home recording . . getting started

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by daveS, Jun 1, 2005.

  1. daveS

    daveS lefty dude on hiatus Gold Supporting Member

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    I am looking to get started with a home recording setup. I have no experience with home recording nor do I have any gear.

    I was thinking about picking up some Tascam stuff or Pro Tools . . or . . . ?

    I want to record bass, guitar, vocals and drum machine tracks. . . basically lay down some simple originals.

    Can anyone suggest what gear to get started with ?

    Thanks in advance.

    -d
     
  2. GuitslingerTim

    GuitslingerTim Member

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    If your goal is recording songs for the fun of it, a self-contained digital recorder with a built-in drum machine might be a viable choice. Most units also come with a mixer, preamps, and cd burner.

    If the objective is creating quality pro level recordings, a computer is the best way to go, but it is also the most expensive, most frustrating, most complicated, and the most demanding option.

    Typically you will need microphones, a microphone preamp, and a mixer. Those items are needed just to deliver sound to the computer so it can be recorded.

    A reasonably fast computer with a compatible soundcard and multitracking software will also be necessary.
     
  3. LSchefman

    LSchefman Member

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    >>I want to record bass, guitar, vocals and drum machine tracks. . . basically lay down some simple originals.

    Can anyone suggest what gear to get started with ?<<

    Do you want to edit, and if so, in how much detail? Or do you prefer to just do another take until it's right?

    Do you need MIDI capability? Will you want to synch the drum machine to the recorder, or will you just lay down drums on two tracks and record the other stuff after you've recorded drums?

    Do you want to buy outboard gear, such as mic preamps, mixing channels, compressors, etc., or would you prefer the stuff built into a standalone unit?

    How much do you want to spend?

    So Timmy, do you like gladiator movies? :)
     
  4. covert

    covert Member

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    If this is just a matter of hearing your own stuff, or of being able to demo it for potetial band members, then I second the all in one suggestion. If this is the first step towards more serious recording, then the computer is probably the way to go. Of course you can get all in one boxes that xceed your current needs as well. The advantage of the computer is that much of the stuff that isn't in the box will be useable as you expand into larger rigs.

    Anyway, if you're working alone, or close to alone, and not doing real drums, you probably don't need much more than two recordable channels at a time. The Mbox isn't too bad for this, and usually comes bundled with software. In any case, get a decent all around mic. A 57 works in almost all situations. A reasonable di box is good for bass.

    Be aware of what your goal really is. The gas for studio gear can make teh gas for guitars and amps look like a chippie habit compared to full on addiction. Less is often more, especially when it comes to being productive. You can lose many inspirational moments trying to choose exactly the right mic, when you have lots.
     
  5. Kappy

    Kappy Member

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    My goals are similar to the original poster's stated needs and this is the thing I've been thinking of getting. Actually Tomo has it and recommended it to me, I called his rep at Sweetwater and talked about its features, etc. It seems like a great starter system, but they _recommend_ you have a dedicated PC for the task. For me that's not a problem, but for others it may be. The system requirements were pretty low though, any modern system with at least 256 MB RAM will likely handle it. They also recommend getting better speakers than most PCs come with (or a good set of headphones), so that would be another expense down the road.

    It comes bundled with ProTools and goes for anywhere from $450. up.

    Not to hijack the thread, but can anyone recommend a good di box for recording bass?

    Thanks,

    Dave
     
  6. daveS

    daveS lefty dude on hiatus Gold Supporting Member

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    Thanks guys . . .

    Well, I'd like to start simple . . .but then I dont want to spend something like $1000 on a "turnkey" multifunctional unit and have it become obsolete in a few months. I also dont want to out grow it quickly. That being said, I plan on controlling my GAS for recording gear.

    - My budget is going to be up to about $2000 -$2500

    -I plan on getting a Shure sm-57 since everyone seems to have one of those . . they must work ok

    -I do not know the best way to record an analog guitar sound (tube amp) but I am assuming that I can mike it. Groove Tubes have some equipment out there like the SEII Speaker Emulator and The Brick but I dont know much about these.

    - What is meant by line level and mic level ?

    OK Here my goals . .. . . . .

    1) Use a drum machine for laying down the drums. I can either use a drum machine that is on the market or I can use one that is built into whatever unit(s) I purchase. I would like to have some way to sync the drums up with everything so I guess that means MIDI ? (never had any experience with MIDI).

    2) Play and record the bass myself. I currently have no bass equipment other than a bass guitar itself.

