Question About Home Studios

Right now, this is what I’m working with.

Self-built desktop PC with Reaktor, Renoise, Steinberg Nuendo
Lexicon Alpha USB audio interface
Korg K49 USB MIDI controller

Sony Vaio laptop with Reaktor, Renoise, Ableton Live
Novation Remote Zero SL control surface

And a set of KRK RP5 monitors.

When I see the home studios of others, I always see rackmount stuff, mixing consoles, and a sea of cables hooked up everywhere. My question is, are these things essential? And further, what should I check out getting in the way of rack-mountable equipment that can be interfaced with a computer to make recordings if I have nothing of the sort?

No, they’re not. Whatever suits your needs is cool.
Personally, I do everything with an iMac, a pair of krk rp8, tapco blend 6 and tascam us-122 and people tell me my music is okay, so hey… away with the wires, eh? ;)

edit: I know I say this a lot, but: it’s not WHAT you use but HOW you use it

I feel that way about my own music, being entirely “in the box” as far as computer use goes. Everything I do is software and control surface.

I’ve been working with and am about to start recording with a guitarist/vocalist though, so that changes the demand of the music considering I have organics to worry about now.

No. Better spend your money on good headphones so you can pay attention to every detail. Honestly. 20000 usd equipment doesnt make your shit sound SO much better, and musically not better at all. Many will probably disagree with me and its fine too :)

signed by: musician, owner of a 10000 euros hometheatre, using 50eur Logitech speakers as computerspeakers, owner of decent headphones.

I’m fully content with a laptop, a pair of good headphones, a mobile recorder, Echo Indigo IO, a Bacardi Breezer, and a park bench with a good view. :)

From what is sounds like, you have everything you need to make music. If you mean by “home studio” in the sense that your intention is to record other bands with live instruments, then you’ll probably need a few more things like a compressor, instrument/vocal mics, instrument cables, and maybe an external backup hard drive. Most of these people I see with huge rack unit setups don’t really utilize them nearly as much as they could be. Most people these days can make due musically with a very minimalistic setup, I know many people in renoise forums do.

Edit: A little mixer would probably help too

Hardware looks good I must admit, but 13 years ago I had to have my then ‘studio’ re-wired to take into account all the electricity being used, where I crammed in loads of stuff (amps, keybords, tape decks etc) I didn’t know how to use it all, couldn’t wire it up properly, and couldn’t really afford it! 98% of which I’ve now sold.

Less is more, we live in easier times if you want to make music, sounds like you’re sorted!

In my opinion there is nothing like having a few hardware synths around, but make sure it a synth worth having around. However you dont need alot of other shit; like samplers, tape decks etc.

And the reason is not only that it looks cool, but there are sounds and the soundimage itself that you cannot replicate, phatness etc, the ability to work with other people, lets face it renoise is a very egoistic program :P

And i totally disagree when it comes to laptops, tho i would enjoy sitting outside in a park making some scene inspired tunage, however the limitations of battery and cpu power makes my laptop music non existant. Get yourself a dual core with maxed out ram, a holy soundcard, and an xsession then we can talk about the need of hardware synths, and the love of huge vsti’s.

make sure it a synth worth having around.

Yeah, I agree. But perhaps that is the dark side of tracking.

Getting rid of my “sea of cables” was one of my best decisions ever! I’ll never go back…

So I take it the consensus is that it’s not necessary? I assumed as much. I have an adequate audio interface and decent monitors and I never really saw the need for much else in the way of hardware. I’m not a flashy guy…

Although, considering that my newest project involves another person with a voice and an acoustic guitar, and that I’ll be playing bass as well as running electronics through my Vaio, should I invest in some sort of hardware compression unit for recording? Can anyone recommend one or tell me why it’s un-necessary?

Sounds like you have more need of some good microphone(s)

I have access to a decent mic for recording vocals. The guitars are going right into the audio interface, unless we decide that sounds like total crap.

Thought you said you were playing acoustic guitar? Same with bass, or is it electric?
You can get okay recordings with a decent vocal mic, though audiophiles will disagree.
However, IF you’re going to spend money to improve the quality of your sound (ie. compressor),
I’d suggest to increase the quality at the source and invest in good recordings, rather than
good post production.

My co-collaborators guitar is an acoustic/electric, and I’m playing an electric bass.

And thanks for the advice. I do have access to a decent mic if running direct into the audio interface proves inadequate. Do you use mics at all, if so what do you use?

I have a cheap vocal mic which I use for recording the occasional vocal line, nothing worth mentioning actually…