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benfan 02-18-2010 10:38 AM

Home Recording Thread
 
I had this idea whilst i was at work today. Im looking to start doing some home recording, and i have no clue abouts where to start. I want to start recording and mixing guitar tracks for the songs my band writes.
Now iv looked around this forum a bunch at all the different threads people make and sucked up some knowledge, and also scouted the internet some. I thought, instead of finding scraps of info everywhere i could unite all the different areas of this into one thread ( i used the search function and couldnt find any threads like this).
So basically post in here with your home recording hints/tips/questions. Or if you think its a **** idea then just flame me!

I have no specialist equipment/programmes so im starting from scratch. What would be a good way to get myself hooked up to mixing some sweet sounding guitar parts. I was looking into a Pod X3 but i dont wana blow that amount of money before i amass some decent knlowledge.


Best programmes, equipment things like that? And a good starting platform to throw myself into it from?

Cheers guys.

Sad But True 02-18-2010 10:58 AM

Good thread idea.

Well the first program I used was Audacity, because it's free and mega easy to use. Course it has some serious drawbacks but if you're doing this for the first time it's good to get the hang of what's going on. From there I'd move to the LE/student edition of Cubase or maybe one of the newer Adobe Audition versions.

I've got an X3 myself and really like it, but I started with a V-Amp II which was much simpler than the POD and was a sort of stepping stone so the POD didn't feel like such an intimidating unit. I'd definitely get something that records via usb, as you avoid all noise from using cables to the line in and there's practically zero latency.

If you feel like doing programmed drums then start with either EZDrummer or Addictive Drums, running them either in Cubase (I can't remember if the LE version allows VSTi's though), any DAW that allows VSTi's (last I knew the Audition programs didn't) or Fruityloops.

benfan 02-18-2010 11:02 AM

Cheers SBT. I did a Music tech course through 6th form last year, but it wasnt very informative (basically rigid syllabus that didnt aid general learning), but i got to use and become quite fluent with Cubase Essential. I can get that pretty cheap with a student discount, would you recommend?

Modern Iconoclast 02-18-2010 11:04 AM

I use Audition and it's great, it does support VSTi's. Superior Drummer 2 is excellent for programmed drums. As for learning stuff [url]http://en.wikiaudio.org/Audio_reference_and_database[/url] is a good place to start. The Andy Sneap forums have some good info too [url]http://www.ultimatemetal.com/forum/andy-sneap-151/[/url]

Kuffuffled 02-18-2010 12:57 PM

I use:

Firebox
Reaper
SD2.0
Amplitube / Guitar Rig 3
Izotope Ozone
some other plugins for reverb and what not

purple_hazer 02-18-2010 01:54 PM

i'd like to elaborate this thread with a related question

what kind of hardware would be good to look into for the computer end of things. i dont really know any of the terminology but how much processing power is good, how much harddrive space, any specific suggestions for either of those (brand/model wise)?

Modern Iconoclast 02-18-2010 02:42 PM

Well if you ever want to use Logic you'll have to go with a Mac but brands aren't really that important, you're better off building a PC yourself. Lots of RAM is important and of course the more powerful the processor the better. Uncompressed sound files take up a lot of space but HD space just depends on how much recording you'll be doing. What's more important than space is that you have a separate HD that's specifically for saving sound files too. Recording fragments a HD like a mofo so if you only save sound files to one it's speed won't decrease as fast and you won't have to defrag as much.

Xomblies 02-18-2010 03:42 PM

[QUOTE=benfan;17818132]Cheers SBT. I did a Music tech course through 6th form last year, but it wasnt very informative (basically rigid syllabus that didnt aid general learning), but i got to use and become quite fluent with Cubase Essential. I can get that pretty cheap with a student discount, would you recommend?[/QUOTE]

cubase is a decent program for recording. if you're trying to just get ideas down i think what SBT said is spot on, though it is subjective to how much you actually physically want to record. if it's just acoustic and vox just about any usb interface should be fine with one of the previously mentioned programs.

