Help- with choice of recording equipment? digital or analog!!

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by odie, Sep 5, 2000.

  1. odie

    odie Supporting Member

    Ive been thinking about getting into recording originals as my band is getting a little bored with covers.

    Ive used four track tape recorders in the past and they were ok.

    But I have a decent computer, a cd burner, and Im pretty good with computers. So Ive kind of thought about the computer for recording.

    What exactly does one need to record drums,guitar,vocals, bass and maybe a little sampling?

    Ive heard of Cake Walk etc but does one need a specific kind of mixer or device to hook up lines to the pc???

    Im basically very confused!!!! :)
  2. Hey, don't buy Cakewalk, it sucks. Buy Steinberg Cubase instead. It has a lot more options you can use, and a lot more intuitive editing. You can do way more stuff with digital than you can with Analog, like cutting and pasting.

    You can buy Cubasis VST for 80 bucks, a quality sound card like an Echo for 300 and an adequate mixer like a Behringer for 180. You get 16 tracks instead of 4 for a little bit more. You don't even have to buy an expensive sound card but I would recommend it because the plug in effects don't work well with slow sound cards. Oh yeah plug-ins. You get free effects with the software like reverb and a compressor. (compressors rock for bass) You can buy additional effects later. (a lot cheaper than an outboard processor) You do need a mixer to be able to hook up microphones to your PC, though. You can record the bass straight in if it's active. You should mike everything else, though.
  3. odie

    odie Supporting Member


    $300 for sound card!! I guess my Turtle Beach Montego wouldnt cut it huh??

    What about something more practical like a Creative Labs card or Emu??


    Anyone else have suggestions???
  4. You can use a consumer quality sound card but they won't allow you to use the plug in effects in real time. You'll have a huge gap waiting for the effect to take effect. Also you won't be able to record at high quality. (24 bit/96 khz) <p>
    Also, consumer sound cards have noisy and cheap inputs. High quality sound cards typically have 1/4 inch or XLR inputs so you don't have to use Y cables to hook your mixer in. <p>
    If you want to play video games, etc. You need to keep your old sound card because recording cards typically aren't supported by support games. Also they don't have a wavetable synth and some games use midi files for music.<p>
    The total cost of all the stuff you need is about 600. You can make really high quality demos with this- ( and burn them on CD try doing that on a 4-track)<p>
    the only good thing I can say about 4-tracks is that they are portable. I don't like lugging my PC to the practice room and back.
  5. odie

    odie Supporting Member

    Thanx CROZ for all your help!!! You recommend Cubase... Is it easier to use than Cakewalk?? I always hear about Cakewalk so I thought it was the standard.

    Also any other budget minded cards out their, or other options other than Echo.

    Thanx again for all your help!!!
  6. Cakewalk is not the Standard at all. It's more like a beginner's program. It's just rather inexpensive compared to other software. Cubase is far superior. The Industry standard is Actually Digidesign Protools but they make a complete system, software and sound cards, and they are rather pricey, they start at 900 bucks for a system.
  7. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    I hate to argue about this, but I'm a sound engineer and have used all of the programs above (ProTools TDM systems, Cubase VST, Cakewalk, Logic....the whole run), and while I do agree that ProTools is *the* way to go, I would recommend Cakewalk over Cubase for a number of reasons.

    Cubase is "prettier", as far as the interface goes, but not only is Cakewalk more user friendly, it is *far* less processor and RAM intensive, the internal editor is nicer and, in my opinion, it just sounds better.

    I'm curious as to why you feel Cubase is superior.....

    Also to the original poster, there are quite a few digi audio cards available, check out Aardvark, and Delta cards in addition to the Echo cards (which, in my opinion, have some of the *best* sounding D/A converters on the market). The Echo's 20 bit converters sound better than many of the 24 bit ones available today.
  8. odie

    odie Supporting Member

    Oh GOOD Im going to have varying opinions:)!!! I like to shop and weight the benefits but I just dont know enough about the programs. Do they both offer demo programs where one can check ones product out before taking the plunge.

    I am impressed with the Echo Darla? card with the pull-out plugin thingy, separate of the sound card.

    As for the Mixing Board what should I look for?? I did like the Behringers boards... which do you recommend(remember Im on a budget! :)

    And a second note on the software. Are they(Cubase and Cakewalk) easy to learn?? Whats the learning curve like?
    Are their manuals good? Do they have tutorials to make basic projects easy?

    Thanx again!!!
  9. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    The echo card is really nice, the delta cards and the aardvark cards also have breakout boxes. The Echo Mona and the Aardvark DirectPro both have mic preamps in them, eleminating the need for a board with mic pres (they even supply phantom power, tho I haven't used either of these)

    As far as boards go, I'd go with Mackie 1402VLZ Pro, if I were on a really tight budget and didn't have to record more than a few tracks at a time. The Mackie mic preamps are *far* better than anything else in this price range, without question.

    Cakewalk is very easy to learn, and the manual is very comprehensive, and there is a demo available. (I am talking about Cakewalk ProAudio now...I've owned versions 8 and 9) The Cubase VST manual takes for granted that you know a bit more about recording, although Wizoo has a "tutorial" type book out.

    I read my previous post and don't want you to think that I don't like Cubase....It's a good program. I just prefer Cakewalk, and wonder why croz thinks it sucks....

