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Best DAW for creating conservative, Christian backgrounds for vocals.

Discussion in 'Recording' started by duanecwilson, Jan 27, 2014.

  1. duanecwilson

    duanecwilson Active Member

    I am brand new at recording and have recorded a few Christian songs (with a pre-recorded accompaniment track) of my 11 year old granddaughter singing. They actually turned out quite professional sounding, even as commented by another recording studio owner. I used Garageband for that. I also have Mixcraft 6, but haven't used it much. As I recorded my granddaughter, I realized that there are not many backgrounds I like. Most are frankly a little too rocky or contemporary sounding for the most part from my standpoint. I know most people don't think like I do, but that's the way I am. In thinking about it, I thought maybe I could create them in the DAW using loops and software strings, piano, organ, guitar, and maybe a little drums and bass, etc. Later, if they worked out, I could hire musicians to play these same parts, or maybe I wouldn't have to.

    My question is, am I severely limited right off the bat in choices, etc. with what I want to do with GarageBand and Mixcraft? Or would ProTools or something else be more what I am after? I don't want to box myself into a corner right from the start and find I can't get from here to there and then end up starting all over anyway. I am a beginner as I said. I have a midi keyboard which I haven't used yet, but will. What I don't anticipate, though, is having a full studio of musicians and drum sets, etc. I at this point am having trouble even recording the vocals because of the ambient noise at my house. That is why I got the Apogee MIC so I can take it to a quiet place with my Ipad and record her voice. Later, I hope to build a studio at my home, but I don't have enough money for that at first. But I thought I could concentrate on some MIDI tracks or software instruments with the DAW and at least create the backgrounds and then record her voice somewhere else. The backgrounds, of course, could be used by anyone, anywhere. I don't need to use the microphones for that. But I do want the best DAW software that will do this type of thing. Thank you.
  2. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    DAW choice is a matter of workflow preferences, not so much musical style and definitely not religious beliefs (though some religiously prefer certain software). If you want better backing tracks then maybe you will want to get something like Sony Acid and build your own. Acid is as good at recording audio as it is at looping samples into custom music tracks.

    I haven't used Garageband, but providing ready made backing tracks isn't something I would consider a typical DAW feature. It's not likely that changing to different software is going to give you more ready made backing track options. You're going to have to build your own or look for third party backing tracks to load into your DAW of choice.
  3. duanecwilson

    duanecwilson Active Member

    Thank you for your response. The reason I mentioned the type of music is because the little I know about these programs, there are a lot of drum tracks and other types of instruments I wouldn't use like heavy metal guitar, etc, but I thought some of them would have more of some types of instruments than others and would maybe lend itself easier to making that type of music. I really just don't know what the capabilities of these packages really are. I know the loops, etc. are there for you to create a song, so I figured I could just do that minus the vocal, and have them ready to add a vocal track to at any time. I may not even be using the correct terminology here. From what I have seen in a few tutorials, you start out with a few drum loops, repeat the loops in certain places, get the general timing down, maybe add music from the smart guitar, smart keyboard or a midi keyboard, and later a vocal track or instrument track. In Garageband, I see there are 4 types of guitars, I think. Maybe there are more. I just want to know what DAW may have more of the options for my type of music. Having said that, I will check out that Sony Acid program you mentioned.
  4. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    I was recording this rock band and the signer sang hallelujah in a verse than Sonar froze and said please pray for a better DAW !diddlydoo

    Jokes aside, recording software are usually transparent to the source they're given. Rare are those who have a audio signature that will change the tracks sonicly while mixing.. I saw one once which was a simulation of an old console.. but can't remember the name..

    Anyway, you're focus should go for the side tools that come with it.. as you say does'nt make sens to pay extra cost for things you won't use.. but .. sometime it's there for free so you just need to ignore it..

    garage band is not only a recording software. It has an instrument bank that you can use for music creation. You record a midi track and decide the instrument it will use for the playback. Some software don't have any soundbanks, they are good for those who record bands..

    I thinks the best way to go is to analyse what they offer and download some trials.. Just know that all software have a learning curve.. some more complex than others..
  5. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    As already mentioned by PC and Boulder, DAW's don't have a "style". They are designed to record any audio/midi you send it. What you do with that audio on those tracks within the DAW program is entirely up to you - and relative to the various tools that are used to process/effect the sound of the tracks during mixdown... things like Balance, Pan, EQ, Gain Reduction, Special Effects, etc.

    For what you want to do, you don't need to drop huge money on a full blown Pro Tools rig.

    While most any DAW program will suffice; for what you are doing, you may want to consider something more basic - like Reaper, Garageband, Acid, etc, a program with a bit of an easier learning curve - and also depending on whether it will support MIDI production; ( and this is only a factor if at some point you decide to attach an external keyboard/controller/synthesizer to trigger "virtual" synths - like piano, drums, strings, etc., that exist within your DAW program, or that you choose to purchase and add to your DAW.).

    What is important is your choice of audio I/O - converters - pre amps - mics. These will absolutely play a major role in determining the quality of these vocals you are recording. If you choose a cheap device, or a cheap mic, or, worse yet, both, your sonics will suffer. Cheaply built mics, pre's and converters can result in harsh - brittle - muddy - undefined - weak audio, and these are problems , especially with vocal tracks, where clarity and warmth are the most sought after nuances.

