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Building a pro recording studio - I don't know what I really need
Old 23rd January 2021
  #1
Here for the gear
 
Building a pro recording studio - I don't know what I really need

Good morning, everyone

I'm a newbie when it comes to audio equipments. I really hope this is the right thread to post it.

This year I'm building a profissional recording studio with help of many people. I'm really excited to start this business and we are also willing to buy great equipments. However, this week I've faced many problems. Some people say to me that for a recording studio, I would only need a digital mixer as it already have an audio interface build-in and preamps. In the other hand, some people say that I need a digital mixer, another audio interface (yes, not the digital mixer), preamps and so on...

I can't imagine myself recording more than 6 people at the same time. We are focusing on recording stuff, I do not think we are going to work on live shows, but maybe would be good as well.
We are building this studio mostly for voice-overs, singing and recording some instruments.

I already have this audio interface: Steinberg AXR4U. But the person that is helping me getting the equipments told me that I also would need a digital mixer. He told me to get a Midas M32R. I was thinking about getting a Allen & Heath SQ-5. As for preamps I can't decide between "Great River MP-500NV 500" and "focusrite isa two".

I don't know who I should believe. These are not cheap equipments. If I can only use a digital mixer that would be great, but it is so weird that I couldn't find a recording studio on youtube that uses a digital mixer. I saw people using a "DAW Controller" on the studio.

I currently have three rooms, two for recordings and one for mixing/mastering

Sorry for my bad English, I wish someone could help me understand what I really need.

Last edited by Matthew94; 23rd January 2021 at 02:53 PM.. Reason: Correcting a spelling mistake, adding more details and claryfing some parts.
Old 23rd January 2021
  #2
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BT64's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew94 ➡️
I already have this auido interface: Steinberg AXR4U.
Your ready to go.

I wouldn't know what to use a digital mixer for in the studio.
But you could use it instead of an good interface (with great preamps built in).
If you like knobs a DAW controller could be handy.
Old 23rd January 2021 | Show parent
  #3
Here for the gear
 
Thank you. I'm I also forgot to mention that I currently have three rooms, two for recordings and one for mixing/mastering.

I'm not so familiar with "knobs", but I don't see a reason for not learning how to use a DAW controller.
So in my case, using a digital mixer doesn't make any sense?
Old 23rd January 2021
  #4
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🎧 5 years
Using a digital mixer can make sense in a studio. Like anything else, it's a matter of workflow.

I have a Midas M32 as the center of my studio. Primarily, the benefits are it offers individual headphone control for each performer. Secondly, control over multiple pairs of playback speakers is simple and easy. For your situation, it's possible that the digital snakes could come in handy for the multi-room layout.

The M32 has a limited DAW controller function that is good for setting fader levels within DAW tracks/busses; so it's convenient for some things, but not especially central to the mixing process. I've appended my studio topology below.
Attached Thumbnails
Building a pro recording studio - I don't know what I really need-tedland-topology-20201117.jpg  
Old 23rd January 2021 | Show parent
  #5
Here for the gear
 
But even that I already own a good audio interface, I should get a digital mixer? I'm really a newbie so I'm do not understand these things so well. Like, I would be wasting money using a AXR4U and Midas M32R / A&H SQ5? Using external preamps would also benefit me?
I'll keep that in mind. I really liked your suggestion about the digital snakes.
I was searching about mixers such as SSL SiX. And DAW controllers like Behringer X-TOUCH ONE.
The things is, am I using equipments that together are pointless in some way? What I mean by that: getting all these equipments that I listed above would make me spend a lot of money with unnecessary stuff?
Thank you a lot for your help.

Last edited by Matthew94; 23rd January 2021 at 02:53 PM.. Reason: Correcting a spelling mistake.
Old 23rd January 2021
  #6
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CJ Mastering's Avatar
Quote:
What I mean by that: getting all these equipments that I listed above would make me spend a lot of money with unnecessary stuff?
When building a 'professional recording studio' you are going to have to have a lot of choices and a lot of different kinds of equipment. You really have to read the minds of your future clients and have that equipment ready for use at anytime.
Quote:
I'm a newbie when it comes to audio equipments. I really hope this is the right thread to post it.

