Home Recording Setup - Gut Check my Plan Please

River19

Senior Member
After building out the basement and my office/studio over the Summer, the next phase is an updated/new soup to nuts recording setup for both demos and online collaboration.

Here is what I am thinking of as I need to purchase basically everything after getting out of the old 4 track Vestax Analog setup years ago:
  • Apple MacBook Air 8GB 512GB
  • Logic Pro for DAW
  • PreSonus 1824c - 8 Channel pre-amp
  • Mixture of SM57s, Beta 52A and Rode 5s for Overheads
  • A couple of right sized active monitors
  • Solid rack for pre-amp and laptop to be next to my kit
  • Good quality cables of correct length
What am I missing? Am I thinking about this correctly?

I'm sticking with the Shure mics for the core mics as I used them 20-30 years ago and they are the devil I know.

Thanks
 

cbphoto

Diamond Member
After building out the basement and my office/studio over the Summer, the next phase is an updated/new soup to nuts recording setup for both demos and online collaboration.

Here is what I am thinking of as I need to purchase basically everything after getting out of the old 4 track Vestax Analog setup years ago:
  • Apple MacBook Air 8GB 512GB
  • Logic Pro for DAW
  • PreSonus 1824c - 8 Channel pre-amp
  • Mixture of SM57s, Beta 52A and Rode 5s for Overheads
  • A couple of right sized active monitors
  • Solid rack for pre-amp and laptop to be next to my kit
  • Good quality cables of correct length
What am I missing? Am I thinking about this correctly?

I'm sticking with the Shure mics for the core mics as I used them 20-30 years ago and they are the devil I know.

Thanks
The only thing you might be missing: mic stands.

I don’t know how high your ceilings are, but the Latch Lake boom stands are really nice. I used cheap stands for years and these are a delight to use.

The other thing is: since there is no physical audio controller (e.g., console) the 1824c will be controlled by software. I don’t know well Logic works with Presonus hardware, but I do know—and use—Presonus Studio One with all my Presonus hardware and don’t miss the console at all. I’ve used both Logic and Studio One and found the latter to be much easier to work with when tracking and mixing.

I also use a Dangerous Source for D/A conversion from my Mac to my monitors. I don’t know what you had planned for a monitor hub.

Good luck and have fun! It’s a fun rabbit hole.

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cbphoto

Diamond Member
I think the 1824c comes with studio one, might wanna give it a try I've heard it's great.
It comes with the “Artist“ version, which is a great way to try before you buy.
 

dcrigger

Senior Member
After building out the basement and my office/studio over the Summer, the next phase is an updated/new soup to nuts recording setup for both demos and online collaboration.

Here is what I am thinking of as I need to purchase basically everything after getting out of the old 4 track Vestax Analog setup years ago:
  • Apple MacBook Air 8GB 512GB
  • Logic Pro for DAW
  • PreSonus 1824c - 8 Channel pre-amp
  • Mixture of SM57s, Beta 52A and Rode 5s for Overheads
  • A couple of right sized active monitors
  • Solid rack for pre-amp and laptop to be next to my kit
  • Good quality cables of correct length
What am I missing? Am I thinking about this correctly?

I'm sticking with the Shure mics for the core mics as I used them 20-30 years ago and they are the devil I know.

Thanks
How fun - I have a few thoughts for you to mull around....

Starting with your list...
  • Apple MacBook Air 8GB 512GB - If buying this new (meaning the new M1 models) then I would seriously urge you to spend the extra $200 for 16GB of unified memory. There is no scenario where you will regret doing this - and plenty where you will regret it if you don't. Sample instruments still rely heavily on pre-loads into RAM - so you could easily bang your head on this while doing even basic projects (depending on how much you end up using sample based instruments - which for percussion I use a lot - before even counting other things). Small RAM allotments is the single biggest drawback for DAW usage of the 1st gen M1 models - going for 16GB will going a long way for eliminating that.
  • Logic Pro for DAW - nothing but thumbs up here - I use Logic everyday - but even trying to be objective, it still comes up as the best bang for anyone's buck at $199 (considering all of the extras and features it comes with)
  • PreSonus 1824c - 8 Channel pre-amp - I owned a Presonus Quantum 2626 for awhile last year, great piece of gear. The 1824c should be great - will work with Logic just fine - and can also function (in a basically one-man room) as your DtoA monitor controller as well.
  • Mixture of SM57s, Beta 52A and Rode 5s for Overheads
  • A couple of right sized active monitors
I'm going to insert that you should probably get a USB keyboard controller - Logic comes with tons of electronic drum, acoustic and electronic percussion virtual instruments - as well as scads of keyboards, guitars, basses, and orchestral instruments - along with gigabytes of loops - drum, perc and everything else. It is really difficult to make any use of this treasure trove of sounds without a USB keyboard controller.
  • Solid rack for pre-amp and laptop to be next to my kit -
Regarding this last thing - though it is really tempting to set everything up right at the drums - I've found with recording, I spent far more time in front of the computer, facing my stereo monitors than I do sitting at the drums. And frankly I can't imagine sitting hours and hours - programing, editing and mixing from relative discomfort of my drum throne.

