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Newbie with Starting Gear Questions.

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Rufio90210, Jan 5, 2012.

  1. Rufio90210

    Rufio90210 Active Member


    Newbie hear and completely new to the home recording world however after never being happy with the rushed time frame and arsehole producers of studio recording I have decided to become somewhat a hermit and study the art of recording.

    I am a singer songwriter / multi instrumentalist of an indie / psychedelic / pop / grunge ilk ..... however I am not technically minded.

    I have purchased a mac and got the old logic 9 along with a teach yourself logic style book and a book called 'Guerilla Home Recording' to help me out with the gear / set up side of things to get a good professional sound on budget. However I am already a little confused by the gear it states... it says all you need are as follows -

    -Condenser Mic
    - Dynamic Mic
    - A mixing board
    - A Direct box
    - Compressor
    - Expander
    - Headphones
    - A good reverb

    Now I have £1000 to get all of this. What is is stumping me though is I've heard you NEED an audio interface yet there is no mention of this in the books set up.... I thought an audio interface WAS a mixing board / DI box used to get your audio onto the computer in good fashion. ? Am I right? Is this book maybe just a bit old school? Should I use an interface, mixing board & DI box?

    Ok and just one more question, my friend has a couple of items that may be of interest to me but he to is not a technically minded person and has lucked upon these items with no ambition to use them so he has offered them both to me for £300.... the items are a Lexicon MPX1 reverb unit and a Presonus acp88 compressor / gate.
    Are these good units and is £300 a good price? Also gate is an expander right>?

    Quite a few questions but would really appreciate any answers you can help out with and please do recommend me any gear you feel would be good for my cause.

    Thanks so much and I may be around often!


    P.S. Im guessing you cant get an interface / compressor / expander / rever all in one kinda thing?
  2. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    An audio interface is a device that takes analog signals from your microphone or guitar or keyboard or whatever and turns it into a digital PCM signal that can be mixed by software. There are some mixers that double as an interface like the Presonus Studio Live or the Allen and Heath ZED R16 or GS24 but most mixers are not in that category. In point of fact, you don't need a mixer at all unless you are going to have a band play live at clubs.

    If you are just starting out you do not need and hardware compressors or expanders (same thing different flavor) or EQ's or reverbs. All of that is available as software plugins. A 1000 pounds is not a lot to get started but already having a computer with a licensed copy of Logic is a bonus. Basic quality microphones would include the Shure SM57/SM58 as well as the Rode NT55 pair. Don't forget microphone cables and stands. Don't forget a comfortable pair of headphones like the Audio Technica ATH-M50 or similar and a pair of near field monitors of which KRK makes some good value for the entry level.
  3. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    As Jack says, I would pass on the Lexicon reverb and the Presonus compressor. The £300 is better spent on gear that you actually need.

    I'm assuming that it's just you playing and/or singing at any one time, so although you could get away with a 2-channel interface, it may be better to go for one that has 3 or 4 microphone inputs. In this way, you could capture the sound from a stereo pair of mics along with individual mics for your voice and your guitar. Your budget is not going to stretch to a top-quality interface, but there are several perfectly adequate ones in the £200 - £250 bracket such as the Presonus AudioBox 44VSL.

    Beyond this, you will need something like the Shure SM58 microphone for vocals, a pair of NT55s for instruments and room sound, cables, stands, headphones for monitoring and loudspeakers for replay during mixing. You will have done well if you manage to get all these in your budget.

    Good luck!
    DonnyAir likes this.
  4. Rufio90210

    Rufio90210 Active Member

    Thanks for response.

    Will I need a preamp if I get an interface like the Presonus Audiobox, I thought interfaces gave it that boost aswell?
  5. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Interfaces of that type include microphone pre-amps.
  6. Bluesmoods

    Bluesmoods Active Member

    Seeking opinions....ASAP

    Presonus 44VSL or Focusrite Scarlett 18i8 Flat out. Or are they about the same quality.

    I have the 44VSL and have used it for several years. I have been extremely impressed with the quality and features overall. However, When I disconnect the unit from my PC and perhaps reinstall, I get a whole bunch of "pops" and "crackle" with an occasional changes in speed so it sounds like a warped record. When I remove it and do an entirely new download and reinstall several times or make other adjustments that I still don't know exactly what they are, it resolves and I get a great clean high quality sound once again.

    I am very impressed with the quality, it is just the darn Popping and so forth that sems to re occur on occasion that ruins the experience for me.
    My understanding is that those who have used the Focusrite Scarlett 18i8 have not encountered these issues. Is the Focusrite a better product? Will I experience a better sound reproduction through better Preamps? Am I correct in that you can also capture sound lets say from Soundcloud or Youtube back to the Focurite and lay down a DAW track from that captured sound? (understanding copyright restrictions and all as a singer songwriter). Can't do that with 44VSL.