This year I'm building a profissional recording studio with help of many people. I'm really excited to start this business
When people choose a recording studio to record in and mix and master in, they want to see equipment's that is far superior than what they have. So this Steinberg interface will not cut the mustard. Invest in GREAT Dac's , Pre amps, Mic's, cables, and room acoustics (this is the most important)

Also, They are also want an engineer that is competent in recording, mixing and mastering, if that is what you are offering. You should have 2 different rooms for mixing and mastering. Its not good to do both in one room.

Learn the basics of audio engineering. From what you said, you are a new to all of this. Learn what every piece of audio equipment does and learn audio engineering, audio mixing and audio mastering, then you will know what you need. This will take awhile. This is a business where musicians/bands looks for a very well equipped studio with things they can not afford and do not have. They also look for experience in the audio engineer as well. These are the 2 major factors you need to focus on.
Old 23rd January 2021 | Show parent
  #7
Here for the gear
 
Thanks for replying.
I see. I've been searching about "audio equipment and audio engineering" for weeks. But I know that I'm not even close to understand the workflow of this area. Yes, I see your point. I will do that, I must. For exemplo, I wasn't sure what was the differences between a compressor and a preamp.
Just one question, are you saying that the AXR4U is not a good audio interface? If I'm not mistaken, a good audio interfaces are essential for a studio.
We are limited to just one room for mastering and mixing for now, but we want to expand your studio in the future.
We already got great mics from Neumann, AKG etc. And we are also working on the acoustics.
Thank you again.
Old 23rd January 2021
  #8
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Quote:
I've been searching about "audio equipment and audio engineering" for weeks. But I know that I'm not even close to understand the workflow of this area. Yes, I see your point. I will do that, I must. For exemplo, I wasn't sure what was the differences between a compressor and a preamp.
Searching about audio equipment for weeks and learning how to be an engineer is not the same. It will take you at least a decade (10 years) to really understand how sound works and how all the gear used to manipulate the sound works.

I know nothing about cars and i would never start an auto shop business and by just searching Google for wrenches. But this is exactly what you are doing. This is not a smart choice, just like me opening a car shop is not a smart choice. You are going to need to know so much and understand so much. Its not even just about you understanding audio engineer, mixing and mastering, its like instincts also, just like painting is.

engineers do not just jump into mastering. Most have been recording and mixing for decades before even thinking about mastering.
Quote:
Just one question, are you saying that the AXR4U is not a good audio interface?
NO, not for a 'pro' studio. Why would they go to a studio that has an interface that is worse than the ones they have??

Bands are going to want things they cannot afford and do not have and can only dream of (in a sense). That's how they chose studios. They also choose studios on the engineers credits and knowledge/experience/skills/talent. You are not making smart choices today. They also decide on how the rooms are tuned and how they sound. do you know anything about acoustics and how sound travels? This is a subject on its own.
Old 23rd January 2021 | Show parent
  #9
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BT64's Avatar
I Agree completely with CJ Mastering.
Except for:
Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ Mastering ➡️
NO, not for a 'pro' studio. Why would they go to a studio that has an interface that is worse than the ones they have??

Bands are going to want things they cannot afford and do not have and can only dream of (in a sense).
Old 23rd January 2021 | Show parent
  #10
Here for the gear
 
Sorry, I forgot to tell you something. I'm not going to jump into mastering. That is not my job at the studio. There are people who are going to work at the studio who have experience in dealing with these equipments.
At the moment they are really busy with other stuff, like searching for a good devices and finishing the room acoustics. I know it will takes years for me to get just close to that.
So maybe you are asking: Why am I here? Well, I'm trying to talk to many people as I can to see if the people working on the "audio engineering" and "audio equipments" could take something in consideration. Like what you just said.
One of them told me that the AXR4U was great, but as I can see by your reply you are saying that this interface is awful. The other one suggested buying an Apollo interface. The other a digital mixer and so on... Yes, I can agree that it is confusing and that maybe I'm sound ridiculous.
But now, I really would like to know, what audio interface is good for you?
Old 23rd January 2021 | Show parent
  #11
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I don't know what is so bad about AXR4U. I really was trying to see what would be the best option: apollo or axr4. I was thinking about apollo but it seems like it does not work properly on Windows.
I know that people seems to like the audio interfaces from MRE, Metric Halo, Apollo etc.
Old 24th January 2021 | Show parent
  #12
Gear Guru
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew94 ➡️
So maybe you are asking: Why am I here? Well, I'm trying to talk to many people as I can to see if the people working on the "audio engineering" and "audio equipments" could take something in consideration. Like what you just said.
One of them told me that the AXR4U was great, but as I can see by your reply you are saying that this interface is awful.
He didn't say "awful". I think his point was very simple:

