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Sparrow
post Jun 21 2012, 01:49 AM
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Hey everyone I want to start recording but my computer I have now won't let me! Fortunately I have some money saved from my good old tax return, so I can start to fix my situation biggrin.gif

I have a budget of $2000 and I'm looking to buy/build a new computer that I will use ONLY for recording different instruments and mixing songs. I might need to get a monitor speaker to mix songs on properly (I have heard if you mix on headphones then the songs will sound bad when played on a stereo) and some other things too, surely. So where should I start?

I want to get a full blown song editing program like protools or cubase, and a computer that can run all that stuff. Plus whatever else I will need. It's really intimidating trying to figure out where to start with all this, because all the guides on the internet say different things.

Anyways, it would be great if you guys could help me with this wink.gif
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Todd Simpson
post Jun 21 2012, 01:58 AM
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QUOTE (Sparrow @ Jun 20 2012, 08:49 PM) *
Hey everyone I want to start recording but my computer I have now won't let me! Fortunately I have some money saved from my good old tax return, so I can start to fix my situation biggrin.gif

I have a budget of $2000 and I'm looking to buy/build a new computer that I will use ONLY for recording different instruments and mixing songs. I might need to get a monitor speaker to mix songs on properly (I have heard if you mix on headphones then the songs will sound bad when played on a stereo) and some other things too, surely. So where should I start?

I want to get a full blown song editing program like protools or cubase, and a computer that can run all that stuff. Plus whatever else I will need. It's really intimidating trying to figure out where to start with all this, because all the guides on the internet say different things.

Anyways, it would be great if you guys could help me with this wink.gif


I've already pitched in a bit here with advice on spending most of it on the computer as it's the center of the modern studio and an interface/multi fx pedal, decent headphones. But as this questions comes up constantly I thought it would be a good idea to get some group feedback.

So feedback everybody!!!

Todd


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maharzan
post Jun 21 2012, 03:39 AM
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13" macbook pro - 1200
Logic - 200
KRK 8" - 500

See you can easily surpass that budget. If you are recording guitar, you will need another DI box that might cost you another $100-$500.

But you could obviously buy a desktop in a much cheaper price and more powerful I guess. I am into mac so suggesting that. smile.gif


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JesseJ
post Jun 21 2012, 05:15 AM
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My family as a Macbook Pro and they are amazing computers. I highly recommend them.


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WeePee
post Jun 21 2012, 07:13 AM
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QUOTE (JesseJ @ Jun 21 2012, 07:15 AM) *
My family as a Macbook Pro and they are amazing computers. I highly recommend them.

I just bought 4 gb ram more for my Macmini and it was totally worth it. Now reaper and other music software opens faster and they run smoother. So if you buy an Apple buy extra memory.


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SirJamsalot
post Jun 21 2012, 06:44 PM
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Most computers these days are powerful enough for home recording. I still use a computer I bought like 7 years ago with only 4 mb of ram. It has dual processors, but it's by no means as fast as computers these days. Running windows XP, I record in Cubase 5.

I was using Firestudio Mobile, a firewire audio interface, but it burned down after 2 years, so I decided to save a little processor power by purchasing an M-Audio Audiophile interface card for like a 100 bucks. Only 2 ins/outs but I have also have Mackie soundboard so I can route what I need, plus I never record more than 2 things at once anyways - usually just a line in for my guitar, then I'll record vocals at a later time.

It's a low budget solution ~ and it has been working fine for me.

Computer - Audio interface and a microphone are all you really need for the essential package. Good headphones / speakers come a bit later when you really want to start the trek of getting a good mix.

Chris!

oh! and I should also add - count on a single recording project to consist of a directory of unused audio files : that is, you'll record solos several times, but use only one in the end - so count on eating drive space. If you value your music, you'll get a back-up drive in case your main drive bites the big one - and back up your files daily. Just sayin biggrin.gif


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Zoot
post Jun 21 2012, 09:53 PM
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I'd recommend against going down the laptop route and the Mac root. More bang for your buck in desktop land and more free, good and useful VSTs out there for a PC - and Apple are the spawn of the devil, (oops - couldn't help it, just slipped out).

