Old 02-16-2020, 04:30 AM   #1
candanski
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Default Best bang for buck

I can only spend about 100 bucks on my recording "hobby" as she calls it. Where would be the best place to spend it. (I already have decent instruments)
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Old 02-16-2020, 05:16 AM   #2
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A divorce?
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Old 02-16-2020, 05:39 AM   #3
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What do you have?
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Old 02-16-2020, 06:16 AM   #4
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Without knowing what you already have, I'm guessing you can't do much without an audio interface. I winced when I saw the price but it becomes more versatile the more I use it.

I'm just starting out, tbh. PC, Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 audio interface, Reaper (naturally), Casio CT-X5000 keyboard (audio and MIDI) - I'm no musician but I do have a lifetime of loving all music. I have no end goal; it's the journey for me.
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Old 02-16-2020, 07:01 AM   #5
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i bought this EQ last month,never look back

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Old 02-16-2020, 07:21 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by candanski View Post
I can only spend about 100 bucks on my recording "hobby" as she calls it. Where would be the best place to spend it. (I already have decent instruments)
That's a tricky question as we do not know what kind of music you plan to make. If you are trying to record traditional music (Guitar, bass, drums, vocals) then it could take a little bit more of money depending on your preferences. If you're planning to record more electronic and sample based music then it could be even cheaper. So having said that this is my list:

- Audio interface ( With two inputs preferable): There is the Behringer UMC-22 which goes for around $40 and it is pretty decent. You can get a Focusrite Saffire for around $25 on eBay second hand.
- Midi Keyboard (25 - 32 keys): You can get one for $25 second hand or new depending on the quality.
- Microphone: A Samson CO1 costs around $60 new but can be found for way less second hand.
- Plugins: there are lots of free ones that would do the trick from compressors to guitar suites so you'll be pretty covered and if you are just planning to do this as a hobby then you don't need to break the bank specially if you are just starting.

I hope this helps.
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Old 02-16-2020, 08:25 AM   #7
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Approximately...


REAPER - $60
An audio interface - $100 and up
A microphone - $100 and up


Hopefully, you already have some headphones and some computer speakers that you can use for monitors.


----------------------------

If you are full-MIDI with no audio recording (and of course no vocals) that can be done entirely in software.


If you're not multitracking you might be able to get-away with Audacity (free, open source) instead of REAPER. Audacity can't really multi-track record, but you probably aren't going to have a multi-channel interface anyway. It can mix multiple tracks but it's not really the best tool for that.


A keyboard line-output or headphone-output can go-into line-in on a regular soundcard on a desktop/tower computer. The line-input on a soundcard is often quite good so you can get-by without an interface.


Most laptops don't have line-in and the mic-in on a laptop or soundcard is virtually useless because it's "wrong" for any good stage/studio microphone. You'll need an interface if you expect to record with a good microphone. You also need an interface to (properly) directly record guitar/bass. Many interfaces have switchable mic/instrument inputs.


The microphones built-into a smart phone can be pretty good, but they are not directional which means they pick-up noise from all-around whereas the signal comes from one direction. It could also be tricky synchronizing a backing track.


Laptop mics usually aren't that good. They usually pick-up fan noise, hard drive noise (and keyboard noise, etc.), and they are hard to "position".


The most common type of mic for studio recording is a "Large Diaphragm, Cardioid (directional) Condenser". They are used for vocals and almost everything else. But, they do have electronics inside and they can sometimes be overdriven (distorted) if you put it in front of a kick drum or loud guitar amp.


There are some "cheap" ($20- -$30 or so) electret ondenser microphones that "look like" studio condensers sold by 3rd-party Amazon sellers, etc. Obviously, there is more money put-into the case, cable, and accessories than the functioning part of the mic. These mics may be "useful" but you're not getting the "real thing".


The most popular microphone of all time is the Shure SM57/58. It's a dynamic mic (not a condenser) and it's really meant for live use, but "you could do worse". (The 57 & 58 are virtually the same, but the 58 has the ball pop filter for vocals).


You may eventually want a pair of "matched' mics for stereo recording.




You can get darn-near professional recording for a few hundred (or several hundred) dollars (depending on the number of microphones/channels). The thing that can get REALLY EXPENSIVE is soundproofing and room treatment. You'd also need to spend a few hundred dollars on decent monitors.


...This stuff is relative cheap! Before "digital home recording" and affordable audio interfaces (and MIDI) it would have cost thousands of dollars to set-up a home studio with nearly-professional recording capability.


Quote:
I can only spend about 100 bucks on my recording "hobby" as she calls it.
Well... Apparently, it's not a business. I'm pretty sure most REAPER users are hobbyists.
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Old 02-16-2020, 09:37 AM   #8
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$100 is pretty low. You might hit "hobbyist" level though.

