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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?

 

 

id like to start by asking what youre recording on...pc, laptop, mac? I assume its a computer. The next step depends on this...

 

basics are: a good dynamic mic (for example shure 57), entry level to pro level interface (m-audio, for example), software (often bundled with interface), microphone preamp (eventually essential)...dont skimp on the cables, buy good ones...experiment often, there are no rule, just suggested and proven techniques...

 

I have used pro tools (over-rated with a steep learning curve), logic, peek, and cubase...after all that, i prefer garageband (im a mac guy), it does everything i need, and well...i have since done 4 albums with GB...I master in adobe audition...

 

 

linkies HR board tape op board

 

have fun j

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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

 

Thanks guys for the great info. I do have a beta 52a, but I wasn't very happy with the results on the last album I recorded. I had to EQ the heck out of it to make it sound decent. Without the EQ, it sounded like the kick drum was a shoebox. I also didn't really experiment with mic placement.. I think this time I'll place it inside the drum, closer to the beater. If I'm still not happy, I'll check out one of the mics you have recommended. Thanks again.

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id like to start by asking what youre recording on...pc, laptop, mac? I assume its a computer. The next step depends on this...

 

basics are: a good dynamic mic (for example shure 57), entry level to pro level interface (m-audio, for example), software (often bundled with interface), microphone preamp (eventually essential)...dont skimp on the cables, buy good ones...experiment often, there are no rule, just suggested and proven techniques...

 

I have used pro tools (over-rated with a steep learning curve), logic, peek, and cubase...after all that, i prefer garageband (im a mac guy), it does everything i need, and well...i have since done 4 albums with GB...I master in adobe audition...

 

 

linkies HR board tape op board

 

have fun j

 

thanks for your help. it all seems very confusing. i was planning on getting a Shure 57, but didn't know about the rest. kudos.

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well, I finally took the plunge, and got a macbook for Garageband (as well as other things). And I got a harsh lesson this weekend in latency and audio interface-less recording. I read so much about both, but finally experienced them. And apparently, the new macbooks dont have an Audio Input. WTF?!?!? It took me about an hr just to figure out how to configure the Audio Out to an Audio In. Had to be changed on both the laptop, AND in garageband.

 

Am I correct in assuming that a solid interface solves my problems? Ie, no latency, and louder guitar? And it preserves my audio output so that I can use headphones?

 

My local shop recommended Fast Track by M Audio. Everything I read online has positive and negative things to say about virtually every interface. Some people swear by Firewire, others USB. Argh!

 

Should I start with iMic? Seems like the cheapest option. Then again, I don't want to waste money on cheaper options that don't work. :)

 

thanks everyone.

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Just confirming here...if my budget only allows one mic, it best be an SM57?

 

I know it's perfect for my guitars, but what about vocals?

 

The SM57 is primarily an instrument mic, but they work great for vocals as well. The 57 and the 58 (vocal mic) are basically the same mic except the 58 has the round windscreen containing a pop filter.

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well, I finally took the plunge, and got a macbook for Garageband (as well as other things). And I got a harsh lesson this weekend in latency and audio interface-less recording. I read so much about both, but finally experienced them. And apparently, the new macbooks dont have an Audio Input. WTF?!?!? It took me about an hr just to figure out how to configure the Audio Out to an Audio In. Had to be changed on both the laptop, AND in garageband.

 

Am I correct in assuming that a solid interface solves my problems? Ie, no latency, and louder guitar? And it preserves my audio output so that I can use headphones?

 

My local shop recommended Fast Track by M Audio. Everything I read online has positive and negative things to say about virtually every interface. Some people swear by Firewire, others USB. Argh!

 

Should I start with iMic? Seems like the cheapest option. Then again, I don't want to waste money on cheaper options that don't work. :)

 

thanks everyone.

 

http://pro-audio.musiciansfriend.com/product/Yamaha-Audiogram-6-Computer-Recording-System?sku=703328

 

This piece of gear is the end to all your problems, I promise. I know it's more expensive than the M-Audio, but it's going to be more than worth it in the long run. Firewire is a "No latency" legend, but you're not going to have a problem with USB- especially with this thing. Latency is more a hardware to software stumbling block than anything at the end of the day, but it almost universally falls on the hardware to fix effectively. Long story short, good hardware solves latency for you...and the Audiogram 6 is good hardware. The one knob compressor should be standard on every interface... I find it hard to use other interfaces because they don't have it. It solves THAT many problems.

