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#68: Building A Home Studio On A Budget – Part 1

#68: Building A Home Studio On A Budget – Part 1

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Let's talk gear! Here comes our totally incomplete, but 100% honest recording studio gear recommendations list for 2021. 

We go through the different categories of audio gear and give you options in the low, medium and upper price ranges, so you can pick and choose whatever fits your budget.

This list is totally subjective and there's much more out there, of course. But if you listen to this, you're going to get an idea of what to watch out for and why we like and recommend certain pieces of gear. 

We're not sponsored by any of the brands mentioned (as of May 2021) and we hope this helps you get started with or finally complete your home studio rig.


This episode was edited by Thomas Krottenthaler.

The Gear Mentioned In This Episode:

Allround dynamic mics:
Shure SM57/58, Audix i5, Heil Sound PR20, Heil Sound PR31BW

Kick drum mics:
AKG D112, Audix D6, Shure Beta 52A, Shure Beta 91A, AKG D12 VR, Telefunken M82

Large diaphragm dynamic mics:
Shure SM7B, Aston Stealth, Electro Voice RE20, Røde Procaster, Røde Podmic

Large diaphragm condenser mics:
Audio Technica AT2020/AT4040/AT4050, Aston Origin, Aston Spirit, Sennheiser MK4, AKG C214, AKG C414, Warm Audio WA-47jr

Small diaphragm condenser mics:
Røde NT5, Oktava MK012, Neumann KM184, Telefunken M60, Warm Audio WA-84, Lewitt LCT 140 Air, sE Electronics SE8

Modeling mics:
Antelope Axino Synergy Core, Antelope Edge Solo/Duo/Go, Antelope Verge, Slate Digital ML-1, Slate Digital ML-2, Townsend Labs Sphere L22

DI Boxes:
Little Labs Redeye, Countryman Type 85, Warm Audio WA-DI, Rupert Neve Designs RNDI, Avalon U5, Radial DI boxes, Palmer DI boxes, DIYRE kits

Audio Interfaces:
Universal Audio Apollo series, Antelope Audio Interfaces, Focusrite Scarlett (3rd gen), Steinberg UR series, Presonus Interfaces, RME Interfaces, Audient Interfaces, SSL 2+, Behringer U-Phoria series

Episode #69 is going to be part 2, covering DAWs, Monitoring, Headphones, etc.


Automatic Episode Transcript — Please excuse any errors, not reviewed for accuracy (click for full transcript)

TSRB Podcast 068 - Building A Home Studio On A Budget - Part 1

[00:00:00] Malcom: [00:00:00] Buy once cry once, because if you don't and you, you buy the cheap thing to try and save money, you end up having to replace it all and it costs more in the end and you end up paying twice or many times either. 

Benedikt: [00:00:16] This is the self recording band podcast, the show where we help you make exciting records on your own, wherever you are, DIY stuff.

Let's go.

Hello and welcome to the self recording band podcast. I am your host Benedict tine, and I'm here with my friend and cohost Malcolm. Oh, and flat. Hello? 

Malcom: [00:00:38] I'm great. I'm vaccinated. 

Benedikt: [00:00:40] Oh, that's exciting. That's exciting. He's yeah, totally. I'm still not. Unfortunately is things are really slow here in Germany. So 

Malcom: [00:00:50] is it Germany specific or is it like Europe in general?

I was 

Benedikt: [00:00:54] not entirely sure. We were supposed to like. Get everyone where like, [00:01:00] um, vaccinated, but like very soon actually, but then they didn't receive the doses that they should have received for some reason. And I don't know if that's just Germany or Europe, but, um, Like my, my appointment was canceled basically because of that reason.

So. Wow. 

Malcom: [00:01:20] Okay. Well, hopefully it comes around soon, cause like it has been exciting over here in Canada. In BC, specifically, we got our like little announcement, like our restart plan and it's like the light. You can literally see the light at the end of the title, the tunnel now it's, it's so exciting. Um, all the musicians I know are starting to book gigs again and, and everybody's like springing into action.

It's really, really cool. 

Benedikt: [00:01:45] That's so cool to hear. Yeah. Um, yeah, just, yeah, let's just hope it stays the way that, that way. Um, but I really, I really am really starting to be come more optimistic now. So yes, if you're listening to this a year from now, we'll see if we're right or wrong.

[00:02:00] That as of now, it's like end of May, 2021. Maybe, I don't know, the apocalypse is near in a year or so this will 

Malcom: [00:02:10] be a historical document exactly how wrong these guys were. 

Benedikt: [00:02:17] Yeah. Um, yeah, my, my wife is fully vaccine and I actually just returned home from getting a quick test then, because we're leaving for a short vacation tomorrow to Austria.

And to go over the border, you need to test or be vaccinated or you have to have COVID, um, one of the three and like the kids don't need to test. My wife is vaccinated, but I am not. And I had a test today and I'm negative so I can go so awesome. Yeah. Well, 

Malcom: [00:02:46] I bet you're going to have a good term in 

Benedikt: [00:02:47] Austria.

Oh yeah, totally, totally. I'm so overdue for a vacation and I, I can't wait. Yeah, it was pretty exciting. There's another exciting thing that happened today that I need to tell you. Um, and that is [00:03:00] like, It's not really, it doesn't have anything to do with you with the listeners, but I think, yeah, that's exciting.

So I wanted to share it. I bought my daughter a piano today, a digital piano, which is pretty exciting for me because I remember when I got mine, my first one. And so as had this little toy keyboard more or less, and she practiced on that and we did a couple of, I gave her some lessons and she really enjoyed it and did her homework and everything and practice.

So I promise to buy her a proper one if she does that. And now she gets like a, it's not a super expensive one and not like a real piano, but it's like a digital piano with 88 keys. And like, Weighted like real keys, all of that. Awesome. And I can't wait and I, it's also cool because I don't have one at home anymore.

Mine is at the studio and I, I hope I will play more if there's yeah, that'd 

Malcom: [00:03:49] be great. That's uh, that's really cool. I bet that is quite amazing to see your daughter learning and play music. 

Benedikt: [00:03:55] Oh yeah, totally, totally. That's one of the cool things [00:04:00] of, um, I don't know if your job there's also like your passion.

It can be a blessing and a curse, but sometimes it's pretty, it's pretty cool because like, yeah, I, I just know what to buy or I know like I'm excited about these things and I can, uh, yeah, I dunno. I dunno what it is, but it's like, It's cool too, to do something as for a living that you also enjoy so much in your personal life, sometimes it's not as cool, but it 

Malcom: [00:04:24] typically it's definitely not so cool.

It goes both ways in this case. Very cool. That's great. Glad to hear that, man. Yeah. 

Benedikt: [00:04:33] Cool. Um, yeah. Other than that, I don't know. What's, what's up in your, what, what, what, what has happened this week? We are still, we, again, are not recording on a Monday, which is always a little confusing, so it is 

Malcom: [00:04:44] confusing.

Yeah. I, uh, you know, I don't think I've bought any gear this week, so I've managed to successfully make it through a week without more new gear. So that's pretty cool. Nice work, Malcolm. Um, but, uh, other than that, I've just got, uh, I've had a [00:05:00] lot of mixes coming out over the last month or two that I've just been so proud of that have been done for so long.

So it's been like this great release period of me, of all this work. I'm really proud to finally seen the light of day. So that's been awesome. Oh, yeah, that's good. Other than that, I'm so into running men, which I know you're a runner as well. And, but I'm like getting really into it. I'm training for a half marathon right now.

Um, Just going out as much as I can. I got these crazy toe shoes and I'm full on running there these days. Oh yeah. 

Benedikt: [00:05:30] I have, I have gear and I did actually purchase gear, not just secure, but running gear this week, because if you said, okay, cool. 

Malcom: [00:05:37] What did you get? What'd you get Vibram uh, V alphas, which are like, they're kind of hybrid toe shoes for road end trail.

