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Recording on PC

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by i_got_a_mohawk, Apr 18, 2005.

  1. I dont have a clue where to start, i would probably just record with the XLR out from my Sansamp BDDI or the DI from my amp, i would need to get the converters tho, would i just plug into the mic in or what, i really dont have a clue where to start or what software i should aquire :help:
  2. Basschair

    Basschair .............. Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2004
    Stockton, Ca
    Okay, where to start...

    Here's my caveat: I'm no pro. I've just been doing project recording for myself for a few years, so I might leave something out.

    post DI or XLR out, you need some sort of analog to digital conversion, which is a major sticking point for some, as far as quality of sound. There are quite a few external boxes on the market that will do this, and for not too much money...most will connect via USB2 or firewire to your computer.

    Your choice would probably be based initially upon what software you'd be using to record. ProTools is great, but a little pricey. I use it, but that's because I needed simultaneous multitrack recording. You may simply want a 1 or 2 track software package...there's lots, as some also double as "mastering" software. Sound Forge is one that's pretty good.

    Again, there's so many things to consider, and I'd probably steer you way wrong if I tried to list them. For now, you might just want to focus on compatibality between software and hardware, available plugins (effects) and overall reliability....not to mention cost.

    If you check with Sweetwater.com (this isn't a plug for them, by the way), they're pretty good with customer service. Tell them what you have and what you're looking for, and they'll probably steer you towards a software/hardware package such as Digidesign's M'box with ProTools LE, or maybe a Mackie package. That may just be the way to go, instead of mixing and matching soft with hard (ware).
    I hope I didn't just mess you up :confused:
  3. I wouldn't recommend ProTools straight off the bat, since it can be quite picky about the hardware it runs on. Folks on this forum have had quite mixed experiences with it.

    Simple (and cheap) software like Cakewalk Home Studio v2 or Cubase SE will offer you tons of functionality at not much money. OR depending if you buy a hardware audio interface you might get some software bundled with it. Check out interfaces from folks like Tascam, Edirol and MAudio to see what's on offer.

    If you're using just a converter it's hard to get the levels right: Passive basses have kind of a low level to go into line in port, actives may be too hot for the mic input. You need to play around with it. I'm not sure whether the Sansamp buffers the signal or not...

    The possibilities (I'm afraid) are endless depending on what gear you have and what you want to do ultimately. There are another couple of threads knocking around here along similar lines - why not keep track of them and see how others are approaching it?

    Attached is a very brief explanation if you want to use the built in soundcard. Lots of caveats apply. Particularly if you plug your bass into the mic input. First, turn off your speakers before plugging in! Second go through the recording setup sequence and set the recording level to the lowest value. Third plug in your bass. Fourth, gradually increase the recording level until you get a decent signal. Fifth, go to your audio recorder (Audacity or something similar) and check that you're getting a signal from the line in. Sixth, sit back, smug in the knowledge that you've fooled THE MAN by not having to pay $$$ for an audio interface. Seventh, realise that the latency you're getting from the Soundmax soundcard on your PC is rubbish and you'll need to go out and pay $$ for an audio interface anyway. Eighth, cry yourself to sleep at night...

    Take care... enjoy...


    How to record my bass straight into the PC
    (Without using an expensive audio interface)

    1. Turn off your speakers.
    3. Double click the speaker icon in the system tray (bottom right)
    4. From the Options menu select Properties
    5. Click on the Recording radio button and press OK.
    6. Select Line in if your bass is going to be plugged into the Line socket.
    7. Set the recording level to minimum.
    8. Get your 1/4” to 1/8” adaptor plug.
    9. Plug your bass into the Line socket.
    10. Adjust the levels slowly until you don’t get clipping / distorted sound.
    11. If you’ve got your passive bass plugged into the mic socket then you will need to reduce the gain on the microphone input. Make sure the MIC boost option in not checked. DO THIS BEFORE PLUGGING YOUR BASS IN!
    12. Now go to your choice of sequencer / audio recorder and select the soundcard as the input for audio.
    13. Adjust latency sliders so you don’t get stuttering of the audio output (which happens because the basic PC soundcard can’t process the audio fast enough). If you switch off Monitoring options in the sequencer this will stop any “delay” like effect of latency which could become annoying while trying to track a part.
    14. Note that using this method for recording records a mono or stereo signal. You’ll need to double track stuff in your sequencer to layer up sounds. If you need more inputs then you’ll need to get a dedicated soundcard.
  4. jelloyacket

    jelloyacket bass > guitar

    Jun 14, 2002
    McMurray, PA
    I have an M-Audio Firewire Solo, although if you have a decent internal soundcard, you could probably record to it from a 1/4" output. Software wise, I like Goldwave (www.goldwave.com) for free, although it isn't for multitracking. I have n-Track Studio (www.fasoft.com), which is $50 or $75 (16-bit or 24-bit) and has lots of functionality, just not all the fancy bells and whistles that the more mainstream software has.
  5. Basschair

    Basschair .............. Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2004
    Stockton, Ca
    I'd definitely go with what these guys have mentioned. I was pretty one track minded when I was more into the recording and sound design stuff, and didn't pay much attention to what else was out there.
  6. Juneau


    Jul 15, 2004
    Dallas, TX.
    While some folks here may disagree (and each to their own) a Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS Card has direct inputs (1/4"), and will likely include a software bundle to handle general needs. If you want a more robust software, you might look at Adobe Audition which works well with the sound card I mention. Thats what we use for all of our recording, sometimes into a mixer before the computer, sometimes not.
  7. cheers guys, will have a shot at some of these things soon, needed a new sound card anyway!
  8. Mike Money

    Mike Money Banned

    Mar 18, 2003
    Bakersfield California
    Avatar Speakers Endorsing Hooligan
    I have a berhringer Eurotrack 1202 mixer that I run into my sound card...

