Instructables

Ultimate guide on studio quality home music recording at very low budget

video Ultimate guide on studio quality home music recording at very low budget
Ritwika teaches how you can record your next YouTube music sensation or demo CD in studio quality at your home using a simple low cost budget.
DK4742111 months ago
Thanks for the video. It is interesting info to help others get started on a low budget.
thegeeke2 years ago
You had some good points here, but I have some constructive critisim.
1. Large diaphragm condensers are sturdier than you give them credit for. I often use them for instruments (although not really drums that much).
2. Small diaphragm condensers work great as well, especially on instruments. You didn't mention them.
3. Although every singer has a different voice therefore a different mic, I very rarely (if ever) use dynamic mics in the studio.
4. Ribbon mics weren't even mentioned.
5. Never Ever Ever get a Berringer mixer unless there is no other possible way to get a better mixer. They sound beyond awful, are made extremely cheaply, are not reliable, and ARE NOT a good deal for any amount of money. Anyone who has ever done professional sound will tell you the same thing.
6. I often use both monitoring headphones and Bose headphones at the same time. (And Bose does not have a large low end or as you put it "bass heavy") The reason is that you want to hear it both on a flat scale and how your listeners will hear it.
7. Regarding setup, gaff tape is a must. It is a bad amateur move to not tape your wires.
8. Regarding mixing, I always mix before post. The mixer I use most often is a Taskam DP02-CF. Many musicians love that one.
9. Regarding the production you did, learn to normalize your audio, and
10. You had some poor attempts at depth of focus. A few times I was trying to see what you were holding, but it was out of focus and your... ahem... well... chest... was in focus. Bad mistake.

Sorry, but as an audio engineer, this is my take. Other than that I liked your video.
ritwika (author)  thegeeke2 years ago
1) I do not want to do drop it to validate your claim so I take your words for it but I will still remain cautions with my collection of large dias., they are not only pricy, I love them.

2) Small dia. is more accurate to record the sound wave than large dia. but for voice, large dia. rules for its extra warm sound.

3) I have very clearly mentioned dynamic mic. is good if you have ambient noise. Not all of us have a recording studio like sound proof room at home. I have to wait till it is late at night to record my song to minimize outside noise.

4) I do not own or used any ribbon mic so have no experience with them. Moreover I do not think they are any superior than large dia. condenser mics for recording vocal.

5) I do not agree with any generic suggestion that this company is bad and that one is good. Many sound engineers will tell you your beloved brand is a … and there is anything worth other than a Sound Devices mixer and recorder. I do know that most companies do not use anything proprietary other than big giants like Sony. All prosumer grade devices uses OP Amps, AD and DA converter manufactured from handful of chipmakers like all PC computers now have either Intel or AMD inside. Nothing magical at all about any brand. There is nothing wrong with my Behringer mixer and I do have other pricy makes.

6) Bose headphone does not come close to Sony MDR in sound clarity and flatness. I will not use Bose consumer headphone to monitor my audios. But for music listening, Bose is my favorite companion.

7) You are right about cable management, but remember it is not my permanent studio setup. After recording this tutorial, I had to break it down and clear the room for other use. So I can not tape anything permanently.

8) No comment, as everyone has his/her favorite tool.

9) What to learn about normalization? It is a single mouse click step, does not require any skill. I normalize at -6dB and not at 0 dB.

10) I was not controlling the camera and secondly if you use DSLR then you must have noticed that one cannot use servo focus while shooting (until now, as Canon has recently introduced servo focus lens for Canon DSLR). It was manual focus and it is very difficult to pull focus while camera is moving in a crane. If you want to see follow focus example, check my DIY follow focus video http://youtu.be/Ez7LBHFhVQ0
1. I agree you shouldn't abuse equipment, it's just that you made it sound like you could only use large diaphragm for vocals and not much else. (At least that's how I understood it.)
2. You are absolutely correct, but remember that you said for musicians... not vocalists. Although vocalists are musicians, if you say musicians (which is a broader term), then you have to expect anyone that plays an instrument to be taking advise from you; and for many instruments, a small diaphragm is a great mic.
3. True, but they sound awful in a recording. (at least in my opinion... and I don't make $100-$200 an hour mixing both live and recorded for nothing.) If you have trouble with ambient noise, you should look into a directional mic. A whole lot more effective in noise rejection. (Just get a decent one, or you are no better off than a dynamic.)
4. If you have never used one, how can you say that? Large diaphragms are great for vocals, granted. But you really should look into ribbon mics for recording. They are extremely fragile though... but if you treat them like it sounds like you are treating your large diaphragm, you will have no problem.
5. For one thing, don't compare AV equipment to IT equipment. They are two totally different birds. (Speaking as someone who is considered a professional in both.) For another thing, ANY professional audio engineer will tell you the same thing about berringer. For one thing, look at my instructable about buying sound equipment. Although it was meant for live equipment (in which the sound doesn't matter as much, but you still have reliability issues), you can see I was criticized for kind of badmouthing Shure (which I realize some people swear by Shure... yourself included), but never for Berringer.

