Let's talk recording

Discussion in 'Recording Studio' started by MIDNIGHT, Jan 25, 2008.

  1. MIDNIGHT

    MIDNIGHT V.I.P. Member V.I.P. Member

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    (didn't know where to put this thread but here's goes nuthin :D)

    so guys, let's talk recording :D

    all ya'll home recorder dudes, with your mini (or full-sized :p) recording studios, spill all ya'll beans :D

    anything to do with recording -- tips, the equipment you use, the equipment you wish you had :p, etc :D


    let me start it off my asking about typed of microphones.. i was looking through the mics on my Sweetwater Pro Gear magazine and i saw SO many types of mics i was just got lost :rofl: :p -- condenser mics, dynamic mics, etc...

    thing is, if i had the money, the next thing i would buy is a decent mic for small recordings at home.. i feel lazy recording stuff with the camera i have since the audio ain't too good.. surely, if i had a good mic, i'd be recording all the time :D

    can ya'll lead me in the right direction? :fingersx: (even if i don't have the money :p )

    :D
     
  2. DeafDumbBlind Kid

    DeafDumbBlind Kid Senior Member

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    if you thought guitars and basses and amps were a lot to learn about, recording is an entire universe to explore. There are some AE (audio engineers) who do not even play any instruments at all, though the majority do tend to have at least some musical hands on experience.

    best thing is to keep it simple. I see a glut, plethora, an extremely large number of classifieds for people who've bought hard disc recorders, DAWs (digital audio workstations), mid-level prosumer pre-amps, compressors, software packages, etc, etc, who have found that they simply did not have the herewithal to learn what it takes to get sound from the air to a recorded medium. It can get real expensive, real fast, and you have a lot of expensive doorstops hanging around.

    The first mic you should get is the venerable SM57. You can use it to record with, and it doubles as a hammer in a pinch :rofl: LDC (large diaphragm condenser) mics can range from 89 dollars to tens of thousands for vintage stuff. The low end is almost all made in the same factory in China, and rebadged for the various companies. The better ones are around 200 dollars. A Rode NT1-A is one of the better bargains for a LDC, and is gaining respect. It is one of the quietest mics out there, period. The Rodes are made in Australia.

    A small mixer, like a Mackie VLZ 1204, has pretty decent mic pres, phantom power. Pros will sneer at them, but for a beginner, they are more than adequate. These can be found used all the time, often with just a few hours of use on them.

    Software like GarageBand and others of its ilk abound, and can be quite useful for home recording. Most software packages have lots of effects built into them, so do not worry too much about buying outboard (meaning stand alone units) gear for processing.

    You'll probably want a couple of mic stands, a small desktop type with a gooseneck is good for micing a combo or cab, a boom stand for room mics (or vocals). Don't worry too much about balanced or unbalanced cables, that won't make too much of a difference until you start getting fancy.

    A small tape recorder, like the Tascam 424, are good for doing mixdowns if you don't want to clog up your hard drive. An external or dedicated hard drive is recommended if you do any computer recording, gigabytes fill up at an astounding rate. Learn how to backup stuff, it will save your bacon. A cd burner is a must if you want to make your own copies.

    to review:
    SM57 - 75-100 bucks
    mixer - 200 bucks
    LDC mic - 100-200 bucks
    dedicated harddrive - 120-250 bucks
    mic stands, clips, cables, etc - 100 bucks

    software - totally depends on what you use. there is free stuff out there. It can sound good, usually only has 2 or 4 tracks, but if you are just recording yourself, it just might do. If you go with big names (Logic, Sonar, Pro Tools, etc), expect to drop some pretty hefty coin. I wouldn't go that route unless you find this really floats your boat and you think you'll do something with it.

    Hope this helps.
     
  3. LoKi

    LoKi V.I.P. Member

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    I've got a bunch of mics, cheap, expensive, condenser, dynamic, you name it. Its good to have a mix of things. Some mics, no matter how expensive just don't work recording some stuff.

    Took me a long time to find a good vocal mic for my voice. 58's get the job done, but I wanted something a little more so I picked up a R0de S1, works wonders for my vocal type. I'm a high tenor.

    I have a few different preamps, and still prefer the good old outboard effects to vst's or plugins of any kind. Lexicon and Alesis Quadraverb for reverbs. Outboard EQ's are good too, but not as necessary. I've got a few good EQ plugins.

    I use Sonar Producers Edition.. Whatever the latest one is. My GF uses a Pro-Tools setup that works for her and her Mac. On my PC, Sonar works great with any hardware so thats a plus. Gotta have MAudio hardware to use Pro Tools.

