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Setup PC mixing studio on budget

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arin

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I am planning to make a short movie(Non commercial) and I am already on a tight budget after spending money on video equiptments and other stuffs. The script is almost ready.

The recoding shall be at local media college and I am planning to do the mixing of background score and few songs myself on my PC. Can someone who has experience in audio production help me in this regard. I am doing the editing/mixing on Adobe Audition. This is a tentative list of gear that i am planning to buy please give your suggestion about it.

I know that headphones are bad for mixing but can't help as i am not in a position to buy a monitor speakers right now. According to my research, these are some "flat" response headphones

Headphones shortlisted :
1. Sennheiser HD 280 Pro
2. AKG 240
3. Sony 7506

DAC :
1. Fiio E7

I am currently more interested in HD 280 due to easy availability and priced at Rs4800 compared to AKG and Sony which are around 7k. My total budget is 10k.
 

Bluu

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What sound-card does your PC have? If you have a decent card, you can ignore the DAC and spend more on good headphones.
 
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Deleted member 17547

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Get a professional sound card.. like M-Audio... And go for AKG headphone.. i know they r bit high priced but they r worth.. M using M-Audio Fast Track Pro with Behringer Condenser mic for recording songs.. Using Cubase software for editing.. For a decent/entry level of recording these r fine..

Cheers.. n gud luck with ur production.. :)
 
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Thad E Ginathom

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The opening post gave me the impression that he would be working with pre-recorded material, and simply mixing tracks on the PC.

If that is the case, I'd say --- go for anything that he finds comfortable to listen to. Like... how is he listening to music from the PC right now?

On the other hand, if there is any recording of sound from mic or other external device then he going to need much more.

Sound card, for a start, of course, so that he will have input as well as output. If microphones or instruments are involved, then pre-amps will be needed --- and the sort of studio-oriented sound card that sagarvikram mentions, eg M-Audio, will provide the inputs he needs.

Before spenfing money today, on what is needed today, I'd ask the question: what is likely to be needed tomorrow? That way he can avoid wasting money on stuff that will be useless tomorrow.
 
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arin

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The opening post gave me the impression that he would be working with pre-recorded material, and simply mixing tracks on the PC.

If that is the case, I'd say --- go for anything that he finds comfortable to listen to. Like... how is he listening to music from the PC right now?

On the other hand, if there is any recording of sound from mic or other external device then he going to need much more.

Sound card, for a start, of course, so that he will have input as well as output. If microphones or instruments are involved, then pre-amps will be needed --- and the sort of studio-oriented sound card that sagarvikram mentions, eg M-Audio, will provide the inputs he needs.

Before spenfing money today, on what is needed today, I'd ask the question: what is likely to be needed tomorrow? That way he can avoid wasting money on stuff that will be useless tomorrow.

I completely agree with you....This is my first movie project hence these limitations are there. Later, I shall invest in proper recording and mixing interfaces and then the entry level devices shall be useless. I am not planning to do any recording on my Laptop for this project and i shall import the audio from the local recording studio itself.

For just mixing i think a flat headphones shall be fine for now. As far as soundcard is concerned, the Intel HDA Soundcard on my laptop is inadequate for any kind of mixing work through it is 24bit/192Khz compared to 16bit/48Khz of external dacs like M-audio. So planning to get an external soundcard too.

Here is the price difference between these studio headphones-->

Sennheiser HD280 : Rs 4800
AKG : Rs 7000
A-technica M50 : RS 7500

Another thing is that the build quality of Sennheiser is better. Only place where it severely lacks is the bass response which is inadequate. Other than that AFAIH the response is comparable to AKG and is more flatter than SONY 7506.
 
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arin

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Get a professional sound card.. like M-Audio... And go for AKG headphone.. i know they r bit high priced but they r worth.. M using M-Audio Fast Track Pro with Behringer Condenser mic for recording songs.. Using Cubase software for editing.. For a decent/entry level of recording these r fine..

Cheers.. n gud luck with ur production.. :)

Thanks for replying and wishing for my production. I believe that AKG headphones are better but at this point beyond my budget Rs7500. Even the M-audio Card is a great piece of equiptment but costs more than Rs8500 this would total to Rs16000, which is way beyond my budget of 8-10k.
 
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Deleted member 17547

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Thanks for replying and wishing for my production. I believe that AKG headphones are better but at this point beyond my budget Rs7500. Even the M-audio Card is a great piece of equiptment but costs more than Rs8500 this would total to Rs16000, which is way beyond my budget of 8-10k.

Would be best if u can get it from US. I got it thru one my frnd at 4K :yahoo: whereas in india it was priced around 8-9K.. same with the Mic.. If you want, i can help u with that.. one of my frnd is coming in June so if u can wait till then i can get one for u..
 
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reignofchaos

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If you need it only for a short duration, I could lend you an EMU 0404 PCI that is sitting in my attic somewhere. Should be good enough for the project you are doing. You'd have to come and pick it up and then return it when you are done. If you are interested, please PM me and I'll dust it up and make sure its working all right and you may then come take it.

Cheers!
 
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Thad E Ginathom

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There's an offer too good to refuse :D Oh. wait... it is PCI, and he's got a laptop. Shame.

