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Im a total amatuer. Help!

Discussion in 'Recording' started by mikalee, Sep 3, 2008.

  1. mikalee

    mikalee Guest

    Hi everyone! I'm hoping you can help me...

    I'm very keen on recording, but basically, I know next to nothing about the mechanics of it. I used to have a Digitech GNX4, and I used the multi track recording software which came with that. However, it all sounded a bit flat and not that great if I'm honest.

    Recently I've been looking to setup a little home recording area for relatively cheap. I've been looking at getting a Fostex MR-16 HD. I am planning to plug my guitar into this to get some basic recordings going, and to learn the machine. I was wondering if this machine is any good?

    In future, I was planning on possibly plugging my guitar into a mixer, then into the recorder for better sound, and also buying a digital drum kit.

    Am I going WAY in the wrong direction with this? Any guidance would be appreciated!

    Cheers in advance!

    EDIT - Also, sorry for asking what has probably been asked a million times before, and for (possibly) not putting it in the right section, but I didn't see a beginners section here.
     
  2. hackenslash

    hackenslash Active Member

    If you're planning to expand later, a portastudio is probably not the best way to go, especially if you already have a usable PC. Best to check out audio interfaces that come bundled with a DAW application. Many interfaces on the market now come with a limited edition of one of the major DAW applications. Presonus, Zoom, RME, Echo, etc, all do decent entry level interfaces. Check what deals you can get from your local music shop. You will find that you can turn your computer into a usable workstation for less than the Fostex unit will cost, and it will be much more expandable, growing as you and your skills do.
     
  3. GeckoMusic

    GeckoMusic Guest

    If you like using a computer at all, look at software DAW's and sound interfaces. This way you take advantage of the mature computer technology. If you are a knob tweaker who only uses a computer for email once a week, then get a hard disk recorder.

    The Guitar -> Mixer -> Audio interface is not necessarily going to give you a better signal than the Guitar -> Audio interface path.

    If you like the sound of your room try Guitar -> Amp -> SM57 -> preamp -> audio interface.

    If you don't like the sound of your room (eg. untreated bed room) try Guitar -> Amp -> line out -> audio interface. You may need to put a DI box between the line out and computer, or guitar and computer if there is a hum.

    I think there is no beginners section because this forum is not typically for beginners? Someone tell me I'm wrong.
     
  4. mikalee

    mikalee Guest

    I see. Well, I can use computers (I work in IT Security), but I would rather not have to use them outside of work, if that makes any sense :?

    The reason why I was planning on plugging my guitar directly into the audio interface (I'm picking up the lingo :D) is because it has built in effects on it, including analog distortion on one of the inputs.

    Is it not advisable to do that. If I was to go down the amp route, I would probably get a Vox Valvetronix AD-30 XL. Which I believe has a line out, so I could just plug it straight in and record.

    Also, I don't klnow anything about preamps really. Like which are good, which or bad, or whether that even applies because they are all different.
     
  5. Greener

    Greener Guest

    "so I could just plug it straight in and record."

    Plug it into what?
    That Fostex thing looks nasty.
     
  6. hackenslash

    hackenslash Active Member

    I have a Valvetronix floating around the pit somewhere. Decent little amp. You may still need a DI box. I would recommend just micing the amp up. There is plenty of advice on here for that, use the search function.

    As for the Fostex, they actually aren't that bad. They are very restricted, however. A properly set up DAW will give you the same ability to plug in and go, but is much more flexible. I would not recommend a portastudio for anything but the most basic of recordings, although some stellar recordings have been done on them. That's more down to the operator than anything, though, and bear in mind that editing errors is difficult to impossible on such a unit.
     
  7. jordy

    jordy Active Member

    "The reason why I was planning on plugging my guitar directly into the audio interface (I'm picking up the lingo :D) is because it has built in effects on it, including analog distortion on one of the inputs."

    "Is it not advisable to do that. If I was to go down the amp route, I would probably get a Vox Valvetronix AD-30 XL. Which I believe has a line out, so I could just plug it straight in and record."



    hey. i would say that if you don't really care much about editing (or quality?), go with the fostex stuff. but i'm tellin ya, it's a hell of alot easier to edit using software programs (even freeware!). - a M-Audio Fast Track USB interface is like $100 dollars or somethin - it records at 24 bits too. i know many portastudio things record at 16bits (less quality). alot of software has analog overdive simulated effects along with many others too.

    my real concern is recording from the line out from your amp? i used to record like that and got very thin, unsatisfying results. just stick a dynamic mic up to the speaker and you should get a decent sound after messing with the mic placement a bit.
     
