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Home Recording

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I'm hoping someone out there can help me.

I fancy trying to do some recording on my PC...if that's possible. The problem being is that I don't have a clue how to go about it.

The PC I have works off windows xp. So is it possible to record on this, and if so, what else would I need? I already have some mics and my guitar of course.

Other stuff I might need....?

IE,

Are there programs with drums etc,

Other software I might need.

Please bear in mind I have no clue on how to do this (I truly have no idea), and would like some straight forward advice on a way of doing it relativity cheaply (if I manage I can upgrade later)

I used to have an old 4track cassette recorder, but loaned it to a 'friend' and never got it back!!

cheers

BK

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I'm hoping someone out there can help me.

I fancy trying to do some recording on my PC...if that's possible. The problem being is that I don't have a clue how to go about it.

The PC I have works off windows xp. So is it possible to record on this, and if so, what else would I need? I already have some mics and my guitar of course.

Other stuff I might need....?

IE,

Are there programs with drums etc,

Other software I might need.

Please bear in mind I have no clue on how to do this (I truly have no idea), and would like some straight forward advice on a way of doing it relativity cheaply (if I manage I can upgrade later)

I used to have an old 4track cassette recorder, but loaned it to a 'friend' and never got it back!!

cheers

BK

You need a sound card and software like Reason or Cubase.

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Reason is not a good choice as you cannot record audio.

Cubase + a sound card - and there are millions to choose from - would be a good combination. There's a new cut-down version of Cubase just out. For the sound card think about how many mics you want to record at once, whether or not they need phantom power, and how you're going to play back what you're recording. That should help narrow down which card is suitable.

Hope that helps!

Steven

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If this is the level you are coming in at then I would recommend the mag Computer Music, especially as they often have beginners guide issues, they will be able to specify the minimum needed to get started, and they have free stuff to help get started. I would search for beginners guides on the net, but it could all too easily become a case of info overload, as there are hundreds of ways to make computer music, and millions of opinionated people to tell you that one particular way is best, well its not. Whatever way you find works is the best way, do your research, and make sure you are enjoying it, not doing it coz you feel you have to (my pet hate is DJ's saying they are "getting into production", make music coz you want to/feel you need to). You might not even need a soundcard with Wuschio's ASIO for all prog/drivers.

Its all very confusing, but ace fun and very satisfying, journey on.

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so the bare minimum....

mic -> firewire interface/soundcard -> software sequencer eg. cubase, protools etc.... correct?

what are the advantages of having the interface or the sound card? also, what about mixers and midi and stuff like that... where is that useful?

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So the Cubase stuff has all the drums etc on it, and the tracks to mix on, and and the sound card...well that would give me the sound output etc.

I know this sounds stupid, but I can play sound clips (youtube etc) on the PC. Do I need another one?

How much are these items approx?

Thanks for the info so far.

BK

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So the Cubase stuff has all the drums etc on it, and the tracks to mix on, and and the sound card...well that would give me the sound output etc.

I know this sounds stupid, but I can play sound clips (youtube etc) on the PC. Do I need another one?

How much are these items approx?

Thanks for the info so far.

BK

You also need some sort of input to record with. Quality issues aside built in soundcards generally aren't any good for multi-track recording as there tends to be a delay between what you hear and what the soundcard records (the geeks call this latency). Dedicated soundcards solve this problem with the added benefit of higher quality inputs and outputs, line/mic level inputs etc.

If you have a mic input built in to your computer and the right leads you could try Kristal , it's free so you've nothing to lose. It's enough to give your soundcard a whirl to see how bad the latency is and get you used to the basics of software based multi-tracks.

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You also need some sort of input to record with. Quality issues aside built in soundcards generally aren't any good for multi-track recording as there tends to be a delay between what you hear and what the soundcard records (the geeks call this latency). Dedicated soundcards solve this problem with the added benefit of higher quality inputs and outputs, line/mic level inputs etc.

