Recording a Rock Band?

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by RadioDaze, Mar 17, 2006.

  1. RadioDaze


    Feb 18, 2006
    Im the bassist for a 3 piece rock group, and Im trying to get together a setup for us to use to record our tracks. Im looking for advice concerning what Id need to create a decent sounding home recorded demo. I'll list off the equipment I currently have:

    A Pentium III 933mhz system
    390megs of ram
    a very basic build in soundcard with line in, line out, and mic in
    USB2 ports avaliable
    2 sm57 mics

    Basically, we want to record drums, bass, guitar and vocals. What would be the best way to go about this? Ive looked at many different options, but Im not sure what the best is to go with. We obviously need some more mics to mic the drums. As well, do we need to get a mixing board to record the drums? Ive also been looking into the Mbox, but that only has 2 inputs. Is it possible to record a drum kit using an Mbox or similar type usb interface? I like the idea of an Mbox because I dont have to get a new soundcard.

    Is it possible to connect a mixing board to the computer sound card i input. currently have? Ive tried doing some acoustic recording by plugging my sm57 into the mic It worked ok, but not the quality im looking for. Plus is had this humming sound in the background of every track I recorded :p

    Also, if we were to get a mixer, could i connect that to the Mbox somehow, and If so, would we be able to edit each mic'd drum track from within say, pro tools le? or would it come in as just a single drum track? Man, I know this sounds like a lot, I just need some guidance in terms of whats the smartest way to spend my cash. I dont have a ton to spare, maybe 500 -700 bucks canadian. Any suggestions to get me on the right path would really help me out, thanks :D
  2. Correlli


    Apr 2, 2004
    New Zealand
    The more RAM you have, the better. Try and add up to 1 GB of RAM. To get any sort of decent recording on drums, you would need a minimum of 4 mics - 2 overhead mic's , 1 kick drum mic, and 1 snare mic. The SM 57 is perfect for recording snare and guitar amps. I think most people would recommend a Firepod for this situation. It has 8 mic preamps, which is enough for what you want to do.

    EDIT:/ you would need a firewire PCI card to use Firepod.
  3. Look into an Creative Labs Audigy or something like that as far as a sound card goes. One that offers stereo, balanced inputs. Your little mini-jack will 'do' but is far from ideal. Also get your hands on some good mics (consult someone who knows mics) and preamps. They really make a huge difference in what you get on 'tape'.

    I have had a great amount of success using Sonar 5 Producers Edition by Cakewalk to do really complex, multi-track recordings.

    What software are you planning on using for the recording?
  4. RadioDaze


    Feb 18, 2006
    In terms of software, just something that isnt too complicated and something that will run on the system I have. Ive tried using Sony Vegas 5 for basic multitrack recording, as well as Tracktion 2. I also have Sonar 5 producer, but Ive never really tried using it. Im not doing anything that complicated, just a drum track, bass, guitar, vocals and maybe a couple overdubs. Which software would you suggest?
  5. RadioDaze


    Feb 18, 2006
    The Firepod looks really good, but I think 600-700 american is a little out of my range at this point. Is there anything similar to this that would do the job for any less? It would be ideal to have all 8 tracks avaliable, but for now, just getting the drums done is my concern. We can always overdub the guitar and bass after the drum track is layed down.
  6. I have an 850Mhz PIII with 192 meg of ram and am using it to record my bass.

    The software I use is Acoustica's Mixcraft. I also use their Beatcraft product to create drum tracks to play to. The software runs right at $70 and is perfect for what I want to do, which is nothing too terribly complex.

    You can download 7 day trials of the software at
  7. WalterBush


    Feb 27, 2005
    Yuma, Az
    The Alesis USB mixers allow seperate tracks to be recorded from each channel, and they're dirt cheap, although since I haven't used one personally I can't attest to their sound quality. In that price range, it can't be good, though.

    Sounds to me like your best bet would be to mike your drums, and record the stereo mix with an Mbox or similar unit. This means that you have to dial in your drum sound with the board, because there's little editing that can be done with a stereo drum mix. That's how engineers worked for quite some time, though, and coughed up drum sounds for some of the world's most popular tunes.

    In that price range, I'm not sure you'll be able to find hardware (other than a cheap USB mixer and inexpensive software) that will allow you to record each drum to a separate track for later editing and processing.

    If your drummer is really able to lock in, I suppose you could record him two drums at a time on an Mbox, and overdub whatever else is needed. Might be more hassle than it's worth, though.
  8. RadioDaze


    Feb 18, 2006
    I just checked out the Alesis Mulimix8 USB and i must say Im intreaged. For only 150 bucks brand new, you're saying this will let me lay down multiple tracks and then edit them individually? Has anyone here used one and knows how they are? It doesnt have to be amazing, just sound decent demo quality. Anyone know if any software other than Cubebase can be used with the Alesis Mulimix8?
  9. WalterBush


    Feb 27, 2005
    Yuma, Az
    Darn near any software can be used with it, it's just bundled with Cubase LE because of a licensing deal. I'm pretty sure that it would cough up demo-quality material, as well, simply because the technology to do so is dirt cheap these days. I have not, as I said before, had personal experience with them, though.
  10. Skel


    Jun 19, 2005
    Boulder, Colorado
    I have ProTools but I haven't used it for years now. I got the whole "kit" at GC for about $700.00 about 6 or 7 years ago and it came with the SCSI sound card, the I/O controller with the XLR inputs and the software. ProTools is very complicated, or at least, it used to be when I bought it. I would go to GC and ask them, but I think another poster had it with the fully integrated stand alone system like Alesis or Mackie, etc. The GC I go to tends to have the smartest people in Pro Audio (you can't be too stupid to work that dept) and they can certainly help you. Also, keep in mind there are some hungry people out there that can make ProTools stand on its ear for cheap. My band just recorded and mixed for hours and hours. We came away with a great demo CD and much more for about $250.00. The engineer did miracles "fixing" mistakes, gluing parts of songs together, he pulled all the stops. This way your band each kicks in $80 bucks and you have a great time while somebody else does the work, and believe me it's *work*. Plus they have all the mics, good monitors (monitors are expensive). I would do this once before I started buying stuff.

  11. Bass


    Nov 10, 2003
    This is definitely not a "pro-setup", but here's what we do:

    Drums, bass, guitar, PA... into

    3 "room" mics hanging from the ceiling... into

    Behringer UB1202 mixer ($120 CDN)... into

    Computer similar to yours running Kristal Audio Engine (free)...

    We record our Jams this way and it sounds OK, but definitely not demo quality. If you want to do the Drums / Bass / Guitar separately and then mix and do overdubs, etc... you'll need a set of drum mics ($200? for a cheap set).
  12. RadioDaze


    Feb 18, 2006
    Hey Bass, what do you use to connect your behringer mixer to your computer? Do you have a certain soundcard, or are you plugging into the small 1/8th input jack?