Updated on 12/15/18
Goals listed relate to recording equipment and live equipment that we believe line up with our calling musically.
With our own recording equipment, we can be prayerfully meticulous in shaping the recordings. First priority with recording equipment is a computer that is able to handle detailed recording, new or used. Much of what we are looking for can be used equipment. A quality recording microphone can be used right away for video recordings.
We have also gone through a couple of thefts in our move to CA that were not covered by insurance. Praise God, He always provides for His will. The night of my move to CA, a semi-hollow body electric guitar, ukulele and relevant accessories were stolen. We found the thief but the local police did not consider it a priority. A few months ago, I had about $1,000 of music equipment well-hidden in my car (small suitcase and backpacks) which was stolen through one back window; some of it belonging to a friend. Personal musical items stolen include: live microphones, in-ear monitor system (where the signal sends from the mixing board to the musician), studio Sennheiser HD 280 pro headphones, tambourine and egg shaker. Friend’s items I was often using for ministry include a professional wireless mic and various Mogami cables.
Recording Equipment / Basic Sound Equipment
Our Own Recording Equipment
◦ At this level we need, in order of priority:
Computer(s), preferably first an iMac (1TB+, preferable i7, and 16GB+) in order to contain large projects for studio recording, and eventually a MacBook Pro (500mb+) for live recordings (and other live music software and media).
▪ External Hard Drive (for storing projects)
▪ A professional recording program (DAS) - LOGIC Pro X (for Apple, $200, which now offers iCloud file sharing) https://www.apple.com/logic-pro/
▪ A good quality interface, which is the device for the sound that will initially come into the recording program. The capacity of the interface will either limit or give liberty to sound quality coming into the recording program.
In the price-range under $1,000: - PreSonus Studio 1824 (has wireless interface option, great for when recording alone) and Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 covers needs well for live recording and drums having 8 inputs, and is a great quality option for the entry level price range - $400/$500; or the Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 (lesser capability for recording live or more than one musician at a time, but still good quality) - $200-220. The Arturia AudioFuse has great quality for this price range in that it includes extra gadgets usually on a separate device, can bring in digital information of 14 tracks (though like the 2i4, only has 2 inputs), and most importantly, has about zero extra recording noise comparable to interfaces way out of this price range. Microphones and interfaces are important for isolating extra sound off a recording (for example, on lesser quality or some older recordings, you may hear an extra “hiss” sound that you will not hear on radio-quality songs). An example of a great more professional quality device is the RME Fireface UFX+ currently listed at $2,239.
▪ Since headphones were stolen, need new headphones, with goal of studio monitors eventually.
▪ Software/programs with an arsenal of sound for live music and recording
▪ Softwares that link to midi devices such as plug-ins for expanded
abilities (such as surround sound and other effects, more tones, and
beat-making abilities) for recording. Once I know what recording program I have, I'll understand any needs regarding this better.
▪ Flash drive for Motif (allows space to create sounds and have loaded on keyboard without a computer being attached) - $279 (Yamaha FL1024M Flash Memory Expansion Module - 1GB). This also allows for storing sounds made by others, such as Jamal's Flash -
• The following items are secondary to those listed above because we can start with the
items above, then add from there.
◦ At least one good recording mic and shock mount kit. Entry level is Rode NT1A $230. Possibly even better is a new or older model NT1 which has a warmer sound (similar price - found some used at $100); next level, closer to industry standard at a price/bang-for-buck is AKG C414, currently low on Amazon for the XLS at $695, then a more expensive option is the Neumann U47 FET). Mics with good reputation for recording saxophone include: Studio Projects T3, MD 421-II, and MikTek CV4. I have access to a nice mic I can borrow, but even having a basic one for sketching out recording ideas and for making videos is an immediate goal.
◦ Studio Grade Headphones: The one stolen would substitute as the studio monitor, and then would be for those being recorded and hearing the music while they record. $100+ (such as Sennheiser 280 Pro).
