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Looking to put a home studio together for cheap: any thoughts?

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StopTheMorans Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-23-04 04:42 PM
Original message
Looking to put a home studio together for cheap: any thoughts?
Basically, I record with my band now, but I'll be moving this year, and I'm looking to be able to record everything myself. What kind of PC will I need, what should I look for in a cheap keyboard(i want to lay down some piano tracks), and what software programs include a decent drum machine-type capability? thanks in advance for any input :)
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Robb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-23-04 04:45 PM
Response to Original message
1. Get a used 8- or 16-track
...and bag the computer for recording. It may sound luddite-ish, but you'll be happier faster with that, and a drum machine/keyboard combo that lives in its own case. :)
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Feanorcurufinwe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-23-04 04:47 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. I agree -- better to have a stand alone recorder
than a computer unless you can dedicate the computer exclusively to the studio.

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Enraged_Ape Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-23-04 06:20 PM
Response to Reply #2
7. Hey, I record using my PC and it sounds great
I've got a (relatively) cheap ($290) Yamaha keyboard with MIDI, a Mackie mixer ($300), a Shure SM-57 microphone ($50), and...believe it or not...a Soundblaster Live! sound card (Next to nothing). I use a MidiMan USB Midi interface ($40) to connect the PC to the computer, because I've never had much success using the MIDI-Game Port on a sound card. I use Cakewalk ($50) as my sequencing software. All of this runs trouble-free, and I get great results.

If you explore recording with your PC, here's a great book that provides a nice overview of the topic:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/078972686...

One caveat: If you decide to do audio on the PC, you'll need a pretty decent sized (though not unreasonable) hard drive--at least 20 gig--and at least 300 megs of RAM. Those are about the specs of my machine, and I've never had to "dedicate" my PC to only audio.



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StopTheMorans Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-23-04 04:48 PM
Response to Reply #1
4. i'd thought about that, but i like the capability of being
able to burn the stuff directly to cd (i'm not really that computer-savvy at all, my bassist always records everything for my band). and, it's a lot easier to edit stuff on a comp. then it is on an 8 or 16 track i think, but i've only watched people do it.
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BigMcLargehuge Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-23-04 04:47 PM
Response to Original message
3. pick up a Mac
the iLife bundle with Garageband ($50), a USB keyboard (Mac will be selling one for $100 in February).

I'd go with the 1.8 Gig Dual Processor G5.
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StopTheMorans Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-23-04 04:49 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. Thanks! how much do those go for?
any idea? I've heard a lot of good things about them for recording, but have no real knowledge of them...
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Nostradammit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-23-04 05:57 PM
Response to Original message
6. How cheap is cheap?
Buy as much computer as you can get - with as much RAM as you can get and then get a cheap soundcard like the SoundBlaster Live! (if you only need to record two tracks at a time) or a Midiman Delta 66 (mo $, better sound, 6 ins 6 outs), and Cakewalk software and go to town.

But be prepared to be frustrated for a while. It's always a steep learning curve and there are always, always bugs to work out.

Mac is much more reliable and simpler to set up, but pricier.

How much you willing to spend, I can better answer your ? if you tell me.


check out this place:

http://www.harmony-central.com/
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tinrobot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-23-04 06:28 PM
Response to Reply #6
10. Don't get a cheap sound card!
Edited on Fri Jan-23-04 06:33 PM by tinrobot
Spend an extra one or two hundred bucks and get one of the external USB sound boxes. They're a lot quieter than PCI cards, some support 24 bit audio, some are multi channel, and some even have little mixers and preamps. M-Audio, Tascam, and Digidesign offer these. I would choose the software first, then get a box that supports it.

Cakewalk is good. Personally, I use Cubase SX. Works like a charm.

That said, by the time you buy the computer, software and all the other accesories, you could get a cheap 8-16 track hard disk recorder with a built-in mixer and effects. You can pick those up for about a grand and they're pretty much idiot proof.
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jpgray Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-23-04 06:21 PM
Response to Original message
8. Get an MAudio digital input for your PC and get Cakewalk-type software
Cheapest way to get unlimited multitrack recording with digital quality.
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Intelsucks Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-23-04 06:27 PM
Response to Original message
9. I'm not a musician, but I am an audiophile. Get some acoustic treatment
for your walls. Unfortunately, this stuff can be very expensive, and sometimes it isn't very pleasant to look at.
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emulatorloo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-23-04 06:37 PM
Response to Original message
11. Pick up Steinberg Studio Case Software and M-Audio Audiophile Sound Card
Edited on Fri Jan-23-04 06:48 PM by emulatorloo
Studio Case is MIDI sequencer/audio recorder software - has a built in drum machine, some great virtual intruments (great piano and bass guitar and guitarist too) 48 audio tracks and some other fun things.

http://www.steinberg.net/en/products/bundles/studio_cas...

Check requirements for computer you will need.

I have seen on ebay new for less than 200.00

M-Audio Audiophile 24/96 sounds great and has good built in MIDI interface.

Tell me what you want to spend for a keyboard and what you want to do with it and I will give you recommendation.

My music Mac is less of a hassle than my music PC, but maybe it will be different for you. That is not to say my PC doesn't work, it just requires more handholding.

PS I am so happy to be in the Lounge and out of Primary 2004!

On edit add more stuff for you to buy.
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