Home Recording

Discuss anything in general that has to do with music.

Moderators: Al Quandt, zenmandan, MrSpall, bassjones, sevesd93

Garr
Too Much Free Time
Too Much Free Time
Posts: 4801
Joined: Tue Dec 10, 2002 2:22 pm
Location: Fort Wayne
Contact:

Home Recording

Post by Garr »

Hey,

I'm not looking to do anything spectacular, but I lose SO many riff and song ideas from not having the ability to record them quickly and easily from the comfort of my own home.

I was hoping that some of you experts on here (who I know are recording at home) could give me suggestions for a quick and dirty set up on my personal computer here. I have a machine with an AMD 2.GHz 64bit processor, 1 GB of RAM and about 40GB of remaining HDD space. I do not have a separate sound card, but they are negligible, so I can pick one of those up easily.

What do you use for inputs? What software do you use? Every time that I've tried home recording in the past (cakewalk, cubase) it has sounded HORRIBLE on top of the levels being so low that when I tossed them to a CD I could barely hear them without cranking the volume up to 11.
deek
Staff Writer
Staff Writer
Posts: 1059
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 4:31 pm
Location: Fort Wayne, IN
Contact:

Post by deek »

In the past, did you record directly from your instrument or live mic?
[url=http://www.deeksworld.com]deek's World[/url]
Garr
Too Much Free Time
Too Much Free Time
Posts: 4801
Joined: Tue Dec 10, 2002 2:22 pm
Location: Fort Wayne
Contact:

Post by Garr »

I've tried both. It didn't make much of a difference.
deek
Staff Writer
Staff Writer
Posts: 1059
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 4:31 pm
Location: Fort Wayne, IN
Contact:

Post by deek »

My only experience was mic'ing my amp. While it wasn't great quality, the levels were sufficient to share as a rough cut or at least to not forget what I had been playing. And that was just plugging a cheap Radio Shack mic into my soundcard and recording with single track software. It was quick and dirty, but for what you are talking about, I don't think you need much.

And your system will handle the basic capture...it doesn't take much to get decent levels on a single track, IMO.

I've also used tape recorders as well...again, just a single track and after playing with it a bit to dial in the recording, was able to use that for reference. Its not going into a computer and I wouldn't be editing anything, but if you are just talking about a recording of your jams for reference, you wouldn't need much.
[url=http://www.deeksworld.com]deek's World[/url]
subgenius88
Regular
Regular
Posts: 264
Joined: Sat May 29, 2004 12:38 pm

Re: Home Recording

Post by subgenius88 »

Garr wrote: I do not have a separate sound card, but they are negligible, so I can pick one of those up easily.

What do you use for inputs? What software do you use? Every time that I've tried home recording in the past (cakewalk, cubase) it has sounded HORRIBLE on top of the levels being so low that when I tossed them to a CD I could barely hear them without cranking the volume up to 11.
The main thing you want to think about is the soundcard, actually - you want one with ASIO drivers. The better soundcard you have, the better performance you'll get during recording/playback plus better sound. Most of the soundcards built for music production include the required inputs - XLR, 1/4", SPDIF, DAT, MIDI are all available in different units. Many also include pre-amps.

There's no reason why you shouldn't be able to get a quality recording with any software, really, as long as you're getting a quality signal into the machine. I use FL Studio, which most consider lowgrade, but I can easily match a professional recording as far as loudness is concerned. You want to make sure your maximum input signal is as close to -6dB as possible. As long as you have a decent mic and pre-amp, this shouldn't be difficult. Then, when mixing, you should try to achieve an over-all level as close to -6 dB as well.

Another thing to bare in mind when mixing is that loudness and amplitude are not the same thing - lack of understanding of this concept is what often results in the banging-of-the-head when it comes to not getting loudness in a recording. You may be mixing a high amplitude recording that isn't very loud because loudness is not equal across the frequency range. A deep bass signal at -6dB may not sound nearly as loud as -12 dB 8 kHz sine wave. And you may me wasting "space" by pushing an unnecessary volume of bass that can't even be perceived by the ear. If you're mixing to a good level but not getting loudness, the first thing to do is try to determine if you have any amplitude hogs. Instead of rectifying the issue by trying to maximize levels, try lowering levels of the individual tracks. You may have a killer guitar solo that you want to crank, since it should be loud, but really it's more about how the frequencies and amplitudes of the different elements relate to each other within the stereo field that give the listener the sense of loudness.
lbanks
Regular
Regular
Posts: 206
Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2005 2:50 pm
Location: Running from Cat farts

Post by lbanks »

I use Pro Tracks(Cakewalk)>Soundforge. I input thru either a Digitech RP400x or (when its working) a Hercules 12/16. When I use the Hercules, I also use a DI, for bass. But, mostly, I learned a lot of good info at homerecording.com and recordingproject.com ... just don't get caught up in the 'Cave/Dafduc Lounge' battles. The 'Mic' forums are a bit deadly, also.
What!
Garr
Too Much Free Time
Too Much Free Time
Posts: 4801
Joined: Tue Dec 10, 2002 2:22 pm
Location: Fort Wayne
Contact:

Post by Garr »

Thanks for the responses guys. I have/had a 4 track cassette recorder sitting around here somewhere, but I think I left it at a friend's house a while back. The problem with that was transferring my recording to a CD, so I've been considering a digital recorder, but I thought, "why do that when i have a computer that can make CDs?"
bassjones
Staff Member
Staff Member
Posts: 4248
Joined: Mon May 24, 2004 1:36 pm
Contact:

