Home Studio Progress

Discussion in 'Fred's Barcalounge' started by Gretschzilla, Nov 11, 2021.

  1. Gretschzilla

    Gretschzilla Gretschie

    122
    Apr 20, 2021
    Saint Paul, MN USA
    It's real early in my recording journey. After purchasing a couple of dream guitars and amps this past summer (Eric Johnson Strat, Gretsch '59 Brian Setzer Smoke, Fender Tone Master Twin Reverb and a Marshall DSL40CR), I wrote a song inspired by the passing of my Mom.

    This sparked an interest in recording that song. I started researching equipment and software in earnest back in July. That led me to pick up an iMac 24 with Logic Pro, a Focusrite Clarett 8i6, a set of mixing headphones, Shure mics (SM58 and SM57), and some other doo dads. I've managed to lay down rhythm guitar and lead tracks that are almost good. My trio+ provided a good bass and drum track. Vocals are saved by one of my daughters; she can sing and helps me sound better by association. So I'm getting close.

    I like the height-adjustable table I picked up. It's 62" x 24" and came with a couple of drawers which are good places for cables, guitar picks, and other stuff. Home Depot does not keep this table on the floor (they stock a 52" x 24" adjustable height table; the longer one is a special order that takes a few weeks to arrive as it is sent out by rail from their big warehouse in PA).

    Below is my little studio. I'm having fun but, man, is the learning curve steep. I'm grateful to this forum for helping me get this far. I really appreciate everybody's willingness to share what they've tried and learned. I will repay that generosity when I have something to offer.
    Studio 1.jpg Studio 2.jpg
     
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  2. oneforsorrow

    oneforsorrow Synchromatic

    814
    May 15, 2020
    Iowa
    Congrats on your journey! It is a lot to digest. I've been at it for quite a while now and the learning never stops. There's a ton of great resources as you've no doubt likely encountered but I wanted to pass along some info that I've found very helpful.
    • First up is TapeOp. It's a free magazine that's packed with great interviews, gear reviews, etc. But it's also a great forum filled with info. You can learn more about the magazine here -- TapeOp.com or get on the forum here -- Message Board. Very supportive crowd over there.
    • Next up is a forum with a title not suitable to print here on G-T but it's an AMAZING resource. I actually printed it off into a manual years ago.
    • It's all about the room. There's a bunch of great information out there about treating your room but before you do anything, understand it. Most of it is math beyond my pay-grade but I've managed to gain some understanding along the way. Ethan Winer has written a bunch of information that you should be able to find with a little web sleuthing.
    • I also picked up a book called Guerilla Home Recording that was a big help when I first started.
    • I don't see any monitors so I'm guessing you're mixing on headphones? And it looks like you're using Sony 7506's? Those are pretty bright cans in my experience. Great for sussing out clarity. Love them for tracking vocals but beware of ear fatigue. When you think you've got some understanding about your room and how to place things, I'd look at some near-field monitors. I would encourage some strong investment when that time comes. They will be the lens through which you make all your decisions. I have some ADAM A7 (first generation) and I'm very happy with them but there's a ton of great choices. Just remember how crucial they will be to everything you do through them.
    Have fun! I can't think of many things I'd rather be doing that recording music at home. I hope it gives that kind of joy.
     
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  3. thunder58

    thunder58 Super Moderator Staff Member

    Age:
    63
    Dec 23, 2010
    tappan ny
    Admin Post
    You have offered so much already . Thank you for sharing this great studio . My condolences regarding your mom may she R.I.P.
     
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  4. Gretschzilla

    Gretschzilla Gretschie

    122
    Apr 20, 2021
    Saint Paul, MN USA
    Thank you for the extensive list of helpful info! I actually do have a pair of Beyerdynamic DT990Pro Open Studio Monitor Headphones. They came highly recommended for mixing. I use the Sony headphones when I want to listen intently to one track.

    I do have a pair of Canton Ergo 80 speakers driven by a Yamaha amp. I haven’t yet hooked up the iMac to the amp/speakers. Gotta figure that one out. Playing the mix through the computer’s speakers definitely doesn’t cut it.

    I really appreciate the links to the magazine and the forum. So much to learn. It really makes a difference when I get info from somebody who has already journeyed a thousand miles on this road.

    Thank you again for your guidance. I’m really jazzed about getting this song done. It’s funny; the more I learn, the further away the finish line feels. That’s the nature of learning. I’ll keep y’all posted.
     
