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Old Newbie needs help

Discussion in 'Recording' started by johntheson, Feb 28, 2003.

  1. johntheson

    johntheson Guest

    I've been playing music for 40 years now, but know nothing about recording on computer. I've got a Les Paul and Marshall that I use for electric, and a Martin HD 28 that I use for acoustic. I've also got a Boss GT6 guitar processor that I love. I've only got a Sound Blaster Live card, but a 2 ghz computer. I use Cakewalk Pro Audio 9, and Sonar XL 2.0. I can record with my acoustic using my LR Bagge Para DI pre amp, and everything sounds good, even with the SB Live. I trid using my Les Paul plugged into my GT6, and that plugged into my line in on the sound card, just as I do with the acoustic pre amp , but it sounds distorted, and if I try to turn the volume up on the guitar, GT6 or the sound card or software mixer, I get total distortion. I know my sound card is not what I need, but it seems to work well with the acoustic stuff but not the electric. Do I need a mixer to run through? If anyone can help me by stearing me in the right direction; I'd be very grateful. Thanks.
    John Sr.
  2. audiowkstation

    audiowkstation Active Member

    Jun 29, 2001
    Yes sir!

    I can't wait to hear some of your work!

    Their is nothing wrong with the SB live card for a 16 bit device. It established a reference for budget priced cards (some at the time of its' introduction were 15,000 dollars) and the archetecture is first rate.

    You are presented with a situation here that requires some hand holding and I will walk you through it as well as I can and hopefully it will be meaningfully simple enough for you to grasp it all and get busy.

    The SB live has an audio input which is analog.

    It uses the horrible 1/8 female jack. When you open the mixer of the SB live, make sure you have everything muted except for your chosen input, (recording mixer) and the chosen outputs (wave/master)

    If the mic, or the CD analog is "on" your noise floor will go up to unacceptable levels.

    The best way to use this card is to do it this way.

    A mixer and a multitrack recorder is the best way with your setup. Analog to digital recorder through the mixer.

    Personally, the inexpensive Behringer boards sound really good if proper gain management is used. They have good line amps and mic pres. I had a fellow sell his 16/Mackie because the Behringer simply sounded better to him and myself.

    Will you track 2 tracks at a time? or will you get a mulitrack recorder?

    The SB live accepts only 2 channels of audio at a time (inputs) so you have that as the only option direct to daw, unless you go midi, and well, don't do that.

    What I would do is record your tracks through a board to a multitrack. Once you get a good mix, go into the SB live to lay the 2 track to hard drive.

    Now, if you have a DAT, or CDR that has analog in and digital out, you can go digital in with the SB live and get a cleaner recording to the drive, provided you keep the inputs low on the dat/CDR. Use it for a analog to digital device.

    Sound forge or Cool edit pro are excellent devices to record 2 track to hard drive.

    It is best to get an outboard A/D-D/A but I am working with you on what you have and minimal expendature for great results.

    I will stop now for a bit, and let you answer more questions if need be.

    We are assembling a Recording.org CD for folks to purchase and even though the compensation is light, I would hope you would consider being on it.
  3. johntheson

    johntheson Guest

    I don't think I've ever read a more elequent hands on post reply as the one you just gave. I'm extremely grateful to you. If I knew how; I'd post a piece that just happens to be my first try at recording. It's funny; I just tried the computer recording last week; and the first 2 track piece was the best(but by all means was far far from exceptable as polished) the ones after that never quite made the grade as a keeper. As far as your suggestions; are you saying that I should use a mixer(if possibble I'd really like not to buy a multitrack recorder)? I've looked at the Behringers many times online(the Eurorack series I think). Right now I will just 2 track while getting my feet wet, and then, following your advice, will delve further into it as I learn more.It's amazing Bill; when I was younger,I caught on to things in a snap; but I try to computer record, and I really fell quite spastic. The mixdown that I kept is a piece of acoustic chords with a small Jazz type flavor on track 1, and some very simple riff stuff on track 2. I'm just stumped that the electric guitar is so much harder for me to record than my acoustic. I forgot to mention that in my Martin I've got an LR Baggs I Beam passive pickup. so my acoustic is actually elecric, and not mic'd. I've got a new Shure SM57 that I haven't used yet but plan to also. I too, will stop here for now. Thank you for your kind help, and I hope you can continue to work with me.
    John Sr.
    PS.. Yes I would be interested in the CD.
  4. audiowkstation

    audiowkstation Active Member

    Jun 29, 2001
    If you would like, you can send me an array of 2 track performances, I can load them into the multitrack, sinc them, mix them for you.

