Seeking tips for economy recording rig

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by 1Way, Nov 20, 2005.

  1. 1Way

    1Way Member

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    I'm getting to the point where I want to do some recording, just me (guitarist) and either my drummer friend and/or backing tracks for practicing and such, but I don't want to make the mistake of jumping into a technology and field that I know next to nothing about. I've been dealing in computers for a long time, and the one thing that I don't want is a lot of
    - hardware
    - and software
    - and compatibility
    hassles. If it was all analog this quest would be pretty simple, but since everything has to plug into the computer, then things get complicated and messy quickly.

    I will be running WindowsXP Pro and SUSE Linux 9.0. But I can't find my XP code number.
    Q1
    Anyone know what I can do about that? Will Microsoft help me out there?

    I want to end up being able to post sound samples online, so it would be good to end up with MP3 files.
    Q2
    Is that right? Or are their other or better file formats to target?

    Q3
    Can I do all the recording into my computer? Or are the hardware struggles going that route to problematic, like some systems skipping during recording or playback for example?

    Q4
    Should I go for a stand alone hardware recorder that also has computer access?

    - I want the best most reliable and hassle free recording
    - for the least amount of money.
    I'm thinking in terms of $500 and lower (if possible).
     
  2. rockon1

    rockon1 Member

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    Why not just get a simple stand alone workstation? Cheap and effective. :)
     
  3. 1Way

    1Way Member

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    rockon1
    I'm the one asking such questions, I wouldn't be asking them if I knew the answer to your question...

    So far, it seems like the computer interfaces are the least expensive. So if they work great, then maybe that would be better.

    But I'd always be tethered the computer if I want to do any recording... Likely a stand alone rig would reduce hardware quality struggles.
    But which one is suggested for pricing and value?
    Which ones do good sending the file to the computer for internet posting?
    Does it have MP3 capability?
    Or should I be looking for other file formats?
     
  4. juniorspecial

    juniorspecial Member

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    I've had an MBox for several years now, and I think it's fantastic!
     
  5. rockon1

    rockon1 Member

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    Ive got one of these. it works great -8 tracks, cd burner,large 40gb hard drive and built in effects-TascamDP01FX 599$ You can do everything in one small package. If you want to convert your finished tracks to MP3 you just load them into your computer after burning them to CD and use a program you may already have on your computer. You can also just tranfer them right from the machine. Yeah its no where near the best nor does it have a lot of tracks but 8 tracks should be fine for starting out and its got everything you need from start to finish. Its also VERY EASY to use. Thats not something I can say about my Roland VS1824 unit!
    Hey if you dont care about built in effects or CD burner youn can get the DP01 for much less-299$! Its the same unit as the DP01FXCD without effects or cd burner. You can transfer your master mix down tracks to your computer. At only 299$ it may be more of what your looking for.


    http://www.americanmusical.com/sort--s-DP01.html
     
  6. 1Way

    1Way Member

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    juniorspecial
    You said
    Who makes it? Price range? Learning curve? What sort of unit is it? Stand alone, CD burner, hard drive, PC interface, cassette tape, secure digital card? What are it's features, mixing, tracks, sequencer, effects, dubbing, software bundle?

    Thanks
     
  7. rockon1

    rockon1 Member

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  8. 1Way

    1Way Member

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    rockon1
    You said.
    So are these mix down tracks stored analogue or digitally on the machine? Does it use little digital cards, or only a PC cable? Which interface does it use, USB, firewire, Midi, or S/PDIF? I'm wondering if I can use it away from my computer for a remote recording session and then plug it into the PC later...

    So do most people like MP3's or MPG's better? I assume that MP3 is more of the latest standard, hence the popularity of MP3 players and so on...

    Thanks much for the feedback!
     
  9. rockon1

    rockon1 Member

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    Tascam DP-01 Features

    Eight-track uncompressed CD-quality recording: Professional audio quality
    Two-track simultaneous recording: Record in stereo or record two independent mono sources
    Dedicated stereo mixdown track: Mix your song to a stereo file you can transfer to a computer for CD burning or MP3 encoding
    Dedicated Pan, Effect Send, EQ Low and EQ High controls on each channel: Reach up and grab a knob to change the sound – fast and easy-to-use, like an analog mixer
    Two-band sweepable EQ per track: Boost or cut high and low EQ with the knobs, and change the EQ frequency for a different sound
    Two 1/4" TRS inputs, one with guitar level setting: Record synth, guitar or bass directly in
    Effects send and return: Patch in an external reverb or effects processor
    RCA line outputs: Connect to monitor speakers or record your mix
    S/PDIF digital optical output: Record your mix to a CD or MiniDisc® recorder
    Headphone output with level control: Monitor in headphones, or use a Y-cable to connect to speakers with a level control
    MIDI timecode output: Synchronize a drum machine or MIDI sequencer
    USB 2.0 port: Export your mix recording, export individual tracks or back up your song to a computer
    Built-in 40GB hard drive: Plenty of room for dozens of songs

    Thats from the description. As you can see its got a USB port and
    S/PDIF out. Honesty I have never used them though. I burn to disc then load em to my computer.... MP3 is the standard for compressed format. It allows a song to take up about 1/12 the space it normally would. I use it for e-mailing friends stuff,posting clips to boards,and obviously mp3 players,otherwise on disc everthing stays uncompressed.
    As a reletive newbie to recording myself this little machine was cheap and easy to use. One downside is that it only records 2 tracks at once. For me this isnt an issue. At any rate its only one in many perhaps somebody else has a idea for entry level recording here.:)
     
  10. melondaoust

    melondaoust Member

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    PC Interface
    2 pre's (Focusrite)
    New model has MIDI
    Digital ins and outs
    Runs on Windows and Mac
    Price range +/- $400 to $600

    Software:
    Pro Tools LE (lotsa MIDI, 24 tracks audio, full automation of GUI mixer, good editing features, very "industry standard" software.)
    Plenty more bundled software (depends on factory bundle)
    Visit www.digidesign.com for more info

    PS - I have one as well, and like juniorspecial, I'm lovin' it!
     
