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Official Home Recording Thread


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Hello all, I need a little bit of help. I am looking for recomendations on some simple home recording, I would like to upgrade from simple audacity. I am not looking to start a music career, but I would like to fiddle around a bit. I have a nice new laptop, and a pretty good 2.1 speaker set up, I am looking to plug in my strat or taylor acoustic into some sort of device, and then play around with built in effects, amp models, etc. There seems to be so much software out there, anyone have a few names to check out?

 

Thanks in advance!

 

Btw, sorry if there is an old home recording thread, but I could not find one with our search function

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M-Audio Fast Track pro is the best home recording interface I've come across so far, for the price. I also know that you can get ProTools M-Powered, which is a limited version of ProTools but comes with an M-Audio interface, on Sweetwater or Musicians Friend for like $499 or something pretty ridiculous. So all you'd need would be mics, cables and a better acoustic...Just kidding! :stunned

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I have an M-Audio MobilePre USB interface that works pretty well for home recording. You can plug in, as well as, us mics.

 

Combine that with audacity software and you can do a lot.

 

I've had good luck with the MobilePre USB as well. In fact, I upgraded a few years ago to a Lexicon unit that would let me record in 24-bit, and it crapped out on me within a year-and-a-half. I pulled back out the old MobilePre, and I haven't really noticed a major difference (except that the M--Audio is much more reliable). 24-bit was a bit taxing on my system anyway. It's not like I'm making professional recordings anyway.

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I was looking into getting a macbook for the garageband software since i hear such good things about it. The apple website and tutorials suggest that you can plug directly into the laptop. Perhaps not surprisingly, most forums that I have read on the topic say that doing so is a terrible idea and that one should/must use an audio interface, like an MBox.

 

Can anyone weigh in with their thoughts? What does the interface accomplish?

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I was looking into getting a macbook for the garageband software since i hear such good things about it. The apple website and tutorials suggest that you can plug directly into the laptop. Perhaps not surprisingly, most forums that I have read on the topic say that doing so is a terrible idea and that one should/must use an audio interface, like an MBox.

 

Can anyone weigh in with their thoughts? What does the interface accomplish?

 

I have gone exclusively to GB for all of my recording needs after messing around with so many others...it is my opinion that GB is more than most folks recording at home need, it has a shallow learning curve and never crashes...i have done 3 albums on my GB/MacBook Pro setup with stellar results...there are alot of snobs out there (man i seem to be saying that alot lately) but if you get results you like, who cares how you got them? Some people outgrow GB, but I haven't...I do have to gripe that the new version of GB has a bunch of crap built in to generate revenue for Apple (like downloadable guitar lessons, how to play and record videos, etc)...that just takes up HD space...

 

I would not recommend going direct into the input jack for a few reasons...for one, you can easily overload the internal soundcard which is inherently noisy as it is...another is that the preamp inside your mac isnt very good, meaning you wont get much clean gain...if you use a mic, youd have to go thru at least one adapter, and then youd have to worry about gain/recording levels...

 

I would recommend getting some kind of interface, then you wont have to worry about basic but annoying things like matching impedance and pushing clean dBs from your laptop, youll be able to use more and varied inputs (mics, guitar jacks, RCA cables), and the A/D D/A process is more efficient...many interfaces run on firmware which does a lot of the work that the CPU would have to do alone...i started recording with this--> Griffin iMic

 

there are tons of them out there, i prefer to use the Alesis multimix 16 firewire alesis make smaller versions and they are cheap...i can record many live sources at once, get channel by channel eq and effects, and its firewire so latency is not an issue...the preamps are good and clean, and i like having knobs and sliders at my control in real time (i can always go and tweek/eq in GB after getting the take)...i have no crashes, no latency issues and it integrates well into iTunes

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How does everyone feel about those line six or vox type of interfaces? Or any other by companies that also make amps? The m audio stuff looks very promising, right in my price range. Does that company offer amp and effect simulators? While I don't often use pedals (outside of wah and tube screamer) I think it would be cool to have software that allows me to go all Nels Cline with effects.

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  • 2 weeks later...

So I went down to the guitar shop, I looked around and told the guy that I pretty much knew nothing about home recording. He recommended the Presonus audiobox USB. It comes bundled with Cubase LE 4 ($150, right in the middle of my price range). Can anyone direct me to some how to videos. I think I'm WAY over my head, I keep getting error messages, and I'm following the instructions but I cannot record anything. I really know nothing about home recording and this interface looks like pro level stuff.

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Man id like to jump in, but im a mac guy...what are your error messages, are they driver oriented, or within the software..?? presonus makes good stuff, not 110% amazing, but workable...what is your front end? (mic, pre?)?

 

as for the effects stuff, you could get some cool results from plug ins, but i have to tell you, your best route is to get the takes down in real time, get a few pedals and track the guitar from the best possible takes...then minimal processing afterwards...nels' shit is totally in the fingers, trem bar, and a few stomp boxes...technique, technique, technique...

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Man id like to jump in, but im a mac guy...what are your error messages, are they driver oriented, or within the software..?? presonus makes good stuff, not 110% amazing, but workable...what is your front end? (mic, pre?)?

 

as for the effects stuff, you could get some cool results from plug ins, but i have to tell you, your best route is to get the takes down in real time, get a few pedals and track the guitar from the best possible takes...then minimal processing afterwards...nels' shit is totally in the fingers, trem bar, and a few stomp boxes...technique, technique, technique...