http://www.instructables.com/id/How-To-Prepare-For-Buying-Sound-Equipment/

6. I agree that they do not have a flat response, but there are a couple reasons I use them as well as Sennheiser monitoring headphones. The first is that (like I said) you want to be able to hear what your mix will be like for your listeners as well as the flat response, and the second is that a true audio engineer should be able to mix on any equipment given. I have produced professional quality CDs using earbuds before, because that was all that was given to me. (And I was in a situation where I didn't have my own equipment with me.) I'm not saying you should rely on Bose for mixing (and certainly not Beats), but you should have both so that you can listen every now and then to see how you are doing. Everyone has a different mixing style, this is mine. You have yours. I'm just saying that as long as the mix sounds good, there is no right or wrong way. That is the first "rule" of sound.
7. Permanent setup would not use tape. Tape is for temporary setups. Unless you will be staying in one spot the whole time and no one else will be moving around, then you need to secure your wires.
8. Agreed, everyone has their own style. Always worth mentioning.
9. There is plenty to learn about normalization. For one thing, in your video, there were parts where the mic was obviously closer to you than others. Both in EQ and in volume. The volume is the first thing you need to fix... if it is really loud in one shot, and softer in another shot, then you have a problem. Also, the EQ should be the same. The problem with the one click normalization is that you probably waited until you had all your shots mixed together to use that. One-click normalization only looks at the highest peak, and adjusts based on that. You need the highest peak of each shot at the very least. You shouldn't notice a difference in your audio... it should be uniform, unless you are using it for a special effect... which there was no reason to do so in this video.
10. I understand, but that is what multiple takes are for, and if you can't focus right, then you shouldn't be using a moving crane. Who cares about movement if your basics aren't right? (Focus, framing, sound, etc.)

Please understand that you have a lot of potential, and are making some very nice videos. Normally I find so many things wrong with a video that I will not even post. In your case I was struggling to come up with an even 10 suggestions. (I was at 9, so I figured I would find one more.) ;) Everyone has their own style, and should not be stifled. I do not write this to put you down, but to give advise from someone who has been mixing probably since before you were born. (I'm not that old, but I am older than you and I started mixing pretty young.) Keep up the good work, and don't let these suggestions get you down, but instead work on proving me wrong some day. :)
Also, here is some evidence to support my claims about Behringer from other sources than myself (and I guess I spelled it wrong... that shows how little I use their products):
Look at how many people are agreeing with me on this thread: http://www.talkbass.com/forum/f15/why-behringer-so-cheap-361426/
(Now for one thing, most of them are talking about guitar amps, so they are probably not pro audio engineers, and one person likes them for how much you pay for them, but still there are a lot of people saying the same thing that I am)

Pro audio engineers saying the same thing:
http://forums.prosoundweb.com/index.php?topic=136246.0
(although the OP seemed to like them... but even he realized that they have a very bad reputation)

I disagree with many things that this person is saying, but he does sum up all the arguments very well.  And his point is valid, make your own decision.  My point is that if you are OK with your equipment sound awful (for recording... for live, many times it may not matter), and expect it to break when you least expect it, and are just starting out, then you can consider Behringer for your use.  Do Google searches on any equipment before you buy, talk to people who use it, and make an informed decision.  Don't take my word for it, (and if you are reading this trying to decide what to buy, don't take the OPs word for it), make your own decisions.  That way you can't blame me if you decided later that you wanted a Behringer product (which I've never heard of), or you can't blame the OP if you decide to go with Behringer and you hate it.
DK47421 thegeeke11 months ago
Late to the party, but there are two sides to any story. Like most things people only post/talk to complain about something and never to tell how well it works.

