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Discussion in 'Recording' started by justin_case, Aug 31, 2004.

  1. justin_case

    justin_case Guest

    Hello. I'm getting started in the vast (I didn't know how vast and complex) home music recording and need some help with some purchases as well as questions. I’m new to this so please bear with me…

    WHAT I WANT: Proffesionaly I'm a photographer. I am interested in laying down tracks through my PC for use in videos, as well as recording to CD. I want QUALITY without breaking the bank, but I don’t expect to make it to Radio City any time soon either. I play guitar primarily through a PODxt, and I have a MIDI keyboard that was given to me that I’ve never used that I would like to start playing around with as well. I also still want my PC to sound good for regular uses such as listening to MP3s while working on photo stuff, etc.

    I think I’m pretty good as far as my PC Platform goes for now:

    CHIP: Intel P4 2.8ghz HT chip
    ASUS board, USB 2.0, FireWire
    RAM: 2gigs high performance RAM
    OS DRIVES: 2 – 70 gig, 10krpm raptors running raid,
    STORAGE DRIVES: 2 - 250gig storage drives.
    Soundblaster Live
    I went off half cocked and just bought a LEXICON OMEGA stand alone unit. The reviews looked good, and I’ve heard some great feedback from the folks at Guitar Center, but I didn’t really look into all my options. I was going to get the M-audio Firewire 410, but the reviews I saw were not as good as the Lexicon unit.

    DID I SCREW UP with the Lexicon unit?

    Ok this is where I’m having a bit of trouble. I currently have a Soundblaster Live el-cheapo sound card, and a set of Cambridge 4.1 PC speakers. I definitely need a new sound card and speakers for monitoring.

    SOUND CARDS: I was looking at the Creative Labs Audigy series, but looking at the threads here, that doesn’t seem like a wise choice.

    SPEAKERS: Can I get by with a PC speaker system for this? I was looking at the Logitech Z680 5.1 system. Will these get me by, or should I buy a set of monitors?

    Any suggestions would be great.
  2. dabmeister music

    dabmeister music Active Member

    Hi Justin. Well first of all, if you're going to use any program, I'd look into Vegas Video by Sony (formally Sonic Foundry). Or you could start with a premier program such as Nuendo or Cubase SX just to name a few. And as far as your speakers are concerned, I'd start with a pair of inexpensive bi-amped monitors. They'll give you more as far as being able to hear your mixes in detail. IMHO, I'd do away with the generic SoundBlaster card, there's a lot to choose from now-a-days and they'll improve your sound too. Just my .02 worth.
  3. justin_case

    justin_case Guest

    Any suggestions here? I looked at some on M-Audio's web site. The StudioPro 4s. Would these be a good start?

    Also, suggestions on Sound cards would be great. I've read that the M-Audio stuff is pretty good there too. Any input will help greatly.

  4. justin_case

    justin_case Guest

    Also, the Lexicon Omega unit came with ProTracks Plus and I have Acid Pro 3.0 - any suggestions there.
  5. David French

    David French Well-Known Member

    As far as speakers go, the general consensus around here is that the Yamaha MSP5s are the best 'cheap' speakers.

    Excuse me if i'm missing something here, but isn't that Lexicon thingy a sound card? Are you planning on returning it or something?
  6. dabmeister music

    dabmeister music Active Member

    This is to add to your question on the Lexicon unit. It's a good unit, but you may want to look at some of the minor pitfalls that'll plague you in the future. It's limited to 48k max. so you'll have to squash the notion of doing anything higher than that. The next thing you may want to ponder is the fact of support. I have a story to tell ya about lexicon. I purchased a LDI-12T from Guitar Center a few years ago and found out it was useless. It was based on the fact that they could'nt support any operating system other than Win98. Now this was a real bummer, cause I was on the verge of upgrading to Win2000. You know... I was wondering why they were selling these things for such a very low price ($3000.00 new with a markdown to $600.00). Hey, it was made by Lexicon, what the hell. Well I never used the thing, so I sold it to someone who was just getting started in recording. So much for that. Look for stuff you'll have a use for in the future.
  7. justin_case

    justin_case Guest

    OK, I'm confused now. If the Lexicon is a sound card, does that mean that all of my normal computer sounds will come out of this as well? I just need the monitors then?
  8. David French