    Good cables are a must, and a decent room to record in. I mostly do acoustic stuff on my own, or live 'off the floor' recordings of the band during rehearsals or shows using my laptop and Sonar as well.

    Spend a few bucks and you can make a pro level recording in your home. Everybody is digital nowadays anyway, and any good engineer will tell you that it isn't the hardware you've got, or how much you paid for it, its how you use it.
     
  4. ReverendJWblues

    ReverendJWblues MLP Chaplain V.I.P. Member

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    Shhhhhhhhhh its a secret. :)
     
  5. MIDNIGHT

    MIDNIGHT V.I.P. Member V.I.P. Member

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    thanks loads LoKi and DDBK :thumb:

    DDBK, about the Shure SM57, i hear GREAT stuff about this mic and i've heard audio samples as well and i must say it almost sounds too perfect for my need :thumb: .. one thing though, how would you get it on to your computer? i'm guessing with the software? but i mean, how would you connect the mic to the software in the computer? :wave:

    also, what do ya'll think of this lil' bugger? :D

    BLUE Snowball | Sweetwater.com

    :hippie:
     
  6. WildeStarr

    WildeStarr V.I.P. Member

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    We have lots of high end recording gear here in our home studio. Roland VS2480, Pro Tools, etc. I don't know how to run any of it, my wife handles all that stuff. For my demo purposes and working out guitar parts... I still use an old Tascam 488 8 track in my home office and an old Radio Shack cassette player! I am just not very good with the modern stuff. I have made lots of records over the years, but I wish I would have been more involved in the production and engineering aspect of them.
     
  7. 5F6-A

    5F6-A Senior Member

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  8. DeafDumbBlind Kid

    DeafDumbBlind Kid Senior Member

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    I connect my SM57 either through my mackie vlz1204 out to my digi 001 via PCI card, or plug the mic directly into the 001.

    Dude, Blue are highly respectable mics, the USB can go directly to your audio card. for 100 dollars, you can't beat that with a stick. Damn, i might get one myself. Thanks for the heads up.
     
  9. Doctor Dread

    Doctor Dread Senior Member

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    I will cover the very low-end home recording system. Good for developing your music, composing, laying the backing tracks, testing various ideas... basically, for having fun. But if you do it the right way, can be used for more serious purposes.

    All of you with decent amps and willing to record their true magic, stop reading. This is a setup for us living in the apartments, with itchy neighbours and zero-tolerant landlords.

    This is a PC configuration. You will need a decent soundcard (in fact, two of them), one mixer, one DI box, three software packages and plenty of hard disc space. If you want to lay any vocals or acoustic instruments, one good dynamic & one good condenser mic. My hardware setup is this:

    mixer: Behringer XENYX 802
    DI box: Behringer Ultra-DI 100
    soundcards: two M-Audio Audiophile 2496
    dynamic microphone: Sennheiser Evolution E-945
    condenser microphone: large diaphragm AKG Perception 100

    software:
    recording: Adobe Audition 1.5 (former Cool Edit)
    amp simulation: Amplitube 2
    drum machine: any free you can find, the simpler the better, or free drum loops

    The heart of this configuration is Amplitube 2 amp emulator. I’m not affiliated with Amplitube 2 in any way, I’m speaking this out of fascination with the things this software can do. You can download a fully functional demo, so you can see for yourself. But bear in mind that it is NOT a software for gigs (as in a laptop plugged into PA). It’s created to reproduce the sound of those tube amps, stomp boxes, various mics etc AS HEARD IN THE FINAL MIX. So, you are recording exactly the same sound you hear, it’s already in your soundcard.

    And for using two soundcards, here’s the thing:

    Use one card as a normal one, and the other one assign exclusively to Amplitube 2. Benefits: zero latency. Even an older Pentium IV can handle it with less than 40% CPU load. This is the path: guitar into DI Box, DI Box into line-in of the second card, from there line-out into the mixer, and from there normally into the first, main card. Those two professional cards are much cheaper than one serious, multi-channelled. If you’re concerned with post-production of your wave, just record at 48kHz and you’ll be fine.

    As I said at the beginning, this is a low-end configuration, but you can have fun. If you need any additional information, send me a PM.
     
  10. MIDNIGHT

    MIDNIGHT V.I.P. Member V.I.P. Member

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    so if you were to choose between the Shure SM57 and the Blue Snowball, which would you choose? :wave:
     
  11. Liam

    Liam V.I.P. Member

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    Never tried a Blue Snowball, but I keep an SM57 in my kit bag just in case the one in the studio is broken, or the PA guy only has 58s.

