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Scarlett 2i2 & Reaper (formerly Audacity)

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by Kro, Jun 3, 2019.


  1. Kro

    Kro Supporting Member

    May 7, 2003
    New Jersey
    I had been using my Zoom H4N as my primary recording interface for personal bass tracking since 2009. It got the job done all that time, but minor annoyances with the unit finally got to me last month when I decided to pick up a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2.

    Since starting to use the Scarlett, I’ve really come to appreciate the convenience factor of a well-thought-out interface, and while I can’t tell with certainty that the preamp is that much better than the H4n (I suspect it might be), I’ve really been enjoying how easy levels are to dial in.

    So with all that being said, I’m still running it with an up-to-date version of Audacity. If all that I want to do is bass tracking, is there anything that I’m really missing by sticking with Audacity vs. other DAWs?

    Given how much easier I’m finding things are now using the Scarlett vs. the H4N, I’m kind of wondering if there might be similar efficiencies or improvements in quality if I also switch DAWs. What do you think – given that I’m not interested in VSTs/other plugins, is there a good reason for me to switch? As it stands my tracks get handed off to our recording engineer/drummer who imports them into Logic and then can do whatever he wants with them there.

    Things I primarily care about:
    - Low latency/lag
    - Transparency/fidelity
    - ...I think that's really about it

    Any and all recommendations and tips are welcome, if you’re willing to share!
     
  2. hs123

    hs123

    Aug 11, 2011
    Westminster CO
    I use audacity to create files, .wav, .mp3 etc. It has minimal (But Good) Effects and Analyzation. After I'm done creating the file, I import it into Reason or ProTools, depending on how much I want done to the file. If your guy at the end has Logic, he has the editing covered. I find that Audacity sometimes loses the Scarlett inputs and outputs, so I screenshot the first screen while its working, so I can put it back like it was.
     
    Kro and MonetBass like this.
  3. Kro

    Kro Supporting Member

    May 7, 2003
    New Jersey
    Yup, it’s fairly easy, we have the process down pretty well at this point: he sends me a wav of drums that I track over – which allows me to play with initial bass tones (hardware) and do any necessary editing that I want until I feel that it’s perfect. At that point I send him a wav back that he drags into Logic for everything else to be tracked on top of.

    I’ve been using it only for a week so far, but thankfully I haven’t experienced that yet. Actually, since I’ve set my Scarlett up as a default sound device for playback and recording, as soon as it gets plugged in it automatically gets set by my PC – and then is picked up when I fire up Audacity. At least as long as I make sure that I plug in my Scarlett first before opening Audacity!
     
  4. Since you're not using any effects, I wouldn't expect any difference on any of these points from using different recording software.

    If latency is a concern, and all your sound shaping is done in hardware, you can set up the Scarlett's software mixer so that you can directly monitor the input signal for zero latency. Just make sure that you mute the track you're recording into in Audacity, because you don't want to hear the original signal and a slightly delayed one together.

    You may also want to look at latency compensation settings in Audacity to make sure the recorded audio is exactly aligned with the drum track.

    I understand from your second post that you do some editing in Audacity. If you like Audacity's workflow, I'd say there is no reason to switch. Other software may look nicer or have fancier editing options, but if I'm understanding you correctly, I doubt you'll have any use for them.
     
  5. Kro

    Kro Supporting Member

    May 7, 2003
    New Jersey
    Yup, already have latency zeroed out (-175ms for my setup, for some reason it’s stuck in my head)! I also have it set up to just use the monitoring through the Focusrite in Direct Hardware mode only. Works like a charm!

    if possible, I like to preserve the slight dancing around the beat variance as much as possible, so I usually try to not align by eye any more than I have to, but with latency dialed in, there doesn't seem to be much of an issue.

    I do, but mostly with older Audacity versions where I had to duplicate to a new track, cut, and crossfade manually. I haven’t had a chance to play with it much, but my understanding is that late last year better punch and roll functionality was added into Audacity. This would actually be a primary reason for me to want to use a different DAW now that I’m thinking about it… but if it’s now fixed…
     
  6. Seems like you have good setup for tracking then (can't improve on zero latency). Again, the main - maybe the only - benefit of using something else might be improved workflow, but that is very subjective. It's been a while since I last used Audacity but I prefered the way software such as Logic (or similar software for PC - ntrack studio, cubase etc.) handles tasks like cutting, pasting, and crossfades. I've never used punch-in in Audacity so I can't comment on that. But that's just me, I know that others use Audacity for these tasks without complaints.
     
