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Old 03-20-2018, 06:14 PM
jim1960 jim1960 is online now
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Default Realistic studio dreams

Not much talking going on here so I thought this might be a fun topic for all of us with home studios of any level:
For those of us whose studios aren't quite what we'd like them to be, where do you realistically expect your studio to end up one day? Give a description of your current studio situation and a description of what you might realistically have in the future.

Currently... I'm pretty happy with my mic pre selection (Hardy M1, Demeter VTMP2c, Hendy DaVinci, Sebatron Axis). My mic locker is a little light in terms of choices but the choices I have are good (Flea 47, Blue Kiwi, Gefell M295 pair, and others). My biggest issue is my room. It's treated but it's too small.

In the future... I'm retiring in a few months and I'll be up-sizing my home when I relocate sometime in the next year or so. I'm looking forward to having a studio room large enough that I don't have to work against a wall. I'm also going to invest in sufficient room treatment to make the room sound as good as it can.

At that point I can add a pair of ribbon mics to the collection. I've long wanted a pair but my current room situation doesn't allow me to get the most out of them so I've put that off. A better room would also allow me to add a pair of quality omni mics to the mix as well.

A bigger room would also allow me to add a pair of mid-field monitors. That's pretty high on my list.

Lastly, I'd love a pair of LA-2A compressors. I'm not sure I want to invest $7k to make this happen but I'm hoping I'll find a couple of used ones at some point.

And that's about all I'd need to be very happy in the studio. The first three can happen fairly easily. The last one will require a bit of luck or a compromise where I go with a different pair.
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  #2  
Old 03-21-2018, 12:04 AM
midwinter midwinter is offline
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Ooooh. I like this.

I'm just getting started for reals and I'm trying to think about this as a 20 year plan. Ideally, I want to build up my gear now in my spare time and with my gigging money, then retire from my current job (in 20 years) and use my free time to engineer/produce sort of full time, so I have plenty of time to move slowly with acquisitions. I think of it as a sliding scale where music production is on one end and my current job is on the other. I'd like them to slowly replace one another.

Right now, I seem to be picking up podcast clients, which is fine by me. The handful of clients I have now cover most of the rent of our space—basically, I think if I can cover the rent with a few clients right now, the rest is gravy. I'm happy to pick up bigger projects, but our/my focus is on our/my stuff right now.

With the help of user and buddy Rockabilly69, I've picked up a handful of mics that I like (an unmatched pair of KM184s, a Violent Amethyst, an SM7b, two Warm Audio copies—a 414 clone and a u87 clone) along with the standard bunch of SM57s, Rødes (some good, some meh) and other weird mics. I'm certain that I'll pick up others down the line, but after doling out money on mics I no longer use (Røde M5s, Little Blondies, and an AT2050), I'm much more reluctant to fork out $600+ on a mic experiment. I'm sure Rockabilly69 will talk me into a Blue Kiwi at some point here soon.

Once we got a studio space, I grabbed a pair of HS5s and an HS8 sub and I'm finally actually hearing what's going on and it's magical. I kind of want a pair of NS10s to have for comparison, just so I don't have to go see how it sounds in my wife's car, which is my go to sound system to check against; if it sounds good there, it'll sound good anywhere.

I've been picking up pres with abandon lately. Four channels of RNP (plus two channels of RNC) for cleans (i.e. podcasts and voiceovers). I have four channels of Neve-ish (2 GAP pre73s and an ISA Two) which sound fine clean but get interesting when you push them (although I need to spend a bunch of time with the ISA to figure it out). Right now I'm looking for tube pres (I have Reverb and Ebay watches for UA/Avalons and Sebatrons and on and on). I also just grabbed an old Shure M67 PA mixer for next to nothing on Ebay, and the pres are supposed to be great. If I like the pres in it, I may have a friend break them out as 4 channels of individual pres.

My next major purchase will be a proper interface. I'm trying to choose among an RME, Apollo, or one of the various Apogees. I'd like to have 8 channels in.