Get a nice new i5 CPU, (doesn't have to be top of the line spec on the CPU), get as much RAM as you can afford and the best audio interface you can afford. Don't rely on on-board sound card for anything. They all suck.

Todd's suggestion of a guitar based multi-fx audio interface is good if all you're doing is recording guitar, but you tend to pay for the integration and features of the guitar stuff and the actual audio interface side is relatively cheap and nasty. If you don't have a amp/pedal collection that you like, then this can be a good way to go. If you already have a rig that rocks, just get a decent audio interface and a mic.

If you do go for an audio interface, get something that handles 4 ins and 4 outs - much more routing possibilities and flexibility when recording that with 2 in/2 out configs.

My two cents.

Ciao!

Z.


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Todd Simpson
post Jun 22 2012, 05:01 AM
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This is a KILLER little music rig.

ONE BIG THING TO KEEP IN MIND WITH NEW MAC LAPTOPS!


*THE NEW MACBOOKS USE SOLDERED RAM! So forget upgrading, you have to buy it from APPLE and they SOLDER IT TO THE MOTHERBOARD. Thus, stuffing ram in has to be done when you buy it so it's another $100 (not bad price though) to take it to 8 GB where it will stay.

*GET APPLECARE! One repair can easily cost the PRICE OF THE WHOLE LAPTOP if a motherboard fails after warranty for example. Another $250.

So MACBOOK PRO 13 Inch (The starter one)
2.5GHz Dual-core Intel Core i5, Turbo Boost up to 3.1GHz
8GB 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM — 2x4GB
500GB Serial ATA Drive @ 5400 rpm
SuperDrive 8x (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
Backlit Keyboard (English) & User's Guide (English)
AppleCare Protection Plan

$1550
U.S.

But this still leaves $350 to play with so I"d say go for it!





quote name='maharzan' date='Jun 20 2012, 10:39 PM' post='591288']

13" macbook pro - 1200
Logic - 200
KRK 8" - 500

See you can easily surpass that budget. If you are recording guitar, you will need another DI box that might cost you another $100-$500.

But you could obviously buy a desktop in a much cheaper price and more powerful I guess. I am into mac so suggesting that. smile.gif
[/quote]

QUOTE (SirJamsalot @ Jun 21 2012, 01:44 PM) *
Most computers these days are powerful enough for home recording. I still use a computer I bought like 7 years ago with only 4 mb of ram. It has dual processors, but it's by no means as fast as computers these days. Running windows XP, I record in Cubase 5.

I was using Firestudio Mobile, a firewire audio interface, but it burned down after 2 years, so I decided to save a little processor power by purchasing an M-Audio Audiophile interface card for like a 100 bucks. Only 2 ins/outs but I have also have Mackie soundboard so I can route what I need, plus I never record more than 2 things at once anyways - usually just a line in for my guitar, then I'll record vocals at a later time.

It's a low budget solution ~ and it has been working fine for me.

Computer - Audio interface and a microphone are all you really need for the essential package. Good headphones / speakers come a bit later when you really want to start the trek of getting a good mix.

Chris!

oh! and I should also add - count on a single recording project to consist of a directory of unused audio files : that is, you'll record solos several times, but use only one in the end - so count on eating drive space. If you value your music, you'll get a back-up drive in case your main drive bites the big one - and back up your files daily. Just sayin biggrin.gif


More good points! I hope we are not confusing you too much though. "Buy a Mac!" "No Buy a PC"! But all of this is part of the journey. At some point you have to make some sort of decision and sort of go for it and shortly thereafter you'll figure out what you might have done different, or might do different next time. This if your first buy in, so your just starting out in "Home Studio Land", there will be many more upgrades/changes as technology evolves. It's a moving target, so try out some other recording rigs/software and see what feels best for you.




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JesseJ
post Jun 22 2012, 05:26 AM
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A Mac also Comes with garageband and thats what I use to record I have never used cubase or anything so I cant tell you how it would compare but I like garageband .


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Mike RR24
post Jun 22 2012, 07:26 AM
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I actually went with a Boss BR-1600 Multitrack Digital Recorder for $1599.00 It came with a package that included a MIC stand. An okay $100.00 Mic Audio-Technica AT-2020 and 2 KRK 5inch monitors. I love it. I realize this is not a computer based DAW but me being new to recording I needed this all in one solution. I'm able to make some pretty good CD's off of it also.

