Home Recording Studio Update (2021)

Home Recording Studio Update – 21 Years Later!

After 21 years I have a home recording studio update! In 2020 I decided to completely overhaul and rebuild my home recording studio. The overhaul includes new furniture, upgraded outboard gear, instrument upgrades, improved soundproofing, and proper room acoustic treatments for a better room frequency response. I am modernizing everything as my budget allows. The studio design will focus on editing and mixing first, and recording second.

Home Recording Studio Update – The Details

Acoustic treatments will achieve an optimal room frequency response. Improved soundproofing will keep our neighbors happier when the studio is in use. The visual aesthetics will change to make a more comfortable and relaxing environment. There will be no more blinding white walls that the studio had originally. The new look will have an awesome, darker, psychedelic vibe, with controllable LED lighting. I will write in detail about the studio rebuild in future posts.

Home Recording Studio Update – Outboard Gear Upgrades

Home Recording Studio Update, Upgraded Outboard Gear Racks (2021)
Upgraded Custom-Built Gear Racks (Early 2021):
Power Supply: 2x Furman PL-PLUS DMC Power Supplies.
Rolling Mixer Stand (far right): Mackie 1402 VLS.
Upgraded Custom-Built Gear Racks (Late 2021):
Left Rack: Two Fully Independent Monitoring Systems (see next picture).
Right Rack: Outboard Gear (1x TC Electronics M-ONE XL Dual Channel Effects Signal Processor, 2x Behringer Composer MDX2100, 2x Behringer Composer Pro-XL MDX 2600, 1x Art TPII XL Tube Preamp System 2 (modded), 1x Art Pro MPA Tube Preamp (modded), 1x Art Pro VLA Voctrol/Tube Leveling Amp (modded)) for Vocals, Drums and other instruments.
Home Recording Studio Update, Monitoring Station - No Room Acoustic Treatments at this point
Editing, Mixing and Monitoring Station:
Acoustic Room Treatment: No room acoustic treatments at this point.
DAC/ADC Converter: Lexicon Omega (USB/Instrument/XLR) 24/48 Digital to Analog and Analog to Digital Converter.
A/B Controlling Unit: RCF MC-1 Monitor Controller
Cabling: Mogami Gold Studio XLR Cables, Van Damme Blue Series Studio Speaker Wire, Seismic Audio Speakers 24K Gold Banana Connectors.
Monitor Chain 1: 1x DOD R430 Dual-Channel Graphic Equalizer, 1x Yamaha P2201 Power Amp, 2x Yamaha NS-10M Studio Monitors, 1x Yamaha NS-W2 Powered Subwoofer (Designed Specifically for NS-10’s Crossover Range).
Monitor Chain 2: 1x Ashly GQX-3102 Dual-Channel 31-Band Graphic Equalizer, 1x Ashly XR1001 Dual-Channel Crossover, 1x Samson Servo 550 Power Amp, 2x Tannoy PBM 6.5 Studio Monitors, 2x Tannoy TS10 Powered Subwoofer.

Home Recording Studio Update – Computer and Software Upgrades

Home Recording Studio Project, Computer and Software Upgrades
Computer and Software Upgrades: Samsung R780 Laptop/Workstation with Intel i3 Processor 8GB Memory and 750GB Internal HDD, External Wall Mounted Monitor, Samplitude Pro X4 Multi-Track Recording Software Suite with a virtual arsenal of Plugins, Dell 530 Workstation (Backup Server) with dual Xeon 3.4 Ghz processors and 2TB of Storage on RAID-1 Configuration, All Devices Hardwired for 1GB Ethernet over Cat.6 Cables.

Home Recording Studio Update – Instrument Upgrades

Drum Kit Improvements: Full Rack, Floating Mounts, Full Microphone Coverage, Two Snares, Sturdy Overhead Rolling Stands.
7-Piece 1989 Pearl Export Series Drum Kit Improvements: Half-Rack, Floating Mounts, Two Pearl Snares, Full Microphone Coverage (1x D-112, 10x SM57, 3x SM58, 2x C-1000 (modded)), Sturdy Overhead Rolling Stands.
Guitar Rig Upgrades (2021): Marshall JCM 900 50w High-Gain Dual Reverb Amp (early version – modded), Fryette Power Station Integrated Reactance Amplifier, 2x Sonic 4×12 Cabinets with ??? Speakers.

