My studio is basically very simple. I started recording in 2002 “for the fun of it” and simply to see if it was possible to do some decent recordings using a computer and some free software.

STUDIO TOUR (Video)

Here’s a video of my current studio setup, using KXStudio (Linux) and Ardour recording software.

MY FIRST “STUDIO”

Quartz Studio Free recording softwareThe first software i used for recording was “QuartzStudio”, a software program that looks like some sort of classic 4 Track ready to be put in a rack. Loved it. These days i use totally different software. Although, basicly it’s still doing the same: recording audio using a computer..

QuartzStudio is now obsolete, since it can’t record trough USB. You can still find it on the web and it’s a nice free download. If you record on a computer using a ‘regular’ soundcard, it might work fine for you. I loved the ease of use and it’s basic built-in effects (Chorus, Reverb) and it ‘got my feet wet’ in recording at home. If it would have supported USB recording I would probably still use it.

Over the years i’ve collected a nice set of hardware, all “shoe string budget”, but aiming for highest quality for a low price. I didn’t want to blow the family budget on my new-found hobby, .. so “cheap” was the word. Or, .. “free”, if possible (and as far as software is concerned: legal).

HARDWARE

Computer(s)
I’ve used several computers over the years for recording. At this moment I’m using the below for mixing/mastering

  • ASRock Mini-ITX based system I’ve recently build with Linux (KXStudio/Ardour). It’s basicly the same as the lightweight server-systems I’m using (video). It has a Celeron Quad Core CPU, 8GB RAM, SSD disk and is screaming fast. This is a dedicated DAW (finally!) I build myself.
  • Laptop
    I also use my laptop for recording. It’s a (cheap) Hewlett Packard laptop (hp 250 g3 Celeron). To make it suitable for recording I’ve put in a Samsung SSD Disk since the standard hardisk included is too slow. Putting in an SSD does miracles as far as speed, performance and overall user experience is concerned! It’s a very smooth running ‘recording machine’ now!

Other hardware & equipment

  • Behringer Eurorack UB802 – Analogue mixer
    I bought this mixer half price at a sale, it was half price because it had been used as a ‘demo’ in the store, it didn’t come with a manual nor boxing. I’ve been using this mixer ever since i’ve bought it. It has a lot of ‘head space’ and is a very good, though simple, mixer. Very suitable for home recording. It has 6 channels (2 powered line-in, 4 non-powered). It has a ‘tape in’,  ‘tape out’, separate “Main out” (to connect it to a PA), phones connector for the ‘control room’ and so on. Basicly everything you need for a small performing band and/or home studio.
  • Shure C606 Dynamic MicBehringer UCA222 “U-Control”, Analogue – USB converter.
    This is the ultimate cheap Analogue <-> Digital converter if you want to connect an analoge mixer to a computer. All modern recording software uses USB as their input, because of its wide data path; it has no latency issues. You will need such a converter or use a mixer with a built-in converter/usb connection like the new line of Behringer mixers.  Bought this little gem online at Thomann.
  • Behringer MS20 Monitoring speakers
    the speakers died on me, see this update.
  • Headphones
    – Fostex T50 RP. Great for accurate mixing and mastering I know. Review.
    – Audio Technica m20x (ath-m20x).
    – Sennheiser HD202. Good for listening and monitoring.
    Previously owned

    Behringer HPM1000. Review. — Worn out, threw them away..
    Panasonic RP-HTX7 Headphones. They blew up..!
  • Microphones
    – MC Crypt Studio Condenser. Great mic! Bought it at Conrad years ago.
    – Shure C606N Dynamic. Good vocal mic!
    t.Bone EM700, matched pair, Stereo Condensers. Click here to hear/see a test.
    Shure PG81. Expensive but good/high quality for instrument recording.
    The t.Bone mic’s are very suitable for (stereo) drum recordings. I’ve used them on my recordings of Ten Years Today using the “Recorderman-setup” and for (stereo) acoustic guitar recordings. I think they’re the best bargain I’ve ever got on microphones.
  • Pedals
    – Digitech RP50. Nice, affordable and easy to use. Check here for details.
    – JoYo JF-14. Fender DeLuxe Amp simulator. Review and demo/samples.
    – Digitech TRIO Band Creator. Review, sample / Used in the studio (Video)

Excluding the computer, this setup –including a cheap mic stand I’ve bought at a sale– has cost me less than € 1000.– (bought over the years). The basic setup for this studio is around $500. See the video I’ve posted here about it.

For recording on a computer, you will also need some decent software. Click here for details about my recording software.