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Discussion Starter #1
So, I have yet to setup the ability to record in my home.... yeah, it’s time to correct this. I have the computer, that’s not the issue. I am at the moment looking for an interface and a whatnot. I could possibly see hooking up as many as four mics, but not sure more in this smallish area. I’ve been looking for sometime. For my playing, the EV RE20 is probably where I’m looking first for mics after trying things out. But.... what about everything else and how do I go about getting it power. I would love to hear some suggestions I could check into. I am looking at probably going with Cubase instead of logic. I am familiar with some other softwares of this type but with nowhere near the functionality. Thanks for any help in advance.
 

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Lots of options, just make sure your computer, interface, and software are all compatible and each capable of recording four simultaneous tracks. There are hundreds of existing threads discussing microphone preferences and hundreds more on recording set ups...dig deep.
 

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The Re20 is a good choice for Tenor or Bari. I use one sometimes. You don't need phantom power for it, but if you add a condenser mic eventually you will. Somehow you need to get the audio to your computer though. That requires an interface. Your budget and your future expansion plans should both impact your choices. Mic preamps are an integral part of any pro level recording so you probably need to read up on those a bit. I assume you want to record multitrack recordings. There are everything from $200 - $300 hand held units to expandable solutions costing thousands of dollars. There's a number of pro audio cats and mixing engineers on the site. We'd almost all be happy to advise you but more information is necessary. Surf to one of the online music retailers and read up a bit on the Zoom products for budget, mobile solutions. If you have a little higher budget check out the Universal Audio preamp / interface combos. They are available in 2, 8, and 16 channels and can be daisy chained for more inputs...
 

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Discussion Starter #4
My budget with software is likely going to be in steps. I am basically look at at $3k all in (I would like less but we all have out what could I get for budgets) unless I went with a nicer condenser. I have worked boards and things like that and and have done production editing, but I haven’t actually set up my own home studio. That interface is of particular interest. I would like something that could provide phantom power for future. Thank you for the direction so far though.

Hell, let’s be honest, I’m not even sure if my budget is reasonable. I have more to throw at it if I want but it would be related to specifics if that were the case.
 

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My budget with software is likely going to be in steps. I am basically look at at $3k all in (I would like less but we all have out what could I get for budgets) unless I went with a nicer condenser. I have worked boards and things like that and and have done production editing, but I haven’t actually set up my own home studio. That interface is of particular interest. I would like something that could provide phantom power for future. Thank you for the direction so far though.

Hell, let’s be honest, I’m not even sure if my budget is reasonable. I have more to throw at it if I want but it would be related to specifics if that were the case.
For $3k you can do quite nicely, if you already have a suitable room.

I use Reaper ($65) for my DAW, and have an assortment of mics now - most modestly priced, but all good value for money. I think I paid $150 for my Audio-Technica AT2035 LDC, and it has rolloff and pad built in. My most frequently used interface is a Presonus iTwo which also cost about $150 when I got it. The most used plug-in I have other than the ones supplied with Reaper is the Soundtoys Little Plate, which I got for free, but often goes on sale for about $39.
 

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4 mics is the killer on the interface and, if that is your requirement, you are going to have to invest in that box. My $0.02 would be on a Focusrite Scarlett 18i8 or similar.
 

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Having used several interfaces over the years, from Presonus and M-Audio to RME and now, finally, Universal Audio, I would say this - buy the UA, you won't be sorry.

Spend 1/2 that budget on a UA Apollo TwinX - yeah, only two mics, but well worth the outlay, not only in recording quality, but in build quality too. The one with 4 processors is $1600, the version with two cards is $1100. If you are running on Windows, then you have to get the USB version, which is $900. If you must have 4 mics inputs, that will run $2100.

The thing that makes this so great for saxophone recording is this - the interface comes bundled with several mic preamp plugins that actually change the impedance of the mic inputs, just like the modeled hardware. I record with a modeled tube preamp and a compressor, set for very mild compression, before hitting the computer. It sounds wonderful, or rather, as wonderful as I sound :)

The other thing that makes it great is - it just works, the included console software is easy to use (and if you are familiar with a recording console at all, will make you feel right at home). Compared to every other interface I have used, and I've used a lot, it's a joy to use.

