Building a Home Studio

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archer
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Building a Home Studio

Post by archer » Sun Jun 29, 2014 3:40 pm

What sort of recording interfaces would you recommend for a moog-based studio? Thinking about the Digi 003 since its pretty affordable, even tho i know its older.

Also, what samplers would you recommend? I love synths and crafting my own sounds, so naturally I'm not really a huge sample kinda musician. I also hate menu diving so I'd like to avoid that as much as possible. Used to own and MPC and never liked it, but I do own a Tempest and love it.

Just need a sampler for sounds I couldn't get out of an analog synth, but need immediacy and simplistic sample method.

EricK
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Re: Building a Home Studio

Post by EricK » Sun Jun 29, 2014 3:52 pm

This is too vague without an idea about your space or budget limitations.

I use a peavey 14 usb mixer....it's not noiseless, but it works fine. It runs into Logic.

Maybe this isn't the place to ask about samplers though. Maybe someone here has one, because a lot of people here have a lot of gear, but you might get a more diverse range of answers from another forum.
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unfiltered37
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Re: Building a Home Studio

Post by unfiltered37 » Sun Jun 29, 2014 3:57 pm

Just get Logic or if you have a PC, get abelton live or even pro tools or whatever. They all have good samplers, and you can use your tempest or keyboards to trigger samples. I wouldn't waste money on a hardware sampler if I were you. As far as interfaces, to tell you the truth, they are all pretty much the same after about 2005 or so. I know a successful hip hop dude who only has an Mbox. But that only has two inputs, so if you need more, a digi 003 is decent, but the preamps suck on it. Although if you are just recording synths, it doesn't really matter. All the fancy interfaces that they sell today just have "audiophile" analog front ends, because all of today's converters are basically all the same. There are gear addicts who would beg to differ, but if you hear some of the online forum converter shootouts they do, no one knows their ass from their elbow, even the so-called audiophiles. People who own the actual converters being tested can't even discern theirs from others.

Anyway, just pick something that fits your budget and make sure it works, that's the most important thing. If you have gear lust, get a sub phatty or a modular or something.

edit: also, doesn't the Tempest load samples?

archer
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Re: Building a Home Studio

Post by archer » Sun Jun 29, 2014 4:52 pm

Thank you,

No the Tempest doesn't load samples, which is actually one of the reasons I love it. As I said, I'm not huge into sampling. Here are the reasons why...

1. I'm a control freak and I like to sculpt my sounds to my liking (which is why I got interested in Moog). I can only do so much to samples.
2. I get satisfaction out of making my own sounds.
3. I feel like a sampler is an "incomplete" instrument. As in, I feel like I'm always just looking for better samples than actually sitting down and making tracks. I feel like synths (and more specifically analog synths) provide a certain set of limitations where I can go "ok, these are all the tools I can have, now it's time to make something with it." It helps my creative process, and I feel it helps define synths as "complete instruments."
4. I hate menu-diving. Most samplers I've come across have horrible interfaces. Another reason why I love moog synths.
5. The sound. Most samples are low-quality recordings, I love the fidelity of analog synths (and even some digital synths). This is where I start to become a little bit of a picky audiophile but I can't help it.

Now obviously the Tempest has menu diving, but it's just enough that I can handle. No where near as difficult as the MPC imho. I know I can't avoid menu diving completely, but part of the reason I asked the Moog forums if you guys knew of a sampler with an easy-to-use interface.

The only reason why I want a sampler at all is to be able to use real sounding acoustic instruments that can't be emulated on an analog synth. I know digital synths can help in this realm, but I don't feel like spending a bunch on any more (I own a D50. Wish it had realistic piano sounds)

Sounds to me like I'll probably stick with a software sampler since I can't find anything on my own. I'll likely be getting a Mac so would you advise me to use Logic for my main DAW?

As for interfaces, I'd like to spend around the 500 dollar range. I was considering a MOTU, but it was 1,000 and that's a bit much to me for just recording in a sound. I'd wayy rather use the extra money and buy a new guitar or synth.