And I'm stoked on them. 

Benedikt: [00:05:47] Loving them. Yeah. I'm a minimal, listic like runner as well. Like I have like minimal shows and barefoot shoes. I don't have, I don't specifically like the toe shoes. I haven't tried to much, but I have some, some minimal, um, shoes, [00:06:00] but with like one like toolbox and this week I went completely minimal and bought like running sandals.

Awesome. Um, leg. There are the lunar ones and then there are, um, Shama sandals, I think they're called. And I got those. When did you go with the Shama one? S S H a M M a. 

Malcom: [00:06:20] Shama sandals. I got to have a look at this. 

Benedikt: [00:06:23] Um, there is, I don't know if you've read, born to run 

Malcom: [00:06:26] there's I just finished it like, uh, a month or so back.

Um, 

Benedikt: [00:06:32] like the, this, this, this tribe and Mexico think they, um, used to, to build these, these sandals and they run like ultra marathons with them. And it's pretty much just the, just something to prevent your feet from, like getting hurt from rocks and stuff. But like, it's not a real shoe. It's just, uh, a protection thing underneath your feet, but you're essentially running barefoot.

Malcom: [00:06:54] Yeah. Yeah. That's really cool. I have actually seen these ones, but they look pretty awesome. I'm [00:07:00] very curious. Yeah. I, uh, I am so into it. I was having like some pretty bad it band issues with Ronnie and like less than like a weekend to switch into mental miss shoes. It was gone and I can run so much further.

Now. I'm super stoked. Um, I know this probably sounds just dreadfully boring to all of our listeners, but that the time Tamara is actually fascinating. As how, like these, these people are just elite athletes and they run in sandals. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Type of folks that can run down deer. Yeah. It's totally insane.

Benedikt: [00:07:39] Totally. It's insane. My wife already hates me for buying these sandals because I'm going to take them to our trip to Austria. And when we go to hike, when we go hiking and stuff, I'm going to wear these sandals. No doubt. And like, she's like, I don't. Like, I don't know you when we're there, 

Malcom: [00:07:53] they look far more cool than toe shoes.

Yeah. Look like I'm wearing, like, [00:08:00] I don't even know. I 

Benedikt: [00:08:01] bet though, the Austrians will be like, oh yeah, the Germans. Like they go to the mountains with sandals. Yeah.

Yeah. We'll see. Anyway, that's so cool to hear because like, I totally, totally love the minimalistic running thing. So actually it didn't make it through the week without bikes. 

Malcom: [00:08:21] No, no, actually not pretty expensive toe shoes

Benedikt: [00:08:27] anyways. Um, other than that, when it comes to buying gear, we have a pretty cool episode for you today. 

Malcom: [00:08:35] Yeah. If we can't buy gear, we're going to talk about buying gear. 

Benedikt: [00:08:38] Exactly. Exactly. We're going to talk about nothing but buying gear today. No, we've got to help you build a recording studio on a budget.

We're going to talk about. Like different tiers, different price categories of equipment. And we give you some recommendations. Uh, it's going to be a pretty extensive list episodes. So it probably is like, it would be best for you. If you would grab a [00:09:00] notepad take notes or like go to the show notes, it's a surf recording band.com/ 68, um, where you find this list of things that we recommend.

Um, but maybe you want to take some notes and. And then do your own research. After that, please keep in mind that this list that we're going to give you is not complete, like not at all. It's just our personal, like recommendations stuff that we've tried. So stuff that we think sounds good. There's much more out there.

It's highly subjective as well. We might forget something that we like and know of and just didn't think of. So please forgive us if we didn't mention anything, uh, that you think is great, but I think would give you a pretty good starting point and you can always do your own research. Um, you can test things, hear them in your own environment, send them back if you don't like it.

I don't know, but just do your own research. That's what I wanted to say. And don't assume that this list is complete or that this is the ultimate recommendation because it can't be, it's just two's 

Malcom: [00:09:56] objective. Yeah. Um, this is kind of exactly, like you [00:10:00] said, with buying a piano for your daughter, you, you know what to look for because you have all this experience through your career.

And that is the exact same advantage we're trying to give you is that we've. Used so much of this stuff and figured out what we don't think is good value in what we think is amazing value. Um, and then there's, it's pretty easy to spend money on something that you end up having to just upgrade later and, um, or doesn't do the job you thought it would and all this stuff that, and then there's so much marketing out there.

So this is all based on experience, which is 

Benedikt: [00:10:31] great. Absolutely. Absolutely. Now I want to give you something in addition to this episode, and that is a gear guide that has been on my website for quite a while, and you might even have it already, but it was kind of outdated and I updated it. So the 20, 21 version of my free essential gear guide is now available.

And if you go to the self recording band.com/gear guide, you can download that completely for free. It's a PDF. It's less like the one we were [00:11:00] going to give you today, but with a little more info stuff that you can, um, I mean, we're going to give you that info as well today, of course, but you can just read it there.

It's taken a nice PDF format and, um, just go to the surf recording, band.com/gear guide, download that. It's a great way to start. And it also keeps you from wasting money because if you buy the wrong stuff, because you're not informed because you don't really know where to start. Uganda gonna end up buying twice or even more times, and you're going to return stuff.

You're going to not be, you're not going to be satisfied and it's going to be very, very expensive in the end. So buy the right stuff right away and use a guide like that. As a starting point, the self recording band.com/ear guide, do it,

Malcom: [00:11:44] just 

Benedikt: [00:11:45] do it, do it, do it. All right. Um, let's start. So we're gonna go through this league. We're going to basically going down the signal chain. So we're starting with Mike's now, Malcolm, [00:12:00] there are different categories of mikes and there are also of course, different like budget categories. Where do we start?

Like what's the bare minimum. Um, 

Malcom: [00:12:11] I think we'd be doing our podcasts, a disservice. If we didn't first say that's in 57 is one category and then there's everything else. A hundred percent you'll need that one. Now we're going to go deeper than that. Um, 

Benedikt: [00:12:23] oh, by the way, sorry, by the way you said once in an episode, I don't remember which one, but you said once that you wanted to do one day, you wanted to do an, a record just with 50 sevens to prove the point yesterday.

I heard an interview with Butch Butch, VIG, sorry, Vance Powell. Um, Vance Powell with, yeah, I'm on recording studio rockstars with Shaw. And in this podcast, Vance, I, I didn't didn't, I can't remember the name, but he mentioned a friend of his who. Actually did it. And he made, I think, two albums, two records just with 50 [00:13:00] sevens.

So someone has done it. And I'm curious how it sounds, I haven't heard, but I just thought if you went out, when I heard that, that's great. 

Malcom: [00:13:08] That's great. Actually. Yeah, there's a, the duo called, I mean, this isn't really like doing a full rock band, but there is a, uh, acoustic duo called the milk carton kids down there.

Good. If you haven't checked them out already. Um, but they did some records with two, four S and 50 sevens, and they're like, you know, literally facing each other in the room, playing the guitar and singing and, uh, one on the  guitar and one on the voice for each of them. And it's like, it sounds great, but they're also just unstoppable musicians.

So it would have sounded great, no matter what that helps. Yes. Um, okay. I gotta check out that podcast episode for sure. 

Benedikt: [00:13:43] Yeah, tons of good stuff in there. Also about the live band recording topic that we just covered in a recent episode, he talks a lot about that and about the Lin John's thing, where he lines up the amps and drums in one line, like on stage and stuff, stuff that we've been talking about an hour episode, he explains it in this one and yeah, it's a [00:14:00] pretty cool podcast.

Episode two. We should listen to them. 

Malcom: [00:14:03] All right. Uh, well, On the 50 sevens. We're talking about dynamics all around your Mike's first, I think. Um, and yeah, really, you just can't go wrong with a 57 here. Um, uh, you've got the Audix I five on here as well. Benny, we've got an outline by the way that we're reading off and that's, that's definitely a great mic.

