Iíd love some help putting together a studio. I have $14,000 of blood, sweat, and smelly vans to spend so I'm looking for guidance.
I am a songwriter, performer and composer. I record and release my own records. For a couple years I have used my Mbox and Pro Tools on an aging Apple G4 Titanium laptop while on tour. I have a controller and two SM57s, but no other outboard gear to speak of. I am upgrading my machine to a new quad Intel laptop or tower. While I love Pro Tools, Iím open to other DAWs. I'll probably always have an mBox around and use PT regardless of where I write and arrange.
My ideal DAW would offer lots of plug-ins and virtual instruments out of the box. I tend to take my arrangements to actual musicians to re-record, so Iím looking for a wide selection of playable instruments for demos instead of Ďkillerí patches. I do appreciate soft synths for electronic music, so a nice variety of electronic instruments would be nice. Overall, I donít like spending lots of time tweaking sampled acoustic instruments. I want to write and arrange, and have lots of playable instruments ready out of the box. Right now I export midi files out of Pro Tools and import them into Finale to prepare scores for live players. Ideally, there would be an easier way to prepare usable scores.
I donít plan on recording final drums or conducting full band sessions. Almost all of my recordings are created a track at a time, except for the occasional string quartet or horn section. Iíd like to get close-to-final mixes done on my setup, but have no interest in mastering. In general, I donít like buying entry-level equipment when it means Iíll be replacing the unit in a couple years. Lastly, Iím moving to LA and may want to expand the setup for film-scoring, commercial music, etc. At that point I'd be open to a standalone GIGA setup working in conjunction with my DAW.
I'm looking to purchase the following pieces of gear. Wherever I can multi-task gear -- especially since I only record multiple instrumentalists when recording strings / horns -- I'm game. I'm not including the computer in the 14K.
- Additional virtual instruments if necessary
- Top notch AD conversion
- Audio Interface, Midi Interface (all-in-one or multiple units)
- Powered monitors
- High quality channel strip for vocals (tube pre, EQ, compression - either as a single unit, or individual devices)
- Nice dual channel pre for string / horn stereo micing and four additional pres to be used for micing individual instruments, demo drums, etc. Could use vocal strip.
- Two channel compressor for guitars, general use
- Mic selection to accommodate the following instruments (recorded individually)
- Acoustic guitar
- Upright and grand piano
- String quartet (stereo pair + close mic * 4)
- Small horn section (stereo pair + close mic * 3)
- Individual brass, wind, string instruments
- Electric guitar (room and cab)
- Electric bass (room and cab)
Your help iand suggestions are GREATLY appreciated.