I'd like to be able to record guitar with the interface as well, but again, nothing too fancy. This is for a home studio for a fun hobby with small potential that it could turn to something serious. That said, I've invested a lot in high-quality synths so I feel like I shouldn't skimp too much on my audio interface.

Lastly, any tips on where to find good studio furnature? It will be set up in a smaller room.

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modular
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psynthetic
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Re: Building a Home Studio

Post by psynthetic » Sun Jun 29, 2014 7:51 pm

there is no point spending big bucks on an instrument and then cheaping out on the rest of the signal chain… just don't.

you need to ask yourself a few questions, here are couple of them..

1) USB or Firewire?
2) How many inputs do i need? and what kinds? do I need mic pres or mostly just line ins?
3) Do i need to create seperate headphone mixes aside from the master mix?
4) Do i want to do all my processing in the computer or do I just want the computer to record and process on the way in?

Depending on the answers to these questions you might find that something like a Focusrite Liquid Saffire 56 is up your alley or maybe something more like a RME Fireface 800..

or maybe your just overdubbing one at a time and could get by with a USB 2 ch interface with a decent converter? EG: something from Apogee perhaps

Or maybe your computer doesn't have much grunt or has latency issues, in which case maybe you'd be better of with something Like a Presonus 16.4.2 digital console/interface that can do all your EQ and compression etc on the way in with it's own DSP and pass it on to your computer for storage?

Or maybe you need something more like a Zoom R16 multitrack recorder?

Studio Furniture is the least of your concerns for the time being, just a way to get your speakers at ear level and away from corners is enough for now.

Trigger
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Re: Building a Home Studio

Post by Trigger » Sun Jun 29, 2014 7:53 pm

archer wrote:Lastly, any tips on where to find good studio furnature? It will be set up in a smaller room.

I have a Middle Atlantic workstation table/sidecar for my Pro Tools/Final Cut setup. You can buy their furniture by the piece. The sidecar has rack rails for interfaces, rack synths, etc. It also has a mini table on top for monitors, etc--I have three 20" monitors with plenty of extra room for the modem & router. The legs are oversized metal, and it's really solid. I think I paid something like $350, and I'd buy it again in a minute.

I've seen ads for Argosy furniture, but they're more large-format and custom, and therefore PRICY.

archer
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Re: Building a Home Studio

Post by archer » Sun Jun 29, 2014 9:32 pm

Thank you psynthetic, here are some answers to your questions.

1) USB or Firewire?

I will probably be purchasing a Mac desktop which supports firewire.

2) How many inputs do i need? and what kinds? do I need mic pres or mostly just line ins?

not a singer by any means, but it would be nice to have mic pres available that aren't completely horrid in case I bring a vocalist over for a session. mainly need line-ins. Most of my recording will probably be in mono, however, my tempest has 6 individual outputs alone...

3) Do i need to create seperate headphone mixes aside from the master mix?

not sure, never thought of this before.

4) Do i want to do all my processing in the computer or do I just want the computer to record and process on the way in?

it would be a dream to do all of my processing out-board, but that's really expensive. my modular has an analog spring reverb module and i'm planning on buying a couple moogerfoogers (delay and chorus). As for compression, I'm thinking maybe an outboard 500 series compressor? If not, does logic have a digital plugin compressor?


I'm leaning towards the mac, firewire, with logic as my daw. I will probably do any sampling through logic. I was told the liquid saffire isn't good, which is why I was leaning towards the MOTU, but its so expensive!

Any thoughts?

psynthetic
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Re: Building a Home Studio

Post by psynthetic » Mon Jun 30, 2014 1:33 am

The Focusrite Liquid Saffire 56 isn't a "pedigree" system in that something like a RME Fireface or maybe a UAD Apollo will sound a bit better, but it is very well equipped one lots of digital I/O so you can add some really nice kit to it down the track via ADAT if you like, full complement of 8 Mic Pres/Line in's, pads, HPF's, phase flip, couple of instrument in's etc.. easy to buy a Focusrite Octopre to go with it down the track for example, run it into the L56 via ADAT and now you've got 16 channels, so you can run individual outs from your Tempest and still have plenty of channels left for everything else and still on a fairly affordable budget for the amount of I/O you've got and I can guarantee no one will ever turn around to after listening to a track you made and go "you tracked this through some dodgy Focusrite pre, didn't you?"

