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Author Topic: New to recording?  (Read 1839 times)

acorec

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New to recording?
« on: December 27, 2005, 01:27:26 PM »

I see it all the time. New budding engineers in GC looking to buy a whole studio TODAY. They invariably buy the cheapest (at retail, yet) equipment in volume and most of it Behringer.

How do you really buy the cheapest and still get quality?
1. Know what you are buying. An Alesis rack mount compressor looks just like a rack mount compressor costing thousands of $$$. They both have metal 19" cases and lots of buttons. How do you tell what you need? You will most likely know when you really need it through recording experience AND research. Research is time put into learning. I see little of this. Most just post "what is the best?" and buy that. Don't do it. At the very least, if you are really lazy, look at pro studio equipment lists and make a list of the affordable stuff they have. Chances are if they use it (and actually have the balls to advertise it) then the unit is probably decent for the home studio recorder (yes, even SOME Behringer stuff IS used by pros). Just make sure that you know what it is you are looking for and understand the controls, features etc.

2. Buy USED. Except for tape recorders and mics, I would say that rack mount equipment is next to the pet rock in reliability. IF the used component is working properly (up to you to find out by research/experience/understanding/testing) then it is the same as new as far as I am concerned. You can save thousands on used equipment if you ARE PATIENT. The best way to buy used is at places like Guitar Center. These guys (and gals) are not there to be collectors of fine equipment. They are there to SELL. There are tons of used bargains in every rack, on every shelf etc. The best news is that you can return a piece if you don't like it or it is not working properly. How can you lose? The thing is that you have to know what the thing is really worth (research) and only haggle when the place is super slow. They want to sell, make an offer and know what the lowest price on a new piece is. You will make out like a bandit. ALWAYS go back to the same salesperson if you get a good deal. You will find that you get a better deal over time. Be PATIENT. Stay away from eBay unless you are into gambling. You either win or lose. No inbetween. To buy used is to see it, test it and have it in your hand. If it ain't the seller screwing you, it is UPS or Fed-Ex. Too many variables. Want ads are OK BUT people seem to become personally attached to items they own and think that they are entitled to full retail price minus 2% off. Places like GC are there to SELL stuff.

3. Learn how to make cables. Period. You will have all the quality cables you will ever need for at least 1/10 the price (if not less) AND you will be able to repair any that go bad later (replacement doubles the cost, you know?) Look on the internet stores for 1000' rolls of cable (Mogami, etc) and connectors in bulk. Spend the $$$ up front and don't look to false economy in buying cables one by one. When you add up a modest 8 track studio pre-made wiring cost, you will break down and cry. Forget about a 24 track cost.   Look for skills that you need to learn such as a friend who is an electronics assembler. It stands to reason that if you make your living soldering all day long, every day, then you are a great resource to learn how to solder right.

4. Try to network at your local music store with CUSTOMERS. I have found some of my greatest deals that way. They are likely there to trade in something which the dealer will give them nothing. Slip right in and offer them a reasonable price if they have something you gotta have (out of sight of the dealer). No love lost in buisness, right?

Last thing- BE PATIENT and you will build a quality studio that will make you great recordings and RESEARCH that will guide you to becoming competent along the way. Stay far away from "vintage" stuff like Neve. Anything for sale by Neve is likely a bust for the inexperienced. You will do much better with useable newer stuff.

Now, use all the great equipment and knowledge you have and record bands for free and get experience. Money will come later if you get good and really lousy bands will get you better, faster because you will have no choice but to build your skillset fast. When you get a great band in, someday, you will truly understand what you have learned along the way.






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Dave Martin

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Re: New to recording?
« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2005, 02:08:39 PM »

These are all excellent suggestions for those new to recording.
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Fibes

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Re: New to recording?
« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2005, 02:51:59 PM »

When I was setting up my shop years ago I asked this guy named Dave if he had any advice or any regrets when he set up his studio and he said "never buy anything just to have something and that you will outgrow." I've tried to keep that in mind and I can prolly think of five things that we've got in the shop that we will never use...

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Fibes
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Dave Martin

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Re: New to recording?
« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2005, 06:22:20 PM »

Fibes wrote on Tue, 27 December 2005 13:51

I can prolly think of five things that we've got in the shop that we will never use...




Here's what i've done with some of that sort of gear - if it's been sitting in the closet for a couple of years and I KNOW I'll never use it, I give it to the interns. They're usually greatful (seriously - one was pleased as punch to get a 4 channel Behringer mic pre - and no, I don't want to have to explain why I had it in the first place...). Smile
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