Recording help for a noob

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by Misericordiam, Feb 5, 2006.

  1. Misericordiam

    Misericordiam Member

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    Ok I'm trying to get some basic recording equipment for demo recording for my band. What is the minimum I can get to make semi decent recordings? I have a computer in my basement equipped with Cakewalk and I have numerous mics including about 5 sm57s and my drummer has a number of drum mics and the other guitar player's dad has a shitload of mics so the mic situation is covered. I was thinking of just buying a little behringer mixer but how would I hook it up to the computer? Also, how would I mix the recordings with it because I mixed a friends demo with him and we just hooked up his analog 8 track up to a cd burner and adjusted the levels and such during different parts of the song but I don't know how to do that on my computer. Thanks for any help!
     
  2. LSchefman

    LSchefman Member

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    There are as many solutions to this problem as there are people. You could buy a mixer, just make sure it has enough mic inputs to do what you need it to do; you could buy a one of those rackmount boxes with sets of 8 mic preamps, again, the mic input number that you need is a big factor; that and your budget; or you could buy a computer interface with mic preamps built in.

    In any case, you will need a computer interface (or a sound card) to get sound in and out of your computer from the interface, or you could use a mixer with a built-in computer interface, such as a firewire or USB 2 interface.

    Most recording mixers have buss outputs; you assign a channel (or a group of channels) to a buss output, and that output is connected to one of the inputs on your computer interface.

    Or, you could take a direct output from a mixer channel (some mixers have direct outputs, so you don't need to buss) and connect it to your interface.

    Or you can dispense with a mixer, use the built-in mic preamps on your interface, and mix "inside the box";

    Or you could connect your mic preamp outputs to your computer interface's inputs direct; the interface's outputs could be sent to an external mixer, or you could mix "inside the box".

    There are ten ZILLION pieces of gear and setups that offer solutions to your issue, and everyone here will tell you what their faves are, but I won't, because your needs are, like anyone else's, unique, how you like to work is your choice, and how you set up your mics, organize a session, and most importantly, how you listen and think are FAR more important than what you use to record with.

    And yes, you can get a pretty decent recording with some very inexpensive equipment, because even the cheapest stuff out there can get the job done decently, and because it's still the music that is the most important part of the equation. ;)
     
  3. Misericordiam

    Misericordiam Member

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    Thanks for your response! I think that my computer has integrated sound but I'm not sure so I'll look into that and possibly but a new soundcard. Any suggestion on one of those? Preferably a less expensive one ;). I'll be doing the recording track by track and the only thing thats really going to be taking up mic inputs are the drum mics so I'll have to check with my drummer to see how many are condenser and how many are dynamic. A little behringer mixer should be efficient I think.
     
  4. Misericordiam

    Misericordiam Member

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    Oh and another thing, when running a mixer into my computer, how does the computer recognize each channel as a different track? Thats another concern of mine.
     
  5. Effect of Sound

    Effect of Sound Member

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    The trick is going to be how to maximize the program you are recording with. Regardless of wich method you use, analog vs. digital, stand alone system vs. computer software, etc, you have to figure out a way to utlize as many track as possible.

    I have a Roland 2480 so I really fortunate to be able to record 16 tracks at a time. This means I can mic up each thing seperately, mic each of the drum heads, etc, and mess with those dry tracks afterward and end up with a phenomenal sounding "live recording."

    You could multitrack by laying the drums down first, but you do lose some feel. Listen to any Miles Davis' electric period like Bitches Brew and realize that those recordings are recorded live, or I should say without multitracking. Yes there were isolation booths to help prevent bleed-over, but it was done without adding stuff afterwards.

    Are you old enough to know what 8 Track cassettes are? Well...back in the day, 1970's all the big nam bands recorded with only 8 tracks of recording. That meant they had to mix all the drum mics/tracks down to two tracks and each other instrument had its own track thereafter. I used to have a 1680 which only had 8 tracks available at a time, and ended up with great results. I used a Roland V-drum set, but used real cymbals (two overheads). The mistake I made was combining the lead vocal with his guitar. Whatever you do, keep vocals seperate. If you have backup vocals, but it is not right on key, just use the lead vocals. MIc the guitar cabinets with either SM 57's or Sennheiser 609 Silvers and place the mic no more than two fingers width distance away from the grill. MAke sure the mic is equidistant between the edge of the cone and the center of the cone for a balanced sound. If you have to sacrifice something, sacrifice the cymbals. Mic the hi hat and ride, but don't worry about micing the other cymbals. They will cut through and find there way to all of the other mics. Use a dedicated kick drum mic, peferable a Shure Beta. Use a an SM 57 on the snare, pointed downwards, and about two-three inches off the snare. E-mail me with any other questions.

    These are all legitimate questions. You are not a noob.
     

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