Compare that to say an Fireface 800 from RME (don't know enough about the MOTU line to do a comparison against them, sorry) and you get your lines in, but only four (i think) mic pres and a higher price tag for a gain in conversion quality that a lot of people wont notice.. (though if you were running a Liquid 56 and switch to a higher quality Interface but left everything else in your studio the same you'd probably hear the difference in that environment, i've heard a change in my monitors sound after switching interfaces before) mind you it still has the ADAT ports etc that will allow you to expand it down the track, so still plenty "future proof" in that respect.

You can use the line outputs on the Fireface to make a seperate mix for your artists to track against in headphones or whatever, but you'll only have software control, whereas something like the Liquid 56 you get a dedicated volume knob and headphone amp output.. good if you have to panic and jump on a level quickly or your system freezes and leaves your speakers in peril.
So ergonomics as well as sound is something to think about..

But arguably if you plan on upgrading down the track in favour of a "pedigree" option you're more likely to sell the 56 than say an Apollo which also provides DSP for your system and frees up your CPU or an RME or Apogee of something that has really nice converters.

Logic, Ableton, Pro Tools will all come with Compressors, EQ, Reverb etc etc and will run with any of the interfaces mentioned including the MOTU and if you've got a halfway respectable i7 driven Mac for your CPU then you won't have any problems running dozens of instances of those plugins.

The idea of outboard processing is fun.. but for what it's worth think about this...

Unless you've got a really good ear that isn't fatigued from a days jamming and have a clear idea of what you want, compression and eq on the way into "the box" isn't a smart idea compared to being able to track it clean and then spend as long as you like getting the perfect settings in software later on..

Yes you COULD track it clean and then send it out to analogue outboard later, but then you have to convert from digital to analogue again to send it into the outboard, process it and then resample it back into digital again, so arguably the quality loss from the AD/DA process isn't worth the gains of the outboard.. which brings us back to why its good to only use your outboard on the way in.. but it has the "risks" i already mentioned above… but that being said using it wisely adds a special charm..

Regarding things like Moogerfooger effects you can get the best of both worlds by using a DI box to get a split of your instrument, send the clean split to your computer to be recorded, the Thru continue to the Moogerfooger and then record the "dirty" signal to the next channel.. or just record clean send it out the box to your desired FX and resample as arguably the downside won't be as prominent with FX that aren't designed to be transperant like Ring Mods, Chorus etc..

No simple answers.. but if the only reason you're thinking of not going the Focusrite is because you were told it wasn't good by for example, someone on gearslutz you never met, then maybe it's worth rethinking and having a chat to the Hi Tech/PA guy at your favourite music shop.

But then again, i'm just some guy you've never met on the Moog forums, so what do i know? ;)

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stiiiiiiive
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Re: Building a Home Studio

Post by stiiiiiiive » Mon Jun 30, 2014 3:41 am

Just to talk about samplers...

If you're not afraid by a deeeep machine you could use at its bare 50%, and if you’re not afraid by a (possibly) stiff learning curve, check out the Elektron Octatrack. The Elektron interface is really something (I know a Canadian fellow who thinks different ;) ), the sequencer is cool, and the sonic tool palette is huge for the footprint.

Some Mooguys here wrote about it, plus you can visit the Elektronauts forum where the community counts some really good people.

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fyvewytches
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Re: Building a Home Studio

Post by fyvewytches » Mon Jun 30, 2014 5:59 am

archer wrote: I'm leaning towards the mac, firewire, with logic as my daw. I will probably do any sampling through logic. I was told the liquid saffire isn't good, which is why I was leaning towards the MOTU, but its so expensive!

Any thoughts?
The Echo Audiofire 12 is very nice !
Latest track, Dancing On The Ecliptic http://soundcloud.com/ianman/dancing-on ... iptic-demo

archer
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Re: Building a Home Studio

Post by archer » Mon Jul 07, 2014 10:29 pm

Ok I've done a bit of research and have a couple options...

