Recording guitar into the computer for cheap

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by aquadog, Jun 9, 2005.

  1. aquadog

    aquadog Member

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    I'm completely ignorant of recording into a computer, so someone help me here. I'd like to be able to record my guitar into the computer so I can just make some songs for myself, set up rhythem tracks to play over, etc- nothing really fancy.

    What would be the best way to get started? What equipment and/or software will I need. Mics, preamps, etc? It'll be going into a PC with windows XP and I'd like to keep it under $200.
     
  2. tedm

    tedm Gold Supporting Member

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    I'd consider the creative sb live 24-bit, some free sw off the web, and a shure sm-57 to start with. add an fmr rnc compressor, and a large diaphraghm mic soon. use good cables. oh, and a behringer or mackie budget mixer with mic pre's and phantom power.

     
  3. aquadog

    aquadog Member

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    Thanks for the suggestion Ted. It sounds like a lot of stuff though. Will this stay in the price range?
    Other suggestions?
     
  4. tedm

    tedm Gold Supporting Member

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    Well from what I recall, an SB Live 24-bit is about $29, SM-57 about $90, LDC MXL 990 about $59, low cost mixer with mic' pres with phantom power ~ $49 to $99, the FMR RNC is about $189 or so but can wait, for just guitar, for vocals, I find it pretty necessary though. Cables will be another $50 so we're probably over the $200 budget.

    The other thing you can do is just encode mp3s directly with the line in of an iriver mp3 $99 encoder for quick and dirty live recording and clips, and without a computer!! but this is not good enough for making a cd. Email me if you want to hear some of my audio podcasts done with an iriver. I've got some guitar playing done right through the iriver mic, as well as line in from tube amp to mixer.

     
  5. aquadog

    aquadog Member

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    I'm assuming you need an iriver for that?
    I'll look into this. Thanks Ted
    Would I be able to use instrument cables though? I've already got that covered if that's the case.

    Open to other ideas still.
     
  6. tedm

    tedm Gold Supporting Member

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    The iriver takes 1/8" stereo miniplugs, so you'd need some kind of mixer or cable converters that gave line out levels to 1/8" mini-plug. I use the tape outs of a mixer's RCA L/R cables to 1/8" mini-plug but I'd guess you could go from any line level source to 1/8" mini stereo. If you have enough gain, you could go instrument level as well, but it loses that amp sound and sounds pretty thin.

    The unit does external mic, and line-level, as well as a built in mic, but the built in mic sucks pretty bad except for voice.

     
  7. Powerfibers

    Powerfibers Member

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    I am not 100% sure that it will give you the same capabilities that I use in the Pod XT, but the Guitar Port seems like a low cost a/d convertor to record with.
     
  8. aquadog

    aquadog Member

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    Sorry its taking me so long to reply. I don't seem to be getting any messages from this thread.

    Anyways, the guitar port would be sorta cool, but I wanted to be able to capture the tone of my actual rig.

    Thanks for all your help so far ted.
    What about something like the black box? Or am I suggesting the wrong usage of it.
     
  9. tedm

    tedm Gold Supporting Member

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    with the "black box"?? got a link??

     
  10. FatTeleTom

    FatTeleTom Member

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    My cheap setup:

    M-Audio MobilePre (USB D/A A/D interface). About $150.

    n-Tracks recording software (http://www.fasoft.com). I think about $50 to register.

    Nady SP-somethingorother mic, stand, cable from Musician's Friend. All for about $20 (mostly added to fill out an order sufficiently to take advantage of a coupon offer).

    So, $220 or so, not including the laptop I already had.

    It works. Yes, I really need a better mic. But it works.

    Before that, I just ran through a Digitech RP200 pedal straight into the soundcard input on the laptop, and still do that occassionally for "silent" recording. The "tweed" and "blackface" models with cabinet emulation turned on don't actually sound too bad, and I can use other pedals for decent distortion sounds.

    I think the Digitech was about $150. There are probably better choices out there (used Pod?), but this is another way to go.
     
  11. aquadog

    aquadog Member

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    http://www.musiciansfriend.com/srs7/g=home/search/detail/base_pid/241102/

    Theres a link to the black box for you Ted.
    Upon realizing what it was, although it looks cool, I would still like to be able to record the tone of my own rig if possible. I guess I should have specified that in the first place.

    Honestly though, If at this price point the sound quality would be pretty bad if I record my own gear into the computer, I guess I'd rather have something like the black box.
    Is this going to be the case?

    thanks for all the help so far.
     
