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My band wants to record/what do I need??

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by odie, Sep 22, 2002.

  1. odie

    odie Supporting Member

    My band is planning on working on some originals and we would like to record a drum set, vocals, guitar etc. We all have pc's thar run over 1 ghz.

    What do we need to get if we're on a budget??

    Should we get a mixing board and PCI card with breakout box, and software?? We've kinda leaned towards the USB route so we can unplug and take the interface home and work out guitar parts thru a Line 6 POD setup.

    Any recommendations??? Im lost!!!
  2. odie

    odie Supporting Member

    Help me out people, I dont want to get the wrong thing. Please. Help a newbie out
  3. Try here - where there are more good ideas and suggestions than you can shake a stick at! There is also other stuff, some of it quite entertaining, but part of the fun is sifting through it all.

    Good Luck!

    - Wil
  4. Oysterman


    Mar 30, 2000
    If you're on a budget you can't expect to get super results. Just so you know.

    If recording only happens once in every few years, and it's only a handful (<5) songs that will be recorded, practice till you hate the songs and then hire some studio time. Lots of decent studios have fair deals for recording and mixing demoes. It'll save you LOTS of hassle and headaches, and might come out better than what you can do on your own.

    If you're seriously getting into this stuff, and want to do it all on your own anyway, well.

    To record drums, you need mics. For the mics, you need microphone preamps (to get the signal of the mics up to line level before going into the sound card). You can get pretty darn good results (with a good drummer who has a balanced attack on the different parts of the kit) using three or four mics (maybe even two?). Either Kick/Snare/Overhead/Overhead, Kick/Snare/Overhead, Kick/Overhead (not really commonplace, but I figure it could work) or Kick/Overhead/Overhead. Using the K/O or K/S/O setup your drums will sound very "mono", but you can get away with the ultra-cheap omnidirectional Behringer ECM8000 mic for overhead (~$50), an SM57 on the snare (~$80) and a good bass drum mic of your choice. I heard a recording a guy did with this setup (just for giggles) and it came out sounding better than most home recordings out there! But that may be because of the drummer or more importantly his engineering skills and THE ROOM. The ECM8000 records whats in the room, so be sure it isn't a shoebox space with bare concrete walls and a stone floor!

    With two overheads, you'd be best off with small-diaphragm condensers, such as the Marshall MXL 603's (~$90). If you have a good sounding kit and drummer, a separate snare mic won't really be necessary, but of course it can help in giving some body to the sound.

    Vocal mic? Well, to get GOOD results, I'd recommend a large-diaphragm condenser... there are a multitude of cheap Chinese LD's today, which all sound pretty good... but if you're on a budget, use one of the drum mics. Try them and see which one sounds best.

    Mixer? Unless it's total crap, its mic pres can definitely be useable. If you have a 2-channel soundcard and more than 2 mics to record at the same time, the mixer can be used to mix them into a stereo track. This is a bit risky, since you have to mix the drum kit BEFORE mixing the rest of the song, and what sounds good on its own can easily end up sounding not so good when everything else comes into play. Too much snare mic in the mix? You can't bring it down unless you re-record the drums...

    As for WHICH mixer... well, if you can't borrow or steal one, the Mackie VLZ's have a good reputation among homewreckers, the cheaper Behringer mixers do not, but they work (most of the time!).

    A POD/J-station/V-Amp is decent enough to record guitar and bass with. If you know what you're doing, excellent results can be achieved using them. I heard a guy who did a heavy rock tune with a POD, and before he told me that, I could have sworn it was a wall of Marshall stacks and an SVT + refrigerator cabinet that had been recorded! But no, it was the big red kidney bean. Cool!

    Sound card interface? Well, if USB devices doesn't make your computer lock up (as it always does for me), they might work fine. I have no clue on what options you have there... I guess I'll have to do some research and get back to you. Or you can do the research yourself. ;)

    Otherwise, recommended inexpensive (but competent!) dedicated recording cards are the Echo Audio MIA (not as in MIA Fender) and the M-Audio Audiophile 2496. (These go for $160-$180?)Even cheaper is the Soundtrack AudioDSP24 Value ($130), but it sucks. I know, because I own one.
    If you aren't as anal as I am about recording bitrate, AudioTrak has some even less expensive (<$130?) cards that might work.

    But gear isn't as important as what you do with it! Do some research on recording techniques, mic placement techniques and mixing. A great engineer can make a record done with poor gear sound hundred times better than a know-nothing Joe Schmoe with ProTools HD!

    And yeah, what Wil said! That's where most of the above comes from anyway! ;)
  5. Gabu


    Jan 2, 2001
    Lake Elsinore, CA
    Hi Odie.

    I don't know about the breakout box, since I don't have one. But I can tell you what I use for my PC recording.

    Multiquence is a simple, easy to use, multitrack recording software that is shareware. It's registration is only $25.


    I bought a Turtle Beach Motego II, which I would not call a "good" sound card... But it was only $40 and it has worked great so far.

    You are going to need some good MICs. I highly recommend the brand Sure. It's the most used brand in MICs and I think there is a good reason for it. I like the SM57. I have been able to use it for almost anything! Check out these links for some of Sure's stuff.



    What I do is I use three MICs for the drumkit. I put one in the kick and one on each side (between the tom/snare and between the tom/floortom and out just a little bit). You should experiment with the exact distance and angle. Remeber that the snare is the loudest drum, so you may need to compensate for it a bit with angels and location of MIC.

    I run these MICs into a small passive mixer. This gives me more flexibility in the gains and tone control of each MIC. Then I run this output into my Multitrack recorder or PC.

    For the other instruments, they are MICed and run directly into the Mixer. When I record on my PC right now, I can only record one track at a time. The breakout box would solve this, I imagine.

    I also use Cool Edit for fixing minor problems with a recording.

    Good luck with it!
  6. odie

    odie Supporting Member

    actually we are using it for a scratch pad for songs to write with, also we are using musicians that live a distance apart. That is one of the big reasons to use the PC. We also thought about a all in one multi tracker like a Tascam 788. We would like to press our own cd's with this setup if possible.

    We have mics, mostly Shure 57's and a AKG D112, shure 58(beta maybe) and some other AKG drum mics etc.

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