10k budget all in studio design

10k budget all in studio design
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Hi guys,

So a present just came falling out of the sky. My mom decided to invest in me by sponsoring my start up. I’m not going into details on how this came to be, but lets say I didn’t always make the right choices to get the future that I wanted nor did I know what they where, so I’m at a place where I gladly accept this gesture.

So now I got 10k€ to invest in treating my basement and getting additional gear I still lack for making full band recordings. I’m going to list what I already have and plan to buy below and edit it along the way, so for those ho want to follow this thread its easy to get an idea what the current state of affairs is regarding this project.

The goal, is to get all I NEED to be able to complete a bands recording and mix with a proper result. So knowing that probably the most money will go to construction, I really need to sort out what is essential, and what is rather optional or negligible.

For those who are interested, I’m going to try and keep as much details of how I’m making things and where I’m spending my money into this thread and maybe make a compact summery of design and expense/materials list. So feel free to share your knowledge and ideas for this project.


Location:
Concrete basement 10x5x2.63m (meters) (32.8x16.4x8.6 foot)
This is a sketch of how I’m going to arrange the spaces. I’m not going for a separate drum room since it already not a a BIG room. So I’d prefer to optimise for a good mixing room and sacrifice a bit on the live room. Te ceiling is 2.63m so its not like I have a fantastic room for drums anyway.
The elevator is going to be made from an old forklift mast if I can find one. And I’m going to tow it up and down with a hoist. The platform will just be simply out of wood since its the lightest and cheapest solution. I’m going to fill it up with isolation and gonna make it so that when I close it (tow it all the way upp), it will close the ceiling off as if there was no hole. This way I don’t have any stairs making my acoustics even more difficult and I’m left with a rectangle room. I WILL make a cab room though, since its pretty handy to have a little isolation booth for some stuff. In the best case I can also use it as a vocal booth.

The thing I’m not sure about and could use some opinions on is the back wall where I mix. I wonder what benefit of making slanted walls and building the speakers into the wall (of course not touching the wall) On my mix position you can see some lines that indicate the triangle for speaker positions. Perpendicular to the I drew lines that indicate where those walls could be. Any thoughts ? Its not gonna cost me that much more, only more work, so if the benefit is substantial, I don’t mind making this. its also super fancy :smiley:

Current gear:
PC (details maybe later but strong enough for large projects)
Sennheiser HD650 (+ sonar reference 4)
DENON pma-1060 (amp)
B&W dm640i (speakers)
Cubase 10 pro
Presonus studio 1824c
1x sm58
9x sm57
Peavy EVH 50watt
Rivera knucklehead KR7
Trace Elliot g12 SMX
Fame CAB vintage 30

Budget: 10.000€

Gear wish list:
299€ - kick mic: Shure beta91A
559€ - vocal/drum room mic: Shure KSM32 (for vocals and mono room in front of kick)
? 319€ x2 - Overhead/multiple use mic: Shure SM27 (large diaphragm)
? 355€ x2 - Overhead/multiple use mic: Shure SM81 (small diaphragm)
350€ x2 - multiple purpose mic: RM-6 Ribbon mic DIY kit
50€ - RE-amp box: L2A DIY kit
200€ - Used presonus digimax (used from a friend)
544€ - Speakers: Yamaha HS8

Subtotal: 3700€

Construction materials:
± 800€ MDF panels
± 500€ timber
± 1000€ rockwool

This is as fat as I’m getting today. I’m gonna update this post as much as I can. As soon as I start construction I’m gonna ad a separate thread just for photo’s of something.

If you got some information or knowledge that could help me prevent making stupid or unnecessary expenses please share them in here. Other suggestions for the mic’s are also welcome.

This could also become an interesting threat for other people who are planning something along these lines in the future.

Thanks in advance, and hope to hear from you guys soon.

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The answer to this question depends entirely on what your goals are. Are you trying to make a business out of this? Or are you using that 10k to make your hobby more fun and/or self sustaining? Running a business is a completely different ballgame than self sustaining a hobby. Thee’s a huge difference between “I have to make $500 a month to justify buying cool toys” and “I have to make $20,000 a month in order to not have to go find a real job.” It’s orders of magnitude different.

If you are doing this for business purposes, what are you business goals? If you are doing this as a business, you have to do your best to ignore what you want and focus on what your clients want, because the two are usually not the same thing. As you get more clients, you have the option of choosing the clients that want the same thing you do, and that’s the point where you get to do what you want.