I'm honestly not sure about outboard gear for compression. A part of me wants to grab a WA2A or a WA76 and see what I think, but I really like the freedom of working in the box, and I'm pretty happy with the results we're getting. The idea of a complex patch bay system doesn't delight me. But the idea of a bunch of cool new sounds does.

I think I'm pretty much done buying instruments and amps and PA gear for a bit. I'm really quite happy with my live rig (my #1 is a 2011 Breedlove American Series, backed up by a Waterloo WL-12; I have various nice Godins, Gretsches, and Fender electrics), and I'm not much of a GAS kind of guy anyway. If the studio work takes off, I may wind up re-evaluating this in terms of amps (I play lefty, so my [often quite good] instruments aren't useful to anyone but me).

Last edited by midwinter; 03-21-2018 at 11:54 AM.
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Old 03-21-2018, 12:33 AM
rick-slo rick-slo is offline
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Input chain is room - mikes - preamp - computer interface - DAW software.
My set up for the last few years:
Room: Fourteen ATS panels http://www.atsacoustics.com/cat--ATS-Acoustic-Panels--100.html
Various mikes (currently I prefer the Gefell M295s for acoustic guitar)
Preamps: NPNG DMP-2WN or Great River MP-2H
Analog to digital converter: Mytek Stereo96 ADC
Computer interface: RME Fireface 800
DAW: Ableton Live
Various software (reverb, equalization, etc.) by Lexicon, Waves, Aether, Liquidsonics, 2cAudio, Voxengo, etc..
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Old 03-21-2018, 07:36 AM
MikeBmusic MikeBmusic is offline
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Acoustic treatment can make a real difference. Before spending thoursands on mics and monitors - if the room sounds crappy, the thousands are being wasted.
You can build a half dozen rockwool 4"x24"x48" panels for less than $250, or buy some if you are not handy with simple tools.
If you anticipate moving at some time, hook-and-eyes can be used to hang the panels on the walls, or from the ceiling so they are easy to take with you.
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Old 03-21-2018, 08:16 AM
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One thing to note is the fairly substantial difference between a commercial type studio and private one. I have been at the home studio game since 2003. However it has always been with being strictly for my personal recording needs. I have never planed for recording other people.
What that does of course is depending on a number of variables (particularly if your not a drummer) is make the number of channels required less.

For my use I have basically focused on two relatively high end channels of front end outboard gear. And most of my dreams have reached fruition

That is to say I have two pretty good mic's a Schoeps CMC 6-4 SDC and a Brauner Phantom V LDC. Now looking to the future , I would certainly consider a tube LDC specifically a Cathedral Pipes Notre Dame. Or possibly their Regensburg Dom.

Preamp wise I am set with an A Designs MP2A two channel tube pre And then the two SS press in my Avid HD Omni. interface .

Then for outboard FX I have, a 2 channel Tubecore 3U Mastering Edition compressor
And a Bricasti M7 stereo Reverb Processor

Mixing wise I have my dream set of monitors Amphion One 18's and their 100 watt amp

My current room is different but ok, I am basically in the walk in attic of our home.
It sits entirely in the triangle shape created by the steep roof rafters with the peak at about 7 ft. 9 inches . And what are essentially the angled side walls being the 8- 12 pitch rafters. It is something like 20 ft. Wide at the floor angling up to the peak at 7' 9". And is about 35 ft in length.
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Old 03-21-2018, 08:23 AM
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My 'studio dreams', or 'purpose' for a 'studio', is really just to support and fulfill my hobbies. My initial hobby of playing guitar created a 'sub-hobby' of appreciation of nice acoustic guitars, which created a 'sub-hobby' of recording my playing of these nice acoustics. I primarily play at home, so that's where I want my recording setup to typically reside. So, my primary recording chain is based on getting a clean stereo recording of my acoustics with as much realism as I am able to get. As secondary uses for the home setup I will sometimes record vocals or violin. Also, on the occasions where I play out I sometimes needs to bring a live setup and occasionally will do a little remote recording. Although this thread is for 'studio dreams' these various uses factor in to what I buy because since this is just a hobby I can't have specialized gear for each use.

