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Needing some assistance Setting up a home studio of sorts...

#1 User is offline   Pesh 

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Posted 02 January 2016 - 09:06 AM

Hello, everyone.

I'm looking to expand on my musical home front and get some home kit for recording.

I've got an idea of getting a FocusRite interface, and I know I need to get some monitors and such.

And that's where I need some help.

To power the monitors, I either need active monitors with their own built-in amps, or passive ones with an external power amplifier. But do I need a pre-amp module in front of the speakers, after the PC?

Any help would be greatly appreciated; if more information is needed let me know.
Pesh, also known by some as Tom; an English bloke living in Spain, who likes sending all kinds of well-intentioned sonic shrapnel careening through the air. (Twitter = @TM_Fisher).

Things with Strings...
2002 Fender Squier Affinity Stratocaster - "Janus".

2013 Gibson USA Limited Les Paul Traditional Pro II - "Negroni".
2014 Gibson USA 120th Anniversary Les Paul Studio - "Jupiter".
2015 Epiphone Limited EJ-200 Artist - "Nightmaiden".
2016 Stagg M20 Mandolin - "Octavia".

Things I've Built...
First build; cross between a '57 Goldtop & the Lou Pallo Signature Les Paul; thread here [in progress and sadly on hold]

Things without strings...
Marshall MG15DFX.
Orange OR15.
Boss DS-1 Distortion pedal.
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#2 User is offline   capmaster 

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Posted 02 January 2016 - 09:27 AM

Since I still run a hardware-based setup using Korg multitrackers, I have all the controls at hand and thus don't have this problem.

I think it first depends on both the analog signal output voltage of your recording card and the input sensitivity of the inputs of active speakers respectively external power amplifiers.

Then there is another point, and this is the effective resolution provided by the recording card. Lots of them have volume controls in the digital path, and this will severely degrade audio quality since the digital level is attenuated before D/A conversion. In this case it would be best to operate the analog output at full level, i. e. based on 0dBFS, and use an external analog monitor controller between computer and poweramp inputs. At least all of my pals using computers for recording and mixdown do this.

Just my two cents.
DVCVNT VOLENTEM FATA NOLENTEM TRAHVNT
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#3 User is offline   Pesh 

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Posted 02 January 2016 - 09:35 AM

View Postcapmaster, on 02 January 2016 - 09:27 AM, said:

Since I still run a hardware-based setup using Korg multitrackers, I have all the controls at hand and thus don't have this problem.

I think it first depends on both the analog signal output voltage of your recording card and the input sensitivity of the inputs of active speakers respectively external power amplifiers.

Then there is another point, and this is the effective resolution provided by the recording card. Lots of them have volume controls in the digital path, and this will severely degrade audio quality since the digital level is attenuated before D/A conversion. In this case it would be best to operate the analog output at full level, i. e. based on 0dBFS, and use an external analog monitor controller between computer and poweramp inputs. At least all of my pals using computers for recording and mixdown do this.

Just my two cents.


Thanks Cap!

Thought I'd ask some actual humans on here; Google as always provided a thousand conflicting pieces of information, none of which were helpful in any fashion.


Pesh, also known by some as Tom; an English bloke living in Spain, who likes sending all kinds of well-intentioned sonic shrapnel careening through the air. (Twitter = @TM_Fisher).

Things with Strings...
2002 Fender Squier Affinity Stratocaster - "Janus".

2013 Gibson USA Limited Les Paul Traditional Pro II - "Negroni".
2014 Gibson USA 120th Anniversary Les Paul Studio - "Jupiter".
2015 Epiphone Limited EJ-200 Artist - "Nightmaiden".
2016 Stagg M20 Mandolin - "Octavia".

Things I've Built...
First build; cross between a '57 Goldtop & the Lou Pallo Signature Les Paul; thread here [in progress and sadly on hold]

Things without strings...
Marshall MG15DFX.
Orange OR15.
Boss DS-1 Distortion pedal.
0

#4 User is offline   jdgm 

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Posted 02 January 2016 - 10:37 AM

The PC outputs a line-level stereo signal from the mini-jack, unless.....
You have a USB (or Firewire) interface. Firewire seems to be on the way out now; USB works fine.

You need to amplify the signal either way. I now have a small Behringer USB mixer connected to the PC.
The mixer outputs are amplified (it's the 'control room out') and go straight to the power amp for my stereo speakers.
Advantage of this way of doing it is, I had the speakers already so don't have to buy anything else.

So really your 'pre-amp module' ought to be whatever interface you buy.....I think.

[thumbup]
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#5 User is online   sparquelito 

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Posted 03 January 2016 - 02:43 AM

Two more cents;

A pair of quality headphones, and I mean really comfortable to your head and ears, are essential for home recording.