    Do tell...

  7. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    There is many recipe to good recording. To me, having a room and monitors that won't lie to you is a must.
    Other than that, your needs should surpass any recommendations. Most home studio don't have a mixing board external compressors, expanders and external reverbs but they still can produce good recording.

    Answer this :
    • What instrument(s) are you gonna record at once. (full band, just guitar and vocal, drums ?)
    • How is your recording room, (size and shape, any treatment ?)
    • What's your budget for an ideal setup ?
  8. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    Yes you do, some digital mixers do all this in one package !
  9. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    The popping is because you don't have the latency set correctly for the device. That or you have an active cell phone right by the cable or interface. Data bursts for weather, texts, vm etc can cause these pops. Usually however it is improper latency adjustment.

    The Presonus and Focusrite Scarlet are in the same category of devices. I would put them about equal quality. Better preamps are always good but they are not what is causing the click/pop.
  10. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Good to see you back here, John.
  11. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Well said.

    The general rule of thumb is to record at the lowest possible latency that your DAW/I-O/Computer will allow, and to use a higher buffer (RAM) setting when mixing, because it's at that stage where you start adding all the processing that can start to bog things down. Now, I mention this as a "general" rule because there are other factors also at play... the amount of RAM you have, the speed and power of your CPU, your HDD, OS, etc.

    You didn't mention what OS you are using, and this can also be a factor. If you are using an older 32 bit system, it doesn't matter how much RAM you have installed - the computer will only ever see and use 4 gigs... and actually, it's less than that, because your OS will eat a gig of that right off the top, the minute you boot.

    More details are needed... PC specs, OS, DAW platform, driver and firmware versions for your audio I/O...

  12. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    To my experience, the answer lies with the drivers, buffer settings and running services that uses ressources.
    There are many optimisation sites that can be found, if you specify the OS, I can post a few that helped me ;)
  13. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Good catch, pal.

    I forgot to mention that.

    Marco is dead on here.. You'd be surprised at just how much those various apps running in the background can tax your CPU and RAM.

    Even little things, stuff like iTunes, Microsoft Office, Adobe Flash, or any of the other various Windows tasks and apps that aren't necessary to run your system can tax your system while running a DAW Program.

    In and of themselves, one at a time, they might not be a problem, but when those apps and background tasks start to add up, eventually you will see a drag if you have enough running. And of course, Virus Protection - which is probably one of the biggest hogs on your system's resources.

    DAW platforms require a lot of power (and speed) to run efficiently - CPU, Cores, RAM, HDD speed - most all multi media production platforms - audio and video - are pretty big hogs when it comes to using your system's resources.

    Most people who do audio professionally will have a PC or Mac dedicated to multimedia production alone. We are using stripped down, lean, mean machines. No Netflix, no Amazon, no FB, no games... in fact, many engineers don't use any internet connection at all on their production computer - unless they need to update drivers or firmware, or register/authorize a program, at which point they turn it on, do what they need to do, but after they are finished, most will imediately turn that service off again - very few will actually stay connected when working in a multi media platform.

    If you give us info on your computer (Model, CPU, RAM, etc), tell us your OS (Windows XP, 7, 8) the make and model of preamp/audio I-O you are using, and your DAW Platform - Pro Tools, Sonar, Logic, Studio One, Samplitude, Cubase, etc, we could help you more.


  14. Bluesmoods

    Bluesmoods Active Member

    Thanks... Okay here is the equipment list:

    Compaq Computer (2010), Windows 7 /64, (AMD processor) Studio One, Presonus 44VSL. Sufficient hard drive space...

    It seems that other USB devices do not work 100%, in that they
    sporadically cut out. For example, if my cell phone is plugged in USB to charge, and I move it just a little, you get that USB unplugged audio sound (sorry no other way to describe it) and then right away, USB plugged-in audio sound.

    Is there a USB controller fix or a way in which I can examine this to confirm the issue? Device manager says no problems.

    The AudioBox was working perfectly until I did a reinstall!! (After which I realized I had not plugged it into the original input. That should not matter?)... The last time this happened, I took it out of the USB input in the front of the computer and used an input in the rear and abra cadabra . . . fixed. Not so this time so it seems. I have been using this set up for several years with no issues except when I ever did a re- installation of the 44VSL. I also went through the factory recommended uninstall procedures and several fresh installations..
    :( Really frustrating ...

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