Really Low Budget recording gear!

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by gordslinger, Jan 3, 2009.

  1. So my friend's band (that I roadie for haha) are starting to play gigs and such and they have used some sort of Ipod track recorder and placed it on a table right outside the band room and just played all together to record demo tracks. The tracks sound really low quality and I wanted to look into how to get decent recording gear, and also how to learn how everything works to produce demos and all. I know most of you would say do a search, but information seems really scattered.

    Is there something out there that is cheap, easy to use, and does a great job? Most multitrack recorders and digital stuff looks like it could be hundreds, even thousands of dollars. I'm still saving up for a $600 bass rig so its ridiculous how low my budget is, so these prices were a shot to the heart.

    Any suggestions on what to use, not professional quality obviously, but something that will do a good job for a low price? I'm still new to all this stuff so I'm figuring out what it is exactly that I want to do.

    Thanks :)
  2. Get a decent used 8-channel mixer (try and avoid Behringer I think- Tascam, Mackie, Yamaha, Peavey, any number of decent mixers will do). Something with Stereo Out and a couple extra Busses would be great.

    If you can find inexpensive boundary mics you can put 'em on the floor 6-10 feet out from the drums, left and right (for example. Experiment with whatever you can get, but getting some "room" in the drum sound is okay- you don't have to close-mic everything). Put a mic in the kick drum, an SM57 is fine. That's 3 channels.

    Bass goes direct into a channel of the board- that's 4 channels...

    Put a mic in front of the guitar amp speaker- right in front, like an inch away. Move it around to suit... 5 channels.

    Keys go direct...? Or mic it. 6 channels... You get the idea here, right?

    You can stick a mic in front of the PA speaker to get the vox- gives a nice, gritty live sort of sound. Don't be afraid of bleed either- you're already jamming it all together live, and if you run every source to it's own channel- even if everyone plays together- you'll be able to manage it all better.

    Record from the mixer out to a cassette 4-track. If you have 4 busses on your mixer you can combine some tracks to get 4 tracks to your recorder. Get a nice, clean old Tascam or Fostex, something good. That can be had for around $50, and if you learn to get good signal and keep your signal chain simple as possible, you'll get good recordings. Tape is a great way to record, even if it's cassette.*

    A few inexpensive mics, a decent mixer and a solid 4-track cassette recorder will take you a good way.

    *Now run your recorded tracks from the cassette 4-trk machine into a computer software app like Sonar, Cubase, n-Track, Reaper, whatever to mix. Demo!

    Check out for some good reading- and don't read too much! Just get to it.
  3. anderbass


    Dec 20, 2005
    Phoenix. Az.

    On the cheap... you can also plug a mixers stereo outs into the 2 audio inputs of most any (recordable) VCR for a surprisingly high quality stereo recording (much better sound quality than most cassette decks) to then finally download to your computer.
  4. Wow- a poor-man's ADAT! Nice info man, thanks! Next time I record a live gig I'll just submix to VCR! Didn't mean to write in so many exclamation points!
  5. mrufino1


    Aug 2, 2005
    Nutley, NJ
    check out a used fostex vf-160 or vf-16. That has 8 analog ins (2 with preamps) and 8 adat ins. The vf-160 has a cd burner as well so you can export your work or mix it on the vf160 and burn the mix to disc. You could also get a scsi jaz drive and transfer to your computer that way. i had this setup for mobile recording (and used an smpro 8 channel preamp and a behringer ada8000- one of their good products to give me 16 mic preamps in at once) and it worked great. Now I use a firepod (had 2 at one time but sold one) and a pc and that is awesome too, using reaper and soon (like this weekend) ardour running on linux (free). The zoom h2 is also a great option if you are not looking to multitrack.
  6. Skywalker83

    Skywalker83 Guest

    Oct 19, 2008
    Tampere, Finland
    I think for run-of the-mill cheap and still get a good recording i would also recommend Fostex.Alot of good second hand deals to be had if you look around. Although look into the Behringer options if your really tight up.

    I do have one question though.

    Why are you as "the roadie" shelling out YOUR money on THE BAND'S demo recording stuff?
    I've done a load of band recordings, live gigs, consultancy and stuff, and alot of the time (unless it was my own personal gear that i had) the band would buy the gear they needed and i would operate it. There is no point putting yourself out of pocket.

    If your looking to build up your own equipment and think you'll be able to make future use of what you buy, then that's fine.Otherwise i'd be asking the band to be putting their hands in their pockets for the gear.