    For recording I actually like two SM57s at 45 degrees to each other, you have to move one of them about until the phase sounds right. (One straight on to the speaker, one at right angles.)

    Don't want to drag this thread out, but anyone get the feeling the SM57 is a popular guitar recording mic? I aslo like them for vocals.

    Liam
     
  12. MIDNIGHT

    MIDNIGHT V.I.P. Member V.I.P. Member

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    dang.. all this stuff just to record stuff.. :shock:

    if all this can be avoided by getting the snowball, then i'd go for the snowball.. :hmm:
     
  13. Harpozep

    Harpozep V.I.P. Member

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    I love my SM -7 vocal mic. Everyone uses SM - 57s, and I like to be different:applause:

    [​IMG]

    A review:

    Shure SM 7 Dynamic Microphone Review

    "Shure SM 7 Dynamic Microphone Review
    The Shure SM7 dynamics mic came highly recommended from the various professional recording engineers that I've talked to online. Many pro recording guys say that the SM7 should be one of the first mics that you buy. I now know why.
    Shure SM 7 Dynamic Microphone Review
    The Shure SM7b is basically an upgraded SM57. It looks much different than an SM57 and sounds different for a number of reasons. The SM7 started out as a voiceover microphone. If you watch Howard Stern, you'll notice that Robin uses a Shure SM7. I'm not sure about the guts inside, but one feature that makes the Shure SM7 a different microphone is the position of the capsule. They actually built a cage about 2-3" around the capsule. So even if your lips are touching the mic, they have a healthy space from the capsule. I'm sure this was a way to reduce the proximity effect that comes with the hypercardiod design.

    The downside to putting the capsule at least 2" from tip of the mic is the chance for picking up other sounds is increased quite a bit. To combat this effect, they wrapped the cage in foam. This foam not only increases the isolation of this mic, but it works as a natural pop filter.

    The Shure SM7 has two different tone settings on the back of the microphone that make it much more flexible. It has a low end roll off which is common on pro mics and it has a prescense boost which is not so common on mics. I must be honest, I haven't experimented much with the low end roll off switch. For every application that I've used the mic for I haven't wanted a massive low end.

    Last night was the first time I disengaged the low end roll off. I was recording a band totally live in a crowded, small room. I had recorded the singer several times before. While he has a great voice, he wants the tone of his voice to be as thick and full as possible. I went ahead and turned off the low end filter for him. I also turned off the prescence boost. I knew his voice would have plenty of prescense. The band had drums, bass, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, keyboards, and saxaphone basically all in the same rooms. The band leader was adament about recording EVERYTHING live. This means that I needed a tad bit of isolation in the vocals.

    It turned out that there was more isolation than I needed. The Shure SM7 certainly blocked out unwanted sounds quite easily. We have a Mackie active PA speaker blasting the room full of sound. I was wearing ear plugs. The SM 7 did an amazing job. I'm very impressed. The singer said that his vocals never sounded as good with condenser mics such the Audio Technica 4050 or the AKG 414. What's amazing is this great sound was done live with no headphones with noise all over the place.

    It's no wonder the SM 7 is used on some many professional recordings. The SM7's claim to fame is the Micheal Jackson "Thriller" record. They could have used any vintage microphone on the planet, but they choose the Shure SM7. I've read that the Red Hot Chili Peppers have used the SM 7 on vocals on ever album they have done. I've also heard that 3 Doors Down uses this mic a lot. You can see James Hetfield from Metallica singing into a Shure SM 7 on the "Some Kind Of Monster" DVD.

    For $350, it's tough to beat a Shure SM 7. It's durable. It will last. It's pro. This mic is great in a loud, live recording setting or in an overdub with headphones setting. I'm impressed by this mic. You can tailer the sound to fit what you are looking for. I've even heard that it's a great kick drum mic too. I'll have to try it out. I'd pick the Shure SM7 over just about any condenser if budget is an issue.

    By Brandon Drury
    Published: 11/8/2005"
     
  14. lucidspoon

    lucidspoon Senior Member

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    I'm glad to hear a couple people say that software recording isn't a bad way to go, because that's what I'm wanting to get into. I have a Roland 4-track digital recorder that I got several years ago. It works fine, and when I've had the time to actually sit down and focus on recording something, I've been able to get some decent sounding things out of it, but it's kind of a pain to use when trying to record with other people. Whenever I've had more than one other person with me, it always ends up being us recording a bit, then spending 15 minutes discussing what part someone is talking about when they want to change something. It's annoying to have to scroll and listen for different parts, especially when everybody has their own way of remembering different parts of a song.