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  5. wabash slim

    wabash slim I Bleed Orange

    Age:
    72
    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    Best of luck!

    Is that a VCR I spy? What's the small sound board?

    Let me know if you need some acoustic treatment for the room. Even on a small scale, it can help with the recording process. Consider some monitors as well. Doesn't need to be anything too expensive or involved. You can develop some ear strain listening to phones all of the time. Some studios even used a pair of 4" car speakers to hear what their stuff would sound like in an auto.

    Condolences about your Mom. I lost mine 30 years ago, and I still think about her daily. Remember the fun stuff, the warmth. You're her legacy.
     
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  6. Gretschzilla

    Gretschzilla Gretschie

    122
    Apr 20, 2021
    Saint Paul, MN USA
    @oneforsorrow I meant to ask your opinion about KRK Rokit 5 studio monitors. I hope to get a pair of powered monitors. My Cantons are large and way on the other side of the room. Not ideal. They’ll do for now. But I’d like to have monitors right on the table, either side of the computer. Anyway, I’d welcome your opinion on a good pair of studio monitors.
     
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  7. mister rain

    mister rain Gretschie

    459
    Apr 23, 2020
    new orleans
    +1
     
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  8. Gretschzilla

    Gretschzilla Gretschie

    122
    Apr 20, 2021
    Saint Paul, MN USA
    You have a keen eye, @wabash slim! I wondered who’d see that VCR and make a comment.

    I have about 10 tapes I can’t bear to part with. Haven’t watched them in a few years.
     
  9. wabash slim

    wabash slim I Bleed Orange

    Age:
    72
    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    I still have one myself. Got some home movies in VHS. I converted them to disc, but I always try to keep the original source whenever possible. I still have a turntable (but very few records) and a cassette deck that I haven't used in thirty years. Still have 8mm and 16mm film projectors and 70+ year old home movies, as well as 35mm slides. I'm a dinosaur.
     
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  10. Dumbthumbs

    Dumbthumbs Gretschie

    470
    Nov 28, 2020
    New Mexico
    Good looking workspace. You're off to a good start. Keep us posted on the recording progress.
     
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  11. Gretschzilla

    Gretschzilla Gretschie

    122
    Apr 20, 2021
    Saint Paul, MN USA
    @wabash slim the small board is a Yamaha MG10XU 10-ch MG Mixer w/USB & FX. It’s a nice little board and saves me having to futz with plugging things in / moving stuff around.
    Also, thanks to you and @thunder58 for your kind wishes regarding my Mom’s passing. One thing that helps with grief is forming new connections with those who pass. Mom left me an inheritance which enabled the guitar and amp purchases. Getting the inspiration to write and record sprung from there.
    The song, When Mom Gets Home, is kind of a fun rock and roll romp with a touch of sadness. My son and I played it at her wake in August (she passed in March; feels like a hundred years ago). I am looking forward to sharing it when ready.
     
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  12. oneforsorrow

    oneforsorrow Synchromatic

    814
    May 15, 2020
    Iowa
    My first monitors were some KRK’s and they served me well until I stepped up to the ADAM’s. But I strongly recommend understanding your room before you buy monitors. Specifically, you want to grasp resonant frequencies and how to tame them. Poke around some of the vendors that sell bass traps and read about room modes. And as you start to understand what your space is going to tell you, select some monitors in your price range that’ll help you hear your art as accurately as possible. And when you set up that space, be sure to read about proper monitor placement.

    If I were starting from scratch, I’d buy bass traps and dispersion treatment first or in conjunction with my monitors. There’s plenty of plans for DIY bass traps and dispersion panels if you’re handy with tools. Otherwise, check out ATS Acoustics. I found them to have really great prices and a great assortment of options as well as DIY supplies. You can start with baby steps but if your interests lead you down this road, you’ll be well served by treating your room first.

    And when you get yourself situated, learn how your favorite albums sound in that space. Keep them handy for referencing against your mixes as you grow. Be sure to level match when comparing as those albums will be louder than your mixes and louder nearly always sounds better (I have a decibel meter to target around 85 dB at the mix position).

    Oh, I don’t know that there is a finish line FWIW :). It’s a never ending journey so have fun and make art!
     
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  13. wabash slim

    wabash slim I Bleed Orange

    Age:
    72
    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    Just like model railroads.
     
