0% Interest for 24 Months! Learn more »
(800) 222-4700
  • Español: (800) 222-4701
June 2017 Giveaway

Sweetwater Forums [Archived]

After 15 years of great discussions, the Sweetwater Forums are now closed and preserved as a "read-only" resource. For discussions about current gear, check us out on Facebook, YouTube, inSync, and our Knowledge Base.

If you were just starting to put together a home studio...


Hello, everyone.
I would like to start building up equipment for a home studio, and I thought I would
stop in for some advice. I will be recording acoustic and electric guitars, piano, organ, and different types of drums and percussion.
If you were on a $3,000 budget, like myself, and were starting completely from scratch except for said instruments, what would you buy?
Thank you kindly.
November 26, 2011 @08:30pm

you have MILLIONS of options! Here's how I started:
Imac- $ 1400 with 4 gigs ram (aprox)
003 Factory with PT 8- bought it on-line (used) with licences and all for $ 1200
Get a decent large diaphram condenser mike- 3-400 bucks- you're in business. You can get by with less for sure- the 003 is a premium piece of gear, but it's got a lot of capability and tons of software plug-ins . have fun.
December 7, 2011 @07:39pm

Hey thanks, Will!
Amazingly, I just got an "amazing" deal on an IMac!
The 003 Factory looks interesting, I'll check it out.
I'm looking into the Cascade Fat Head stereo pair. I'm loving the sound of these!
December 13, 2011 @04:51pm

December 18, 2011 @04:37am

keep in mind there are many DAW's out there - Logic, Digital Performer, Cubase. Pro Tools is the "industry-standard" but there are other options. Logic is my preference. The 192 is good because you get both an interface and the software.
December 20, 2011 @01:46pm

I just upgraded to logic, and really like it. as far as an interface goes, I really like the presonus stuff. I have a fire pod that I picked up for about $189 and it's awesome. The sweet thing is you can chain multiple interfaces for more channels. Don't think I've had much experience with protools stuff, so I can't comment on that.
Anyways, Which iMac did you get? Is it a quad core or a dual core? I think that maxing out the ram would be an excellent idea for running audio stuff, If you mac will take it, 16 Gb of ram is probably overkill(At least 4 Gb is optimal, 8 Gb is better(it really does make a difference, stuff runs a lot smoother). 6 Gb might be a nice compromise between 4 & 8Gb. And, on most mac models, ram is pretty easy to instal. Make sure your hard drive is 7200 Rpm(most recent mac desktops have this).
Anyways, congratulations on your mac!
December 21, 2011 @01:15am

you have millions of options!

December 21, 2011 @01:25am

In my honest opinion from what I am currently experiencing is "do not fall into the Avid trap". don't get me wrong, it is outstanding gear, however don't be fooled when everbody tells you that the new protools is all 3rd party interface friendly. The only thing that it will run seemlessly with is Avid interfaces. Yes, some claim they are running there 3rd party interfaces with pt 9 but beware, their are a lot of work-arounds to do. It can be frustraiting if you are not highly trained like myself. If you are, go for it. You will love PT. I have been messing around with Logic Express and a Mac the last few months and logic is not as easy to use as PT.
I've been using Apogee Duet2 for a interface and it is great also.
December 23, 2011 @04:01am
DJ Pyra-C

I've put together several small studios for artists who want to work from their home, and most of them tend to go for the Mbox2 (though that's not made anymore, you can still find a used one, or you could spend some extra on the new Mbox Pro, which is very nice). If you're gonna search for a used (or still 'in stock') interface, then I'd probably recommend you get the 003 console.
That being said, the more important thing right now is finding out what exactly you want your studio to do (or rather, how you want it to work). Some people prefer to avoid Pro Tools, or already prefer another program such as Logic, Ableton, Sonar, etc. Personally, I use a few programs, and own an Mbox2 which works great (in most respects) for my setup.
  • Do you want to use a particular program?
  • Do you want a control surface, or just the virtual one in your software?

In addition to your audio interface, mics will be important, too. While you may use the pickups on guitars, pianos, drums, and wind instruments will need to be mic'd every time. Shure has a very nice bundle (DMK57-52) that comes with three 57's and a beta-52a. Another really nice instrument mic is the SM81, which is very nice for acoustic guitars and vocals (and I've heard it's good with wind instruments, but I haven't recorded any with it yet). If you plan to record a lot of vocals, then you'll probably also want to also get an AKG or something (C3000, maybe). However, if you're just trying to have something basic for home (non-professional) recordings, and only want ONE mic, then the SM81 is probably going to cover the most ground for you.
As for your computer, I'd never recommend an iMac unless you're comfortable with getting another in 3-4 years (or less, depending on how new it is) - iMacs are terribly un-upgradable in many respects - they're more like glorified laptops. If you want to go Apple, then get a Mac Pro, as you have many more upgrade options, including (much needed) RAM and hard drive expansion (RAID is very useful), and easier to upgrade CPUs as well (not to mention iMacs are a bitch to open).
Sorry that's not the most specific answer, but hopefully that makes some of your options a bit clearer so you can make sure you build the studio you want to work in. Good luck!
January 13, 2012 @10:18pm

what ever you decide to do, the number 1 numero uno thing to keep in mind...may you or will you expand anything at a later date!!!? everyone does anyway... and what will be capatable down the road with what you start off with. I got lucky. i was afraid of DAW coming from the older school analog mixer and tape machines i was used to in the studios i performed in.
i started out with a used 24x8 mackie for a steal of 750 bucks in pristine condition that i still use now...and a new alesis hd24( $1900.00 total)...and what is cool is i can go either direction..i can mix in the real time analog world on the console "old school" having to write down every channel setting since it wont remember last mix from one project to the next ...or now that i am familiar with DAW...i light pipe my HD24 (don't even have to hit record) lol an expensive ad/da converter at this point...then
straight into the computer from a Presonus firestudio lightpipe with absolutely zero latency a lucky miracle i guess. 24 tracks at once if needed thru direct outs using my mackie as a preamp. tho i use PC format on a beast of a machine with Sonar 8.5 producer...i do plan on stepping into the MAC world as soon as possible. but my options are open because if i do hit record on the hd24 while tracking i can simultaneously record on the computer and the hd24's hard drive at the same time.. if the computer crashes?...well i still have the tracks on the hd24. DO NOT USE the same computer you play around online with that you record on!!!
Personally if i had to start from scratch after what i know now you can't go wrong with a power Mac and apple LOGIC and a good interface...i have heard it and OH MY HEAVENS...what ever the case ...compatibility compatibility compatibility when choosing software/operation systems/hardware ...my "lucky" case i at least can expand different directions and add devices as needed like i did with compressors, tube pres, and headphone amps etc. for tracking...best of luck
February 23, 2012 @11:27am

Find out what's being used by those you know, and get that gear, so when you have a problem you can call someone for help.
February 26, 2012 @11:09pm

Hello, everyone.
I would like to start building up equipment for a home studio, and I thought I would
stop in for some advice. I will be recording acoustic and electric guitars, piano, organ, and different types of drums and percussion.
If you were on a $3,000 budget, like myself, and were starting completely from scratch except for said instruments, what would you buy?
Thank you kindly.

korg pa-50 keyboard...tascam 2488 neo digital recorder.....right at 1,500 +or-.....good luck!.p.s. a.m.s.
November 28, 2012 @08:33pm