Converters combined with interfaces are cheap today, and so many artists and budget studios have very decent ones. It's not unlikely (according to CJ - I think) that many have something that's better than the Steinberg interface, and if they do the question is why they should go to your studio if their gear is better.

Now, I think that a lot of that is a matter of the "idea" and "image" of a studio at least when it comes to recording and mixing. I would guess that the AXR4U is probably a pretty good interface that might be enough for recording and mixing, but I'm not so sure it's good enough for mastering. It might be, but the problem is that if you go into a mastering studio today you're probably not going to see that device being the primary converter. So, for mastering, why choose your studio?

If you pick a device that at least has the image of being more "premium" more customers want to be in your studio.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew94 ➡️
The other one suggested buying an Apollo interface. The other a digital mixer and so on... Yes, I can agree that it is confusing and that maybe I'm sound ridiculous.
But now, I really would like to know, what audio interface is good for you?
I think you got different replies probably because some people thought about mixing and others about mastering.

What I would consider is the market you're in - I'm guessing you're not in the US for example. So look at your market, and consider the engineers that you would hire to record, mix and master. Can you check with them what gear they are normally using? Can you ask them what they would love to work on?

What DAW are you going to run? What DAW do they like to work in?

What's your budget for all of this?
Old 24th January 2021
  #13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew94 ➡️
I'm a newbie when it comes to audio equipments.
Well, we all were once.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew94 ➡️
This year I'm building a profissional recording studio
Really? As a newbie? That sounds incredibly unwise ...

I don't want to be harsh .. but I don't want you to ruin yourself either ... so ..

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew94 ➡️
with help of many people.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew94 ➡️
There are people who are going to work at the studio who have experience in dealing with these equipments.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew94 ➡️
I'm not going to jump into mastering. That is not my job at the studio.
I sure hope you have help otherwise you are doomed.

These other people you mention, I hope they are real experts with actual commercial experience. Assuming they are you need to get them working together on a design for the studio. A formal design with plans for everything. Not just sound gear, but acoustics, architecture, talkback and video switching, HVAC, cabling and electrics, facilities for bathrooms and kitchens, security systems, IT systems, payment and online services, OH&S and insurances .. the list goes on.

You also need a business plan, financial plan, project plan, marketing plan, agreements/contracts and human resources strategy for this - otherwise you are just going to bury yourselves financially and personally.

What IS your job at this studio exactly? And why are you worrying about and tinkering with things that are way beyond your expertise. Why not task the engineers to design the studio?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew94 ➡️
Some people say to me
People will say all sorts of stupid things.

Since you seem to already have a physical facility, everybody on the team should already know, for certain, what your studio design is, why, how it fits your business plan and market. You really, really need to get this stuff decided by your experts and communicated to all involved and get it all lined up with all parts of the business supporting each other or it will end in disaster.

If you are at this stage (having a physical space) and have no idea how the fundamentals of your studio architecture will be set up ... I am very concerned for you, your team, your finances and your futures.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew94 ➡️
I can't imagine myself recording more than 6 people at the same time. We are focusing on recording stuff, I do not think we are going to work on live shows, but maybe would be good as well. We are building this studio mostly for voice-overs, singing and recording some instruments.
I don't know how your local market works. Most places I'm familiar with, you need to be set up to do every damn thing you can get your hands on as paid work. If that's recording live drums, do it! If it's audio editing for voice to picture, do it! If it's foley, do that too!

