Computer Studio equipment recommendation

  • rpatros
Posted: Wed, 02/04/2009 - 00:55
I am trying to build a studio machine for our Choir. I have convinced my Choir conductor to use Ardour as the multitracking recording software instead of purchasing ProTools. Budget wise I am limited to $1000 worth of hardware. I already have a machine with the following system specs: P4 2.4ghz 1GB of RAM Sound Blaster Live I will add more RAM later but here is where I need your help with your suggestions. What soundcard interface would you recommend? I had in mind M-Audio 1010LT but I read an article that said the M-Audio 1010lt is no longer recongnized by 64Studio/Ubuntu Studio as the card was redesinged in 2007 so that go me paused. The reason I thought of the 1010lt because of it's connection but I believe it lacks phantom power. Which card would be recommended in which the following connections are need? Midi MIC 1/4 jacks Also what studio monitors would you recommend? Which Microphone would be recommended? I saw the M-Audio MXL 990 but it requires phantom power. I also saw the Shure SM57 Instrument/Vocal Mic (SM57-LC). Not sure if this one requires phantom power Need you recommendation on the following devices: Sound card (Recommend PCI, Firewire or USB)? Recording Mic for Solo What monitors to use Mic filter Your suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Rony P.


  • Quentin Harley
  • 05/24/07
  • Fri, 02/06/2009 - 21:08
There is a very good reason why there are so many different type of microphones out there. Some good, some excellent. Though for its application the SM58 is one of the excellents, it is not good if you want to record large groups of people, such as a choir. I would look at condenser microphones with either omni or cardioid pic-up patterns, or switchable. Double check for linux compatilbility by doing a simple google seach "Device name linux support"

How about these hardwares....

  • rpatros
  • 02/03/09
  • Fri, 02/06/2009 - 20:06
I was also looking at the following components and not sure if they would be a good setup for the choir. Now this will be setup at our conductor's house so it would not be done at the church. Audio Interface: Lexicon Omega AKG Perception 120 Condenser Microphone Musicians Gear Double Pop Filter M-Audio Studiophile AV 40 Powered Reference Speaker System Or the SM58 MIC. What do you think?


  • Quentin Harley
  • 05/24/07
  • Wed, 02/04/2009 - 21:01
I always use Ardour for my recording projects. It is a very valid replacement for protools. True, my recording system tips the scale at about $3000, and that excludes the mics or the cables, but I have a 16ch rig, which you will not need. 4ch should be enough for your purposes. You also asked about monitors... Buying monitors is very personal, and the best advice I can give you is to se if you can test a few pairs. When I bought mine I went to the Thomann store in Treppendorf, Germany and I could compare all the monitors I could afford, and just not afford. In the end two sets resonated with me, and one of them I could afford... ESi nEar 5 eXperience. The other set was the Adam A7's I built my setup slowly as money became available, and my first commercial recording project was done with ugly homebuilt microphones, selfmade phantom power mic preamps, and a Sony minidisk recorder...


  • system
  • 08/21/07
  • Thu, 02/05/2009 - 01:39
Hey Quentin, great setup btw! And also some great advice... The 9632 is not out of your budget, or your Choir's budget. But also consider the multifaceII with a hostcard. Look around for them bundled together...your choice of 4 hostcards; PCIe, PCI, Cardbus and Expresscard34. The only thing missing are the mic pres...MF is only 1/4 inch balanced ins. BUT you get the most stable and pro option possible that will literally STOMP anything short of an HD system and even then, its a matter of taste ;) You can add mic pres to the MFII with an RME QuadMic in the other half of the rack. Please mind my bias as I work as a specialist for an RME distributor in the US. But this is because I really really like the solutions and can recommend them to anyone. I have had very good experience with the Multiface and HDSPe expresscard which worked out of the box with 64studio 2.1(32bit). For more information, check out the rme website: Hope this helps, jonathan adams leonard Lead Specialist, Synthax Inc RME | AXON | ALVA

Thank you for the reply

  • rpatros
  • 02/03/09
  • Wed, 02/04/2009 - 16:45
Quentin I appreciate your response and I see that the Hammerfall is great card but still that is just above my budget. I love the song you have created. Were you using Ardour for this recording? Rony P.


  • Quentin Harley
  • 05/24/07
  • Wed, 02/04/2009 - 07:49

Right up my Alley...

Let start at the beginning.

The microphones to use for choirs depends on the environment you are going to record in. If the background noise is low and the room sounds good, I choose phantom powered omidirectional condenser microphones, and place 4 of them as follows: 2 mics in front directly left and right of the conductor, or slightly in front of him, three times as far away from each other as they are from the choir itself. This is called a spaced omni technique and gives excellent results in terms of stereo image and "air". You then place 2 more mics to the sides of the auditorium in the audience area. These are used to controll the ambience of the sound, and the level in the final is normally low.

To use them you would need an interface that has 48v Phantom power, and there are many good quality units available that is supported by Linux. Check out the FFADO page for ideas.

I use a DDX3216 digital mixer with an ADAT expansion port installed (optical 16 channels in and out) and that is connected to the excellent RME Hammerfall 9632 ADAT card which is supported fully in 64 Studio.

The PC I use is an AMD Athlon X2 3800+

I use the omni's for everything relating to choir performances.

As an example of what is possible with this setup, listen to this:

As Vrede my Pad