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i'm starting and i don't know anything

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by barroso, Sep 6, 2001.


  1. barroso

    barroso

    Aug 16, 2000
    Italia
    i have a lot of problems in setting up a band in a permanent way. this is due to the music i'd like to play, original in the vein of 70 rock, but no one here in italy seems interested in this kind of music. so i decided to make the whole thing by myself with a computer. maybe this could help me finding the right guys to play with. unluckly i do not know anything about the software that i can use. i have a bass pod that could help me in connecting to my computer as a D.I..
    can you help me? i need a software that allows to record, i think that i have to do this with my basses and my crappy guitar. which software can i use to record? i need drums too in the software and i'm not able to play drums..
    is this a disperate situation?
     
  2. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    It can be done, at least when your computer and soundcard are not too shabby.

    What kind of system do you have?

    And how much money are you willing to spend?
     
  3. seamus

    seamus

    Feb 8, 2001
    Jersey
    The most important question is, how much are you willing to spend?

    Also, what will you be recording? only bass? guitar? vocals? For drums you can get CD's with hundreds of drum samples or loops to use, that's one of the quickest ways to do that.

    What soundcard do you have now? What kind of inputs does it have? What are your other computer specs? hard drive size and rpm? ram? processor?

    Software: Try n-track, you can find it here - http://fasoft.com/

    That's a trial version, you can find 'patches' on the web to make it the full version if you look around.

    Here's more sites on PC recording:

    http://pcrecording.com/ - good starting place

    http://homerecording.com/ - more advanced

    http://homerecording.com/bbs/ - tons of info
     
  4. barroso

    barroso

    Aug 16, 2000
    Italia
    ok, i'll try to be more detailed.
    what i'd like to do is record songs with drums, bass, guitar and keys. i'm not able to sing so i'll start with instrumental music. it will be probably used by a friend of mine who's an indie filmmaker.
    here the specs of my computer
    Celeron 560mhz
    256mb ram
    hard drives 12 giga and 8 giga
    sound card (i know that this one has to be changed) creative audio PCI ES 1371
    i have anothe more powerful PC but it is used by my brother for graphics so i'd prefer the one i posted the specs.
    about the money, i'll spend what it will be necessary to have something decent.
     
  5. seamus

    seamus

    Feb 8, 2001
    Jersey
    To start off, I am brand new to recording as well, so bear that in mind. :)

    For all my guitar and bass recording needs, I use the following:

    M-Audio Omni Studio ($379)
    http://www.m-audio.com/m-audio/product.htm

    Shure SM57 ($70)

    Tech 21 Sans Amp Bass Driver DI ($170)

    Bass: I have just been recording direct through the box for now. The Sans Amp direct box makes any of my basses sound decent enough to record, and it's nice and quiet too. DI's from amps can sometimes be noisy. From what I can tell so far, recording bass direct is the way to go.

    Guitar: I mic up a cabinet for guitar, and as much as I feel bass should be direct, I feel guitar should be mic'd. A decent sounding guitar cab plus a good preamp and SM57 will take you a long way.

    Keys: Never recorded keys yet, I imagine this is another direct scenario.

    Vocals: Just use the SM57 into a decent preamp. You'll get better results with other mics and setups, but a good vocal mic costs a lot of money.

    There are two very nice and CLEAN preamps built into the Omni box plus all the patching, mixing, and monitoring capabilities you'll need. I went with that option because it covered so many things in one purchase than if I tried to purchase every component separately.

    In the Omni package I got two wonderful mic/inst preamps, awesome soundcard, free software, etc. The most important things will be your bass/guitars and amps, the preamps, the soundcard, and how well your computer can handle the equipment. For example, you may want a hard drive that is at least 7200 rpm. I've read that 'problems' can occur with anything slower than that. I have two large 7200 rpm drives, so I cannot comment on any problems.