  12. decay-o-caster

    decay-o-caster Member

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    I've just been reading up on the Black Box. It has an XLR in, so you could record your rig using a microphone through it when you wanted to, or use the BB for amp/effects when you don't want to use your own rig. So get yourself an SM57 and a cord, you're over your $200 budget but you've got something a bit cool.

    And hey, when has anyone here ever kept within his gear budget? ;)

    It won't sound like a great analog board and 2" tape, but it should maybe get you in the ball park. And it's based on the Adrenalinn, which is a way cool creative tool for coming up with new musical ideas.
     
  13. aquadog

    aquadog Member

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    Well, I'm never opposed to buying things used, so I think that it would still be affordable, although it is pretty damn hard to stay within a budget.

    If it sounds good, allows me to record my own gear, and has all those options avaliable, it may be a winner.

    Anyone agree or refute it with actual experience?
     
  14. tedm

    tedm Gold Supporting Member

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    specs and features are impressive for what it is!!

    like decay-o-caster says, it appears that it can double or triple as a usb audio interface, as well as a mic pre, so it seems to be a cool stand alone recorder with a bunch of fx, as well as a low res usb audio interface (the usb 1.1 will limit you to 1 or 2 channels of 24/48khz), and whenever you're ready you can add an SM-57 or whatever mic and do real recording. I wouldn't expect the mic pre (s) to be great, but you never know.

    Search out some reviews from other users if you can -- harmony central, homerecording.com etc. looks like it might fit the bill for you. let us know how it works if you get it!!

    Also, at the end of the day, you still may need to put the .wavs on your 'puter and encode to mp3, I didn't read far enough to see if it does mp3 encoding, but that's not a big deal. just a few minutes of learning time.
     
  15. aquadog

    aquadog Member

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    I'm definately going to look into it.

    Report to follow later.
    Thanks everyone
     
  16. Jeffj

    Jeffj Supporting Member

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    I use a guitar port $99.00
    Kristal Recording Software Free download

    I use a Dell laptop with XP. Here are a couple samples that I did the day after I bought the Guitar Port. I downloaded a couple free backing tracks online & just played along. So, if you are wanting something cheap & easy to use...this is not a bad setup for $99.00 The beauty part for me is being able to do it in my office at home at midnight & be totally silent with my headphones.


    http://michaeldholmes.com/Jeff/Country.mp3

    http://michaeldholmes.com/Jeff/Smooth Jazz.mp3
     
  17. tedm

    tedm Gold Supporting Member

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    not bad!!

     
  18. EricT

    EricT Member

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    You should check into Audacity for a very good recording software.
    It's open source, i.e. free, and has every feature a hobbyist could ask for.
    Link here: http://audacity.sourceforge.net/
     
  19. aquadog

    aquadog Member

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    Alright, before I had the chance to pick up a black box, I was able to borrow one of these, which I have the option of buying for around 50 bucks (not bad considering its unused):
    http://www.musiciansfriend.com/srs7/g=home/search/detail/base_pid/701341/

    Well, my ignorance is once again catching up to me, and I have no idea what to do with this or what I'll still need.

    I'm assuming that I need a pre-amp, rca converter, and mic (if I want to record the amp), correct?


    someone direct me. Maybe an M-Audio mobile pre and and sm57?

    The thing I'm worried about is that I may be overloading the signal with the amp cranked or that the sound quality won't really be that great. Would I be better off with a guitar port or the likes (even though I would no longer be able to record my own gear)?
     
  20. tedm

    tedm Gold Supporting Member

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    Jason,
    There's no one simple answer to your question. Yes, that PCI card you referenced can work great, if it is compatible with your planned SW, and in some cases may possibly be better than a USB solution (e.g. multiple channels 96 and > kHz sample rates).

    Regarding mic'ing, yes you'll need something like an SM-57 or e609, with a mic pre. Most inexpensive mixers from Alesis, Behringer, Mackie, etc. have low cost 2-6 channel mixers with decent enough mic pre's for elec. guitar, and attenuators for recording very loud.

    I'd recommend listening to and browsing the forum clips section, and when you hear something good, check out what recording setup the person used, often they're extremely simple.

    Also, readup on balanced vs unbalanced signal chains. Most likely unbalanced is fine and will have to do at < $200 budget, but if you decide you want to, or must go balanced, might as well start and get all your gear and cabling compatible from the get go.

     

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