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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK guys. I need some help and would really appreciate some advice on current home recording gear/software, etc. I've been out of the loop with technology for the last several years due to being on the move a hell of a lot, but now I have relocated Stateside and the dust is settling, I need to put back together a functional home studio STAT.

Key ingredients: Minimalistic, easy to use and not megabucks but not cheap & nasty either.

I'm sorted as far as guitar outboard gear goes. I know what I want. It's the computer side of things that I'm ignorant to.

- Most recommended user friendly software... Logic? Sonar? etc? protools is beyond me.

- Soundcard? I am clueless

- Mastering software/plug ins?

- Drum suites?

- interfaces?

- monitors?

- anything else I should be thinking of? processor speed? I tend to multi-layer with plenty of f/x going on, etc so I need to make sure the computer can handle things.

The last time I had a grip on quality home recording.... I was using tape! X-]

I'll probably use a Pod XT Pro since I've used them with much success with recording sessions in recent years, but has anyone here have experience with the Eleven Rack yet?

If you have a great little set up, could you give me the breakdown of it all? As said, I'm starting from scratch so any help would be very much appreciated, and, no doubt, an interesting read for many others.

Cheers!
 

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Some sort of budget might help here, but for now...

Don't worry about the sound card, you're going to want to use an external interface anyway. How many tracks at a time do you need to be able to record? If you're just doing electric and acoustic guitars, one take at a time, then anything that'll let you do two tracks will be fine. If you want to do more than that, say record duets live or track a drummer, then you're going to want something with more (generally, 8 is the next increment you're going to see).

Does your computer have a Firewire port? For now at least that's the way to go if you've got one (though USB3 might be narrowing the gap), but if you're just doing two tracks bandwidth is not likely to be an issue. If it's within your budget, the Apogee Duet has good preamps and phenominal AD/DA conversion, though it costs as much as most 8-channel interfaces, so you pay for what you get. Also worth a look is anything from presonus or M-Audio. On the 8 channel front, I've used both the Presonus Firepod (FP10) and M-Audio Profire2626, and while I think the M-Audio is a bit better (as it should be, for the price), both are good enough that your abilities as an engineer will hold you back way more than the gear will.

For DAWs, I really like Reaper. Any interface you buy will ship with something, so you should probably try that, but Reaper is a free download to try and only $40 at the moment to purchase and holds its own with any other DAW I've ever tried, so there's really no reason NOT to give it a try. Most DAWs come with their own plugins, so I wouldn't worry so much about picking up additional ones - the Reaper's reverbs are a bit bland, but the impulse-based one can do a hell of a lot once you get the hang of it, and there's a ton of reverb impulses available on the net if you do some searching (and, you can probably use the VST plugins from whatever ships with the interface you buy in Reaper and vice versa (the Reaper compressor and EQ are both great) so between the two you should have a wide array).

I'm a recent EZDrummer/DKFH convert and it's been on sale for pretty cheap fairly often lately, so that might be worth a look.

Monitors, eh, I've been using a cheap set of Behringer Truth's. They are what they are, but I ened an upgrade. For this, it's pretty personal - figure out your budget, and then go into a few guitar stores with a few CDs you like and a CDR of a few of your mixes, and listen to everything you can. Don't necessarily go with the ones that sound the best, rather buy the monitors that make the flaws in your mixes the most abundantly obvious.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Drew, you da man. Some really helpful info there. Thanks, dude! very much appreciate you taking the time. Budget wise I'm not entirely limited and have no clue what things cost these days. I guess if I can keep it under two or three grand, that would be good. I'll be looking to buy a designated pc/mac for it but haven't decided what so the platform/soundcard, or whatever (real techno n00b!) will be the starting point. I'm not a total recording/engineering/producing novice and have worked in many studios, it's just the current software tools that I am totally out of the loop with.

As for mixing monitors, I used to use NS10s, and unless anything out there has taken over as industry standard then I'll probably go with those again.

Thanks again, Drew! That info gives me plenty to look into

So... PC or Mac? need I ask, right? lol
 

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Do a google search for Killer Home Recording and I believe there is a free pdf download of the "Getting Started" section that will cover just about any question you have. It doesn't go into specific gear recommendations as much as covering what types of things you should get for certain recording goals and where to spend money and where to save. Very helpful and the whole series is quite good.
 

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Hey, thats a very healthy budget for a home studio nowadays, you'll be able to get a great setup for that much!

I suggest for you to get a mac, logic studio is amazing, and you can do everything with it including mastering. Macs are also much more stable and the current operating systems for windows are.... questionable.... Mac 100% i suggest an Imac which will run you around $1100

secondly you'll need an audio interface, if your recording very minimal things like an accoustic guitar and vocals then you can get a two track mixer (I suggest an Alesis MultiMix firewire which will run you about $300) but if your doing stuff which is much more extensive you'll have to look at a 8 input and an 8 output interface (Such as m-audio fastrack ultra which will run you around $400 or if you want sometime more top spec, an m-audio ProFire 2626 which will run you about $500)

Yamaha Ns-10s are still the industry standard, buy some of them for around $350, and id suggest some good headphones too, maybe two pairs if your recording other musicians.

if you bought all the top spec stuff ive suggested it will probably run you $1950 leaving you alot of money left to spend on microphones.

P.S, firewire is better than USB, and the quality of audio interfaces nowadays enable you to use them without a mixing desk, you can plug straight in. However if you want to use it for professional use you could buy a big mixer with some buses on it, where you put the tracks to the buses then the buses into the interface, but its overkill unless.

P.P.S, you could also get some decent tape decks if your used to working with tape since to be honest, i think it sounds better. Working with tape could be a lost art nowadays!
 
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