You shouldn't choose what you do because it's what you want to do - you should do whatever the market wants to pay you to do (unless you are already rich and can afford the luxury I guess). Do you know what your local market wants?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew94 ➡️
I already have this audio interface: Steinberg AXR4U. But the person that is helping me getting the equipments told me that I also would need a digital mixer. He told me to get a Midas M32R. I was thinking about getting a Allen & Heath SQ-5. As for preamps I can't decide between "Great River MP-500NV 500" and "focusrite isa two".
Oh my word ...

First, this is the least of your problems. So stop obsessing about it. Second, it's not your job - let the chief engineer choose the studio architecture and its key equipment pieces.

With 3 rooms you will need a multi-room system. There are a handful of fundamentally different ways to deal with this ranging from analogue multicore, through lightpipe interconnects and up to audio-over-IP systems. I would tend towards the latter (and would actually run talkback, security and inter-room video systems over an integrated Ethernet setup) but this is a design job for a professional who has done it several times before if you want to avoid significant problems.

By the way, if you have the money and lack the time/expertise you can absolutely pay a studio design consultant to come and sort this out for you. There are even people around who can do your plans and manage the project to stand up your studio ... however, this would be expensive and make me incredibly nervous as I would want to understand the plan all the way to its roots and feel that the best way to do so is to design your own plan and control its implementation yourself. But, if you don't have the skills, then you cannot ... but if you don't have the skills, should you even be doing this at all? Should you be involved?

I am left wondering, Matthew94, whether you are simply the rich chap with the cheque book behind the project or something? Is that's what's going on here? Are you the financier or a financial partner without any actual industry experience? If so, best admit that you need to leave decisions to the experts and move to a stance of requiring the experts to make those decisions for you. SOON. And then stop meddling in their areas of expertise.

I know that was a bit harsh. A bitter pill. But .. I am very concerned about the hole you are digging here ...
Old 24th January 2021 | Show parent
  #14
Here for the gear
 
Well, I don't even know what to say. You are right about everything. What is my job? I'm a voice-actor and a translator, I would be the one who would manage the work involving this.
I do not think you are being harsh, but I would like to explain why I am doing this. Maybe I am really a fool, we once lost money from a person that we thought were doing things to help your business. We lost important partners because some members could not take it anymore, the person was great at audio engineering, but would not make smart moves on the architectural design. It is a long story... Yes, this sounds crazy, but it can happen. We are trying to not make the same mistakes again. We need to move on. It is good that at least a really important partner is willing to work with us, a highly experienced person on this kind of area.
As I talked to more people, more I learned about their point of view. They all think different, like people around here. Of course, each one have their own "taste". I'm letting the experts do their job. I'm willing to make the necessary changes proposed by them. But I need also to understand what is happening on my work space. Like, I think a "ua audio interface" is great, one of them suggested me to buy it. However, I saw that a lot of people had problems while trying to use it on Windows. Having an "audio interface" that can work on many devices would be better... Learning this about "ua audio interfaces" helped me try for different brands such as RME and the guy loved the idea. I'm good at computers, I had to tell them that we should not buy a Apple now because the company is changing, they are transitioning into the era of the Apple Silicon. We need to wait and see what is really gonna happen. M1X looks superb. I'm also getting the equipments that they want with great prices, even cheaper than what they could find. I'm useful in my own way...
I'm really grateful for all your messages, I was going to reply the messages yesterday but I forgot to do it. It is important to offer good quality products and increase your costumer base. Also, many bands around here do not have the kind of equipments that maybe you would easly find on pro studio from US or Europe.
I really don't want to turn this into a pity party. I think I should finish this topic here. But, really, thank you all. You were great. I'll probably stay around, it its great to learn about new things on this website.

Last edited by Matthew94; 24th January 2021 at 10:59 AM.. Reason: Adding words and correcting spelling mistakes.
Old 24th January 2021 | Show parent
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattiasnyc ➡️
He didn't say "awful". I think his point was very simple:Converters combined with interfaces are cheap today, and so many artists and budget studios have very decent ones.
You explained it really well, but I didn't understand this part:

Quote:
Originally Posted by mattiasnyc ➡️
It's not unlikely (according to CJ - I think) that many have something that's better than the Steinberg interface, and if they do the question is why they should go to your studio if their gear is better.

