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recording for first time

Discussion in 'Recording' started by lessthanbdmb, Nov 28, 2002.

  1. lessthanbdmb

    lessthanbdmb Guest

    Ive been playing guitar and piano for 8 years and have found other people to jam with about 2 years ago. I was asking people around about recording and someone suggested this site. so heres where im at.... Now were at the point where we would like to do some recordings. Ive been using my computer with a santa cruz sound card (not meant of recording obviously).....but it only has one input so i have to record guitar then the next track vocals and so on. I dont know much about recording methods other than like a simple 8 track recorder or software for the computer. What i would like to do is record somewhere with all the instruments plugged in to there own seperate inputs, then take that recording on the computer and keep them as there own seperate tracks to mix. For ex. drums would be there own track, vocals, guitar, bass etc. What kind of system would i have to purchase to get this? Or is it even possible?
  2. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Welcome to RO! You left out a lot of info that would be helpful in answering your question. What do you mean when you say "somewhere"?
    The rest is pretty clear except how many instruments are you recording (how many tracks do you need to record at once?). If you mean another studio and you want to bring the recording back to your place and overdub and mix I need to know what kind of system the studio your tracking at is using. There are many inexpensive solutions to your needs. I have been encouraging up and comers to get into DAWs as I see it as the future in recording. I truly believe that we are now seeing the last of a dying breed in stand alone recorders and mixers. It sounds to me like an 8 channel interface and a DAW software package would be a good solution for you. You can expect to pay around $1000 US for a system like this. Tell me what you need to do in more detail and what kind of computer you plan to use and what it will be used for besides recording and I will get back to you with some suggestions. …… Fats
  3. lessthanbdmb

    lessthanbdmb Guest

    my pc- dell 1ghz P3 528 SDram 60 gig 7200 rpm HD.......a friend of mine is fixin it up right now....puttin XP pro on it...should i tell him to add anything that might help with recording?

    i want to record- vocals, bass, guitar, drums

    what i have questions about-what i was thinking about doing was getting a mixer with like (16?) line inputs...and 2 mic pre amps and 2 instument inputs......so what i would do is: drum mics--> mixer ....guitar-->effects---> mixer........vocals---->effects---> mixer.....then buy a digidesign Mbox to hook up to the computer....then mix it in Samplitude(which i already own)

    i know that probaly wont work so help me out,,,

    thanks for your help,
  4. lessthanbdmb

    lessthanbdmb Guest

    to add to my post- since i cant take my big desktop with me ill have to record somewhere where the computer isnt....i use my basement...i have a area where it is closed off and finished and i get a good sound out of. Im guessing that forces me to use a seprate mixer, correct? I already have samplitude, but is there other choices that might suit my needs better?
  5. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Will your computer be used for anything else or will it be dedicated to music? XP Pro is a good choice, it has been working flawlessly for me and is very transparent when used with Cubase. No matter what software you use you should have the tweaks outlined by Opus 2000 (Gary Brenner) done to your machine. You can find them on the Steinberg website. I believe the M Box is a USB box, only 2 inputs / tracks at a time. Is that what you want to do? Typically several tracks are used for drums, one each for kick and snare, at least a pair for toms and a pair for overheads. Many times a track is used for hi hat and often the toms are routed to individual tracks rather that summed to a pair as I mentioned previously. If you think that's how you would like to do it you will need at least an 8 channel interface. Alesis makes a nice inexpensive one, the AI3... but you need to get a light pipe PCI card for it. I choose the Frontier Dakota card for 18 ins and outs. It has proven itself to be very easy to deal with, AISO drivers that work really well. Pro Tools 001 is an affordable system, comes complete with software, PCI card and interface and can be found for about $700. Pro Tools only uses 24 bit floating processing as opposed to 32 bit by most other manufactures. Some here at RO are of the opinion that this is a big issue and affects the overall sound quality. M Audio and Aardvark also make similar devices. The Aardvark has great clocking but has had some drivers issues according to some posts here at RO. That should get you started. If I think of anything else I will edit this post ………………. Fats
  6. lessthanbdmb

    lessthanbdmb Guest

    i will also use my computer for emails and such but no games or anything. Now if i get this pci card in my computer how will i be able to hook any of the intruments to it if we will be recording away from the computer? What is involved with installing these cards? should i do it myself?