    David French Well-Known Member

    Yes, it sounds that way to me; however, you should consider what dabmeister has said.
  9. tundrkys

    tundrkys Guest

    First of all, I think we need to get back to what your goal is. You're not shooting for TRL, the Billboards, or even the Grand 'Ol Opry.
    The Omega was aimed right at you. As far as Lexicon support goes, the previous poster has a good point. I don't know if Lexicon knows what they want to do, or what market they want to serve. But if you can get the Omega going in the next year or so, I think you'll be OK. I've got a Lexicon Core II that still works flawlessly on my old Win98 computer that I keep to run Logic on.
    just scanning ProTracks specs, looks like you've got plenty to get you started. 32 stereo audio tracks, unlimited Midi tracks, DX & DXI support. Then you also have Acid Pro 3, which is the perfect program for guys like you and me who want to throw together quick tracks for our real job. I believe VSTi's are supported with 3, so you don't have to rely on the onboard sounds of the Keyboard that was given to you.
    My advice to you, is to start putting those cables together, and start pushing buttons. Find out what your new "studio" can do, and what it can't. From here other programs, like Sonar, Logic, ProTools, Nuendo, may be overkill for your needs, but may provide better, faster, or just alternative ways to complete a particular task.
  10. tundrkys

    tundrkys Guest

    Also wanted to mention lots of hits(billboard, MTV, etc...) were done on archaic 16/44.1 digital tape machines, which at one time were somewhat of a standard.
  11. justin_case

    justin_case Guest

    Sweet! That's more online of what I wanted to hear. Like I said earlier the reviews were great for the Lexicon Omega and a lot of the guys said that its quality was as good as cds they had cut in a bonefied studio, that's what attracted me to it. I also had spoke to a guy at Musician's Friend about returning the Omega, and he said exaclty what you said as well - play with it to see what it will do before you make any decisions - it's a great unit!

    Second, as far as support, I think Windows XP has been a great indication of what MS will do with future OS releases, and they did a great job at supporting old hardware. I'm not too woried about it not working on my next OS anyway, because by then I probably will be ready for an upgrade.

    Now back to a couple of basic questions I have. The Lexicon becomes my sound card. Does that mean that the sounds coming FROM MY COMPUTER will be heard through this thing as well? The biggest thing I need is Playback of Winamp, and other media on the puter, net, etc.

    OK, the Yamaha monitors are a bit on the steep side($500). Anyone have any other suggestions? Anyone have experience with the M-Audio monitors?

    Thanks in advance.
  12. David French

    David French Well-Known Member

    The Omega will act as our soundcard just as a PCI card would, so yes, after you set it up as your default card in windows, all computer sounds can play through it.
  13. tundrkys

    tundrkys Guest

    The thing about monitors, whether you spend $100,000 or $50 on your monitoring system, you still have to train your ears and calibrate your experience to translate what you hear to what others will hear. What I mean by that, is that regardless of what platform used in recording, what system was used for monitoring, or what room the mix was completed in, before a final mix is decided on, a "rough mix" is brought to different systems to see how the mix translates. Levels and what not are set in the studio, then a Cd is burned. The CD is then played in car stereo systems, home Hi-Fi's and cheap boom boxes to ensure the Ideals strived for in the studio translates to the countless systems our tracks will be played on.
    So basically I reiterate my above advice, hook that $hit up, and mess around a bit. burn yourself a CD, and listen to it in your car, your work computer, your kids boom box, your iPod, and see where your mix is lacking on what systems. Is there too much bass in your $5.00 headphones, not enough bass in your Hummer's six 15" speakers, is it too shrill on your work computer. Is there too much reverb in the car, not enough stereo seperation on the Bose clock radio. Then go back to your studio, and make corrections, to achive the "best" mix for all these systems.
    If you find you habitually hype the bass, or emphasize any particular frequency spectrum, try to compensate with an EQ on your main bus, or a dedicated hardware unit for your system. Try different speaker placement, try a different room.
    Don't get me wrong, I understand the importance of a good monitoring system, and if you were going to be spending hours at a time several times a week mixing/recording, then you need to spend some money and get some monitors that will make your job easier, and go easier on the ears.
    but if you're a "hobbiest" and you can count the people who will be listening to your work on your fingers and toes, and cost is your primary issue, then train your ears. If you think $500 is on the steep side, then you'll be better off. No offense, but whatever you get under $500 won't get you any better results than what I have already suggested.
  14. OPTaylor

    OPTaylor Guest

    I too just purchased the Omega. The sound quality of the mic preamps is great. I think it will serve your needs for a long time... I'm planning on it being my primary recording option for a while too. I've had problems getting ASIO drivers to work... seems monitoring with ASIO has more latency than not using it... might just be me and my setup.

    As for soundcard usage... I have a Soundblaster as well as the Omega. I still use the inputs from the SB since it has optical inputs. I have my primary Windows sound setup to play through the SB. The multitrack software is setup to play output through the Omega. Works great that way.
  15. justin_case

    justin_case Guest

    sweet. What kind of monitors are you running? I was looking at the M-Audio monitors. I still have not recieved any feedback on them. The Yamaha's may be an option if I wait a bit to save the cash.

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