I would guess that the AXR4U is probably a pretty good interface that might be enough for recording and mixing, but I'm not so sure it's good enough for mastering.
AXR4U is not something cheap, are you talking about something that would go beyond 4k? I don't think this is a reality for many studios here in my country, even though there will always be studios with highly expensive equipments. But we do not need that right now, we are just starting. Even if had the most premium equipments, we would not be a famous studio a few days after that. It can takes months and even years. Even if the things do not go as planned, there is also a plan B. We would not invest so much money without a backup plan. Also, many studios around here can get a lot of clients with "cheap" interfaces etc, that happens because they have a good reputation. If they can do that using those equipments, I would say that we can achieve great success too. You probably know what I mean by that, excellent professionals can do wonders.
If you don't mind, could you give me example of those very decents equipments?: "Converters combined with interfaces are cheap today, and so many artists and budget studios have very decent ones." I really would like to learn more about it if that is not a problem.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mattiasnyc ➡️
What I would consider is the market you're in - I'm guessing you're not in the US for example. So look at your market, and consider the engineers that you would hire to record, mix and master. Can you check with them what gear they are normally using? Can you ask them what they would love to work on?
What DAW are you going to run? What DAW do they like to work in?
What's your budget for all of this?

I must say that I loved your text. You were so helpful. Yes, I'm talking to many engineers, but it is kinda hard when one loves mixing in a DAW and the other not. They have their own opnions. However, I will keep searching for more engineers, ask them about their gear etc. Getting people who works differently is great.
They usually work with "Pro Tools", "Fruitloops", "iZotope", "Ableton", "Nuendo", "Cubase".
I hope I'm not being rude, but I do not feel so comfortable talking about money on the internet. I'm trully grateful for all your advices though. To give an example, we bought a "AXR4U". Maybe it is a cheap interface for you, but here the price goes really high 'cause of taxes. Also, your country is almost "broken".

Last edited by Matthew94; 24th January 2021 at 02:08 PM.. Reason: Correcting spelling mistakes and adding more details.
Old 24th January 2021 | Show parent
  #16
Gear Guru
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew94 ➡️
You explained it really well, but I didn't understand this part:

AXR4U is not something cheap, are you talking about something that would go beyond 4k? I don't think this is a reality for many studios here in my country, even though there will always be studios with highly expensive equipments. But we do not need that right now, we are just starting. Even if had the most premium equipments, we would not be a famous studio a few days after that. It can takes months and even years. Even if the things do not go as planned, there is also a plan B. We would not invest so much money without a backup plan. Also, many studios around here can get a lot of clients with "cheap" interfaces etc, that happens because they have a good reputation. If they can do that using those equipments, I would say that we can achieve great success too. You probably know what I mean by that, excellent professionals can do wonders.
If you don't mind, could you give me example of those very decents equipments?: "Converters combined with interfaces are cheap today, and so many artists and budget studios have very decent ones." I really would like to learn more about it if that is not a problem.
You actually cut out the important part when you quoted me: "I think that a lot of that is a matter of the "idea" and "image" of a studio at least when it comes to recording and mixing."

So what I was trying to say was that from the standpoint of business a lot of us would consider what people find attractive superficially, meaning what does it seem like in terms of quality, rather than the actual technical quality itself. So a customer may be more attracted to a more expensive device, or a device that's equally expensive, or even a less expensive device - but they're attracted to the other device because of its "image" or "reputation"... regardless of whether that reputation and image is "true".

And that's also why I then talked about your location/market/country, because if you ask in this forum you're going to have people from all over the world responding and when it comes to what I was just talking about the opinions will be different because their location is different.

