My “home studio” is an Android tablet, a Windows 7 notebook, a Radio Shack microphone, and a set of Sony headphones.

My home studio.

My home studio.

The Toshiba Thrive 10.1 tablet is the core of my setup. I use Caustic 3 to assemble my arrangements and output the finished track to .wav. I also use it for vocal processing, with an effect chain put together by Jason Blann (EIP Studios Ohio) intended for use with a mobile device’s built-in microphone. With the way Caustic currently works, vocals have to be cut into short segments (about 20 seconds maximum) and loaded into the PCM Synth or Vocoder. The developer says he is working on full audio tracking for a future version.

My cover of “Penguin in Bondage” was recorded using the tablet microphone, but last month a driver for the kourier service that my work uses gifted a Radio Shack 33-3005 microphone to me, and I plug that into the Acer notebook running Audacity to record my vocals. It’s not really ideal; the microphone input clips at the slightest excuse. I have to have the input level barely cracked open, and hold the microphone several inches away from myself. Also I hold it off to the side so the recording won’t spike at heavy plosive sounds; future plans include acquiring or making a “pop filter” screen.

My “vocal booth” is an office downstairs, or the walk-in closet off the master bath, depending on how alone in the house I am.

For months my only headphones were some cheap ones from Big Lots, heavy with distortion and inaccurate frequency response. Tracks mixed on these phones and played back on speakers sounded awful. This week I dropped sixteen dollars on some Sony MDRZX100 “flat response” headphones, and they now serve as my “studio monitors”, with occasional testing on speakers just to be sure.

In the near future I hope to get a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 USB interface for instrument recording to Audacity, and better vocal recording.

[UPDATE 2015.08.10]
Have had the Focusrite 2i2 interface connected to a Windows 7 desktop PC since last April, so I use that for Audacity recording instead of the Acer notebook.
Also have added a Squire bullet strat to the arsenal; that along with the Carvin 5-string bass, the 5-octave Yamaha keyboard, and the Chapman Stick, gives me the versatility to record tracks with actual non-programmed instruments. The drums will still need to be programmed in Caustic.
Also added my iPad 2 running the full version of AmpliTube to the studio gear, in lieu of any amplification or outboard effects for the stringed instruments; instruments jack into the iPad using an iRig that plugs into the headphone jack. I got the basic “paid” version of AmpliTube when it was a featured free app in the store, though I also purchased the Ampeg bass amp to have another choice besides the provided free bass amp that comes with the app.
The iPad also has VocaLive (from the makers of AmpliTube) for vocal effects, but so far I haven’t been able to make it take input through the iRig.


2 thoughts on “TOYS IN THE ATTIC: My Home Studio

  1. do you know if the Toshiba Thrive and 2i2 are compatible? looking for a tablet to run active monitors via the Scarlett 2i2


    • I’m told the Thrive is compatible with many USB interfaces including the 2i2; assuming you are running an app that supports it, and reportedly it works best on a powered hub (so as to not drain the battery of the Thrive too quickly.)
      I haven’t tried it yet tho’.
      And thanks for reading; even though this blog isn’t really meant for anyone but myself, it’s nice to get a little attention. I’ve been off it for some time but I’m going to try to be more current here.


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