What do I need?
I recently picked up a mixer and would like to do some home recording onto my PC laptop. It has two hi-z channels for recording guitar/bass direct. What free software is available that will allow my to layer multiple tracks and add digital drums or perhaps some virtual instruments? I'm just starting off, so the most basic would suffice as an intro and I can go fro there. The mixer has a USB interface so I think I'm squared away as far as hardware goes but I've never used much recording software. Any help?
Audacity is usually a pretty safe bet.
+1 on Audacity
It's not extremely fully featured but it's simple and free.
Also, if you have any experience with Linux, Ubuntu Studio is packed full of music programs and they are all free. Ardour for a DAW, Hydrogen for a drum machine, Rosegarden for midi stuff and a bunch of other programs. It can be a bear to set up and get running, especially if you only know Windows, but it was worth it to me to get my old computer to a point where it can be a useful recording machine.
I think there might also be a version of Hydrogen for Windows if you decide not to tread into the waters of Linux audio
Reaper ... free to try (not crippleware) and $60 (or less) to buy.
+3, on Audacity as a good "free" DAW. But if you want to spend a little - IMHO, Acoustica's "Mixcraft 6 Pro Studio" is the best bang for the buck.
Ok, so I just downloaded Audacity to my PC. Lots of fun stuff here. How would I go about accessing drum loops that I could add to the tracks? Forgive my noobness...I am completely new to digital home recording and only have a pedestrian understanding of computers. What is a DAW?
There's a thread around here that has some discussion about alot of drum loops and alternatives. Audacity doesn't support ASIO yet but you might be able to ASIO4ALL with it. Reaper and Mixcraft are alot of bang for the buck but Mixcraft is easier to use of the two.
PS: Seeing how your a fellow TBers and Fender/GK user :D - I'll go see if I can dig up some links for FREE sounds, loops, etc for you.
EDIT : Okay, here you go ~
So here's what I DO have so far:
10 channel Mixer with USB and 2 hi-z inputs for bass
Audacity for Windows 8
I'm still waiting on the USB cable (not included with mixer!) and will get a thumb drive to record to so as not to take up too much space(?).
What is the next logical step?
Well, I guess it depends on what else you already have and what you want to do - the next big step is to setup the computer to work with the mixer after you get the USB cable.
I've used a few different platforms over the years, and my current DAWs are ProTools and Studio One. Studio One is the more affordable of the two. Give it a shot and see if it's right for you.
Presonus has a 30-Day free trial of Studio One on their website.
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