For my entire life I owned and played only one guitar, a 1985, all black, Ibanez Roadstar II, 6-string electric. A while back I restored all the original electronics after I shifted away from my Heavy Metal phase. However, as part of my studio rebuild I purchased a second guitar, a 2009 Gibson Les Paul Traditional Pro. Check it out…

Gibson Les Paul Traditional Pro 2009, 6 String Electric Guitar
2009 Gibson Les Paul Traditional Pro, 6-String Electric Guitar.

Home Recording Studio Update – Future Planned Upgrades

Here are some additional upgrades I have specified for the rebuilt, but that I have not yet purchased.

  • Herman Miller Mirra 2 Chair – Tilt Limiter and Seat Angle, Butterfly Back
  • Lynx Studio Technology: Aurora 16 with LT-USB (AD/DA 24/196 16 channel Converter)
  • Gallien-Krueger: CX410 Bass Cabinets (2x)
  • Gallien-Krueger: MB Fusion (500W)
  • Gallien-Krueger: 1001RB Power Amp
  • 7-string electric guitar… still researching.
  • Good quality vocal microphone… still researching.
  • GIK Acoustics: 242 Acoustic Panels for 1st-order reflection control.
  • Bass traps won’t be selected until a room frequency analysis has been completed, and the “trouble” frequencies are identified. Traps will be custom build to target those specific “trouble” frequencies.
  • Build a small isolated vocal recording area.

Rococo Reproduction Painting by Unknown Artist

Purchased by my mother for about $15.00 at a local thrift shop, this large Rococo reproduction painting was a nice find. She asked me to frame it for her, which prompted me to do a little digging into the origins of the painting.

Rococo Reproduction Painting

The painting has no artist signature and there are no identifiable markings on the stretcher or back. It is old, and there are visible signs of wear on the canvas and painted surface. There is a lot of dirt buildup and yellowing of the varnish.  The canvas is very dry and brittle. There is cracking of the painted medium in certain areas, and the painting could use a restoration.

Rococo reproduction painting by unknown artist.
Reproduction Painting by Unknown Artist.
Rococo reproduction painting by unknown artist. (Detail)
Reproduction Painting by Unknown Artist. (Detail)

Narrow strips of wood all around, and two fitted cross-members are all that hold painted canvas in place. The frame is not outstanding in any way and is probably not original to the painting.

Rococo reproduction painting rear view.
Rococo Reproduction Painting Rear View.
Rococo reproduction painting rear view. (Detail)
Rococo Reproduction Painting Rear View. (Detail)

The Composition

The composition of this painting is derived from elements of two famous paintings by Rococo artist Francois Boucher. (1703-1770) It was during a general search of painting styles of the 17th through 19th centuries that I stumbled upon a painting by Boucher, The Bird Cage (1763) that partially matched the reproduction painting. Further research into Boucher’s works led me to a second painting, The Shepherd’s Gift (1740), that matched another portion of the reproduction painting. You can image my excitement.

Reference Painting 1:

The Shepherd’s Gift (The Nest) draws from the fountain, large tree, and foliage to the left of the water fountain.

Francois Boucher (1703-1770): The Shepherd's Gift (The Nest) (1740)
Francois Boucher (1703-1770): The Shepherd’s Gift (The Nest) (1740)

Reference Painting 2:

The Bird Cage draws from the man and women. I think the artist might have referenced black and white images of the original paintings and thus the variation in clothing colors on the reproduction… but that’s just a guess.

Francois Boucher (1703-1770): The Bird Cage (1763)
Francois Boucher (1703-1770): The Bird Cage (1763)

In conclusion, researching this Rococo reproduction painting was a fun project.

Victorian Frame Still Life

Antiques on the Farmington, located in Collinsville, Connecticut was home to this beautiful Victorian frame still life. Looking for good quality antique frames is always a highlight for me when I go antiquing with my wife, Jennifer. Finding old carved frames is rare to find in a typical shop, but there are usually many 19th and 20th century frames to be seen. Loss of compo ornamentation is a typical problem in frames from this period.