As for your last question above, I do think that the interface you bought is very decent for recording. I also think UA's Apollo interfaces are very decent, or RME. In the US and a lot of Europe a lot of people can afford those and end up buying them. So of course, if you can market your studio based on acoustics, talent and other gear then you might be fine, but there are also probably going to be some who are looking for studios with interfaces that lie "above" that. I suppose you could look at simply price and see what interfaces those would be, but certainly I'd include the ones from Antelope, Lynx, Avid, Prism and so on. To me they seem like a step up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew94 ➡️
I must say that I loved your text. You were so helpful. Yes, I'm talking to many engineers, but it is kinda hard when one loves mixing in a DAW and the other not. They have their own opnions. However, I will keep searching for more engineers, ask them about their gear etc. Getting people who works differently is great.
They usually work with "Pro Tools", "Fruitloops", "iZotope", "Ableton", "Nuendo", "Cubase".
I hope I'm not being rude, but I do not feel so comfortable talking about money on the internet. I'm trully grateful for all your advices though. To give an example, we bought a "AXR4U". Maybe it is a cheap interface for you, but here the price goes really high 'cause of taxes.
I understand. I didn't mean you should talk about money so that we can judge you or anything, it's just so we know what alternatives are out there that we can recommend to you. Just as an example:

If you told me you were in for example a market where Pro Tools isn't the only option in post production, and people are using Nuendo, then I would maybe suggest you keep the current interface for mixing/recording, or that you simply get the Yamaha interfaces that go with the Nuendo/Nuage setup. Those will be more expensive but I'm willing to bet they'll possibly sound better, integrate better, and offer some features down the road that will be beneficial. I'd also recommend getting Nuage controllers. Now, having said all of that getting those devices would mean you'd spend way more than what you already have so maybe that's a useless recommendation.

If you told me Pro Tools is pretty much the standard then I'd say you should make sure Cubase/Nuendo works fine on Avid hardware, and then you should buy an Avid interface along with Avid controllers. Again, a decent chunk of money.

Now, based on what you said so far I guess you need something that covers all cases. I would say that since you already have this interface purchased then just decide on what the basic types of components are going to be and then if you need you can swap them later - and you can expand from there.

I would personally just skip a digital mixer. All you need to record are mic preamps which you can get separately, and analog inputs into your converter - enough of them to record as many mics (signals) as necessary. You can start with what you have and expand. A digital mixer seems unnecessary.

On the other hand I would probably recommend looking at a DAW controller with motorized touch-sensitive faders. With Avid controllers you get the Eucon protocol which is very good and of course works with PT but also Cubase and Nuendo. You'd have to verify it works with the other DAWs you might use. If you choose a different controller you'll likely end up with Mackie's MCU protocol, which arguably is less "deep" but also potentially cheaper. That may have more support with more DAWs, so then you're looking at a trade-off in my opinion. Here in the US in post production I have seen a Mackie controller or two, but mostly it's Avid controllers running with Pro Tools. So the perception here is likely that a pro studio has PT and an Avid controller that goes along with it.

So, keep your interface for now, make sure you have great preamps, add more interfaces if you need more channels in the future or simply switch/upgrade the interface if you need to... get a controller that integrates nicely with your DAWs and can be expanded as you need... I'd recommend Avid.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew94 ➡️
Also, your country is almost "broken".
I don't even know what your country is and I wasn't trying to be insulting or anything. I know the USA has its problems, but it's also not really "my" country. I'm a Swedish citizen living in the US.

For all I know I might prefer to live in your country :-)
Old 24th January 2021 | Show parent
  #17
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew94 ➡️
To give an example, we bought a "AXR4U". Maybe it is a cheap interface
It is NOT a cheap interface, it's excellent, extremely few musicians have something that good or better, and anyone who says otherwise is clueless.

Quote:
Also, your country is almost "broken".
It's not a good idea to ask people for help and then insult them...please keep politics out of this or start a new thread elsewhere if you want to discuss that, OK? Let's keep the talk about equipment.

The bottom line, as others have stated: if you're new at this, the last thing you should do is go out and start buying a lot of equipment without understanding it fully. Either trust the people who know a lot about it to do that or do a LOT of reading and research on the different kinds of equipment (gear) you need first, then talk with them and come an agreement. You have some good gear, which is great, but you also need to know how to use it to record and mix and master. It's still not clear to me who's doing what in your setup, or how much they know about any of this, which makes a big difference.
Old 24th January 2021 | Show parent
  #18
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RedBaaron's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew94 ➡️
Thanks for replying.
If I'm not mistaken, a good audio interfaces are essential for a studio.
Not quite accurate, although I understand the thought behind it. Interfaces have come a long way, but most "pro" studios won't use USB interfaces in the first place. They'll typically use standalone mic preamps fed into standalone Analog to Digital converters (ADC) and another piece of equipment to handle the Digital to Analog (DAC) conversion needed to convert the digital signal back to the analog world so it can be monitored. The mic preamps are typically in the 500-series form factor or 19" rackmounted (occasionally their own). The AD/DA C's are typically rack-mounted (19" ). Also, often ADC's don't have any way to directly connect to a computer ; they require a AES/EBU PCI-e card to connect with (although that can vary, and most have several ways to go about it). The reason you don't see a lot of direct USB connectivity is because it entails compression.