    The other factor to consider when choosing a good audio I-O is how many sources (mics or instruments) you can record at once. If you want to eventually get into recording vocal sections, you will need at least two inputs (for stereo mic recording), or, more... if you choose to set up individual mics on a group of singers and record them all at one time to their own discreet tracks within the DAW.

    So, regardless of what DAW program you end up with, make sure you have a decent mic pre/audio I-O with a sufficient number of inputs and good microphone(s).
  6. gdoubleyou

    gdoubleyou Well-Known Member

    Garageband is based on Logic Pro, so you can get decent results from it.

    Also the room you record in will be a big factor on the results you get.
    Do some research on room treatment.

    Here is a guide on recording Tweakheadz ยท Posts The-guide
  7. Johnny Mire

    Johnny Mire Active Member

    If you are OSX based, check out the aforementioned Garage Band. If you are Windows based, I suggest Music Maker. Reaper is a nice DAW also, and compatible with both Windows and Mac. As others have suggested, the actual recording process itself is more important than the software that you will use. Get it right at the mic, and your post-production life will be a lot easier.
  8. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Not for nothin', Johnny... but you are replying to a thread that is 9 months old, and 8 months has past since the last activity.

    I'm not saying you can't reply to these older threads, there's certainly nothing wrong with this, just as long as you know that the original poster you are responding to is probably long gone. ;)

  9. duanecwilson

    duanecwilson Active Member

    Actually, I am not long gone, but was long time distracted. I no longer have access to my granddaughter and have a lousy voice myself. I still would like to practice. Any ideas? And.since I have no vocalist for now, maybe I can learn to use a midi to come up with backgrounds. But since I don't know where to start, maybe you could suggest some good video or other training. Then when I find a vocalist or get my granddaughter back, I will have something ready for her to record to. My situation is a little noisy so I probably won't get true professional results, but I was surprised to find how good the recordings I made already of her sound. Quite listenable and pleasant. Thanks for the replies even when I wasn't there. If I haven't been clear, I have an iMac with Logic Pro and GarageBand as we'll as a PC with Mixcraft 6. I have a Scarlett 2i2 and Adams F5 Studio Monitors and an Audio Technica professional headphone set. Microphones include Rode NT1A, Shure PG42 USB, Apogee MIC for iPad, 2 Shure SM58s, and a Blue Snowball USB (amazing sound for the price). I want to use these for The Lord. I also have a digital piano, old, not midi, and a cheap USB midi keyboard with 44 full sized keys with spongy touch.
    How to I use this time and equipment for now? There is a shortage of good, conservative Christian backgrounds and recordings and I want to and am praying God will help me fill that void.
    bigtree likes this.
  10. Reverend Lucas

    Reverend Lucas Active Member

    UA2 features a Voice of God plugin that should suit your needs.

  11. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Equipment wise, and for what you want to do, I think you're set just fine, Duane. I think it comes down to some instruction now. There are many, many great instructional video's on youtube, I would do a search based on certain terms or apps you are interested in; "microphone technique, "gain structure", midi production", etc..

    On that note, there's something I will suggest...I know you are into a more spiritual style of music, and your initial thought would be to try and find instruction that caters to that style, but with very few rare exceptions, things like mic technique, mic placement, gain structure, etc., will generally not differ from musical genre to genre, especially when it comes to recording vocals.

    It matters not if you are recording rock, metal, country, blues or contemporary Christian music, the techniques and methods themselves will remain valid. So, if you come upon a video with good info, and maybe rock or blues is the musical style used in that particular demo, don't let it wave you off. Anything you would learn in relation to mic technique and such, will still be valid for what you want to do. You simply translate the knowledge given to your particular application.

    View: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pnwj3xkhErE

    I also have a digital piano, old, not midi, and a cheap USB midi keyboard with 44 full sized keys with spongy touch.

    Some of this older gear may present a problem, especially with gear that is pre-midi.

    You'd better off using your MIDI/USB controller than you will trying to make an older, antiquated piece of gear work. You don't need a keyboard that has its own sounds, either. You use the keyboard simply as a Midi trigger to play sounds that are resident in your DAW's sample library, of which, some are likely already there, but if you want a decent entry level collection of pianos, strings, choirs, organs, drums, etc, you can pick up a sample library for probably around $200. You install this library into your computer, and then you play these sounds from the external Midi/USB keyboard controller.


    Christian music is just as state of the art in its sounds and production styles as any other form of contemporary music is. Don't get bogged down in old production sounds and styles. If you want to compete, you have to present a certain standard/measure of quality and fidelity. The people you will be playing this for will only take you as seriously as you take yourself... and if you want to do it seriously - and it sounds like you do - then be prepared to spend some money to make that happen, in a caliber that is commensurate with current quality standards.


    kmetal likes this.
  12. duanecwilson

    duanecwilson Active Member

    Thank you for the thorough, thoughtful response. I have a lot to think about.
  13. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    May I recommend the recording and mixing engineers handbooks. Both by bobby owinski, they will provide you w methods for tackling all the basic mix/rec situations.

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