    The euro behringers are great boards for a studio, they cannot handle road abuse like a mackie, but they sure can sound good if the gain is properly used.

    If you have high speed internet, this can work, if not, put the files on a CD and I can do it for you..

    Face it, with those axes, and the experience, I know you will have a great sound.

    My Dad got his first computer when he was 75 and he will be 80 in May. He has it "going on" and loves it..of course, we all have the "crs" problem (cant remember $*^t) but that is what the world turning does to us.

    I am 44 and believe me, it takes me longer to grasp a concept than it use to. I am the dude that gets honked at for not flooring the pedal at the green light. I wait at intersections much longer than I use to..hey, why take a chance?
  5. Pez

    Pez Active Member

    Dec 27, 2002
    John Sr. If I'm correct you are putting the Les Paul through your effects box and then going straight into the computer. I would recommend instead that you use your Marshall and mike it up with the SM57 direct off of the speaker cab.
    Bill, I just wanted to say thank you for your generous reply to John Sr. I think it was the most polite response i've ever read on a forum to someone with a Soundblaster card.
  6. johntheson

    johntheson Guest

    I have a feeling you and I have much in common. I'm 50 now, and I can relate with what you are saying. The file I have in wave format is 29mbs, and I do have a high speed connection. I get the feeling that you have your own studio. Am I right? If so; after I can lay down a sufficient number of tracks; I'd like to get you to work on them(for your fee, of course). Should I get the Behringer, and plug the electric into the mixer, and then run it to the sound card? I don't know if you're familiar with Phil Keaggy; but it's his stuff that most interests me; that's one reason I need to learn how to record my electric. He lays down some sweet chords, and then tastefully begins to make mince meat out of the finger board. I like just a hint of decaying delay, and reverb with the tubes in the Marshall blending in with the overtones, and a touch of chorus for the chord tracks. I'm very excited about finally getting some of my playing on media. It gives me a chance to sit back and pick it apart, which in turn brings out the best in us. Thanks again Bill for the correspondance. I also see you live in sunny Fla. I used to live in Cocoa Beach when I was stone in love with surfing. It's been since 1971 that I was there. I loved Fla. I lived in the Tiki apartments as you head towards the Cape on A1A. Holler at me again when you can Bro'.
    Until Then,
    John Sr.
    PS.....I just proof-read my post....Forgive the spastic subject hopping; I'm not much of a writer.
  7. audiowkstation

    audiowkstation Active Member

    Jun 29, 2001
    Any way I can be of service John!

    I lived in the Pensacola Area for a shade over 30 years ( between school and gigs) and then moved to New Orleans and ran a large facility there. After the owner sold it (he built skyscrapers for a living and decided to move, sell the facility) I went back to the beach house in Pensacola. Was doing weekends there anyway..

    Met my bride to be and moved to Mayflower Arkansas (awesome, 10 acres in the hills) and got involved with Arkansas Tech U and that was a meaninful experience. My wife at the time, double music major was working as an office mgr. for a very well know dentist with really good pay...but her heart was not in being an office manager and through the college and connections she landed a Job in North Western Arkansas as a Band director for the schools system. This worked well for her but due to circumstances outside either of our control, we divorced (no children between us) and although we are great friends, our schedules just did not work at all and for her and my benefit, it was the plan. I moved here in Nov 2001 with my studio gear and my Dog.

    Mainly what I have here does well for acoustic production, vocal production, on site recording, mixing and especially mastering.