  10. This is why I like Cubase better. I play a little keyboard, too and Cubase integrates the midi and wave tracks seamlessly. I think the midi editors rock. And I love the plugins. The compressors are really useful for bass. The effects on Cakewalk seem to have a really high latency. I like to hear the changes NOW. When I move a virtual slider I want it to respond NOW. That's my main problem with Cakewalk is latency. Yeah, the effects do use a lot more ram, but the real limiting factor for wave files is your hard drive. If you have a slow IDE drive you won't be able to run as many tracks. Besides, RAM is cheaper than a T.C. electronics processor and an ADAT. <p>
    As far as the learning curve, I'm an idiot (raving) and I can use it OK. <p>
    I agree with Pacman, Mackie's are the best. They make em' In Woodinville, WA real close to where I live. I took a tour of thier factory and was very impressed. I have A CR1604VLZ Pro and it rocks. It sounds great. But if you are short on money go for the Behringer, you can get a lot more inputs for the money. Then if you decide you like this stuff and need more flexibility, save and go straight for the Big Mackie that makes you drool. (8.bus ahhhh) That way you can get some good microphones, too. You are not gonna get a good recording with cheap microphones.
    rock on!
  11. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    I use Cakewalk 9 and there is nearly *zero* latency, noticably less than Cubase (at least with my system). Cakewalk has been a MIDI sequecer first for years and does the job incredibly well.

    As far as plugins go, Cakewalk supports any DirectX plug in, which for me include Antares, TC Electronics, DSP efx, blah, blah, blah and I use them all without noticing any latency issues (I play a bit of keyboard, too). Also available now are several "VST interpreters" that allow you to use VST plug ins in a DirectX system.

  12. gmstudio99


    Mar 11, 2000
    Cleveland, OH
    Hey all, sorry I'm late to the party...

    I've done a recording or two in my day (;)) and use Cubase exclusively at home...I've recorded on ADAT systems, ProTools systems (in 5.1 even), Cubase, Motu...haven't used Cakewalk because everything I've ever done is Mac based. (Most major studios that use computers for recording use Macs...)

    My main love affair with Cubase has to do with these little things called ".rex" files...rex files are audio files that can be chopped up, mixed, changed, inverted and looped at any tempo you wish with no audio loss in quality or change of pitch. Simply incredible, really: to record your drummer playing 8 bars at, say Q=120, dump that into a .rex file, and place it in Cubase and change the tempo to 125 or 90 or 238 or whatever you want...same thing with your basslines or guitar parts or anything you want. Cubase is the only DAW program that supports .rex files.

    If you'd like to hear samples, go to my web page...everything there was recorded in Cubase...

    Thanks...hope this helps a bit...

  13. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

  14. odie

    odie Supporting Member

    Thanx again for all the opinions and replies. Tonight I'm going to down load your samples and take a listen.

    I'll probablly need a mixer because of the fact I'm goin to record drums....or maybe a drum machine hmmmmmmmmm... Anyway I may to look into a board a little more.

    Thanx again!!

    [Edited by odie on 09-08-2000 at 09:57 AM]
  15. gmstudio99


    Mar 11, 2000
    Cleveland, OH
    Just thought of this, but just because you have a computer doesn't mean you have to use it for tracking! A pair of Adats and a Studio 32 board will give you a very very outstanding 16 track studio, for under $4000. Next to ProTools, most professional Digital studios record to Adat...even though I use Cubase most of the time, I use my Adat machine quite a bit as well...just a thought.

  16. odie

    odie Supporting Member

    I would love to have a ProTools or ADAT setup, but I can't afford or validate the cost. Unless I want to be single again. :) Like I said before it's mostly to record band ideas and the occasional demo. Vocals, bass, gu*t*r, drums(5-6 piece) maybe some sampling etc.
  17. ".rex" files are from a program called Recycle which is a drum loop program. It's fun to play around with but since I'm not into electronic music or rap I don't use it very much. I never tried to use it to adjust the tempo of a recording like GMstudio but I use a drum machine for my ideas and you can already adjust the tempo. <p>
    Gmstudio, I listened to your melodic bass solo. It was pretty cool. I love arpeggios. :) <p>
    Have you seen those Nature quest CD's with the classical music and whale sounds? They have titles like, "Humpback Sonata" or "Rainforest Overture". I thought of a new idea for a relaxing, soothing yuppie CD that would put Enya, Yannie, Adiemus and the like to rest: "The Soothing Sounds of The Bass" The back cover would read: "relax as low tones penetrate your body and give you a sensual sonic massage so pleasing that your soul will delight. Listen to It by candlelight with a lover for an experience of utter bliss, and then experience the romance that is bass. Or listen to it alone on a starry night for an experience so magic that you will feel you are covered in stardust. Gives your ears a treat as you listen to the Soothing Sounds of Bass." :)<p>
    Hope you have fun, Odie. Get whatever you want. Don't listen to me, I'm just a hack. :)<p>
    One feature on Cubase I forgot to mention is the VST instruments. They are virtual software synthesizers. Kind of fun to play around. The Pro Five sounds great. (for a non-bass virtual instrument) <p>
    peace :)
  18. odie

    odie Supporting Member

    I've been reading about those VST instruments in some British Mag. I wish their was a resource out there that explains Digital recording and reviews hardware that is for the small home musician.

    I'm kinda leaning towards Cubase..

    Does anyone know which(Cu or Cake) is easier to program drum programs.

    Any suggestions on virtual drum programs??
  19. I have the LM.4 drum machine on Cubase. It's really easy to use. If you want a note just paint it in with the paintbrush tool. I like the 24 bit sounds but the rest suck. I recorded one of my friends drum kits and made my own patch. It sounds great. Even he was impressed.
  20. gmstudio99


    Mar 11, 2000
    Cleveland, OH
    Geez, I can't believe I forgot to metion VST instruments, thanks Croz! (And thanks for the kind words on the songs! :))

    Yes, you're right about using a drum machine and changing tempos, but the cool thing about .rex files is they aren't limited to drums, they can be any sound you'd like...

    The LM4 VST plug in is pretty Croz did, we programmed our drummer's kit into it and it sounds just like the real thing...

    Good luck odie!