 

I can't recommend it enough, dude. This and garage band will, I promise, be recording heaven for you. Research around of course, but seriously consider the Audiogram.

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Just as I suspected would happen, I plug my Alesis IO2 audio interface in, cue up Sonar, and it does not recognize it. I new it would not be seemless but what a pain. Time to start googling for answers on how to fix.

 

I love Sonar, but setting up a new audio interface with it can be a real pain. I'm trying to remember what I did the last time I ran into this problem -- I'll mess around with it this weekend to see if it jogs my memory, but I recall having to reset some of the drivers and maybe even switching between the driver types (and back for no reason). There's some good info out there on the Cakewalk forums, and they probably have some info on the exact unit you're using. I can say that without doubt, M-audio has been the easiest variety of audio interface to get Sonar to recognize. I haven't tried Alesis, but getting Sonar to recognize my previous Lexicon unit was hassle (as was the Lexicon in general). Good luck.

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well, I finally took the plunge, and got a macbook for Garageband (as well as other things). And I got a harsh lesson this weekend in latency and audio interface-less recording. I read so much about both, but finally experienced them. And apparently, the new macbooks dont have an Audio Input. WTF?!?!? It took me about an hr just to figure out how to configure the Audio Out to an Audio In. Had to be changed on both the laptop, AND in garageband.

 

Am I correct in assuming that a solid interface solves my problems? Ie, no latency, and louder guitar? And it preserves my audio output so that I can use headphones?

 

My local shop recommended Fast Track by M Audio. Everything I read online has positive and negative things to say about virtually every interface. Some people swear by Firewire, others USB. Argh!

 

Should I start with iMic? Seems like the cheapest option. Then again, I don't want to waste money on cheaper options that don't work. :)

 

thanks everyone.

sorry youve had so many problems...

 

ok matt...first, can you describe the latency? Are we talking about the computer not recording fast enough? Are you having drop outs ?? Or are we talking about the delay in the headphones between the initial sound source and the playback from the audio out?

 

An interface will help with all those issues, but latency is never completely removed--that is impossible...if your latency is the kind where the delay is in the ears, your problem will be solved by monitoring from the output on an interface, not the computer out...otherwise we are talking bitrate and buffer size issues, which are hard to address on a forum, but can be fixed...

 

the iMic works, but only as a usb device---its basically an adaptor and you will still need a microphone and preamp-type thing...and with your mac set up, itll work but youll outgrow it tomorrow...I cant remember off hand what Ive posted before, but i prefer firewire for several reasons, especially because other devices you may need/want will exclusively be usb...

 

heres a good site in regard to choosing an interface... interfaces i really prefer the mixer/interface types...i use the alesis multimix 16 firewire...they make an 8 channel version in firewire you could purchase for around $100 on ebay...on these, you are going to install a driver and firmware package, and you 'll likely never have another issue...

 

pm me with any specifics man...ive got a very similar setup

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http://pro-audio.musiciansfriend.com/product/Yamaha-Audiogram-6-Computer-Recording-System?sku=703328

 

This piece of gear is the end to all your problems, I promise. I know it's more expensive than the M-Audio, but it's going to be more than worth it in the long run. Firewire is a "No latency" legend, but you're not going to have a problem with USB- especially with this thing. Latency is more a hardware to software stumbling block than anything at the end of the day, but it almost universally falls on the hardware to fix effectively. Long story short, good hardware solves latency for you...and the Audiogram 6 is good hardware. The one knob compressor should be standard on every interface... I find it hard to use other interfaces because they don't have it. It solves THAT many problems.

 

I can't recommend it enough, dude. This and garage band will, I promise, be recording heaven for you. Research around of course, but seriously consider the Audiogram.

 

 

thats a decent unit for the price, and would work on matts system, but i have a few comments...

 

first of all, latency has several sources and comes from several interactions...for example, if your laptop's harddrive does not spin fast enough, that will cause latency, regardless of software...if your sound files are saved in the highest quality, sometimes its solely the software to blame because it can be buggy under stress

 

also, while a convenience factor, that onboard compression is not a good idea because the unit will not give you the good sounding peak control you will get from an outboard unit, or even better, spftware compression...unless you get something like a focusrite chanell strip or a nice joe meek optical compressor in your interface, interface compression is pure marketing in my experience...and if you get it wrong on an otherwise great take, you're stuck with it...