I would say just move the computer back and forth between the drums and a desk - but sadly, the laptop and the Presonus have to stay hooked together with a pretty short cord. All the mic cables being plugged into the Presonus will make moving back and forth less than convenient. And wherever you are going to sit and listen to your speakers from - the Presonus needs to be within easy reach as it will be your monitor volume control.

My solution - and I used to use a laptop in this same configuration - is to set up a desk in front of my monitor speakers, set the laptop with the midi controller and the Presonus nearby. Run mic cable from the drums to the Presonus. And if you want to control the computer from the drums (if the desk can't be within arms reach), then set up a spare USB keyboard and mouse on a stand or even TV tray within easy reach of the drums. This allows me to do anything I want on the computer - but mainly it ends up being starting and stopping and pressing "record"... everything else I just do for the desk. Anyway, just a thought.

IMG_3616 (1).jpeg
 

Supergrobi

Technical Supervisor
Staff member
I'm using a cheapo notebook sitting on a snare stand and a remote desktop application to have full control over the studio machine from the drum set.
 

johnjssmith

Junior Member
The most important thing you've forgotten is room treatment!
I'll go through your list in order, and then get to that.

I wholeheartedly agree with dcrigger on the RAM upgrade point, definitely, definitely worth it.
Another option, in case you plan on mostly or entirely leaving your laptop in the same place, is to get a Mac Mini and whatever display you might like and/or find on sale this week, you'll be able to upgrade the RAM yourself, thus saving at least $100, you'll be getting a slightly more powerful computer, you'd have the option of choosing the display, keyboard and mouse yourself.

Logic Pro is a fine DAW, but it's not like any DAW is significantly worse than the other (save for Pro Tools Native, which you should avoid), so you should try as much of them as possible and see which one has the workflow that agrees with you best.

Both the Rode M5 and NT5 are fairly low end microphones, and if you want to record music the mics will be the third most important variable to the sound quality you'll be getting after the instrument's sound and room, so I recommend you look into better microphones.
Without spending much money you could get a pair of sE8 or a pair of Fat Heads, and from there the sky's the limit.
Same thing for the Shure mics, you may consider some decent condenser mics for the other pieces of the kit as well.

The search for monitor speakers shouldn't depend on their size as much as your budget and preference.
Contrarily to popular belief, smaller speakers don't sound better in smaller rooms, they mostly just reproduce less low end, so the usual 8" woofered speaker should be good.
Also, this is one of those cases where there's a high correlation between price and quality, the notable exception being the Yamaha HS line and, according to some, the JBL LSR (mk2) line, so definitely check them out, and if you're going to do some real mixing yourself be sure to get a pair of good quality speakers.
What does that mean though, good quality...
Monitor speakers should reproduce things as accurately as possible, so if you have the option you should go to an audio gear store where they have a show room, bring some music you're familiar with and ask the salesperson to play it through a few speakers, so that you can pick out the one that you feel is giving you the clearest, broadest, plainest representation.

You really won't be needing a rack at this stage, you can just use whatever night stand, small table or similar piece of forniture, place the audio interface on top and the laptop/display and keyboard on top of that.

You will certainly need mic stands, and since they'll be holding up your costly and prized mics you really don't want low end stuff.
K&M stands are the brand to look for if you want an average mic stand, though their gear is undoubtedly expensive so you may also look for some Superlux stands, I'm told those are up to par and are about half as costly.
Or, well, you might get any stand from any brand, just make sure they're heavy enough and steady enough to stay up even in case of an accident, someone tripping on a leg, or hitting the pole with a stick...

As for the acoustic treatment, it'll be a necessary investment unless your room already sounds good by chance.
There's a world of material on it and I recommend you dive into it, though the gist is you'll want to eliminate as many resonant frequencies from your room as possible, which you might do with absorbers (bass traps), diffusers and resonators, each going about the task in a different way and/or targeting different frequencies.

