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Guest batterypowpow

First Multitrack/Where to start with equipment?

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Guest batterypowpow

Hey.

I know absolutely nothing about the technology for making music and, i guess, today is my first day of learning all about it.

So i'm looking for a multitrack recorder... i imagine i should start with a portable or cassette one? I'd most likely be using it to record and layer my voice, and really just beginning to learn a little about the technology and what can be done, what things are called, how to do things.

I can't play any instruments particularly well so it'd be more for playing with the equipment than making any sort of primitive songs, but that'd probably come soon after.

Ideally i'd be making some beats with a computer but want to start with the beginning basics.

Please make recommendations or ask questions as you like.

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Guest DustyDeviada

Somebody will probably disagree, but I would say the cassette ones are pretty much obsolete now, you can get a decent 6 or 8 track digital recorder for a couple of hunded quid.

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Reaper

In a word Reaper. It is free and very advanced recording and editing package. It looks fairly complicated at first, but it is definately the way to go for the beginner - and the price is dead right!!! (Reaper, dead, get it? Oh never mind!)

Look here - REAPER | About

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First of all I think it would be sensible to purchase (or get from library) a book on recording. I don't know what I would recommend but there are a fair few around. Amazon has user reviews and with any luck someone else will recommend something.

Reading up on internet is also worth doing.

If you are going down route of computers, free software is the way to go. I see that stuff and notice I have paid money for something which does exactly the same as that. Effects are expandable anyhow.

Here is an extensive list of free software

However, you will still end up spending a fair bit of money on hardware and even with budget sollutions, you are going to spend an amount of money that could get you a notable about of time in a (decent) studio.

You will need the following things for a computer based setup

software (free in this case)

microphones

microphone pre amps

A/D converter - recording interface

speaker monitors to hear what you record and/or headphones

For microphones, 1000s posibilites although it depends on your budget and what you want to record. Maybe best to start with something like Shure SM57 and expand collection later. If you don't get into recording, it wont become redundant or can be sold.

Not all voices are terribly suited to be recorded with condensors but some are. Some budget condensor microphones include AKG C1000, Studio Projects B1, Samson CO2

Converter/ recording interface - There are 100s of devices which allow you to record a few channels at once and sometimes include a microphone pre amp.

If you only want to record one or two instruments at a time (which it sounds like you do). There are various recording interfaces made from around the 50-200 mark which may be suitable. Companies to look for such things from include, M-Audio, Presonus and EMU. The cheaper devices usually don't sound great though.

If you wanted to record an entire band, including drums, something like the Presonus Firepod (renamed to FP10) would be worth concidering. It allows up to 10 input channels through firewire and contains 8 microphone pre amps. It typically goes for around 280.

pre amp - often there is one on your recorordng interface but you will need a microphone pre amp per microphone you record or else the microphone is recorded at an unsuitable level and will never sound 'right'. The ART MP tube is a popular choice for a budget microphone pre amp.

speakers - most people will tell you to get studio monitors. A set of good head phones might be sufficent but most people prefer to mix with speakers. Typical headphones for CD players generally wont cut it for this purpose. You are also better recording voice with headphones as no sound will leak into microphone.

Many recording interfaces have a built in headphone socket, but if it doesn't you will need an external headphone amplifier.

Active monitors are often better value for money in the budget end and more variety has appeared in recent years. There are active monitors for less than 150, such Alesis m1 Active 520 (Tom O Shanter bought a pair). Tannoy Reveal can be got for little over 200 a pair. KRK RP5 or similar might be worth concidering. They are around 280 a pair.

You roughly get what you pay for, but not always.

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Somebody will probably disagree, but I would say the cassette ones are pretty much obsolete now, you can get a decent 6 or 8 track digital recorder for a couple of hunded quid.

i disagree. you can get a four track tape recorder for 40. you can still buy c90's. tape sounds better.

there you go.

most digital portable set ups allow only two tracks live. some old analogue decks will do four. tidy.

see e bay. if cheapness is an issue head to e bay. portable digital still looks chintzy, analogue set ups are "functional".

be a man.

(or whatever)

i reserve the right to stand corrected, then get crabby.

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Guest batterypowpow

If you recommend a digital multitrack, any one in particular to get me started?

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if you've got a computer, buy a half decent audio interface (probably under 100 quid), get some software (even adobe audition will do) and don't waste your time and money faffing around with expensive, restrictive, obsolete hardware multitrackers which belong in the bin.

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if you've got a computer, buy a half decent audio interface (probably under 100 quid), get some software (even adobe audition will do) and don't waste your time and money faffing around with expensive, restrictive, obsolete hardware multitrackers which belong in the bin.

God, knew this was coming. Shut up ya fool, he wasn't asking how to not-buy-a-multitrack-recorder.

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God, knew this was coming. Shut up ya fool, he wasn't asking how to not-buy-a-multitrack-recorder.

Why spend a couple of hundred quid on an obsolete machine which has limited functionality when you can spend half the money and get better results on your existing computer with software which does the same thing and a hell of a lot more? You don't have a clue.