  11. abergdahl

    abergdahl Member

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    For clips i usa a Korg PXR4. Now i have a Tube preamp so that i can mike the amps. Easy to use cheap and portable and no latency problems i like it alot for making clips.

    Check out my more recent clips on soundclick, setting up usually takes less than 10 minutes, a great practice tool. I have improved a lot by recording myself, if you don't believe me listen to some of the older clips :eek:
     
  12. juniorspecial

    juniorspecial Member

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    An MBox is a box made by Digidesign, who make ProTools. It's the entry level unit for ProTools. It plugs into the USB port on your computer, and you plug your monitor speakers, or your headphones, into the MBox. It has two mic preamps, so you can plug in two mics, or one mic and a guitar, etc.

    It has a pile of bundled software. It comes with ProTools, some fantastic plug-ins, like fancy compressors, and EQ units, as well as versions of Reason, and several other pieces of interesting software.

    The first thing that's great about it is that it uses ProTools, which is really easy to use, and is fantastic quality. Plus, the tracks you record on your computer can be used on any ProTools systems they use in fancy recording studios. Quite a few big-time recording artists use ProTools systems for recording ideas and things, which are then added to when they go to cut an album.

    Another thing that's great about it is that it uses your computer, so any files you make can be easily uploaded to sites, or emailed around the world. Also, you can easily download files from sites and email, too, which makes possible collaboration with people all over the world. I can make a rhythm track here, using Reason, and my guitar, and email it to a friend who can add some other tracks, like vocals.

    I had a stand-alone unit for some time, but I find I like the MBox better, because it's integrated into my computer, and allows me to take advantage of the musical environment of cyberspace. For instance, a friend can send me a MIDI file, and I can put that into Reason, select a synth patch, and use that MIDI file to create something new.

    Reason, which comes with it, is an amazing bit of software. It has synths, and drum machines, and loop players, effects, and samplers. It's amazing! If you can't dig playing around with Reason, you aren't really in to music!

    So, you buy an MBox, and you open up a whole new world.

    You buy a stand alone unit, and you can record a lot of tracks. But editing them is harder than in ProTools. Getting the high quality effects you get in ProTools is unlikely. You might get a rhythm machine with a multitrack, but you won't get the cool stuff you can play with in Reason.

    My web site has some sound effects I made with ProTools, and if you click on the Music link, you can hear a track I did with Reason:

    http://andyrossdesign.com

    :dude
     
  13. 1Way

    1Way Member

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    juniorspecial
    Thanks, neat stuff.

    I can do everything you said, and more, if I get a digital stand alone recorder, but also get the software you mentioned. I want to be able to do remote recording also.

    Are your software versions full, or special limited, versions?
     
  14. juniorspecial

    juniorspecial Member

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    The ProTools that comes with the Mbox is called ProTools LE. It's quite full-featured, but not the absolute top of the line, which costs thousands and thousands when you get the necessary hardware and the top version of ProTools.

    The Reason that comes with ProTools is called Reason adapted, and it's not the full version of Reason 3.0, but it does A LOT. The full version costs about $300 to upgrade from the adapted.
     
  15. Matt_Scogo

    Matt_Scogo Senior Member

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    Dude, whatever you do... DON'T waste your $$ on a Tascam or Fostex workstation. End of story. Total waste.

    Instead save a few more $$ and buy a Cubase. The software is simple if you want to plug-n-play or as complex as you want. the effects are sweet. The software is compatable with everything, you can't say that about ProTools. There is zero latency... again ProTools can't boast this. All you need is a decent Fire Wire interface (to hook your guitar to the software) and your jamming. Unlimited resources! Check it out!
    Good luck,
    MW
     
  16. Matt_Scogo

    Matt_Scogo Senior Member

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    And no offense, but the MBox is a ltterbox... POS!!
    MW
     
  17. Cthross

    Cthross Member

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    What if portability is an issue. I don't want to drag my computer around. (Desktop) I have Cubase, but what kind of good portable digital recorders are out there? Cost is an issue. The DP01 doesn't sound that bad. Use it to record and transfer to my Cubase program. 40 gigs, plenty to take to a friends house and record some stuff. Stereo Master track if that's what you want.

    Other than that what are some decent options?

    -Chris
     
  18. 1Way

    1Way Member

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    Chris
    I agree, the ability to go portable is not just a whim, it's a serious requirement. I just started a thread with that sort of question in mind. My second post lists about 7 different entry level stand alone digital recorders.

    CLICK HERE

    Check it out.
     
  19. onemind

    onemind Member

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    Just slightly off topic - The quickest and dirtiest solution right now, is a Blue "Snowball" USB Mic, I got one last night to work with my small band of misfit digital recording artists at the elementary school where I work and initial impressions are very good! Of course you'd need software (though if you're just recording mono you can use any number of shareware solutions. It's a USB powered condenser mic, with a pad, and both omni/cardioid modes....It's completely plug and play, I used it to overdub vocals in Garage Band and it was great!

    (s)
     
  20. 1Way

    1Way Member

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    juniorspecial and Matt

    Is Pro Tools related to Pro Tracks?
    Just curious, this was quoted from a promo for Digitech's GNX-4.

    If I can do punch in and out, plus other time based things without needing to buy an external pedal, then that might work out...
     

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