If you have a mic input built in to your computer and the right leads you could try Kristal , it's free so you've nothing to lose. It's enough to give your soundcard a whirl to see how bad the latency is and get you used to the basics of software based multi-tracks.

Thanks, I've downloaded this and I will try to get the lead I need to put something down on it. looks like I will still need drum/bass tracks etc. Pity, I used to have a Boss DR550 which would have done the job.

Thanks again for the link.

BK

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FLStudio is interesting software for rendering songs

See: FL Studio Homepage

It comes with a set of synth instruments, sound generators and FX at the entry level,

Plus all the higher level stuff as demos. As you purchase these you get a software key to unlock them, and can then save their output too. Of course, straight off you can record audio tracks into it and sync. them with the other stuff above. Download the demo and see for yourself.

It's a really good package - good sound quality, and growing in popularity. Once you get used to it you can put together an impressive demo in a few hours.

As already mentioned - a decent sound unit - that says somewhere on the box "with ASIO" - most of them should have that nowdays anyway, but check. I have an M-Audio box which handles both audio inputs thru' mic. preamps, and the MIDI input from a keyboard. Something like Fast Track Pro here ( If your sure you only want Guitar vocals - no decoration then check out the other cheaper packages too. Just a USB mic.!? )

See: M-AUDIO - Record Guitars and Vocals

NB: Where they say things like "4 x 4" - this can be misleading the left of a stereo mix is 1 channel, the right, a second. Unless you are some sort of avante garde musician you'll want to monitor what your recording at the same time - then you're using two channels in and two channels out. i.e. They are saying 4-in OR 4-out, rather than what most human beings need - 2-in and 2-out = 4 channels, which often isn't what their 4x4 implies.

Some sort of MIDI keyboard (to play in supporting Bass lines,etc. ) something like See: Oxygen 49.

That would be a pretty comprehensive setup. Note that with this you will get impressive demos, and stuff to exhibit you talents to friends, etc., but home recording is still home recording. There is another level of refinement and "body" to the sound that only studio priced equipment and training can attain.

Your computer needs to be quite fleet to handle all this io and sound generation, with adequate onboard memory. Less power = less multi-tracks.

My 2p's worth.

:love:

jmmp

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FLStudio is interesting software for rendering songs

See: FL Studio Homepage

It comes with a set of synth instruments, sound generators and FX at the entry level,

Plus all the higher level stuff as demos. As you purchase these you get a software key to unlock them, and can then save their output too. Of course, straight off you can record audio tracks into it and sync. them with the other stuff above. Download the demo and see for yourself.

It's a really good package - good sound quality, and growing in popularity. Once you get used to it you can put together an impressive demo in a few hours.

As already mentioned - a decent sound unit - that says somewhere on the box "with ASIO" - most of them should have that nowdays anyway, but check. I have an M-Audio box which handles both audio inputs thru' mic. preamps, and the MIDI input from a keyboard. Something like Fast Track Pro here ( If your sure you only want Guitar vocals - no decoration then check out the other cheaper packages too. Just a USB mic.!? )

See: M-AUDIO - Record Guitars and Vocals

NB: Where they say things like "4 x 4" - this can be misleading the left of a stereo mix is 1 channel, the right, a second. Unless you are some sort of avante garde musician you'll want to monitor what your recording at the same time - then you're using two channels in and two channels out. i.e. They are saying 4-in OR 4-out, rather than what most human beings need - 2-in and 2-out = 4 channels, which often isn't what their 4x4 implies.

Some sort of MIDI keyboard (to play in supporting Bass lines,etc. ) something like See: Oxygen 49.

That would be a pretty comprehensive setup. Note that with this you will get impressive demos, and stuff to exhibit you talents to friends, etc., but home recording is still home recording. There is another level of refinement and "body" to the sound that only studio priced equipment and training can attain.

Your computer needs to be quite fleet to handle all this io and sound generation, with adequate onboard memory. Less power = less multi-tracks.