    A cheap direct recording solution for you might be the J-station (only $149). It does both guitar and bass emulation, and has a digital out that can go straight to the card. That assumes your card has a digital IN on it, any decent recording card should have one. Here's a link to the J-station so you can read up on the specs and hear some samples.
    http://www.johnson-amp.com/jstation.htm

    I mic up a Line 6 Flextone for guitar, sounds great. They sell the POD and POD-PRO for people that are recording direct, but those will run you a lot more than that little J-station. I think Digitech even makes some low end amp emulators. Anything from Roland or Yamaha will run in the upper end though.

    If you buy your card and preamps separately, I might look into the Presonus Bluetube. ($149)http://www.presonus.com/bluetube.html There's also the Art Tube MP for $99. They both use 12AX7's. For the extra $50, I would go Presonus.

    Drums: I'm still working on a solution myself. I think I will probably just buy a sample CD with loops. For example, www.sonicfoundry.com has a free download called Acid Xpress. I'm thinking of just buying their drum loop CD called 'RADS' and using the Xpress to make my drum loops. The drums will sound digital and all, but I'm not really into wasting my time building drum loops from scratch using realistic kit samples. I'm not a drummer, so for me, it's just not worth the effort.

    Check out those two sites I listed in my earlier post you'll find a ton of useful information on recording. Like I said, the most important things are the soundcard, preamps, and whether or not the computer is up to spec for making solid recordings.
     
  6. barroso

    barroso

    Aug 16, 2000
    Italia
    seamus you really help me a lot!
    what i thought was something like that:
    i would like to start in the cheaper way, just because i haven't done nothing similar before and i'm not so good in recording. so i own a BASS POD and this would have been my preamp and link to the computer, my D.I. i had in mind to record bass and guitar with the bass pod .
    which software do you suggest? i need something "easy" and decent quality for my first experiences? and can i record direct from the line out of my guitar map? which cable i need to connect the line out to the computer? as you see i'm really a beginner and to be honest i have never thought before to do home recording, i feel such frustrated as things are going with the band that i decided to try this experience.
    thanks again
    marco
     
  7. seamus

    seamus

    Feb 8, 2001
    Jersey
    Oh you have a bass POD? That will be a great way to record all your bass. The BASS POD has a line level output. What I would suggest is setting the output control to MAX for recording. This will give you the best s/n ratio on your output.

    Software: try N-track >>> http://www.fasoft.com/

    It's a great free program. You can download and install the trial version. As I mentioned before, there are places to get patches to make the 'trial' version a 'full' version, but I can't post that here. The software will have signal monitors so you'll see whether or not you're clipping.

    Bass: Record direct to soundcard from the POD. Use a card with 1/4" inputs or 1/8" adapters for your current card.

    Guitar: Yes, you can record direct. Recording guitar direct can be noisy though, depends on how good the output is. If you record direct from your guitar amp, that will probably be a line level signal so I think you'll be fine running it straight to the card. Once again, you'll probably need a 1/8" adapter.

    Vocals: Sounds like you are using the POD here? I guess you could just run the mic into the POD for processing then send that signal to the card. Add some reverb to make the vocals more spacious, otherwise they will sound flat. Since I don't have a POD, I don't know if routing through it will act as a preamp for everything, but give it a try and see.

    Eventually, if you get deeper into recording, I would recommend a soundcard upgrade, mic, and a preamp. These are the three most crucial elements in PC recording outside of the PC itself. You don't need to replace your current soundcard, you would just be adding another. The old one will do what it has always done while you use the upgrade only for recording.

    Here's a link that will show you some popular recording soundcards and what inputs/outputs they have. The prices listed are high, you can buy most of them for less money. Take a look at the specs:

    http://www.cdrecordingsoftware.com/card_compare.html

    At the very least, I would get a soundcard that accepts bal/unbal 1/4" inputs. A card with S/PDIF would be nice too if you ever have the option to record digital direct. For now though, everything you are doing is analog, so a card with 1/4" inputs would be ideal. Even though the POD is digital, I believe there is a digital to analog conversion that takes place before the output stage or the output would not be 1/4" TRS.

