The Essential Gear that’s in my Home Studio

avid eleven rack with pro tools and presonus studio one artistI recently bought an AVID Eleven Rack that comes with Pro Tools 11 (w/free upgrade to 12) and I wanted to do a quick review. Then I figured I should probably just review all my gear since I don’t have that much of it anyway to be honest, but each piece of gear does serve a distinct purpose in my home studio.

Producer’s Tip:

As a guitarist or a producer, the last thing you want to do is become a “gear head”. These are people who buy the latest musical instruments and recording hardware/software to be trendy and because they are materialistic and like collecting toys, not because it makes an unsurpassed impact on their music.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my toys and my studio. But I won’t be checking Musician’s Friend catalog for hours on end to see the latest studio monitors or guitar pedals, home workstations or Fruity Loops 18 (I don’t know if that’s even a version but likely will be someday soon).

Use your gear. Don’t get attached to it. With that said, let’s get into it.

And yes it’s 100% okay to turn all your gear on and then turn the lights out in the room to feel like you’re on a submarine.

eleven rack with pro tools reviewsAVID Eleven Rack with Pro Tools 11

This piece is a beast. For the price tag of $550 I scooped this up and was a little apprehensive at the potential learning curve I was going to face.

To my surprise (and relief) I immediately plugged this thing into the power outlet and started jamming right out of the box.

It’s perfect for seasoned producers and beginner/intermediate guitarists, which meant it was just right for me.

The instrument pre-sets are the $hit. It takes a basic well priced guitar (My Fender bullet strat which I’ll get to in a sec that only ran me $130) and turns it into 100 different guitars, each one sounding amazingly professional with no need to toggle the pre-sets, but if you wanted to it’s incredibly easy as well to make fine adjustments.

It features all types of amps, bells and whistles and just about every guitar preset you’ve ever heard in a hit song. It also works fairly well with my ASUS laptop computer, though I admit I need to upgrade my computer soon to more power.

studio one artist review

To make the Eleven Rack even more valuable, it comes with Pro Tools 11, and when I bought it, they upgraded me to Pro Tools 12 off the bat, for free. Having Pro Tools in your arsenal can be game changing for recording/mixing/editing/mastering your song. It can easily become the only DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) you’ll ever need, and if you can become proficient with it, you’ll be able to do some great things with your recordings.

m-audio 49es reviews

M-Audio 49es Midi Controller

I also have the M-Audio 49es midi controller which I got on sale at Guitar Center. After having bought a 61 key keyboard before and deciding it just wasn’t necessary, this midi controller fits my kitchen counter top perfectly and at the price, I can break it (hopefully I won’t) and just replace the equipment, rather than have to get a keyboard repair on say a Triton or a Yamaha Motif. This M-Audio 49es gets the job done and that’s all I care about. It’s extremely simple but it gets notes in the can ready to quantize and edit without great pains.

Blue Series Spark Condenser Mic and Fender Bullet Strat Guitar

fender bullet strat and blue spark condenser mic reviews

For a microphone I have the Blue series Spark condenser mic retail price $200 but I got one on sale at Guitar Center for $129.99 and it’s been a very reliable, solid condenser mic perfect for hip hop vocals and it looks stylish, even matching my guitar and adding to the decorum.

The best part is not only does it look cool and sound great with an overwhelming amount of positive reviews, it has a built-in pop screen. I always hated having to buy and adjust a separate pop screen for mics and now I don’t have to any more.

My Fender Bullet Strat guitar was well priced on sale like the microphone from $200 down to $129.99 at so guys and gals, just shop around for deals.

Don’t forget to pick up a mic stand too. I have found those to be very helpful.

Audiobox USB Black Box w/Studio One Artist

audiobox usb black box with studio one artistFor my backup recording interface/DAW (why ever would you need a backup you might ask?) I have the Audiobox USB  (sitting atop the Eleven Rack in the first pic on this page) which has a few simple inputs and outputs, phantom power 48V (necessary for recording with a condenser microphone) and also comes with its own DAW.

To answer why you’d want a backup DAW/interface, really this one was my primary DAW when I was travelling and I could use it to capture some great vocals on the go (recorded one of my recent songs in a hotel room at the Declan Suites in San Diego).

studio one artist reviewIt became my backup DAW/interface because it comes with Studio One Artist which is a great bare bones DAW and recording interface that gets the job done, and was recommended to me by Guitar Center as well.

This didn’t cost much either, the Audiobox USB/Studio One Artist bundle costs around a hundred bucks but for what it does, it shines. It doesn’t export to mp3, but that’s what the free WinLame file converter is for once you do a final bounce to .wav for CD listening of your project. Mastering your song will require outside software or handing off to an engineer, but that’s super easy to do/get done.

Also the best part about Studio One Artist? Easy to use and practically zero latency. I wish my Pro Tools had zero latency like this program, but then maybe it’s time again for me to upgrade my computer 🙁

I also have an acoustic guitar which cost me about a hundred bucks on sale at Guitar Center, but that’s an easy one to find just about anywhere.

I don’t currently use studio monitors which I need to get eventually, but for now I use some really good headphones which have lasted me for 7 years to date to record and mix.

And don’t forget to buy some guitar holders (usually under 10 bucks) to hang your guitars on your wall to impress your friends like the budding rock star that you are 🙂

Want a 2nd opinion for building your home studio? Check out this video.

Return to | Read: Great Apps for Guitarists and Music Producers

tags: AVID eleven rack review, eleven rack with pro tools review, m-audio 49es review, m-audio 49es keyboard reviews, blue microphone review, blue condenser mic reviews, blue series spark condenser mic, fender bullet strat reviews, presonus audiobox usb reviews, home music studio, how to build a home music studio

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