    I use the RCA outs from the mixer directly into the sound card... A lot of computer speakers come with an RCA---->1/8th inch cord, so radioshack has them for about $2.50

    To amplify what im recording, I use the main out on my mixer to the FX loop on my peavey TNT...

    when I want to record my bass without the sterile mixer tone, I go bass---->TNT----->FX loop SEND----->any open mixer channel

    Turn down the gain on your PC input so it doesn't over drive...

    Oh, and I use N-Track Studio
  9. I was actually looking at behringer mixers today, was thinking about either the UB502 or the UB802, both of which i think would be ok

    Ive got a huge pile of RCA to 1/8th speaker cables at home, so its all good :cool:
  10. Mike Money

    Mike Money Banned

    Mar 18, 2003
    Bakersfield California
    Avatar Speakers Endorsing Hooligan

    So, get the mixer, and N-track studio off of download.com, and i can hook you up with the codes for the full thing.
  11. Dedeer


    Feb 28, 2005
    Costa del Sol
    :bassist: One of the best souncards under 100$ is the M-audio Audiophile 24/96. it has 2 inputs and 2 outputs at 24bits/96khz. Every review that you come upon on the internet is a possitive one. Combining it whit a mixer like a yamaha MG10/2 ,that cost the same as a behringer but is far way better, you have all you need to record with a pc. As for as software there are plenty of cheap software that can do the job, search for demo versions on the internet, try them and go with the one is best for you.
  12. DirtDog


    Jun 7, 2002
    The Deep North
    I'm using M-Audio Mobile Pre (16bit/48KhZ) with two ins and two outs (stereo out). Into a Toshiba Satellite Pro laptop via USB. Doesn't support MIDI, but other M-Audio USB products do.

    Into Cakewalk Guitar Tracks Pro (v3). Drag and Drop audio loop support - great for building drum tracks from samples. Includes the Amplitude guitar amp modeller - does a great MesaBoogie tone.

    Works great, but the current M-Audio USB driver on XP Pro can be a bit buggy. It's a quick reinstall and you're off again.

    Total Cost (excl. laptop) - Around $400 CDN.

  13. From the stickie at the top of this page, I've looked at a few threads for Newbies. This (and some other related threads) interested me. I also have never attempted but have been curious about what I need to purchase/do in order to record on a computer.

    Since some of those stickied threads are a little old (some with the last comments between 2002 & 2005), I was wondering if there are any newer products/procedures that have developed up to today (2013).
  14. DirtDog


    Jun 7, 2002
    The Deep North
    Blast from the the past for sure!

    What kind of hardware are you plan on using? PC/Mac? Tablet? So many really great options out there today.

    Since I posted this in 2005, I have moved to Mac and run Garageband for almost everything I do (not a pro!). Also have a few things that I run on iPad, incl. Garageband, amp sims, other multitrack recording. Cost for software and hardware are appreciably less now than in 2005 for the consumer level stuff. Prosumer and Pro level stuff can still be pricey.

    Boils down to what you want to acheive.

  15. Plucky The Bassist

    Plucky The Bassist ZOMG! I'm back from the dead! Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2010
    Houston, TX
    I use Reaper as a recording program. It's relatively inexpensive and works great...comes with an MP3 renderer as well! Recording quality is pretty good too, and I'm only using a Line 6 UX2 as an interface to record with.
  16. I've been thinking of picking up a Mac Powerbook specifically for recording.
  17. ScottTunes

    ScottTunes Gear-A-Holic Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2011
    So Cal
    REAPER is a great DAW program to begin with... And great DAW program no metter what your level of experience is!

    The MOST difficult part of using your computer as a recorder is the conversion from "analog" to digital.

    Some amplifiers provide A/D conversion... Some pedals provide this...

    The difficult part is to find A/D and D/A so you can listen as you record.

    Everything else is the same as it was before computers...
  18. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    A/D and D/A isn't too bad. It takes microseconds.
    It when you start adding effects. Some can add several milliseconds delay.
    There are some effects designed specifically for live use, and careful use of algorithms to help insure low latency. Some others are designed just for recording and only meant for recording where the DAW can compensate for the latency.

    As a guideline, only use low latency effects for monitoring live. 1ms of latency is the same as 1 ft away from the amp. 10ms is the same as standing 10ft from an amp. It's easy for brains to adjust. Latency is not a big deal. Add the high latency plugins after you record.
  19. chatterbox272


    Apr 12, 2012
    Everyone has their own preferences for specific pieces of gear/software but when it's broken down you need:
    1. Either a DI + Preamp + A/D converter or a recording interface (all 3 in 1)
    2. A DAW (Digital Audio Workstation)

    Personally, I'd be saying the Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 interface, and REAPER are a good starting point.
  20. Thanks for the replies. I'll look into the suggested products/software recommendations.