 

 

I worked out the kinks. I knew I had to get the latest drivers, and I thought I did that, but apparently I did not. I had the worst computer troubles yesterday, first my soundcard was messed up, then I couldn't get my Cubase software working. As of right now, I seem to have no problems, I found some nice forums for Presonus and Cubase products and they have proven quite helpful.

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Dude it's amazing how no matter how closely you read the books, etc., there is ALWAYS some kind of error / the program doesn't recognize the USB input / whatever. I've had to reinstall my favorite program probably 8 times over the years and it never really seems any easier than the last time! Always four hours of headache.

 

Good luck out there man! I am actually headed to the studio for the first time ever in a couple weeks, I just want to cut a demo with my new band and am waaaay too intimidated to try micing drums on my own.

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Just got this in the mail today, was about $130. I'm hoping it works alright. I plan to record directly into Sonar version 8. All this talk of software not working has me worried.

 

io2_angle_med.jpg

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Just got this in the mail today, was about $130. I'm hoping it works alright. I plan to record directly into Sonar version 8. All this talk of software not working has me worried.

 

 

I wouldn't say it I had a problem with my software not working, just more of a problem of the software not letting me know I wasn't updated. I hope it is smooth riding for you!

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So I went down to the guitar shop, I looked around and told the guy that I pretty much knew nothing about home recording. He recommended the Presonus audiobox USB. It comes bundled with Cubase LE 4 ($150, right in the middle of my price range). Can anyone direct me to some how to videos. I think I'm WAY over my head, I keep getting error messages, and I'm following the instructions but I cannot record anything. I really know nothing about home recording and this interface looks like pro level stuff.

 

Hey, check this link out. It's a pdf that you can download for free that is basically one author's reworking of the Cubase manual. I've used Cubase for years but setting up is still full of complications. When I last had to reset it up, I followed this manual and it was amazing. It's easier to follow and has some more tips than the official manual. Very user friendly.

http://www.auxbuss.com/products/sxcomplete/

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  • 3 weeks later...

Anyone wan't my Mbox2? I really am thinking of going back to a multitrack cassette recorder. I found an old Yamaha on Ebay around 200.00. I listened to a bunch of old music I did years ago with one and I really loved it.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Sorry to gloat, but I just picked up a Digidesign 003 Rack. It comes with Pro Tools 8, plugins, and virtual instruments.

 

No more borrowing my friends old Protools 6 rig to record my bands albums. :dancing

 

Not a bad deal either. Got a $200 rebate so the total for the interface and Pro Tools 8 was $999. Never have to buy studio time again.. :dancing

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I heard some good things about the 003 rack. My buddy has one, he says it beats the mbox's pres. Sure it doesn't beat the other outboard pres, but it is an upgrade. It is a good start.

The thing with usb microphones is that there is really not a good preamp to boost the level of it. The preamp would be built into it and that is probably the cheapest thing they build in it. I would recommend getting a interface with a little better preamps in it. I would then get a cheap dependable microphone to use like a shure 57 or 58. A 57 or 58 are good for guitar amps, vocals, snare drum and a number of other things. They are the industry standard for live sound. There is probably not one show that does not have a 57 or 58 used.

 

Hope this helps a little.

 

Let me know if you have any questions.

 

Peace

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i'm thinking of making a record very soon. i've never done it before...i'd like to do it all right here so i can get a grip on learning how to record for the future. it's mostly acoustic stuff...i'd like to track some bass and maybe multiple vocal tracks. nothing too huge. can someone help me out as to where to start?

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Anyone recommend a good bass drum mic? Everyone always raves about the Sure Beta 52A, but I'd like to see some opinions/personal experiences with other brands.

 

Well an EV RE20, or a Shure SM7 can be a cool bass drum mic. But not in a 'modern' kind of way. Think more Ringo, or jazz kick sound. Those mics are great because they are good guitar amp mics, great bass amp mics and great vocal mics.

 

Other good kick mics AKG D112, a little more modern sounding, but not that 'hyped' sound if you place it outside of the kick. You can also get a pretty modern rock/metal sound if you place it inside towards the beater and embellish it with some eq and compression.

 

Another popular choice is the Sennheiser E609. That has a slightly more aggressive frequency response than the D112 (which still has a dip in the mids and some boost in the lows and highs). The E609 seems to only want to sound 'modern' but it does it really well.

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Well an EV RE20, or a Shure SM7 can be a cool bass drum mic. But not in a 'modern' kind of way. Think more Ringo, or jazz kick sound. Those mics are great because they are good guitar amp mics, great bass amp mics and great vocal mics.

 

Other good kick mics AKG D112, a little more modern sounding, but not that 'hyped' sound if you place it outside of the kick. You can also get a pretty modern rock/metal sound if you place it inside towards the beater and embellish it with some eq and compression.

 

Another popular choice is the Sennheiser E609. That has a slightly more aggressive frequency response than the D112 (which still has a dip in the mids and some boost in the lows and highs). The E609 seems to only want to sound 'modern' but it does it really well.

 

from my experience i can agree with all but sm7 for kick...i use a d112 mostly, re20 sometimes...remember, placement and tuning the drum are essential too the equation...as well as damping :cheers

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