I haven't used that other one though. Which one 

Benedikt: [00:14:22] is that? That's a, company's called Heil sound. Um, I love their mix there. It's like my favorite dynamic mix. Actually, they have great large diaphragm dynamics for, but not so much for like, not like the SM seven or the pro-Castro, but more for instruments. Um, I think there are PR 31 PR 30 and  um, are the, as far as I know, at least they claimed that it is it's the largest diaphragm and a dynamic mic.

And. That for whatever reason gives you, it gives them this a distinct sound. I wouldn't say it's because of that, or it's better because of that, but they are, they just sound freaking amazing. And [00:15:00] the PR 20 is a standard dynamic mic, not a large diaphragm, one. It's like an SM 57, same price category. Also. I think I like it for handheld vocals.

Some vocalists just like to have their mic in their hands. That's how they perform best. And this one gives me the least amount of noise from the grabbing the mic and stuff. And also, it just sounds really good and I love it on snare. I love it on amps. It's just a 57 alternative that I really, really love and their PR 31 is probably my favorite dynamic mic of all.

It's a little more expensive, so it's not on that list here, but it's for a dynamic mic. It's pretty expensive, but like not super, but yeah, but it's just love it. And the  is the one here in the standard around category. 

Malcom: [00:15:46] Sweet. Yeah. I don't think I've even seen one of these in person before. They're just not a thing over in Canada.

I don't think I'm going to have to keep an eye out though. That is cool. Um, but yeah, essentially the long short of it is that [00:16:00] you get something out of 57 par, uh, and, and you're going to be fine and have a mic. That's going to get you through a lot. Um, like, uh, my 57 gets used on an acoustic guitar on vocal sometimes on guitars like electric guitars.

Every time I'm on drums all the time, just pretty much can't get, you can't really get through a recording without having, uh, an all-rounder dynamic mic on hand. You're going to need one. 

Benedikt: [00:16:30] Oh yeah. Yeah, totally. And I would recommend buying a handful of these. Actually, if you record a full band, like if you're just on your own with your guitar, amp, one will be good.

If you are recording a band, you can't go wrong with like three of those or whatever, because you can put them on Tom snares, amps, whatever. So definitely instead of buying one of these. Um, drum kits or whatever, because you're going to end up not liking some of those mics and replacing them and they just get, go with some, some of these all [00:17:00] rounders, they will just work and they will be better than whatever is in those, my kids 

Malcom: [00:17:03] usually.

Yeah, definitely. Yeah. There is a saying in every industry probably, but especially the music one where it's buy once cry once, because if you. And you, you buy the cheap thing to try and save money. You end up having to replace it all and it cost more in the end and you end up crying twice or many times even.

Um, and yeah, those, those kids are almost always pretty awful. Um, I'm sure there's good pieces in each one, but more or less, I strongly agree with Benny here. If you kind of follow this episode and, and grab the individual makes you need to do the job, it's going to be a much better result for not only drums, but everything.

Um, and there's no reason to have mikes that are just for drums. Like all good drum bikes are also great on other things maybe with the exception of kickbacks. 

Benedikt: [00:17:53] Yes. Yep. Agreed. Which brings us to the next category, which is kickbacks because although they are typically not [00:18:00] that great as arounders, if you record real drums, it's probably worth getting one because I mean, you can record a kick with an S and 57.

But it's probably quicker, easier and better to, to use something that gives you the, the low end in a way that a kick drum does a kick drum mic does. So, and also some of them have like a frequency curve that just fits bass drums as well. And so, I don't know, I would just recommend it. If you have the budget, I would recommend getting one of these and kick Mike's can be the typical ones that have always been there.

Like the AKG D one 12, some people hate it. Others love it. I don't know where you are on this. I'm not crazy 

Malcom: [00:18:41] about it. Honestly. Have you ever used the older one? I think it's the D 12. 

Benedikt: [00:18:45] That's better. That'd be better. Yeah, 

Malcom: [00:18:47] it is. But it's kind of, once you hear it, you just can't like the D one 12 

Benedikt: [00:18:50] anymore, but very distinct sound like you can tell when I do one 12th is used sometimes though the knock it has can be really cool.

I like combining it with others because it has this hundred Hertz, [00:19:00] like upper base knock that I really like, but it doesn't really have a lot of subs. And also the attacks that has a weird point, like a weird, like three K three 4k thing that really sticks out. And sometimes that's just what you need.

Other times. I don't like it as much. Depends, but it's, it's still a triangle classic kicked around Mike and it's been on tons of rock records and. Um, yeah, so it's worth mentioning definitely the Arctics D six is also, some people hate it. Some love it. It's very acute. It's a, like a modern metal sort of Mike.

It has a very, uh, pronouns pronouns, top end, and a lot of sub lows. Yeah. Scoop mid range. 

Malcom: [00:19:39] Sorry. I think I love that mic. It's just does what I was going to do anyways. Yeah. Generally. 

Benedikt: [00:19:45] Yeah. I think it's awesome. Yeah. It's like a tank as well. Like yeah, 

Malcom: [00:19:49] totally. The one that's not on here is actually the AKG  VR.

It's their newest one. Um, that's definitely a, that's a very high end kicking mic. It's like [00:20:00] probably six or 700 bucks. Um, and, uh, It's awesome. I just like it whenever I can get my hands on one of those, that's my first choice for 

Benedikt: [00:20:09] sure. Totally. Totally. And then the, the, the, for me, it's the, Telefunken M 82 that I really enjoy.

I really love, and it's this acute switch that really works well. And it's just a great overall mic, but again, these are all makes it's, it's a matter of taste more than anything. I think, I think the D one 12 is probably on the more affordable side compared to some of the others. Yes. What I also really like is a PCM, like the bed on 91, and then you want a by sure.

Um, it's a condenser, but it, you just put it in the kick drum and it just lays in the kick drum. You don't need to stand for it. It's like, yeah. Precious zone mic, a PCM sounds really awesome. A lot of attack, um, pretty flat bottom and responds. I would, I would, I would say, um, yeah, 

Malcom: [00:20:51] cool. Yeah. I haven't really got to use many of those or actually any of those.

Um, and I would like to, they've always kind of intrigued me. Um, [00:21:00] yeah, I think for most of our listeners, the budget. Like that, that SM 57 equivalent is what they're looking for. So probably that D one 12 is a great place to start. Um, but the other sure. Uh, I can't even think what the model is, but sure has a kind of equivalent.

Model. Um, 

Benedikt: [00:21:16] yeah. Uh, the better 52 I think is that 

Malcom: [00:21:19] I think you're right. And, uh, that that'll get you through as well. Um, that, that's a pretty 

Benedikt: [00:21:23] good one, actually. Yeah, we should have totally mentioned that it's 160 euros or so, so it's also in the budget category, but that's actually really great. It's a pretty popular Mike for live applications.

Um, and, but it's a really great all around kick drum mix. So yeah, definitely look into, into that as well. 

Malcom: [00:21:40] Totally. Um, and I'm trying to prioritize things as we talk through them and that, you know, that the dynamics, we said, get a handful of those. If you're doing drums and stuff, cause you'll need them all.

Um, I think the kick makes a little lower on the priority list. Cause you could get by with, you know, throwing a SM 58 or whatever you need in there just to get by, but [00:22:00] you won't regret having one. Like we said, it's going to do a better job at a kick drum. Um, and. People do use them on bass amps occasionally.

Um, so it's not totally just a one trick pony. Yeah, 

Benedikt: [00:22:11] totally. If you really can't afford kicked around mic and you don't think there's SM 57, you have, or whatever sounds great. I would focus on using something that isolates the kick as much as possible and gives you a really clear attack because you can always then trigger and use a sample.