    3) Record my own vocals.

    4) Record guitar (I am mainly a guitarist) using a real amp that is miked. I want to capture the sounds of some of my amps. If this is too difficult, I suppose I could use my boogie with has a"recording" jack on the back . . .or at worst case I can use some solid state thing to record the guitar or something that is built into the unit.

    5) Record keyboards (which I yet to own)

    6) It would be nice to be able to edit and splice in little guitar licks or sounds if necessary . . . that is why thought about Pro Tools, more powerful editing. Is there something simpler and lower cost out there that does the same thing ?

    7) Be able to mix everything together and burn it onto a CD.

    Am I asking for too much or biting off more than I could chew for a first timer coming into this cold ?

    Thanks for all the advice !

    -Dave

    P.S I do have an old Boss BR-8 that has never been used but I think the storage capacity is very small.
     
  7. melondaoust

    melondaoust Member

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    I have an MBox with Pro Tools and use Reason for drums. They connect using "ReWire" which is simply "wiring" Reason to operate in the Pro Tools environment. You still need to lay out drum patterns in Reason, but when you hit play in Pro Tools, it will play the stuff in PT AND Reason, all at the proper tempo.

    (Actually, Reason - albeit a simple version - comes bundled with the MBox, along with Abelton Live, Amplitube - guitar amp simulator that sounds quite decent - and Sampletank and T-Racks.)

    I find "rewire" easier to work with than MIDI because it just "wires" the two together. You can also send MIDI commands through ReWire, should you need to.

    Also, should you ever wish to kick it up a notch, record live drums at a proper studio (at least one equiped to record a full drum set) and bring the audio files into your session at home. If the studio uses Pro Tools as well, the transfer will be quite easy. If not, it's just a matter of importing the wav files of the tracks into your home session (just make sure that the click is the same for both!)
     
  8. straticus

    straticus Member

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    I just picked up a used Line 6 Bass Pod for around $100.00 at GC and I LOVE this thing! Makes recording killer bass tracks a piece O' cake.:dude
     
  9. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    >> Not to hijack the thread, but can anyone recommend a good di box for recording bass?

    SansAmp Bass Driver DI. GREAT studio tool. Basso hipped me to it. You can find them on eBay.

    >> What is meant by line level and mic level ?

    Do yourself a favor. Go to Sweetwater InSync and do a search for "Mic level," "line level," and "+4/-10"

    It's a lot to explain and they already did it better than I could.
     
  10. Jaddy

    Jaddy Member

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    I would suggest (assuming you use a PC), Cubase SE, Groove Agent & a mic pre and couple of microphones. With the price of things today coming down so low, it wouldn't take you much to do serious good work, regardless of experience.

    Good luck to you,

    Jaddy
     
  11. gururyan

    gururyan Member

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    If you have a Mac, you could keep it real simple and just use GarageBand as your program and for your interface, an M-Audio Firewire Solo. This way you could record direct or mic'd, it has phantom XLR too so you are set. If you already have a Mac then your expense is very low.

    GarageBand = free or $99
    M-Audio Firewire Solo = $199
    Shure KSM27 condenser mic (vocal/amp/drum) = $299


    ...having money left over to buy another guitar, priceless. ;)
     
  12. TAVD

    TAVD Guitar Player Gold Supporting Member

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    I made my own very unorthodox DI. It requires an amp though.

    You might want to check out the Studio Projects VTB-1 preamp. It has a decent DI, imo, plus you get a mic pre that can add a different flavor.

    I hate to drop the B bomb but the $30 Behringer GI-100 is actually pretty decent.

    As for the recording interface, a friend just got a Tascam fw1804 and the stuff I've heard from it so far sounds pretty nice. Comes with software, is cross platform and has a bunch of i/o.
     
  13. GuitslingerTim

    GuitslingerTim Member

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    As a matter of fact I do. ;)

    My intention was providing some food for thought for DaveS; based on his level of experience he appears to have a lot of knowledge to assimilate before he can make any real decisions on hardware/software purchases. The last thing I want to do is recommend a $2000 rig to someone that might not need it.
     
  14. covert

    covert Member

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    If you are creative, you never really outgrow a recording device. 4 and 8 track units were used to make many of the most impressive records ever. I can easily go to 24 tracks in my place, and seldom go over 16.

    That gives you plenty of options

    Not the best mic on anything(except maybe guitar amps and snares) but can be made to do a decent job on anything.