    Thanks for helpin me out,
  7. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    If you want the computer upstairs while you have the talent your recording downstairs in the basement, the solution is to get a multichannel microphone snake. Basically this is an 8, 16 or 24 channel "extension cord' for your mic cables. Your mixer or mic pres would be upstairs with your computer. Pro studios run mic lines in the walls or under the floors to panels in various locations throughout the studio. This can be very expensive to do. So a lot of recordist use multichannel snakes instead. Installing a PCI card in your computer is a relatively simple task and a lot of people do this themselves. It requires removing the side panel of your computer and slipping the card into a slot on the motherboard. Some additional software drivers usually need to be installed also. This is a matter of putting a cd in the cdrom drive and running through an install routine. Personally I have the guys at the local computer shop do this stuff for me. I have bad eyesight and large hands and I am not comfortable performing these types of tasks. Ultimately it is up to you if you want to take this on yourself. ........ Fats
  8. lessthanbdmb

    lessthanbdmb Guest

    so i guess i have no choice but to record up stairs because i dont think i could start cuttin holes through the walls. Now whati need to buy and prices..........a 8 channel sound card? a pci card to put into the mother board.......and thats it?
  9. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    The snake doesn't have to be installed on a permanent basis, you can set it up when you want to record and roll it up when you're finished. Do you have access to the basement from inside the house? Many times a snake will fit under the a door. If not run it out a window and down to the basement. These things come in 100' + lengths so reaching from upstairs shouldn't be a problem. The PCI card I spoke of is the sound card. There are many ones on the market. It will depend on what type of interface you decide to use.
    M box, Aardvark, Pro Tools 001 / 002 and many others come as a "turn key" set up, with the PCI sound card and the interface in one package. Then there are the soundcard systems that come sans interface. These include the Frontier Dakota / Montana cards and the Alesis ADAT PCI card. What you choose is up to you. I recommend the Frontier Dakota and an Alesis AI3 interface. If you grind real hard you should be able to get Guitar Center to sell you this for between $700 and $800. While the Frontier card is top notch with great AISO drivers, the Alesis is a mediocre interface at best. But it is inexpensive and it works reasonably well. Converter technology is changing / advancing almost overnight and I am recommending to start ups not to spend a large chunk of cash on sound cards and interfaces. This stuff will be very obsolete in a year or two or even less. The Frontier card comes with a copy of Cool Edit Pro's free software with 8 tracks and some direct X plug ins. If you need more tracks or if you decide Cool Edit Pro bites, as I did, I recommend Cubase as a great software. Cubase is compatible with a lot of other programs like Pro Tools and the VST plug in technology really rocks. Some very useful reverbs, effects, eq's and comps are included. I picked up a copy of Cubase VST 5.1 (an older but still very useable version) from Guitar Center for $300. ........
  10. lessthanbdmb

    lessthanbdmb Guest

    You've talked alot about these plugins...ive seen them on samplitude as "directx" but theres none to use, what exactly are plugins? I went to guitar center and found this-
    EWS88 MT Multitracking Sound Card

    Records 8 tracks simultaneously

    Eight high-quality analog input and output converters handle 24-bit/96kHz signals. The card itself features S/PDIF connections plus an independent SystemSound monitor output for reproduction of system sounds or software synths that leave your recording application free to do its primary job.

    The guy didnt really explain what this system sound monitor thing is. What are system sounds and software synths? Does this mean while your recording it gets recorded as well as going through monitors?