    Kro likes this.
  7. AGCurry

    AGCurry Supporting Member

    Jun 29, 2005
    St. Louis
    I'll agree with the majority. If it does what you need it to do, why change? If you were talking about recording on magnetic tape, the machine matters, but digital audio? What goes in is what's captured.
     
    Koala of Doom and Kro like this.
  8. Kro

    Kro Supporting Member

    May 7, 2003
    New Jersey
    Update: played around with punching a bit this afternoon, and unless I'm missing something the experience is still terrible. You can't select the region to punch, only the starting point - and it wipes everything out after that. IMO there is no benefit to using this function over just silencing the desired region, and recording the section again in a new track and manually crossfading. Bummer.

    I really like the idea of utilizing open source software on principle, but I'm thinking maybe I should dip my toe into Reaper...
     
    And I likes this.
  9. Kro

    Kro Supporting Member

    May 7, 2003
    New Jersey
    Update: I've spent less than an hour actually working in Reaper and I'm already operating at the same level of proficiency with it as I was with Audacity. It's very intuitive and seemingly better in almost every way. It looks like the Cockos team has earned my money (all $60), and I'm not going back.

    Every 5 minutes I'm being wowed by something else. Punches? Effortless. Fades? Unbelievably intuitive. Noise reduction? What noise.

    My drummer should be finishing up with the drum tracks for my band's next two simultaneous releases within the next few days, and I'm pumped to start laying down something new.
     
    MartinB likes this.
  10. And I

    And I Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2009
    Witchtown, MA
    Reaper is great for multitrack recording. Audacity is a great wave editor. They both have their uses. When you get deep into multiple takes and punching on reaper it becomes a major pain to deal with visually and even functionally. That's the one area where pro tools is worlds better than reaper IMO. Otherwise they are comparable, and at very different price points.
     
    Kro likes this.
  11. Koala of Doom

    Koala of Doom

    May 4, 2019
    Oklahoma
    I have no experience with Audacity, but I have been using both Reaper and the Scarlett 2i2 for a couple of years now, and have thus far found them to be very compatible. While I agree with what everyone has said about staying with what you are comfortable with, I do also highly recommend Reaper. In response to the comment about it being difficult to manage visually, I personally color code my tracks. For example, red for drums, white and blue for L/R guitars, black for bass, etc. This makes it far easier to manage, imo (unless I misunderstood what they meant).
     
  12. And I

    And I Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2009
    Witchtown, MA
    Yeah I was talking about multiple takes on the same track. I don't like the way reaper handles it... At. All... that's really my only gripe for what is otherwise software that blows anything else in its price range out of the water.
     
    Koala of Doom likes this.
  13. Koala of Doom

    Koala of Doom

    May 4, 2019
    Oklahoma
    Ahhhh, I understand what you mean now, and I agree. It is a shame that there isn't much of a way to annotate or select the different takes. But I suppose nothing comes without its downsides, eh?
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2019
  14. hs123

    hs123

    Aug 11, 2011
    Westminster CO
    ProTools 'playlists' are amazing for this!
     
    And I likes this.
  15. bass40hz

    bass40hz Cigar smoker, scotch drinker, American Patriot Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2014
    Sussex County, NJ
    no endorsements yet...Are you listening Spector, DR, GK, Line6?
    I use a Scarlet 2i2 and it is great, no issues I can complain about. I use it with Reaper and Ableton and the industry standard ProTools, and soon to use it with Logic Pro. All on an iMac 27".
    Rock on.
     
    Koala of Doom likes this.
  16. And I

    And I Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2009
    Witchtown, MA
    Yup. I believe there is a mod for reaper that mimics it, but I am hoping this functionality is included in the core code for the next release.
     
  17. Kro

    Kro Supporting Member

    May 7, 2003
    New Jersey
    @And I – I see what you’re saying about how Reaper manages takes (I think). I did some tracking over the weekend, and maybe I’m still learning my way around them, but it did get a little frustrating with how they all stack (or don’t… when they don’t). My ham fisted solution was to render a fresh track frequently to wipe the take-slate clean.

    At any rate, aside from that I was pretty happy with the process, and editing was relatively easy and probably saved me a bunch of time over how long it would have taken me in Audacity.

    This is the end drum and bass track that I wound up with at the end of the night – I listened to it a few times today during my commute and I’m struggling with making “just one more edit”. The struggle is real, as I always seem to be able to find “just one more edit”… :p

     
    MartinB and And I like this.

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