◦ Sound Paneling (many options, approx $200 as good start)
◦ Studio Monitors (price varies, but generally $400+ for a pair).
◦ Paying someone (normal even after very high level studio work) to do mixing and mastering (recently recorded with a ministry that was quoted $500/song, which isn’t an abnormal price for a reputable but not industry go-to studio)
• Our goal is to be faithful to sow into the clear calling to record music, and be good
stewards of that calling. With that, we would want to record music at a caliber that is appropriate for the intended goal - something that sounds good for publishing to the best of our ability with out necessarily recording through a main label’s preferred studio. Our initial goal is to have equipment that is at least at the same level that you would find at a local studio (note: studios that record for radio quality have more expensive equipment, but to start here would help us to be ready to transfer to that step). At this level of priority, I have listed only a few things due to the possibility of borrowing equipment as needed, and paying someone for the finishing touches (who would have the equipment and experience equipping to do so). This level allows us to not spend the same amount of money paying someone to do what we could do, and allows us to afford unlimited time in the studio (to do better with the afforded finances). With our own equipment, we can record in detail, with edits being done in excellence to exemplify the gift of God to be liberally led of His Spirit for the most ideal finished product.
◦ Starter Sound Needs
▪ 4 Powered Speakers, such as Mackie SRM 450 or QSC powered speakers. The 450s are still a good standard for quality, but are older (and heavier!) therefore able to
be found used as low as $250/speaker. Having four would cover 2 as floor monitors and 2 as main speakers for a small ensemble (only 3 needed when serving as a soloist). As our PA system grows, the 4 speakers could be used as monitors for a full band.
▪ Sound board. I am borrowing one that has effects built in. A digital board is ideal for being able to save settings and mix from the phone via an app. I have an older digital board that has had some issues such as popping noises, cutting out, and not properly saving settings (nor works with an app).
▪ In-ear monitor system and accessories. I had equipment for one person which was great for going somewhere as a guest (that was stolen), but goal is to have what is needed for an ensemble.
2) Further options on the front line of our goals, that allow for refined use of musical abilities, both for live and recording.
Korg Electribe (drum machine) with midi ($250 used, $420 new), can some-what substitute for a drummer, but more importantly, can sync in extra sounds for a drummer to follow and use as a metronome, while having a midi output that my MicroKorg can sync with, thereby allowing the group to have modern arpeggiated sounds that are played and editable in the moment (hearing the tempo clearly together), versus essentially doing karaoke style as many groups are doing (playing along with pre-recorded files). I had bought an older one that was faulty for $120 and am working on returning it since it is unlikely to be repairable.
A wireless headset that can be used by Tim for quality vocals while ministering in prayer/ teaching and switching from sax. Crown CM-311A $450
• Saxophone equipment. There is certainly more to consider, but my first priority is a new
tenor sax mouthpiece which would need to be tried in person ($400-1,000). My current mouthpiece allows for a warm personalized sound, but the side rails are uneven, limiting
versatility. I am also praying for soprano sax equipment, both the mouthpiece (getting a larger opening) and saxophone (getting a professional grade horn for playability and
tuning). For alto sax, I have great equipment but am interested in getting a mouthpiece that allows for certain sounds that my current mouthpiece limits from.
New sax mic that can be used in large settings and keep genuine to my tone. $300+
Live percussion for Kelry, such as a cabasa, sleigh bells, and chimes in addition to the cajon and djembe she plays.
3) Other important goals for music equipment:
Space and equipment to build a studio in a very conducive space for a recording studio, along with our own professional PA system, light system, and media system (such as our own protector and portable screens for evangelistic use).
Roland Octapad. This allows for unique percussion tones for live and recording, in small or large settings. $700
Talk box - MXR M222 $170 new, used on Offer Up for $100 (cascio has replacement tube). Since it’s closer in price, may be for the sake of warranty to just go new. This produces the robotic voice that you heard in music such as by Zapp & Roger. Also would like the sample library here that allows the device to easily have a library of sounds. https://gospelmusicians.com/talkbox-jr.html