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Using my PC to record/make music???

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by arther daily, Nov 20, 2001.


  1. Right, I want to use my PC to record, sample, loop, create, mess about with and generally try and make music.

    I've got a copy of Cubase on the way, am planning to get a keyboard in the very near future, speakers amp etc...

    I'm a total beginner at this, so I'll be learning as I go along... but to get started I need some help.

    What else do I need? - - - mixer? cables? soundcard? - please recommend a soundcard, as I have to buy this seperately from the PC.

    However obvious, please advise!
     
  2. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Get a soundcard that has ASIO support for Cubase.

    I'd recommend the Midiman Audiophile 2496, ca. 200$, or a Midiman Delta 44.

    Reviews:

    http://www.tweakmax.com/html/ap2496/ap2496-1.cfm

    http://www.midiman.com/company/media/reviews/computermusic_ap2496/cmreview.html

    More reviews:

    http://www.midiman.com/company/reviews.php

    DON'T get a Creative Labs SBLive or Audigy. Those are cards for gamers and don't record well.

    You can connect your bass amp's line out/DI out to the line in of the soundcard, so a mixer isn't necessary at this stage.

    Read the manuals that come with Cubase. There's some good info in there to get you started.
     
  3. Thanks, that's exactly the sort of thing I need to know. I know when I go into pc world or whatever I'll get fed a load of bs, so I'm relying on this sort of info!
     
  4. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Oops, I didn't notice where you live...

    UK Website for Midiman/M-Audio:

    www.midiman.co.uk
     
  5. The midiman web site doesnt really work too well... in that the link to uk dealers is dead! Doh!

    I just read some web site about soundscards.. i didnt realise there were so many!!!!

    One that looked particularly good was a Roland external thingy. It was pretty much a mixer, digital effects unit, sampler and soundcard in-one.

    Any UK talk bassers know a good shop for soundcards & that sort of stuff that sells online?
     
  6. spamming my own thread. how sad...

    i have another question... Mackie 1402 mixer - any good for home use with PC?
     
  7. Oysterman

    Oysterman

    Mar 30, 2000
    Sweden
    Mackie VLZ's generally have a good reputation, although I do believe it when some people say that they aren't of top-notch quality (which die-hard Mackie fans like to claim from time to time). Kind of like the Carvins of home-recording equipment?

    The only things you'd need from a mixer in PC recording are the preamps, and do you really need 6 fair preamps as opposed to two good ones? I'm not certain of the price of a 1402 mixer, but I would think you can save some money by buying a decent dedicated stereo mic preamp instead, if you only have two inputs and outputs on your card anyway.

    But what sound card (how many channels) did you have in mind? If you have a 6-channel sound card then the Mackie might be a good way to go.
     
  8. well this is the thing... a 6 channel card is probly gonna cost me great deal more than a 4 channel which i reckon i can pick up for £200 new - less 2nd hand obviously.

    mackie do a mixer with 4 outputs, which i guess would be ideal.

    cheers for your input... this home recording lark is damned complicated... and getting more so the more i learn!
     
  9. Oysterman

    Oysterman

    Mar 30, 2000
    Sweden
    Just a quick question to understand your situation, and I don't mean to come across as rude or anything, but do you NEED four channels? Are you going to record a drum kit?
     
  10. No, bring on the questions!!!!

    Drum kit... well, I have one which I may well record, but mainly my intention with four channels was for these jams I have on weekly basis that I'd like to able to record - - so I can edit, mix & master later on.

    There's usually four of us, so I figured I'd need four channels to get each instrument on an independant track?
     
  11. Oysterman

    Oysterman

    Mar 30, 2000
    Sweden
    That's very true, but what instruments are going to be recorded? If you're recording drums and putting the entire kit on one mic (one channel), you should be aware that your mixing possibilities are very limited - just about the only thing you can do is adjust the volume of *the kit* in the mix. E.g. if only the crash cymbal is too loud, it is too loud (no way to adjust that in relation to the rest of the kit), or if he's too weak on the kick drum, it will simply sound that way in the recording. But I know, for just sketchpad-like recording and getting decent sound quality out of a jam, it would be more than sufficient... heck, when I do jams with my band, we record them using a cheap Peavey mic in the rehearsal room plugged into an old tape-eating Fostex 4-track (only utilizing one channel :D)... satisfies our needs! :)
     
  12. The instruments would be sax, acoustic guitar, electric, guitar and electric bass... so that's 1x mic input and 3x line-ins. We play to a drum machine, which I'll sort out via midi/USB somehow?

    Since we're effectively playing to a click, I should I'll be able to mix in some sampled or live drums afterwords?

    That's one plan anyway.. I'm also planning to work on all those freaky/dodgy ideas floating around in my head that I can never get any other musician to work on! ;)
     
  13. Oysterman

    Oysterman

    Mar 30, 2000
    Sweden
    You'd record the guitars through line? You know that both sound way better mic'ed, don't you? :)

    If you want to hear the drum machine (and eachother) without letting it bleed into the mic(s), I think you would need a heaphone amp of some sort, and four pairs of headphones. I don't know how drum machines work in recording situations... but one solution is to create/record the drum track using the line out (just assuming it has one) before recording the other instruments... for it will not make any difference in the end if you overdub the rest or not. :)

    If everyone can play to a click, and the system don't have much latency, yes, you should be able to record drums afterwards.

    (Ah yes, latency is always a problem... I don't know how much it would be noticed on your system, and wouldn't know what to do about it... I just know that I have zero latency on my system and I'm happy. :D)
     
  14. Yeah, I do know the guitars will sound shed loads better if mic'd... I'm literally just starting out, so I'm trying to limit my initial costs wherever possible, that way I can get started learning the software and build up gear as I go along and when I need to.

    Still got to get hold of a soundcard, monitors, midi keyboard and mixer yet... so I'm trying to be smart about what I buy and when (for a change!)

    Good idea, recording the drum track first, noted!

    Latency, hmmm, I hadnt though of that... I'll have to try and cross that bridge when I come to it!
     
  15. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Nooo, that's a major issue to consider when buying a sound card!

    There's a reason why pro audio software uses proprietary driver interfaces like ASIO (Steinberg and many others), EASI (Emagic Logic) and GSIF (Gigastudio,-sampler), instead of the windows/mac interfaces. Lower latency and more features.
     
  16. Oysterman

    Oysterman

    Mar 30, 2000
    Sweden
    One way to completely eliminate latency when recording (although not when mixing, but it's not as important), is doing it through a break-out box with a direct monitoring function (like my MindPrint DI-port). I also believe that a system like the Aardvark Q10 has this zero-latency monitoring as well, which makes it worth checking out... 8 balanced inputs with (what I've heard) fully decent preamps...

    Heh, if I hadn't used the DI-port, I would have looked into well over 70 ms latency to avoid crackles and pops... :D
     
  17. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    ASIO can do direct monitoring, which means you can hear the input signal with zero latency.
     
  18. Oysterman

    Oysterman

    Mar 30, 2000
    Sweden
    Not on my card...
     
  19. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    It must be utilized by the host software of course.

    Cubase and Nuendo can do it.
     
  20. Oysterman

    Oysterman

    Mar 30, 2000
    Sweden
    OK then, I never used those programs. But I get zero latency anyway. :)

    But AFAIK there's really no need to push all the way down to zero, anywhere around 10-12 ms or below will do great. I mean, 12 ms is roughly the time it takes for you to hear a drummer's beats if you stand 4 metres away... right?