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PC recording question...


jon
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  • 5 months later...

I've been swithering over whether or not to get a MacBook and go that way, but they're just so damn expensive. Having had a look at Reaper, that might be the best option and probably wouldn't require me to buy a new laptop. What would you guys recommend as a good USB audio interface? Something like http://www.amazon.co.uk/Fast-Track-USB-Interface-Software/dp/B002QZ402Q/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1348340409&sr=8-2

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http://www.amazon.co.uk/Apogee-ONE-Microphone-Audio-Interface/dp/B002FOEKTG

I got one of these based on good reviews. The built-in microphone is surprisingly great, and I really like how compact it is. However, if you own a decent microphone already (I don't) it might be a bit pricey.

It also works really well with Garageband if you go the Mac road.

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I've been swithering over whether or not to get a MacBook and go that way, but they're just so damn expensive. Having had a look at Reaper, that might be the best option and probably wouldn't require me to buy a new laptop. What would you guys recommend as a good USB audio interface? Something like http://www.amazon.co.uk/Fast-Track-USB-Interface-Software/dp/B002QZ402Q/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1348340409&sr=8-2

I use a TASCAM but I can't remember what the model number is of it. Has two mic slot things on it and some midi inputs and that. Is good!

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I use this for everything now:

yamaha-thr10-glow.jpg

The many tones from the unit itself are wonderful for a solid state practice amp. It responds to my playing like a valve amp would and is just so much fun to play. Then it doubles up as USB interface, where I record over programmed drum tracks in Acoustica Mixcraft, which used to be such a simple piece of software akin to Audacity, but it just keeps getting better and more indepth, whilst still being so easy to use. Then I have the option of recording guitar tracks as they sound from the amp, or running a flat, dry guitar signal into Mixcraft and beefing it up with some Amplitube plugins, or some of Mixcrafts own guitar emulators, which I believe are just as good as the Amplitube stuff. I tend to track 3 guitars usually, and use 2 from the amp, and one dry signal with an Amplitube or Mixcraft model on it. Sounds mighty.

Also, if you're wanting to mess about with programmed drums, I highly recommend HYDROGEN, which is a 100% free sequencer, with a ton of downloadable drumkits, and is incredibly tweakable. Being able to randomize the pitch of the percussion hits as well as adding a very subtle off-beat swing means you can make the drums sound incredibly human and less robotic than most sequencers. I've used a few - Drumsite, Beatcraft, FL, and an old Roland drum machine, but Hydrogen kills the lot. Great bit of software.

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Also, if you're wanting to mess about with programmed drums, I highly recommend HYDROGEN, which is a 100% free sequencer, with a ton of downloadable drumkits, and is incredibly tweakable. Being able to randomize the pitch of the percussion hits as well as adding a very subtle off-beat swing means you can make the drums sound incredibly human and less robotic than most sequencers. I've used a few - Drumsite, Beatcraft, FL, and an old Roland drum machine, but Hydrogen kills the lot. Great bit of software.

Seconded, just downloaded and looking pretty ace. And free! Yay Linux!

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The default drumkit isn't great however. Check out the library of available "official" kits. There's some great stuff. There's thousands of unofficial ones made by users all over the net too. Some are incredible. There's a really great unofficial "Albini" kit which sounds like the drums on In Utero. The bass drum sounds like being kicked in the head. BOOM BOOM BOOM.

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The default drumkit isn't great however. Check out the library of available "official" kits. There's some great stuff. There's thousands of unofficial ones made by users all over the net too. Some are incredible. There's a really great unofficial "Albini" kit which sounds like the drums on In Utero. The bass drum sounds like being kicked in the head. BOOM BOOM BOOM.

Default drumkits always suck. I'll hae a wee lookie at the other ones.

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Also, if you're wanting to mess about with programmed drums, I highly recommend HYDROGEN, which is a 100% free sequencer, with a ton of downloadable drumkits, and is incredibly tweakable.

I've been after a free pattern based sequencer for ages but not been able to find one. Last time I looked at Hydrogen it was linux only. Cheers for this!

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Yeah, it's pretty new for Windows. Think it's only been in circulation for about a year, and it's still in a BETA stage, but still 100% useable.

The conversion is still buggy at the minute, so if youre using WINDOWS Hydrogen to structure complete songs with lots of different alternating patterns and such, some sage advice when using it is to save reguarly. Like, after every pattern or bar you create. Not often, but now and again, it can freeze, and you'll lose what you haven't saved. The other day, I pieced together a whole 3 minute song, with fills and time changes and everything. It was pretty extensive, buit hadn't saved anywhere iin the process because I'm a dick, so I went to export it as a wav, and it crashed. It seems prone to crashing when you're in the program for a long time, like over an hour. So keep pressing CTRL+S every few minutes!

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Yeah, I'm chuffed with it. It's not hugely loud though. Some knobheads give it bad reviews online because they tried to use it at band practice. Idiots. As a tabletop home practice amp, it's the best I've heard, and it's just a dream for recording. No dicking about with mic's and stuff. Just straight in. I'm not usually a fan of solid state amp modelling, but they really get as close to valve tones as I can imagine. Worth the extra £90 to get the 10 over the 5, for bass, acoustic and flat inputs and memory presets as well as a more tweakable EQ. The 5 only gives you a tone knob, where as the 10 gives you 3 bands.

The only thing it doesn't seem to handle well is Fuzz pedals, but I don't use them much. I can add a Fuzz plugin in Mixcraft if I really want to use Fuzz, so it's all good.

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Yeah, it's pretty new for Windows. Think it's only been in circulation for about a year, and it's still in a BETA stage, but still 100% useable.

The conversion is still buggy at the minute, so if youre using WINDOWS Hydrogen to structure complete songs with lots of different alternating patterns and such, some sage advice when using it is to save reguarly. Like, after every pattern or bar you create. Not often, but now and again, it can freeze, and you'll lose what you haven't saved. The other day, I pieced together a whole 3 minute song, with fills and time changes and everything. It was pretty extensive, buit hadn't saved anywhere iin the process because I'm a dick, so I went to export it as a wav, and it crashed. It seems prone to crashing when you're in the program for a long time, like over an hour. So keep pressing CTRL+S every few minutes!

Haven't had a chance to play with Hydrogen properly yet (and won't again tonight). Does anyone know if it will output the pattern as midi? Was just thinking I could maybe create a pattern on Hydrogen and then get it to send to my synth to play through it's rhythm voices. The sequence editor on the synth isn't quite as user friendly (one dial to do everything).

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I downloaded Reaper, got annoyed that I couldn't use it straight away without reading the instructions and loaded up Audacity. I will have another go with it. Definitely need to move on from my 8 track to a DAW.

Sound on Sound have a load of articles which can help with Reaper:

http://www.soundonsound.com/articles/Reaper.php

They also did a DAW special which included some great tips on Reaper and general DAW recording (was great for me getting started)

http://www.sos-smartguides.com/dpu/

The Cockos site has a load of useful material including a user guide:

http://www.cockos.com/reaper/userguide.php

At it's most basic level though to start with you should just need to plug in your interface, load Reaper, double click on an empty space on the left hand side of the screen to add a new track, arm it and then hit record and away you go.

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I downloaded Reaper, got annoyed that I couldn't use it straight away without reading the instructions and loaded up Audacity. I will have another go with it. Definitely need to move on from my 8 track to a DAW.

Geoffrey Francis wrote a really good guide to reaper, you can get it on the reaper front page.

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