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  14. garagegods

    garagegods Electromatic

    93
    Sep 30, 2021
    Los Angeles
    Thanks for sharing your studio set up, looks like your in one of those areas that have basements, we don't have many in California we don't get that quiet space. I do about 100% of my recording direct. Pro Tools 2021, on windows. Focusrite scarlet, Yamaha monitors, Neve 1073 clone outboard preamp in 905 lunchbox with 2 tube pultec clones. I track and mix all inside the box then output my stereo mix into my pultec tube eq's and dump back into the box to warm up final mixes. I worked for 20 years in top los angeles recording studios then in Television post production. my home studio works nice for me i play everything myself and work on television background music. the quality of virtual instruments and amp simulation is very real these days. I did build my own tube fender champ to run guitars through with amp sims and gets a great tube crunch that amp simulators cant get. Have fun with your studio and keep recording! thumbnail_IMG_7738.jpg thumbnail_IMG_7739.jpg thumbnail_IMG_7740.jpg
     
  15. Gretschzilla

    Gretschzilla Gretschie

    122
    Apr 20, 2021
    Saint Paul, MN USA
    Your setup looks and sounds amazing! So far I've recorded voice through the Focusrite and my Gretsch plugged directly into the Focusrite. Also ran the bass and drum tracks from the trio+ into the Focusrite. All that sounds just right.

    I ran my EJ Strat through a Boss Distortion DS-1, into my Fender Tone Master Twin Reverb Amp, used the #1 input on the Vibrato channel; Reverb, Intensity, and Speed dialed right in; had the bass-mid-treble just right. Got the magic tone I was looking for. This amp has a digital output that plugs right into the Focusrite. I was very excited by this feature.

    Unfortunately, what I heard while playing is nothing like what's playing back right now. The track sounds like it's coming out of a tin can. The guts of the sound got lost between the amp output and the recording software. Learning curve. I'm going to drop a couple of mics in front of the amp and see the difference that makes. I have not tried adding effects after recording. So I'm sure the desired tone can be found. But I got a lot to learn...
     
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  16. Gretschzilla

    Gretschzilla Gretschie

    122
    Apr 20, 2021
    Saint Paul, MN USA
    Welp. Just learned a new lesson. My Canton Ergo 80s are not reference monitors suitable for a home studio. When listening to the lead guitar track on my mixing headphones, it sounds good. But the home stereo speakers aren't made to faithfully reproduce raw tracks. So, gonna hunt down a couple of decent powered studio monitors. GAS GAS GAS
     
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  17. oneforsorrow

    oneforsorrow Synchromatic

    814
    May 15, 2020
    Iowa
    I wanted to add an amendment to my earlier posts. I spent just shy of 6 hours today dealing with a computer issue that thankfully turned out to be resolved. However, it was looking rather dire for a good while causing me a lot of stress over how long it had been since I backed up my data. I would STRONGLY recommend a good reliable external hard drive protocol and regular schedule of redundant back-ups. My wife and I both allocated some of the grant funds we're about to receive to go to external drives as part of the project we just had funded. I hadn't backed up my files in a while as I needed to do some housecleaning first and while there wasn't much work at risk, there was enough to make a catastrophic computer failure rather painful. I'm counting my blessings right now and shopping for an overdue additional external drive.
     
  18. garagegods

    garagegods Electromatic

    93
    Sep 30, 2021
    Los Angeles
    best reference is something your familiar with i often listen to final mixes on my monitors loud and super low,headphones i have a pair of techiques super flat sounding ive had for years and know what to expect. also listen in car to MP3's. and a small computer monitor speakers. if your buying new monitors listen to music you know how it sounds allot and compare your mixes to your favorite commercial recordings.
     
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  19. garagegods

    garagegods Electromatic

    93
    Sep 30, 2021
    Los Angeles
    save your work allot while recording, pro tools has an auto save feature, so if i get a crash i can usually go back to an earlier version. general practice after recording into computer save save save....... my sytem records all sound files onto an external drive. if you record audio onto your internal hard drive will develop problems and use up all your disk space. all DAW (digital audio work stations) require free disk space to operate properly, read manuals or watch youtube videos on your system especially about disc allocation. and have fun!!!
     
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  20. garagegods

    garagegods Electromatic

    93
    Sep 30, 2021
    Los Angeles
    one important thing about recording into a DAW (digital Audio Work station) Levels! dont record too low and especially not too hot digital distortion is ugly! experiment see how hot you can record before you get ugly distortion and record too low to see how much gain you will need to add to get a good level.. and have fun!
     
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