So if you really don't have anything, that sounds cool. Just capture it in a very clean, um, and isolated ways so that you can trigger off of it. Like, just do that and ignore how it sounds. Basically agreed. Yeah. Then. Okay. Uh, other makes that you should have probably other, like the only exception and you can skip this.

My category, if that's you is, if you are at home in your home studio, on a laptop with a small interface, and all you do is like program drums, record the guitars and maybe do vocals. Then you need one mic. Basically [00:23:00] the categories of mikes that we're talking about now are only relevant. If you are recording real amps or real instruments, bands, stuff like that.

So one thing that you need at some point, I think is like either a large diaphragm dynamic mic or a large diaphragm condenser mic. So. Something for vocals, basically. I mean, an SM 57 can also be used for vocals, but there are like vocal mikes that work really, really well. And with the most common thing is probably the large diaphragm condenser mikes that you've seen on campus pictures and videos of studios.

The thing with those is there's not really a really good budget category. There are some exceptions that are cheaper and good, but usually with those, the more you spent, the better it gets and then it gets highly subjective. So in the upper category, there is no clear recommendation. You just need to try it.

And if you are going to spend that much money, you should try and listen for yourself. Anyways, in the [00:24:00] lower category, there are some makes that are worth trying. Um, but it depends on the voice, I guess, if they fit or not. So I have had pretty decent results with a, an audio Technica, a T 2020, which is probably the cheapest on this list.

It's below a hundred bucks like euros, I think. Um, but it, it can work and then there's the Aston, origin and spirit, which we both think are great. I 

Malcom: [00:24:25] think. Yeah. Yeah. I recently got turned on to these after hearing about them for ages. Um, They're great. They're built like tanks, uh, and, and I thought they sounded just fine.

So they look, definitely look into her ass and stuff. Um, yeah, I w I was definitely impressed with, with them. Um, you always hear, like, there's kind of fads with microphones and you're like cruising the forums. And all of a sudden Aston started showing up in all of these kinds of garage recording situations.

And everybody's saying they're the best. And, uh, I just kinda [00:25:00] thought it was gonna fizzle out, but they really kind of stuck around for quite some time now being parked there. Um, and people saying that they're just blown away by the value. And then finally trying a few of them. I'm pretty impressed. It seems like a really good value bang for buck kind of Mike.

Benedikt: [00:25:16] Yeah, totally agreed. Um, then there is like this medium, sorry, go, go on. Sorry. 

Malcom: [00:25:21] Well, I was, I was going to say that we're, we're talking about large diaphragm condensers, but. On this podcast, we, we generally do steer people towards large diaphragm dynamics instead. Um, and I want to refresh people on why that is because most people immediately want a gab, a large diaphragm condenser, because that's what you see on every, you know, you watch a documentary, your favorite band.

There's some really expensive tube mic in front of them. So everybody wants to go buy a mic that looks like that because it feels like they're doing the right thing. But the reason we're always recommending large diaphragm dynamics instead like the Shure SM seven B is they're going [00:26:00] to be more versatile, um, for, for your situation.

And again, we are not in professional studios when we're using these mics and if your, your space isn't treated and doesn't sound great, uh, you're going to be kind of fighting yourself with a large diaphragm condenser versus large diaphragm dynamics, which kind of takes them out of the equation to a certain degree.

So. I guess we're, we're recommending large diaphragm condensers, but I think we really recommend large diaphragm dynamics. It's kind of like if you're going to get a large diaphragm condenser, here are some options. 

Benedikt: [00:26:39] Yes, totally. Absolutely. A hundred percent agreed. It's the reason why we use Dodge diaphragm dynamics on this podcast, because like, at my, I mean, in your room, you could use whatever probably, but I'm here in my office at home, not in my studio and I have treated it a bit now, but with a condenser mic, you would hear a lot more of the room and which is wind sound, sound very [00:27:00] direct and clear.

So I'm using a dynamic mic here. So yeah, you are using Malcolm is using a pro or by road. I'm using an SM seven. They are all in the same, more or less the same price category, I think. Um, Not super cheap, but also not, not really expensive compared to good large diaphragm condensers. Exactly. So before you buy a cheap condenser, consider buying one of those, they probably cost the same and might be more versatile, better suited for your room and sound better.

Maybe even. And easy to treat afterwards, not a sibilant because it's cheap than a condenser. Mics also tend to have this harsh, um, top. And sometimes that's hard to get rid of like S sibilance, like, uh, S noises, simple answers. Sibilants all this shit. I can't do 

Malcom: [00:27:51] similar influence on 

Benedikt: [00:27:52] that shit. Yeah, exactly.

Similar shit. Um, so by that you don't, I get a lot of siblings because [00:28:00] I'm using a dynamic mic, so 

Malcom: [00:28:02] smooth, 

Benedikt: [00:28:02] smooth, exact exactly. Um, yeah. So there is the SM seven, there's the pro-Castro by road. There's the Aston south. So once again, I asked in here, there is the RD 20 by, um, Electrolytes I think. Yeah. Yeah.

That's another 

Malcom: [00:28:19] great one for sure. They're they're just awesome. Um, you mentioned that I could use a large firm in my space cause it is really treated, but even then my laptop fan's going off right now and that would be an issue, right? Like they're really sensitive. So these are just such a blessing, uh, having a great sounding, large diaphragm dynamic, you will not regret having that and also great on drums and guitars and stuff like that as 

Benedikt: [00:28:42] well.

Yeah. Even if you use, if you're starting out with, with the cheaper ones, like the podcast or by road, even that one is great. Like it's pretty cheap. Um, I prefer to the pro-Castro, but the podcast has a pretty good mic. It works also great on snare or amps, but also for like vocals can, can totally [00:29:00] work. So this category is worth looking 

Malcom: [00:29:02] into.

Yeah. And they're like 150 bucks or something it's like really affordable and a 150 bucks in a large diaphragm. Condenser is going to be garbage. Yes exactly. Like it's going to be bad sounding, not just not great. 

Benedikt: [00:29:19] And I, I got the name wrong. It's not called pro podcast or it's called pot mic. I think pod mode partners with the pro Castro.

That's what they call. Yeah. Okay. But, but there is actually, there are a couple of mikes that are not super expensive in the condenser category that I still want to mention. There's one, not many people. I haven't heard many people mention it or recommend it, but I just love it. And it's, it's been around forever.

I feel like, but it's, it's super cool. It's the Sennheiser. MK four. I don't know if you've ever used that to me. It is the all-rounder like other than, uh, an 80 and 87, are you 87 or so, which is pretty expensive and, but a great around her. Other than that, this is the only real around her that I can think of.

Or maybe the [00:30:00] full 14 is one, but that one's cheaper. It just works. It's great. On acoustic guitars. It's awesome. On vocals. It's pretty flat and pleasing sounding, so it it's not as hyped. Um, it's great. It's a great room mic. It works on kick out. It can take level, you can put it in front of a guitar amp.

Like it's just a super great well made, um, can answer make that's not too expensive. So I highly recommend that 

Malcom: [00:30:23] one. Awesome. Yeah. The. Audio-Technica 40, 40 and up kind of range, um, with Audio-Technica their number, the higher, the number, the kind of the higher quality. They're my kids generally, um, at like the 40 50, for example, there's another one they do, which I think is just a multi pattern, 40, 40.

And, uh, it it's one of my favorite, large African condensers. It just sounds so natural. And it's just going to be like, if I want it to sound like what I hear when I'm in the room with them, I can use that mic and I know it's going to be quite close. Um, so that is the price range of those, like the Sennheiser and the 80, 40, [00:31:00] 40 is pretty close to like a share SM seven B.

So they're kind of in the same range, um, just to give people an idea and 

Benedikt: [00:31:06] has there is a little cheaper, I think even it's below 300 bucks here in oh nine. 

Malcom: [00:31:11] Cool. Um, yeah. And then we, we got a couple more, there's the warm audio, fat 47. That's definitely a great mic. Um, and the AKG two 14 or four 14. Those are great mix as well.

