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Thread: Advice on the best way to use $1500

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    Advice on the best way to use $1500

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    Ok here we go, hopefully this is the right forum and I can get some feedback.

    I'm a singer songwriter, looking to record myself with acoustic guitar and vocals. For demos, for whatever. Would like to get a good sound me and guitar "live", but also will be laying more tracks, maybe even drums. Need ability to record at the very least two tracks at same time, four would be nice. I've got $1500 to spend, most pressing items are a digital audio interface and DAW. Here's the equipment I have:

    Rode NT1 (from the early 2000's)
    SM57
    Art Tube preamp thingy (cheapy thing)
    Mackie 1402 from 2000's (not sure if all channels work)
    Computer PC with plenty of power
    Guitar and amps, cables, etc. all that stuff

    So the questions are: spend big on a good vocal mic? How about a better mic pre? Spend it all on Apollo interface? But I don't have Thunderbolt! Go Pro Tools? Or Reaper and spend on mic? Etc.

    Style of music: who knows but Elliot Smith is a good start.
    Aspirations: hobbyist, but still want to sound as good as possible.

    I know the decisions are endless, so if the response is "You need to figure out what you want, et, etc.", Please don't​ respond, I totally get that, you're right. But if you're reading this and thinking, "Well, here's what I'd do", would absolutely love to hear it. Thanks all, apologies if this is wrong forum (Newbies maybe?)

    Thanks all!

    Tom

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    The Rode NT1 is worth keeping, even though some say it is a bit too bright. The new black Rode NT1 is worth getting if you have some change.

    I'd put the ART and Mackie in the cupboard and spend some money on an interface. Going for a number of channels is a good idea, e.g Tascam US1608 or similar.

    You haven't mentioned speakers, but that is what I'd put next on the list . . . a decent set of monitors.

    Reaper is flexible, powerful; and cheap. It is better value for money (in my view) than PT, and there is a lot of support for it both here and on the Reaper site.

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    There's no mention of acoustic treatment - it is probably worth spending a couple of hundred dollars on that before anything else.
    JRP Music - Audio Mastering and Restoration
    http://www.jrpmusic.co.uk

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    You mention recording up to 4 tracks at a time - but how many mic preamps do you need? This will help you figure out which audio interfaces to look at. I just got a Focuusrite Saffier 8i6 - only 2 mic preamps, but 4 line inputs on the back panel. I looked at the Tascam US1608 Gecko mentioned ^^, but in the end decided I didn't need more than 2 mic preamps.

    Monitors, headphones for tracking, acoustic treatment should be on your primary list. Reaper has everything you are likely to need to start out, but you can also check out Cubase for free.
    Don't blow the $1500 at one time. Get the interface, get some monitors. Try things out, see if you like the sound you are getting from the Rode.
    Mike B My new album on CD Baby: Fact and Fiction
    My Bandcamp site: http://mikebirchmusic.bandcamp.com

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    Thanks for this response, very helpful. Yeah I forgot to mention speakers. Ok, so it seems from your response that I'm good with my mics, and so it makes most sense to spend big first on interface, then on speakers. Noted, thanks for the response.

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    Man, didn't think of that. OK, I'd be recording my living room, so I'll research for that. Thanks.

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    This is great. You're the second person to mention acoustic treatment and monitors. And I like the idea of not getting it all at once. So, it appears that in order of how much to spend, I'm thinking:

    1. Interface
    2. Monitors
    3. Acoustic treatment

    This is interesting. I was all set to hear someone say something like " the mic is theost important thing, ditch that Rode and get such and such".

    Thanks again

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    If you're going to track drums live, you probably need more than 2 channels. It will also require additional mics. I don't know the older NT1, but do have the newer version and like it a lot for vocals. I'm running the Tascam US16x08 and it works very well. I also considered the Focusrite 18i20 because I wanted to be able to record at least 8 tracks at once. The price for the additional 4 mic inputs isn't that much over a 4 mic interface. The Tascam is very affordable, and even the Focusrite is only $500 new for v3.

    You might have to be creative with your acoustic treatment if you're using a living room to record, especially if you have to make it blend in with existing decor. Are there any restrictions (like dealing with "wife acceptance factor")?

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    -2. Songwriting lessons
    -1. Playing lessons
    0. Instruments that sound good
    1. Interface
    2. Speakers
    3. Room (technically, this should be between 0 and 1, but 1500 won't get you very far; you'll have to DiY room treatment)
    4. Mic

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    Quote Originally Posted by VomitHatSteve View Post
    -2. Songwriting lessons
    -1. Playing lessons
    0. Instruments that sound good
    1. Interface
    2. Speakers
    3. Room (technically, this should be between 0 and 1, but 1500 won't get you very far; you'll have to DiY room treatment)
    4. Mic
    Excellent, thanks!

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