So what do your clients want? What have they directly asked for? What have they indirectly asked for? When you can answer those questions honestly, you will know exactly what it is you need to spend the money on. If you can’t answer those questions, then you should stick that money in a savings account that makes interest until you can.

If you are doing this as a hobby, you have a lot more options because you get to spend the money on what you want, and you don’t have to worry about whether it will make its money back. Buy the stuff you want to play with, and invite bands over for a recording party.

Neither the business or the hobby route is more noble than the other. Usually the people in the business realm wish they could be in the hobby realm, and those in the hobby realm seem to wish they were in the business realm.

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Isn’t it better to invest on the very front of the recording chain than on the back end ?
Trying to fix something after it has been tracked is much harder in my opinion.

Sounds like a great project and it should be a lot of fun.

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first of all congratulations on getting an investment :slight_smile: I started my own set which included mostly musical instrument purchases and acoustic treatments. Cost me total around USD 7000 in 2014 , pretty sure it can be done cheaper these days.

My acoustic treatment is owens corning panels and bass traps and they work wonderfully for the job that i need to do. Just crisp clear recording of wind and string instruments.

To add to @bozmillar
I too am interested in knowing what your vision is. As a band, (initially) I would encourage investing in live plays than turning it into a label. I played flute at weddings and churches to get by and the earnings were surprisingly substantial to sustain my hobby which later turned into profession. Which means acquiring clients and selling CDs at live performances takes priority. I understand this may or may not apply to your situation but I do know that getting a decent recording setup is quite cost effective these days with all these backstage studio sales.

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The goal is to build a business in recording, producing and mixing bands. I also want to couple it to some sort of lable concept I’m working on. Eventually I also hope to find some musicians that have the right mindset and maybe form a serious band or something. But the main idea is generating an income from working on other bands. Thats one of the reasons that I want to put my main focus of room design and treatment to the listening environment. I hope to eventually become a skilled engineer so I can also do mastering, so its also a bit looking towards the future. I realise that in the future some bands will want better live rooms for their drums, but thats totaly fine as long as they still want to work with me.

So right now I have to find a way to spend this money the best way, so that I can go a long way with it and at least start getting paid jobs. Like, its nice to have a huge set of color mic’s, but if I can get a good sound out of an sm57 on a floor tom, then why would I bother getting anything ells for shells at the moment. They also function for other instruments well so its never a waste to by one extra :smiley:

So it leaves a little bit of space to buy at least a few “beter” mics, like the ribbons and that ksm32. Also good for drums and pratically all other instruments and vocals. I think the biggest uncertanty lies in the room design. Like the slanted walls with the build in speakers idea, not sure about that… Also the biggest cost is going to be construction. So I want to get some big important basic things to be done. I can always make an extra basstrap or hang up some more absorbtion along the way. I think I’m going to make a shit load of difusers though :slight_smile: Gonna try and sketch up some idea’s for the wall construction one of these days and post it here.

I’ll get back to the rest later, gotta sleep :smiley:

If you can spare the change, the slanted walls with built in speakers are amazing! I wish I had done that when I had the chance. That is how you get the “million dollar sound” out of your speakers. My friends studio has that and the listening environment there is just pure bliss. It is more than an aesthetics thing. If the speakers are flush mounted then the whole wall acts like a “driver” and creates a very clean image without any boundary distortion from behind the speakers. However, I think it depends on the material of the walls. If the wall is mostly hollow or thin behind the speakers then its not good. Best is thick walls or rock walls.

However, it is a matter of choice. I have seen excellent music come out of the worst possible environments and the reverse is also true… but having a good inspiring work environment never hurts imo.

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I can see the value of of the slanted walls with built in speakers. I had the privilege of listening to a set of these speakers in a studio once, and have to agree with @FluteCafe, the sound is something else entirely. You’re building cavity walls, which will in theory help to isolate your sounds.

Can I ask how you’re going to treat the inside of the room?

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This is great! I hope you can turn this into exactly what you want it to be! Please do share progress pics and whatnot.