Victorian Frame Still Life

Victorian Frame Still Life.

I believe the finish is original; however, it needs a serious cleaning. Notice the closed corners – the compo ornamentation lines up nicely, with intent and symmetry. Also, the compo is in relatively good condition, with only a few losses here and there. (…look for the white spots where the compo has flaked off.)

Victorian Frame Still Life - corner close-up.

A notable design feature is the beaded sight edge. I am not sure what design is on the top edge, and I have found no reference to it in my many frame books.

In conclusion, this is a unique old frame. During my many years of frame hunting throughout Connecticut’s many antique shops, I have never come across a frame designed like this one.

You can see a Victorian portrait frame that we found in the same shop.

Victorian Frame Portrait

We stopped at one of our favorite antique shop collectives, Antiques on the Farmington, located in Collinsville, Connecticut. We found this wonderful Victorian frame portrait that has many nice features and an interesting photographic portrait that is probably original to the frame. (I often wonder about the people depicted in these types of finds. Who were they and what were they like? What did they do for a living and what was their family like?)

Victorian Frame Portrait.

Victorian frame portrait.
Victorian frame portrait.

Some of the notable Victorian features are the oval sight and center frieze with leopard pattern.

Victorian frame portrait - showing original finish luster and reflections.
Victorian frame portrait – showing original finish luster and reflections.

Something that you often see today in antique frames is that they have been over-painted with bronze or copper paint, or even worse… Shabby Chic. (gag!) Using bronze or copper paint was a common practice to cover up damaged areas of the finish rather than have the frames professionally repaired. One positive indicator that the original finish has been over-painted is the lack of luster and reflection that metallic-leaf (or true gold-leaf) often gives off, resulting in an overall flat appearance across the frame. Depending on how thick the paint was applied you will also notice a loss of detail in some of the design elements and compo ornamentation. (I’m personally not a fan of over-painted antique frames or Shabby Chic… but each to his own.)

Victorian frame portrait - corner close-up showing minor repair work.
Victorian frame portrait – corner close-up showing minor repair work.

In conclusion, this is a nice looking Victorian frame despite some of the visible signs of touch-up and repair work. The frame seems to be in good condition and still retains much of its original finish. I also like that it has a nice patina.

You can see a Victorian frame with still life that we found in the same shop.

Neoclassical Louis XVI or Neoclassical Empire Frame

Jennifer and I went antiquing today at The Collinsville Antiques Company of New Haven and Antiques on the Farmington which are both located in Collinsville, Connecticut. First of all, I’m always on the lookout for good quality antique frames whenever we go antiquing. On this day we came across two noteworthy frames. One of the frames was a nice Neoclassical Louis XVI or Neoclassical Empire Frame mounted to a 19th century oil painting on canvas. The second frame was a Transitional Louis XV/Louis XVI Rococo Frame Reproduction. In this post, I will discuss the Neoclassical frame.

Neoclassical Frame

Neoclassical Frame with Waterfall Oil Painted Scene
Neoclassical Frame with Waterfall Oil Painted Scene

Some of the notable Neoclassical design elements of this frame include the bead pattern, double-bead and reel pattern, plain cove and the most important egg and dart pattern at the top edge. Also, the outer edge has a rais-de-Coeur pattern all around. (As seen in the last image at the bottom.)

Neoclassical frame - corner close-up
Neoclassical Frame – Corner close-up

Picture frame molding often comes pre-fabricated in lengths up to 8 feet long that are measured, cut to the proper length and joined at the corners. One telltale sign of this type of frame construction is mismatched design patterns and a visible seam in the corners. These identifying features are also known as “open corners”.

Neoclassical style frame - corner close-up showing rais-de-coeur.
Neoclassical Frame – Corner close-up showing rais-de-Coeur

Overall this Neoclassical Louis XVI or Neoclassical Empire Frame in great condition. It has no significant losses to the compo ornamentation. The finish appears consistent throughout with no overpainting or touchups and appears to be original. There do appear to be some small stains along the bottom rail. Also, be sure to check out the Transitional Louis XV/Louis XVI Rococo Frame Reproduction from the same outing.