[QUOTE=purple_hazer;17818412]i'd like to elaborate this thread with a related question

what kind of hardware would be good to look into for the computer end of things. i dont really know any of the terminology but how much processing power is good, how much harddrive space, any specific suggestions for either of those (brand/model wise)?[/QUOTE]

like i was telling benfan, it's a little subjective to what you want to do...

if you're just trying to get ideas down you can go quite a few routes. i personally use my macbook with logic to make drum beats and lay down some Di'd guitars and bring that to practice to show the guys, i have a DIGI003 but i don't really use it to record our band (it's mainly for running multiple outs at a show, metronome, in ear monitoring and stereo out for the house)

if i'm recording a band/ mixing something i'll bring the project file over to PC, i use pro tools because that's what i learned on; but honestly the program you use has more to do with your own comfort and ease of use. My advice after learning the hard way with a bunch of money wasted at mac: unless you're using PT HD at a studio using a mac to record is a waste of money.

on to the hardware question:
build the PC, it's not that hard anymore, and just about every manufacturer makes a decent motherboard i'll give an example of a decent pc that's the best bang for your buck,

asus p5q socket 775 motherboard with a quad core i5 of i7 if you can,

ballistix non ecc ddr3, i don't remember the specific model off the top of my head but it runs at 1033 megaherts and its "not buffered" so you won't encounter as much latency, not that the difference is that noticable but every little bit of latency reduction helps

an internal drive for your OS and recording application, and if you dont' need mobility i'd HIGHLY reccomend a second internal drive for your recording projects.

steer clear away from vista, windows 7 is a lot better but it's not perfect yet, i reccomend you get windows 7 at 64 bit, because reaper already supports 64 bit so all you'd need (if say you got a recording interface) would be 64 bit drivers and now you can have a crapload of ram, which is incredibly important when you're using a lot of plugins.

video card isn't super important... but it helps make your whole experience stay smooth.

interface, mbox2 or digi003 rack: i'm most familiar with pro tools so inherently i'm going to suggest going with something digidesign, you can use reaper (or any other program) and switch off between that and pro tools (pro tools still has the most robust editing in my opinion, worst for mixing) but again it's more about your own ease of use. Keep in mind, you can always use digidesign hardware with other programs. i could put together something that i'd highly reccomend but if you really want some good suggestions hit me up on aim: xomblies like my username here :)

mnemonic 02-18-2010 03:59 PM

I think SBT is spot on, just a couple things i'd like to add

if you do end up getting a podx3 or something similar and you're not used to having so many parameters to control, try to keep it simple at first.

just use the noisegate and the amp with a cab. maybe throw a boost pedal in (like the screamer or boost+eq), but dont get too involved with the post eq/compressor/reverb stuff until you've got the basics down and get a feel for how everything responds and interacts with eachother.

check out the toneport GX (i think its called the studio pod GX or something now, its like 120 dollars i think) and then buy all the model packs for it (cost about 50 for all three i think) and you'll have the same capabilities as the podx3 for a way lower price. only thing is, you need to connect the GX to a computer for it to work (thats what makes it cheaper, it has your computer do the sound processing, where with the X3, the processing is all done in the unit). not sure how, but the GX manages to do it with the same amount of latency as the X3's do (read; none).

I'd recommend going the modeling route, atleast at first, as its a whole nother can of worms when you start micing up an amp. atleast that part is covered for you if you're using modelers.

as for drums, EZ drummer is a pretty good start, get the DFH addon if you want to do metal drums. easily found for free on the internet, let me know if you need some help finding it. I prefer the sound of addictive drums, but imo Ezdrummer is a bit easier to use at first, its what I started with.

Cubase is a good program to start out with, i started with sx3 and still use it, though i really should get the new version, as the layout of the new versions is really easy to navigate, the old sx3 has that window in window in window thing going on, so it can get messy quick when you start adding channels and adding eq's and compressors to everything. again, easy to find free, let me know if you need help there.



do you know anything about mixing or recording in general? i could write for days on the basics, but i'd rather save my time/not insult your intelligence if i dont have to. (nothing worse than the IT guy asking you if your computer is plugged in when you have at least the basic knowledge already covered)

The Transporter 02-18-2010 04:27 PM

i'm interested to hear what you have to say about mixing

Sad But True 02-18-2010 04:42 PM

Xomblies has it pretty much right with the PC build suggestions. I did basically the same when i built mine and did well on my budget. RAM is by far the most important factor for a recording PC IMO; running a couple of programs with lots going on doesn't seem to bother my CPU much but my RAM fills up in no time. The only thing with windows 7 64bit is that on some systems it uses like 1.5-1.8 gig of RAM at idle, which is fine if you're running 4+gig of RAM really, but watch out. Oh, I've found also running RAM in dual channel seems to smooth out a lot of the RAM related bugs you encounter when recording.