  8. mikalee

    mikalee Guest

    Awesome Pratchett quote :D

    What would a properly set up DAW involve exactly? And what is a DI box? (I assume it removes noise from the signal?)

    As far as micing it up goes the SM57 is recommended then?
     
  9. GeckoMusic

    GeckoMusic Guest

    SM57 is the industry standard for micing guitar cabinets (as well as a number of other things)

    DI Box = Direct Inject Box. It isolates the input from the output. This will help eliminate DC offset and ground loops. The output impedance is matched to mic level (k ohm range) and the input is normally close to that of a guitar pickup (sort of... All pickups are different, and some DI boxes are made for isolating things other than guitar.) ... so your signal will be a little better.

    [edit]
    read about Impedance Matching and Impedance Bridging for a better explanation. My comments about impedance matching are misleading.
    In reality you want something between impedance matching and impedance bridging. If you maximize voltage, then less amplification is needed, making a cleaner signal. However if you maximize current, then any induced current will have a smaller effect on voltage. 1:10 and 1:100 ratios are common and work well in real world applications.
    [/edit]
     
  10. mikalee

    mikalee Guest

    Ok, so micing it up seems to be the way to go then, and thanks for those links, I will check them out and see if I understand any of it.

    And how about the properly set up DAW thing?
     
  11. hackenslash

    hackenslash Active Member

    Good software, a decent computer properly optimised for audio work, and a decent audio interface. There is a huge amount of info here and at opther audio forums on this topic.
     
  12. mikalee

    mikalee Guest

    Ok then. Guess I'll take a look.
     
  13. Space

    Space Well-Known Member

    Shouldn't take but two or three months to get a good handle on it ;)

    Things to consider while considering things:

    Does my computer work with my selected hardware?
    Does my hardware work with my selected software?
    Does my software work with my selected computer?

    Integration
     
  14. mikalee

    mikalee Guest

    That's great, I should be ready to record by Christmas then :lol:

    Nah, I expect to put a bit of work into it tbh. And yeah, I'll make sure everything works with everything else. cheers
     
  15. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    The difference between when I started 18 months ago, and now, is unbelievable. A few months will get you to a working level - but you will always be able to get better.
    Within a year you'll be so much better off if you keep your ears in the game.

    "I expect to put a bit of work into it" is a good start. Once gear fever kicks in you should expect to put a bit of cash into it too. ;)

    Space: "Integration"
    As opposed to Disintegration?
     
  16. Space

    Space Well-Known Member

    Sure. If you do all the right things wrong ;)

    You guys know what I mean...
    A simple usb interface can be a fine for starters. It's a potential bottleneck as cpu usage increases. Firewire(tm?) is all the rage, some interfaces may require Texas Instruments chipset. Should I get dual core or a quad...or just a real fast gaming computer? How loud is loud for a computer fan/case? How do I make it quiet? Can I order a quiet computer box/fan/etc? Will a pci audio card work for me? What IS pci? What is a water cooled computer case and can I put a six pack in it? Do I need cables? Sorry, how many cables do I need? Sorry, what percentage of my budget should I allocate to cables? Can I get a good mix with computer speakers?

    So yea, integration of the components pieces and parts is paramount to positive purchase of potential products.
     
  17. Greener

    Greener Guest

    I thought you were talking about derivatives and all that.

    Like find the integral of (x^2)+4 between x=0 and x=4.

    Then I thought you were talking about racial stuff...

    Now I'm following your drift.

    It is very important to build an audio system where all the parts integrate with each other as smoothly as possible.

    You can get a good mix with computer speaker, 50/50 tob to green and play The Hendrix Experience through the speakers. That's a good mix.
     
  18. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    "It is very important to build an audio system where all the parts integrate with each other as smoothly as possible."

    +1

    "Like find the integral of (x^2)+4 between x=0 and x=4."

    37 1/3.
     

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