Studio set-up - what is missing?

Want to talk about music hardware or software that doesn't include Reason?
david1806
Posts: 51
Joined: 26 Jan 2018
Location: London, UK

Post 27 Apr 2020


Hi all.....hope you are safe and well....

So, here's the thing.  I have finally got (or getting) myself a new little home studio setup.  I did own a small studio many years ago, long before DAWs and keyboard controllers that just need a USB connection, although I was using Cubase, so it wasn't that long ago!

The thing is, common sense is telling me that I am still missing some parts. And as I am about to add an electric guitar to the mix, I definitely need something more.

At the moment I have my PC running my  DAW, and a an M-Audio keyboard plugged into my PC via a USB cable.  Now this is where I am sure I need something else.....

I have a (lovely) pair of Pre-Sonus E5 studio monitors with built in amp, and they are connected to my PC using a simple small headphone jack plugged into the output socket (headphone socket I guess) of my PC.    This is where I am sure things need to be improved!  Having it all connected just using a jack to headphone socket just feels....wrong.  I am sure there is some kind of something that connects my monitors to my laptop, that can also take my guitar...?  I really have no idea.

The reason I came to you guys rather than just Googling it all is it would be awesome if I had some recommendations too, or any other helpful titbits.  Or am I totally wrong, and what I have now is a 'standard' set-up?

Many, many thanks in advance.....
From an old bugger getting his head around the new toys we have today!!  I must add, I am so excited at what I can now do with just my laptop.  I had a pretty good studio back when I was a record producer (90s/early 00s), but what I had then is about 0.5% of what I have in front of me now!  So awesome!!

[am popping this post on another forum, just in case you spot it!! 🙂]

Be safe, and stay connected......


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EdwardKiy
Posts: 285
Joined: 02 Oct 2019

Post 28 Apr 2020

1. You will need a dedicated external audio card for at least 3 things:

1) to plug in external instruments, like a guitar or a microphone
2) to process them and samples within the DAW without much latency, which is crucial
3) to be a pre-amp for any high-resistance studio headphones (anything 80 Ohms and higher, like the 250 Ohm DT770-Pro, which are generally considered the "cheapest-best" option for a home studio).

2. If your room isn't treated acoustically, it won't matter much which monitors you have. Better get a pair of those 80 Ohm or higher headphones, which will give you some sound precision, are comfortable and will let you work at night.

The power and the number of ports of the audio card will depend on how many and which instruments you use, how often you collab and your budget. They start at around $100 and up to almost infinity. I normally just use a microphone and a midi keyboard, so a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 is plenty for me. It works brilliant with my microphone and handles my midi keyboard and the DAW needs like a piece of cake. BUT! when I have friends come over, a Les Paul Gibson guitar works at low latency, but a Warwick RockBass guitar works at over 150 ms+ in an empty project, which is very bad. So make sure to google if your instrument works well with which audio card.

If you ever have guests to jam with you, get 3i3 or 4i4 equivalent cards with more sockets.

3. Since you play a guitar, I'd say get a microphone to work on songs. I was recommended a Rode NT1-A Anniversary kit at around $150 and I couldn't be happier with it. Months later, when I started using it almost every day, I also bought a proper stand for it at $150 more. DON'T buy a cheap stand for a heavy microphone with a metal spider frame.

Welcome back to the grind!

david1806
Posts: 51
Joined: 26 Jan 2018
Location: London, UK

Post 28 Apr 2020

Thanks again Edward...

Will be choosing one of these:
https://www.gear4music.com/Soundcards/USB.html

EDIT:
This'll do me, every review I have read has only said great things about it..
https://www.gear4music.com/Recording-an ... rface/1KCT

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Scruffager
Posts: 10
Joined: 02 May 2020

Post 03 May 2020

Also, make sure you get balanced cables to go between your interface and your monitors! Either XLR (like a microphone cable) or TRS (looks like a guitar cable except it has two black rings near the tip). You can also use cables that are trs on one end and xlr on the other. Unbalanced cables can cause unwanted noise in your setup. Maybe you already know this, but just in case!
Mac OS 10.14.6, Reason 11, Presonus Quantum 2 TB3, Adam Audio A7X monitors, Roland Aira System 1

https://soundcloud.com/scruffager

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avasopht
Posts: 2033
Joined: 16 Jan 2015

Post 05 May 2020

I'd highly recommend getting drum pads as well. The AKAI MPD218 is pretty cheap but gives you quality pads with some smooth rotary knobs and additional pad controls like note repeats.
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MrFigg
Posts: 4604
Joined: 20 Apr 2018

Post 05 May 2020

Once you get your “guitar into your laptop” :):):) you should just buy all the REs by Kuassa. Yep all of them. That’s my advice :).
丰2ॐ

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Boombastix
Posts: 1503
Joined: 18 May 2018
Location: Bay Area, CA

Post 05 May 2020

You need an audio interface. Presonus or Focusrite. Look at the software they bundle in before buying. Compare features.

