3 Studios, 3 Budgets: What Would You Buy?

Mar 1, 2013 9:00 AM, Mix, By Markkus Rovito, Kevin Becka, and Wes Maebe


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TRACK AND MIX: $100,000

By Wes Maebe

In this world of working in-the-box, I prefer to bring audio out of the screen territory. That’s why this is going to be an analog-based setup.

We have to track and mix, so we’re going to spend the bulk of the budget on an amazing-sounding desk; I’ve chosen one of my all-time-favorite-sounding boards, the API 1608. This beast comes in at $52,400, but don’t be put off by the price tag, as you get a lot of bang for your buck. This 16x8x2 API comes loaded with 16 548B mic/line pre’s, each with their own direct output. You’ll have the use of 8 auxes and 8 echo returns.

API 1608

API 1608

The console features 12 classic 550A and 4 560 equalizers. A full VU meter bridge helps you keep an eye on levels, although with the ridiculous amount of headroom that the API gear provides, levels should not be an issue. Keep in mind that the 1608 has a bunch more empty 500 Series slots, which we’ll fill with a selection of different flavors later on.

Even though we’re playing with the larger budget here, we still need to watch the pennies. So, rather than spending and extra 11 grand on the automation fit for the 1608, I’m putting in an Avid Artist Control ($1,500). This will allow hands-on access to DAW automation, plug-ins and provide a very useful and time-saving transport section.

Having been a Mac user since I started out as an audio engineer, I’m putting in the latest Mac Pro 12 core ($3,799). And although this machine comes with a 1TB internal drive, I like to keep the audio from the system drive, so I’m adding a Glyph GPT50 500GB external drive. Now we need to get audio into the Mac.

Our next major tool for the machine room part is Universal Audio’s Apollo Quad core interface. For $2,499, this interface will give you a great sound and some killer plug-in action. The Apollo allows you to record 24-bit/192kHz, gives 8 analog inputs with 4 preamps, 14 analog outs and 10 digital I/Os. It comes out of the box with the UAD LA-2A, the 1176 and the Pultec EQP-1A plug-ins. We’re also going to add a handful of extras.

Now that Avid has made Pro Tools open to third-party hardware, we can run Pro Tools 10 with our UAD Apollo and benefit from the Pro Tools ease of use and fast editing power. And that’s going to be our main DAW.

Pro Tools 10

Pro Tools 10

Besides the artist and your ears, the mics are your most important tools in the studio. They’re the ones that will capture all these magical moments. As you’ll be tracking a wide variety of instruments in this room, we need to stock up on useful and character-filled microphones, so this is going to be another area where we’ll be spending a good chunk of cash.

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