My 2p's worth.

:love:

jmmp

Do you talk like an advert in real life, did you copy and paste all that (and then claim it was your 2p's worth) or are you a member of these forums purely to sell your wares?

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Thank you Pierre,

No, I just talk like an advert all the time.

Is called enthusiasm :-)

jmmp

If you tell me why you think it's a great package compared to others in the same price bracket rather than talking like it's a fact that it's a great package then people with a healthy (huge?) level of cynicism like myself won't think the worst.

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Why O why O why

Good point.

Well now?... I've used..mainly..

Software Audio Workshop for about 8 years. It's good - a fine audio rendering engine which gives a warm sound lacking in, for example FLStudio. For a final mix - I would always choose SAW. However the interface is basic - you're getting a virtual model of a multi-(99)-track tape recorder - designed for old Audio Engineers who didn't like the idea of using a computer; and its keyboard shortcuts are ...idiosyncratic. But, it's getting long in the tooth - it can only really cope with 16-bit 41/48 KHz wav files - can't handle 32-bit; 96Khz, MP3; Flacs - all that stuff. But playing to the "old Audio Engineers" it is painstaking about the sound quality.

Wave; Cool Edit; Goldwave; - basically sound designer stuff, not much use for someone wanting to record guitar/vocal, and where audio quality isn't as studied. Good fun for making beeps and clicks and raw material for samplers, but... limited. ( CoolEdit was been bought over by Adobe ) so now good for PowerPoint presentations!

Abelton Live - OK, but, like all brands, it's own workflow, which I didn't take to - that's no criticism. It's a bit "clubby" for singer songwriters IMHO.

Reason - (when I looked at it for about 2 days) - bit of a toy (I'm sure I'll get flamed for this! And probably justly. ) - spending more CPU making its interface dance than actually focussing on the audio. Again, "techno clubby" in its perceived market IMHO.

Other stuff which I can't recall - mostly checking out freebies - generally you get what you pay for. It's either a scutter to use, or crashes when you hit the save button. Though I loved CSound for a season - again for a really fine audio quality - great for making bells and gongs for your sampler - or really off-the-wall audio experimentation; but incredibly time-consuming learning the Maths ;-) Not good for singer/songwriters.

I haven't used Cubase; Prosounds ( though I have a mate who thinks it's the beez-knees; it's sophisticated with a concomitant learning curve); Nor various other commercial stuff for no other reason than SAW had the quality I looked for from the outset and an interface I was used to. I would still always opt for SAW for Sound quality.

Why I recommended FLStudio? You get everything in the one box - Synths; drum machines; Beep Oscillators; Samplers; Audio tracks of course; and a plethora of good quality FX/EQ, etc., which of course you can add to with Freebie VSTs. (It can be used as a VST in its own right with other software.) Why I am banging on about it is because it *is* contemporary - it's not phased by ASIO, newer sample rates, and what have you. It is very simple to use: has that rare quality that I can imagine a sound I want to hear before I go near the computer, and know how I might make it in FLStudio (near enough!) You can use it straight as "a multi-track tape recorder" - so OK for Singer/songwriters. But - suppose the song you are imagining has a synth pad way back in the distant background - you could do that too - almost as fast as you can think it.

I considered it would be a great beginner's package for the price - it's not all that expensive, in fact free to try - so no nasty surprises if it's exactly what you don't want you've lost nothing. "Calm down, dear"; it's only an advert.

As far as hardware is concerned - though I use it and have no complaints, I'm not really knocked out by M-Audio stuff. Power spikes, and it will crash, and freeze your computer and unsaved work. Most of the time, tho', it works, is reasonably priced, and up-to-date vis-a-vis compatability, etc. I point to it so you can see a picture of the sort of thing, but sure there are lots more vendors of that type of thing. Eridol has a reputation for good sound quality, but pricey?

I don't recommend a PCI card, because you can take outboard stuff to other computers, or carry it across when you upgrade to a new system - even if you only use it as an extra input.