A couple of random comments and opinions that you didn’t ask for :wink:

  • I’d bin the idea of doing drums there. Especially considering they’d be right behind your mix/monitor position. Plus, setting up your room and treatment as a control room might do some weird stuff with drums in THAT spot… and you have no wiggle room or other placement options. My humble suggestion would be to focus your rooms on mixing and things like iso areas for guitars/vocals. Then, as part of a bands project fee, you work in hiring out another room better suited for doing drums. That also may change your equipment list, as you’d worry less about drum mics and more about what you would be doing there. Things like external preamps for some different flavor/tonal options and mics more suited to vocals/guitars. EDIT… reading back on this, I think I should say that in this situation some drum recording setups would probably work just fine… it’s just far from ideal, and may require way more work after the fact to get them to sound how you want them.
  • Looking through your gear wish list, the HS8’s are what I use and are great. Be careful with your room size though. The 8’s push a lot more low end and depending on the size/treatment of your room you’re not going to hear it anyways (or it will cause some nasty resonances)… so consider the 5’s and check bass on your 650’s. If you have the opportunity, shoot out some different monitors once you have your room built. I’ve been eyeing the Kali Audio stuff, the new IN-8’s I think run around the same price as the HS8’s… have yet to see comparison reviews though. I live like 30 minutes from Sweetwater so I’m going to go in and shoot out a bunch of different sets one day.
  • I’ve got the DIYRE L2A arriving here on Monday, so after I build it I’ll put it through it’s paces. I have read that tonally it’s a bit thin compared to the other reamp box I have (Radial JCR) so you may want to consider the extra expense as that’s a pretty important part of the reamp chain. Perhaps look into a used Torpedo Reload as well… I may wind up ditching the JCR for one of those.
  • I would suggest chucking in some extra cash for something better than the Presonus digimax unit. Nothing against Presonus (I have 2 Quantums and 2 DP88’s) but you may be better from a quality perspective looking into something like one of the Audient 8-pre boxes or a higher-end Focusrite… and on the used market not a lot more money. Even a DP88… but with those you’re mostly getting a more updated version of the Digimax preamps.
  • I haven’t heard the RM-6 ribbon kit… I have a pair of Cascade FatHeads that I got for around the same price as one of the RM-6 kits and they’re excellent for a variety of things. Here they mostly get used for guitar cabs, and blended with a 57 sound really great. You may want to check out the SE Electronics VR-1 ribbon too… that’s more voiced for guitars though, so you may not get as much versatility. I just checked out the RM-6 and it looks like they’re trying to do a clone of the Royer R121… if that wounds up sounding like a R121 that would be a great deal. Check out the Royer R10 as well… I think people mistake this as a cheap(er) version of the 121 but it’s actually fairly different but from what I’ve heard still sounds great.
  • I’d consider switching up the KSM32 for something along the lines of a U87 clone… There’s a bunch of companies that make really good ones, and a few DIY options as well I believe. I don’t know as much about the KSM32 but a U87 is good in front of just about everything, but perhaps most importantly, vocals… and sounds pretty sweet in front of a guitar cab. See where I’m going with all this? :wink:
  • MORE AMPS!! :rofl: The cost of these can get out of hand quickly, but think about investing in a diverse selection of “standard” amps for reamping. You’ve got the 5150 and the Rivera is sweet. Consider things like a Dual/Triple Rectifier, a nice Fender combo, a Marshall etc… Cabs too.
  • I just realized you should definitely invest in a load box and IR’s… it never hurts to have IR cab options and I feel it’s really necessary for a reamping setup especially if you don’t have access to the “standard” cab options to mic up. I have a Rivera Mini RockRec and it’s not amazing, but it does the job and can handle high-wattage heads (like 300w Ampegs!). As mentioned above I will probably dump the Radial reamp box for a Torpedo Reload as it does both functions (as well as a DI!) and use the Rivera just for high-wattage stuff.
  • Right… so also think about getting a couple of good DI boxes. Radials are great, Little Labs Red Eye, the Rupert Neve one is awesome if you like a bit of colour. Since you seem to like the DIY route, I have the DIYRE DI box (can’t remember the model name) and it’s been a great little cheap workhorse for me.

EDIT: Also check out pretty much the entire Aston microphone line. I’ve got a pair of Origins which are great general-purpose LDC’s and also a Stealth which rocks on guitar cabs and vocals (and a lot of other things). Some of the best bang-for-buck mics I’ve used.

Anyhoo, just some stuff to think about. I think with 10k, after room construction, you could really outfit yourself with some quality gear. Best of luck with all this!!