For stereo recording of the acoustic guitar the chain is:
-pair of Gefell M296S Omni mics
-pair of Speck 5.0 MicPre (record with solid state output, not the transformer)
-Mytek Stereo196 ADC
-Moto Ultralite AVB audio interface
-Reaper running on a Dell laptop

When I want or need something other than Omni mics I have a pair of 3 Zigma transformerless sdc cardioids and a single 3 Zigma transformerless ldc with a 47 style cardioid capsule.

The long term 'dream' is to get a dedicated and treated space for a studio. In the meantime my setup gets taken down and moved on occasion. For treatment I'm using a half dozen 2'x5' gobos built with 4" rockboard 80 in an attempt to get a dead space.

As far as gear dreams, my playback chain is not at the level of my recording chain; someday an outboard DAC and new monitors. On the recording chain, I'd like to try a Gordon Model 5 if I could find one used at a reasonable price.
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Last edited by ChuckS; 03-21-2018 at 08:30 AM.
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Old 03-21-2018, 10:10 AM
Joseph Hanna Joseph Hanna is offline
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Honestly my dream is to someday have a great room. Not just a room that's been adequately treated or even one that's been meticulously treated but one that always sounds fantastic and always remains inspiring. I've been in at least one that was really beyond amazing and I've never been quite "right" since I admit of course in truth that may well be the single most difficult piece of the puzzle and ultimately the most costly but there again, that's my dream.

The equipment from there means so little (within reason) to me. I'll take an iPad, Auria and an Apogee Mic in a miraculous room any day.
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Old 03-21-2018, 11:21 AM
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Jim, one alternative to $7K for the LA-2s would be UAD hardware and plugins. It may not be identical to the real thing, but most people seem to think it's close, and far more versatile - as many LA2s as you want, plus tons of other really good hardware emulations!
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Old 03-21-2018, 11:31 AM
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I'm not sure that "realistic" and "dream" fit into the same bucket, but I'll go for the dream side. I built my "dream" personal studio of 10 years ago in the garage, condemning our cars to the driveway forever, and have adequate gear and room acoustics for what I normally do, which is mostly record myself, tho I have recorded others, from solo guitarist up to 3-4 person ensembles. In my current setup, I sort of wish for an isolation booth for occasional use. Given space constraints, that alone is probably an unreasonable dream :-)

But my longer-term dream would be a much bigger, nicer place, set up for both audio and video production, that would work both as my personal recording space and as a broadcast/performance space for a small audience. I imagine a studio/venue were acoustic artists could play in a house concert-like setting, combined with webcast, live DVD production, etc, sort of an acoustic Darryl's House, or a micro-micro-micro Austin City Limits. Being in the bay area where the cost of property per square foot is as much as a good microphone, it's not like to happen any time soon, but maybe someday in an alternate universe.
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Old 03-21-2018, 11:33 AM
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I haven't really thought any farther than figuring out how to use and master the basics of recording and mixing using the low budget gear I have. The learning curve is pretty steep right now.
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Old 03-21-2018, 11:36 AM
DukeX DukeX is offline
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My recording equipment, although not high end, is good and already better than I am or ever will be.

My room is pretty well treated, sounds fine, but is small and not ideally located. This is what I'd change if I could.
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Old 03-21-2018, 12:59 PM
FrankHudson FrankHudson is offline
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I couldn't resist remembering when I saw the thread title "Realistic Studio Dreams" of the Radio Shack equipment that I had near the start of my recording journey. Slim condenser mics powered by AA batteries, dynamics with a small sliding on/off switch on the body (don't hit it by accident!) A 4 into 2 mixer the size of a paperback book.

like this one

Yes! I have already achieved my Realistic brand studio dreams in the early 1980s! In the years since I've accumulated stuff slowly when the money or the deals occurred.