    Eventually if you upgrade, you could record vocals and guitar using a mic >>> preamp >>> soundcard. My suggestion for a preamp is the Presonus Bluetube. It's only $149 with two Neutrik combos (accepts XLR or 1/4" TRS into the same input jack) and two 12AX7's inside. There are MUCH better preamps out there, but this one will provide all you need at a cheap price. For a mic, the SM57 is fantastic for guitar and ok for vocals.

    Try running direct to the card for now and see what sorts of results you get. DO NOT buy any of the upgrades I suggested yet. First see what you have, how well it works, and what could sound better. That will help you determine what areas might be deficient and what upgrades would get you the most for your money.
     
  8. Oysterman

    Oysterman

    Mar 30, 2000
    Sweden
    Here's what I did, and I don't regret one piece of it:

    * Soundtrack AudioDSP24 Value w/ value bracket (added S/PDIF ins and outs). Good quality (24 bit), low price. Emagic Micrologic comes bundled with it... it sucks major, but at least it's something. If you want better software there are two ways to go... ;) If you go the legal way I think N-Track and Cubasis are good value.

    * Mindprint DI-port - this is a very cool device with stereo mic pre (XLR, 1/4" line and RCA) and a great monitor section for ZERO latency monitoring (never need worry about that when recording!). The DI-port has high quality AD/DA converters and since it's transferring the audio data digitally, sound is not degraded at the sound card's own AD/DA converters (unless you pay really big bucks for a sound card, the inputs and outputs do add noise). I don't know how much these things cost out in the big world, but I got mine for cheap, and it was new.
    [​IMG]

    Yes, this might cost a bit more than you wish to spend, but do consider it. At least if you get deeper into the world of recording. It's worth it, IMO. :)
     
  9. barroso

    barroso

    Aug 16, 2000
    Italia
    thanks guys, i really appreciate!
    i just downloaded the fasoft software plus a drum composer. tomorrow i'll buy the right cable to connect the pod with the computer and i'll post my first experience. if, as i hope, i'll be more interested in this world i'll do the upgrades. now i need time to make practice. can you tell me something about your first experiences?
    oysterman, is there a website for the device you posted the pic?
    thanks again
     
  10. Oysterman

    Oysterman

    Mar 30, 2000
    Sweden
  11. barroso

    barroso

    Aug 16, 2000
    Italia
    hey guys, just to say that i started!!!
    i bought the adaptor jack for the soundcard and i started to record basslines on my pc. i recorded the bass with the bass pod and the guitar with the line out of my small marshall combo amp. good sound overall but i need a lot to improve myself with the sofware features, i need to eliminate the noise and find the right eq. i started with the fasoft software. now i'm really excited and at the same time really dubious about the next steps. first of all i need to understand how to use the drum composer. which software do you use? do you have tips? i started with the fasoft drum composer but i found it hard to start with. is there something easier? i downloaded the hotstepper but i'm not able to use the software, maybe i downloaded a "bad" version.
    i wait for your help.
    marco
     
  12. Oysterman

    Oysterman

    Mar 30, 2000
    Sweden
    I wouldn't know - I program my drums note for note in Noteworthy Composer. It ain't easy, and it's very time consuming, but the results are (most of the time) exactly the way I wanted them.
     
  13. barroso

    barroso

    Aug 16, 2000
    Italia
    pardon my ignorance, but what's a Noteworthy Composer?
     
  14. barroso

    barroso

    Aug 16, 2000
    Italia
    can you suggest me where can i find a cd sampler with drums loop?
    thanks
     
  15. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    It's a slightly melancholy story ... kinda like having to "rough up the suspect" while between girlfriends.
     
  16. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    You can find cheap used AKAI Sample CDs on ebay.

    But you need a program like CDxtract to read and import them.
    Windows can't read the AKAI format.

    www.cdxtract.com