    I have a large format desk in storage and it is not needed at all. It is a dynosaur by todays standards (I could never fill its channels or pay the electricity for it) and since I have the same mic pres, eq's and line amps in a smaller format desk, I get the sound of the large console without the 12.5 foot platform. This room is 21X10 (small) but it has an open style ceiling and is basically inert since lows have a place to go and they do not "bunch up" in here. I have it treated with sound channels II and it works very well, very accurate.

    I would mic the electric guitar with a SM57 or a EV635A and run that to the behringer. Actuallt 2 mics would not hurt, do it in stereo. If you use the efx out, that is good as well.

    Phil Keaggy, contemporary Christian right? I use to listen to his work all the time in the early 80's as inspiration...I need to break the vinyl back out, been 20 years since I heard it!

    Micing an amp is the way to get the tone to the recorder but efx out works well.

    The most difficult part will be sincing the tracks. Put an 8 count at the top...on all tracks make them in sinc. Makes my job a ton easier.

    South Florida has grown so much, it will surprise you. I am 200 miles south of Orlando and traffic during rush hour is a pain. During tourist season (now) their can be 10 million people between WBP and Miami...so many cars with one person in them too!

    I have not yet taken the oppurtunity to really get to know this area. I have a day Job that is essential to treading water and the studio gets it's 10 hrs a day as well. If I don't have a gig, I am constantly practicing. Practicing listening and mastering. I have archives I could not listen to if I tried for 12 hrs a day, I would die of old age before I got through them all..including purchased music and 5K Albums, most of which were underwater in the great flood May 8, 1995 in New Orleans. I still have them all, they are in storage and with a VPI, a lot of time and a ton of money for new jackets and sleeves, they can be ressurected. That is a project 20 years from now! Will be a fun one too, many first run LP's and Promos. Some rare stuff not valuable to any collector because of the state the jackets are in, all stuck together, last time I went through about 400 of them, some were STILL damp...after all this time. Swamp water is powerful stuff.

    See if you can find a way to use the SPDIF (digital in) input with SB live. This is where this card can shine. You have to select the proper input in the recording console, to it and let it fly.

    A good stand alone CDR (hhb, teac, Marantz) can serve as your A/D converter on rec/Pause. Set the level on the unit, set the input of SBlive to 50% and you are ready!

    I receive my mail at the office.

    Copy this for future reference.

    Bill Roberts
    1000 North Dixie Hwy Ste A
    West Palm Beach, Florida 33401

    Well, I have a few hrs more to do tonight so take care, catch me in the private messages.

    PS to John Grimm. Thanks!, A soundblaster live card with the digital in/out can do wonderful things in 16bit. Using its mixer properly makes a world of difference. My AUX box had one and it was very transparent, solid, very low noise floor and did a great job for referencing. Thank you for the kind words!
  8. johntheson

    johntheson Guest

    I'm blown away at how much has been similar in our lives. I too, moved to Arkansas after leaving Florida. I lived in North Little Rock for almost 3 years. Then;guess what! I move to New Orleans( I actually lived in Meterie of about a mile or 2 from Fat City. I had a new Yamaha 500 then, and got to really cover a lot of Louisiana with it. I was playing as a musician in the Church for a good friend of mine. When I read your posts about your studio, and your musical experience; I feel quite inadequate. When you refer to a "stand alone" CDR; what makes that different from a regular PC CDR like my Plextor? Also; if you can suggest one of the Behringer mixers (preferably in the $100 to 150 price range), I'll order that immediately. I know I need much more stuff Bill, but at this time I'm watching my spending. I helped my 22 year old son out of a jam, and it left me in a guarded position, cash wise that is. I'm smart enough to know that you get out of something just what you put in to it, but I'd like to learn as I'm assembling the need tools to do so; I feel that if I can just gleen some of your knowledge, that this thing can be so much more friutful. I saw 2 mixers that I like that are in my price range. One is a Eurorack that is $79, and one is the same model but is $139. I'm not sure of the model numbers, but they are at Musicians Friend. Thanks for any suggestions, and help Bill. God bless you my Bro'.
    John Sr.

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