It's common to have several mic preamps with many having different "colors" to choose between, and perhaps one transparent model. For example, there are lots of Neve and API clones, and there's a different family sound between those. AEA, Grace and John Hardy are some of the makers of more transparent pres. Nowadays, 500-series mic pres are popular since there is one power supply in the "lunchbox" rack that can power multiple 500-series units. In theory, cuts down on the overall cost as well as makes them relatively portable. Some makers like Warm Audio also still put out professional-grade pres in the larger form-factor that rival 500 series pres in cost. One thing better preamps have in common is they have a lot of "headroom" so you can drive them harder without it turning all distorted and crappy.

DAC's tend to be fairly transparent across the board, but there are some ADC's like those offered by Burl that impart a kind of subtle "color" along the lines of what you might get from a vintage console or mic preamp when driven harder. Some people like myself see this is as a must-have for tracking; others prefer completely transparent ADC's.

"Interfaces" combine all of these things ( mic preamp, AD and DA converters) into one small package that connects directly to a computer, typically with USB. They are designed to have a transparent kind of preamp and ADAC. By their very nature, they suggest an upfront tradeoff of lower cost and size in exchange for lacking some of the tonal characteristics, headroom, flexibility and routing characteristics that one gets having separate preamp, ADC and DAC units. That's not to say there aren't interfaces that can be used to make professional-grade recordings. Apart from it being hard to define exactly what exactly constitutes "professional grade"'; apart from a lot of consumer-grade equipment being used on albums that were later remastered well-received by fans and critics; there has just been an overall increase in quality to the point that nowadays, the differences are going to be fairly minimal.

Still, a true professional, studio-grade mic preamp (single channel) will usually cost close to a thousand bucks or more, and tend to average around $700-800 for single channel for 500 series. John Hardy's are $1200, and that's not unusual. About the cheapest I've seen is somewhere around the $300-400 range for a single channel , but those were kit (DIY)-based 500 series. With 500-series, there's also the cost of a lunchbox or chasis with the power supply, though that can power multiple at once. Professional-grade ADC and DAC's are often several thousand apiece, although with the more transparent variety from Lynx and so one, you can often get multiple channels for a few thousand.

Point is, while interfaces aren't the consumer-grade garbage they were in the early 2000's, they're still not the norm for a "Pro" Studio.
Old 24th January 2021 | Show parent
  #19
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
[QUOTE=RedBaaron;15253985]... The reason you don't see a lot of direct USB connectivity is because it entails compression. .../QUOTE]

Please explain this statement.
Old 24th January 2021 | Show parent
  #20
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RedBaaron's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
[QUOTE=MediaGary;15254026]
Quote:
Originally Posted by RedBaaron ➡️
... The reason you don't see a lot of direct USB connectivity is because it entails compression. .../QUOTE]

Please explain this statement.
I'll withdrawal that statement, as I believe it may actually be implementation-specific. The point was really just that many higher-end ADCs don't have direct USB connectivity; they require an AES/EBU card to connect back to the computer, which is typically another $700 or so.
Old 25th January 2021 | Show parent
  #21
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew94 ➡️

Also, your country is almost "broken".
If you haven’t seen the American news lately, we’ve been working on that.
Old 25th January 2021
  #22
Gear Guru
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew94 ➡️

This year I'm building a profissional recording studio with help of many people.
from your statements below, I don't think any of the people you have helping you are knowledgeable enough to truly help you, and lord knows you are not ready either.

Quote:
Some people say to me that for a recording studio, I would only need a digital mixer as it already have an audio interface build-in and preamps. In the other hand, some people say that I need a digital mixer, another audio interface (yes, not the digital mixer), preamps and so on...
Your DAW already has a digital mixer inside it. A digital mixer in a recording studio with a DAW is a redundancy.

