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Can you give me a push in the right direction??....

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Decay, Sep 5, 2001.

  1. Decay

    Decay Guest

    alright.... I'm in the researching stage of finding the gear that I'm going to need to build a pretty basic (but professional enough) PC setup.

    The deal is that my dad is wanting to spend some money to record a CD of the folk music that he plays out with two other members. Since I'm also making music (with a band, and computer-based) and i'm interested in getting some 'proffesional' gear, he figures he'll spend the money on getting gear that we can both use, as opposed to spending it at a studio.

    The only choice we have as a venue is in a 24x24 ft room, where the walls and ceiling are covered entirely with wood that was originally going to be used for the flooring throughout the house, so although maybe not ideal, it soaks up a bit of sound.

    Gear. This is where i need some help. I figure that i'm going to need a computer around the p3 800mhz mark to run some audio/midi software which i can sort out. I don't know where to start with monitors, and I'm guessing that on our smallish budget and since we're only recording 2 acoustics, vocals, and bass (all single-track at a time at this stage) I'm going to be looking at a (maybe a couple?)57/58's for best sound for our $bucks ??

    or can i just go from the guitar through a box to the soundcard?? am i going to need a mixer or a console before the computer??

    ...the soundcard. for relatively low cost but good sound where should i be looking??

    although trying to keep hardware costs at a minimum, am i going to be looking at a compressor/limiter before the computer??

    hmm the more i write, the less i realise i know... so any help would really be appreciated.

    James
    New Zealand.
     
  2. Rog

    Rog Member

    I'll see if I can help.

    With mics, a 57 and a 58 are essential. You'll also need a quality condenser mic or two for the acoustics. Then, you'll need a phantom power supply for them. Your best bet here is an inexpensive desk like a small Mackie. This will also drive the headphones you'll need. There are quite a few good monitors out there you can buy buy Genelec, Event, Tannoy, etc. Avoid cheap soundcards, if possible buy a Hammerfall lite and a good stereo ADDA converter, that'll give you 2 tracks of i/o with the option of adding more ADDAs or buying a digital desk later on if you wish.

    The mic pres in a Mackie are really pretty good for the money but you might want to invest in another just for the option of some more tonal colouration (or lack of)

    Finally, you'll need a CDR or DAT for mixdown.

    It's an expensive business but you don't have to buy all this in one go - start with a good mic or three and a desk and monitors and build from there, then you'll be learning the basics of mic placement, vocal recording, EQ, etc. before you come to record into the computer.

    Hope this helps!
     
  3. dobro

    dobro Guest

    If you're going the computer recording route, and if you're only doing one or two tracks at a time, you don't even need a mixer.

    You can for example, buy one of the new soundcards that have built-in pres. The Delta Omni Studio has got four inputs, two of which have preamps. The heart of it is the delta 66 card, which gets good reviews just about everywhere. People who have 'em like the Aardvark cards and the Lynx cards too. Anyway, here's a useful first link for comparing soundcards:

    http://www.pcavtech.com/soundcards/compare/index.htm

    Another possibility, if you're doing one track at a time, is to buy a decent channel strip - they usually have a preamp, a compressor, and EQ. I've got a Mindprint Envoice, and I like it a lot. I like it way better than the Joemeek VC6Q, which I've also got. I've heard good things about the Presonus VXP too, but it's more expensive because it's got a de-esser and a limiter as well. And a kitchen sink.

    Get the mixer if you're ever gonna do drums. :D
     
  4. warlock

    warlock Guest

    It's better to get a decent stereo preamp and a soundcard without the mic pre's. So if you ever want to expand and decide to get a console the mic pre's on your scard won't be obsolete.

    Here's what I'd get to get me started (budgette examples):
    Computer
    A good soundcard
    Stereo mic pre (Bluetube for the +48V etc)
    A stereo compressor (RNC)
    SM57 (a must)
    and a condenser mic (Studio Projects C1)
    A couple of mic stands

    Now since you have a stereo mic pre and a stereo compressor and a stereo line in and a few mic stands you can use the two mics simultaneously for example:
    Use the condenser as a room mic when micing amps or acoust guitars with a SM57.

    And you can use just one channel if needed for example:
    use the condenser on vocals.