Um, and obviously you can go. Upper than that, like, kind of, these were all like a thousand or less. And if you go over it, um, thousand up, and obviously you can go as high as you want, they're going to be an awesome bike at that point generally. Um, like if you're spending more than a thousand bucks on a large diaphragm, condenser is probably going to be a really fantastic mic.

Again, it might not do what you want in your space. Um, so we're kind of hesitant to recommend going that direction unless you have like a treated vocal space, um, or, or environment that 

Benedikt: [00:31:58] you can and use it. And also you [00:32:00] absolutely need to try it because it's, it might be the completely wrong choice for your voice.

You can have, you can use like a $10,000 microphone and it might not work as well as a $500 microphone. If it's just not for your voice, like. People have like, again, siblings is very different from one person to another and a couple of other things too. They are in general fantastic mix and they probably sound good, whatever you like in almost every situation, but sometimes they're just not the right choice.

And, um, you got to try and test and find the right one for your voice. And then if you can afford it and buy such a mic, then it's going to be fantastic. Of course. It's highly 

Malcom: [00:32:41] subjective. Yeah. Having been lucky enough to work in so many studios with huge mic lockers, I can definitely testify to that. You often grab the shiniest most expensive one first.

Cause it's like, oh, I love using this stuff. It's exciting for me, it looks cool for the client, but then sometimes you just have to take it down right after. [00:33:00] Cause you're like, wow, that doesn't sound good 

Benedikt: [00:33:01] at all. Yep. It can happen. Yeah. All right. Cool. Then. SDC is small diaphragm condensers. Then you probably need a pair of these at some point, if you're recording a band again, like real.

Yeah. Thanks. Very 

Malcom: [00:33:17] good. Specifically to have, um, overheads is kind of the classic situation, right? You're going to have like a space pair or an X, Y you'll love that could be great for rooms as well. Also the great on acoustic guitars and you know what, some of them aren't even great on electric guitar amps and stuff like that.

Oh yeah. Um, yeah, I think you'd be happy to have them 

Benedikt: [00:33:35] or around us to me. And honestly, sometimes a small diaphragm condenser can even be cool on vocals. People just don't do it for whatever reason, but small bathroom inventors are typically pretty flat. They are pretty like linear sounding. There are more hyped mikes out there of course, but some of them are just, they give you pretty much what happens in front of the mic.

And, um, they take your cue really well. And you could potentially record a great [00:34:00] vocal with a great, uh, small diaphragm condenser mic. So I have recorded voiceover stuff in the past for a commercials and stuff like that. When I, when I still was, when I was still doing that. And sometimes I ended up using one of these because it just worked cool.

The noise floor is a little higher than with the large diaphragm condensers. Usually that's one that may, might be an issue for stuff like that, but they can totally work. Like they are just very good. All-rounders you can use them on anything. 

Malcom: [00:34:25] Right. Yeah. I personally love using small diaphragms on basis sources.

Actually, they have a very tight, low end, um, generally, and that can be cool. So your, your instincts usually to go with a big mic for bass, but sometimes you can mix it up and get, and get some 

Benedikt: [00:34:41] really cool stuff. That's a myth actually, that I, that's interesting that you bring that up because people really think, and I did that myself as well.

That like the, the more low end you want to capture the bigger the make or the bigger the diaphragm, the more low end you get or whatever, or the bigger it sounds. But that's just not really the case. What happens is the [00:35:00] bigger the diaphragm, the slower the mic is. So it's, it's, it could sound a little more like fat or lazy if you will, like full whatever, because the thing just doesn't move as fast.

But again, it's like a very, very thin diaphragm. So the difference is not really that big, but with the smaller firm condensers, they can reproduce all the frequencies down to the very lowest, just as the large diaphragm condensers can, but they typically are a little quicker, which probably is what you described as the, the tight, low end.

You still get transients and punch in the low end, and it's a little more focused, a little tighter and precise, and that can be really, really cool. So don't assume that your low end is going to be fuller better or bigger or whatever with a larger mic. Doesn't have to be totally, 

Malcom: [00:35:42] yeah. All through this conversation.

We've been talking about. All of these mics and why you kind of need one of each or at least. Um, but, uh, that is all again, through the scope of you recording like a full drum kit or something. Um, so all of this is of course circumstantial to what you need [00:36:00] for your situation. Again, if you're just a bedroom pop producer, you don't need, you need one maybe.

Right. Um, or if you're like instrumental guitar music, you technically don't need any, um, you're good to go, but, uh, if you're doing drums, you need to have something probably right. Um, like almost everybody likes a stereo drum kit, so you're going to need something for overheads at the, at the bare minimum.

Um, and that's two mikes and that should probably either be too small diaphragm, condensers, or too large diaphragm condensers. Um, and if we're going from personal experience and bang for your buck for value, you're going to have a much better result. Putting that money into small diaphragm 

Benedikt: [00:36:40] condensers in my experience, yes, yes, absolutely.

Samples of those. My would be, I think the most like the classic thing that everyone recommends is the Norman KM. One 84. They are not crazy expensive, but also not really cheap, but they just get the job done. Like they work on anything and everything they are. [00:37:00] I don't think they are particularly exciting sounding.

They, they sound good, but nothing that, like, it's super exciting, but they just get the job done and they are a very high quality mic. So that's a recommendation. I can't really go wrong with 

Malcom: [00:37:11] seem to be durable, which I think is important for an overhead with drumsticks. Um, but, uh, and yeah, they just, they, they reproduce really nice.

I think cymbal sound pleasant in them and that's really, my main requirement for a set of overheads is how symbols translate. Um, and I don't think they hype it over the high end too much or anything like that. So very usable. 

Benedikt: [00:37:34] Great mic. Yep. Now, then in the upper category, there is basically two camps for me, there's the  and similar sounding mix.

And then there is the ones that are sort of like the original 80 fours, which have a little more like a darker top end. Many people prefer those over the one 90 fours, um, that you don't get them as easily. I think they, they are, they don't make them anymore. Um, but there are things [00:38:00] like the, the warm audio clone, the 80 fours or the telephone can M 60, which is also has a transformer, I think.

And is sounding a little darker, a little dirtier, if you will. Not as precise. Um, totally depends. Our great makes again, in the upper category, the sky's the limit choose whatever you like. You can't go wrong with the 180 fours, but since this is called billing, like how to build a recording studio on a budget.

We're a home recording studio on a budget. We're going to talk about those mics now. And this category is actually interesting because other than with the large diaphragm mikes, there are a couple affordable ones that I really think we can. Yep. Yeah. 

Malcom: [00:38:38] The first step is the only one on this list that I actually have experience with, but it's the road NT fives.

Um, so it's like the most popular road pencil mix for sure. These are really popular. It makes just period. Um, yeah, they are amazingly great for how little they cost. They, they really did it. Road's a good company for that. They, they really make good stuff. 

Benedikt: [00:38:58] Totally. Yeah. [00:39:00] Agree. Um, October MKL 12. I like those, uh, those, those are Russian mix.

I really like those. Um, they have, I mean, I think you can do do that with the rows as well. Right? You can change the capsule, like the polar pattern if you buy a different capsule and just, um, oh, I don't know, change it. You can do it with your toddlers anyway. And the same price point sound pretty similar to me.

I sometimes prefer ones over the others, but like, they are pretty similar. Um, both work then there is the LeWitt, I think it's called LeWitt. LCT one 40 air. I have tried that those ones, they are even cheaper and they pretty, they surprised me pretty much like those sound really great for what they cost.

So I commend them. Um, LeWitt max in general is good, good company. I haven't tried all of their mix, but everything I've heard so far has been surprisingly good. And then there's the S E electronics S E eight also pretty cheap, but also really great. And I'm a big SCLC Franks fan. Actually. I love the ribbons and some of the [00:40:00] things they make and those mikes are affordable.