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Just confirming here...if my budget only allows one mic, it best be an SM57?

 

I know it's perfect for my guitars, but what about vocals?

 

 

you'll be fine with that, but there are other fine options as well...i know people that will only use a 57, but thats extreme...

 

who was the guy that got singed after doing an at home ablum on his laptop with nothing but a 57??

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http://pro-audio.musiciansfriend.com/product/Yamaha-Audiogram-6-Computer-Recording-System?sku=703328

 

This piece of gear is the end to all your problems, I promise. I know it's more expensive than the M-Audio, but it's going to be more than worth it in the long run. Firewire is a "No latency" legend, but you're not going to have a problem with USB- especially with this thing. Latency is more a hardware to software stumbling block than anything at the end of the day, but it almost universally falls on the hardware to fix effectively. Long story short, good hardware solves latency for you...and the Audiogram 6 is good hardware. The one knob compressor should be standard on every interface... I find it hard to use other interfaces because they don't have it. It solves THAT many problems.

 

I can't recommend it enough, dude. This and garage band will, I promise, be recording heaven for you. Research around of course, but seriously consider the Audiogram.

 

Thanks Jayson, really appreciate it. One of my weaknesses is my inability to be patient when I am excited about something. I went ahead and called up the good folks at Sweetwater and spoke to someone there who recommended the Presonus Audiobox USB. I looked at the Audiogram that you suggested and they are the same price (~$150). I can always return the Presonus if I don't like it, and I will definitely check out the Audiogram.

 

The really hard thing about all of this stuff is that I don't know anyone who actually does this. So all my research is based on online reviews of interfaces. Pick an interface and you will read glowing reviews and trashing reviews. Doesn't matter if the thing is $50 or $500.

 

sorry youve had so many problems...

 

ok matt...first, can you describe the latency? Are we talking about the computer not recording fast enough? Are you having drop outs ?? Or are we talking about the delay in the headphones between the initial sound source and the playback from the audio out?

 

An interface will help with all those issues, but latency is never completely removed--that is impossible...if your latency is the kind where the delay is in the ears, your problem will be solved by monitoring from the output on an interface, not the computer out...otherwise we are talking bitrate and buffer size issues, which are hard to address on a forum, but can be fixed...

 

the iMic works, but only as a usb device---its basically an adaptor and you will still need a microphone and preamp-type thing...and with your mac set up, itll work but youll outgrow it tomorrow...I cant remember off hand what Ive posted before, but i prefer firewire for several reasons, especially because other devices you may need/want will exclusively be usb...

 

heres a good site in regard to choosing an interface... interfaces i really prefer the mixer/interface types...i use the alesis multimix 16 firewire...they make an 8 channel version in firewire you could purchase for around $100 on ebay...on these, you are going to install a driver and firmware package, and you 'll likely never have another issue...

 

pm me with any specifics man...ive got a very similar setup

 

Thanks rowboat. Appreciate your kind offer for a PM. I bet that I will be taking you up on the offer.

 

As for your question, the latency itself isn't really all that terrible, but it seems to be a delay between the initial sound source and the output. And unfortunately, because the new MacBook Pros don't have an audio output anymore, I can't use headphones. So I am going in through an audio out, and I am forced to listen to my audio output through the laptop speakers. Of course, until I end up getting monitors, I guess. Or, a USB interface that will allow me to use the audio output on the laptop for my headphones instead of my input!

 

It's amazing. I really thought that buying this laptop w garageband would be the end of the purchases. Boy oh boy was I wrong.

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I've made the switch to Pro Tools via PC, and I couldn't be happier. Yes everyone always says MAC is superior to PC when it comes to audio engineering, but I used Pro Tools on a MAC for years, and now that I have switched to PC, I'm really not seeing the superiority. No more convoluted MAC file structure is the biggie for me.. Plus I'm just more comfortable with PC since I've been using/supporting them 15+ years now.

 

My Setup:

 

Intel Core 2 Quad Q8200 / 2.33 GHz

4 Gigs of RAM

640 Gig Hard Drive

 

Pro Tools 8 with Digidesign 00 Rack.