You're going to have to scare up a computer for mostly free. Probably some Windows running thing. Get a new 128GB SSD for it for $25.

Get one of those shitty Rode USB mics for $75. A "USB mic" is a mic, analog mic preamp, AD converter, and 1 channel USB audio interface - all built into the body of the mic. You connect to it like connecting to an audio interface. It will only have one channel and the mic will be that channel.

You could potentially do a lot with this. You could record, mix, and master an entire album. (A few albums out there were recorded on those cassette porta studio thingies. This would be better.) Spend a little time at the source: Make the space you record in not suck. Get some finesse recording yourself and your instruments.

Reaper DAW and the stock plugins are a hell of a powerful package! Learn how to mix. You can make a decent mix with just OK-ish sources with some finesse. You could also make a perfect multitrack recording made with $30,000 worth of microphones sound like ass with no skill.

Eventually if this keeps going for you, get a more proper audio interface with more inputs (vs that USB mic) and start buying more mics.
Do. Not. Buy. Plugins!
(You sure as hell don't need a low grade simulation of a Pultec MEQ5 eq!)
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Old 02-16-2020, 09:59 AM   #9
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Interesting budget makes life challenging?

You will need Reaper license (duh), 1-2 good microphones, and something to plug your mic/guitar cables into, that Reaper accepts as your workhorse. $100 is tough tho, eees tough Roland Duo-Capture EX is probably down to a hundo nowadays, I would not leave mine behind!
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Old 02-16-2020, 10:39 AM   #10
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Monitor speakers??
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Old 02-16-2020, 11:00 AM   #11
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Monitor speakers??

Sennheiser HD280 Pro headphones are $90. Doubling the budget there...
Most bang for the buck with headphones though.

If you can find some small JBL or KRK speakers with at least a 6" woofer used... Otherwise that's $300 worth of gear. Don't buy new $100 speakers. You'd just be $100 further away from something useful.

For only $100 total, what I said above and then flip between listening to your mixes on whatever earbuds you have now and whatever your home stereo is. (Yes, this could be comically skewed with stuff like Blose ear buds and "soundbar" facsimile speakers. Got to start somewhere!) A minimal stereo pair of speakers starts at $300 (2 way with 6" woofer and the power amps built into the speaker boxes. aka powered monitors)
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Old 02-16-2020, 11:15 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by serr View Post
Sennheiser HD280 Pro headphones are $90. Doubling the budget there...
Most bang for the buck with headphones though.

If you can find some small JBL or KRK speakers with at least a 6" woofer used... Otherwise that's $300 worth of gear. Don't buy new $100 speakers. You'd just be $100 further away from something useful.

For only $100 total, what I said above and then flip between listening to your mixes on whatever earbuds you have now and whatever your home stereo is. (Yes, this could be comically skewed with stuff like Blose ear buds and "soundbar" facsimile speakers. Got to start somewhere!) A minimal stereo pair of speakers starts at $300 (2 way with 6" woofer and the power amps built into the speaker boxes. aka powered monitors)
Didn't see monitor speakers in the other replies, just thought I would toss that out there for consideration. One of those, "Something to consider down the road" kind of things.

@Candanski, when my wife starts questioning the money I spend on my "hobby" I'll record a song she likes, let her listen to it, then say, "You know, if I bought this or that etc. I could make this sound so much better" and if that doesn't work, I just remind her how much she spends on her monthly foo foos. (Hair, nails, skin, etc. etc.) But you don't want to go too far on that, always remember, "Happy wife, happy life".
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Old 02-16-2020, 11:47 AM   #13
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Didn't see monitor speakers in the other replies, just thought I would toss that out there for consideration.
Yeah, I wasn't thinking about that in my first reply either.
I'm sticking with my reply though. $100 goes quick!
And Panoptes beat me to my first response.

I'll go out on a limb and assume OP has something to listen to music with. (Good, bad, or in between.)
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Old 02-16-2020, 12:48 PM   #14
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$100 is pretty low. You might hit "hobbyist" level though.

You're going to have to scare up a computer for mostly free. Probably some Windows running thing. Get a new 128GB SSD for it for $25.

Get one of those shitty Rode USB mics for $75. A "USB mic" is a mic, analog mic preamp, AD converter, and 1 channel USB audio interface - all built into the body of the mic. You connect to it like connecting to an audio interface. It will only have one channel and the mic will be that channel.

You could potentially do a lot with this. You could record, mix, and master an entire album. (A few albums out there were recorded on those cassette porta studio thingies. This would be better.) Spend a little time at the source: Make the space you record in not suck. Get some finesse recording yourself and your instruments.

Reaper DAW and the stock plugins are a hell of a powerful package! Learn how to mix. You can make a decent mix with just OK-ish sources with some finesse. You could also make a perfect multitrack recording made with $30,000 worth of microphones sound like ass with no skill.

