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View Full Version : Building New Studio: Need suggestions!



JBVoice
03-15-2009, 07:02 PM
Hey friends!

I just reached my goal in my savings account to afford to build a brand new studio dedicated to voice overs and production work. It will take maybe until July for me to get the order in but I would like you guys to help me decide when it comes to equipment. My budget is $2500-$8000 but trying to stay as low as possible. Minus the mixer, I would like to get opinions on EVERY stitch of equipment that I'll need. Currently, I am using the basic mixer to line in on sound card.


Like seriously, please post every little detail for stuff you suggest, remembering that this studio will be used for voice overs and production. I already picked out the studio desk that has 10 rack spaces for equipment and tons of storage space, the computers (1 mac, 1 pc, 1 laptop and 1 macbookpro) and one of the mics. What I would like to have is 2 dynamic mics and 2 condensers . Please list any pieces of equipment that you suggest for me: mics, voice processors, pre amp, microphones, cables etc. Once this studio is built, I'll be relieved lol because its a pain running my studio now because it doesnt have "top of the line" equipment :p



Any responses would be great :)

+rep

Norwood Radio
03-15-2009, 08:01 PM
Well done JB you must have saved hard. unfortunately I don't do voice over work and my studio was built on a shoe string. You would'nt be able to buy my stuff anymore except on antuques road show.
Harry.

clairedodin
03-15-2009, 08:16 PM
Hi!
You have a nice budget, so I'd suggest spending a few hundreds on sound treatment of your room (really important for vo)
then get a Neumann TLM 103 or U87 mic and an avalon 737sp pre-amp
these are top of the range and you can find them in state of the arts pro studios.

Your sound will be awesome!

JBVoice
03-15-2009, 10:59 PM
Thanks for the feedback. I will be sure to look up on those products, and my budget should allow at least one of those mics, most likely the Neuman one...but I might go with a tad bit cheaper pre amp because the Studio furniture, foam, treatment and little things I already used $3000 of my budget....lol. I realize the main investment should be the mic, preamp and mixer..but....


That being said, I'm open to anyone elses opinion and what not.

Thanks for your input Claire, will definatly consider those mics :)


-JB

clairedodin
03-15-2009, 11:22 PM
you know, I think you'd be better off having one good mic and one good pre-amp than several mics and an average pre-amp
That said, I can't afford the avalon either :crying:

James
03-15-2009, 11:33 PM
Brilliant stuff JBVoice! :D This is what i like to hear! Tell us how it pans out, photos a must ;)

Good luck!

THREETEN RADIO
03-15-2009, 11:36 PM
I won't be of no help with my lowly equipment but I wish you well with it Jon and hope you get it all exactly how you want it. Look forward to reading/seeing the end result. :biggrinthumb:

JBVoice
03-16-2009, 01:29 AM
Thanks all of you guys. Claire, I agree with you 100%. My plan at the moment is to get one condenser and one dynamic. The dynamic is defiantly going to be the SHURE SM7B, the condenser might end up being the Neuman mic you suggested, that leaves me at $2000 left to spend on a new mixer (i decided its time to upgrade), preamp and little things like headphones etc.

After that, my next BIG project will be getting a custom built Mac PRO and one of those new PC's put out by dell MADE for production/music work. LOL. I have been told, this is all a very wise investment which will pay itself off in no time :)


Pictures will DEFFINATLY be uploaded, but like I said, this wont be complete until probably the end of summer if then.

carlwelden
03-16-2009, 04:02 PM
While an Avalon would be very nice (if it weren't for the price), your choice of microphone preamp should still be a quality piece of hardware, especially if you are running a Neumann through it.

Nothing worse than the best mics running through a noisy preamp. For running a quality condenser mic, you'll want something with clean gain and as little coloration as possible. The preamp shoud be a transparent element.

Since you'll also be using a Shure SM7B, you will need a unit that can push at least 60db of gain. Many only handle 40db, which is fine for condensers, but the SM7B as you may know, has a -59db output.

I got to borrow a Grace Designs M101 preamp during a mic shootout and loved the results. They run upwards of $500 new and are hard to find used, since no one wants to let go of them (which speaks for itself).

An ART MPA Gold is a preamp that's well known in the VO community. You can change out the tubes in it to customize the warmth of you signal. Listings on eBay are around $250-$300 and some already have the upgraded tubes installed.

A simpler unit, the DBX 286A can be found for under $200 and is often reccomended as a reliable workhorse for many aspects of the audio industry.

I use a $99 ART Project Series w/USB. It's small, portable and gets the job done with enough clean gain. Clients were happy and it paid for itself fast.

Are you treating a room acousticly or are you constructing a vocal booth?
If you are using a condenser, you will definatly need to adress any issues with room tone.