    You've gotten my off the right foot on this recording, thanks.
  11. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Plug ins are effects, compressors, reverbs, etc that work in conjunction with your recording software. Direct X and VST are 2 of the most popular types with IMO VST being the clear winner!... Be careful at Guitar Center, they will sell you something you don't need....like a 96Hz sound card. Tell the guy you want the Dakota, if you think you want more than 8 tracks at a time. If 8 tracks at a time is enough, the Alesis ADAT PCI card will give you 8 tracks in. But the two cards sell for about the same, I would go with the Frontier Dakota. At Guitar Center they will tell you they don't carry it but I know they can order it. Don't let them charge you more that $330 - $350 for it. I know both of these things because I got mine from Guitar Center for that price.. For software tell them you want Cubase VST 5.1. They will tell you that's an old program and there's newer stuff out but that's ok! VST 5.1 is de bugged and runs flawlessly and you can get it now for around $300. If you decide later you want to upgrade there's an upgrade available from Steinberg! Stand firm and walk for the door if they don't want to give this stuff for these prices...they will fold. If not I'm sure you can find it somewhere else. And if you already bought that other soundcard, wrap it up and take it back. The will accept returns. Especially if you let them know that your future business with them depends on it. ......... Fats
  12. lessthandmb

    lessthandmb Guest

    I’ve tried 3 recording software programs so far and have yet to feel very comfortable with any. I loved samplitude but now it apparently won’t work with XP Pro so I tried 2 others: sonar 2.0 xl and cubase 5.1. Cubase...forget it i had no clue what to do I couldn’t even find a way to record. Sonar, I’m using now, and I’m getting used to it even though this midi still confuses the hell out of me. But I found that sonar doesn’t have a way to bounce tracks. I was used to samplitude because everything was in one: recording, mixing, bouncing, and mastering. I didn’t get the new soundcard because I’m short on money considering the holiday season. I see that sonar you could specify which tracks you want to record simultaneously by depressing the "r" button and, you could select each input for each track. Is that basically the same thing as Cubase?
  13. knightfly

    knightfly Active Member

    Jeremy, which version of Samplitude do you have? The newer ones run fine on XP, and you won't find a more intuitive program that's anywhere near as deep as Samplitude. If you're having problems with it running on XP, you should join the samplitude news group. You can get your questions answered by one of the developers personally there, his name is Volker. Several others there are really knowledgeable, such as Jeff Sheridan from Alexander university's Electronic Music program. If you go to Samplitude's website


    You'll find the latest version info and links to X-vision audio, the new US distributor for Samplitude. Tom Sailor at X-Vision is another great resource, when you can catch up with him.

    The separate Samplitude newsgroup can be accessed from the above site, just click on the sekd newsgroup line, just below the Forums title. It requires at least Microsoft Outlook Express. There are literally thousands of questions and answers there, mostly from people who know from whence they speak.

    If you can't find the answers to your questions, you can join the group and ask your own questions.

    My main point is that unless you have a pretty old version of Samplitude, I don't think you need to spend money you don't have, just to buy a program Samplitude could eat for breakfast.

    Another great answer source, especially if you want direct contact, is Magix' Head of Tech support, John Auville. His # may have changed due to re-structuring, but the last time I talked to him he could be reached at 1-310-477-0241, ext. 113.

    Also, just in case it wasn't clear to you from Fats' comments, (nothing to do whith his answers, it's just that newbies commonly miss what's obvious to those of us who've been there awhile)in simplest terms you CAN NOT record separate tracks into your computer SIMULTANEOUSLY, unless you have a sound card that allows that many channels at once. By that, I mean that you could buy a $100,000 mixer with 64 inputs and 24 bus outs, and UNLESS you have an 8 or 16 or 24 channel sound card with that many inputs to plug into, you can only record TWO channels at a time. The ONLY way you could record multiple inputs (simultaneously) WITHOUT a multiple channel sound card, is to PRE-MIX down to two tracks before going to the computer - This means that once you do that, you CANNOT then process instruments separately AFTER they are recorded, since they will ALL be part of the SAME stereo track in the computer. Re-read this paragraph until it sinks in -

    Unlike Fats, I don't recommend using lightpipe cards unless you already have Alesis gear and have no desire to experiment with high sample rates - lightpipe, without using special expensive converter boxes, can only do 48 k sample rates at 24 bit. Also, the lightpipe cables aren't as easy to find, you can't really make your own unless you're McGyver (I know, I've done it for industrial fiber optics, and it's not fun even with the right equipment) AND, they're not very forgiving of rough treatment.

    For your tight budget, I'd try the links I gave you to get Samplitude to work with XP, and save for an Aardvark Q10 interface. They are about the best bang for buck you'll find. They run just over $800, but that includes selectable mic preamps in the box. In a pinch, you could run your snake straight from mics, into the combo 1/4" and XLR inputs on the Q10 and record that way. (You'd have more control with a mixer at the recording location, and probably better sound by sending line level signals thru direct outputs from a mixer, but at least you'd have options.)