Sound awesome. And pick any of those four and I think you'll be happy. So very cool. 

Malcom: [00:40:09] Um, yeah, you just said ribbon. I'm like, oh, that's not none of this, but it doesn't need to be on our list. We will 

Benedikt: [00:40:15] know exactly like it's going to be longer than we thought it would be this episode. Anyway. So let's, let's skip the road.

Malcom: [00:40:21] Yeah. Um, yeah, I'm obsessed with and mix right now though, 

Benedikt: [00:40:25] too. But ribbon is also, I mean, let's real quick, without a clear recommendation. If you have the budget and you have everything else that we cover here in this episode, then go buy a ribbon. Or if you really, or if you really want that sound like more than anything else, then buy a ribbon.

They are darker. Usually they are smooth. Um, they have a sound, they are not, they don't give you an exact representation of what's going on in front of the mic. Usually there are more colorful, which is beautiful often. Um, and there are cheap and expensive ones that are great, but it's hard to recommend one because they all sound completely different.

I've had, um, very cheap ones [00:41:00] that sounded great. I had very expensive ones. That sounded great. Totally different, totally up to you and a matter of like taste and vibe and what you're going for. Yeah. 

Malcom: [00:41:09] They're, they're fun, but, uh, they're kind of splurgy. Um, and that actually our, our next category is kind of along the same lines modeling mix.

This is kind of a newer technology. Um, and we both have one actually. Is, is yours working right now? 

Benedikt: [00:41:24] Remember when you had issues? Mine is working. I returned it. I wanted them to repair it, like the shop where I bought it. They sent it back and said that it's not broken. And I'm like, Hmm, I I'm pretty sure it is.

And then I tried it again and it was still broken. And I said like, yes, it is. And they couldn't hear the noise that I was hearing. They said they tested it and we're fine. And I was like, no, it's like really quiet and there's a lot of noise. Um, so I sent it back again. Then they sent it to slate to the U S they confirmed that it was broken.

And I got a new one. It took forever, but I got a new one and the service was great at the job that [00:42:00] the tech just couldn't find whatever, but the service people were awesome. So I don't want to, like, it's all good. But, uh, the Mike we're talking about is the slate VMs. And also, I don't think that it's a common thing that they break all the time.

And not that you think like it's because I really like it actually. So, and I actually would recommend it, I think, as with all like mass market products. And this is one of those you can always get a bad one. And I think that happened to me. Like they sell so many of those. Um, and they, which is why they can do that, this price point.

And if you are lucky, you get one that works. And if you are really unlucky, you can get one that doesn't work as well. So, but, but I hear mostly good things about them and I like it. So I definitely recommend it. It's not the cheapest, but you get basically a Micheal locker in one mic, you get a, my collection and I'm really still to this day.

Like lot of people don't like it, but I really still am convinced and surprised by how they sound. I just, I just think they are great period. [00:43:00] They are. Yeah. 

Malcom: [00:43:00] I I've got one as well. Um, and you came in just, just under a thousand bucks, I think, Canadian. Um, and. It is a great mic. Um, I use it, it's my only large diaphragm condenser my locker right now.

Um, and it's so versatile because with the modeling stuff, it pretty much allows you to like select the profile of whatever mic you want. Um, and well, it does, I don't really feel like it does that. I don't feel like I've got a new mic in front of me. I feel like I have a lot of options in front of me. Um, and maybe it's not quite like another mic, but it is different enough that I have never struggled to find something that works with each singer that's been in front of me so far.

Um, awesome. 

Benedikt: [00:43:41] Yeah. And I think actually that without any emulation, it's it, it actually sounds pretty good. Yep. 

Malcom: [00:43:47] Definitely. Yeah. So it's a cool thing. And there's, there's other ones. Um, I don't actually audio, uh, makes a couple things now and then there's, um, Townsend as well. Um, that does something with the [00:44:00] UAA stuff and it's becoming more popular and better and better.

Um, I know slate has other mic packs you can get. So like I could grab some vintage Mike safe, modeled from a Blackbird studio, I think, which is it's pretty amazing technology. So if you want like a buy once cry, once large diaphragm, they make it. Um, and these were totally, I think I would totally recommend going that route.

Um, it's, it's really versatile and they are good and actually slate and antelope, both make small diaphragm modeling makes as well, 

Benedikt: [00:44:32] which is really cool. Yes. And I, I got the name wrong because VMs was what it's. It was called the VMs when they launched it, the virtual microphone system or the plugin is still called that.

But the mic is actually the ML. One is the largest and the ML two is the small diaphragm condenser. Um, yeah, it comes with the modeling software and all that, and you don't need a dedicated preempt anymore. They sold it with their preempt, but you don't need that. And they give you the only requirement is you have to have a, a modern, linear, clean preempt, [00:45:00] which is the case in most interfaces.

And those are good enough these days that you don't need the separate. Pre-emp definitely, definitely good. And like one exciting thing that I wanted to mention is with some of them, like the slate, your masters just, or the ML one is a mic and you can select different analog, like different mix that it models.

There are systems out there like the Townsend labs sphere or the antelope edge duo, I think that have like a double diaphragm, double membrane. And you can, with those mikes actually change the polar pattern after the fact. So you can record it and then decide if you want Omni cardioid or whatever. And you can also, which is very cool.

And you can also make. Even you can be at the town center, at least I think you can even make stereo recordings with one mic. So that's pretty cool. So it's like a whole, whole new set of opportunities. I don't know. I like committing to things, so yeah, I don't like to wait until June to make those decisions, but yeah, [00:46:00] sometimes I just think it's a, it's a cool thing to, to play with.

And sometimes maybe this can save a recording. I don't know. Uh, they are not cheap anyway, so, uh, but if you want the ultimate flexibility weapon thing, then the Townsend Labsphere or the attitude duo, something like that will little bit great. And then there's another new category of Mike's that is doing even more, more than just modeling.

Uh, for example, the Exynos synergy core by antelope, which is, looks pretty exciting to me. I dunno. I, I want, I want one so I can try it. I just saw God and think it's really, really, um, interesting. The concept because it's an audio interface and Mike and modeling thing in one piece of gear. So it's a USB mic, but it has also, it also has the headphone out and like the monitor volume control and stuff like that on the mic.

It, it has obviously the mic. So you don't need an interface anymore. Um, it has, it gives you the modeling of different mic [00:47:00] models and it also comes with a plug-in suit, like sort of the, like the Apollo stuff or the interfaces by antelope where you can record through preempt models, emulations or compressors.

Um, yeah, it's just an all in one recording tool at a very interesting price point. And yeah, I just, maybe, I don't know, maybe one of you listeners, maybe you've tried it and want to let us know. If you're like it, I just think it's an interesting category of gear that keeps improving a lot. And yeah, they're coming out with new status, 

Malcom: [00:47:31] a very good idea.

And it's perfect for like the bedroom pop producers, where you only need that one mic and you don't even really need an interface cause this will do it for you. Um, and so if you're mostly middy and stuff like that, what a great option. And also for like the touring musician to have something to bring on the road.

Perfect solution for that too. 

Benedikt: [00:47:50] Yeah. Okay. Let's move on to the other stuff. So this was pretty long because Macs are just so important. It's where it all starts and it's. It's really? Yeah. It's the [00:48:00] first thing in the signal chain and the most important thing. Everything else now is not as important. So the iBox is again at the source.

That's where it starts, but we both think, I think that you only need a DIA box. If your interface input doesn't cut it. Or if you want to compare it and see what works better. Yeah. There are budget ones that sometimes work great, but oftentimes they're not better than what you already have in your interface.

And then there are more expensive ones which can be worth investment. Yeah. 

Malcom: [00:48:29] It, uh, it almost comes down to using your interface and getting an act of Dai in a way, um, because your interface is going to be a passive BI and having an active one is handy because a lot of people play with passive pickups and they just definitely do better with, uh, active dyes generally.

