Lo-budget USB recording system for PC?

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by MichaelK, Jan 8, 2006.

  1. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    A Rabbinical student in my neighborhood asked me to help him out with this...

    The object is to record a person speaking once a week, put the talks up on a web site the next day, and after a year take the best talks and make a limited release CD. They don't need anything fancy, but it should be easy to set up and run for a recording novice. They might need to make fades in and out each week, at most, and maybe a software limiter would be good.

    I'll be with them the first few weeks and would like to set up some kind of template that they can run on their own from then on, pre-set levels, master bus settings and such. I'll master the CD when the time comes.

    I figured a SM58 for voice, a simple preamp/compressor combo with USB out, and the least expensive recording software for PC that can at least give them a 16-bit 44.1 mono file that they can convert to MP3 for the web and that I can use later for the CD. 24-bit would be better, but I don't know if there's a free MP3 converter that can work with 24.

    Any suggestions for the hardware interface and/or software?
     
  2. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    Forgot to mention: I'm asking for suggestions because these guys will be using a PC laptop, but I'm on Mac. I don't know what's available in "extra-lite" recording software for PC.
     
  3. Soul Driver

    Soul Driver Member

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  4. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    VERY close, but no compressor. Thanks all the same.

    I think I call my guy at Sweetwater and pick his brains for 5 minutes.
     
  5. stekks

    stekks Member

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    You could put compression on the track after its been recorded.
     
  6. bbarnard

    bbarnard Member

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    Audacity will do 24 bit quality and it uses the Lame encoder to generate MP3s from the native files. It's free but I've never tried taking a 24 bit sample and converting it to an MP3. But like I said it's free so you could try it easily yourself.

    While it probably isn't what you are looking for, I've been incredibly surprised by my iRiver ipf799 MP3 player which allows the use of an external mic to do recordings on the line in channel. The bit rate can be set up to 256K for recording and there is an input volume control. Just something to consider. I'm using a small Sony ECM type condenser mic for it.
     
  7. avwalker

    avwalker Member

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  8. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    Anyone? Inexpensive PC software that can record uncompressed audio, and is compatible with a USB channel strip/converter (also inexpensive)?

    Not non-USB compatible software.

    Not compressed format recording.

    Not a microphone.

    Not a software compressor.
     
  9. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    Just thought someone might be interested in what I found...

    There are no cheap hardware interfaces with a built-in compressor. There's the RNC, of course, which adds another whatever $$ if they decide to do that.

    Because they'll need both hardware and software, the best bargains are packages from M-Audio. The FastTrack USB is bargain-basement simple for one dynamic mic (no phantom power), $100.

    For $200 they can get the FastTrack Pro which can accomodate 2 mics and it has phantom power. This is what I recommended, so they can have a second mic for questions from the attendees. Maybe down the road they can buy a condensor.

    Both come with 4-track versions of Ableton Live. They already have SM58s and cables.

    Now it's up to them, I'm done!
     
  10. Ed DeGenaro

    Ed DeGenaro Supporting Member

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    The Tone Port has a compressor model in there that actually works nice.
    Actually the whole dang Tone Port thing is way hip, especially for the price.
    Also comes with the bundled version of Ableton Live which should do the trick for what he needs.

    Software? Cheap? Cubase SE. Or go free with...
    http://www.kreatives.org/kristal/
     
  11. bailnout

    bailnout Member

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    Yea, and I think you can run that compressor WHILE you are laying the track.
     
  12. Ed DeGenaro

    Ed DeGenaro Supporting Member

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    Yes you can.
     
  13. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    I've heard that it's terrible for vocals...? Then again, this is just spoken word, so maybe it would be fine. I dunno. It's worth looking into.

    I appreciate the suggestion about Cubase, but I can't stand it and would never recommend it to anyone. There are too many better interfaces available for a beginner.

    As far as Edirol... well, put it this way:

    The most these guys are accustomed to, intellectually, is studying, translating and interpreting volume after volume of tracts of Talmud in ancient Aramaic. There's no way they can handle a Roland manual.
     
  14. ari

    ari Member

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    Edirol UA-25 should do the trick then. Built-in limiter (not compressor though), mic pre, USB bus-powered. I've been using its predecessor, UA-5, for 4 years and the driver's been relatively stable. I'm looking to trade it with UA-25 myself. Just plug it in, set the input level, and go.

    ari
     
  15. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    If they want Edirol, it's their problem. But I won't recommend it to them.
     
  16. Greggy

    Greggy Member

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    I could swear my Roland manuals were written in Aramaic.:D May as well have been.:FM
     
  17. Strung Up

    Strung Up Member

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    Rabbinical students went to a guy from Chelm for recording assistance?
     
  18. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    I'm in the Yellow Pages.
     
  19. jokerjkny

    jokerjkny Member

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    i've done this for a few churches:

    Tascam US122, sooo cheap and easy, its ridiculous. runs on USB power, and has phantom power, too.

    then use something like a freebie copy of Audacity, which has all the file compressions you want, including mp3.
     

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