If you need a cheap mic, IK Multimedia has a good one Mic HD 2. Even that one comes with plugins.
10% off at Waves with link: https://www.waves.com/r/6gh2b0
Disclaimer - I get 10% as well.

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Skimrok
Posts: 290
Joined: 12 Jun 2018
Location: U.K.

Post 06 May 2020

I can vouch for both the LPD8 Or the MPD218 they are both good in there own rights , I like the MPD218 due to the extra pads and size also the other bonus with MPD218 is the bank pad option put it in bank B assign each transport button to different pads , and you can play stop record move pointers etc with MPD218 in bank B and obviously the kong etc is on bank A , with the LPD8 you don't have enough room to do all that really due to kong etc being 16 pads
Reason 11 Suite :reason: Novation Launchkey Mini mk3 / Nektar LX25+ / MPD218 / HS8s Monitors / Mrs10 Sub

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gullum
Posts: 779
Joined: 15 Jan 2015
Location: Faroe Islands

Post 07 May 2020

MrFigg wrote:
05 May 2020
Once you get your “guitar into your laptop” :):):) you should just buy all the REs by Kuassa. Yep all of them. That’s my advice :).
And keep your eye on any new once they release :D

just get a usb soundcard

https://www.gear4music.com/Recording-an ... VigLink+UK looks like a good choice as it has XLR/Jack connection so can be use for mic and instruments

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demt
Posts: 1083
Joined: 16 Sep 2016

Post 19 Jun 2020

Image a combination of compresser limiter and expander to keep your soundcard happy with those large hardware spikes from your synths guitar etc ,.cheap 50 quid ish 2nd hand about 100 new
currently akai touch mpc. reasonsuite11, android kaosilater .behringer ddm4000 dj mixer
hear scince reason 2.5

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miyaru
Posts: 97
Joined: 28 Oct 2019
Location: Zaanstad, The Netherlands

Post 19 Jun 2020

I have a modest setup too: just 2 synths, a bunch of guitars and basses. My audio interface is a Focusrite Scarlett 18i20, and yes I have Presonus Eris E8 powered monitors. As controller I use a Push2 from Ableton and one of my synths the Korg R3 as controller. My other synth is an old Korg N1 with a weighted 88 keys keybed.

If you buy a Focusrite interface, be shure it is a third generation Scarlett, or the newest but more expensive Clarett. I found out Focusrite can discontinue their driver support very abrupt so be shure to have the newest in order to enjoy your interface some longer.......

I bought the Rode NT1a set with shockmount , popfilter, and cable - and altough it can be a bit harsh at times, it is a good investment. Most cheaper mics tend to have some disadvanteges compared to the more expensive ones.

As set of good cans, such as the Beyer Dynamic DT 770 pro 250 Ohm will come in handy!!!!
Greetings from Miyaru.
Prodaw i7-7700, 16Gb Ram, Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 3rd gen, Reason Suite 11, Live Suit 10, Push2, Presonus Eris E8, Lexicon MPX1,
Korg N1, Korg R3, NI Massive, Rob Papen's Predator 2, Sonarworks Reference 4 and Scaler.

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Faastwalker
Posts: 1689
Joined: 15 Jan 2015

Post 20 Jun 2020

INTERFACE!!! :D

Recommend one of these;

https://focusrite.com/en/scarlett

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demt
Posts: 1083
Joined: 16 Sep 2016

Post 20 Jun 2020

yea ! but its roughly 600 pounds ,The behringer umc 1820 and the composer come to around 200 2nd hand about 150 thats 450 pounds your saving yourself and in my opinion a higher sound quality due to the seperate compresser limiter desser and expander,
erm for a real argument what about hardware effects theres sum very good buys in the rack world as everybodys going portable but im not sure if theres an advantage apart from being able to compare the vsts and the hardware for a greater understanding of how to enhance your music im thinking of buying a zoom as its got 500 effects and is available 2nd hand for 40 pounds looks good to.
currently akai touch mpc. reasonsuite11, android kaosilater .behringer ddm4000 dj mixer
hear scince reason 2.5

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