After the odd grumble that we’ve been focusing on too higher-end studio setups, here are three MusicTech reader studios of a more ‘home’ variety. (And they’re all still very cool.) Get in touch via Facebook if you want us to feature yours…
Interviewee: Kevin McGrath
What are the key components in your studio?
Some of the following gear was bought with a tight budget, but all over time. MXL RF-100 mic reflection filter; MXl mic; Shure SM27 mic; ART DJ Pre II; Stanton T55 turntable; Ortofon DJ Cart; Behringer Xenyx Control 1; Beyerdynamic DT880 & Custon One Pro’s; Audio Technica ATH M50x; Focusrite Saffire Pro 40 & VRM box 10’ Tandy passive sub; KRK Rokit 8; Yamaha HS 50m; M-Audio Oxygen 49; Novation Impulse 61; Native Instruments Maschine 1; Traktor S2; Kontrol F1; Ibenez electric guitar; Fender bass guitar; Line 6 POD HD. And finally a hand-crafted studio workstation, made from oak and birch. [Like we said, we’re focusing on more home studios this month!]
Which DAW do you use for music production and why?
I use FL the most, because at that time (I believe FL8 or 9-ish) it was affordable. I came from Sony Acid before that, way back in the day, and got accustomed to it. I also use Ableton 9, Audition and Reaper, and use Maschine mainly as a plug-in for all three.
What is your favourite piece of studio gear in the studio?
Native Instruments Maschine, because it’s the best of both worlds (in terms of both software and hardware).
How often are you typically in your studio?
Over 40 hours a week.
How do you use your studio? Is it a professional facility or do you use it just for fun?
I work semi-professionally producing for others, tracking light vocals, and of course make music for fun.
Does anything annoy you about your current setup?
My Behringer Xenyx Control 1. It is about two years’ old, and the big knobs pot throws static on the low end of the volume scale. It’s not the worst thing that could happen, but it is annoying.
What is next on your shopping list and why?
I really want the LinnStrument, for obvious reasons – mainly because it’s different, and different usually produces out-of-the-ordinary results. Plus, it’s really cool. But it’s not cheap though, so that’s a tough pill to swallow.
What is your dream piece of gear and why?
There are quite a few, but I’d say a Minimoog Voyager because I’ve always wanted one or something similar to it.
What advice do you have for anyone wanting to set up a studio from scratch?
You don’t always need the bells and whistles to make them sound just as good. Review everything you think you want – most of the time you get what you pay for, so don’t waste your money
Interviewee: Laurens Meeusen
Key components in your studio? Focusrite 2i2, Scarlett Studio CM25 mic, Scarlett Studio HP60, Novation Impulse 61, self-build PC, Razor keyboard and mouse, a Moleskine notebook to write music lyrics/ideas.
Which DAW do you use and why?
I use Cubase, because I got a test version free with my studio set. As I was really happy with it I bought the full version a year later. I really like the interface and the simplicity of it.
Favourite piece of gear?
I love my Mackie monitors mostly, because they give such a realistic sound with an amazing bass – the best speakers in that price range for me! I spent a lot of time auditioning speakers but in the end the choice was pretty easy.
Perfect or room for improvement?
I am thinking about buying a reflection screen for my mic as I have very poor acoustics. With that I hope to record less room reverb.
What is your dream piece of gear?
I would love to have a U47 mic. It has such a warm and realistic sound which I’d love while singing.
How do you use your studio?
I am just testing out various things and I love to write lyrics while listening to other music. I hope to collaborate with some other producers. I see myself more as an experimental vocalist than a real ‘producer’.
One piece of advice?
Read reviews and try everything before you buy it. At first I wanted KRK Rokit speakers but I didn’t really like the sound – the bass seemed overdone. The Mackies were much more realistic. I would also advise not to save on your mic – vocals make or break the song. (My mic is also one thing I’d like to change.) One final tip: get to know people with experience in recording. I signed up to a forum and got so much help from other producers.
Interviewee: Amir Hoss
Main studio components?
Mackie D8B mixer, MotU 828 MK 2,
KRK Rokit 8 and two sets of Yamaha NS-10m monitors, Korg Triton Extreme, Roland D-50, Yamaha P85, E-mu Orbit-3, E-mu Mo Phatt, Korg Electribe EA modules, M-Audio Oxygen 25, Korg padKONTROL controllers, Korg Electribe EA, Rode K2, Apex 205, Shure SM58 and SM57, AKG c1000S mics, Korg Zeor 4 mixer, Macbook Pro with NI Traktor, Audio 10, Kontrol X-1, electric and acoustic guitars, Middle Eastern percussion.
Which DAW and why?
I run Cubase 7. I started using Cubase VST 3.5 back in 1998 and have been glued to it ever since. I know it inside out.
Favourite piece of gear and why?
Yamaha NS-10s – the end result is what we hear. I just love the clarity of vocals that I bring out of a mix.
How do you use the studio?
I’m working on singles and an album released through my label Funktasy Records. I also do a variety of side projects – composition, arrangement or even jingles/ads.
Next buy? I’m about to go from PC to Mac. I use an MBPro for my live setup and really enjoy its simplicity. I will be adding a UAD Apollo Interface to the new setup as well.
Perfect or room for improvement?
Room acoustics could definitely be improved. I have gotten to know the sound in my room pretty well but I could still do some touch ups to it.
Any studio anecdotes?
Before all these fancy controllers I was using my computer’s QWERTY keyboard as a MIDI controller. I didn’t grow up rich so I had to be innovative