Quote:
I can't imagine myself recording more than 6 people at the same time.
Keep in mind that 6 people could still be a LOT of tracks. If one of those 6 people plays a drum set, that could be 8-12 mics right there. A typical electric guitar or bass might have a mic and a direct. Keyboards will usually be in stereo.


Quote:
I already have this audio interface: Steinberg AXR4U. But the person that is helping me getting the equipments told me that I also would need a digital mixer. He told me to get a Midas M32R.
some digital mixers have the ability to route each microphone into the DAW for recording. In which case you would not need an interface, the Midas would be your interface. "Mixerface". But if you buy a digital mixer you will be paying for that mixer's capabilities for applying effects and so on to the signals which you already have in your DAW.


Quote:
As for preamps I can't decide between "Great River MP-500NV 500" and "focusrite isa two".
anything in the "500" series is not a "stand alone" preamp. You will need a 500 series chassis to install it in. Once you have the chassis, the individual modules are 'cheaper' but there is an initial outlay for the box with power supply that holds the modules. IMO it is foolish and wasteful to buy a bunch of stuff when you don't even know the requirements for making it work in your situation.

Quote:
I don't know who I should believe. These are not cheap equipments
You should believe me, when I tell you do not go out and spend all this money in one 'go'. You are not ready and your advisors are talking through their hats. Start small. Treat your room. Get some mics for your 4 channel interface and start recording some voice-overs and acoustic singer-songwriters, NOW. Get a feel for what recording even IS. When your studio is truly "needing" the next piece of equipment, you will know. You will already know what it is and why you need it. You will also get a feel for how much demand there is for a recording studio in your market.

You may be unpleasantly surprised.

Rushing out and buying a bunch of stuff all at once to "start a business" is a great way to waste your money. Even if starting a recording studio "as a business" in 2021 was a good idea (it is NOT!!), the questions you are asking are so basic, that it is clear to me you (and your friends) are not ready. I hope you are wealthy, because you will not be seeing a return on your investment.

Quote:
. If I can only use a digital mixer that would be great, but it is so weird that I couldn't find a recording studio on youtube that uses a digital mixer.
Yes, that's because a digital mixer is redundant in a recording studio environment. You can believe your friend or not, but he is incorrect if he is steering you to get a digital mixer. Very handy if you are going to start a live sound company.

Quote:
I saw people using a "DAW Controller" on the studio.
Some digital mixers CAN act as DAW controllers as well, but you are still paying for their ability to "digitally mix" - which is something you don't need in the studio as you already have a DAW. A DAW controller that is only a DAW controller should be more cost-effective than a DAW controller that is also a digital mixer - especially because you don't need a digital mixer.

Quote:
I wish someone could help me understand what I really need.
I think you need a lot more knowledge about what this equipment is and what it does before you go off and "start a business". Starting ANY recording studio as a business is a sad joke in 2021. There are no 'customers' for your business because every musician can buy his own DAW, interface and a few mics. The people who would have been your clients in a previous era are now your competitors.

And many of them know more about using the gear than you do, apparently. So what does your business have to offer? It's not your gear, and it's not your 'expertise', so what is it?
Old 26th January 2021 | Show parent
  #23
Gear Maniac
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew94 ➡️
I wasn't sure what was the differences between a compressor and a preamp.
Many of the audio pros in this forum run small independent studios. You should hire one of them as a consultant to guide you through the process of building and equipping your new recording studio.

This is your one and only hope.
Old 11th February 2021 | Show parent
  #24
Lives for gear
 
allstar's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq ➡️
a digital mixer is redundant in a recording studio environment.
It seems to me something like an M32 would be far from redundant in a studio.

Off the top of my head, It could exclusively provide :

• Multichannel I/O for the computer
• Foldback mixes that aren't DAW buffer dependant
• Foldback effects that aren't DAW buffer dependant
• Physical control of foldback mixes ( doing those with a mouse quickly isn't fun )
• Decent mic pre amps
• DAW fader controller
• Talkback
• Monitor control

Maybe I'm missing your point, but that doesn't seem redundant to me.
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