I hear the PC ones are better and I have a 2010 modem Mac Book Pro but I just did not want to have to figure out the software.
The Garage Band is not real good for recording at all. It pretty much a toy imho. This BR-1600 was a short learning curve. Just throwing that out there. biggrin.gif

This post has been edited by Mike RR24: Jun 22 2012, 07:28 AM


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Rammikin
post Jun 22 2012, 07:50 AM
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Macbook Pro's are nice, but you definitely get a lot more bang for your music making buck with an iMac. The quad cores are especially valuable when multitracking. Plus you get the nice, high quality large display. Unless you need portability, the iMac is an excellent computer to host a digital audio workstation and it would leave you money left over for software and monitors.

I swear by Genelec monitors myself, but Adam and KRK make some excellent monitors as well.

Cubase, Logic, ProTools, and Digital Performer are all excellent and you can't go wrong with any of them. But choosing a DAW is like getting married. It's a significant commitment, not just of money, but of time as you learn to use it, so you want to make sure you're compatible with each other. Do some research to find one that fits the way you think about making music.

Depending on whether you'll be mic'ing an amp, using an outboard guitar processor like a Line 6 Pod, or using an in-the-box amp simulator, you might need an audio interface to get audio from your guitar into the computer.

P.S. Somebody mentioned RAM being soldered in a Macbook Pro, but that's only true in the new Retina model.
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Alex Feather
post Jun 22 2012, 08:17 AM
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QUOTE (Sparrow @ Jun 21 2012, 12:49 AM) *
Hey everyone I want to start recording but my computer I have now won't let me! Fortunately I have some money saved from my good old tax return, so I can start to fix my situation biggrin.gif

I have a budget of $2000 and I'm looking to buy/build a new computer that I will use ONLY for recording different instruments and mixing songs. I might need to get a monitor speaker to mix songs on properly (I have heard if you mix on headphones then the songs will sound bad when played on a stereo) and some other things too, surely. So where should I start?

I want to get a full blown song editing program like protools or cubase, and a computer that can run all that stuff. Plus whatever else I will need. It's really intimidating trying to figure out where to start with all this, because all the guides on the internet say different things.

Anyways, it would be great if you guys could help me with this wink.gif

I am running a iMac the new one and it works great! If you want to create a studio as a business than you need a super powerful computer, but for a home studio iMac will do! I would suggest getting a decent computer and a good audio card! That what will make your sound! You can run Logic instead of Pro tools so you won't be limited on the tracks and won't have a delay when recording!
I can help you out more with this if you want! smile.gif Let me know!


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tonymiro
post Jun 22 2012, 09:52 AM
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QUOTE (SirJamsalot @ Jun 21 2012, 06:44 PM) *
Most computers these days are powerful enough for home recording. I still use a computer I bought like 7 years ago with only 4 mb of ram. It has dual processors, but it's by no means as fast as computers these days. Running windows XP, I record in Cubase 5.

...


Absolutely right Chris. Whilst having a more powerful computer is nice and may help speed things up and allow you to have more track count it is not essential. Seriously, years ago we seemed to manage on analogue 16 track split consoles but now adays home recording 'needs' unlimited track counts? Any reasonably up to date pc or mac should be able to cope with a properly set up audio project in a daw.


QUOTE (Mike RR24 @ Jun 22 2012, 07:26 AM) *
I actually went with a Boss BR-1600 Multitrack Digital Recorder for $1599.00 It came with a package that included a MIC stand. An okay $100.00 Mic Audio-Technica AT-2020 and 2 KRK 5inch monitors. I love it. I realize this is not a computer based DAW but me being new to recording I needed this all in one solution. I'm able to make some pretty good CD's off of it also.
...


Nice idea - a digital multitrack can be a really good if you have no previous experience as it is more immediate and obvious. Signal path/work flow and so on are not often that obvious in a daw.

