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Just starting out; anything missing? will this work?

Discussion in 'Recording' started by emp, Dec 20, 2006.

  1. emp

    emp Guest

    I'm trying to finally (after waiting a long bitter decade) really begin recording music with 20 to 30 tracks. I want to start out with spending less than 1000 dollars just to get the songs togetehr without worrying too much about not having perfect quality sound. I suppose early Skinny Puppy comes closest to describing the sound I really want although I'm more varied than that.

    Right now I have an old Ensoniq KS-32 with an amp that I've written music on in the past but I completely had to forget about the music in my head and just go with what the Ensoniq was capable of. I want to go far beyond that, especially with adding audio tracks.

    So this is what I'm thinking about doing:
    Dell computer with an AMD 64 Athlon, 1.6 Ghz CPU, 2GB RAM, 80 GB hard drive,
    M-Audio Audiophile 2496 sound card,
    very cheap computer speakers.
    One or two microphones, I guess Behringers...,
    Cubase SE 3 (the 75 dollar student version).

    Later I'll get better monitor speakers and I guess either a firewire interface or some other better soundcard. For now I can settle for less than perfect sound. Just want to be able to record 30 or so tracks one at a time and get the songs down. Am I missing anything?

    I've been reading "The Everything Home Recording Book" by Marc Schonbrun and stuff online and I have some confusion about a few things.
    Is a mixing board and a mixer different things? Dumb question I guess but my readings have got me confused.

    I'm thinking (and I hope someone will correct me if wrong) that for audio tracks the microphone will connect directly to the computer as I plan to use a M-Audio 2496 soundcard (if I was using USB or Firewire I'd have a external interface box??). The "mixing board/mixer" is just the software from Cubase. The crappy computer speakers can play it back. The amp is a cheap 100 dollar amp. Perhaps I could use that instead?

    I'm sorry if this is too detailed. Is there anything obvious I'm missing? Any compatibility issues?
  2. emp

    emp Guest

    Obviously I need cables. I Think I don't need a preamp. Either Cubase or even Audiophile should have that already... But I'd really like to know for certain..... Cubase is both an audio and midi interface so I shouldn't need anything more....

    I'd like to know exactly what Cubase SE doesn't offer compared to SL, SX and Cubase 4. I can't find much that gives explicit details at the Steinberg site. Can't use the forum there as I haven't actually bought cubase yet. EQ? Reverb? Compression? Surely SE quantizes and... does that thing that's sort of the opposite of quantizing. Can't remember what it's called right now.

    Microphone straight to Computer which will have cubase and audiophile on it. No need for a preamp. Perhaps some headphones and cheap speakers.

    Ensoniq straight to computer also. Recording tracks one at a time.

    Some sort of virtual synth eventually. Native Instruments?

    Pretty please with sugar throw me a bone?
  3. mugtastic

    mugtastic Active Member

    Dec 9, 2005
    you will need pre-amps with a soundcard like that. get a firewire interface with a couple pres if you want to use mics.
  4. Groff

    Groff Active Member

    Jul 18, 2004
    You will need:

    1.Preamp. Two channels. You can't go direct, there is no pre on M-Audio 2496 I suppose. Used small mixer i.e. Mackie vlz 1202 would serve you as pre, monitor controller and phantom pwr. (on eBay, roughly 100 -150 $)

    2.Mic. Don't go with B. stuff. Rode NT1(a) should be in your range (200 $).

    3.Better monitors. Manny choices of active pairs in affordable entry level class (200 $). With PC speakers you will be „blind“

    4.Second hard disc (for data only). Not necessary, but ...

    Holidays, discounts, spec. prices. Go!
  5. emp

    emp Guest

    thank you both.

    I'm sorry, what is a "pres"?
  6. Kev

    Kev Well-Known Member

    Nov 13, 2001
    Microphone Pre-Amplifier

    brings Mic Level up to Line Level

    so it has higher gain than a Line Amplifier
  7. dementedchord

    dementedchord Well-Known Member

    May 11, 2006
    another good beginner mic worth cosidering ... audio technica has a 2fer pac can't remember the # something like 2040 maybe??? any how it's a real good place to start from...
  8. emp

    emp Guest

    Thank you.

    ...I've been talking to a small computer store that will build computers for people and the one guy says he knows all about putting together a computer for mixing/recording music. But he was taking notes when I was speaking to him and he wrote down "Q base" as opposed to Cubase. Was that shorthand for him or does he not know how to spell it? How much can he really know when he doesn't know how to spell one of the main 3 PC music mixers? (Cubase, Digidesign, Cakewalk Sonar).

    He was saying he could put such a computer together with firewire, etc. Everything I need computerwise (except microphones of course) for 800 dollars. But he also made no mention of monitors or (speaker) monitors. No mention of the compatibility issues with soundcards (althougth it wasn't a soundblaster at least, can't remember it right now). I'm wondering if the guy has much idea what he's talking about. He said, to reassure me, his small business puts together about 30 computers per month. But that isn't the same as putting together a home recording studio....

    Any advice?

    My computer died a couple days after I started this thread so now I really have virtually no time to research this stuff online now.

    Also FWIW, I'm really curious of the differences between Cubase SE 3 and SL 3. The student version of SE 3 is only 75 dollars....

    Cakewalk Sonar seems much more expensive... although the older versions are only 150 to 200.

    I really don't have a lot of money to throw around. I have an MS in engineering but had my scientific career destroyed thanks to DHS+being an ethical vegan+other factors and am starting over going to school in nursing. Any help is greatly appreciated.
  9. dementedchord

    dementedchord Well-Known Member

    May 11, 2006
    beware... it is entirely possible the guy's full of $*^t... a lot of the small shops are doit yourselfers that are branching out... and while perhaps well intentioned building a gamer machine should not be confused with tweeking for audio... i know... i fell prey to one myself once... Qbase is a good indicator... that said it doesn't mean he's incapable... ask him to check out a few of the tweeksites and see if he's receptive.... if he wont... runaway...
  10. emp

    emp Guest

    I figured he was probably clueless. Also heard from an intern that used to work there that he was stealing parts out of people's computers, had many people accusing him of such, etc. Wish I had heard that part before I let him work on my old computer. Anyway I spent 750 on a new Dell E521 with 2 gis of RAM. So I'll at least be able to access the internet regularly now to figure it out on my own.
  11. emp

    emp Guest

    So I got Cubase SE 3 for 75 dollars (student version), seems a great buy.
    I'm using an external soundcard, a m-audio midisport UNO 1/1 USB to Midi interface, which just connects directly from my very old Ensoniq KS-32 to my new Dell. Just 50 dollars.

    The computer is sending the info back out to me KS-32 which is then playing it using the old amp. It sounds fine to me. (shrug?) Playing "blind"? Whatever. Seems fine to me.

    So no audio, just midi for now. Which for a keyboard player (and for someone who mentions the like of Skinny Puppy) is really a fine way to start. Later I'll look into virtual sampling libraries and then audio. But for now this seems pretty fantastic to me. Paid an extra 200 for the computer memory (had to buy a new computer anyway), 75 for the computer program and 50 for the external USB card.

    The way I write music and where I'm at right now, the audio can wait.
  12. VonRocK

    VonRocK Active Member

    Sep 3, 2006
    Calgary, Alberta Canada
    Good on you for getting what you need to start doing what you want to do. Having some new creative tools in your hands is a good feeling, isnt it?
  13. dementedchord

    dementedchord Well-Known Member

    May 11, 2006
    EMP.... glad it's working out for you....
    now get to work !!!

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