Member’s Say: Brian Lee

This week we interviewed Brian, a premium member of Audio Mentor. Having recently just upgraded his home studio with some new shiny gear, he’s looking forward to telling you all about it.

Brian’s Funky Home Studio Setup

The Portable Home Studio

The Portable Home Studio

First of all, thank you Audio Mentor for the guidance and inspiration, I’ve finally set up a decent home studio in my bedroom. The room size is about 150SF (unfortunately the mattress isn’t such a good base trap)

The PC Computer Setup

I’m a Pc/Windows guy but unfortunately, mobility is important to me, so I’ve chosen an HP DV7 laptop with 8GB Ram and 1TB HDDx2, 17 inch Full HD screen running Windows 7 Home Premium. Beats solo headphones were a gift as a promotion when I purchased the laptop.

The main DAWs that I am using is Studio One Pro 2.5 and Ableton Live 8/9. I prefer to use Studio One for audio production.

Ableton Live is my main music idea’s scratchpad and also a live performance tool.

Production Signal Flow

Here’s my signal flow; given this is a mobile workstation. I’ll keep it simple, I have 2 audio interfaces. For acoustic guitar, I use Zoom A21U which I call “Green Boy”, it’s also my first interface, the downside is it’s USB 1.1, but it’s a very reliable and respectable interface!

Comes with plenty of effects and an onboard emulator suitable for acoustic guitars. I still use it occasionally on stage. But my main interface would be Presonus Audio Box 22VSL, I call it “Blue Boy” a 2 in 2 out box. I would say one of the reasons I use studio One is that it’s bundled with AB22VSL.

The Green & Blue Boys

The Green & Blue Boys

For the time being the only microphone I have is Shure SM57 for all-purpose usage. It’s a must-have for every studio.

Lately, I use a lot of software synths, so a midi controller is a must for me. I have an Akai MPD18 in the studio, it’s a no-frill bare bone 16 Pad with a single slider midi controller. It’s well built and I love it.

Since it does not have all bells and whistles, It kinda slows down the workflow having to use the keyboard and mouse, so I’ve decided to get a midi keyboard controller with a control surface and I found that Samson Graphite 49 fits the bill. This is a very affordable and fantastic keyboard controller with plenty of use for home studios like mine.


For the past year, my tracking and mixing were only done with the Beats Solo headphones. I wouldn’t even consider this is suitable for mixing but it has trained my ears to listen to all the details of an audio image (thanks to Dr.Dre).

When I’ve had enough of using the headphone especially for prolonged listening it’s obviously time to listen to my “Monkey Banana Turbo 5 Studio Monitors”. They are indeed a decent pair of 5 1/4, I call them “Red Boys” considering they are red in color. Although it is a 5 1/4 woofer with 1 tweeter, the sound is big and detailed, and also the high is not offensively sharp.

For my room size, I do not intend to get any bigger woofer or subwoofer to feel the low end. I have mixed with it and also compared it with Beats headphones as well as my car audio, and I must say it is “Awesome”.

Since this is a mobile, humble home studio. There are no outboard effect processing devices. Only software such as NI Kontakt 5, Guitar Rig 5, Battery 4, Massive, Rob Papen Blue, Predator, and Blade. The built-in effects from Studio One Pro and Ableton Live are used for mixing. I also just started to use Izotope for mastering thanks to Reuben who taught me in one of the workshops.

Advice For Other Members

The advice I’ve got from the pros was to work with the gears and the tools you can afford. Learn as much as possible and most importantly have fun.

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