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God, knew this was coming. Shut up ya fool, he wasn't asking how to not-buy-a-multitrack-recorder.

half the replies in the thread have said the same thing...

i would agree with getting some free software recorder/sequencer etc and basic soundcard/mics just to experiment at first. assuming you have a computer

some software i've seen recommended on a few guitar forums. not sure how good it is but its free.

Audacity: Free Audio Editor and Recorder

kristal i think i've also seen recommended

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God, knew this was coming. Shut up ya fool, he wasn't asking how to not-buy-a-multitrack-recorder.

To be fair, it's good advice. The OP has already said they have no idea where to start, and the fact is they are probably sitting right in front of the best piece of equipment they could get to start with. A computer with the right (possibly free) software and the right connections could be just the job. I like Audacity, m'self. It doesn't have to be complicated or expensive.

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Guest DustyDeviada

Some people who have been used to using multitracks for years (myself and Alan Cynic for example) feel more comfortable using them and are scared at the thought of using these new fangled computer thingies.

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True....I like sliding real faders and twiddling real knobs (woah, Dusty!!!)

The library was mentioned earlier...I believe they have multi track recording equipment for loan, free.

Personally, I use an Akai digital 12 track, but it's approaching death rapidly, and I would have no problem replacing it with a cassette 4 or 8 track. I quite like a bit of tape hiss, and otherwise the sound seems richer to my ageing ears.

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I think I'm actually with stripey on this one (somebody call a doctor?).

I would suggest trying one of the free multitrack programs. Just try recording with a microphone in front of your amp/mouth (you will have to play around with distances etc.).

I think you'll find for first ever recordings the quality will not be too bad. There are plenty of decent built in effects in most of the free programs, if not you can get free plugins quite easily.

After playing around with that for a bit you will know what more you would want, maybe an audio interface or maybe even a 'proper' multitracker.

Personnally I think I would eventually want an analogue (to digital) multitracker - I think digital is too digital. Lacks a bit of heart.

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I like audacity, it's fine for recording guitar parts and ideas to send to fellow band members but I wouldn't use it for much more than that.

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i still love my obsolete fostex X15 four track machine but dont use it for recording much. i put instruments into it then have the four track rigged to a switching box which goes into the computer and use adobe audition for recording. that probably doesnt make sense but it does to me!!!

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I'm with Stripey on this one as well, although as usual he could've worded it better.

There's two reasons, imo, for buying a multi-track recorder, portability (if you don't have a decent laptop) and instant accessibility (switch on, record). If you don't have one of these as your main priority then software is the way to go. We'll ignore the "sounds better" argument for the moment as his stated purpose is to learn and experiment.

There's a fair chance batterypowpow has a mic input in his computer. While this may not be great quality with some free software*, a mic and a lead he can be learning and experimenting in no time and not have to lay out some hard earned for something that might get little or no use if his interest wanes.

*after a quick look at the specs the one recommended by The Byre looks much better than Kristal, but Kristal is ideal for beginners because it doesn't have a lot bells and whistles.

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Guest batterypowpow

OK, so generally people are leaning towards computer, though i think i'd feel more comfortable playing with tangible knobs so i'll think about that for a bit.

Regarding microphones, someone mentioned the Shure SM57. Any additional thoughts on this?

Thanks again for replies.

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OK, so generally people are leaning towards computer, though i think i'd feel more comfortable playing with tangible knobs so i'll think about that for a bit.

Regarding microphones, someone mentioned the Shure SM57. Any additional thoughts on this?

Thanks again for replies.

If you decide on a multi-track you're going to lose out on versatility and expandability so think carefully.

You could always do what Delboy does and use a 4-track as the input device for a computer, best of both worlds and you can get tape saturation if you record it onto the 4-track first then put it onto computer.

5 pages of arguing about mics here

http://www.aberdeen-music.com/forums/musicians-corner/42160-versatile-mic-recording.html

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OK, so generally people are leaning towards computer, though i think i'd feel more comfortable playing with tangible knobs so i'll think about that for a bit.

Regarding microphones, someone mentioned the Shure SM57. Any additional thoughts on this?

Thanks again for replies.

If you really want knobs for eq/gain/panning then something like this http://www.dv247.com/invt/38096/ which has an integrated audio interface and phantom power would be ok.

Personally, I'd keep it simple and get something like this http://www.dv247.com/invt/32409/ which has decent preamps, phantom power and will let you plug in a guitar/keyboard and mic. All the things you would traditionally do with the knobs/faders on a multitrack can be done in software, which gives you the added benefit of automation (which you wont find on any budget multitracker).

Most of these things come bundled with software aswell.

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My acoustic recordings have all been done on my laptop. Using Adobe Audition and a jack for my guitar/Mike into the soundcard. Not amazing quality but good enough for what I need. Total cost 2 for the jack and of course the full price for purchasing Adobe Audition:laughing:

Judge for yourself..

MySpace.com - www.myspace.com/hogacoustic

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