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#38320 - 09/22/05 06:55 PM What is you workflow arrangment?
Tim_S Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/24/03
Posts: 22
Loc: Christiana,PA,USA
I am an on and off recordist by necessity due to some recent interruptions in my life. I have had a studio several times,but I never got it up to snuff. I think I am finally starting to make some progress toward the goal of a good home studio. Aside from all the obvious stuff necessary like great monitor speakers,good cables,proper acoustic surroundings,noise isolation,good mikes,etc. there is the question of efficient workflow.
It seems like I am not alone amongst the folks who seem to be spending huge amounts of time on either a software or hardware learning curve.
I always liked the KISS idea. Keep it simple stupid. I just want to get good quality audio either onto a CD or onto the web or both.
I am starting this time from the ground up all the way from the room to the desk to the gear. I should mention I am not a wealthy guy,so cost is paramount.
I have used Cakewalk pro 9 and Sonar and a stand alone Roland VS unit. I have a Yamaha keyboard and some soft synths.
I am curious as to what you use,why you use it and how it has made your life easier. I am open to any suggestions. There must be tons of equiptment out there the average guy or girl can afford and multiple ways it can all be connected.Some of us have for sure learned a better way through trial and error.I have a lot yet to learn.
Specifically I was curious about equipment configurations and how you have assembled your studio for maximum production with minimun hassles.I find myself in the sound room pissing away most of the time trying to find out how to do something instead of actually doing it.
_________________________
Tim

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#38321 - 09/23/05 12:15 AM Re: What is you workflow arrangment?
The Insider Offline
Member

Registered: 01/18/05
Posts: 80
Loc: Buckinghamshire,England
Hi Tim

I used to run my own studio in the 90s - configuration was at the budget end with a TAC Scorpion Desk and a Fostex E16, Drawmer comps 'n gates, Yamaha SPX 900 reverbs, AKG mics, quite a few rack synths. Nothing special to write home about but I got some good results and the gear was worked to death for about 6 years.

Now I work only at home (unless there is a special requirement) running a PC with Motu 2408 II and Cubase SX - 4 Purchased Softsynths and the Tomeworks Bundle, plus 5 Hardware synths/keyboards, Genelec Monitors and my 1 indulgence - A Focusrite Liquid Channel and SE Electronics Gemini as the "hot" front end.

I also have a portable rig of Laptop and Motu 828 Mk II for recording elsehere.

My own personal ethos, having had my own budget pro-studio and then worked in the top studios in London (Air/Abbey Road/Olympic/Townhouse,etc. . .) as a remixer, is that you can get equivalent results on any gear - most of my most succesful commercial work was done on an Oram Desk. Nowadays I have a Yamaha 01V and an old Pro Mix 01 for live stuff or for remote recording. I firmly believe that the source signal is the most important to get right, especially vocals. I believe that the priorities should then be monitors,so that you have the ability to hear the mistakes.

Once these 2 elements are sorted, you can go in whatever direction you like - after all, 1 computer is pretty much like another, whether it be MAC or PC. It is the operator that makes the difference.

If you're going to record bands, then a slightly different approach is going to be needed - maybe a desk with direct outs and a multitrack routing Hardware system for the computer such as Protools or the Motu 24 channel unit ( I forget which serial no.).

I chose SX as I have been a Steinberg user since Pro 16! and it is the most intuitive programm for my needs. I agree that I could get bogged down if, for example, I had to learn LOGIC or any other program; however, if my earning a living depended on it, I would have no choice but to master it as soon as possible to make it work for me, and therefore for my clients.

Anyway, good luck and keep posting.

