Recording to Computer... Help!

Discussion in 'Recording Studio' started by VictorB, Aug 12, 2015.

  1. VictorB

    VictorB Formerly LZF Super Mod

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    Ok for a complete noob to all this, I need the opinions of the experts to get me started.

    My goal: to be able to record full songs; drums (real or virtual), guitar, bass, keys, vocals, etc.. Mixed, mastered, the whole 9 yards.

    The question is (besides the computer) what exactly do I need to get started?

    Software, interfaces, plug ins, whatever.

    Thanks in advance!
     
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  2. Mindfrigg

    Mindfrigg Senior Member

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    PC or tablet? I've gotten so I much prefer the Ipad. And are you building them up by layering or recording live ensembles primarily?
     
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  3. VictorB

    VictorB Formerly LZF Super Mod

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    PC, and I'd like to record one track at a time, maybe two if the bass can run direct.
     
  4. Tweaker

    Tweaker Senior Member

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    You're definitely going to need some kind of interface. You have a few options, depending on how you want to do it. If you want to record everyone at the same time, you're going to need a pretty big interface (at least 10 inputs I'd imagine, if you mic a drumset...maybe 5 if you wanna go bare bones and you're using an electric kit, and I don't know if 5-input interfaces are all that common). If you plan to record one or two people at a time, you can get away with a 2-input interface, or even 1-input.

    You'll need some kind of software, also called a DAW (digital audio workstation)...I use a version of Cubase that came with my interface, but I hear Reaper works well and is free for non-commercial use I believe. As far as what plugins you'll need, I have no idea...Freddy can help you with that I'm sure. He's a genius!

    The other thing you'll want to decide is if you're going to mic your amps or plug straight into the interface and use amp simulation on the computer. I've done both and I prefer mic'ing my amp because it's just easier for me...the amp simulations are pretty dang good these days but I'm computer stupid so it's difficult for me to figure out the ins and outs of the simulation software (or even open the software within your DAW).

    But that's pretty much what you'll need to get started at least. Your needs may change depending on how you record everything. You may need amp simulation software if you go straight into the interface. You may need a bunch of mics if you want to record everyone at the same time. But a good interface and a DAW will definitely get you going, and will certainly be enough to keep you very busy!

    EDIT: I see we posted at the same time! OK so you don't need a crazy interface...a 2-input interface will be great. You'll definitely want the flexibility of both inputs even if you want to record one at a time
     
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  5. Freddy G

    Freddy G V.I.P. Member

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    What's your budget Victor?
     
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  6. Mindfrigg

    Mindfrigg Senior Member

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    For recording I like Auria. If you don't need virtual instruments.
     
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  7. Freddy G

    Freddy G V.I.P. Member

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    For recording virtually all software sounds the same. The difference comes down to mixing. Native compressors, EQs and reverbs are what separates them.

    Most interfaces come bundled with software so that's the consideration you should make.
     
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  8. VictorB

    VictorB Formerly LZF Super Mod

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    Thanks for the replies so far guys!

    Budget is around $500.

    I have a load of various mics, I assume I'll need to plug the mic into the interface, to record to a track. I'll probably mic my amp as opposed to using modeling software.

    How about drums? With the drums I wouldn't mind using software as opposed to micing a kit... I'd like to program the drums on my own if it isn't too difficult.
     
  9. Mindfrigg

    Mindfrigg Senior Member

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    With drums it all depends on how you want to enter the parts. Step or real-time. If you're going to do real-time on a PC you'd need a USB kybd with pads or a dedicated pad input. They're not super expensive.
    SampleTank might be useful to you to start as it has hundreds of preset rhythms and some pretty decent kits that you can expand later.
    Garage Band generates random patterns that you select and define. On a tablet you can use the touch capabilities to play them as well. Or a smartphone if it's an Iphone. Don't know about Droids and such. You can do that with SampleTank as well.

    If you're a beginner you want to consider the ease of the interface. If you spend all your time mastering the software you're going to get frustrated. Garage Band is simple. Maybe too simple. But you can get the hang of it quickly. You'll hit a wall before too long though. It's a start.
     
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  10. Freddy G

    Freddy G V.I.P. Member

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    Do you have monitor speakers already? That's where the lion's share of your budget should go.
     
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  11. VictorB

    VictorB Formerly LZF Super Mod

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    No, just cheap ass computer speakers.

    I noticed some bundles come with monitors.
     
  12. Freddy G

    Freddy G V.I.P. Member

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    got links to these bundles? Frankly $500 is going to be really tight, but not impossible! It's a good thing you already have mics....
     
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  13. VictorB

    VictorB Formerly LZF Super Mod

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  14. Freddy G

    Freddy G V.I.P. Member

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    I think you need to ask yourself how many channels are you going to need to record simultaneously.
     
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  15. Stage Fright

    Stage Fright Banned

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    I use the stereo in jack and never had a problem with it.
     
  16. Freddy G

    Freddy G V.I.P. Member

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    you can also just hold your iphone up and record a band too....the scope of what Victor is asking is far beyond the stereo in jack of a computer.

    In any case, I'll say it again. speakers are going to be the limiting factor. The speakers and the room acoustics. We've had this discussion here many many times.
     
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  17. VictorB

    VictorB Formerly LZF Super Mod

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    Two at the most. Everything else will be recorded separately.

    If the acoustic guitar can run direct, as well as the bass, played to a click track, vocals, keys, electric guitar can be recorded separately.

    Then I'd have to program the drums.

    Ugh. Is this more difficult than it seems? Or is it just difficult, lol.

    I have plenty of experience recording in studios, but never facilitated the entire process myself.
     
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  18. Freddy G

    Freddy G V.I.P. Member

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    It's never been easier or cheaper since recording was invented.

    There's a learning curve sure, and if you are here asking, we just want you to avoid common pitfalls.

    OK so if you only need two channels you can do it with a 2 channel focusrite (2i2 I think) and then spend as much as you can afford on monitors. I've listened to and mixed through a lot of different monitors and it doesn't matter how good a mix engineer you are, if the speakers lie to you you will make sh*tty mixes.

    Everyone here knows I've been praising the Equator D5s. They are incredible for the price. The only down side is that they are a bit small (5" woofers) so they don't deliver a big low end. But once you get used to that they are great, accurate speakers.
     
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  19. MooCheng

    MooCheng Senior Member

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    As Freddy suggested the focusrite 2i2 is a pretty good bit of kit, comes bundled with Ableton 8 and all the drivers needed for mac and ms,

    not sure what Abletons like, I'm using Ardour for linux, at first it was a nightmare getting it to work on linux, thats not there fault, it was never written for linux, it does however work perfect first time out the box on ms
     
  20. VictorB

    VictorB Formerly LZF Super Mod

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    Thanks Freddy!
     

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