How to record for dummies?

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by The Rossness, Mar 8, 2018.


  1. The Rossness

    The Rossness Supporting Member

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    Its been a few years since my last band, where I was playing bass with a hip-hop band. Since then, I mostly just play around at home on my guitar. However, I'd like to start recording my song ideas and have no clue how to do so????? Besides an iPhone clip, I've never recorded anything and I'm clueless about how to get the sounds from my amp (a powered kemper) into the computer. I'm quite literally clueless about how to record at home and need a step by step how-to guide. Can I get some help please?
     
  2. eddie knuckles

    eddie knuckles Silver Supporting Member

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    You will need a computer that can handle recording. If you are not a Mac person, you should have at a miinimum: 3GHz processor (Intel processors have fewer issues than AMD), 16G RAM, at least 1 TB hard drive.

    You will need an interface (to plug your guitar/vocal/amp into your computer)

    You will need software to record your ideas so you can construct something to track on.

    You will need a great deal of patience (and ultimately money) depending how "professional" a setup you want. I started with an early version of ACID and Vegas when I was in 8-bit land.

    Now I use ProTools, and I feel like I'm back a few pegs. Great DAW, but larger than expected learning curve. There is so much you can control, and yet so much you can screw up.... Just getting your DAW to "hear" the sounds you are making...

    Good luck on your journey. Watch videos, go on forums, read, hang with a recording engineer/live sound person if possible... Find someone who lives close to you who is doing what you want to do, even if you don't like their particular brand of music. I know there is a lot of good information from the praise and worship population out there that can help you with setup and recording.
     
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  3. MiguelDamas

    MiguelDamas Member

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    Where do you get these numbers? Literally any computer on the market for the past 10 years will handle a few scratch tracks.

    OP, the bare minimum is an audio interface with at least one 1/4 line input to plug your Kemper into, something to monitor through (like a pair of headphones or studio monitors) and a recording program (Reaper is cheap and powerful).
     
  4. eddie knuckles

    eddie knuckles Silver Supporting Member

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    Again, it depends on what you are going to do and how you are going to get there. I literally started around 1995 on an ASUS machine and throughout the years I have ALWAYS had issues with processors, file sizes, software and crashes. I used to podcast with ProTools LE7 through an HP laptop on Windows XP that worked quite well around 2006.

    On the cheap, you could literally buy a Zoom H4N and use it as a 4-track recorder; used around $150.

    My way is not necessarily the only way (nor the best way). I think this is why the OP was looking for opinions, tips and experiences.
     
  5. MiguelDamas

    MiguelDamas Member

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    I get what you're saying, I used to have to freeze FX all the time with my old computer. But there's a fair bit of processing going on since I record and mix my band for pre-production work before we go to a proper studio to lay down the final tracks. I get the feeling the OP is just looking to use the Kemper to get some ideas down. Most computers can handle that just fine.
     
  6. LPtone30

    LPtone30 Member

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    Another dummy here! I'm in the same situation, just starting out. I'm currently running garage band (might upgrade to logic)

    My question is: I want to be able to mic my amp to record to GBand. I'm looking at the focusrite 2i2 scarlet. Every forum I read about it says to plug your guitar directly into it and use the amp Sims the program provides. I don't want to do that as most of them sound like crap, I want my tone. Will the fucusrite do the job?
     
  7. Ron_R

    Ron_R Member

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    There are a few options available.

    The OP has a Kemper which requires an interface to be able to record if you aren't using a separate amp/frfr, miced up. So basically, first you need an interface between the Kemper and the DAW of your choice. You will still need an interface to record a miced up rig, but it may differ.

    As far as which DAW, if you have a computer that was purchased over the last 3 years, you should be just fine to record into. The bottleneck is usually RAM and storage space. If you have over 8G of RAM and a 500GB HD, you should be in good shape to record. You will need to purchase a DAW though.

    If you are looking to get something new to record into, you can do this with something as simple as an iPad. You can then get an iRig interface and be good to go.

    I am a Mac guy, so I have a Macbook Pro and record directly into Garageband with an Axe Fx II. I'm also a home hobbyist, so this set up is incredible for me. Garageband is very user and beginner friendly, but, especially in it's latest iteration, can be very deep with a lot of pro caliber options. It also has a new "Drummer" interface which is simply amazing. You can also use a MIDI Controller Keyboard and record any instrument that is already in the program, or do it that right from your keyboard.
     
  8. Ron_R

    Ron_R Member

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    The Focusrite should be able to do what you are wanting it to do.
     
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  9. The Funk

    The Funk Member

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    Any decent computer built in the last 10 years is probably fine. My 10 year old laptop with 6 gigs of ram recorded and mixed a bunch of records some having as many as 85 tracks. Yes, I had to freeze some stuff and be very careful with how effects were used, but it worked and still does.

    So, relatively decent computer. You need an interface to get your sound in and out. I would personally get one with at least 4 lines in. 4 mic pres is even better. Why? Because you will tend to use one or two at a time, but what if you go over to a friends house and they’ve got a drum kit? It’s nice to be able to accommodate some extra things. You can get an interface like that for not too much. Less than $200.

