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New to recording need some advice

Discussion in 'Recording' started by mort7777, Jan 18, 2013.

  1. mort7777

    mort7777 Active Member

    I am planning to record multiple keyboards only!(no guitars/vocals etc)
    I just purchased a new A&H Zed60 14FX mixer but Im not pleased with the
    USB out 1.1 so I also purchased a Focusrite Scarlett 2i/2 audio interface
    for 2.0 USB.
    Question 1; Whats the best way to hook up the mixer/interface with my
    Lenovo labtop (Intel i5/8GB of ram 2.3Ghz speed)?
    DAW is Mixcraft 6 Studio Pro(since Im new at this I wanted something similar to garageband)
    I will be recording audio never midi

    Question 2;
    When recording multiple keyboards is it better thru a mixer/interface combo
    or each keyboard stereo individually thru the interface via the labtop for better quality sound?

    Question final; can you recommend a good book for newbies thats user friendly but up to date with technology unlike Dummybooks.
    thanks for any help
     
  2. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    there's two basic ways to do it, you hook up each keyboard one at a time to your line inputs as needed. restricts you to using only one at a time.

    since most electric keyboardist i've had experience w/ use two or more keyboards in the same song, and you already have a mixer, here's what i'd do.

    the last to channels on your mixer are stereo channels, which means one fader adjusts the l/r of your keyboard outs simultaneously. just plug the L/R outs of your keybords to the L/R inputs of the mixer.

    -if- you have more than 2 keyboards, then the addition ones will have to be plugged in to 'pairs' of channels. so keyboard for 3 (and more), starting w/ channels 1 and 2, hookup your left out, to line in 1, right out to line in 2. Now very important. you have to pan ch1 all the way to the left, and ch2 all the way to the right. keep doing this for any additional keyboards.

    Now plug you line outs from the mixer, to the line inputs on the front of your interface. plug in your interface via usb. your all hooked up.

    One thing to remember is that your interface is capable two tracks at a time. so even tho you have multiple keys hooked up, and are playing them at the same time, the collective performance, will be recorded to the same two tracks.

    if you want to 'layer' keyboards, or have each keyboards have it's own track/tracks, you will have stick to using one keyboard at a time and just keep making new tracks, and overdubbing them one key at a time.

    if you choose this approach, i recommend using MONO tracks, recording the left channel only. think about it, if you have eight parts all hard panned left and right, you'd basically have this big mess, and not much happening in the middle. Panning mono instruments in the stereo field allows each part to have it's own space and be heard.

    OK, there is a very very important concept in audio called 'gain staging', this basically is the technique for getting a clean, quiet, full sound. here's what you do:

    turn the volume on your keyboards about 3/4 of the way up. Place the faders on your mixer at '0', or 'unity gain'. often it's a shaded area on the mixer. now pick your sound, and play as hard as you normally would. while looking at the output meters on your mixer, starting completely counter-clockwise position, turn the "trim" knob (usually at the top) on your mixer gradually up until the meters are reading around half way up, or a bit more. you don't want to see yellow.

    Rinse was repeat for each keyboard. Next bring the master fader on your mixer up to unity.

    w/ the 'trim' or gain knobs on your interface, all the way counterclockwise (off), gradually turn them up while watching either the meter ring on your interface, or the meters on the track in mixcraft. when you see them around halfway up, your good. that's it, that's gain staging.

    You may be wondering well "why am i leaving so much room on the meter", the reason is because digital distortion is a nasty undesirable thing. you want to make sure that no matter how hard you hit your keys you never even come close to the top. Also, when it comes time to mix your tracks are going to inherently get 'louder'. if you max them out on the way in, you'll have no room left for processing. hence the term headroom.

    if for instance you add 6db of highs, your signal is actually getting 6db louder. headroom is key.

    any book geared toward home recording, or basic digital audio recording, should be fine, i don't know of any off hand, that are especially good.

    Good luck! happy recording!
     
  3. mort7777

    mort7777 Active Member

    Thanks a lot Kmetal, do I ever need to take the keyboards out of the mixer directly to the interface or can I keep them always in the mixer via the interface? I know Im going from multiple ins(mixer) down to stereo(focusrite)thats why I asked
    does it make any difference sound qualitywise?
     
