First Time Home Recording

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by JaminDyer, Jul 25, 2013.


  1. JaminDyer

    JaminDyer

    Jul 25, 2013
    Liverpool
    Hello,

    I'm fairly new to bass, been self teaching myself for aprox. 2 years, and recently have been asked to help a friend out by recording a couple of basslines for her.

    I have tried reading the FAQ and numerous searches on how to record, but it just isn't working very well.

    The equipment I have includes:

    -Sterling SUB bass (Active pick ups)
    -TC Electronic BH250
    -ACER Aspire 5742

    I have tried connecting the head to my laptop using an AUX cable from the headphone output into the mic input on the laptop. Even with the master volume turned right down, the sound quality was pretty bad. As the bass has active pickups, I tried playing the bass straight into the laptop, but getting a similar response.

    Is the problem with my laptop, or do i need another device to send the signal through?

    Sorry if you see these threads a lot, but I'm getting confused with other answers people have got :S

    If you need any other information, let me know.

    Thanks for any help!

    Ben
     
  2. jmain

    jmain Oo, Uhn't uh, Yes! Supporting Member

    Apr 23, 2005
    Alexandria, VA
    My first reaction is to say: Get a cheap audio interface and use a free software like reaper to go the budget route.

    Bass alone into the laptop won't work. Don't think line level out of the amp straight to laptop is good either. Onboard sound card may be okay for what you want and do the trick, but still need some sort of recording software.

    A couple questions to help get you going in the right direction.

    Format: Does your friend need a certain format? Is she using a certain software or taking this to a studio?

    Sound Quality: What's the end goal / product? (final songs, practice over, scratch...)

    Future: Is this one-off, will she need more in the future, or do you have an interest in recording more?
     
  3. JaminDyer

    JaminDyer

    Jul 25, 2013
    Liverpool
    Format-wise, I would assume MP3? She will be using GarageBand to put it all together, but I don't have a Mac. I pretty new to the technological side of music, so is there another standard format generally used?

    For the sound quality, I'm not hoping for studio quality, just something which would be good enough for a small-ish YouTube channel.

    I've never really dabbled in recording music before as I don't know an awful lot about it. However, if I find a suitable way which isn't too much hassle, I may start a channel myself. So to answer your third question, if it's easy and non-stressful, yes, if not, no.

    I have also got an iPhone and have heard about devices to record bass through onto the GarageBand app. How viable is this for a long term solution?
     
  4. bkbirge

    bkbirge

    Jun 25, 2000
    Houston, TX
    Endorsing Artist: Steak n Shake
    Maybe not the best but probably easiest and cheapest for you at this stage...

    Bass->cheap passive DI box-> mic in on the laptop (you'll need an XLR female to 1/8 stereo plug)
     
  5. pgolliher

    pgolliher

    Apr 27, 2010
    Santa Cruz, CA
    Yes- a DI would work. I would recommend a Sans Amp Bass Driver DI, it will sound good for this application and they are great to keep in your bag for gigs. Once you have recorded, add some compression (I think Garageband probably has some effects).
     
  6. CL has audio interfaces cheap
     
  7. JaminDyer

    JaminDyer

    Jul 25, 2013
    Liverpool
    Thanks, I'll look into getting a DI box.

    Sorry for all the nooby questions, but would I be able to have my amp head before the DI/audio interface? I do really like some of the TonePrint effects.
     
  8. bkbirge

    bkbirge

    Jun 25, 2000
    Houston, TX
    Endorsing Artist: Steak n Shake
    Check your amp head, it may have a DI out already. Or possibly an effects loop where you can plug in the DI. Otherwise no, don't plug a DI into the speaker out of your amp ever.
     
  9. Plucky The Bassist

    Plucky The Bassist ZOMG! I'm back from the dead!

    Jul 30, 2010
    Houston, TX
    I'd get a cheap audio interface, like a line 6 toneport. There are MANY shades to sound quality between "garbage" and "studio quality", and a USB audio interface will typically get you in the "useable" ballpark for under $100.

    Your Sub bass should give you plenty of quality signal to record sans the shaping from an amp. Your friend can do more shaping in Garage Band if they want to tweak it.
     
  10. jmain

    jmain Oo, Uhn't uh, Yes! Supporting Member

    Apr 23, 2005
    Alexandria, VA
    A DI with freeware (audacity or reaper: I don't have much experience there to help) would mean you could record wav files and give those to her to use with garageband. That way, she could tweak them a little. mp3 should be fine as well, just won't be able to tweak on her end.

    Also may want to look into iRig for your iPhone. But I'd probably stick to the laptop, but that's just me.