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Yeah, thats about it :slight_smile: But I just think that I have to be able to at least offer the possibillity or I think I will miss out on a lot of projects. But then at least we can talk all options. Either we do it at my place, or we rent a space.
Also, I’m going to make my gear setup all rack style anyway for easy relocation. This idea didn’t realy start from that context, but from imagining how I’m going to do my listening position. I’m not going to work with a desk setup or anything between me and the speakers. Just a big ass DIY chair/couch with mounted shelfs for controlers, mous etc. So I might as well make my recording rig rack style. Even thinking of building a computer case from wood encorporated in the rack case. If I go on location. Its just as simple as pulling the plug and putting the lid on and grab a screen and I’m good to go, meanwhile my gear is safe.

Could you do a first impression regarding that supposedly thin sound? Their reviews suggest its a fine piece of gear, but ofcourse its kinda selected. But still. Want to know :slight_smile: Although I’m prob gonna buy it anyway since its a good started for DIY gear :slight_smile:

I know what you mean. I’m thinking it to, but for the moment I would think its good right? I mean, I already have a presonus studio 1824c so the pre-amps should be the same XMAX amps no? And for 200€… Saves a big hole in my bugget. Gotta get a complete picture for that 10k. My elevator alone might get around 3k so :pensive:

Hmm, interesting :slight_smile: I was hoping some one would jump in on this mic cause I only just picked it out cause I was looking at all their mic’s and was making a list with what I would by if I baught all mic’s their. Read a bit about it on their site and came up with this one. Now I’m totaly open to suggestions on this one !!! So I’m gonna check those out for sure ! thanks for the tips !

Yeah I hear ya. Thats going to be a never ending story :smiley: hahaha. If I have some budget left I getting bass first, and then amps are alowed back on the wishlist :smiley:

Well, I was actually thinking about experimenting with building my own cabinets. Maybe a few 1 speaker cab from real wood. Maybe a 4x4 with 4 different speakers… Stuff like that.

I was thinking about that one to :slight_smile: Guess I forgot it on the list. THanks :smiley:

I will, thanks :slight_smile:

Yeah, thanks man ! I’m realy looking forward to this. I need a boost like this ! The 10k has to cover the construction as well so :slight_smile: Choices are still limited. Like I said my elevator alone is probably gonna be around 3k. Its just something I gotta do. I thought about stairs as well, but those would cut a large part out of my room, and the only way to preserve that is with something that is retractable. So I’m just gonna bight through this one and just build the lift and be done with it and enjoy the easy unloading :slight_smile: Reminds me, need little wallspeakers for elevator music :smiley: haha

Any way, thanks for the info !

I can only imagine :slight_smile: But if I read about it, it makes sense. The only problem is the dilemma of the 2 sets of speakers. The hifi set, and then build in ones. If I make slanted walls, the standing speakers will come to the front… Plus, if I make a flushmounted system, I gotta do it the proper way or its gonna do nothing.

Can’t find much info though :frowning: Makes it harder!

Flush mounted is much better. Specially if you are investing in the construction

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Thanks :slight_smile: Its the kind of kick in the groin I need at the moment. And yeah, I should be able to get something going with this. I actually hope to do it for a little less, so I can hold on to a little bit for later. So I can adjust a bit and think about it a bit more.

For my vision :slight_smile:

:slight_smile:

Thanks for the input !

I just don’t want to fuck it up. So I at least got to find some good information about it or I think its gonna be to big of a risk. I gotta be realy surtain if I’m going to do it.

I’d recommend watching this video. It is quite lengthy, but it has a lot of hard-earned, experience-based, common-sense knowledge… and it shows that even people at the top of their field sometimes have to deal with less-than-perfect circumstances.

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Cool, thanks man. I’ll give it a go :slight_smile:

@madpsychot @FluteCafe

What if… I also build these speakers into the wall?


I just put them on the floor on little knobs or spikes, and leave a nich in the wall. A huge wall of full rockwool with pannels in between maybe to make the waves bounce within the pannels to loose more energy.

Then I have both sets of speakers at the right distance, and can still have that wall.

You may need to check the design specs of the speakers. Not sure if those speakers are designed to be soffit mounted.

Also check this out
https://www.sweetwater.com/insync/benefits-methods-of-soffit-mounting-studio-monitors/

Yeah, thanks for reminding me. Forgot they have a bass hole in the back :frowning:

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@ColdRoomStudio at 21:59 he shows a screen shot of a studio and he is perplexed as to why it worked so well . I wonder if this is a hidden rock wall behind his speakers… which could explain the great room response with a little absorption

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Hehe, yeah I think so. I think he said somewhere that the entire back wall is just a massive wall of rockwool :smiley:

What about these to build into a wall? Got front holes and they are pretty large and powerfull so it could handle distance better ? Any one experience with adam ?

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