  4. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    it shouldn't make an audible difference, those A&H mixers are pretty transparent. if you were using a radio shack mixer from the 70's it'd be a different story for better or worse. but try it out, see if you can hear a difference, when you do a blind test. i've actually used that A&H line the way you are and i thought it sounded fine.
     
  5. mort7777

    mort7777 Active Member

    Thanks Kmetal you've given me the best advice thus far.... sounds like you really know what your'e talkin about.I wish you could PM me your email address but dont feel like you you have to... no big deal,Im just totally new at this.
     
  6. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    Glad i could help. sent ya my email. don't be shy w/ any questions you have, here or otherwise. there's a lot of people around this forum that are very helpful, and know alot more than i do.
     
  7. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    Really, you're in a situation where that mixer is wholly unnecessary. As indicated, it likely isn't going to hurt anything but it's another piece of crap you are putting your audio through that you don't need to do. And the less stuff you put your audio through, the better. So those electronic keyboards can plug right into the computer audio interface, directly. The mixer might be handy for more comfortable monitoring purposes and/or should you need to put 8-10 microphones on a drum set that you want to print to only two tracks? But that isn't really practical either albeit it's still doable. The mixer is better suited for your PA were both keyboards and the microphone for your vocal would likely be necessary? But in your recording applications at home, it's a white elephant. It looks good. It smells like a console should smell. But it's Congratulations to Capt. Duncul. I mean if you wanted that British EQ? That's why you'd send it through the mixer before tracking. If you're cutting flat? There's no reason to send it through the console. If you're using microphones of more than one you'd send it through the mixer. Everybody knows the best sound comes from a straight wire. So the less stuff you put between your instrument and your recording device input, the better. Unless you want to coloration that mixer has to offer? Is the mixer offers no coloration, it's moot. And we don't want recordings coming from the moot. That sounds so... so moot.

    My responses are frequently moot.
    Mx. Remy Ann David a.k.a. Miss Moot
     
  8. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    I'm having strange problems posting this evening/this morning?

    Every time I start a new paragraph, my paragraph is eliminated?

    And every time I sign off... it smashed into the one big paragraph? Maybe it's a connection problem on my end? It's broadband, wireless. Not going to a router or anything.

    I designed this post to be four paragraphs.

    And what's it look like?

    I'm experiencing PTSP (Post Traumatic Stress Posts)
    Mx. Remy Ann David
     
  9. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    Well that came out fine???

    I'm in the Twilight Phone?
    Her again.
     
  10. mort7777

    mort7777 Active Member

    Mixer unecessary???????/

    I have the mixer as well when playing multiple keyboards live!!!
     
  11. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    Yes and rightfully so you should be using that mixer when you are feeding multiple keyboards into it for live performance purposes. But in your home studio environment, it's more circuitry you are putting your audio through that you don't need to do. Most everyone here who does this professional way, knows that we want to go through the least amount of circuitry that's necessary. We frequently patched things right in the control room directly into a multitrack machine when there is no reason to feed it through even an $85,000 custom NBC-TV Neve console. Not unless I want that added coloration? So it serves no real actual purpose for you in your home studio environment when you are only cutting a couple of tracks at a time. Just because you have it isn't necessarily a reason for using it. Not unless, you're doing something live where you need multiple keyboards plugged in simultaneously to feed the PA system. And even if it's just sitting there to not add anything of its own, what's the reason to pass the audio through it? And as a professional, this would be the stance I would take. I would get a much more pure tone going through less circuitry. Unless I want it to go through 15 of those Neve transformers? Just to get THAT sound. And which I frequently do because I have that desk. And besides, everything adds its own noise. So you're just compounding the noise factor and that has no advantage. See? But if it works for you, no harm done? Are you getting precisely what you want? What was the question? Let's review LOL.

    From my own personal perspective and experience
    Mx. Remy Ann David
     
  12. mikej

    mikej Active Member

    Honestly I am new to recording as well and I checked out from the library "Home Recording For Musicians for Dummies" 4th edition copyright 2012. I think it is up to date and full of very helpful information. I was very reluctant to try a 'for dummies' book but I think you might want to check it out.
     
  13. mort7777

    mort7777 Active Member

    thanks
     

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