Studio & Gear

Stop thinking you need more expensive gear to get better recordings and mixes. It is ridiculous to spend your money on expensive gear and then be disappointed that it all still sounds the same!

I like to tell you something about the gear I use in my homestudio and why I choose for it. So I will not bother you with the stuff we have in our recording studio, that is another level and not meaningful to discuss here.

I aim to get great results with quality gear. But it is absolute not necessary anymore to spend thousands of dollars to get that “professional” sound you wish for. And rule number one: less is better!
More is for gearjunkies. So, it is all about how you use your gear and get to know it inside out!

Home Studio
What do I use for my (post) recording projects?

Hardware
My hardware configuration consists of just a few components. I use the ART Pro MPA 2 as a mic/guitar preamp. I stacked the unit with 2 JJ electronic 12AX7’s. I hooked it up with my old Line 6 POD Pro 2.0 rackmodel. Together I am able to get decent sounds for recording.  I bought the Line 6 many years ago and it just is a nice piece of gear for in your home studio. For me the reason to buy its brother via e-bay a couple of years later.  I connected this unit with the Focusrite Platinum Penta. The Penta is also a very nice unit, not topnotch of course (it’s not Tubetech or UAD), but it is reliable and does a proper job. I use it for vocals, bass and keys.

The whole array is attached to the Focusrite saffire pro 40. A great interface with good preamps.
A very versatile piece or gear. I recommend it.

New Post production studio

Computer + Software setup
The hardware is tied up by firewire to a Dawicontrol firewirecard with the TI XIO2200A chipset, which is very important for minimal latency. For recording and mixing I use Cubase 8.5 Pro and Wavelab 9. I use various plugin bundles from Waves, (SSL4000, 1176, LA2A, Kramer tape, AR plate reverb), Softube (Tube-tech CL1B, FET compressor), FabFilter (Pro C, Q2, L, G) and some Focusrite suites. For my drums I use BFD3. A very superb drum application, but the learning curve is pretty steep. For cleaning up and editting the field recording files, I use Izotope RX3 advanced.

I have the advantage to do drumtracking in our studio if necessary, even as laying down some rockguitars. Moddelers are great stuff but to get the real Marshall or Mesa sound is still a problem I think. It is just how it sounds, you can’t put your finger on it. There are some exceptions that come close, like the Kemper profiler. But it comes with a pricetag around €1600

Software gear

Software gear

Monitors
This is a personal choice and there are many nearfield monitors to choose from. I use a pair of Wquator DS5 MKII. You have learn how to use them. I also use a passive set of soundcrafts absolute 2 and a couple of of headphones (AKG and Sony) to judge my mixes. Don’t think light on your choice of monitors. It is one of the most important piece of gear in your home, or any, studio.

Field Recording
What do I use for my field recording projects?

Hardware
There are many brands of (handheld)recorders which you can choose from. But there are two very important musthaves if you want to do some decent field work.

The first one is; good preamps. They have to be as quiet as possible. The second one is: phantompower. Sensitive microphones use phantompower. So it is a must have. I did a lot of research before I made my choice and bought the Fostex FR2-LE. This is a highly recommended recorder that will suit my needs for the years to come. When I get more experienced with “grabbing” audio in the field, I will step up to the Sound Devices 722T or something simular. For quick recordings I use a Tascam dr-07. This is just a regular handheld device.

Microphones
I have some mics I use for different purposes in and outside my home studio. Microphones are also a very personal thing. Don’t get misled by hypes around some micrphone types or brands (like the Neumann u87, the AKG c414 or the Schoeps CMC5) Sure, they are very good microphones, but do you need them for your purposes? And will the quality cover up the price difference? You can find plenty of mic shoot outs on Youtube. I will post some on my YT channel soon. The comparisons are not that good, but they give you a good idea of the difference in quality and price. Currenly I use: a AKG c3000b, shure sm-57, Røde M3 (2), Sennheiser MKH 416 & Audio Technica AT815 shotgun and a Røde NT2a. I have a shortlist of fieldmics I want to add somewhere in time 🙂

If you want to do some serious field recording, it is very helpfull if you use the best windshields, blimps and boompoles from Rycote or Røde and/or a lightwight mic standard like a Manfrotto.

Fostex

Fostex FR2-LE

A200

Sony a200

Sennheiser 416

Sennheiser MKH 416 T

DSLR Camera
I use a Sony Alpha 200. Nothing fancy, it got good reviews when it came on the market. I added two quaility lenses to the package and together they deliver decent quality. I still have to learn much about photography. For now this camera will do. It’s not about expensive gear, it’s all about your creative mind and eye for composition. I took my most beautiful picture early in the morning on a small trainsation in France with an very old camera. Professional photographers always give one advice, just as musicians do: shoot, shoot, shoot, and practice, practice, practice.

I only want to addto this : if you know you gear, you get to know your art!!

I’ll be glad to help, if you need some, just comment or ask me on Facebook

Best regards,
Frank