As Zoot says if you go the daw route you need to invest in a good quality ad/da audio device. Think about what your needs are - the number and types of inputs, types of connections, number and types of outputs, bit depth and sample rate and so on. Cheap AD/DAs will often have both limited features and will also be based around poor quality pre-amps, chip sets and algorythms for the convertors. Spending a bit more here can often improve the quality and also give you a more flexible unit that you will keep for longer before it needs to be upgraded.


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tonymiro
post Jun 22 2012, 10:19 AM
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QUOTE (Sparrow @ Jun 21 2012, 01:49 AM) *
...

I want to get a full blown song editing program like protools or cubase, and a computer that can run all that stuff. ...


Just to add that neither PT nor Cubase are a guarantee of a good final project. One of the worst mixes sent to me to master recently was recorded and mixed on a high end Pro Tools HD system by pro engineers. One of the best was from a home studio that used an old basic 16 track version of RML. In the case of the last one the engineer didn't have an unlimited number of tracks and toys but he knew how to get a good result with what he did have.

Arguably the rise in the use of DAWs has resulted in a lowering of standards as it seems that there are fewer and fewer people who actually know, understand or perhaps care about issues like correct gainstaging, signal flow, bouncing, how and why effects and dynamics work and so on. Similarly few now seem able to listen critically to their own mixes to identify issues let alone understand what needs to be done to improve their mix. I have to say that this includes a lot of people I've come across who studied some college/university course or other about music production.

What I'm getting at is that it isn't just about getting gear, it's about learning how to use it properly. Sometimes it is easier to learn the basics on more limited, and less intimidating, equipment then by jumping in to the deep end.


--------------------
Get your music professionally mastered by anl AES registered Mastering Engineer. Contact me for Audio Mastering Services and Advice and visit our website www.miromastering.com

Be friends on facebook with us here.

We use professional, mastering grade hardware in our mastering studo. Our hardware includes:
Cranesong Avocet II Monitor Controller, Dangerous Music Liasion Insert Hardware Router, ATC SCM Pro Monitors, Lavry Black DA11, Prism Orpheus ADC/DAC, Gyratec Gyraf XIV Parallel Passive Mastering EQ, Great River MAQ 2NV Mastering EQ, Kush Clariphonic Parallel EQ Shelf, Maselec MLA-2 Mastering Compressor, API 2500 Mastering Compressor, Eventide Eclipse Reverb/Echo.
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maharzan
post Jun 22 2012, 10:49 AM
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I absolutely agree with iMac. How did I forget that ? smile.gif Maybe coz I am so used to doing all the work in my pro. Theres a major power problem down here and laptops are the only way to go. smile.gif


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WeePee
post Jun 22 2012, 10:51 AM
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QUOTE (Todd Simpson @ Jun 22 2012, 07:01 AM) *
This is a KILLER little music rig.

ONE BIG THING TO KEEP IN MIND WITH NEW MAC LAPTOPS!


*THE NEW MACBOOKS USE SOLDERED RAM! So forget upgrading, you have to buy it from APPLE and they SOLDER IT TO THE MOTHERBOARD. Thus, stuffing ram in has to be done when you buy it so it's another $100 (not bad price though) to take it to 8 GB where it will stay.

Off topic but that's very ridiculously !! See now Apple forces customers to buy "their" expensive memory.
I just bough 4 GB Kingston ram for the 25 euros. Apple charges 4 GB for like 100 euros. And I mean one chunk of memory. Two 4GB memory blocks is 200 euros. blink.gif I can get two blocks for 50 euros !!

Okay it's the new Macbook Pro with Retina display. It's comes already with 8 GB memory and you can max it to 16 GB. But still...if this is the future. To Hell with it !! dry.gif

This post has been edited by WeePee: Jun 22 2012, 10:53 AM


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Sparrow
post Jun 22 2012, 02:40 PM
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Thanks for all the advice guys! I am reading the thread and trying to figure out what to do!
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Sparrow
post Jun 22 2012, 03:28 PM
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QUOTE (tonymiro @ Jun 22 2012, 09:19 AM) *
Just to add that neither PT nor Cubase are a guarantee of a good final project. One of the worst mixes sent to me to master recently was recorded and mixed on a high end Pro Tools HD system by pro engineers. One of the best was from a home studio that used an old basic 16 track version of RML. In the case of the last one the engineer didn't have an unlimited number of tracks and toys but he knew how to get a good result with what he did have.