    Your kemper will go direct, but it’s good to have a few mics because acoustic guitars are cool and you might want to sing something. What do you need for mics? An SM57, a large condenser that sounds good on your voice, and a pair of small condensers. Do you need them all? No. If you get one, get the 57, if you get two get the 57 and the LDC, etc. With this 4 mic types and your interface with 4 preamps, there’s not a lot you can’t record. Anything beyond that is color and flavors and things with specific uses. If you get mics, you’ll also want stands and cables. The number of which should match your number of mics or number of inputs whichever is smaller.

    You’ll need some headphones. Later on, you might want some monitors.

    Low cost, decent recording program: Reaper. There are others, but Reaper is $60.

    So assuming you have a computer, you’ll need Reaper and an audio interface and a pair of headphones. So, that’s probably about 300 maybe all told. If you get mics, it will be a little more
     
  10. Jason Carter

    Jason Carter Silver Supporting Member

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    I'm in newbie as well. I just ordered a Focusrite 6i6 and Shure SM57 Mic combo pack from sweetwater. I have a sweetwater card and the you can't beat the payment deals they offer. The only reason I got the 6i6 was for the SPDIF input to use with my OX if I do not want to mic my cabinet. I would have gotten a 2i2 if I didn't need the SPDIF input. From my research, Focusrite makes a good interface as well as Presonus.
     
  11. Drak

    Drak Supporting Member

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    I've seen numerous reports of those Focusrites having lockup/drop/driver issues.
    I personally decided to avoid them alltogether because of what I've read about them.
    Not trying to bring you down at all.
    But I would keep receipts, and install/use it functionally as much as you can pretty quickly.
    So if it throws a problem at you, you'll know soon enough to return it.
    And from what I read, if it does throw a problem or hiccup, just return it immediately and get something else.
    Instead of spending too much time trying to fix or patch the issue.
    Just sayin'...that's what I've read a fair amount of out there.
    I could be wrong...usually am ;).
     
  12. Jason Carter

    Jason Carter Silver Supporting Member

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    Yes I read about some of the issues, seems most were simple fixes. I won't know until its loaded and working with my setup. Thanks for the the heads up!
     
  13. dewey decibel

    dewey decibel Member

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    I haven't liked many in the box amp sims either. The thing is, getting "your sound" from a microphone can be a lot more difficult than it would seem. Lots to learn, lots of trial and error, etc. That said, no reason not to dive in, just be ready to have to work for some decent results!
     
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  14. Anthony Gring

    Anthony Gring Silver Supporting Member

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    Perfect timing !

    Was going to ask same question as in OP.

    One of my questions is :

    I have a PC I use for my home office. I am considering getting a laptop to just devote to music / recording. I have NO experience w/ a Mac but it seems some DAW software can Only be used in a Mac.

    I'm ordering a Kemper this week to be used at church going direct. Secondary use of it will be to try and record a bit at home with it.

    So , laptop ? Mac laptop? I took note of specs above re memory , hard drive etc.

    Thanks !
     
  15. Ron_R

    Ron_R Member

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    The only DAW that is Mac exclusive is Garageband. And it comes with every Mac.

    Everything depends on your budget. These days, even a $400 Laptop can be used to record music effectively.

    If you buy a PC Laptop, you also have to budget in the purchase of a DAW. That isn't really a big deal, depending on your needs, wants and your budget.

    I've been a Mac guy for decades, so for me, it does better. I am not fond of the Windows OS, the stability issues with it and the constant need to update it. People make a big deal about learning to use a Mac vs. PC, but if you are computer savvy even a little bit, it's not such a challenge. I much prefer the UI, myself.

    If you are super comfortable and happy with Windows, get a PC laptop and buy a good DAW to use with it. You will also need an interface for the Kemper to record into your computer with, so you have to incorporate that into your budget. I run an Axe Fx II which is it's own interface. The other thing to consider is that if you are going FOH at church, you will need some kind of speaker system at home to play through. Something like a powered FRFR speaker, or a Power Amp to Cab or FRFR speaker. I'm not up on how Kemper does Cab Sims, so not the best person to ask.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2018
  16. Anthony Gring

    Anthony Gring Silver Supporting Member

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    Thanks for all the info.
     
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  17. Stratosphere

    Stratosphere Member

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    I think it's always good to max out your RAM. It's cheap and quick and you can never have enough memory.
     
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  18. anxiousmofo

    anxiousmofo Member

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    There’s, um, Logic.
     
  19. bainmack

    bainmack Member

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  20. MoPho

    MoPho International Man of Leisure Silver Supporting Member

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    You -> Guitar -> Kemper/AxeFX/Helic -> Interface -> Computer (with DAW)

    Or

    You -> Guitar -> Amp -> Microphone -> Interface -> Computer (with DAW)

    Headphones or monitors should be plugged into audio outputs of Interface.

    Just a simple diagram of a couple of the connectivity options. I like the 4 input/4 pre suggestion. Most recent (<10 years old) PCs can run Reaper very well. I used a 2009 Mac Mini until a year ago to run Reaper. I now use a 2011 MBP with 16G of RAM and 1T SSD. I kick around on GB mostly. My interface is a new but dated model of a Focusrite Saffire Pro 40. Works like a charm.

    Don't forget that you might have a DAW on your iPhone or can download an app to do it. Certainly portable but I have't a clue how well things sound.
     

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