Posted by jim1960 View Post
I started out on Pro Tools because the friend who was helping me get set up was using Pro Tools. Nearly 20 years later I'm still using Pro Tools because he's still using Pro Tools and he's my first call when I'm either having an issue or need to figure out how to do something new. I don't need the help nearly as much these days but every now and again something will come up. After all these years, I have no interest in learning a new program.
Pro Tools is still the professional standard by which all other DAWs are ultimately judged, despite it's naysayers. I also concur that once we get comfortable with a comprehensive DAW there's no need to keep reinventing the wheel. I would however suggest that GarageBand does not rise to the standard of a comprehensive DAW and if the OP embraces the home recording deal he'll soon want to upgrade.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mbroady View Post
Some have mentioned it but I want to reiterate it
You can have loads of great gear and it will not sound as good as, say a Zoom recorder in a great sounding room.

here’s a web site that could educate you. You don’t have to spend loads of money on the room but you should put aside some for the basics
https://realtraps.com/
Couldn't agree more!!!
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Old 05-10-2019, 05:47 PM
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To reiterate what everyone else has been saying, treating your room some will be the best first step. I am glad I listened to this advice. You can make your own traps or purchase them. I have a combination of both. Real Traps is a great source and I have been pleased doing some business with GIK Acoustics. Getting your room right will go a long way to letting you record with minimal processing afterwards.

This is what my room sounds like now. I made this little demo trying out a particular mic configuration and also to see how the most recent treatment made my room sound. There is no extra processing other than than low and high pass filtering at 100hz and 15k. I wasn’t concerned in this with getting the playing and singing “right”. I was more interested in the sound.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1eUD...w?usp=drivesdk

The people here are very friendly and helpful. They will also tell you if something needs improvement but usually can say why and how as well.
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Last edited by gwlee7; 05-10-2019 at 05:58 PM.
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Old 05-10-2019, 05:57 PM
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Oh here is a picture of some of my homemade bass traps. In the sound clip I posted there are “tuned” soffits in the corners that I purchased from GIK. I haven’t taken a picture since I added them.
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File Type: jpg 58C86D6B-2573-4117-9EA9-C10CEA7B9307.jpg (36.0 KB, 121 views)
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