 

 

 

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Thanks Jayson, really appreciate it. One of my weaknesses is my inability to be patient when I am excited about something. I went ahead and called up the good folks at Sweetwater and spoke to someone there who recommended the Presonus Audiobox USB. I looked at the Audiogram that you suggested and they are the same price (~$150). I can always return the Presonus if I don't like it, and I will definitely check out the Audiogram.

 

The really hard thing about all of this stuff is that I don't know anyone who actually does this. So all my research is based on online reviews of interfaces. Pick an interface and you will read glowing reviews and trashing reviews. Doesn't matter if the thing is $50 or $500.

 

 

 

Thanks rowboat. Appreciate your kind offer for a PM. I bet that I will be taking you up on the offer.

 

As for your question, the latency itself isn't really all that terrible, but it seems to be a delay between the initial sound source and the output. And unfortunately, because the new MacBook Pros don't have an audio output anymore, I can't use headphones. So I am going in through an audio out, and I am forced to listen to my audio output through the laptop speakers. Of course, until I end up getting monitors, I guess. Or, a USB interface that will allow me to use the audio output on the laptop for my headphones instead of my input!

 

It's amazing. I really thought that buying this laptop w garageband would be the end of the purchases. Boy oh boy was I wrong.

 

 

ok well it sounds like the interface will be the end of your worries, once you decide on one, and your choice of a laptop is the biggest and most expensive piece of the setup...the main reason apple got rid of the audio output on the macbook is three fold: 1) the audio jack assembly is too big and take some extra resources, 2) it requires a slightly larger internal soundcard, 3) people simply don't use it that much anymore, with the boon of iPod and audio interfaces...

 

Oh, and that iMic will allow you to use headphones from your laptop...i have an extra one if you want it, ill send it to you...if not, they are like $25

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Just confirming here...if my budget only allows one mic, it best be an SM57?

 

I know it's perfect for my guitars, but what about vocals?

 

 

It's ok. Pretty versatile. Decent on everything, but only decent (except snare where it excels). If you're just recording yourself with a little interface, a SM57 will not be a source of trouble. Working with condenser mics can be really fun, especially if you're new to the biz. You can find really affordable mics made by MXL that sound pretty good, will be better for vocals, and can still do electric guitar depending on the model. Only catch there is you need a mixer or a preamp with phantom power.

 

The other alternative to the SM57 is an old Electro Voice mic. You can find EV RE10's and RE11's in pawn shops and on Ebay sometimes for a hundred bones or less. I don't use 57's in my studio much any more, and I've gotten some great sounds with my RE10 on guitar amp, saxophone, and vocals.

 

Either way, if you only have one mic, don't sweat it. It's experimentation time. This is a very exciting beginning to an addictive science. Revel in it!

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Can rowboat or any of the other GarageBand users offer advice on how to soften the harshness of a new track coming in over an existing track? Let me try to explain:

 

For example, I've got a song with three tracks (2 gtr, 1 vocal). The first track is a fingerpicked guitar track, the second track is rhythm guitar, the third is a vocal track. The first track operates as the intro to the song by itself, and carries on throughout the song. A few measures in, the 2nd and 3rd tracks come in together.

 

When the 2nd and 3rd tracks come in, I don't know how to decribe it, but there isn't a smooth transition. They come in, and it's quite distracting.

 

I've stumbled across some forums/videos online that suggest using volume controls to have tracks 2 and 3 fade into the song. Is that really the best way? I'd like to have tracks 2 and 3 start on the first beat of the measure and I'd think that would not be possible with a fade-in.

 

Is this a simple fix? Or is this one of those things that one just needs practice with to get right?

 

Thanks everyone. I hope to return the favor someday.

-Matt

 

EDIT: And since I am asking anyway, I've run into a similar problem when trying to loop my existing tracks. Say, I've got chords for a verse, and the verse repeates. If I just want to play the chords once, and then have them loop for the second verse, the instant that the loop starts isn't smooth. Is there a way to smooth out the glitch in the transition? It's like a split second stop before the loop starts up. Is it because I didn't play it right? Or is ther a way to edit the transition?

 

thanks again. :ermm

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Can rowboat or any of the other GarageBand users offer advice on how to soften the harshness of a new track coming in over an existing track? Let me try to explain:

 

For example, I've got a song with three tracks (2 gtr, 1 vocal). The first track is a fingerpicked guitar track, the second track is rhythm guitar, the third is a vocal track. The first track operates as the intro to the song by itself, and carries on throughout the song. A few measures in, the 2nd and 3rd tracks come in together.

