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Recording a rockband using a computer?

Discussion in 'Recording' started by suprapappa, Nov 21, 2004.

  1. suprapappa

    suprapappa Guest


    I got quite a big question about recording a rockband

    I’m planning to make a serious recording of my band that is ment to end up on a commercial CD but the budget is really low.

    The main thing is recording the basic tracks of drums, bass and guitar. I plan to use around 7-12 mics for the drums, 1 track for bass 2 tracks for guitar and 1 for temporary vocals so I need to be able to record 16 inputs simultaniously using Cubase SX2

    My computer is an Intel Pentium 4, 2,4ghz with 1gb of Ddram (333mhz) and the soundcard is an EMU 1820m. Actually I don’t know very much about the soundcard but it seems : ) to have 8 inputs and 8 outputs. It’s also possible to connect an ADAT bridge adding another 8 inputs. That ought to give me the 16 inputs that I need.

    Since I have only used the computer for home recording with only one instrument at the time I havn’t got a clue if it will be powerful enough for recording 16 tracks of audio (at preferebly 96khz). Has anyone got experience of recording many tracks at the time? How much “computer-power” is necessery?

    I know there are many ways to record and I don’t know what would be the best option. For instance ADAT recorders and digital portable studios are way cheap right now, would you consider that as an option?

    Please check out the band at http://www.supralunar.com (click the english flag unless you understand swedish : )

    Please share your experiences of live-recording using a computer!

    Thanks a lot

  2. David French

    David French Distinguished Member

    Jun 19, 2002
    I can tell you one thing... your computer is plenty powerful enough to do what you want to do. Now, could you rephrase your question? I had a hard time figuring out exactly what you wanted to know.
  3. suprapappa

    suprapappa Guest

    Thanks David!

    Ok, so to rephrase my question. If you were to make a recording of a rockband on a very low budget (that is sonicly good enough to release on a commercial CD, given of course that you have enough knowledge and not only the means to) and you had the same setup as I do (see below). How would you do it? I know that I can do all the overdubs and mixing in my computer but for the basic tracks, what is the best thing to do in your opinion?

    In other words, all of you who have recorded albums with basiclly no money. How did you do it?

    The lack of money calls for creativity : )

  4. David French

    David French Distinguished Member

    Jun 19, 2002
    Wow, that is a very broad and difficult to answer question. I'm going to move this to the Recording Studio Forum where hopefully someone can help you out.
  5. inLoco

    inLoco Active Member

    Jul 25, 2004
    you can't!
    adat will give you a maximum 8 tracks only at 48khz! at 96khz i think the emu 1820m gives you 4!

    do you have the mics and pres? for what i understand you are a real novice at recording so don't just expect to get 12 mics (way to much!) and get a good sound! try understanding what is phase and the problems you can get with it!
    as for your computer it will be ok but as a test you can try to record the 8 tracks at 96(even if you don't have anything connected) and if the computer crashes try updating it!

    First tell us the gear you have and very important where you'll record! for instance if you record in a small room why put a room mic for drums? and beware acoustic treatment! very important!

    tell us more about the stuff you have!
  6. anxious

    anxious Guest

    As many of us have learned the hard way, it is not so easy to do what you want and get acceptable results. It really takes a long time to learn how to record and mix well. Also, a big part of the process is listening to your results and adjusting your setup, in order to capture the right feeling for the band.

    You already have some decent sounding demos on your site. Can't you get the engineer who did these to help you with your project? Maybe you can't pay them full time, but they could help you get going, and advise you about your results.
  7. suprapappa

    suprapappa Guest


    Thanks again for your answers. I do understand that I may sound like a novice judging from what I wrote but actually I'm not. I have been doing multitrack recordings for about 10 years and I'm very technically involved in the demos on our site and a few of the songs I have mixed and mastered myself : ) The thing is that I'm aware of my limitations and recording an album as opposed to a demo is a quite difficult task and I just want to do my homework before I go into such a project.

    Sometimes I have read in music magazines of bands that might somthing like "the drums that ended up on the album were recorded in our rehersalroom using a portable recorder" and it's examples like that I'd like to read about more specificlly.

    Any of your thoughts about this are most welcome!


  8. ghellquist

    ghellquist Guest

    in my experience, stay off 96kHz. Go for 44.1, it will be quite enough. 16 bits may work, but I recommend 20bit at least. No interface I know of gives "true" 24 bits, 20 is plenty enough. (People talks so much without knowledge)

    Next decide how you want the record to sound. Start with the drums. 50-s drums, 60-s drums, 70-s drums, 80-s drums, 90-s drums? They all sound differerently and are recorded in different ways. Find a few records you really like and try to emulate them (as a starter).

    Now start by working on micing the drums. Try every conceivable mic position and then some. Some have 10 mics on the drums, some use 1. There even are modern records made with only one mic, selling a lot. You will probably have to work on the acoustics where you record. Damping / echo surfaces / and so on. Once you have the drum sound there, you can go on.

    Good luck

  9. suprapappa

    suprapappa Guest

    Hi again!

    Thanks Gunnar for your answer. I don't mean to be rude but could we "raise" the level of discussion. Like I said, I'm not a beginner, I have years of experience recording drums. The demos on our site http://www.supralunar.com were recorded in a Pro Tools based project studio where a have spent a LOT of time. Those were recorded and mixed collaborating with an engineer and it's fair to say that we had equal knowledge about recording. Unfortunatly I haven't got access to that studio anymore and we need to do a very good recording on our own.

    I'd like to know what substitutes there are when you don't have a 96 channel Neve mixer and all the high-grade stuff. Back in the days when I was recording demos on my 4-track cassette machine, those limitations forced me to be creative. Now there are so many ways to record and get exellent sound quality so I'd like everyones opinions on what to go for. Should I bye 2 more EMU 1820m's (I don't know if these can be combined) and then rent a good mixer just for the recording or should I mayby expand the soundcard with an ADAT bridge or would I get more for my moneys worth renting a proffesional studio just to record the basic tracks and then transfer them to my home studio? Like I said, all "tales" of creativity are welcome.

    Regarding the use of just one microphone for drums, I know this can work perfectly well but it's a bit dependent on what sort of music it is and it simply wouldn't suit us.

    I hope you don't think I'm nagging but I'd be really intersted in sharing other peoples storys!

    : )

  10. MrPhil

    MrPhil Guest

    Hey there.

    Suggestion: use up to 8 ch for the drums, record them only and have bass and guitar in monitor only, for the drummer to follow the song. Then apply the rest of the instruments and song afterwards.
    This way you'll only need the 8 inputs.

    What DAW program do you intend to use? What are the environment you're gonna record in? (Replokalen eller hemma, eller nåt som liknar en studio?)
  11. DISK

    DISK Guest

    yeah, I have used that exact setup before...using 7-8 tracks for the drum kit and having the guitars and bass plugged in direct to a mixer and then out to a headphone amp so everyone can wear a set and hear whats going on. Also, not sure if your into it or not, but we would have a click track for the drummer (no one else) just so when we go back and track the other instruments everything is dead on!

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