  • Interface - $1600
  • Mic - $500 (just an assumption, though I like the AKG C214 which is around $400)
  • Cubase - $600 (Logic is better IMHO if you've got a Mac, and cheaper too)

That leaves you $300 or more to play around with for cables, a mic stand, etc. You will not regret this approach. Good luck!
 

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Let's break this down a little. Depending on your needs, and you mention 4 simultaneous mics, if you go low end then I'd do something like (prices from Amazon):
  • Interface to handle 4 sim. mics (Focusrite Scarlett 18i8 $430)
  • 4x cheap ribbon mics (about $150 each) or mix them SM57/58s (around $100 each)
  • Reaper (really is an awesome and free)
  • Cables, stands, assorted junk (no end to this $300+)
  • Room treatment (really really depends on what you are attempting but necessary)
  • Headphones ($50 for ATH-20s, so up to 4, plus you'll need a headphone amp)
  • Monitors (a pair of Eris 5s for $250 is pretty good)
So for around $1700, plus the room stuff and assuming you already have a suitable computer, you get a setup that can record almost anything at 48k at near professional levels (depending on your skill, of course). Unless you have a proper studio environment, I'm not sure spending more will necessarily get you better quality, particularly as a starter.

As for DAWs, your mileage will vary. I use a bunch but tend to keep coming back to either Reaper or Logic (though Reason is very fun).

Hope this helps
 

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What about a more pedestrian setup? Steinberg UR22/Cubase + Sterling ST51 comes out to ~ $200.-. Add another clip-on for $50.- to 600.- (compact wireless) and you are in business. Add some good Sennheiser closed headphones for ~$100 to 150.- and you can have a killer setup for less than $500.- And, I like the SM57 but you can find bargains all over the place.
If you want monitors via stereo, you're in for more expensive stuff, I am using some Polk speakers with an Onkyo receiver which meets all my needs, I have a Marantz tube / AR3A electrostatic speakers but it's overkill for what I need. Either I sound good or I don't and the equipment is really only secondary unless you are pro-level
 

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Discussion Starter #10
@skeller047 quick question. I was looking at the UA interfaces. Right now I could get an Apollo X4 for $1800. Is this reasonable for this piece of hardware? Is there a drastic performance difference between this and the twin? While the 4 inputs are not absolutely necessary it’s sort of my preference.

Thank you everyone for responding so far. I am still going through and researching suggestions. I’m sure I’ll have more questions.
 

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Yeah, you can go crazy on interfaces but I don't think that for home use you have to get too extravagant. Software also quite inconsequential. Mics much more important! EV RE-20 is a nice mic. I've used just about every premium mic out there over my 30 years in professional recording studios. As you spend more on mics the cost/benefit ratio quickly diminishes. Monitors and room treatment.....very important! My small home and commercial studios.
8410
8411
 

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@skeller047 quick question. I was looking at the UA interfaces. Right now I could get an Apollo X4 for $1800. Is this reasonable for this piece of hardware? Is there a drastic performance difference between this and the twin? While the 4 inputs are not absolutely necessary it’s sort of my preference.

Thank you everyone for responding so far. I am still going through and researching suggestions. I’m sure I’ll have more questions.
I think the X4 is the previous version, but I’m not sure exactly what the differences are. I’m sure it will be just fine.

I’m curious why you want 4 mics in a 10x10 room (unless we are talking meters...)


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I think the X4 is the previous version, but I’m not sure exactly what the differences are. I’m sure it will be just fine.

I’m curious why you want 4 mics in a 10x10 room (unless we are talking meters...)


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It's for the re-release of Quadrophenia :cool:
But I agree, the more you cram into a small room the more prone the setup will be for unexpected "operator error". Tripping over cables, forgetting to adjust the bias on one of the mics etc. And then adding phantom power to the mics and and and ...
Less is often more, especially when you are starting out
Like everybody else already mentioned, the microphones are the most important piece of the equipment. Next are headphones (I wouldn't expect monitors to be a good choice in a 10 x 10 setup).
Everything else is a matter of personal preference.
 