I can see this thread being quite interesting.

purple_hazer 02-18-2010 04:55 PM

well if SBT or xomblies would like to help walk me through a good pc build id love the help, as far as i can forsee thats the next logical step for me but i have no fu[COLOR="Black"]ck[/COLOR]ing clue what im looking at for the most part in the hardware section of best buy

Sad But True 02-18-2010 04:58 PM

I learned most of what I needed to know about actually building the thing/which components to choose from Zeke/the mop, he's a fooking legend. But I'll help you out in any way I can.

purple_hazer 02-18-2010 05:08 PM

well first off what was the grand total on the PC you built man? i know itll vary in price for me but i just need a ballpark goal

Xomblies 02-18-2010 05:16 PM

600 bucks can build you a pretty badass pc

[QUOTE=The Transporter;17818792]i'm interested to hear what you have to say about mixing[/QUOTE]

j00 askin me?

well i meant PTLE sucks for mixing, HD is the bees knees if you ask me, nuendo is pretty legit though... but i've been using reaper lately and i have to say i'm really impressed

Xomblies 02-18-2010 05:23 PM

i'm going to post a reply and edit it as i find stuff so you don't think i'm ignoring the thread:

Motherboard:
[url]http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131377[/url]

CPU:
i guess the core iX series are socket 1366 or 1156, which is what i currently have and i'd recommend it, but you can do with a core2 quad and be completely satisfied:
[url]http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115041[/url]

RAM:
[url]http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820226050[/url]
or you can start small and get more ram later
[url]http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820226120[/url]

Power Supply:
Super important for stable power usage, you'll have a lot less crashes if your PSU is stable
[url]http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371026[/url]

you can get a case almost anywhere online for super cheap and i'm sure you can find all of the above listed for cheaper at pricewatch.com and as long as the socket is 775 you can get a core 2 duo and upgrade to a core2 quad later etc, what i listed comes out to a bit more than 600 but fortunately you can buy it in pieces, if you have a grand to spend you can build yourself a beast, but you can get by with 500 to 700 bucks

Sad But True 02-18-2010 05:27 PM

[QUOTE=purple_hazer;17818858]well first off what was the grand total on the PC you built man? i know itll vary in price for me but i just need a ballpark goal[/QUOTE]

Well mine was about 450-500, but that's including a badass graphics card (100), then there was the monitor and peripherals, but the 450-500 includes a legit OS and literally everything else, like an extra cooling fan for the CPU/dvd drive/case.

Moseph 02-18-2010 05:28 PM

[quote=Xomblies;17818870]well i meant PTLE sucks for mixing, HD is the bees knees if you ask me[/quote]


Wait, from a mixing perspective, what's the real difference? Is it a "voices" thing? Keep in mind that I haven't looked at either one since v7.3

Kuffuffled 02-18-2010 05:34 PM

I'd like it if someone could throw down some info on mixing / compression etc. I've reached the point where I can throw down all my ideas into a mix, have it stereo'd well but there's no OOMPH to it cause I'm not sure how to use compression yet

Plankis 02-18-2010 05:51 PM

Yeah good soundcard, cpu and lots of ram is a must for the computer.

Quality monitors are a must aswell if you actually want to hear what you're doing, DO NOT go for the cheapest first pair you find.
If you buy quality monitors you should consider treating the room too. Great monitors might sound as good/bad as crappy ones in a untreated room.
Getting quality headphones might be a cheaper option but they can't replace great monitors.

