Someone recently asked for advice about gear to record her all-girl heavy rock band. She specified a budget of about $6,200 and asked for recommendations for:
- A microphone ideal for female voices
- A mixer for a small but contemporary recording studio
- A pair of active loudspeakers for monitors
First, it is important to point out that specific people and specific microphones may or may not make a good match. I once recorded a female singer who sounded fantastic through my AKG C3000. But my wife’s voice does not sound very good through that mic. For my wife, the Audio-Technica AT2035 sounds great, as does the Rode NT2-A. So you really need to try different vocal mics before you buy, if you can. A lot of music stores will let you try them out in the store at least. Some may even let you try them at home. Of course you can always rent if you must. Anyway, because it worked so well on several voices, not just my wife’s, I recommended the Audio-Technica AT2035 for the mic, which costs $125.
Normally, I don’t recommend a mixer in a home recording studio. They can cause more trouble than they are worth. See Why You Should Not Use A Mixer In Your Home Recording Studio for why I say this. However, it sounded like she really wanted a control surface for recording and mixing using a digital audio workstation (DAW) recording program like the industry-standard Pro Tools (current version as of this writing is Pro Tools 11). This will act like a mixer, but what it really does is allow you to control the knobs and sliders in your DAW with actual, physical knobs and sliders – which is what a “control surface” is, versus a “mixer”). Of course you can mix, but also you can do so much more with the unit I recommended, which is a Focusrite Control 2802. Here is a great video demonstrating it:
The Focusrite Control 2802 costs about $3,500.
She will also need a recording interface, which has analog-to-digital converters as well as mic preamps. And she’ll need at least 8 mic inputs for her band. So I recommended the M-Audio Fast Track Ultra 8R for this. I also double-checked to ensure that the Fast Track Ultra 8R is officially supported as a Pro Tools 11 interface and it is. You can see all the supported interface units here. This interface costs $400.
The final piece of the equation was a pair of active monitor speakers. My recommendation here was the KRK RoKit 6 G2 Studio Monitors Bundle. This bundle consists of a pair of KRK RoKit 6 G2 68-watt 6″ two-way active nearfield monitors, along with stands for the speakers and cables. This bundle costs $347 at B&H.
The total cost of the above excellent small studio for recording a rock band is $4,371.58, which saves her $1,828.42. Not too shabby.
I should point out that in order to record the entire band at once, she’ll need a few more mics. So she can use that surplus in the budget for that;).