 

When the 2nd and 3rd tracks come in, I don't know how to decribe it, but there isn't a smooth transition. They come in, and it's quite distracting.

 

I've stumbled across some forums/videos online that suggest using volume controls to have tracks 2 and 3 fade into the song. Is that really the best way? I'd like to have tracks 2 and 3 start on the first beat of the measure and I'd think that would not be possible with a fade-in.

 

Is this a simple fix? Or is this one of those things that one just needs practice with to get right?

 

Thanks everyone. I hope to return the favor someday.

-Matt

 

EDIT: And since I am asking anyway, I've run into a similar problem when trying to loop my existing tracks. Say, I've got chords for a verse, and the verse repeates. If I just want to play the chords once, and then have them loop for the second verse, the instant that the loop starts isn't smooth. Is there a way to smooth out the glitch in the transition? It's like a split second stop before the loop starts up. Is it because I didn't play it right? Or is ther a way to edit the transition?

 

thanks again. :ermm

 

 

you likely need to post a clip for me to be much help, but the first thought that comes to me is using a combination of the volume automation and compression to smooth out the mix...

 

sounds to me like some simple editing will do it in each case...use the slider on the bottom left of the screen to zoom in on each track, then fine tune using split and delete to get the loop length correct for the timing...

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I don't know much about Garage Band (anything) but it kind of sounds to me like maybe you have too much ambient noise in your recording space. It took me like five months to figure out my bathroom light (adjacent my bedroom) was actually adding a hum to some tracks. Not sure, but it does kind of sound like you're describing just generic noise. If so then that is almost inevitable, it's just something you try to limit / manage.

 

My most miserable recording sessions at home always happen in summer, because my air conditioning unit is a major no-no for any kind of vocal recording. :pirate

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Well, I don't really know what it is, but I do think it's mostly a problem with editting (or playing). Maybe I am making the cut in the wrong spot (by a hair) and it's causing the loop to hiccup for a split second before it starts up again. Or, since I am looping a track from the beginning, there are different levels of feedback or ambient noise at the beginning of the track and the end of the track, so when it loops back to the beginning of the track, in addition to the hiccup, there is just a different sound.

 

I'll keep messing around. Thanks again for everyone's thoughts. I hate being a nooooob.

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Well, I don't really know what it is, but I do think it's mostly a problem with editting (or playing). Maybe I am making the cut in the wrong spot (by a hair) and it's causing the loop to hiccup for a split second before it starts up again. Or, since I am looping a track from the beginning, there are different levels of feedback or ambient noise at the beginning of the track and the end of the track, so when it loops back to the beginning of the track, in addition to the hiccup, there is just a different sound.

 

I'll keep messing around. Thanks again for everyone's thoughts. I hate being a nooooob.

 

just like everything else...you learn as you do...

 

send me a link or soundfile, im curious to hear the issue...

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Not totally on topic but thought I'd share -

 

Bought a house in July by the beach and am just getting around to having the interior rooms painted - actually my old man is doing it (he's retired and loves to paint so huge bonus for me!) - and he starts my music room tomorrow. I plan on spending this upcoming weekend fixing it up. As stated earlier in the thread bought an Mbox for guitar and xlr and plan to use my laptop to record rough demo songs for my bandmates. However - I also have to buy an external hard drive to free my music cluttered laptop to make it faster and record. Any reccommendations for that?

 

Really looking forward to getting a room to my own.

 

Quick question - I was thinking about hanging my guitars on the wall in the room up off the ground. Anyone do this? I usually keep them in their cases as I play out a lot and its easier that way but for quick access and they would look boss. Any thoughts?

 

Also - what other accessories do you reccommend? (I have a bunch of framed concert posters - Wilco from Coney that I was at as well as Ryan Adams from the Apollo on Halloween which I was also at and that poster is awesome!) But I'm open to any ideas!

 

Again - great thread!

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  • 2 months later...
  • 2 weeks later...

With

- a Mackie Onyx Satellite

 

108274.jpg

- R0de NT-1A Condenser microphone

 

- Cubase SX software

 

...and a touch of Mastering in a studio, I've managed to record a few songs that I thought worthy of putting on CD.

 

Have a listen:

 

http://www.myspace.com/meechbrothers

 

I'm pretty happy with it, considering I was pretty much learning on the job.

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