Post by bassjones »

get a firewire card and a firewire interface - there are some reasonably priced units in the $200 range (don't use USB though as firewire is a much better format for converting audio). Most of them will come with cubase LE or some other program, which sounds like plenty for what you're trying to do. The Presonus units are pretty reasonable. Also, you will probably want to increase your RAM, but RAM is cheap. a full 4 gig of RAM for my macbook from crucial.com is about $100.
"brad!
...your tunes and your playing sound really great... all the best to you and god bless-
adam nitti" www.myspace.com/adamnittimusic

www.bradjonesbass.com
http://groups.myspace.com/northeastindianabassplayers
www.myspace.com/bassjones
www.myspace.com/whitehotnoise
www.esession.com/bradjones - hire me for your session from anywhere in the world.
employee
I Been Around
I Been Around
Posts: 69
Joined: Sat Jan 12, 2008 11:24 pm

Post by employee »

Quick and cheap easy set up... Maudio fast track pro, Ableton live.. Want some drums, get EZ drummer. Badda bing badda boom...
Silencio
RockStar
RockStar
Posts: 560
Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2006 9:12 am

Post by Silencio »

I don't thinkThat "loudness and amplitude" rap really pertains here.

Sounded horrible AND you had to crank the playback to 11 to hear it? That's beyond psychoacoustics: sounds like you had an impedance matching problem, using the wrong kind of interface to et the signal into your computer. You can't plug a guitar OR a decent dynamic mic directly into a computer sound card. The impedance is wrong, you won't get enough level, you'll record tons of noise, it will sound exactly as you described. (if that's what you did, then join the millions of guitar players who did exactly the same thing first time they tried to record.)

When I started learning how to record at home, I quickly found that MIDI was so mystifying that I need a primer just so i could read the manual that came with Logic (this is back when Logic ran on the Atari STe). And I humbly suggest you need to learn some audio basics before you start making decisions on hardware and software.

For a total, complete rank amateur, I would suggest "Make Music Now!", edited by Mitch Gallagher. It takes you step by step through the process of understanding signal flow, how to select your gear, and even covers the creative process (how to run a session and so on). I recommend it because I know Mitch is a real smart guy and because I wrote part of the book.

To skip over the "so you want to be a home recordist" stuff, grab "Home Recording For Musicians" by Craig Anderton. The title and the author's name constitute "'nuff said."

You should be able to page through either one of these at Barnes and Noble or Borders.

Now, with that said, lemme ask you: What do you want to record? (Just a guitar - guitar/vocal - a whole band - one-man band with voice/guitar/synths/drum machine?)
Silencio
RockStar
RockStar
Posts: 560
Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2006 9:12 am

Post by Silencio »

This may or may not apply, but I just heard about this product this morning, ad it's perfect for a singer/songwriter doing sketches or demos so I'm passing it on.

It's a direct-to-USB large diaphragm condenser mic with a secondary audio input and a headphone out BUILT INTO THE MIC: a vocal mic, a two-channel mixer, an audio interface and a latency-free monitor all in one. For 130 bucks. Whoah.

Ladies and gents, the Samson G-Track.

http://www.fullcompass.com/product/335861.html
bassjones
Staff Member
Staff Member
Posts: 4248
Joined: Mon May 24, 2004 1:36 pm
Contact:

Post by bassjones »

That is pretty cool! I'm sure Sweetwater has them - guitar center too...
"brad!
...your tunes and your playing sound really great... all the best to you and god bless-
adam nitti" www.myspace.com/adamnittimusic

www.bradjonesbass.com
http://groups.myspace.com/northeastindianabassplayers
www.myspace.com/bassjones
www.myspace.com/whitehotnoise
www.esession.com/bradjones - hire me for your session from anywhere in the world.
Garr
Too Much Free Time
Too Much Free Time
Posts: 4801
Joined: Tue Dec 10, 2002 2:22 pm
Location: Fort Wayne
Contact:

Post by Garr »

my only goal at this point is to be able to get down song ideas. right now that means multiple guitar tracks and multiple vocal tracks. i will not be recording full bands, just song ideas and/or arrangements. when i tried before i have the sound blaster audigy with the live drive which has all kinds of inputs. i was using a J-station for amp modeling and effects and plugging in a 1/4 inch jack into the live drive.

thanks for the continued information and products. it will help in my search.
subgenius88
Regular
Regular
Posts: 264
Joined: Sat May 29, 2004 12:38 pm

Post by subgenius88 »

Garr wrote: when i tried before i have the sound blaster audigy with the live drive which has all kinds of inputs.
That's the problem right there probably. Sound blaster soundcards are not built for digital audio recording, rather for media and gaming. The signal-noise ratio and A-D converters are just not good enough for music, plus you probably are getting a very long latency. The main thing is you need a soundcard with ASIO drivers, I can't stress it enough. You can get a decent interface for about a hundred bucks.
deek
Staff Writer
Staff Writer
Posts: 1059
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 4:31 pm
Location: Fort Wayne, IN
Contact:

Post by deek »

subgenius88 wrote:
Garr wrote: when i tried before i have the sound blaster audigy with the live drive which has all kinds of inputs.
That's the problem right there probably. Sound blaster soundcards are not built for digital audio recording, rather for media and gaming. The signal-noise ratio and A-D converters are just not good enough for music, plus you probably are getting a very long latency. The main thing is you need a soundcard with ASIO drivers, I can't stress it enough. You can get a decent interface for about a hundred bucks.
I don't know, a cassette recorder sitting in your room is sounding like a better option with each post:)
[url=http://www.deeksworld.com]deek's World[/url]
Post Reply