The studio monitor speakers matter, yes.
Especially for listening to the mix down and the final mix in ambient space, but the headphones are key.

No use ordering them online either.
You will want to try on many pairs of headphones before you bring some home.

:)
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#6 User is offline   capmaster 

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Posted 03 January 2016 - 02:49 AM

When about headphones, you can't go wrong with Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO. For home studio applications both the 80 Ohms and 250 Ohms versions may do. Flash players and smartphones will call for the 80 Ohms version, HiFi gear will provide a better S/N ratio with the 250 Ohms type.

All the vocalists I recorded during the past ten years loved the DT 770 PRO over any other model, and I use them for recording and mixdown as well. The only exception is recording drums where I prefer the DT 770 M. These sound a bit coloured but are significantly louder, definitely an advantage when beating the drums. [biggrin]
DVCVNT VOLENTEM FATA NOLENTEM TRAHVNT
(The Fates lead the willing and drag those who are unwilling.)
Lucius Annaeus Seneca
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#7 User is offline   Cougar 

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Posted 03 January 2016 - 10:42 AM

I'm an amateur in this area, and not that much of a connoisseur audiophile, so take this with a few grains of salt.

The Focusrite has an internal pre-amp with a line/instrument switch that I assume switches the internal pre-amp on or off depending on whether your input signal is already pre-amped or not. (?) Then it "interfaces" your input signal to USB to get it into your computer and whatever software you're using. The interface also delivers output in the other direction, so you can play along with selected tracks you've already recorded, adding another new track, which you can also hear using the Forcusrite's monitor function - with no latency. I don't know if that output is also run through the pre-amp (apparently not since the output is just designated for earphones), but you should be using earphones at this juncture anyway to keep the tracks separate, with no sound from existing tracks "bleeding" into new tracks. Keeping each of the tracks separate and autonomous (drum track only, bass track only, rhythm guitar only, etc.) is really the key to multitracking. Well, solo multitracking anyway.

I just have Yamaha powered computer speakers with subwoofer for playback when not playing along - working on the tracks laid down, copying, cutting, pasting, moving, etc. Works for me. As I said, not much of an audiophile....
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2011 Guild F-212 XLCE
2014 Martin GPC12PA4 12-string
2008 Epiphone Masterbilt EF-500RAVS


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#8 User is offline   LPS1976 

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Posted 04 January 2016 - 04:11 PM

View PostPesh, on 02 January 2016 - 09:06 AM, said:

Hello, everyone.

I'm looking to expand on my musical home front and get some home kit for recording.

I've got an idea of getting a FocusRite interface, and I know I need to get some monitors and such.

And that's where I need some help.

To power the monitors, I either need active monitors with their own built-in amps, or passive ones with an external power amplifier. But do I need a pre-amp module in front of the speakers, after the PC?

Any help would be greatly appreciated; if more information is needed let me know.


you would come out of the Focusrite interface to your monitors. I've always gone with active powered monitors. take an afternoon and go to a store that has a bunch and listen to a few. I would try the JBLs, Yamahas, and KRK.
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#9 User is offline   Pesh 

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Posted 05 January 2016 - 05:01 AM

View PostLPS1976, on 04 January 2016 - 04:11 PM, said:

you would come out of the Focusrite interface to your monitors. I've always gone with active powered monitors. take an afternoon and go to a store that has a bunch and listen to a few. I would try the JBLs, Yamahas, and KRK.


Thanks, LPS. I've just had a further look at the FocusRite and noticed it has indeed got some outputs for monitors; don't know how I missed that! I thought I might need to utilise the optical out, or a line output or something.

I'll be trying out some active monitors or some passive ones with an amp, soon.

Thanks again.
Pesh, also known by some as Tom; an English bloke living in Spain, who likes sending all kinds of well-intentioned sonic shrapnel careening through the air. (Twitter = @TM_Fisher).

Things with Strings...
2002 Fender Squier Affinity Stratocaster - "Janus".

2013 Gibson USA Limited Les Paul Traditional Pro II - "Negroni".
2014 Gibson USA 120th Anniversary Les Paul Studio - "Jupiter".
2015 Epiphone Limited EJ-200 Artist - "Nightmaiden".
2016 Stagg M20 Mandolin - "Octavia".

Things I've Built...
First build; cross between a '57 Goldtop & the Lou Pallo Signature Les Paul; thread here [in progress and sadly on hold]

Things without strings...
Marshall MG15DFX.
Orange OR15.
Boss DS-1 Distortion pedal.
0

#10 User is offline   LPS1976 

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Posted 05 January 2016 - 09:33 AM

another plus about the active monitors in my situation was that I didn't have to use rack space on a power amp.
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