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Thread: Need Gear/Set-Up Recommendations - Apartment Recording ($3k Budget)

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    Need Gear/Set-Up Recommendations - Apartment Recording ($3k Budget)

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    Hello HomeRecording community,

    All input is appreciated! Thank you.

    I am looking to record and edit songs in a small space in my apartment (7.5 ft x 9 ft) I don't know much about recording gear or software as this is new to me, and currently own neither. I'd to like to be able to come home and easily create songs without having to unplug and switch things around all the time. I'd like good enough quality recordings that I could eventually upload my songs to Spotify or similar platforms. Music is my main hobby so would like a good, functional setup that lasts. I use vocals, guitar, pedalboard, bass, keyboard. How would you do it?


    BUDGET:
    $3000 range, though flexible

    THE GOAL:
    -To record my instruments and vocals. This will be JUST ME, not a full band.
    -To edit the tracks in the computer program, add effects, change levels, etc.
    -To add or create accompanying drum beats already in the software program or my midi keyboard. (I can't record a real drum kit since I am in an apartment)
    -My apartment is pretty quiet so not two worried about background noise.
    -Good quality recordings so I can upload to Spotify or similar programs.

    -*In addition to recording/editing, I would like to be able to monitor my vocals and guitar in my ear via headphones in real time. Probably be too loud to use a mini PA in my apartment. This is mostly for personal use as I'd like to get used to hearing my own voice as I'm singing.

    EXPERIENCE:
    Garageband user in the past but no experience with Logic, Protools or comparable programs.

    CURRENT GEAR:
    -Electric Guitar, Bass, Midi Keyboard, Acoustic Electric Guitar (soon to be purchased)
    -Roland Blues Cube Hot Guitar amp (includes a Line Out if needed)
    -Pedal board (includes Pigtronix Infinity looper midi synced with Beat Buddy drum machine).
    -I do not have a computer yet, and will likely buy one based on the DAW I choose - Mac for Logic, Something else for Protools are comparable program. For this purpose, please don't factor in this cost to my budget as I am more focused on gear.

    SUGGESTIONS NEEDED:

    -Software Program/DAW for my purpose?
    Logic vs Protools or equivalent. I need to make/add drum beats using my midi keyboard. I'd like a good platform for songwriting inspiration.

    -Computer/laptop recommendation if using something other than Logic Pro X?
    If I get Logic I will have to get a Mac. The one I would purchase (16 GB Ram, 256 GB Storage + Terrabyte External Drive) to support Logic. I am open to other types of computers (non-Mac) if I am running something different than Logic, as I know they will be much cheaper. (don't need to factor in this cost with my budget for this discussion)

    -Audio interface?
    I'd like to record my vocals and guitar at the same time but split into separate tracks. I'd like to then be able to pick up the bass and or play midi keyboard easily add those tracks. I'd like to avoid having to unplug and switch things around a lot. I want to make it easy to record. It would be a plus to allow for one other player to accompany me at the same time when I'm singing/playing guitar, i.e. bass or midi keyboard, though I've heard that midi keyboards only require a USB to the computer and are not connected to the interface?? Assume they will NOT need a vocals mic.

    -Connectors/cords required for the interface?

    -Recording Microphone (vocals)?

    -Recording Microphone (amp)?
    I'm open to using the line out or plugging the instrument into the interface directly but I hear from friends this doesn't sound as good as micing up the amp.

    -Whatever else I need to make this work or that you would recommend - Desktop Speakers or Headphones? Controller?


    POTENTIAL SETUP I'VE GATHERED FROM FRIEND'S RECOMMENDATIONS:
    -DAW: Logic Pro X
    -Computer: Macbook Mini plus a Display monitor and keyboard
    -Interface: Apollo Twin Duo
    -Mic Vocal: SE Electronics V7
    -Mic Instrumental: BeyerDynamic m201
    -Some Good quality Headphones


    Thank you!

    -Zach
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails room-jpg  

  2. #2
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    The gear you friend recommended will be fine.

    It's not what I would recommend, however.

    I'd choose an interface with a few more inputs if yo want to avoid plugging and unplugging things. Check out some of the eight input interfaces currently available.

    For a DAW, I'd go for Reaper: powerful, flexible and cheap. I'd avoid ProTools. I don't fancy their subscription model, and they have fallen a bit behind in functionality.

    I'd be happy with a Beyerdynamic for instruments.

    I'm not sure about the SE Electronics for vocals. I reckon it would be ok as a stage mike. Check out the black Rode NT1, which is a condenser mike, is reasonably cheap and very versatile.

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    One of the issues you are going to face in a room that small is the boxiness of the sound when recording with mic. The way to avoid this is to put a lot of absorption in place (bass traps, not acoustic foam). Unfortunately, you don't have much room to work with, so you may need to set up a 'dead corner' with some movable traps (gobos) behind you when you record a mic.
    As far as putting music on Spotify (and elsewhere), the quality you put up is totally up to you.

    Don't blow your whole $3K to start out with. Start slow. Get the computer, get an interface, get a couple of mics. Experiment. Learn. Ask advice after you have tried things out.
    I always recommend Reaper. For $60 (and totally free to try out) - why would you not try it?
    There are many choices of large condensor mics in the $150-$300 range. Different mics sound better than others for different voices.

    NOTE: on the acoustic-electric guitar, reocrding an acoustic guitar is ALWAYS going to sound better (defined as acoustic, not plugged-in) miked rather than DIed from the pickup.
    Mike B My new album on CD Baby: Fact and Fiction
    My Bandcamp site: http://mikebirchmusic.bandcamp.com

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    $3,000 is more than you need.

    For your DAW consider Cakewalk by Bandcamp. It's free. When Gibson dumper Cakewalk/Sonar two years ago, Bandcamp acquired it and has continued to update it.

    https://www.bandlab.com/products/cakewalk

    I also used Reaper. Well worth the the $60. I just paid for version 6.x. My main DAW is Sonar 8.5. Do not get into a subscription model - it will bleed you to death.

    I would build my own computer which means Windows or Linux. Get a big QUITE power supply. It's not hard and you control everything. I would get DUAL monitors that can do 1920x1080 or 1200 (mine are 1920x1200). I know space is at a premium but you will be very happy that you have the extra monitor area. Figure out how much RAM you need and then double it.

    You will need a pair of reference monitors as well as the headphones. I use Rokit5 KRKs and used them in my apartment 9 years ago. Now they are in my basement studio. I also bought the matching sub woofer.

    It's better to have one GOOD mic rather than 4 cheap mics.


    Good luck!
    Tony
    Newnan, GA USA

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