I reccomend you do some reading of the message boards at TapeOp.com (http://www.tapeop.com) for lots of D.I.Y audio tips.

JBVoice
03-16-2009, 07:23 PM
While an Avalon would be very nice (if it weren't for the price), your choice of microphone preamp should still be a quality piece of hardware, especially if you are running a Neumann through it.

Nothing worse than the best mics running through a noisy preamp. For running a quality condenser mic, you'll want something with clean gain and as little coloration as possible. The preamp shoud be a transparent element.

Since you'll also be using a Shure SM7B, you will need a unit that can push at least 60db of gain. Many only handle 40db, which is fine for condensers, but the SM7B as you may know, has a -59db output.

I got to borrow a Grace Designs M101 preamp during a mic shootout and loved the results. They run upwards of $500 new and are hard to find used, since no one wants to let go of them (which speaks for itself).

An ART MPA Gold is a preamp that's well known in the VO community. You can change out the tubes in it to customize the warmth of you signal. Listings on eBay are around $250-$300 and some already have the upgraded tubes installed.

A simpler unit, the DBX 286A can be found for under $200 and is often reccomended as a reliable workhorse for many aspects of the audio industry.

I use a $99 ART Project Series w/USB. It's small, portable and gets the job done with enough clean gain. Clients were happy and it paid for itself fast.

Are you treating a room acousticly or are you constructing a vocal booth?
If you are using a condenser, you will definatly need to adress any issues with room tone.

I reccomend you do some reading of the message boards at TapeOp.com (http://www.tapeop.com) for lots of D.I.Y audio tips.

I will surely take your post in consideration. To answer your question, I am considering both creating a booth and treating the room. Since the property is rented I cannot do any major construction. I did get permission to treat the room, so I'm leaning more towards that. I am awaiting my arrival of my packages from BSW for the Shure mics, but I'm not so sure I'm going to go with the Neuman, I'll do my research, if anyone has any other suggestions for condenser mics, I would greatly appreciate it. I'm willing to spend up to $900 on the mic, since I already have the SM7B mic's coming, but don't go by my price limit, go by the quality of mic. I have used the AKG Perception 120 before and it was $89, the sound was amazing....


Thanks for all the suggestions! I REALLY appreciate it!


-JB

Jinglemaster
03-16-2009, 09:08 PM
Hi JB

Some excellent advice from Claire and Carl above.

OK, teh Neumann. Until very recentgly we had a Neumann U87 (you may have read). It is without question the best mic made FOR SINGERS. It is also excellent for vocal work, but is primarily a very high end vocal mic. You don't need it. We are not replacing ours as we have several other good enough mics for what we do because since buying the neumann some years back non linear editing has moved on a huge amount and we can do much with a good computer to help the sound along.

Vocal booth, you can do this VERY cheaply if you want. Basically the main thing to consider is head room and ventilation. Plenaty have passed out in an over hot vocal 'cupboard'. I suggest a room no smaller than 6ft x 6ft x 8 ft high. Foam tiles on the walls and ceiling. tripple skin floor with rubber sandwich layer and foam tile floor (no shoes allowed).

Planning is the key here. if you do it right you won't see a cable again. You do NOT want spaghetti! Plan and but cables pre made to length. Eliminate large loops of cable as these create noise in themselves.

Desk? Well, what do you want to do? Mainly voice overs? A simple desk then. 3 band eq prefrered, 2 aux sends/returns, definite Fantom power, definite 2 outs, one main and one booth. I recommend the Behringer range. high quality desks and VERY affordable.

Golden rule here JB. It isn't the tools, it is the tradesman using them. Give kenny Rodgers a $10 mic and he will sound like heaven. Give me a $3000 mic and , well you may remember my singing!

Compromise where you can. There is a piunt beyond which you will not gain. For example, a 6 channel desk will probably do what you want, whereas a 2 channel won't. BUT you don't need a 48 channel desk!

A good PC/Mac in a DIFFERENt room with long cables to get to your workstation. This eliminates PC noise.

Heat is the main problem, so don't end up with your desk against a wall. have a good walk through gap for access and ventilation.

Lastly GOOD monitor speakers. Don't go for PC ones, you want GOOD ones. Edirol make some beauties for around $200, but there is no limit here within reason. I suggest a budget of $500 max.

There is loads to cover, but lastly software. Protools? Audition? Well, I have used both. I prefer Audition 3.0. Great program if not as good as protools, but for vocal work ideal.

Lastly, music. Don't spend days composing when you can buy in stock music. I can buy a good track for $10 royalty free. I suggest you do the same.

I hope that all helps.

Feel free to ask if you need any help. We are all here to support and advise where we can. Opinions will differ of course, but at least we don't argue!

JBVoice
03-17-2009, 05:39 AM
Thanks JM for your input, I really appreciate everyones opinions and for helping me out :)

-JB