Good luck, and have fun with your new studio!
 

River19

Senior Member
Thanks for the responses guys.

Mic stands....and cables are on my list at this point, I am not cheaping out on cables as I've learned a tool bought cheaply once is a tool bought twice......that applies to damn near everything in life, ask me how I know lol

Stands, I think an average stand for the kick will be fine but I will look to invest in something solid for the 2 overheads. I've been konked on the head and or fought with overhead stands in live situations "Rick Allen Style" and I don't want to deal with that crap over $50.

Laptop......thanks for the advice on the 16GB.......I'll invest there.

I also have a decent rack on my list "at the store of which we do not speak" along with a good rack mounted power conditioner. I know a rack is somewhat overkill but I also don't have the ideal piece of furniture hanging around that I want my laptop etc along with the preamp on or in. Might as well just buy something that is made for it.

Monitors I was thinking Yamaha 8" active.......

This little rabbit hole should put me in the $3500-4000 range..........but there is a reason I worked my ass off 60-80hrs per week and now I will enjoy dropping some coin on what I have wanted since abandoning my analog setup years ago.

I will try the StudioOne version that comes with the pre-amp and obviously screw around with Garage Band for giggles and once I work with those for a while I will have a much better idea as to what is important to me and what is not and then be able to make a better informed decision with StudioOne vs. Logic. What I do know is I want nothing to do with ProTools.

As far as room treatment, I want to listen to it as is and then mock some things up with blankets etc if need be and go from there. I have always recorded in very open hard spaces with decent results........but the room and sound will dictate what else needs to get done.

It is a decent space at 13x19' with only my work desk and some book shelves at the other end with a large window. It doesn't suck.

I'm open to other suggestions......
 
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River19

Senior Member
How fun - I have a few thoughts for you to mull around....

Starting with your list...
  • Apple MacBook Air 8GB 512GB - If buying this new (meaning the new M1 models) then I would seriously urge you to spend the extra $200 for 16GB of unified memory. There is no scenario where you will regret doing this - and plenty where you will regret it if you don't. Sample instruments still rely heavily on pre-loads into RAM - so you could easily bang your head on this while doing even basic projects (depending on how much you end up using sample based instruments - which for percussion I use a lot - before even counting other things). Small RAM allotments is the single biggest drawback for DAW usage of the 1st gen M1 models - going for 16GB will going a long way for eliminating that.
  • Logic Pro for DAW - nothing but thumbs up here - I use Logic everyday - but even trying to be objective, it still comes up as the best bang for anyone's buck at $199 (considering all of the extras and features it comes with)
  • PreSonus 1824c - 8 Channel pre-amp - I owned a Presonus Quantum 2626 for awhile last year, great piece of gear. The 1824c should be great - will work with Logic just fine - and can also function (in a basically one-man room) as your DtoA monitor controller as well.
  • Mixture of SM57s, Beta 52A and Rode 5s for Overheads
  • A couple of right sized active monitors
I'm going to insert that you should probably get a USB keyboard controller - Logic comes with tons of electronic drum, acoustic and electronic percussion virtual instruments - as well as scads of keyboards, guitars, basses, and orchestral instruments - along with gigabytes of loops - drum, perc and everything else. It is really difficult to make any use of this treasure trove of sounds without a USB keyboard controller.
  • Solid rack for pre-amp and laptop to be next to my kit -
Regarding this last thing - though it is really tempting to set everything up right at the drums - I've found with recording, I spent far more time in front of the computer, facing my stereo monitors than I do sitting at the drums. And frankly I can't imagine sitting hours and hours - programing, editing and mixing from relative discomfort of my drum throne.

I would say just move the computer back and forth between the drums and a desk - but sadly, the laptop and the Presonus have to stay hooked together with a pretty short cord. All the mic cables being plugged into the Presonus will make moving back and forth less than convenient. And wherever you are going to sit and listen to your speakers from - the Presonus needs to be within easy reach as it will be your monitor volume control.

My solution - and I used to use a laptop in this same configuration - is to set up a desk in front of my monitor speakers, set the laptop with the midi controller and the Presonus nearby. Run mic cable from the drums to the Presonus. And if you want to control the computer from the drums (if the desk can't be within arms reach), then set up a spare USB keyboard and mouse on a stand or even TV tray within easy reach of the drums. This allows me to do anything I want on the computer - but mainly it ends up being starting and stopping and pressing "record"... everything else I just do for the desk. Anyway, just a thought.

