PC-Based Home Studio Setup - Part I, the basic configuration

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A very effecient and effective studio setup for a one-man (or woman) band.

This is the first in what I hope will be a series of articles about how to set up your home studio, starting with the basic, and very coomon configuration, going ahead later wiyth more complex environments involving more high-end and sophisticated systems.

This first article will deal with a basic, and very common system, a sound card with two ins (or a stereo pair that can be used separately), 2 outs (same as ins) used with a small mixer with one out bus, a couple aux loops and a few channels, like the Behringer 802, for example. A very common, and also very useful configuration, used properly it can do a lot. For the one-man-band type of setup, it is very useful.

First, all the instruments start out at a channel of the mixer. The aux sends should go in and out of your effects. The only out-board gear I have is a stereo compressor and a stereo 31-band EQ, I have two aux loops I use one side of the EQ and one side of the compressor in each loops, so whatever I need, they are both available in both loops. What you set up however, is totally dependent on your effects and what you need. The main outs of the mixer should go in to the sound card ins, and the outs of the mixer to the amplifier (or speakers if you have active monitors).

A possible drawback of this set up is headphone monitoring while you are recording vocal tracks or recording miked cabs and such. If you have more than one person that wants to listen in, it gets tough. The way I work around this is with a headphone amplifier with a stereo link. With that I can fit a headphone amplifier between the PC audio outs and the amplifier in. If I need headphones, I turn it on and shut the main amp off, if I don't I leave it off and keep the main amp on. It works great.

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