    Or you could get a check audio interface (CL like suggested) and use the freeware.
     
  11. JaminDyer

    JaminDyer

    Jul 25, 2013
    Liverpool
    There's a button on the back of the head labelled Balanced Output, which switches it from pre EQ (direct out) to post EQ, though I'm not sure I understand that! If It bypasses EQ, what's the use in it?

    I was trying this all out with Reaper, so I'll send her the files in WAV. Thanks

    So what's the difference between a DI and an audio interface?
     
  12. bkbirge

    bkbirge

    Jun 25, 2000
    Houston, TX
    Endorsing Artist: Steak n Shake
    According to the manufacturer's website you already have a DI on your amp.

    "DI Out
    Use the balanced DI Out to send a signal to a PA or FOH when playing live, or use it as a high–quality bass preamp in the studio when recording, taking advantage of the Tone Controls and TonePrint feature. Choose between sending a ‘pre’ or a ‘post’ signal."


    Why would you want to bypass the eq/effects? Looks like "Pre" would mean straight from your bass to the laptop. "Post" would mean you have gain that you control on your head.
     
  13. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Colorado
    My Dog Sam Eats Purple Flowers
    I run into my effects, then into a combo amp, then a line out from the combo amp into a tascam mixer, then from the mixer into a computer with a m-audio sound card. I use a Roxio program to manipulate the sound files.
     
  14. JaminDyer

    JaminDyer

    Jul 25, 2013
    Liverpool
    Thanks for that! I'm still not sure I fully understand this though. If I have the setting for Direct Out, will it still use the Toneprint effects?
     
  15. bkbirge

    bkbirge

    Jun 25, 2000
    Houston, TX
    Endorsing Artist: Steak n Shake
    Try it and find out. My reading on the website suggests no. However, if you really like that stuff you can always put an "inline pad" between the output and your laptop that will knock the level down and you should be able to run 'post' and still plug into the laptop mic input. Or maybe the front panel volume control will be sufficient. Won't know until you try.
     
  16. JaminDyer

    JaminDyer

    Jul 25, 2013
    Liverpool
    Ok, I'll give it a go.

    The head has 2 outputs, and AUX for headphones and a Speaker cable output.
    So my (hopefully) last newby question is which one would be better to use, a simple 3.5mm to 3.5mm AUX cable, or Speaker cable to 1/4", then 1/4" to 3.5mm for the mic input?

    Thanks again for all the help :D
     
  17. bkbirge

    bkbirge

    Jun 25, 2000
    Houston, TX
    Endorsing Artist: Steak n Shake
    You need a female XLR to male 3.5mm cable. The only output you should be using on that head (for the DI) is the XLR. The headphone out will not be appropriate to plug into the laptop mic but since it won't hurt anything you should try it just to convince yourself, your sound will be distorted and thin most likely (but maybe not, like I said try it). Absolutely do NOT use the speaker out unless you like smoke.
     
  18. jmain

    jmain Oo, Uhn't uh, Yes! Supporting Member

    Apr 23, 2005
    Alexandria, VA
    Audio interface is an external sound card that converts from audio/digital and vice versa and will hook to the laptop vis usb (pretty sure yours doesn't have firewire). Depending on the unit, it may also include preamps, processing, outputs for powered speakers, etc. Usually has mic or instrument level inputs.

    Your laptop has an onboard soundcard (i.e., realtek, etc.). The onboard card may do the trick no problem. If you have an external soundcard, you likely won't need the DI. Although, there is much to be discussed there as well. But that's for another time.
     
  19. JaminDyer

    JaminDyer

    Jul 25, 2013
    Liverpool
    I'll get one of those leads ordered then!

    Thanks to everyone for their time/knowledge and for helping a newbie out :)
     
  20. Beersurgeon

    Beersurgeon

    Jul 16, 2010
    Denver
    Hi,

    I would go with an I/O regardless of the DI on the back of your amp. The main use of a I/O is to "bump" the power of your signal going to the computer. Also, you'll have some volume control instantaneously. And lack of better terms, your I/O will act as your sound card. I have a 1 channel I/O that came with Cakewalk Guitartracks ($100) and I have a 14 channel Tascam US-1800($300). Both work well. There are I/O sound cards out there, but most are fairly expensive. I use Cubase for my software now but used Audacity prior to and thought it was a good, free program.

    As I read your thread, I feel that if you would get yourself an I/O, you'll be able to do close to anything you'll want. Both my amps have DIs and I still use an I/O to record. And for most of my recordings, I use my 1 channel I/O with my studio monitors without an amp. I use the monitors for the sound out and I have had good success with it!
     
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
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