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Pro vocal at home

Discussion in 'Vocals' started by sollers, Nov 24, 2008.

  1. sollers

    sollers Active Member

    Nov 24, 2008
    Hello all!

    I have few questions about the equipment for vocal recording.

    I'm going to produce music at home. All the musical part is software based, like FL and now I want to add good vocal recording to have a professional result when joining those together.

    I was looking at M-audio Delta 1010LT sound card and M-audio Aries microphone.

    I don't know much about recording in details, so please discuss the equipment and/or recommend better displacement.

    And second, I'd be glad if you can post a link to some professional recording basics I need to know. Few pages, because I need to understand basics and not 600p manual.

    Thanks for the answers!
  2. GeckoMusic

    GeckoMusic Guest

    The Delta 1010LT is a great card if you have an external pre amp. (I use them in my main DAW) The two built in pre amps are not great. M-Audio make great products, but I have never used one of their microphones. I would recommend a Sure SM58 to start with. Everyone will agree that it is a great multi purpose microphone.

    The M-Audio Fast Track may be better suited for your needs. It comes in the 2 channel "Pro" and 8 channel "Ultra". The Presounus FP10 or the Tascam 1641 would be good if you want more channels.

    Search the web for "home recording" read, practice, experiment.
  3. sollers

    sollers Active Member

    Nov 24, 2008
    So what I basically need is following...

    Part 1 | Software

    The way I do it:

    1.) Write music and get it into MIDI.
    2.) Import midi into software (e.g. FL), set instruments and produce .wav final instrumental file.
    3.) In editing software (e.g. Audigy) combine both and export final music.

    Question 1: Do you recommend any other pro software or way for the result I want.

    Part 2 | Hardware

    1.) Suitable sound card

    I use FL Studio now for instrumental part, so sound card has to be as good as possible for FL buffer issue.

    Question 2: So I can replace the 1010LT with Audiophile 2496 or 192 if the 1010LT pre amps are no good?

    2.) Preamplifier

    Question 3: Which?

    3.) Vocal mic like Sure SM58
  4. StephenMC

    StephenMC Guest

    Well, if you're doing all midi backing tracks and you just want a good mic for your voice (ie. you don't plan on recording other vocalists or any instruments), you may want to go to a studio and try some microphones. No idea what your budget is, but you might look into some tube mics and higher-end LDCs. Of course, different microphones sound better with different voices, which is why you should probably find which works best with your voice. And with a condensor, you'll need phantom power.

    If you have a lower budget, though, and don't have the means of trying microphones, a Shure SM58 is always fine. But you can do better if you have the will, time, and money.
  5. GeckoMusic

    GeckoMusic Guest

    Thanks for specific questions. That helps.

    Use what you are comfortable with. FL Studio is fine for dance and Hip Hop, and some people even use it for other genres. You might want to look at Cubase and Cake Walk produces. They are both strong in Midi.

    The pre amps are worse in those. I would recommend one of the cards I already recommended.
    The pre amps in the audio interfaces previously suggested are good.
  6. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Sep 26, 2005
    So you want a pro sound for your vocals eh?

    That's simple. Obtain a API 312 microphone preamp card or a 3124 four pack. Perhaps a Neve 1272 modified microphone preamp? But then all you need is a SM58 to get a fabulous, classic, hit sound. You won't even really need any equalization. And those preamp's would-be fabulous to pass your mixes through an rerecord it. Then you'll get all the goodness of those classic pieces.

    With that, you may want to also invest in a hardware limiter such as a DBX 166? Nice little stereo version of their 160 series. But you could also accomplish your compression and/or limiting within software. Although I find some of the software Lower end limiters to sound less than stellar? They do digitally what they are supposed to do but sometimes there are audio actions leave me cold. And that's why I still like utilizing hardware-based dynamics processing. Don't get me wrong. I use both. But I'm much more careful with the software stuff as some of the is quite ridiculous sounding. Louder than loud. Loud beyond comprehension. That's comprehension not compression.

    Crappy microphones will sound better through first-rate preamps. But all of which doesn't necessarily work the other way around. I.e. beautiful microphone with mediocre preamps. So splurge on the preamp and skimp on the microphone.

    Crappy microphones sound great on good pres-
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  7. sollers

    sollers Active Member

    Nov 24, 2008

    I only need two microphones, most of the time only one.

    I thought PCI interface is better, so I didn't even consider the M-Audio Fast Track Pro USB solution.