If you don't want to invest money on a pod there's lots of free vst that simulates amplifiers. Many of them sounds alot better than a pod, but if you don't have a godly soundinterface you wont be able to jam with them. If you're just planning to record not jam this is definitely something to consider.
Here are some ampsims listed:
[url]http://www.sputnikmusic.com/forums/showthread.php?t=580778[/url]

Xomblies 02-18-2010 05:55 PM

[QUOTE=Moseph;17818907]Wait, from a mixing perspective, what's the real difference? Is it a "voices" thing? Keep in mind that I haven't looked at either one since v7.3[/QUOTE]

voices, delay compensation importing session data... all nerfed in LE even though they could totally put it in there... to me it's not as much the voices or the session data, i try to sum or disable tracks that aren't necessary. it's mainly the delay comp. I know so many kids who try to mix in LE and end up blasting the kick and snare because the amount of plugins they have on them are causing them to go out of phase so they're like "warez mah snurr" when really it's there but the snare is fighting itself via other mics on the kit. TDM plugins i think sound different as well but i don't know a whole lot about the difference between that, rtas, vst and au. all i know is waves charges double for their TDM plugins

Sad But True 02-18-2010 06:11 PM

[QUOTE=viciouscycle;17818923]I'd like it if someone could throw down some info on mixing / compression etc. I've reached the point where I can throw down all my ideas into a mix, have it stereo'd well but there's no OOMPH to it cause I'm not sure how to use compression yet[/QUOTE]

This is where I post bits from my "Recording" folder in my favourites.

http://www.badmuckingfastard.com/sound/slipperman.html
http://www.recordingwebsite.com/articles/eqprimer.php
http://www.vettaville.com/equalization.htm
http://www.sputnikmusic.com/forums/showthread.php?t=450263
http://sputnikmusic.com/forums/showpost.php?p=16551000&postcount=10
http://www.sevenstring.org/forum/recording-studio/221-know-lots-about-compression.html
http://www.sputnikmusic.com/forums/showpost.php?p=17147356&postcount=15
http://www.benvesco.com/blog/

Plankis 02-18-2010 06:50 PM

[QUOTE=viciouscycle;17818923]I'd like it if someone could throw down some info on mixing / compression etc. I've reached the point where I can throw down all my ideas into a mix, have it stereo'd well but there's no OOMPH to it cause I'm not sure how to use compression yet[/QUOTE]

All the ingredients in the mix must be punchy if you want a punchy sound. Incredibly tight playing is therefore a must, Meaning if you mono the mix double-/quadtracked guitars should sound as one, kick and bass are spot on with each other and so on.

The lowend is very important for punch, what consist the lowend of? Bass and kick!
What do I use to make them punchy? Compression!
How do I set up punchy compression? slow attack! Letting the lowends transients get through really helps with our goal. 20-50ms is a good starter. slowly up the release until the the gain reduction is even and doesn't jump around that much.
Set ratio to taste, 4 is a good starter.
If you want smooth/transparent compression, use lower values (for instruments, mastercomp).
If you want aggressive/percussive compression. Use higher values(percussion, sounds you totally want to crush)

Try setting att/rel so it syncs with the songs tempo, helps with transparency.

Masterbuss compression should be as transparent as possible. Meaning very slow attack/release, and low ratios. But it should also color the tone a bit, that's what all the analog gear all pros are using does. So playing around with different compressors until you find something that gives the right character is recommended.

benfan 02-19-2010 02:53 AM

Getting some good info in here guys. I have the basics down on mixing (EQ'ing and all that jazz). At the minute im trying to find out more about the hardware side of things to get set up. So i guess the first step is to get myself a decent computer, cause what im running at the minute sucks.

mnemonic 02-19-2010 03:50 AM

mixing on a slow computer can be very frustrating, i know first hand, as i still mix on my shitty laptop. forces me to make more with less effects though!


for a while, my computer was so slow, i had to turn off all my drums and effects and stuff to record, then when i wanted to record, i'd have to turn the latency up on my soundcard up to like 1 second so it didn't get all glitchy and skip. then i reformatted and bought some more ram, and started using less resource-intensive VST's

benfan 02-19-2010 06:48 AM

This compuer is 6 years old. Its single core AMD with 1.25GB RAM. I really need to upgrade it before i start doing anything.

The Transporter 02-19-2010 08:49 AM

sup nick?

