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New to recording

Discussion in 'Recording' started by harpster, Sep 15, 2008.

  1. harpster

    harpster Guest

    Hello everyone,
    This is my first post.

    I have recorded my self for a couple years now using my computer software, playing to backtracks and then listening to it, and excepting the out come.

    This past summer months I have been playing with a small band and we have decided to try some recordings.

    Like I mentioned, I have recording software but I have no idea how to set up for proper recording.

    Where do I start???

    Maybe I should mention that I record directly to my software using a free standing vocal/instrument mic.

  2. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Distinguished Member

    Dec 11, 2007
    Scotland, UK
    "I have recording software"
    What is it called?

    Do you have an audio interface? How exactly does the microphone get plugged into the computer?

    Are you playing back a backing track or just recording the band as they play, no backing tracks anymore?
  3. harpster

    harpster Guest

    Thanks for the reply.
    I use both "Cakewalk and Audition"
    I plug my mic directly into the "Creative Sound Blaster" sound card.

    I guess I'm just after some basic what to do's and what not to do's to produce a somewhat quality recording.
    I know how to use the software, but when I get into editing sound quality I get lost.
    I just, within the last couple hours, found a good site that has a good glossary on common recording engineers lingo, I'm sure I will benift a lot from that.
    I thank you and will except any advice I can get.
  4. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Distinguished Member

    Dec 11, 2007
    Scotland, UK
    So you're looking for advice not on how to get the signal into the PC, but on what to do with it once it's in there?
  5. mwacoustic

    mwacoustic Guest

    Hi and welcome!

    A subtle but important point here:
    No software will enable you to improve the fundamental sound quality by editing. You need to start with good quality sound first. From there, sure you might be able to cut out mistakes, cover up ugly bits, make certain good parts stick out more, etc. But you can't get somethin' outta nothin'.

    On to your question...
    Your first step towards "proper recording" will be to learn how to mic the band. See this thread for a great example of the kind of results you can get with just a single pair of mics in a live situation.

    The software you have should be sufficient, but I think the usefulness of the Sound Blaster has come to an end for you. For a modest investment, you can get a USB audio interface that can send two channels (i.e. 2 mics, a stereo pair) to the computer. And oh, yeah, at least one more mic - what do you have already?

    Once you get the hardware, learning the software should be no problem - it is just a matter of enabling the two tracks to record. And again, don't worry so much about editing for now - those tricks will come later. Just focus on getting the best, most accurate "picture" of what you are hearing with your ears.

    Finally, there are plenty of "beginner's guides" on teh interwebs (including this forum) and probably with your software manual (you did read it, didn't you?) So while this is a great place to ask questions... more research->better, focused questions->better answers->happiness all around.
  6. harpster

    harpster Guest

    MWAcoustic, Codemonkey,
    Thanks so much for your helpful replys.

    First off, I'll get the USB audio interface ordered today.
    The mic I have, besides my harp mic, is a "CAD22A".
    I use both mics when playing, depending on what I'm playing, but for recording I use the CAD, sometimes through a preamp.
    I know good recordings comes with good sounds in,
    but you know as well as I do, you can have a million dollar baby but if you don't know how to treat her you may as well go down town and get a two bitter...!

    I will continue to read these threads.
    Thanks again,
  7. Bisson820

    Bisson820 Guest

    it depends on how many inputs you want live at once for recording.

    how manyin the band? what instruments? standard guitar/bass/drums/vocals?

    if you want good drum quality i'd at very least have 4 xlr inputs.

    your though process should be this... "ok what am i recording with? microphones. how many do i want at once? 4. How do i get 4 mic inputs to go into my computer with 1 track for each microphone? an interface with 4 inputs with either USB or firewire connectivity. Ok, but now microphones arent self amplified so i'll need something to amplify them? i could get preamps OR i could make sure the interface i get has preamps already built in. so now that i have my pathway into my computer, i need to edit it. software. but how will i hear play back? ok so i need monitors and/or headphones.

    now for electric guitar what do i need? i can either sacrafice quality and go straight into my interface line in... OR i could spend a little bit more on a DI box and up my quality even more.

    bass guitar same applys.

    ok ACOUSTIC guitar... well... i need at least 1 or 2 mics for that, so i should get some SM57's for that (which you could easily use for your drum mics too) but hey! if i listen to the mix through regular monitors wont i get some bleed from my microphones? absolutely, so you'll need some headphones and possibly some headphone extensions.

    Finally once i have all my instruments mixed i need to put in my vocals! well what you need to do is just like acoustic guitar.. play themix through the headphones and sing into your mic. Ok, but what if we do group vocals like chants and crowd noises. WELL then you'll need more headphones... probably 3 or 4... so you'll need a headphone amp with several outputs."

    ok... now that im done with that... lemme just list it.

    Interface/amplifiers (could be in the same package)

    i dont know your budget so i'll list some generic mics

    Shure SM57's can do just about everything ... debatible with a kick drum. having 4 of those for your mics... isnt a bad thing.

    if you only would want 4 mics... then i'd go with the Shure drum package which is $400 which comes with 3 SM57's and a kick mic called a beta 52a.

    if your budget wont allow that... then i'd look on http://www.musiciansfriend.com to find microphones in your price range... then research the mics that your interested in.

    for an interface.... i still dont know what your budget allows... but 8 inputs is pretty good. i'd recommend looking at the m-audio 2626 and its competitors... but if you cant spend that much... there are cheaper 8 inputs... http://pro-audio.musiciansfriend.com/product?sku=245002X

    hope it helps.
    good luck

    edit - your quality will ultimate be reflected on how much you put into it. you can use 2 channels just fine if your a good engineer.

    for about a year i used a Lexicon Omega and Cubase LE with some PG58 microphones... and made some damn decent recordings. and that only cost me $300
  8. harpster

    harpster Guest

    Tyler RE: Recording

    Thanks for the reply and info.

    I have recording software, where recordings are done directly through the sound card and on a track.
    Each instrument and voice are recorded on seperate tracks.

    As far as drums and bass, I use "Band in a Box".

    Just for vocal and a single track, say, lead guitar, or in my case a haromica, would two mics be benificial?

    You mentioned a "DI" box" for electric guitar, what is it?

    As far as mics goes, I have 5 differant mics, from Shure to CAD, some hi and some lo impedence.

    I use hi impedence mics when playing the harp.
    What is the differance in the two, hi-lo when recording???

    Wow, this is a whole lot to digest.
    Thanks a bunch,
  9. Bisson820

    Bisson820 Guest

    a DI box is a direct input box.... it takes an unbalanced signal that the guitar gives off and makes it balanced. it will increase your quality big time... unless you are micing your amp (playing guitar normally and just puttin mics up to the amp).

    Vocals harmonica and lead guitar i would saydo as mono. vocals for sure, harmonica i would, lead guitar depending on if your recording line in or if your micing your amp.

    but a cheap $30 DI box is a great investment if your NOT micing your amp to record your guitar. (for great quality, get a better one, but this $30 one will do you justice enough).

    vocals are very simple... its the last instrument you want to put in the mix because its the easiest to not get perfectly.

    for me... it takes me a while to perfect the vocals on my tracks... mostly because i usually have 3-7 different vocal tracks that layer in different parts of the songs (sometimes 24).

    so now that i know you have bass and drums all set.... then you wont need proper drum mics, it would still be good to have an sm 57 or 2 kickin around... cant go wrong... it would cost you $100 each however.

    i dont know what mics your using besides the CAD.

    this article may or may not help you for the Hi-Low thing.. http://www.whirlwindusa.com/tech03.html

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