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ummm....help?!

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by jasonbraatz, Dec 27, 2001.


  1. jasonbraatz

    jasonbraatz

    Oct 18, 2000
    Oakland, CA
    so...i'm trying to get a basic PC recording rig happening, and my computer is fighting me.


    here's what i have:

    Emachines 433i, w 192 meg of ram, 15g hard drive space, and Crystal SoundFusion soundcard (built into the motherboard)
    SWR interstellar overdrive preamp
    Bellari la120 compressor

    programs:
    cakewalk pro audio 9
    sonic foundry vegas video
    sonic foundry acid


    so plugging the preamp into the line in works...but i'd like something smaller so i don't have to have my rack in my room. if you saw how small my room was, you'd understand. would something like a cigarette amp work as a preamp? my compressor doesn't seem to work.


    but here's the other thing - my speakers are Boston Acoustic BA735 USB speakers, so they don't use my soundcard at all. Therefore, it won't let me hear what i'm playing until playback. I hooked up an actual set of speakers into the soundcard in addition to the ba's so i could hear what i was playing, but if there were a way to "connect" the two it'd be great. is there?


    so here are my questions in list form, incase you couldn't follow my rant:

    what can i use instead of my rack to record?
    can i get my USB speakers to do line-in playback?
    would something like that aardvark USB recording box take care of both my problems?
    should i even bother attempting to record thru my sound card?
    is there anyway i could plug my bass straight into my computer?
    any other advice?


    i just want this to be able to do sketches right now - all it needs to be able to record is bass/guitar/maybe vocals, all just one at a time. oh yeah, i'd rather not spend money doing this...the cheapest way i can get this going will be the best way!


    thanks

    jason
     
  2. Oysterman

    Oysterman

    Mar 30, 2000
    Sweden
    what can i use instead of my rack to record?

    A smaller preamp. You could use a mic-preamp, such as the ART Tube MP or similar smaller device, but without a high-impedance instrument input you'd also be required to use a DI box to get a good signal level. I'm sure there are some smaller, cheaper instrument pres (which would eliminate the need for a DI box), but I can't hand you any names off of the top of my head.

    can i get my USB speakers to do line-in playback?

    It's probably an issue of your sound card - it probably hasn't got what is called FULL DUPLEX, meaning it can only do one thing at a time. Either it will play back ONE source (one audio file or one MIDI file) or record ONE source. You don't hear any output during recording because the card is busy recording.

    would something like that aardvark USB recording box take care of both my problems?
    should i even bother attempting to record thru my sound card?
    is there anyway i could plug my bass straight into my computer?


    USB devices are said to cause some unpleasant instability in DAWs (Digital Audio Workstations) if you're unlucky. Seeing as your computer at least on paper virtually is a pile of junk (no offense towards your person, only your PC ;)), I wouldn't be surprised if you would have issues with it. But you never know for sure until you've tried yourself...

    As for bothering or not... well, if you can get it to work for sketching songs then it would be alright, wouldn't it? But since your sound card most likely isn't full duplex, you'd need a new one. And how it would work together with the built-in one is impossible to say without trying it. But it is an unsafe experiment, no doubt.

    Also... without a pro-grade card (meaning >$100), overdubs would be EXTREMELY difficult to nail and come out all wrong, since latency probably would go through the roof with your current setup. You THINK you played in time with your previous track, but play it back and, whoa, you're half a second behind! :eek:

    To get good results with PC recordings, I would not use the E-Machine but first and foremost get a new computer. I refuse to believe that an E-Machine would give sufficient performance, especially since they are rumoured to be useless with other hardware than what's tucked into it when it was assembled (and again, you'd need another sound card!). They are not sold in my country however, so I have no first-hand experience... I only "know" what I've heard. :oops:

    Plugging your bass straight into your computer without using a preamp won't give you desired signal level. After recording something, you would be required to amplify it using software, which indeed will increase the volume but also distort the signal and bring up the noise level. Probably won't sound too good.

    i just want this to be able to do sketches right now - all it needs to be able to record is bass/guitar/maybe vocals, all just one at a time. oh yeah, i'd rather not spend money doing this...the cheapest way i can get this going will be the best way!

    Turn off your E-Machine and get a used 4-track recorder (or a cheap new one, such as the Tascam Porta 02). Far easier to handle than a computer, built-in preamps and it will probably sound just as good as, if not better than your present DAW setup. You can also bring it anywhere. :)
     
  3. jasonbraatz

    jasonbraatz

    Oct 18, 2000
    Oakland, CA
    well...i putzed around with it and got it to work sorta...


    here's what i'm doing


    bass -> IOD -> soundcard

    (which was actually a bigger pain in the ass than it looks, i guess the IOD's 1/4 out is a TRS, not stereo, so it was making some very interesting sounds until i made a mono adapter (3 different adapters stuck together), works great now)

    then i plugged a set of speakers into the sound card, and set it up so playback goes through the BA speakers, and my bass comes out of the other set.

    kind of a bitch rig, but it works - better than i expected actually. i did a little 8 measure groove thing with bass, two guitars, and a drum loop, and it ended up pretty nice.


    so i think now i just need something other than my rack to use as a preamp. maybe the same TRS vs stereo thing was going on with my compressor? SHOULD that work as a preamp?


    EDIT: tried it - yes, the TRS thing was happening with my compressor. it works great. i now can record. huzzah.


    thanks for the help man, i know my computer is a piece, but ****ty equipment has never stopped me in the past!!!


    jason