So. Yeah. If your interface has a halfway decent one, you can probably skip the step for the time being until you've got the extra budget. Um, like we're building a studio and a budget. So the job's kind of done with the interface, [00:49:00] but if you do want to get some, um, we got some options for you. Um, I'm a big fan of the company radio and they make budget ones end higher end ones.

You can kind of find anything in there and their stuff's just built like a tank. So it's kind of like a lifetime purchase, which is great. Um, and then, uh, you've got Palmer here and I actually haven't tried that, but you seem to quite like them a yeah, 

Benedikt: [00:49:24] I dunno if they are a thing in the U S or Canada. I think they are, maybe they are even a German company.

I'm not really sure, but, um, they make budget. The iBox is, they are pretty popular in the live, um, the live sound industry here. They make cheap ones that actually are pretty decent, so might be worth trying. I don't think there are spectacular and like. Much better than what you interfaced us, but they are cool.

So you can try them. You can't go wrong. Um, there is a company called DIY recording equipment. It's the, our recording equipment.com. They sell [00:50:00] kits where you can build your own dye boxes. And I haven't tried those, but I've, I know a lot of people who use them and swear by them. They seem to be great. Um, I'm not like much into building gear, so, but if you are that person, you can save some money here, I think, and buy really high quality components and build your own active or passive the iBox.

So those DIY R E I think they're called the hour recording equipment might be worth 

Malcom: [00:50:24] looking at. Definitely. Definitely. It could be a fun 

Benedikt: [00:50:26] project. Yeah. And then in the upper category, that's where I think it really makes a difference and where every single time I compared it to an interface, the dye box is one.

And then the, my recommendations are personally, my recommendation. Number one, recommendation is the country man type 85 active dye box. I just love how that sounds. Directly followed by the Rupert Neve, R and D D I it's almost like, yeah, it's the same thing. Probably a blind test. I don't know if I could tell.

And then there is one that I forgot here on the list and, uh, that is, oh God, I forgot it right now [00:51:00] while I'm while I was talking. So there's the country, man. There is the Rupert Neve and yeah, the Avalon. Um, yeah. Oh yeah, this one's great as well. That is a very 

Malcom: [00:51:10] expensive one, but it's fantastic. Yep. Be happy with that.

Um, yeah. Warm audio makes one as well. Um, we did want to mention one is specific called the little labs. Red-eye because we have a pretty heavy guitar audience. A lot of our audience are guitar people. Um, and this is like an all-in-one guitar recording solution. It's like a splitter, it's a DEI box. Um, it's a ramper.

Benedikt: [00:51:34] Active and passive, depending on active, very passive, 

Malcom: [00:51:37] it's got phased stuff going on. It's a really fantastic unit. Um, but that's definitely a buy once cry, once situation for guitar stuff. Um, and again, built like a literal tank, if you could always use it for self-defense if you needed it. Yeah, 

Benedikt: [00:51:53] exactly.

Yeah. That's basically it do like people ask that question all the time, for whatever reason. Like they were really [00:52:00] worried about their, the eyes, which is good. I mean, um, they wanna get it right. But I think there's no way around comparing it and you probably want to buy a more expensive one to make it worth the investment, 

Malcom: [00:52:10] right?

Yeah. I use the radial J 48. Um, and you can find those, I mean, in Canada you find them used for crazy good prices and I think they're just great as well. Okay. 

Benedikt: [00:52:20] All right. Now the interesting interfaces, the heart of your home studio, basically the in and out the interface between your computer and the outside world.

Yeah. 

Malcom: [00:52:30] I just convinced a band to upgrade to an Apollo twin, um, and from a focus, right. Um, they're handling their own vocal recording. So I was like, 

Benedikt: [00:52:38] do it, it could be better. I like the Apollos and the like universal audio plug-ins of course, but I'm still, so I have, I don't have one. And the reason is I have an, uh, like a, a UAT satellite thing from 2010 or so that I still use, um, for the plugins.

I don't have an interface of them [00:53:00] though, because I don't, I don't know. I don't want to spend money on like these chips that are now almost 15 years old or so they're old and they still work and the plugins are great. So it's not really about the hardware, but I don't know. I always have, I don't know. I it's just, it's just a, you need this, this thing you need to pay for this hardware is it try and dongle when every.

Like every decent computer can actually handle, could actually handle the plugin. So I don't really see the point. It seems to be very difficult to port those plugins over to a native system. That's the main reason I think they just don't work without those shock chips. That's what I've been told, but 

Malcom: [00:53:37] the, the issue you're running into though is.

Kind of from a mixture standpoint where you want to run a lot of stuff. Um, as a tracking interface, the chips are plenty, right? Cause you're, especially on a twin, you're probably running one or two plug-ins. Right. Um, and it it's going to handle that. No problem. And then letting you record through that or, or just monitor, do it through it, whatever, in the, in the [00:54:00] like no latency situation.

So I think they make an extremely awesome recording system platform. Right. Um, but as far as, uh, using that stuff for mixing, I agree. I have. So many DSP chips now that I can, but I, um, it's kind of like a pain in the ass. I want to be able to open up the session without my interface sometimes. So I kind of like, don't always try to use them in the mix, but I track through them every single 

Benedikt: [00:54:26] time.

Yeah. That's the main thing I think. So I, I tend to not use them as well for that reason. If I want to check a mix at home and I don't have my satellite with me, it's a pain, but I would love to track through those and without latency and stuff. So that's really great. Yeah. So, yeah, there is still a recommendation.

So I just wanted to say that I don't just want to know how you, how you see that, because the other weird thing is I've been worried for a couple of years now that when I buy an Apollo, the next day UAT three will come out or whatever, and it chefs, and it hasn't happened for like 40 years or so now.

Malcom: [00:54:58] Yeah. I mean like the [00:55:00] X series, which I just got, uh, just came out like less than six months ago now I think. Um, so I think it's a while off still, but they, they just keep putting more chips. Like there's six of them in the X series now I think, um, where originally there was one. Yeah. But, uh, yeah, so the, the reason I brought it up though, and, and that I got the band upgrade to it is because there is, well there, it's kind of hard to say.

I think that is, this is a great thing to, to cry once by once got think, um, buy once cry once, uh, Because it's, there's so much in it, you know, it's kind of your hub, it's your mothership. Um, it's your converters. It's everything in a way, but you can actually, you can still make a great record, but they're really cheap.

One. Um, so like the, the audio file of me just wants people to like bite the bullet and go for like an Apollo and ops kind of quality. Um, but you definitely don't have to, it pains me to say it, but [00:56:00] you don't have to, you can, you can get away with, um, with these budget ones that we're going to list off here.

Um, and worth noting though, that when we're talking about these budget ones, we're talking about the most recent iterations of them, which I've come a long way. Um, so for example, going with focus, right, you can get their Scarlet series, um, and they have a whole range. Like we've got the 1820 here, which is going to get you through a drum kit, but they have smaller ones as well.

And all of their third gen ones, their newest ones, the converters are all much better than they used to be. And the pre-amps are a little better too. Um, so it's come a long way. Just wanted to mention that if you're going from one of those folks' rights, I'd really recommend one of the newer ones.

They're, they're meant to be quite an improvement. And I used to have one of the older 

Benedikt: [00:56:42] ones. Yeah. I agree with everything that you said also the new ones have USB-C. Most of the time, like, and, um, with all the different manufacturers, but folks. Right. Definitely. And yeah, agreed like basically everything we mentioned near even the more expensive stuff could be considered budget because when you compare it to a commercial [00:57:00] studio, this is all like budget stuff.

But this, if you compare on Apollo to the focus, right, it's, it's even a step below that, but still really great, like it's entry level stuff that like the minimum, you need to record a drum kit, but it still sounds really great. And I think engineers, like 30 years ago would have killed to have pre-amps and converters like that, you know?

