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Need advice on a basic recording rig.

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Unregistered, Nov 24, 2012.

  1. Unregistered

    Unregistered Guest

    I'm interesting in purchasing a beginner recording setup (nothing professional, just to be able to record a few songs.) I've never done anything like this before and I'm a total novice when it comes to recording so I'm seeking a package that will allow me to record in a relatively easy fashion, provide a relatively basic editing software, and create drum tracks with a simple drum machine. I plan to record songs with my Casio CDP100, a couple of acoustic/electric guitars, a Fender Jazz Bass, and possibly a cheap microphone. As for budget, I'd say that around $130 is my limit (I know that's not much at all in this field, but I'm not looking for anything even remotely professional). If anyone could get me started with some good brand names to trust for amateurs, or maybe even a go-to product for this type of thing, that would be great. Thanks! I'm also using Windows 7 if that matters.
     
  2. Kapt.Krunch

    Kapt.Krunch Well-Known Member

    Sorry to say, not likely to get everything you need for just $130. $200 will get you a basic set of stuff.

    You'll need to monitor what you record, so you'll need at LEAST headphones, but a decent set of studio-type monitors would be better. You'll need cables...that could eat up a quarter of your budget, right there, just for a few of them. Even the cheapest interface will probably be about $80, which doesn't leave you with any money for even a reasonable quality cheap mic.

    So...having said that, if you'll up the budget a bit, you can get starter packages for around $200, and they could include an interface with some "lite" version of software to do basic recording, a mic, cables and headphones.

    Take a look:

    Studio & Recording Packages | Musician's Friend

    Recording Packages at AMS

    Packages at zZounds.com

    USB Audio Interfaces | Sweetwater.com

    Shop Pro Audio in Sound and Keys | Cascio Interstate Music

    Some of those sites, you'll have to browse to see if you can find more "packages". You can also Google things like "Recording packages", etc., and find some things. You may have to work your way down through the "Recording", "Pro Audio" or "Computer" top-level categories to worm into the "packages" deals. All the links I included are well-known reputable companies, so stick with some of those, or similar, and avoid some of the lesser-known "internet-address-only" sites, unless you can determine their validity and reputation.

    Better yet, if you have any local music dealers, see if they have anything for close to that price-point. The advantage is that if they are a good local store, and you buy from them, they're more willing to take some time to help work through some problems of stuff you bought from them. Also, most of the good ones I've known will eventually let good repeat customers in on better deals, gear alerts, etc.

    Anyway, the main thing is that even $200 is going to get you pretty much bottom-of-the-line, stripped down stuff that's adequate to start learning, but don't expect too much from it. $130 COULD get you all the things you ask for, but it'll all be SOOOO cheezy that you'll regret having wasted money on junk like an off-brand interface and the cheapest mic and headphones you could find (or anything from a company that starts with a "B" and ends with an "r" on it, due to their well-earned reputation of inherent poor-quality and lousy customer service.)

    Even if you do decide to go with a minimum-quality starter kit, expect to spend some time optimizing your computer and learning the software before being able to make full use of it, if you expect to get more than a few tracks playing/recording at once. Digital multitrack audio is normally written to a separate hard drive than you main OS/Programs drive, for good reason.

    There is certainly nothing wrong with starting out with one of those packages. In fact, it may be BETTER to start out with something "lite", and something less complicated than a full-fledged 8-channel interface with the highest-end, feature-laden software...which would only serve to overwhelm most people just starting out.

    So, look around, and my advice is to go ahead and budget $200-$300 for a "package" to get you started, and then later (if you continue to pursue recording) plan on some decent studio monitors, and then...upgrade/add/replace as you go.

    Everyone has to start somewhere.

    If you are going to start this, search this site, and Google, for "Optimizing Windows 7 for recording", etc., and plan to come back and ask some questions. You need to know what you're in for, because it's very likely you'll run into snags just opening up the package, plugging things in, installing the software...and expecting to instantly start making trouble-free, pristine recordings. There are settings to set (which may be in Windows, the included recording software AND the interface) and changes to be made.

    Try to do a bit of research about all this, and when you do eventually come back for more questions, try to include all the relevant info you can about your system and software, your interface, your problem...and have plenty of patience as the folks who respond try to narrow down things for you to come to a solution. Trust me...if you are a complete novice...there's a 99% that you WILL get frustrated soon after that package arrives! When you hit a snag, just remember to take a deep breath, take some notes, and calmly post your situation. There is a 100% chance that nobody in the world knows for certain (including you) whether you have connected everything properly, installed all the software properly, tweaked everything properly, etc., so have plenty of patience as folks try to dig the information out to make suggestions.

    Not trying to scare you, just cluing you in to the realities. It's your responsibility to learn things as you go, put in some work, take chances...and you'll get there. Just like everything else in life, there is no workable method of "the government will do everything for me without me doing anything", and nobody here can do it in the recording world, either. But, there is help to get you through problems, as it only should be.