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It's for the re-release of Quadrophenia :cool:
But I agree, the more you cram into a small room the more prone the setup will be for unexpected "operator error". Tripping over cables, forgetting to adjust the bias on one of the mics etc. And then adding phantom power to the mics and and and ...
Less is often more, especially when you are starting out
Like everybody else already mentioned, the microphones are the most important piece of the equipment. Next are headphones (I wouldn't expect monitors to be a good choice in a 10 x 10 setup).
Everything else is a matter of personal preference.
Headphones for tracking. Never for mixing
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Oh.. the room isn’t 10x10... it’s 14’x22’. Technically larger than 22’ but I am setting aside some space for work table and whatnot. Not large enough during Covid times but large enough otherwise.

I do plan on starting simpler with the mics and whatnot but the preamp/interface need to be of a certain quality. Some will be for other electronic instruments. I could easily start with one twin a just buy a second whenever but I am weighing is that worth it later or more efficient to set it up now. I plan to use this space to record rehearsals as well after this pandemic is taken care of.
 

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...snip...

I do plan on starting simpler with the mics and whatnot but the preamp/interface need to be of a certain quality.....snip....
You'll be happy with the Apollo stuff. Pro quality sound and the processing happens outside of your PC virtually eliminating latency. Add the fact that it opens up a new world of plugins and it becomes a great tool for a reasonable price.
 

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I do plan on starting simpler with the mics and whatnot but the preamp/interface need to be of a certain quality. Some will be for other electronic instruments. I could easily start with one twin a just buy a second whenever but I am weighing is that worth it later or more efficient to set it up now. I plan to use this space to record rehearsals as well after this pandemic is taken care of.
Can I suggest you do a lot more research before you spend anything? I suspect you are pretty new at this and recording is not trivial. Go onto YT and check out the "setting up a home studio" threads. Read up on web pages. Get some books, Bill Gibson's series is not a bad place to start for the basics. Do this will save you much grief and a whole lot of cash.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
To be honest I’ve done a lot of research on differing parts of this project. Is it enough? No. In all honesty, it probably never will be. The problem is that until I have a setup at home that I can learn, I probably won’t be able to. Sure, I have used some programs, like Reason, and have some familiarity with them. Sure I have worked a mixing board for live sound many a time and played around with settings and different mics until I found that the RE20 is the mic I would like to start with, but that isn’t going to be enough and I know that too. I came here to ask others what types of setups and whatnot that I could get for a nominal yet reasonable budget. Honestly, I’ve got a lot of that type of thing from this community so far and I greatly appreciate it. It has allowed me to begin to understand what types of rabbit holes to go down to begin with the next part of my research.

At the moment the only things that have been decided are that I am doing this project and that an RE20 will be the first mic I purchase. Even though I do not like 57/58s I may pick up one or so at some point depending on necessity. I would prefer Logic but I don’t want to purchase a Mac and I don’t know that I want to go through the hassle of setting up the virtual environment to run it on PC. Reaper is and has been on my list. I have an organized list of parts to go through start looking at what and how things would fit together. After 20+ years of building computers I very much understand the value of a direction and organized list of parts. I definitely think $3k is enough to start with.
 

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Don't forget to budget for cables. If you're anywhere near ATL, I have about a half mile of various different ones you'll likely need that I'd just give you. PM me for details.

Don't discount the value of that RE20. It's is a mic I frequently use on sax - and I have a mic locker with over 20 mics in it - including several nice ribbons and a U87. The RE20 is just a great sax mic. I might also add it's my go-to mic for upright bass.
IF you want a really nice condensor, try an AT4033. They can be found for around $300 and sound quite different than the RE20. I also prefer it (the 4033) over the more expensive C414 for many things. They shine on vocals, acoustic guitars, and even make great drum overheads - and yes - Saxophones sound good on them too. Budget for a pair of SM58's...they're great for live vocals, guitar cabs, and as a hammer if you need one.

Finally - You should be able to make a 14' x 20' room sound really good, but that's just another thing to budget for. Mics are really affected by the room they are in and should be paired with the room -kind of like you pair wines with food...
I worked in a studio for a few years that used SM81's for drum overheads so when I built my own studio that's what I bought. They just never sounded right, but the less expensive C1000 sounds great in my room so you might want to treat the room before you buy too many mics. Of course you could always just make a corner of the room dead with foam and traps - then you can tailor your digital FX to fit the mic...

Best bet- Buy some stuff on a credit card and return what doesn't work. I demo gear all the time that way. My retailer doesn't mind because I'm a regular and I'm careful with the gear. It's really helpful to try stuff out at length - it beats reading about it by a long shot. Good luck!
 
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