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PreSonus AudioBox and IPad Advice

Discussion in 'Converters / Interfaces' started by FrankieD, Sep 2, 2016.

  1. FrankieD

    FrankieD Active Member


    I'm an extreme novice when it comes to recording. I purchased a PreSonus AudioBox and have been using my Ipad mini to do some simple recording of myself and the acoustic guitar. Last week I did a recording and it sounded not bad. Last night I tried and the vocals were way overpowering. I had it on the same levels so not sure why this came out different.

    I guess my question is based on everyone's experience what levels for the guitar and vocal are a good balance to use with using an interface and garageband via and ipad mini?

    Thank you so much for the help!
  2. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    From the way you phrase your email, I assume you are singing and playing guitar at the same time rather than recording the guitar first and then adding the vocals afterwards. However, you don't say anything about your microphone, or whether your guitar is acoustic (recorded only through a microphone) or acoustic with pickup.

    A prefered way of working is to record your guitar on one channel and the vocals on the other. Since you haven't mentioned the acoustic environment in which you are making these recordings, there may be some sound bleed between channels while recording, but it can be reduced by careful placement of microphones.

    Once you have a two-track recording that has essentially guitar on one channel and vocals on the other, you can bring them into Garageband as two mono tracks and mix them, possibly with added effects (reverb etc) to a pseudo-stereo result. During the mixing process, you can set the balance between the levels of the vocal and guitar that you think best suits the song. Doing it this way takes the pressure off getting a correct balance while recording.

    Good luck!
    audiokid and kmetal like this.
  3. FrankieD

    FrankieD Active Member

    Sorry I should of added more detail.

    This is a two track interface where I am playing and acoustic guitar and singing at the same time. It's a Shure microphone. The guitar is one one channel and the microphone is on the other. I am in a room at my mothers house with a few pieces of furniture in there.

    Would you suggest then recording them separately? The volume of both seems to be a challenge for me. I find that I cannot get the guitar and vocals at good levels.

    Let me know your thoughts.
  4. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    No, it's perfectly possible to get good recordings while recording both at once - I do it all the time with folk singers and the like. The important thing is to record the vocal and guitar to separate tracks, since, to a large extent, the relative levels of the signals on the tracks don't matter during the recording. You set the balance between the vocal and guitar when you come to the mixing stage.
  5. Sean G

    Sean G Well-Known Member

    Try two seperate takes, one for the guitar first and one for the vocals second.

    That way, you can concentrate your efforts on one thing at a time, putting 100% into each take. ;)

    Welcome to RO.

    - Sean.
  6. FrankieD

    FrankieD Active Member

    I understand now. Makes sense. I did notice in garageband when I go to the tracks, it seems to be in one track. Not sure if I'm doing something wrong. Also, once I plug in the interface, it's asking me if I want the monitor on or off. Not sure which one to chose?
  7. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    If monitor means Garageband's input monitor function, yes, turn it off. The interface has a simple and effective direct input monitoring feature (the Mixer knob).
  8. FrankieD

    FrankieD Active Member

    Thank you. So in essence, this recording doesn't matter as far as the volume levels go as it all comes down to the mixing and mastering. Is that right?
  9. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    Right. Capture each source (guitar, vocal etc.) on its own track then blend them to taste. The better you record them (source sound quality, performance, mic choice/placement, room sound etc.) the easier it is to get a good mix.
  10. FrankieD

    FrankieD Active Member

    Gotcha. Now again when the interface is connect it allows me to just record track 1 (vocals) or 2 (the guitar), or stereo. Any suggestions? I can still play both at the same time but was unsure if that was an issue with the sound quality.

    Thank you.
  11. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    Now you're getting into the tradeoffs between performance and recording technique. You should, and I assume the software can do it, record to two separate mono tracks. Whether you record both together or guitar first is up to you. Recording both together leaves you with the problem of bleed, sound from one thing getting into the mic for the other thing. This can make it tricky to mix as adjusting one track can affect how the other source sounds. Also, it's harder to do any punching in (re-recording a small part of one track) or editing. The usual solution to that is to record the guitar first then sing over it while listening on headphones. But that will affect how you play and how you sing, so you have to select the method that best fits your needs.
  12. FrankieD

    FrankieD Active Member

    Thank you. So Mono means that all that is being recorded is coming through that one track. Although both can be played at the same time. Stereo is picking up everything correct?
  13. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    Maybe it's best not to use mono and stereo for this part of the process. Your mic on the guitar produces one channel of audio signal, your vocal mic produces another channel. The guitar mic, one channel, should be recorded to a single track in the software and the vocal should be recorded to a separate single track. When you record to a single (possibly called "mono" in the software) track it should have only one waveform display. You can record one input to a dual channel ("stereo") track, but you gain nothing and it takes up twice the memory. You can record two separate inputs to a single dual channel track but that makes it hard to treat them separately.

    When you're mixing the recorded tracks is when stereo comes into play. That's when you decide where in the left-right panorama (where "pan" comes from) you want to place each element. Once you've set levels, panning, eq, effects etc. you render/export/bounce (different terms for the same thing) it to a stereo audio file.
    kmetal likes this.
  14. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    There are times when you might want to use a dual channel track, like when you're using a stereo mic technique or recording a stereo keyboard. But otherwise just record to single channel tracks.
  15. FrankieD

    FrankieD Active Member

    I'm sure another issue is that I don't even use a microphone for the guitar. I just use the controls on the acoustic-electric to adjust volumes etc. So it's just the vocal mic and then the guitar plugged in.
  16. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    which Shure microphone?
  17. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    That's fine, everything I said still applies except you won't get bleed in the guitar track so you can change the vocal without affecting the guitar. You could sing and play at the same time then go back and retake the vocal, for example.

    But in most cases a mic will sound better.
  18. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    I will add/complicate, that when recording guitar and vocals seperatly it can be beneficial to use a click track.

    There can be a natural drift that happens and when your playing and singing at the same time you keep up with yourself. Like holding a vocal note or letting a chord ring. It can be problematic when recorded seperately becuase the feel can be a little or a lot different even when trying to sing over the take right away.

    It's certainly not impossible to do, but have a click or some sort of consistent time reference can help keep the overdubbing process smooth.
  19. FrankieD

    FrankieD Active Member

    It's an SM58
  20. FrankieD

    FrankieD Active Member

    So then after I record the vocals and guitar at the same time. I should be able to go in and add another track with some riffs or lead parts right?

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