Pro Audio Gear Recommendations
High end gear that can really make a difference for your studio setup. Contact me if you would like a personal review and recommendation for your studio. I also do setup and installations to help getting all the gear connected and operating properly.
Apple MacBook Pro MD101LL/A 13.3-Inch Laptop (2.5GHz Intel Core i5 Dual-Core, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0) (Certified Refurbished)
A good computer is the core of a studio. One that has power and speed to handle the recording engine is very important. Found this refurbished model on Amazon. At $649, this is a great deal! This also has USB ports, which are no longer available on the new line of Apple laptops. Click on the image for more info.
Samsung 850 EVO 500GB 2.5-Inch SATA III Internal SSD (MZ-75E500B/AM)
When you are ready to upgrade your hard drive or add a high performance hard drive, I recommend SSD drives. These drives are fast and silent, so if you have a noisy laptop hard drive, this is your solution. The 500GB version is usually enough for most applications and at $149, it is an affordable upgrade for your system.
Universal Audio Apollo Twin MKII & Apollo 8
A good interface is always the core of any studio. UA has been able to provide an affordable option in the Apollo line of interfaces. The Twin MKII is a tabletop interface that is portable and powerful. You can also run the UAD line of plugins directly from the internal SHARC chips inside these devices. The name refers to how many SHARC processing chips are inside the device when you see Solo, Duo, or Quad. In most cases, the Solo or Duo are adequate for your studio.
MSRP on Twin Solo $699 • Twin Duo $899 • Twin Quad $1,299
MSRP on Apollo 8 Duo $1,999 • Apollo 8 Quad $2,499
Warm Audio WA73 & WA73-EQ
When you need a dependable mic pre that will give your tracks that "hit record" sound, then you should be looking at a 1073. If there’s one style of preamp that professional engineers would unanimously agree has defined the tone of chart-topping records for decades, it would most definitely be the venerable '73-style of mic pre. '73-style preamps have been massively used in recording and live applications for many years and are still considered to be the “Holy Grail” of preamp choices today. The Warm Audio “WA73 Family” consists of single and dual channel '73-style preamps (with & w/out EQ), that each pay careful homage to British audio history.
MSRP on the WA73 $599 • MSRP on the WA73-EQ $799
Warm Audio WA47
The mic that was and still is used by all the great vocalist in the music industry now has an affordable option. The Warm Audio WA-47 is an all vacuum tube, large diaphragm, transformer balanced, multi-pattern (9), large condenser microphone, based on the classic '47 that has been used on countless hit records for the last 50+ years. The WA-47 sounds great on vocals, acoustic/electric guitars, acoustic/electric bass, drums, piano, strings, brass/woodwind instruments, and an array of other sources. The classic '47 became extremely popular in the 1960's and is now considered one of the greatest microphones ever made. The classic '47 is still widely used today in professional recording studios but has become extremely rare and expensive to acquire. Includes shock mount and wooden box:
Universal Audio LA-610 MKII
When you plug a microphone or instrument into the Universal Audio LA-610 MkII and start turning those fat knobs, it's nearly impossible not to sound good. A formidable front end for any DAW, the LA-610 MkII combines a clear, warm all-tube microphone preamplifier, a rich and musical EQ section, and a bypass-able Opto compressor. With a few notable improvements to the hit original LA-610, this "Mark II" version is a pleasure to use when tracking vocals, voiceovers, guitar, bass, kick drum and more. And on mixing projects, you can use the LA-610's line input to apply its smooth compression and EQ to any recorded signal after the fact. Combining a legendary preamp with a legendary compressor, Universal Audio's LA-610 MkII is an ideal first step in your recording chain.
Adam Audio A77x Ribbon Tweeter Studio Monitors
I have a pair of these in the studio and they sound amazing. The clarity and detail that these monitors provide allows me to mix with precision. The Adam Audio A77X Powered Studio Monitors offer the same outstanding features, and advanced technologies as the A7X, but the A77X adds higher, compression-free sound pressure levels and dynamics. The Adam Audio A77X Powered Studio Monitors are perfectly suited for both near- and midfield monitoring thanks to its powerful design and radiation characteristics.
Furman M-8x2 Power Conditioner
The biggest piece of gear taht is over-looked is the Power Conditioner. One big spike and your rig is up in smoke. Furman's standard level surge/spike protection defends your gear from the spikes and surges that are so common at gigs and practice spots. With Furman's standard level RFI/EMI filtration, you'll get a quieter tone without pops, crackles, and the local radio station coming out of your amp.
Headphones are a critical part of any studio. The Shure SRH840 headphones are an affordable option that will give you a clear sound and comfort that can be worn for hours. If you're in the studio doing a lot of takes, you'll need headphones that don't cause too much fatigue. Plus, these headphones have an extra set of ear pads to swap out when the originals get worn down. These are definitely the best headphone option under $200.
Latch Lake micKing 2200 Boom Stand
If you're going to be serious about your recordings, you need a microphone stand that is even more serious than you are. The Latch Lake micKing 2200 Microphone Boom Stand features all of the outstanding original patented features of the micKing including: the world's strongest boom clutch in its class, unique patented base, Spin Grip Mic Mount, movable counterweight and revolutionary lever lock adjustment systems. The 2200 differentiates itself with just one telescoping extension on both the boom and the mast. It performs flawlessly in all positions with the lightest to the heaviest of microphones. The MK2200 now utilizes a 29 lb, 16" base. This foundation enables its immense strength and flexibility. It's a stand that sells itself and you'll be pleased with the investment.
Mogami Gold Microphone Cables
The cable is usually the most over-looked piece of the studio. A solid connection from your mic to your interface is extremely crucial. These gold cables provide the quality that you need to make sure that your audio is clean and professional. I never recommend cutting corners and using cheap cables is the fastest way to downgrade the quality of your recordings. So pony up and invest in cables that are used by the pros.
Here are some recommendations for those looking to expand and get more I/O for their studio.
Universal Audio 4-710d
The Universal Audio 4-710d is a boutique quality, four-channel microphone/line preamplifier with unique tube and solid-state tone blending capabilities, perfect for a wide range of microphone and instrument sources. This versatile multi-channel preamp offers selectable 1176-style compression circuitry on each channel, plus four additional line inputs feeding eight channels of pristine analog-to-digital conversion. Building upon UA's classic analog design approach, combined with smart modern features, the 4-710d is the most flexible preamp in the UA lineup.
Warm Audio WA-412
The Warm Audio WA-412 provides 4 channels of classic American console preamps in a sleek 1RU design. This style of preamp is often referred to as "the sound of Rock n' Roll" for its BIG punchy low end and smooth open top end. The price/performance ratio of the WA-412 is almost unfathomable to the experienced studio engineer who has possibly paid much more for preamps of this style during their career. Featuring fully discrete socketed 6-pin op-amps and custom wound Altran USA input and output transformers, the WA-412 leaves nothing to be desired. If you are looking for multiple channels of world-class tone in an affordable package, the WA-412 is the right choice for you.
Cable Matters Gold Plated Toslink Optical ADAT cable
Expand your system with an optical device and us a cable that is outrageously affordable and extremely dependable. A 6 foot cable for under $10 is a real deal and this cable provides quality in performance and style. I've had many cables over the years and these Cable Matters cables are still going strong. Be bold and take a chance on cables that will work and not break the bank. Buy 2 cause you'll need input and output connections.