Most of my current recording is fairly large track-count wise from the typical projects here, but much of it is "Virtual Instruments" which reduces the load on any interface and lets me work in nearly any space. I may want 4 to 8 various string tracks, grouped drum set samples on several tracks, a keyboard or two, bass, multiple guitars, and so on.

In my "Main Room" the acoustic recording space and tools are still low end and utilitarian. Inexpensive Focursrite Scarlet interfaces with 16 inputs so that I can track multiple instruments at once and I don't have to re-route or re-patch everything for different recording scenarios. Three electric guitar amp stations and five amps to rotate at them. A mix of inexpensive mics (a MXL LDC, a couple of cheap MXL ribbon mics, a few SM57s, an SM58 and Beta 58, a pair of Octava MK-012 SDC, a Shure SM7b, an older Electrovoice dynamic handheld that does better than anything else in capturing one vocalist I work with, an inexpensive headphone amp five sets of cans (mostly Sennheiser HD280s)--in other words, stuff that in today's world is world's better than that Realistic stuff I used in the early 80s while costing surprisingly close in constant dollars.

I lean on computers a whole lot in my more multitrack/band oriented setup. Currently two older Mac Minis, one handling ProTools or Logic X hosting the interfaces, the other running Logic X and Mainstage to host virtual instruments for live tracking without putting more load on the recording Mac. A more powerful Mac could host both, but would cost more than the two older Minis cost me, and they're long paid for. One Roland guitar MIDI interface/and footboard sound source. A Yamaha keyboard with MIDI interface. I've got some older rack mounted stuff, a DBX compressor, two reverb/delay units, even an old JamMan rack mounted looper, but I almost never use them anymore. Computer plugins can do the work well enough.

My dreams wildish or realistic? A bit more clear space (part of it is instrument/equipment storage now). A wild dream: drum space/booth and a real drum set along with a better drummer than myself to play it. Room for more than four musicians. More room treatment. A better master keyboard. A better LDC condenser mic someday.

In quality of recording that results, I'm below some here. I've been around real audio engineers and real equipment in my former work life, and know I'm not one. But the breadth of what this stuff can accomplish is astounding to me.
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Old 03-21-2018, 01:00 PM
jim1960 jim1960 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Young View Post
Jim, one alternative to $7K for the LA-2s would be UAD hardware and plugins. It may not be identical to the real thing, but most people seem to think it's close, and far more versatile - as many LA2s as you want, plus tons of other really good hardware emulations!
I've been a UAD user since the UAD-1 days. For most things, the hardware compressors aren't necessary and I'd prefer to simply work in the box, but for those pieces where the dynamic range is wide, it would be nice to be able to tame things on the way in ...thus my reluctance to plopping down $7k.

But who knows... perhaps a desire for hardware compressors will push me down the 500 series path. A pair of used Shadow Hills Mono Optographs would do me nicely too. If I find them used, I can probably get the Optographs and a 500 chassis for the price of one LA-2A.
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Old 03-21-2018, 02:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jim1960 View Post
I've been a UAD user since the UAD-1 days. For most things, the hardware compressors aren't necessary and I'd prefer to simply work in the box, but for those pieces where the dynamic range is wide, it would be nice to be able to tame things on the way in ...thus my reluctance to plopping down $7k.
yeah, probably depends on what you are recording. Those hardware boxes are always temping. I had a Cranesong compressor for a while, with the idea that either a bit of compression going in would be good, or that I'd prevent overs. In reality, all I did was ruin takes with too much compression that I couldn't remove. But this was for solo guitar, where compression is optional at best. I'd probably appreciate one more if I was just engineering and recording a more dynamic source.
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Old 03-21-2018, 03:20 PM
jim1960 jim1960 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Young View Post
In reality, all I did was ruin takes with too much compression that I couldn't remove.
I'm hoping I know enough not to do that to myself. Even in the box, I try to use compression sparingly.
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