View attachment 113336


Your points about the workstation vs. sitting at the drums are spot on with how I was thinking.

I was planning on having the rack by the drums, pre-amp etc. in the rack with the power conditioner. When recording the laptop will be on top of the rack within reach. Once I get something I like and want to work on editing, mixing etc. the laptop will move to a workstation with monitors and a larger visual monitor and possibly a keyboard as laptop keyboards drive me crazy.

I think I can work on the proximity thing so the presonus and laptop can play nicely.

Good points, appreciate it.
 

dcrigger

Senior Member
Your points about the workstation vs. sitting at the drums are spot on with how I was thinking.

I was planning on having the rack by the drums, pre-amp etc. in the rack with the power conditioner. When recording the laptop will be on top of the rack within reach. Once I get something I like and want to work on editing, mixing etc. the laptop will move to a workstation with monitors and a larger visual monitor and possibly a keyboard as laptop keyboards drive me crazy.

I think I can work on the proximity thing so the presonus and laptop can play nicely.

Good points, appreciate it.
Considering what you just wrote - there's still the issue that the cable between the laptop and the Presonus interface can't be longer than 6ft (without inviting problems) and that's really short.

I would say just leave the laptop on the rack by the drums - as longer cables for remote keyboard and mouse as well as your larger display work just great. But that still leaves the issue of controlling the volume of your monitor speakers - and without adding an analog monitor controller, the Presonus has to be within arm's reach on your desk (because adjusting your monitor volume is something you'll do 6,000 times a day) :)

I'm not sure I understand the advantage of placing the Presonus in a rack next to the drums - as it only effects cable length, and slightly longer cables have no effect on quality and very little impact on cost.
 

cbphoto

Diamond Member
I'm not sure I understand the advantage of placing the Presonus in a rack next to the drums
Ease of access and quickness when making adjustments. I've had a rack setup for years and it's nice that it can roll up next to me. I can literally reach and make a change without getting up. But it does cause a pile of cables to pool up near the kit.
 

River19

Senior Member
Things to think about for sure. This is why I posted to get this feedback, so I appreciate the input.

I have some setup flexibility with where I put the rack and desk. Let me fool around with some setups and see what might work.

Cable management is also high on my list, I'm, not OCD or anything but I was already planning on running one of those industrial rubber 6' cable holders behind the drum stool.

I think I can place the dedicated desk within 4' or so of where I would have the rack next to me. Then I can easily roll it back adjacent to the desk if I want so everything is within arms reach.......velcro cable wraps are your friend here.......
 

cbphoto

Diamond Member
Cable management is also high on my list, I'm, not OCD or anything but I was already planning on running one of those industrial rubber 6' cable holders behind the drum stool.
Cables suck.

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dcrigger

Senior Member
Ease of access and quickness when making adjustments. I've had a rack setup for years and it's nice that it can roll up next to me. I can literally reach and make a change without getting up. But it does cause a pile of cables to pool up near the kit.
A rolling rack with cable length to accommodate both positions - that's a great idea. I need to consider that - as getting levels (which really isn't all of the time) is an exercise in up and down and up and down. Though it would entail both the puddle of the mic snake when close to the drums - but then also the puddle of desk area peripherals cable snake (midi, cables to speakers, etc). But still, way cool idea!
 

River19

Senior Member
Headphone recommendations? I play with Westone in ears with Vic Firth muffs normally, but me thinks I will want a headphone with really good isolation as well as quality sound.

This mess is coming together nicely
 

Steve30907

Active Member
Headphone recommendations? I play with Westone in ears with Vic Firth muffs normally, but me thinks I will want a headphone with really good isolation as well as quality sound.

This mess is coming together nicely
GK Ultra phones,well worth the money.
 

cbphoto

Diamond Member
GK Ultra phones,well worth the money.
+1


They provide great service, too, if you ever need the ear muffs replaced or a wired fixed, etc.
 

River19

Senior Member
Getting close to pulling the trigger on this whole thing.

MacBook with 16GB Ram might be ordered today and then all the audio gear, cables, stands etc. will be a fast follower. Then a few weeks of "how the hell do I use all this crap?".........

Exciting stuff. Thanks for the recommendations here, appreciate the help.
 

jdavis

Member
Microphone stands and cabling adds quite a bit to the expense.
This^^^. One thing that's come in handy (and saved me lots of money) is learning how to use a soldering iron to make my own cables. It's really easy and a great thing for any musician to know.

Also, if you keep your eyes open, you can usually find really high quality wire and connectors for cheap. (y)
 
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