Beware the evils of home studio ownership. Mine has sucked up all my disposable income for the last 4 years !! I can do without socks and toothpaste but that new mic, well, it just sounds great... I must have it !
Rode mics are lovely, I have a couple of NT2As. They are very versatile and sound great. SM57s are also a good choice as they are also very versatile. They will not sound as nice as a Large Diaphragm Condenser (LDC) on critical vocals (though will do at a pinch) but are great for drums and cranked guitar amps. Another good cheep choice are the Studio Projects mics (which can be had for a very low price at the moment as they are just about to be re-issued with a re-designed capsule). I was using my Studio projects C3 on a female vocal the other day and it sounded great ! I was very pleasantly surprised as, on this persons voice it sounded just as good as my AKG C414 which comes in at 3 times the price.
Any of these condenser mics will benefit from being run through a nice outboard preamp. The ART TPS (2 channels @ 200 bucks) and the JoeMeek 3Q (one channel @ 200 bucks) will both improve the way your mics sound no end. Great for vocals. For things like drums, well the stock pres will be more than adequate !
When your bank balance has recovered you might want to think about getting some flat response near-field monitors. They are much easier to mix through than headphones and can be had relatively cheaply. Get the active powered ones if possible as the amps are tailored to the speakers they drive which means less distortion.
My 2C, a studio in a box is not a bad alternative to the computer rout (esp PCs) if you don't want to use MIDI. If you like MIDI, the computer is the way to go. Why do I say this, well the studio in a box type workstations just work and doesn't crash every 5 min. Consequently you spend less time working out latency and driver issues and more time recording. The studio in a box is also much cheeper (it comes with FX, Preaps, multiple simultaneous inputs etc) and for someone just starting out, easier to get good results on. You can also sell it later or hook it up to a computer system when you have out grown it or want to expand in ways it cant help with. As for as desks go, that is another thing Id avoid until you know more about what you want. Yept hey can be great for increasing your track count and generating sub-mixes however once you have made that sub-mix you are stuck with it. If you are recording your mates band and are on a budget, they can be useful however in 5 years you may look back and cringe at the way the sub-mix sounds and not be able to do anything about it. If it were me, If not touch a desk with a barge poll and instead bounce tracks (using the virtual tracks -non destructive editable sub mic) to get sub mixes which can be blended in with everything else during the final mix. You can also go back and turn down the damn hi-hat if it is too loud.
A Line 6 pod is also a very useful tool for recording guitar on. Very easy to get good results with.
I have an 18 ch Peavey desk for sale if you are interested !!
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