1. RME Fireface 800 (firewire) to a 21.5" or 27" Mac desktop with Logic as my DAW and sampler. UA 6176 vintage channel strip as my main pre/compressor.

2. UA Apollo Duo (thunderbolt) to a 21.5" or 27" Mac desktop with Logic as my DAW and sampler. The Apollo will be my main pre and the UA plugins pack will be my compressors, etc. With this option, I might still get the UA 6176 down the line, but it wouldn't be for a few years.


Which one would you go for? Also, any advice on which Mac desktop I should get, and which version of the apollo I should get (duo or quad) if I decide to go that route?

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thealien666
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Re: Building a Home Studio

Post by thealien666 » Tue Jul 08, 2014 12:52 am

My home studio is really simple: analog synths plugged into an analog mixer (with effect send and return on each channel), and then that output sent to the Line In of my Mac Mini Aluminum. I use Audacity software as multitrack recording facility. That's it.

No complex DAW bleep, no buggy audio interface, no lag, no problems. And when I need a MIDI sequencer, I use my trusty old Ensoniq SQ80.

And if you have a listen at some of my work on SoundCloud, I think the sound quality is pretty darn good.

But then, I've always been an old school type of guy... :wink:

Music is more important than all the equipment in the world.

Sorry not to be of much help to you.
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Alien8
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Re: Building a Home Studio

Post by Alien8 » Tue Jul 08, 2014 12:19 pm

I use a 21" iMac from 2007 (4GB RAM) with a Line6 UX8 (usb 2.0) using logic studio 8. I love it, does exactly what I need it to and sounds great. Like my fellow Canadian alien, simple does it - and his stuff does sound great. What I have is even too much for most of my uses. There was a time when I was recording 8 in (various mics & line in) in realtime with no latency live jams and I wouldn't want anymore than that. For me, I wanted to be able to mic a drum kit well, and that meant at lease 5 mic pres and some decent plug-ins to get started. With the Line6 plugins, Logic plugins and Addictive Drums, I need nothing else. The updating and upgrading of these is a constant battle, one I didn't want.

The logic plugins are really quite good. Regardless of the DAW these days, you have to know how to use the plugins correctly, and mix as well. I would recommend you check out Reaper for a DAW. Some of its features are way more useful for us synth types - specifically the ability to sync MIDI to audio in the same track.

The UA solution above is a good one - some great plugins, a great interface with 8 inputs should be plenty for the home studio. The RME is a really solid interface, probably overkill for you unless you want to make money recording others with high end mics.

My 2 cents: if you have the money; iMac with maxed out RAM; Reaper; UA Apollo and get making music. Stick to that, don't bother upgrading ever!

(have you researched if the Apollo is working with the current Mavericks OS?)
(you can get a second monitor for pretty cheap rather than a 27")
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fyvewytches
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Re: Building a Home Studio

Post by fyvewytches » Wed Jul 09, 2014 7:55 am

archer wrote:... Logic as my DAW and sampler...
Although I have been using Logic for a few years, I could not recommend anyone starting up to base a system around that software. Not that it's bad, quite the contrary. The reason I would not recommend it is that Apple has been and is continuing it's dumbing down policy regrading it's own software. Only recently they announced that they are ending the development of Aperture, their Pro photo application. Over the past years they have either stopped development of, or dumbed down their highly regarded pro video applications. I would not at all be surprised if in less than 2 years Logic does not exist and they will be telling us to make and "share music on all your devices" using a GarageBand.
Latest track, Dancing On The Ecliptic http://soundcloud.com/ianman/dancing-on ... iptic-demo

Alien8
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Re: Building a Home Studio

Post by Alien8 » Wed Jul 09, 2014 9:11 am

That is the direction I see as well. Logic 8 barely runs on Mountain Lion, and doesn't at all on Mavericks. The cost of upgrading to Logic X to me isn't worth it when the big push is to go to GarageBand which is free. Again great software, however you may need to stop upgrading OS of the CPU its on to keep it working.
Vibration emanates from all things, even nothing. Using awareness to translate vibration into "music" is something that I am whole heartedly grateful for.

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