My computer is pretty powerful, so imma try to start to do recording soon. I've been working on guitar proing out all of my band's songs so that I can do midi drums. From there I'm going to explort them into Cubase 5 and call up Superior 2.0 drums with Metal Foundry for a thicker kick sound. After that, I'll proly DI the bass or maybe use my TonePort UX1 to get a more intense sound out of it (or both, lol). After that, imma take my computer over to my buddies house, hook up his Krank to his mesa 4x12, mic it with my SM57, record his parts. After that, take my JSX, hook it to the mesa cab, adjust mic as necessary, and record my parts. I may use the Toneport again for my cleans (Piezoacoustic amp sim is pretty sweet).

Then i will do all the other crap. Vocals is a whole nother battle

btw using toneport as recording interface

Moseph 02-19-2010 10:20 AM

[quote=Xomblies;17818952]voices, delay compensation importing session data... all nerfed in LE even though they could totally put it in there... to me it's not as much the voices or the session data, i try to sum or disable tracks that aren't necessary. it's mainly the delay comp. I know so many kids who try to mix in LE and end up blasting the kick and snare because the amount of plugins they have on them are causing them to go out of phase so they're like "warez mah snurr" when really it's there but the snare is fighting itself via other mics on the kit. TDM plugins i think sound different as well but i don't know a whole lot about the difference between that, rtas, vst and au. all i know is waves charges double for their TDM plugins[/quote]


It's actually been long enough that I forgot about plugin delay compensation being an issue in Pro Tools! Yeah, I can see how that would be a big problem for mixing in the box.

Did Digi scrap the "extra cost" aspects of PDC and OMF Importing for HD? Because back in 7.x I thought you still had to spend (not an insignificant amount) extra to get each of those features for HD. Or is the cost just negligible compared to the cards, so you're saying that it would stupid [I]not[/I] to spend the cash on those upgrades?

If I recall correctly, the TDM/RTAS difference shouldn't matter. TDM plugins use fixed-point math (because the DSP chips do), but I'm pretty sure I once heard a reputable source (from Digi) say that RTAS did fixed-point emulation. Which is an interesting decision, to say the least (though it makes more sense than TDM doing floating-point emulation).

The current state of Pro Tools is basically Avid refusing to innovate the core technology, which is understandable given how expensive that would be and the fact that they have no actual incentives to do it. Everything is a throw-back to the days before a modern computer could handle everything with native processing. That's why TDM costs more.

All that being said, my understanding of the PDC thing is basically, "we know we can get folks to pay for it when it should be free."

OrangeLightning 02-19-2010 10:49 AM

as far as software goes... i learned on logic... and in my opinion its the best

but i dont own a mac so ive found adobe audition to be fairly straight forward

im using an m-audio fastrack pro i like it for what it does..

thats about all i know

Xomblies 02-19-2010 11:08 AM

[QUOTE=Moseph;17820195]It's actually been long enough that I forgot about plugin delay compensation being an issue in Pro Tools! Yeah, I can see how that would be a big problem for mixing in the box.

Did Digi scrap the "extra cost" aspects of PDC and OMF Importing for HD? Because back in 7.x I thought you still had to spend (not an insignificant amount) extra to get each of those features for HD. Or is the cost just negligible compared to the cards, so you're saying that it would stupid [I]not[/I] to spend the cash on those upgrades?

If I recall correctly, the TDM/RTAS difference shouldn't matter. TDM plugins use fixed-point math (because the DSP chips do), but I'm pretty sure I once heard a reputable source (from Digi) say that RTAS did fixed-point emulation. Which is an interesting decision, to say the least (though it makes more sense than TDM doing floating-point emulation).

The current state of Pro Tools is basically Avid refusing to innovate the core technology, which is understandable given how expensive that would be and the fact that they have no actual incentives to do it. Everything is a throw-back to the days before a modern computer could handle everything with native processing. That's why TDM costs more.

All that being said, my understanding of the PDC thing is basically, "we know we can get folks to pay for it when it should be free."[/QUOTE]

yeah the pdc and various other features are all inclusive now

oh and the pdc is a problem with outboard gear in LE too... trying to route something with an LE interface is hell. HD is nice because they have that "i/o" feature that lets you use a piece of gear like a plugin. i love pro tools/ dislike avid.

hey benfan, if you're just trying to track ideas i'd advise checking out one of those self contained DAW's it'd be cheaper than trying to buy a new computer, recording interface/ preamps etc. and they don't sound bad either


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