Studio Equipment Fundraiser
given toward the $55,544 goal
we are 97% of the way there!
To give via credit/debit card, use the donation button below.
If you would like to use any other way to give funds or have questions that are not answered below, call 712-310-5546.
Josie and I are happy to share that we have nearly three albums of songs ready to record! Some of these new songs we sang on tour this year, and we have a long list of people who want to know as soon as the recordings become available. Our plan is to record a non-themed album with a mix of songs, a love song album, and a second volume to “Hymns, Psalms, and Lullabies”. To accomplish this, we need to purchase some studio equipment. If we were to record these albums at a commercial studio, it would cost as much as $60,000. Instead, we’ve decided to purchase the equipment necessary to record them ourselves. The cost will be about the same as recording with a commercial studio, but having this equipment will give us the ability to record and produce albums for the rest of our lives. To us, this is very exciting!
Below you will find details of the equipment we are planning to purchase, as well as a list of thank you gifts for the different gift amounts.
Thank you for being interested enough to read about our needs and goals. And many thanks to all of you who have supported this ministry in myriads of ways.
Matt & Josie Minikus
Thank You Gifts
$10 or more - receive a digital copy of our next album
$50 or more - receive digital copies of all current albums for you and 2 of your friends + 1 digital copy of our next album
$125 - homemade baked goods by Josie (not available out of the US) + digital copies of all current albums for you and 2 of your friends + 1 digital copy of our next album
$250 - (NO MORE AVAILABLE) 2 pack of Mattatouille Seasonings + digital copies of all current albums for you and 2 of your friends + 1 digital copy of our next album
$500 - digital copy of every album we make from this point forward + digital copies of all current albums for you and 5 of your friends
$1000 (option 1) - canvas print of an original painting (by Anya Kinsley) based on the "Little Sparrow Song" + digital copy of every album we make from this point forward + digital copies of all current albums for you and 10 of your friends
$1000 (option 2) - (only 7 available) handmade scarf by Josie + digital copy of every album we make from this point forward + digital copies of all current albums for you and 10 of your friends
$1000 (option 3) - (only 2 available) handcrafted, exotic wood letter opener by Dan Minikus + digital copy of every album we make from this point forward + digital copies of all current albums for you and 10 of your friends
$5000 - (only 1 available) handcrafted walking stick by Dan Minikus + digital copy of every album we make from this point forward + digital copies of all current albums for you and 50 of your friends
Equipment We Will Be Purchasing/Have Purchased *
• Computer: Apple iMac *
• Vocal Mic: Bock 407 *
• Instrument Mics: DPA 4011A (stereo pair) *
• Preamps: Dave Hill Europa (pair) *
• Vocal Compressor: ADL 1000 *
• Tracking/Buss Compressor: Dave Hill Titan (pair) *
• Tracking/Buss EQ: Charter Oak PEQ-1 *
• AD/DA Converter: Lynx Aurora 16 TB *
• Patch Bay: Dangerous Music Liaison *
• Hardware Reverb: Bricasti M7 (2 mainframes and remote) *
• Monitoring Controller: Crane Song Avocet IIA *
• Control Surface Mixer: Avid S3
• Furman Power Isolation & Conditioner P-2400-IT *
• Vocal Booth: StudioBricks 6x6’ triple wall *
Questions You May Have
Do you know how to use this equipment? read “My audio engineering education and experience”
How long will this equipment last? read “Equipment lifespan"
What’s the problem with your previous equipment? read “Recording the last two albums”
What’s your purpose and mission with music? read “Music: our purpose and mission”
Any longterm goals? read “Paying it forward"
Can you explain what the listed equipment actually does? read “A geeky look at what we need and why"
My audio engineering education and experience
I have been studying audio engineering for eight years now, taking online classes from some of the best recording engineers out there. Our last two albums were recorded by myself. So between the online courses and the practical experience, I have been equipped for this.
The good equipment is heirloom quality. Outside of the computer and interface, a person could use this particular equipment his entire lifetime and even be able to pass it along. An example of this is the Telefunken U47 microphone. When one bought a Telefunken U47 microphone in the early 1950’s, they got a microphone that could be used and used and used. Today, that same used microphone is being sold for $12,000 to $20,000. Why? Because it still works and even sounds better on account of the aging diaphragm! One can buy microphones of that caliber yet today. They sound amazing on almost anything you put in front of them and can be maintained for a lifetime. All of the good hardware is like this, from preamps to compressors.
Recording the last two albums
When I first started recording music, I thought that I could get the “Pro Studio” sound with low budget equipment; it was true in a very limited sense. But I quickly discovered that even if I could find a microphone that would record our voices and sound natural, it wouldn’t necessarily sound natural with someone else's voice. The more voices and instruments one records, the more inflexible one discovers their cheap equipment to be. We were constantly looking for another piece of equipment or a different software that would remove "that noise." I found myself trying to fix problems that were the result of poor quality preamps, microphones that weren’t suited for the sound sources, and cheap audio converters. To summarize the result: poor quality equipment caused our last album, “Hymns, Psalms and Lullabies,” to take two years to produce instead of six months. That included 400-500 hours of audio repairing that wouldn’t have been needed with industry standard equipment. In addition to recording our albums in quality sound, having the proper equipment would make us more efficient with our time, giving us the ability to keep our music ministry on tour as well as keep up with recording the songs we're inspired with.
