What are you using to capture song ideas...

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by stringer, Mar 8, 2006.


  1. stringer

    stringer Silver Supporting Member

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    I have a digital multitrack (AW16), but find myself in need of developing song ideas first before dedicating the time to record. For this task, the AW16 is overkill. I'm thinking something small and simple to both record & recall.

    So...I'm curious. What's everyone's using for capturing song ideas quickly on the fly and why? Digital voice recorder? Cassette? Micro-multi track? iPod w/mic attachment?
     
  2. neve1073

    neve1073 Member

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    i know what you mean. it's much more productive to know at least sort of what you want before you start making tracks.
    for me it's pen and paper...or notation software. sometimes i use a field cassette recorder.
     
  3. ZenFly06

    ZenFly06 Member

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    I pluck my guitar while "watching" tv. If I pluck the same thing a couple nights in a row and it gets in my head, I might turn it into a song.
    To capture the song itself I set a click and record the basic guitar part that maps the arrangement. Then once I'm happy with that I record whatever needs to be built to match what I envision for it.

    All that is via instrument>DM3200>MOTU2408Mk3>Sonar 5 Producer.
     
  4. jokerjkny

    jokerjkny Member

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    i usually have my laptop everywhere i go

    but simpliest idea was to use a good ol' SM57, my Tascam US122 and a free copy of audacity. save to mp3, and i've got a HUGE folder of random ideas. and holy crap, i'm random. :p
     
  5. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    It depends on what's close at hand. These days I find the MicroTrack easiest and it sounds pretty good, too. I upload the files to my laptop and import them into MasterWriter.

    MasterWriter has a built-in recorder but it sounds like crap 'cause it uses the laptop's built-in mic. The mic overloads into digital hell if you look at it too closely. But in a pinch it's OK just to get an idea down.

    The cool thing about the MicroTrack is I can keep it plugged into the USB port while I have Masterwriter open and just upload the files every once in a while. The PITA part is that Masterwriter has to import them and convert the format. It's about 5 extra steps, not perfect... but masterwriter the best thing so far for organizing songs and lyrics, so I don't like to bypass it. I'll give a full rant on what I like and don't like about it some other time.

    Sometimes when I'm in the studio I record right into ProTools. I have a template I use for a simple 1- or 2-track session that I can have up and running in just a couple of minutes.
     
  6. LSchefman

    LSchefman Supporting Member

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    I take along an elephant wherever I go.

    They never forget.
     
  7. AmosG

    AmosG Member

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    Has anybody tried the Zoom PS-04? Intriguing idea.
     
  8. stringer

    stringer Silver Supporting Member

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    I expected variety and you guys didn't disappoint. It's interesting to see the various approaches to the same issue. For me, I'm thinking something small (the elephant is a bit unwieldy), self-contained, no wires, easy to store and retrieve; usb would be nice.

    Closest thing mentioned so far is the MicroTrack, but the iPod with a stereo mic still interests me. I don't really need multitrack capability for my "sketchpad". Tried a microrecorder a couple of years ago, but while easy to record, not very easy to go back and select. Seems to me the manufacturers are missing the boat here.
     
  9. noises ten

    noises ten Member

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    I have used my ipod to get down quick ideas, it records in 8bit mono.. sounds TERRIBLE, but the idea is saved..... Then the ipod automatically syncs up to itunes.. I have also used an MD recorder with a stereo mic.. much better sound..

    I use the DLO unit that has a built in mic for the ipod
     
  10. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    I don't agree. The Microtrack is the first to get it almost right, and it's really only off base on a few minor design elements and firmware issues. I think this year we'll see at least three or four very similar things, maybe one of which will nail it dead-on.
     
  11. stratofied

    stratofied Member

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    Hey Michael,
    I'm interested in the Microtrack. Can you tell me more about the issues you have noticed?
     
  12. jspax7

    jspax7 Member

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    Unfortunately, I have a small car. ;) I use pencil and paper. (Did I mention that the ability to notate music is a valuable skill?) I wrote a song while riding my bike. Just kept playin' it over and over in my head until I got home, grabbed my guitar, and there it was. Wrote it down too. I have yet to record it, but it's there. (memory like an elephant.)

    I think any kind of portable recorder is good, but it has to always be "at the ready". Of course, so does a pencil. Use what's easy for you, and use it often. Don't let the inspiration escape.

    Speaking of elephants, I remember one time,..... wait, that wasn't me,....
     
  13. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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  14. stringer

    stringer Silver Supporting Member

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    My "manufacturers missing the boat" thought had something simpler than a MicroTrack in mind. I was thinking that with the proliferation of MP3 players, it would seem adding in a decent record capability would be a natural yet they don't seem to be giving this much attention (though there are a few).
     
  15. zenpicker

    zenpicker Member

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    I have been looking INTENSELY at this little thing, especially since it's cheap and feature packed. I don't need all the features, of course, but hey, for < $200 why not have 'em for a rainy day. I'm almost ready to pull the trigger. For those who are unaware of it, here's the lowdown:

    http://www.zzounds.com/item--ZOMPS04

    Chief complaint seems to be that it doesn't come with an AC adapter, which does sound a little daft, and it has a smallish SmartMedia card. But you can buy both for not much money. It also lacks a USB interface, which I consider a more serious flaw but OK if you have a SmartMedia reader on your PC or can get one cheap (they seem to be < $20).

    The built-in condensor mike is well spoken of for what it is. I am very tempted to pop for this little unit, and for exactly the purpose mentioned in the opening post--a scratchpad for ideas.

    Anyone had a bad experience with it?
     
  16. zenpicker

    zenpicker Member

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    Pardon me for quoting myself, but just an update to say that this afternoon all vestiges of impulse control vanished and I bought the thing. Once I get the hang of it I'll post a mini-review.
     
  17. yellowecho

    yellowecho Member

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    Native Instruments Guitar Rig 2.
    Everything you need to record quick riffs or full recordings.
     
  18. stratofied

    stratofied Member

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  19. mlavin00

    mlavin00 Member

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    I use my podxt into an m-audio FW410 into sonar 5.0 producer. Quick and easy to get a rough idea.
     
  20. µ¿ z3®ø™

    µ¿ z3®ø™ Member

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    i have an extensively stocked 'studio' w/ loads of really cool gear.
    most of the time when i want to do a 'snapshot' i plug my griffin iMic into my iPod and put it on the floor. sometimes setting up mics, pres, getting levels, sound, etc., is the WRONG way to go.
    i do lust after one of these, tho'.

    http://aes.harmony-central.com/119AES/Content/Sony/PR/PCM-D1.html
     

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