Arguably the rise in the use of DAWs has resulted in a lowering of standards as it seems that there are fewer and fewer people who actually know, understand or perhaps care about issues like correct gainstaging, signal flow, bouncing, how and why effects and dynamics work and so on. Similarly few now seem able to listen critically to their own mixes to identify issues let alone understand what needs to be done to improve their mix. I have to say that this includes a lot of people I've come across who studied some college/university course or other about music production.

What I'm getting at is that it isn't just about getting gear, it's about learning how to use it properly. Sometimes it is easier to learn the basics on more limited, and less intimidating, equipment then by jumping in to the deep end.


This is what I am scared of! I will buy something very complicated and will be in over my head. I think it would be best to learn on the most basic thing first. I have no idea about gainstaging, signal flow, bouncing flow. So much to learn! What is RML? Can I still buy an old 16 track RML thing?

QUOTE
I am running a iMac the new one and it works great! If you want to create a studio as a business than you need a super powerful computer, but for a home studio iMac will do! I would suggest getting a decent computer and a good audio card! That what will make your sound! You can run Logic instead of Pro tools so you won't be limited on the tracks and won't have a delay when recording!
I can help you out more with this if you want! Let me know!


On the other hand, so many people are recommending Mac, even though it is known they are the devil tongue.gif. An Imac would be nice, I don't need to have a laptop. Alex you must know all about making good mixes laugh.gif So I would need some help!
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Rammikin
post Jun 22 2012, 04:42 PM
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QUOTE (WeePee @ Jun 22 2012, 09:51 AM) *
Off topic but that's very ridiculously !! See now Apple forces customers to buy "their" expensive memory.
I just bough 4 GB Kingston ram for the 25 euros. Apple charges 4 GB for like 100 euros. And I mean one chunk of memory. Two 4GB memory blocks is 200 euros. blink.gif I can get two blocks for 50 euros !!

Okay it's the new Macbook Pro with Retina display. It's comes already with 8 GB memory and you can max it to 16 GB. But still...if this is the future. To Hell with it !! dry.gif


Of course, things in life are never that simple smile.gif. The Retina model has soldered RAM and no optical drive. But that's precisely what makes it so light and thin. For some people that is an excellent tradeoff.

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Todd Simpson
post Jun 22 2012, 04:42 PM
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All of this is why I urged you to start a thread. It can be overwhelming at first when you realize that there is not one "Best" answer. The important thing to do is actually get started. Instead of blowing your entire wad, of 2k, I'd suggest maybe starting small so you can start figuring out what works for you and what doesn't.

You can get a very cheap PC laptop and run Reaper using a cheap interface and at least get going on recording. In terms of ease of use, it's really hard to beat the imac which comes with Garage Band and makes a great first DAW. Some important tips.

1.)I LOVE my macbook, but as they have recently changed them to make then NON UPGRADEABLE I would not suggest it as a "First Computer". Pricey, no upgrades option, etc.

2.)The cheapest iMac makes a great starter solution. Comes with Garage Band, can run Reaper, later on you can get in to LOGIC or CUBASE, PRO TOOLS, etc. And it's about the same price as a laptop but with much bigger screen.

3.)PC is a valid option and far cheaper. If you already know the PC, this is a good way to go. No garage band, but you can jump in to REAPER.

4.)Good headphones are a MINIMUM, until you decide on decent monitors.

5.)Any audio interface will do as your "First Interface" again, your just getting started and you just need some experience at this point so you can start the journey.


Todd


QUOTE (Sparrow @ Jun 22 2012, 10:28 AM) *
This is what I am scared of! I will buy something very complicated and will be in over my head. I think it would be best to learn on the most basic thing first. I have no idea about gainstaging, signal flow, bouncing flow. So much to learn! What is RML? Can I still buy an old 16 track RML thing?



On the other hand, so many people are recommending Mac, even though it is known they are the devil tongue.gif. An Imac would be nice, I don't need to have a laptop. Alex you must know all about making good mixes laugh.gif So I would need some help!



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