    Good luck,

    Kapt.Krunch
     
  3. Unregistered

    Unregistered Guest

    Hey, first of all thanks for giving me such a quick, detailed reply. I actually have some of the stuff sold in those packages already. I have the monitors, mic stands, and cables, so I don't think I need to repurchase everything in a package. I did some more research before I checked out this post and I'm considering buying the PreSonus AudioBox USB 2X2 USB Recording System. Any thoughts on that particular item? Anyway I'm still open to a lot of options and I'll be going back to research what you wrote about. Thanks!
     
  4. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    I have set up a couple of my clients with the PreSonus Audio Box. Now there are two versions of that unit. One is around $150 US and is the USB 1.1 version. The other one is the USB 2.0 version and costs approximately $250. There is no difference between those two units except that USB interface. Otherwise they are technically identical. They have very nice sounding microphone preamps in them. Not what I would call crisp and bright but rather smooth and silky. Which is actually a sound that I personally prefer in the digital age. Although I do like aggressive sounding microphone preamps like I own but they're not in your budget. They're 600-$1200 each per channel and no mixer, no interface. So that's kind of well, impractical for you.

    I can tell ya that as a technician having worked on equipment from some of the world's best studios to the world's worst basement studios, the PreSonus gear is extremely well built. Extremely solid. I was extremely intrigued by its quality level. No other reasonably priced equipment is built that well.

    Now the difference between that USB 1.1 and USB 2.0 is this: the USB 1.1 is limited by the speed of USB 1.1. This means that while it works well, you can really only use it for raw recording and raw playback. You can't be playing back any effects while overdubbing any other parts. The USB 2.0 version allows for that and more because of the greater bidirectional data transfer speeds. It then uses your computer's CPU to process things like equalization, reverb and effects, that can make for a smoother overdub session. Where you cannot have that equalization reverb and effects with the USB 1.1 version while overdubbing. But this limitation is only during overdubbing.

    When ya go to mix the project after you have completed all of your recording, they both work identically to one another. And their Studio One version 2 software that is included is absolutely fabulous.

    Now you mentioned something about recording your songs on a Casio thingamajig? Then why do you want a computer audio interface? Do you simply mean that you're just going to play the Casio? Because what you're saying, makes no logical sense. You record everything in the computer and that's what the PreSonus Audio Box is for. You're not going to be recording it into any little Casio thingamajig.

    So you've already got some equipment. Why don't you include a little more comprehensive listing? Microphone stands... check. Microphone cables... check. Headphones? Sealed back headphones? We're not talking any little iPod music earbuds are we? I hope not? Sennheiser HD 202, get a few of those. Cheap cheap cheap and really good. I mean we really can't read your mind as to what you already have? So, list the stuff you have. It's like saying I don't feel good.??? Yeah how don't you feel good? See? You have to be communicative in this communication business we call audio ya know, sound. I mean when you buy a car, you know it comes with seats inside right? Not old enough to buy a car? Sorry. Well... they already come with seats inside. So you don't have to worry about seats. But if you wanted special seats you have to put in a special order. And you wouldn't necessarily purchase the seats without the car. And when ya get that car, you do know that you have to put the gas in right? I mean it comes with a little bit already in it. But just because it's brand-new, doesn't mean that you can immediately drive it cross country without first filling up. Though I understand that stuff sometimes in some of the Middle Eastern countries where these really rich dumb people will purchase a car and drive it until it runs out of gas and then abandon it. Then they go buy another one because they can. Somehow... I know the second one isn't going to get them any further than the first one. What do you think?

    Why can't we turn air into a fuel?
    Mx. Remy Ann David
     
  5. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    If for some reason you want to use pro tools this is right in your range. Avid - M-Audio Recording Studio - Recording Studio ProTools SE it's 2.0, cheap and leaves you w/ enough money to get a used shure sm57/58. i've used the m-audio fastrack, which is likely where the technology for this came from. it's nothing great, the pres are not noisey, but are a bit on the dull side. it's speaker outs are RCA which could be an issue, also, unlike the audio box, it has no midi, so you would need a separate midi interface, which starts around 30 bucks.

    anyway i agree w/ the other two posts as well, just figured i throw some more ideas out there.
     
  6. Kapt.Krunch

    Kapt.Krunch Well-Known Member

    yeah, I was assuming that the OP had virtually NOTHING, by the first post:

    Then,
    ...which leads me to believe he may have some band equipment and experience, just no recording?

    Which begs the question...what are the monitors? Then there's this:
    Do you mean software that will help create and sequence drum tracks to play samples back from...or do you have a drum machine to be recorded into audio tracks, or to record its MIDI data into MIDI tracks of the software to trigger samples, etc.? There's a big difference in what certain software can do, if it's the first. You CAN create drum tracks in most any MIDI software, using several methods, including tapping things in on your Casio. You COULD use sample libraries, or even loops of audio samples. You can find already-made MIDI drum sequences to copy/cut/paste.

    Just trying to narrow down the possibilities, according to the criteria.

    Kapt.Krunch
     

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