For real comments/feedback from actual buyers and users of Behringer products read them from online stores like Amazon, Guitar Center, Musician's Friend, and others. People leave honest feedback and sometimes it is horrible. Of course the more feedback/comments the more likely it reveals the truth. Funny thing is most have very high ratings.

I personally own a Q502USB mixer and XM8500 microphone and both work great. Never any problems, and worth more than I paid for them.

"I would be interested to see links from professionals who like Behringer though... I have never run into any."

Easy enough after a few minutes of looking I found several musicians/bands that have a US (and 32+ other countries) top ten songs that use Behringer products. Of course there are many others, I read several though the years and can't find links or were in magazines, and still others won't admit it as they don't want others to look down their noses at them for it. Do a longer search and I'm sure you will find many others too.

Rock band Hinder -
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151829971073914&set=a.10150572353698914.404212.105517788913&type=1

Electronic music duo Daft Punk -
http://digitaldj.wordpress.com/2008/07/07/inside-the-pyramid-daft-punks-live-gear/

http://news.beatport.com/blog/2013/04/02/the-secrets-to-the-live-setups-of-daft-punk-deadmau5-bassnectar-flying-lotus-and-more-revealed/

Rock band Rush -
(Several Behringer products listed under band member profiles)
http://www.rush.com/band/

Of course if you call a "professional" anyone who makes a living from music, there are lots more to find. A simple place to start is Behringer Artists page.

Seems there is a hatred for Behringer by some from their old products or their low prices. As with simple psychology, if someone spends $5000+ for a product brand thinks it must be better than the $50 branded product -- even if it is the same product. Read the audiophile test here to see such psychology at work.

For a studio grade Behringer mixer though look at their new X32 products.Or take a look at their other brands from the Music Group company, i.e. Behringer.
Also, these where just the first two or three threads in a Google search... I just don't have the time to find more.
ritwika (author)  thegeeke2 years ago
I have the good fortune to work closely with talented electronic engineers who design the cutting edge AV equipment circuit from grounds up (which no audio engineer does). So I thought I would share what I have learned and very few audio engineer may have opportunity to look inside those branded cabinets. I have very little brand loyalty and do not cling or shun any particular brand. I am not snob enough to cringe saying a Behringer mixer is good as because Behringer mixers are very affordable.

Debating on equipment is very subjective and never led any debater to agreement. No matter how many weblink you may quote to support your distaste for Behringer, I can quote equal or more number of links which will say otherwise. The bottom-line, Behringer mixer I have shown in my tutorial works perfectly as good as my Presonous mixer. I do not see any reason to say its bad; in fact I find it very good value for money. I buy what is best I can afford with my pocket money. If I had unlimited resources, I could have bought a SSL console and a Gulfstream to lug my gears. The objective of my tutorial is to suggest how to get excellent recording at home at budget.

I generally do not write such detailed reply, but I am having my summer vacation now. Thank you for your comments though.

I understand. I'm not really posting this to disagree with you, rather to give anyone who may be looking at this two different perspectives for buying equipment. My word should not be taken at face value either. Although I have many years of experience, that has given me a biased opinion. I would be interested to see links from professionals who like Behringer though... I have never run into any.

I have also had the good fortune to work closely with talented electronic engineers who design cutting edge AV equipment. One of my mentors (probably the man who taught me the most) owned his own company and built customized sound mixers (back in the day when there was only analog sound mixers). He made mixers for many of the major venues. I also agree that debating on equipment is very subjective, but in real life I have convinced people not to buy Shure mics... but online I'm not as good. To be honest, I am very surprised that I even have to debate Behringer. Like I said, I have never run into a professional who liked Behringer even though it was so cheap. (And I do consider you a professional. You still have some things to learn, but you do produce a very nice mix; although I do consider using a background track somewhat cheating. I am just being nit-picky because I want to give you some suggestions.) Maybe you should let someone you consider your mentor look at my suggestions and see what they think. Maybe I'm being too picky, maybe not. Whatever the case, let me reiterate that I think you did a good job. Enjoy your summer vacation. :)
*when there were only analog sound mixers... sorry.
earthian2U1 year ago
that was awesome!!
i decided to make my own "recording" studio at my house and wasnt sure how to proceed. your tutorial was just the thing to enable me explore better. thanks you.
.it takes...diff'rent strokes too RULE DA WORLD

heh sorry
dchall82 years ago
That was wonderful! I don't usually like video tutorials, but you did it right. You were well prepared, exercised good editing, and used just enough detail about each component to keep it interesting, informative, and not deathly boring.