Eventually if this keeps going for you, get a more proper audio interface with more inputs (vs that USB mic) and start buying more mics.
Do. Not. Buy. Plugins!
(You sure as hell don't need a low grade simulation of a Pultec MEQ5 eq!)
i really wouldn't agree with recommending a USB mic, even a Rode one. I think you get far more value & flexibility on a low budget with a cheap interface & cheap condensor mic or two, like Behringer or something.
I wholeheartedly agree with not buying plugins though. So many great freebies available these days.
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Old 02-16-2020, 02:24 PM   #15
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Quote:
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i really wouldn't agree with recommending a USB mic, even a Rode one. I think you get far more value & flexibility on a low budget with a cheap interface & cheap condensor mic or two, like Behringer or something.
I wholeheartedly agree with not buying plugins though. So many great freebies available these days.
Normally I'd strongly agree but what are you gonna get for $100?
You'd find a used interface with 2 or 4 inputs for $50 no problem.
What mic for $50?

You might be right. You'd have to shop used and not screw up is all.

A think spending $200 would be more bang for the buck than restricting the budget if it came down to it as well.
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Old 02-16-2020, 02:46 PM   #16
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tons of "unbranded" mics on amazon or ebay for £30 or so that may be a bit crummy build quality wise - but i would say sound fine for 99% of hobbyists / newcomers and would stand up in a blind listening test with mics 3 times the price - dismissing them out of hand is a little bit snobbish, i think.
I do accept this is probably only really a short term option (and maybe a little more risky in terms of getting a duff unit) but viable until you know more about what your needs are.
I agree you need to spend more if you want longevity / less risk.
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Old 02-17-2020, 01:54 AM   #17
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what happened to the Emu interface you already have?
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Old 02-17-2020, 01:20 PM   #18
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Normally I'd strongly agree but what are you gonna get for $100?
You'd find a used interface with 2 or 4 inputs for $50 no problem.
What mic for $50?
New? Probably this is the best I've come across: Prodipe TT1 which is currently available for £33 in the UK. A worthy SM58 alternative ...https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/prodipe-tt1
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Old 02-19-2020, 02:43 AM   #19
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Just checked ALL the op`s other posts in different threads & he already has an acceptable interface & instruments, so it`s down to a mic & I too would recommend that prodipe as a good place to start.

Other than that & paying for Reaper, which I suspect has HAS already done, I can`t think of anything that would significantly enhance his music making ability other than a mic and either good headphones or a good set of speakers. Unless he has absolutely rubbish monitoring, there isn't much point spending 100 on a pair of "monitor" speakers. If it was me I would stick the $100 in the cookie jar & wait for Xmas and birthday, or get a paper round. On second thoughts, you can find pretty decent cans for $100.
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Old 02-19-2020, 03:33 AM   #20
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Default Prince recorded in bad quality with great results

I am a huge admirer of Prince. There are some interesting videos on youtube of Prince's sound engineer Susan Rogers, where she explains how Prine's songs were recorded in his earlier years, by the way if Prince had four hands he would not even have needed a sound engineer.
Do not care about the gear or equipment! Music is about ideas and creativity.
If you recorded a great song in bad sound quality and in most cases the first take is the best, because it witnesses the birth of a song, you have so many opportunities to make the best out of it.
A lot of songs of Purple Rain were recorded and made in a warehouse, even cassette tape recordings were included and Prince's favorite guitar was a cheap copy of a Telecaster, eg he had to handle feedback noise etc., but this guitar had a special sound and he prefered to play this guitar.
So do not waste too much time in wondering if you have enough gear, it is better to write songs, to perform and record!
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Old 02-25-2020, 03:50 PM   #21
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I too was a bit surprised by some of the early posted recommendations!

You do not have the budget to blow it all or even a small part of it on 'nice to have' facilities. The essentials will eat it up for you!

Mine are (non specific!):

1. for free to help you decide how not to go off down the wrong road read the first few pages of the thread started by Yep "Why do my recordings sound like ass"

2 Appreciate that the best bang for your buck is the spend on acoustics and transducers i.e microphone and speakers/headphones. You need the best monitors you can afford at least as much as anything else otherwise you will not be able to judge all the rest! You can do a lot to improve acoustics very cheaply (ref Yep again) without purchasing specilist acoustic materials.

3 buy second hand, not necessarily the popular or vintage equipment that command higher prices, or get a couple of the cheap chinese mics if you must whilst you save up. Just use whatever PC you have to hand with free software (like audacity) till you need to advance to Reaper.

4 if you cannot find a cheap decent mic preamp consider a diy build. You can do a battery powered one that will take a mic and or a guitar/keyboard directly into your pc sound card.
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