    But I think a bigger problem is that you have not recorded anything before (as I understand) so don't expect to get brilliant recordings right away no matter what your equipment is.

    All IMO ofcourse,
    Keijo
     
  5. Decay

    Decay Guest

    Thanks for your replies.

    I checked out a few of the names of monitors and soundcards you guys reccomended and they all look great, but i'm just not sure what i should go for due to us not having an abundance of cash. I'm going to have to keep the prices low enough without having to compromise the quality too much.

    Since i live in NZ, the numbers are going to look a little different, but if you could give me a rough estimate of what it's going to cost us for reasonable quality on a few things, we can see if this will be possible. I checked out a few things, but im not sure where to start with the others.

    The computer i'll sort out for around $1500 NZ
    SM57 around 300 NZ
    SM58 $370 NZ
    Good condensor (maybe the StudioProjectsC1)- $??
    Soundcard + Pre's (maybe built-in) around $5-600US??
    Monitors $$approx

    Is the compressor neccessary?? can i just keep the peaks safe and software compress it later?? (maybe stupid question..)

    Oh, and im not sure if this is at all useful, but dad has a Sennheiser md421 which he uses performing... but someone told me they mic their bassdrums with it (i didnt have to courage to tell dad that..)

    Thanks again,
    James
     
  6. warlock

    warlock Guest

    Originally posted by Decay:
    Oh, and im not sure if this is at all useful, but dad has a Sennheiser md421 which he uses performing... but someone told me they mic their bassdrums with it (i didnt have to courage to tell dad that..)

    And guitar amps and toms and vocals etc. It's a very good mic to have.

    Studio Projects C1 goes for about $200US
    Shure SM57 $79US
    Soundcard Midiman Delta 44 (4 analog in/out, but no mic pres) $289US
    Presonus Bluetube Mic Pre $159US (2ch)
    compressor RNC $175US (1 channel)
    Tannoy Reveal Active Monitors $699US (Pair)
    Cables stands etc about $100

    That's what I'd get on a budgette.
    This will set you back $1700US + a computer with a CDR you are looking at about $2300US and if you get bitten by the recording bug that's only the beginning :)

    With a compressor you can get much hotter signals into your comp cause digtal distortion as we all know it is horrible.
    You won't be using it to compress as much as to limit the input signal.
    I used to think too that I wont _need_ a compressor, but when you have used one you think how you ever got along without one.

    Keijo
     
  7. Decay

    Decay Guest

    thanks again,

    James

    if anyone else has anything to add i'm listening
     
  8. dobro

    dobro Guest

    Yeah, I don't think anyone's mentioned multi-tracking software yet. You need something you can record and mix with. A cheapie but goodie is n-Track - it's about $60 or something equally and ridiculously cheap. It works.
     
  9. arneholm

    arneholm Guest

    Originally posted by Keijo Koppel:
    compressor RNC $175US (1 channel)

    ...snip...

    With a compressor you can get much hotter signals into your comp cause digtal distortion as we all know it is horrible.
    You won't be using it to compress as much as to limit the input signal.
    I used to think too that I wont _need_ a compressor, but when you have used one you think how you ever got along without one.
    Actually RNC is not a single channel compressor, but a stereo compressor, but with one detector circuit and one set of controls for both channels.

    Also, as of compressing vs. limiting to tape, for example with bass guitar you can tremedously change the tonality of the sound of the bass guitar with your compressor and that tonality actually changes the way you are playing the bass and the tone you are committing to the recorder.

    RNC actually ain't a very good limiter, but it is an excellent compressor and I use it allot in tracking bass and also tracking vocals, sometimes even guitar.

    You have to be moderate when applying it, you will ^#$% things up a couple of times but after a while you will be getting better and you notice, that mixing gets way easier when you start to commit things to tape...

    Also a very good insight someone posted over at r.a.p. - if what you record to a computer is a grainy and harsh signal then compressing that later only makes you have a grainy and harsh compressed signal.

    I'd say - if you definitely know that something is going to get compressed later on, go for it and apply a tad of it already in the tracking process - you can always have more mixing, but it tends to sound a wee bit better when you already tracked using some moderate compression - especially in the land of puter recording with cheap prosumer soundcards.

    my .02 anyway...

    Arne
     

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