    Experimenting i part of the fun. I like mic'ed amps, but direct can be cool sometimes.

    Mic level is very low and needs to be boosted before most processing can be applied. It's the level that mixers and preamps usually like to see at mic inputs. Line is higher, and is teh level most mixers and preamps put out. It's also the level most recording devices (except those with mic inputs) want to see coming in.

    There is a learning curve involved with everything. If you do drums first (common in recording) then things will synch to them. Midi isn't all that hard to comprehend.

    MAny of the stand alone recording rigs, and mic pres have an instrument in, primarily for bass. Other than that, your standard di boxes will convert a bass'es out put to a mic level signal and can then go into a mic input.

    Go for it. Be prepared to hear yourself very differently than you may think you sound.

    Try it all of these ways and experiment.

    Most keyboards put out a line level signal, which can be taken direct. The same di box that works for bass will also work for turning a kb signal to a mic level signal. Running through a guitar amp can also be cool.

    Any of the software packages should allow for this. Most of the all in one rigs will too.

    Nope. Expect to spend some time and frustration getting the results you want. Even full time pros tend to still be playing around looking for that perfect result.

    You're welcome. I don't know the BR-8, but try working with it for a while. When you run into limitations that you can't get around, then you know you need more.
     
  15. LSchefman

    LSchefman Member

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    >>As a matter of fact I do.

    My intention was providing some food for thought for DaveS; based on his level of experience he appears to have a lot of knowledge to assimilate before he can make any real decisions on hardware/software purchases. The last thing I want to do is recommend a $2000 rig to someone that might not need it.<<

    Hey Tim, that line wasn't meant for you, I was just asking a lot of questions and remembered that line from that old silly airplane movie, which I thought was, "So, Timmy, do you like gladiator movies?"

    I might have gotten it wrong anyway. No offense meant, it wasn't directed at you in any way.
     
  16. covert

    covert Member

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    I have been thinking about this thread quite a bit. Here's some different advice.

    Buy the Tap Op book. Read it.

    Hang out some at. rec.audio.pro That's a newsgroup, not a website. Try
    alt.music.4-track and alt.music.home-studio as well.

    Try these websites:

    www.gearslutz.com
    www.prosoundweb.com
    www.tapeop.com

    Lurk

    read as many posts about other things than gear as possible

    note frequently mentioned gear

    Remember when you were learing to play guitar? Expect to spend similar amounts of time learning to record.

    Experiment. There are few really wrong ways to do things.
     
  17. straticus

    straticus Member

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    This is why I stayed away from the "all in one" boxes when I was going from analog to digital. If you go the computer route you have unlimited choices as to what recording / editing app. you choose. As well as what plug-ins you prefer and trying out the new stuff that's always coming out.

    Plus, I can't even imagine editing on one of those little LCD screens.

    One more thing. Don't get too caught up in the Pro Tools hype. There are lots of great recording apps out there. Personally, I like Samplitude Pro. Try the demos and pick the one that works best / makes sense to you.

    ............ and good luck controlling the GAS for recording gear. It becomes a sickness just like all the rest of it.;)
     
  18. Kevin Raine

    Kevin Raine Member

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    Another vote for a MAC and GarageBand. i just bought a Mac Mini and it's working really well. Heaps of loops to jam with or quickly construct backing tracks. I use a simple Ediroll 44K digital converter, a basic 6 track mixer, a Sony mini HiFi and a Audio Technica 2020 condensor mic - all up - real simple and it upgraded the home computer as well.
     
  19. Rollie

    Rollie Guest


    I got it; I think the next question is something like, "Have you ever seen a grown man naked?" Just awful. (lol)

    Uh, back on subject, +1 vote on the mbox. I was using garageband for a while to get ideas for songs, etc. down, and its great for that, but when I upgraded to the mbox it was like amazing grace--I once was blind but now I see. If you really plan on pressing a CD, protools is a very versitile platform that will help you get there.
     
  20. Tomo

    Tomo Member

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    I am still using my Tascam 664 tape recorder.
    Then I bought my Mbox pro tools and interface stuff
    from Sweetwater. My sales person is Robert. Whenever
    I need to know something... He can really really explain
    pros and cons on every gears that you are interested in.

    You should talk to these guys so that you 'll learn about
    possibilities on recording gears.

    PS, I wrote 3 tunes, made demos .. I sent tunes to company
    in Japan (by email) .... I got gig a week after I got my system.

    Tomo
     

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