    So for the price up to $250 or let's say $300, this is the top pick?
  8. GeckoMusic

    GeckoMusic Guest

    In my experience PCI has had lower latency and is more reliable. (With two USB interfaces I own I have to plug it in several times until it recognizes it. ) USB devices however are generally cleaner because they have their own power supplies. My main DAW has 3 1010LT's using a mixer for pre amps. It is very reliable. A friend of mine uses the Tascam 1641 USB, and and when it is working right, it is cleaner than my setup. He has it on a Vista laptop, so that may be half the problem.

    FWIW: If I was buying an audio interface right now, I would get the M-Audio Fast Track Pro, but that's just me. YMMV With M-Audio you can use Pro Tools M-Powered, or any other DAW software.
  9. sollers

    sollers Active Member

    Nov 24, 2008
    Thanks for the advice, but prices of mentioned pre-amps are around $1500-$2200.

    My budget is little bit limited, as long as I have to buy new computer, build vocal sound booth and buy this hardware.

    But anyway, if I decide to wait a little bit and save some money and during that time practice singing and start recording let's say in the summer.

    I really don't know much, so the questions might seem illogical, but I have to get somehow clear what am I dealing with.

    Question 1: What's the difference with the same microphone, results between hardware:

    -$250 (M-Audio Fast Track Pro)

    Question 2: What should be the ratio between preamp and microphone?

    M-Audio Fast Track Pro/SM58 ratio is $250/$100= 2.5/1

    Thanks again!
  10. BobRogers

    BobRogers Distinguished Member

    Apr 4, 2006
    Blacksburg, VA
    The sound booth talk is a red flag. Almost always a bad idea for a beginner. You might start a thread over in the studio construction forum and bounce around your ideas for the physical layout of your studio.

    Now for the questions: For the first question I assume the "hardware" you are talking about is preamps. (An "interface" usually has some preamps, ADA conversion and various connectivity options. Here there is a big connection with price and quantity: more preamps/ more connections/ more money.)

    The lower priced preamps are characterized by their problems. The lowest price models can have cheap build quality, connectors, knobs, switches. The next level do better on that score but I don't find much difference in the audio quality. All of the pres in the two lower levels that I've tried have to be babied compared to the pres in the higher levels. If you push then too hard they distort any sharp transients. You have to keep the volume sort of low. Most of the preamps in decent mixers and interfaces fall into this category. You can make good recordings with them if you do things right. Yes, there are differences in the sound within their linear range, but the difference are small compared to what goes on in their "pushed" range.

    Up in the higher priced ranges you have tons of headroom. Makes a big difference on vocals and drums. Yes there are other differences, but they are so subtle that people start pulling out the wine tasting words to describe them. As the differences get more subtle they get more expensive - yes that's always the way, isn't it.

    On you second question - I don't buy the idea of some optimal ratio. Get the 58 - good solid foundation. Then buy the best interface/preamp you can afford. There is no reason not to put a 58 into a great pre. If a $3,000 mic was given to you it wouldn't be insulted if you put it into a cheap pre.
  11. sollers

    sollers Active Member

    Nov 24, 2008
    Which program is the best for music creation. Let's say have your music, you write it on computer and save as MIDI.

    Now I'd like to import midi and assign instruments.

    So far I used only FL studio.

    Question 1: Which software is professional and the sounds really do sound as possibly natural as they can when the project is finished/saved?

    FL doesn't seem very natural to me.

    Question 2: What actually are vsti plugins, and if I can use them into different programs or are they made just for one?
  12. sollers

    sollers Active Member

    Nov 24, 2008
    I found answers out by myself.

    Here is the link to Software comparison.

  13. pr0gr4m

    pr0gr4m Distinguished Member

    Feb 9, 2005
    South Florida
    Home Page:
    FL comes with sounds and synths as does other software. But the other software does not necessarily have as much as FL does. However, what the others do come with can sound better or at least different.

    For MIDI, (and everything else) I use Cubase but it's different from FruityLoops and it could take you some time before you learn how to use it as easily as you use FL. But that would probably be the case with any software. One advantage of it over FL is you can record audio into it with your MIDI so there would be no need to use separate programs.

    Many audio interfaces come with a version of Cubase. You may want to find a pre-amp/audio interface that comes with Cubase or whatever software you want to use.

    A VST plugin is a piece of software that is either an instrument or an effect/audio processor. VST instruments (normally called VSTi) are synths or sampler/sample players and can be used in a most any DAW application. FL can use them as well. As I mentioned above, some DAWs don't come with a lot of instruments, but you can use VSTi's within them to expand the sounds and instruments.

    The other VST is something like a delay or compressor. It's not an instrument. It's an audio processor or effect.
  14. GeckoMusic

    GeckoMusic Guest

    Great! You are on your way to making good decisions in the learning processes of recording.

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