    I've done a few recordings to my MacBook Pro into GarageBand. Some through a mixer plugged into the line-in port, and some through the built-in mic. Either way, they obviously don't turn out sounding very good, even for just quick recordings, but it at least gives you a visual aspect to your recording, and you can break things up and name them and move things around a lot more easily than on my 4-track.

    I'm planning on getting one of the Line 6 USB audio interfaces. Either the UX1 or the UX2, depending on if a couple other people are wanting to pitch in a few bucks for the UX2. I've read good reviews of both and they're pretty cheap.

    I also happened to come across a copy of Logic Pro a month or so ago. :naughty: I haven't had a chance to mess with it, but I'm looking forward to seeing how it works with a USB audio interface.
     
  15. lucidspoon

    lucidspoon Senior Member

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    Well, I got a Line 6 TonePort UX2 the other day. Seems like a great product for what it does and for the price. I was hoping that with 2 XLR and 2 1/4" jacks that you'd be able to lay down 4 tracks at once into GarageBand, but I haven't figured that out yet, if it is even possible. I started thinking about it, and I bet that there aren't any USB interfaces that would let you do more than 2 at a time, because USB wouldn't be fast enough. I might have to look into a FireWire unit to be able to do that.

    Personally, I don't need more than just one input, so the UX2 is plenty overkill, and if you can't lay down more than 2 tracks at once, then I think I'm going to take it back for the UX1, which has 1 XLR and 1 1/4" jack, because that's all me and the guys who are wanting to record would need at this time. Mic the drums through the PA system and then into the XLR input, run the bass into the 1/4", lay down 2 tracks, and repeat for guitar and vocals.
     
  16. MIDNIGHT

    MIDNIGHT V.I.P. Member V.I.P. Member

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    yeah i'm pretty happy with the UX-2.. but what's nice about it all is that there will always be something better to aim for in the future :D
     
  17. Scooter2112

    Scooter2112 Senior Member

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    I picked up a Line6 UX-1 last week. Haven't messed with it a whole lot, but it seems fine for what I want to do with it. I've messed around with GearBox a little and have taken a liking to the "Plush Garden" pre-amp configuration. -Seems like the recorded version always seems to add a little more gain than when you hear yourself playing it live.

    I would like to pick up a mic and record my amp, rather than the Line6 pre-amp. I'm recording into Garageband on an iMac, and it seems to work just fine.
     
  18. toneguy86

    toneguy86 V.I.P. Member

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    Anyone out there working with Lexicon and Cubase?

    Mark
     
  19. ReverendJWblues

    ReverendJWblues MLP Chaplain V.I.P. Member

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    I finally got some of mine figured out Mark, although my 15 yr old did most of the figureing, I still have alot to figure out. My next step is a dedicated hard drive and a few other goodies. I guess you just have to spend dollar after dollar with this stuff. I bought some cheap powered monitors, Im getting ready to make myself a good set tho, but these will do for now. I lost my SM57s and 58s I did the last test on a Yamaha MZ105be, about like a 57.
     
  20. 180gROC

    180gROC Senior Member

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    I pieced together a low end studio over the past couple years. Here's what I got...

    M-Audio Firewire 410 interface
    M-Audio BX-5 monitors
    Soundcraft Compact 10 mixer
    2 AKG Perception 200's
    1 SM-58
    BBE Sonic Maximizer 482i
    Boss GE 215 EQ
    Pro Tools
    Ableton Live

    with cables and such I spent about $2300. I bought a better pc, not included in the price, because I needed a new one anyways... :)

    Honestly, right now we use all the mics to mic the drum kit, and I get my guitar signal "on tape" through the SP/dif out on my desktop Tonelab. When my drummer gets his act together and buys a drum mic set, I'll probably experiment more with micing my cabinets. What I have toyed with, with the 58, has been promising.

    The overall results are satisfactory, although I don't claim to be a great player, or sound engineer... We mostly just record weekend jam sessions and such. Stuff like this...

    http://www.mediamax.com/sjones360/Hosted/Live%20Jams/Glazed and Abused.mp3

    Disclaimer: (you knew there'd be one) The bass player had never touched a stringed instrument three weeks prior. The bass cab was facing the drummer, and got "on tape" through the three mics that were on the kit. I couldn't hear him, and just knew that he was on time. I didn't realize what he was playing until the drummer hit the break. I remember suddenly feeling disrespectful that I was drunken noodling a Zep tune.
     

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