    Whatever you do, do NOT buy a soundcard that feeds the audio DIRECTLY into the PCI card that goes into the computer. Computers are electrically noisy boxes, and you want your audio ALREADY DIGITIZED before it gets anywhere near that "box from hell" - The Aardvark (here's a link)

    Link removed

    does conversion in the breakout box, and that's a GOOD thing. There are several others, but when you're shopping price you'll still find some cards that save money by not using an external converter system. RUN AWAY, do NOT buy one of these. They SUCKKKKK...

    Follow all the links/contacts I gave you, and you should learn a bit more about your options. Post back if you have more questions (and you will) gotta go for now... Steve
  14. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    I really like Aardvark products. The Q10s features are great... but unless you really require an all in one solution, there are a couple of issues; (1) as soon as the sample rates and format changes (and it will) you are stuck with all your pre amps in a box with converters you don't want to use. (2) The Q10 costs as much as the AI3 and the Frontier Dakota card and there's no way to expand inputs. The Q10 PCI card is dedicated to use with the Q10 whereas the Dakota card may be used with any light pipe compatible converter and is 18 in and out. Contrary to what James said, light pipe cables are readily available at Guitar Center and all the mail - in catalog stores. Not hard to find, a lot cheaper than audio snakes, and the advantage of light pipe is clock is carried in the cable, no running BNC coax to sync up other digital devices in your studio. With light pipe you can interface with a variety of other devices such as digital mixers etc. Yeah its only 24 bits at 48K sample rate but so is the Q10. I myself have made the decision to camp out on 24 /48 until DSD comes along. Like the Beatles said "It Won't Be Long". If you are going to be moving the rig all the time, doing remotes etc, and all you think you will ever need is 8 tracks in at a time then the Q10 is a simple and elegant solution. It would be a great box to use with a laptop. If you think you may want to have the ability to record more than 8 tracks at once then the Frontier Dakota and AI3s would be the solution.

    I can't say anything about positive or negative about Sampletude as I have never used it or even seen it used (and I have been in a lot of studios). I don't know what you find so hard about Cubase. I took me 2 days of setting up default screens and getting to understand the VST ins and outs, but once I got through that I have found it to be basically an idiot proof system. You do need to read the owners manual and PDF docs. The thing that was a deciding factor for me was Cubase runs a close second or third in regards to compatibility in the studio world. Files are easily transferred to and from Cubase to a variety of other DAW platforms such as Pro Tools. The 3 top programs in use are Pro Tools, Nuendo and Cubase. I choose Cubase VST 5.1 because it was the least expensive. ……………………… Fats

    It's my opinion, I'll play with it if I want to ……
  15. knightfly

    knightfly Active Member

    Hey, Fats - Only 2 or 3 points of contention from me - 1, the Q10 is 24/96, not 24/48.
    2, I never had to break out a manual or open a pdf to use Samplitude - I do wish they'd work toward OMFI compatibility, though...
    3, Jeremy seems to be somewhat fiscally challenged at the moment, and the Q10 could be the only thing he needs in order to make music NOW. Other than that, I'm also NOT a fan of all-in-one solutions, they ALWAYS have weak links somewhere.

    After having waited for a YEAR for ANYONE to offer a decent interface to go multitrack digital between a DAW and my DM-24, I'm not as optimistic as you are on a timetable for DSD stuff - from what I've read, the stuff that's out now actually converts the DSD to PCM for editing. Just what we need, another freakin' conversion to eat whatever gains there were in DSD...