So definitely. Yeah. And they've made great records with the early digital stuff. So 20, 30 years ago, so yeah, the focus rights call it, um, definitely recommendation. The personas makes great interfaces. I've used their interfaces for th th th those were the first ones that I used, like lots of, lots of things years ago.

Um, but they are the, the current ones. Uh, pretty great as well than audient makes great stuff. Um, the interfaces are rock solid and super good preamps. Also, there is a small one by SSL, even like this doesn't sound like budget, but it's not really expensive. It's um, two channel, I think two ends and four outs maybe, or so two ends, two outs, [00:58:00] something like that interface.

That sounds pretty decent. Um, there is by the company who, who that does Cubase the doll Steinberg. They make the U R series. I have the, you are 22, but an older one. The new ones are much, much better. Um, the U are eight, 16 C I've listed here. It's also like eight ins. And I think you can make it up to 16 with an apt or so.

And it has a USBC. You can even switch transformers in and out if I'm not wrong, like they have edits options like that lately. Like this stuff has come a long way and yeah. So whatever you choose, those are all the same. The funny thing is many of these, if not all are using the same converter chips and sometimes even the same preamps, because these are basically components that are, that everybody buys and uses in their interfaces.

And that there are plenty of comparisons or like videos and articles on the internet where they open up those boxes and compare what's inside. And especially the converters. It's just always the latest generation of like these budget converters [00:59:00] and they are in every single interface. So it's, it's a matter of features and in and outs more than anything, just look at how many channels you need.

Look at the features, look at your monitoring needs. Um, and then just buy the one that has everything you need and like, look for how stable they are. Maybe like, look for some reviews of customers, you don't want a nightmare driver or anything, but when it comes to the actual sound quality, they are pretty much identical.

Yeah. 

Malcom: [00:59:24] This is really kind of an area where I would actually recommend just going with brand trust. Um, and, and like focus rate for example, is a really trustworthy brand. They're also really prevalent in like the very high end of converters and stuff like that. So there's like, there's kind of just like a in, and they know what they're doing trust there.

Um, and, uh, they've, you know, been around for a long time. So the customer support is obviously not trash. Um, stuff like that, you know, there's just like a little bit of, if I buy something from them, you know, it's going to work. Yeah. So that's cool where like, I'm gonna throw Roland under the bus. They are not really known for the recording stuff, [01:00:00] but they keep putting out crappy interfaces.

And I keep being sad when people buy them 

Benedikt: [01:00:04] a couple of companies like that, where I never recommend people ask about them all the time for some reason, but I never really recommend them. Yeah. 

Malcom: [01:00:10] This is not their game. I mean, they, they make great guitar pedals and stuff like that, you know, and keyboards. Um, but the recording interface is just, haven't been their thing.

So, um, yeah, steer clear, the drivers won't be up to date and stuff like that, you know, you can run into hassles. 

Benedikt: [01:00:23] Exactly. So, yeah, those were our recommendations. There are more as in any category, but these are a great starting point. Yeah. Now in the upper category, there's an, a competitor to the Apollo that I mentioned, and I liked the, like, I really liked the Apollos and it's the same issue that I have with the others as well.

And that is, um, there is antelope, for example, who make, um, also DSP powered, like an interfaces where you can run plug-ins analog simulations that you can record through. It's the same issue. You have this dongle that you need to, to use if you want to use the plugins in your mix. But if you want to record through something with less than one millisecond latency, [01:01:00] then something like that, that's what they claim.

Um, that's what, uh, what you can do with those sorts of interfaces. So the Apollo or the antelope interfaces are similar, I think for a price perspective, maybe. Yeah. I think the 

Malcom: [01:01:12] Apollos are a little more expensive. So I've been really curious to try out the antelopes. 

Benedikt: [01:01:16] Yeah, they have to send go synergy, I think is the more, most affordable one at around 500 euros or so.

Malcom: [01:01:23] Yeah, that's an eight channel, I think, right? Nope. 

Benedikt: [01:01:25] Two, two inputs. And, um, that's just a small one, actually. That's why, but they have bigger ones and more channels that are more affordable than the Apollos, but with the smaller interfaces, I think it's pretty much the same or around the same, I don't know.

But, um, yeah, I just, I use an, uh, an antelope converter in my studio that I really love. Um, I love how the converters sounds. I don't really use the interface in it because I just run the digital out to my interface, but I use it as a converter standalone converter and I've been doing so for seven years now, same converter and it's still amazing.

And I'm, so I [01:02:00] really like the antelope stuff. I can't really say much about their interfaces or drivers stability or anything like that because I just use it as a converter, but I think their modeling stuff looks pretty good and the reviews have been pretty good. The features, the feature set is exciting.

So if you're looking for an Apollo alternative, you can look into that. Both are great. I assume so. 

Malcom: [01:02:20] Awesome. All right. Um, what do we got left then? Should this be a two-part episode? 

Benedikt: [01:02:27] I was thinking I was thinking the same, actually. Yeah, it was probably should. So we've covered the whole signal chain up to the computer basically.

And now we should do a part two where we talk about what's happening in the computer and what's coming out of the computer. That is, would actually be a good point to wrap it up. Cool. Yeah, 

Malcom: [01:02:44] you're totally right. So there's so much to go through. 

Benedikt: [01:02:47] Yeah. And we kind of lost our, like, we, we wanted to do a, how to build a home recording studio for X amount of dollars or like on a budget or stuff like that.

Now we've covered like all the price ranges, but [01:03:00] it's so subjective and everything is like on a budget if you will. So, um, Let's let's just stop here. I think we still gave you a lot of recommendations and we always said, what's, what's cheaper. What's more expensive. Um, and we, we will do a part two, if you want to have everything we said right now in a little more organized form.

And like, with like a clear list that like a clear checklist you can go through with the couple of things. Yeah. I'm much more organized for them with a couple of recommendations and really budget stuff and stuff like that. Then you go to the self recording, bank.com/gear guide and download that, um, next week, we're going to talk about all that's left here and that is monitoring your door headphones.

Some plugins that you might need for recording how you control the committee stuff, ductility things you might need. So that's going to be next episode. Definitely. Yeah. 

Malcom: [01:03:58] Um, and you know, one [01:04:00] benefit of us going over, not just the budget stuff is that if our listeners are like most musicians I'm watch used marketplaces, like crazy for gear deals, you might see something that would have been previously out of your budget, but find that used for a good deal or something, you know, like you kind of are learning what to watch for.

And, and this is all really good trustworthy 

Benedikt: [01:04:20] gear. Oh yeah, absolutely agreed. Now, one thing I need to add to this episode now, because this is this episode, but I just need to add it. Um, We are doing, and this is not relevant if you're listening to this like months from now, but I need, I want to say it right now.

If you are not in our Facebook community, you want to join that. And you go to this Africa in.com/community. And also you want to join our mailing list because what we're doing right now is we're going to do a meetup very soon. We're going to do a video soon meeting where we're going to hang out, get to know each other.

Um, and do some mix or production critiques, and talk about songs that you submit. Some of our [01:05:00] community members already submitted songs or already, I think I got five already that we can talk about. And the one cool thing that I also offered and decided to do is we're not only doing this meeting and doing the critiques, but out of all the submissions that I get, I will just pick one and I will do a mix for free.

And I will record that mix. I will stream the mix and our record that makes, and so you can see how I, what I do with that track. Um, I will answer questions. I try to answer questions live. I try to, to, yeah. To show you what actually happens after you send a track off to mixing. And I just wanted to do it for free and in return.

Get a great piece of content that I can then share with you. So. Yeah, that's what's going to happen. And if you want to be a part of that, go to the surfer, coding, bent.com/community, or download one of our free guides and land on our email list. And then you'll know as well, when that goes down. Awesome.

See you next week then. All right. Yeah, we'll see you next [01:06:00] week. Thanks for listening. Thanks for listening. Bye .


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