Music - our purpose and mission
Like the written word, music goes places that we could never go. Our passion and purpose is to record music to reach people for Jesus. We have never viewed ourselves as performers, but rather as ministers whose whole mission is to give people insights into God’s love, mercy, grace, truth and freeing power through the medium of song.
From the very beginning of our ministry, we’ve asked God to use our gifts to bring glory to His name and people into His Kingdom. Every tour, we meet people with stories of how God has touched their hearts in personal, healing ways through our songs. Such as:
The woman in Tennessee who listened to one of our CDs for a year every time she drove. She told us she shed countless tears and healed during that year, growing to love Jesus and believe in His unfailing love for her.
The young man who had been in ministry for some time, without ever internalizing the beauty of God’s love. When a series of events removed every shard of hope, meaning, and happiness from him, he fell into deep despair and was contemplating suicide. Someone gave him one of our CDs. Listening, his heart was captured by a message of God’s love for him. He played the CD on repeat, and for three months studied the Bible to discover if the messages in those songs were real. Today he is a vibrant, hope-filled young man, serving as a pastor with a passion for leading people to know Jesus personally.
The woman who would slip away from her abusive home situation, drive to a nearby pharmacy parking lot and sit for an hour listening to our CD. She sent us a note telling us that God was close to her and comforted her deeply during those times. When her husband committed suicide, she said the music was one of the ways that God brought hope and healing to her heart.
We receive numerous messages every year from people around the world, people we will never meet face to face, who have heard our music and been encouraged and drawn closer to God. Music is a “universal language.” If it speaks of Jesus and His never failing love for broken, battered, and often failing humans, what higher purpose can it have? Jesus said “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to Myself.” This is our goal, our desire, our mission with the music He inspires.
Paying it forward
Our first two albums only happened because our friend Clint McKoy gave of his time and used his studio equipment to help us record: “Journey of Hope” and “Know Hymn.” We highly doubt we would be in music full-time with out his generosity. We want to do the same. There are many other young Christian musicians that could use some help getting started; we’d like to have the freedom to do this, as we have time.
The Geeky Look at What We Need and Why
Vocal Microphone: Josie and I had the opportunity to test some of the best vocal microphones available at Sound Pure Studio in Durham, NC. It was an amazing opportunity, and we were so grateful to have the chance to actually know what we would sound like on each mic. This took all the guesswork out of this very important decision. We decided on a Bock 407. It was perfect for both of our voices. I have to imagine one would be hard pressed to find a voice that could sound bad on it… well, maybe I should say a voice that can sing. lol
Instrument Mic: Instrument microphones have small diaphragms and pick up fast transients (the faster details of an instrument’s sound). When recording most instruments, a stereo mic setup is the best way to capture sound; so we would be getting a stereo pair. There are several great makers of these microphones, and they are less expensive than vocal (large diaphragm) microphones.
Preamplifiers: A preamp’s job is to boost the sound a microphone is receiving and do it in a clean (non-effected), or warm (musical harmonic distortion) way depending on what sound you are going for. A low quality preamp can often cause low level noise and make the audio brittle and harsh. We are looking to purchase a pair of preamps that can give both a clean and colored sound.
Clean Mic Preamp: Having a clean preamp is usually the best way to record stringed instruments like guitar, piano, harp, etc.
Colored/Warm Mic Preamp: often the best for vocals, whistles, woodwind, etc.
Equalizer: An EQ gives you the control to adjust or filter frequencies that might be needed for clarity as you record, or to add a natural sheen to a final mix. Software EQs work well for mixing, but do not work out so well on the final mix buss (when you turn all the instrument and vocal channels into a right and left channel).
Tracking Compressor: A tracking compressor levels out the audio hot-spots and peaks before they even get recorded into the digital realm. This enables you to get a strong volume recording without clipping (a gritty distorted sound).
Stereo Buss Compressor: A stereo buss compressor is used to even out the dynamic range so your final mix will sound punchy, smooth, and cohesive.
Patch bay: This is the tool that connects your hardware together in whichever order you need your signal to run in.
Reverb: Much of the beauty of a recording is enjoyed through the perception of space, this is what is called reverb. Great reverb is why you feel inspired to sing when you are in a large bathroom or a parking garage. Music without reverb sounds terrible, as if everything is an inch from your face. With a quality reverb, you can create space for your song to be in that sounds so life like you would never know you didn’t record your song there. This tool is one of the most important pieces in the mixing process.
Converters: AD/DA converters take analog sound (what comes out of your microphone) into a digital language accurately (jitter/distortion free), then returns it back into an analog signal for final processing.
Monitor Controller: This device gives you accurate sound from your monitors (speakers) on which to base your recording and mixing decisions. Without this, it is impossible to know if you are making music that will sound good on everyone’s speakers or just on your set of speakers.
Computer: I’ll get a Mac Pro that is powerful enough to mix without overloading. We are also beginning to record music videos and need a computer powerful enough to process video.
Sound-proof Portable Booth: Finding a quiet place to record has been the most challenging steps in the recording process, and has been impossible where we live near a noisy highway. We need to be able to record at home whenever we are not touring in order to keep up with all the albums and projects that we've got. Purchasing a portable/soundproof recording booth will make it possible to record at home. When we have a moment of inspiration, we can just hop into the booth and record it. At $15,500, this is the most expensive item needed, but we can’t record without it. The type of sound booth that we’re looking to purchase can be disassembled and reassembled easily and will also last a lifetime.