    Another multi-in box I've been watching, if DSD doesn't get here soon - the Creamware A16 Ultra. $999 for 16 24/96 ins and outs, it's compatible either with their Pulsar cards or USB2 (or was going to be by now, anyway) - you can get one of their host cards, with or without hard DSP chips, for $350 and up - one card can support two A16's using their proprietary (Damn) Z-link, which is firewire hardware with slightly different protocol but same speed (I sure wish Creamware and Motu would both get real on this - stick with generic firewire or go play in the freeway)

    Given the general pubic's (sic) tastes, if MP3 is good enough for them, why upgrade to DSD at all unless you're doing stuff for rich audiophiles? CD quality is already overkill for most of the plebian pus pockets that buy music, or steal it for that matter... (doesn't mean I won't continue personally to improve anything I can in my system, just hadn't ranted for a while - I feel much better now)

    Gotta run again, dumb family thinks they should get to pick on me once in a while on weekends... Steve
  16. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Sh*t, Boy Howdy!! I stand corrected.. 96 K huh? Well that's a great price for the Q10, in light of that! One more reason I like that thing.... Let me say this ... I have decided to camp at 24 /44.1 or 48 because of file size and throughput issues. I have heard 96 K a/b 'd with analog and I can say while there is a marked improvement I personally don't think the difference is worth the expense (financial and processing speed). Like you pointed out, It's all going to be disseminated at 16/44.1 anyhow or worse yet MP3 (who ever developed MP3 for audio should die for a myriad of reasons). ....... Fats
    It's my opinion, I'll play with it if I want to ……
  17. knightfly

    knightfly Active Member

    I'm probably going to end up primarily at 24/44.1 for most stuff also, but I'm always on the lookout for options so I'm insisting on at least 24/96 capability, whether or not I end up using it. I at least want to experience the comparison for myself -

    The DM-24, like most budget digi-soles, makes you give back half of what it promised you when you hit that hi-res button - most likely, the only way I'll do high track count projects in 24/96 (or 88.2) is if I can get all the ducks to quack in 4/4 time thru Samplitude. Then, the only limitation on tracks will be disk thru-put and DSP horsepower. I should have enough of that once Serial ATA gets going - two machines with 3+ gHz procs, at least a gig of ram and 4 120 gig drives each, plus firewire DVD-R for secondary backups - dual 19" flat panels per 'puter for all those virtual controls, and place a standing order to Domino's so I don't hafta quit for something as mundane as lunch...

    Looks like I may just use the DM-24 as a control surface with pre's, much like the mix24 for Protools. For one thing, I don't like the idea of only a few automation files inside the DM-24 which have to be saved as a midi file, I'd rather all automation info got saved with the project files so I can make 2 hard disk and at least one optical backup and have EVERYTHING that's associated with that project saved multiple times. Remember, "Ya ain't paranoid if they really ARE out ta getcha..."

    One of Samp's cool features is the project note file, that can be set to pop up when you open the project - I've been working on a Word template for basic track sheets, etc, that I'll paste into the project note file for each new project, with room for as many other notes as needed - That way I won't forget all the basics, and still can add project-specific comments "outside the box" at will.

    Damn, sometimes planning is almost as fun as the real thing... Steve (Nooo, this time I WASN'T talkin' 'bout sexxx...)
  18. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Cool thing about Cubase automation, no hoops to jump through. Click write and make a pass. Do your moves. Auto's saved. That simple. Want to add more moves? Click read and leave write on and make a second pass. EQ changes, dynamics, effects, pans and levels. Everything is saved. Make a mistake, click edit undo write and do it again. Simple. Almost like running ARMS auto on an old MCI console, which as I am sure you are aware I used to have. There is a document file to save notes on anything you need to remember. Super simple...I couldn't believe how easy it was... I was sitting there saying to my self,.. "Self, you should have gotten in to this sooner." ............ Fats

    It's my opinion, I'll play with it if I want to ……
  19. knightfly

    knightfly Active Member

    Yeah, Samp's that way too - just another reason to save all the auto stuff with the project and just let the mixer be a control surface... Steve
  20. lessthandmb

    lessthandmb Guest

    Now that im pretty comfortable with sonar im going to purchase the sound card. Im going with the Q10 because it's more mobile and thats exactly what i wanted, but i dont think i needed that many mic pre amps. I saw the picture of the Q10 and it has all mic pre amps on the front. Im sure there has to be a place to plug the guitar and bass in...right? So the pci card will go right into the motherboard from the back of the computer and it will connect to the Q10, (in my case) on top of a desk, correct? Is there something like the Q10 that has only 5 or 6 pre amps and the inputs for the guitars? i need to save as much $$ as possible.


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