My Small Recording Studio Success

I started recording with Cubase LE two years ago using a Focusrite 2i2 and I had no idea about mixing and just used headphones. I liked Cubase so much I purchased the Pro edition. Here’s what I finally ended up with – a zero latency home studio with great monitoring and mixes:

  • Cubase Pro
  • SSL2+ interface
  • Yamaha HS-5’s for stereo mixing
  • Avantone Cube for mono mixing
  • Fender Mustang 50 watt amp
  • Royer R10 and Shure SM-57 on the guitar amp
  • SE Electronics VR2 for vocals

That’s it – very simple. I had done shootouts on all of the sub $500 interfaces and tried all of the decent microphones in the $500 ish or less class, and these won hands down.

Mike Seniors Mixing Secrets for Small Studios was the major breakthrough. Once I carefully read his book my home studio went from schmoe to pro.

The SSL2+ is quite a bit better than the UA Volt 276 that I have. While I like the Volt 276 ergonomics better, the SSL2+ preamps are the cleanest out of all of the budget interfaces. The MOTU M2 is pretty nice too, but even though the SSL2+ has a few things I feel they could have done better, nothing came close to it’s clean sound.

Radio Twin Lens Reflex

Radio Twin Lens Reflex
All the hits
All the time
The greatest scene
On the ground glass screen

Radio Twin Lens Reflex
First lens
Second lens
Watch the parallax
Get The KNAC!

Radio Twin Lens Reflex
The music
Of our lifetime
So far away
Until we play

Radio Twin Lens Reflex
Automatic reaction
Makes us happy
Radio Photo romance
Get up, let's dance!

Universal Audio Volt 276 and 476

The analog to digital interface, with pre amps is the “nerve center” for most singer – song writers who have modest home studios. For me, low latency, low noise and great layout of the inputs, outputs and controls is as important as value pricing.

Universal Audio knocked this one out of the park.

I also have a Motu M2 and SSL2, and they are excellent, but I’m finding I only use the 276.

I tried using a Universal Audio SOLO USB but hated it. Its installation procedure crashed and burned so I returned it to Amazon. I find that a bad installation procedure is a bad omen. It also downloaded over 12,000 files before going completely dead in the process. I almost started hating Universal Audio – as legendary as they are.

The 276 and 476 has turned me into a rabid fanboy. In the most recent song I double tracked the guitar and cello using Rode NT1A mics in stereo ORTF style with my fabulous Fender Mustang modeling amp, and also added a mono direct in track. The direct was clean / dry and the Mic stereo input had the colored “crunch”. It seems to me this leads to best versatility in case something I record could be used in the future (doubtful but why not make believe and do things right anyway).

The sound I got was the best I’ve gotten in my year and a half of recording. BTW, I highly recommend using a pair of matched mics on an amp. Its so much better than using one good and one not so goid Mic as I had been doing until now.

I’ve learned a lot from the David Miles Huber and Bobby Owsinski recording books. Gear is great, but knowledge is power!