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#38322 - 09/23/05 08:46 AM Re: What is you workflow arrangment?
Tim_S Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/24/03
Posts: 22
Loc: Christiana,PA,USA
Thanks Insider,

It appears you have had exposure to many types of configurations.and gravitated to something that works good for you after seeing a lot. I was actually pretty well adjusted to a setup involving the Yamaha 2416DSP factory and Cakewalk. The AX44 head made things easier. In case you are not familiar this is the Yamaha board with onboard DSP meaning I can use a pretty minimal computer with it
I only cut one CD with this setup which in my opinion was very mediocre at best, plus I had an old Korg and a yamaha XG unit. I used headphones to mix this because I didn't have monitors.
I still have the Yamaha 2416 card and I was contemplating keeping it around as it is still supported by Sonar.Would you recommend this as it is only 20 bit ,however it has 32 bit internal processing? It has digital inputs and I hate to part with it even though it is becoming obsolete. I have questioned the validity of an upgrade to 24 bit because the MP3 codec just diminishes the sound anyhow,and 16 bit is still the norm on CD audio.
If I obtained a respectable computer I am thinking the Yamaha 2416 could still serve as the hub of a new studio setup.I could probably use the evolution UC33e controller I already have in addition to a dedicated midi controller with my existing software synths and do most of my midi switching funtions in software. I have an AKG C3000 B and a few respectable dynamics I could press into service and I still have the Roland VS880EX and a Mackie mixing console. I have a laptop that could be used to record however I like it too much as a synth,so I am looking at a big bulky desktop unit for recording.
The way things are coming about I still need the following:
-a good set of recording monitors
-some good monster type cables
-some sort of initial sound isolation for vocals
-I'll need to build a respectable desktop computer
-a legitimate copy of Sonar
-a nice monitor
-a nice corner computer desk with plenty of room for the controller and monitors.
I am still in the dark about how I want to sync everything. In the past I synced the Roland to cakewalk with MMC for track transferes,but nothing for midi hardware units. I think I am making things more difficult by recording direct audio verses laying midi tracks.
Do you Insider or any others regularly use the midi route leaving the tweaking for later?
Thanks for your input and it is always interesting to see how others are doing it and who knows I might be helping someone else sometime. I know there are many ways and I am sure some systems are more hassle free and music oriented. I am not a computer nerd,my eyes usually glass over after more than a half hour of tech talk,some of it sinks in,some of it doesn't.
I am past the porta studio but well behing the guy working surround mixes on the latest blockbuster.
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Tim

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#38323 - 09/24/05 09:05 AM Re: What is you workflow arrangment?
The Insider Offline
Member

Registered: 01/18/05
Posts: 80
Loc: Buckinghamshire,England
Hi Tim

In my own experience using SX, I have the best of both worlds as far as Midi and Audio are concerned. My observations on syncing to the Roland are that it actually does not run to true clock time. I made an album in 2002 where all the additional instrumentation and vocals were recorded elsewhere by the musicians themselves - some vocals and guitars were both recorded on seperate VS880s and I had a great deal of trouble when I lined the recordings up as they both consistently played faster than the source (interestingly by the same proportion, requiring a time compression of 0.992). The recordings that were made on computers were completely accurate, even though some were recorded on Cakewalk/PC or Logic/MAC. I did a project last week where I bounced the midi backing track to DAT and imported the audio file via Cool Edit Pro and it was 100% accurate to the timing of the original Cubase SX Project, so my initial advice would be to go computer only with the software that you are happiest running.

Sync problems are the biggest pain to overcome, so if they can be avoided then do so (I used to waste hours in the studio trying to sort out this sort of thing and the problems were never consistent.)

In regards to the Yamaha DSP card and the 20/24bit question, the answer lies in what you want to hear. If you can perceive the difference in quality recording at 24 bit, go for that.

Of course it will all get dithered down to 16 bit 44.1/48k anyway, so personally, I can't see the point. It uses more memory in terms of data size, so more CPU power is required just to run the higher bandwidth. I find that project management, for me, is easy to calculate on the 10Mb/minute rule rather than the 15 for 24 bit.

Monitor-wise, the best you can afford has to be the way to go as the more clearly you can hear it, the easier it is to fix/mix.

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#38324 - 09/25/05 05:04 AM Re: What is you workflow arrangment?
Tim_S Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/24/03
Posts: 22
Loc: Christiana,PA,USA
I will give Cubase a good lookover.It seems you have had a good experience with it.I don't do this for a living(boy I wish I did),so your observations are very helpful.Thanks! Tim
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Tim

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#38325 - 09/25/05 05:11 AM Re: What is you workflow arrangment?
Nigel Offline
Admin

Registered: 06/01/98
Posts: 5924
Loc: Ventura CA USA
Tim, a good friend of mine used to use the Yamaha DSP Factory with Logic but when Apple bought Emagic and the PC version disappeared he was forced to find an alternative. He is currently using Cubase SX which of course supports it because Yamaha themselves aquired Steinberg some time back. He is very happy with its support for the card. It's good to know you can choose either Sonar or Cubase to use with it.