So assuming you have a good enough computer; a guitar; and a mic. FLStudio ;-), and some sort of input hardware would get you up an running with plenty of creative headroom to get most of what you want done, and I believe (haven't checked) - it's cheaper than all the Prosounds /Cubase stuff - however, since it is a free trial download - I wasn't considering price. If the other companies aren't prepared to offer a similar free demo version, then "go figure". I'm afraid I don't have the time or interest, to do price comparisons for you - you'll have to do that yourself.

Sorry about the essay, but you asked.

:-)

jmmp

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FLStudio is brilliant, and version 8 has just been released.

I agree about Reason, the lack of vst support makes it a bit of a waste of time imo.

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Not to mention the famously pish 'Reason Sound', which can be got round by exporting stuff, but why bother. On the esoteric side, if you can get a copy of the last version of Logic for PC, and get it working, give it a go, it is great in its own way. I'm using Cubase SX 2, and am still rating it.

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Okay, success!

I managed to get a lead etc, but the record volume is very very low. I'm just plugging straight into my PC mic socket. Do I need some thing to do between my guitar and the PC. I tried a mic up to my cab, but it needed too much volume to get a flicker on the VU meter.

What next!!!!!

Help.

BK

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Okay, success!

I managed to get a lead etc, but the record volume is very very low. I'm just plugging straight into my PC mic socket. Do I need some thing to do between my guitar and the PC. I tried a mic up to my cab, but it needed too much volume to get a flicker on the VU meter.

What next!!!!!

Help.

BK

You will need a preamp to make it useable, but you could just get something like this Behringer GUITAR LINK UCG102 at DV247.COM for 30 quid.

In the long run you would be better off buying a budget audio interface like this Tapco Link USB at DV247.COM which gives you more flexibility and isn't much more expensive.

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Okay, success!

I managed to get a lead etc, but the record volume is very very low. I'm just plugging straight into my PC mic socket. Do I need some thing to do between my guitar and the PC. I tried a mic up to my cab, but it needed too much volume to get a flicker on the VU meter.

What next!!!!!

Help.

BK

The mic should work, maybe not studio quality but it should work.

Make sure you're getting the correct side if you're putting a mono signal into a stereo mic input.

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Some good advice so far.

This is what I would do....

Download reaper. It only costs 20 and has a free trial that never runs out, apparently. It is also said to be better than many of the ones you pay real money for, in some ways at least. REAPER | Download

Download this pack of plugins for free digitalfishphones.com - free audio effects plugins

Get an SM57 or similar and some form of condensor mic.

Also get an interface with built in microphone pre amps.

This one will do the job to start you off TASCAM and is little over 100.

If you have a bit more money, baring the future in mind you might be better off getting something like a Presonus FP10 (previously known as firepod) for under 350 PreSonus It would allow you to record a drum kit and possibly even an entire band (with some compromises) at once.

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Okay, success!

I managed to get a lead etc, but the record volume is very very low. I'm just plugging straight into my PC mic socket. Do I need some thing to do between my guitar and the PC. I tried a mic up to my cab, but it needed too much volume to get a flicker on the VU meter.

What next!!!!!

Help.

BK

That is because it is at the wrong level. Line level is about +4 DB whereas mic is -40db. You need to record at line level so you need a microphone pre amp to bring it to the correct level.

The PC 'mic' socket really wont be up to the job.

Do I need one of these?

AdrenaLinn III or is there a software package which does the same?

Thanks for the info so far.

BK

I have not heard of AdrenaLinn III before. The popular software amp modellers are IK multimedia Amplitube and Native Instruments Guitar Rig. You are better off saving up your money for a good 'real' amplifier and recording it but these amp modellers sound better than a low quality 'real' amplifier.

There is also some free amp modellers around that you could try out. I have never used any but some of them are meant to be good. This would be a good starting point to look Who needs pirating...Best free stuff - Harmony Central Musician Community Forums

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