Whatever headphones you buy, what worries me is that Filo DAC. To anyone interested in recording as well as playback, a DAC is, literally, a one-way street. I'd guess that you'd find something that you can stretch your budget to among the USB external units, even if, at this stage, you do not include the mic preamps. For now, why not save on the headphones (or even try to borrow a pair?) and spend on a decent audio interface with some future for you?

Software: one of my great regrets is that I never invested in a legal copy of Cool Edit Pro before they sold to Adobe! But last year, I downloaded a demo copy of Audition, and didn't like it at all --- but it is professional software, and I doubt that you'd need anything else for a while. Possibly the best free alternative is Audacity, and it is pretty good. There is a lot of studio/audio software available for Linux, but it is very Firewire/Jack oriented, and I have found that a nightmare to set up, especially just to listen to music, and gone back to my PCI card.
 
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arin

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If you need it only for a short duration, I could lend you an EMU 0404 PCI that is sitting in my attic somewhere. Should be good enough for the project you are doing. You'd have to come and pick it up and then return it when you are done. If you are interested, please PM me and I'll dust it up and make sure its working all right and you may then come take it.

Cheers!

Thanks so much for offering the EMU for use but i might not use it now as it is PCI based and Laptop accepts only PCMIA anyways thanks for offering....:)
 
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arin

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There's an offer too good to refuse :D Oh. wait... it is PCI, and he's got a laptop. Shame.

Software: Possibly the best free alternative is Audacity, and it is pretty good. There is a lot of studio/audio software available for Linux, but it is very Firewire/Jack oriented, and I have found that a nightmare to set up, especially just to listen to music, and gone back to my PCI card.

There are of course some issues with audacity as you mentioned that's why i am planning to use the Audition . Further i have some experience in Audition and more in audacity. Audition is more prossional when it comes to adding reverb, compression, panning and other effects. I shall first make a 24 Bit /96Khz master mix and then resample it for Audio-CD and DVD(movie soundtrack). Though I am still not sure how well it shall turn out but just giving it a try !:eek:
 
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Thad E Ginathom

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I don't do anything so complex, not actually doing studio work as such, just the tidying up after recording or digitising. To me, the interface and way of working with Cool Edit Pro is just ideal, but it is largely a case of that's-what-I'm-used-to I suppose. Being old, its support for different formats is not as good as Audacity, although many 3rd party filters are still available. Audition is much more modern-looking, probably much more polished, but I still like CoolEdit. CoolEdit's noise-reduction effects are much better than Audition --- but Audition's preset vinyl equalisation curve is better than the pre-amp in my small mixer!

One goodnews: after years of people reporting that it is a no-go, CoolEdit now works well in Wine under Ubuntu :)
 
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baijuxavior

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Thanks so much for offering the EMU for use but i might not use it now as it is PCI based and Laptop accepts only PCMIA anyways thanks for offering....:)

Hi, I have a creative x-fi 5.1 usb sound card. It has 5.1 output, optical output, head phone output, mic and line inputs. I bought it for Rs. 3.8k with bill and warranty in january 2011. Sounds much better than the onboard sound card. It will suite your purpose.
 
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no1lives4ever

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I would recommend using a hybrid approach. Rent/hire a studio to do any recording from a Mic/acoustic instuments. This would involve voice overs. Since this is a short film, I am assuming that you are doing some form of live audio recording and not depending on dubbing for dialogues, etc.

Then do the mixing on your pc along with all the pre-recorded samples for sfx, music and other stuff.

When doing this, your laptop's built in headphone output should be sufficient to give you an idea of how the final output will sound. You transfer the digital files from your audio mixing software to your video editing software and take a digital output from your video editing software for the final movie.

Now I would suggest this method to anyone with a tight budget for the following reasons:
1. Unless you are doing some very critical audio mixing like what is involved in doing a music track's production, the quality difference between your laptop's headphone output and a cheap USB soundcard would not make a whole lot of a difference. The intel HD audio cards on most current laptops are reasonably decent.

2. You will need to use a studio to record voice overs and acoustic instruments/sfx. Mics and recording rooms are not cheap. I suppose you are already doing this.

3. Only if you are recording analog audio sources like electric guitars or keyboards with analog output, then you need a good quality sound card. To get good guitar sound on a budget it is best to use a Pod or similar guitar processor that can be connected to the PC using USB. For keyboards/synths, consider using VST synths along with MIDI output from the keyboards. For drums use sampled drums.

4. These days the final output is a digital file, which you generate directly from your audio mixing software or video editing software w/o going thru a analog conversion. So the DAC in the soundcard is used only for monitoring and mixing. I would rather spend extra on a good quality headphones first than spend on a sound card.

5. USB audio cards are not very good for recording audio. If you have a mac, then look at firewire cards. If you are using a Windows laptop, then consider getting a firewire sound card + firewire expresscard compatible with your sound card.

6. Headphones are good for some parts of a mix while studio monitors are good for some other parts. Studio monitors are mostly good for setting the pan & levels of the final mix, while headphones are good for eq & effect fine tuning. This is true unless you have good quality studio monitors in a acoustically treated mixing room.

7. Most sub 10k audio cards are crap for recording analog sources.

8. In a film, you need to mix to a standard reference level, so you may want to rent a calibrated film audio mixing room to do final tweaks to your audio mix.

9. All the above advice is for a stereo/3 channel (LCR) mix. Surround mixes are best done in a professional surround mixing studio. You can not do surround mixes with a pair of headphones.

-- no1lives4ever
 
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