[This message has been edited by Nigel (edited 09-25-2005).]

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#38326 - 09/25/05 08:15 PM Re: What is you workflow arrangment?
Tim_S Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/24/03
Posts: 22
Loc: Christiana,PA,USA
Thanks Nigel,

I am glad to see I'm not the only one still using one of these cards.I hope to press it into service again very soon. I am still trying to come up with a combination that works well utilizing what I already have to its fullest extent.
I remember reading an article on the Yamaha DSP 2416 when it came out and curiosly the writer who I can't remember now was using apogee converters into the card which I always thought seemed odd and appeared he had no use for the AX44,which further led me to believe that maybe the converters in the AX44 were inferior.Maybe I'll never know the answer to that one,but I suspect there was probably some noise in the cheaper converters.
I am also checking out Insiders Motu stuff.There is just so much out there its a tough call when you are investing your hard earned dollars into a home studio. I dont care about glamerous,I'm not out to impress anyone with a lot of cool gizmos in my studio. I'm just working toward something that works with a minimum investmet and gets the job done.
I am still open to any input available.

Have a Good one,Tim
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Tim

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#38327 - 10/06/05 06:01 PM Re: What is you workflow arrangment?
casiobot Offline
Member

Registered: 04/04/05
Posts: 132
I'm still a hardware person myself even though I pride myself on keeping up with "the latest and greatest",even in the computer world 'cause you never know.
Back in the day when I had my first set-up,it went like this(Circa 1990)

Casio CT-670 Keyboard
Alesis MMT-8 Hardware Sequencer
Alesis Microverb
Alesis Microlimiter
Alesis SR-16 Drum Machine
Tascam Porta O5 4 Track Recorder
Hitachi 6 Head VCR (Mixdown Recorder)
TEAC Twin Cassette Recorder

I had everything set up in a semi-cockpit fashion which ,more or less, went from left to right.The whole shebang cost a little less than $2000 and served me well for several years.

Even today,I like the KISS method,as concerns gear-I don't know,maybe it's this "toy" mentality I've developed over the years-and not out of whimsy either.Each of the above choices reflected my budgetary concerns about such an enterprise-Except for the VCR,which cost a whopping $600 in 1990(and that was for the FLOOR model!)-I didn't want any noise in my final recordings,so I thought that was a fair investment.

Times haven't changed that much for me-I'm still awaiting Casios next big thing with baited breath because Casio allowed me to start making music right away(The CT-670 was only 299.99 at Costco,again 1990 and the WK 3200
is not going to be much more than that!)
If I pick up another recorder,it'll probably be that cute-as-a-button BOSS BR900 CD.I won't even have to drag the Microverb and Microlimiter out of retirement!I do plan,however,to get me another Twin Cassette Machine,no matter HOW much it costs me! (LOL!)

In summation,KISS is not only good for your sanity,it is also very kind to your pocketbook!

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#38328 - 10/07/05 09:19 AM Re: What is you workflow arrangment?
Tim_S Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/24/03
Posts: 22
Loc: Christiana,PA,USA
Well I picked up a CME midi controller for my setup its an 88 key and weighs a ton. I really like the concept of the thing. The M-audio stuff was a close second,but I really didnt need all those controls and I wasn't sure if the M-audio pro keys would hold up being moved around a lot. There is no question the CME will take it,but I'm not sure if my back will.
I am still undecided about using the Yamaha card,there are so many wonderful 24 bit interfaces out there.I have not seen anything to completely compare to the MOTU units inputs though at 24 bit 196KHZ.
Firewire is an issue too. I probably would not have a mac for several reasons,one of them being that I work closely with another home studioist who uses Sonar. so an additional card is required for most PC applications though this is possible for not a lot of money.Not many are making usb 2.0 interfaces running the 400mbs speed.Usb 1.0 will not do.
I appreciate your "cockpit" setup,sounds like something very workable.

,Tim
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Tim

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