Sample Studio Setups

The computer-based studio is scalable based on what you want to do. One of the best uses of computer studios is for keyboard players who use MIDI. Get yourself a simple MIDI interface and some sequencing software and you're good to go. No microphones are needed if all you do is MIDI.

FIGURE 5-3

Computer-based studio

For audio recorders, the computer interface is the most crucial element here. How many inputs do you need at once, and how many have microphone preamplifiers built in? Interfaces start cheap for a few inputs and go up from there. Microphone channels are always key here. The computer acts as a digital audio workstation (DAW), handling the audio in the computer. All of the mixing and effects are applied in the computer. The final mix will be bounced into a file that can be burned on the computer's CD burner. The number of microphones will depend on how many and what kinds of sources you're going to record. With the right interface and a fast enough computer, it's possible to record eight or more channels at once. Playback and mixing can be anywhere from sixteen channels up to as many as your software or computer can handle. Monitoring is done through headphones, or monitor speakers. The majority of professional and home studios are now computer based.

FIGURE 5-4 shows a studio setup for recording several players live. As soon as you need the ability to record eight or more sources at once, you either have to make compromises or step up into the higher ranks. A compromise would be to use a large mixer to handle the multiple sources and mix down to a few outputs — usually two or four outputs. The mixer outputs can be sent to a computer or standalone studio. The problem with this is the inability to control all the sounds afterward. The mixer will pair some of the microphone and line sources together and you will lose some control when you mix. In this case, getting a good sound on the board is crucial to your success.

For those who need control of every source, you will need to purchase either a fairly extensive computer recording interface that handles eight or more channels, or one of the higher-end studios-in-a-box that supports the adequate number of microphone channels. Of course, you'll need a high number of microphone and microphone preamplifiers for each microphone that you connect. Many of the high-end computer and standalone products have multiple microphone input channels with preamplifiers. Monitoring becomes more complicated, because most performers want to hear the mix as they play. A headphone amplifier/distributor is necessary to power multiple headphones for all the players, not to mention all the headphones you'll need. Monitoring during recording is done with headphones and, preferably, during mixing, with monitor speakers.

This is one of the most demanding home studio applications and the price of getting this done will reflect that. However, if you are equipped to handle a live band, there's not much you can't do in your studio.

FIGURE 5-4

Studio for multiple live players

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