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RO Beginner's Only Tools

Discussion in 'Recording' started by realdynamix, Aug 16, 2003.

  1. realdynamix

    realdynamix Well-Known Member

    :) Hey Steve & Kurt, I have an idea to throw out there, or just throw out... :D

    How about a beginners tool kit. Mics, Pre's, audio software etc. This kit upon it's design, and use, can be passed from beginner to beginner, as long as it is well maintained. Call it the "RO Beginner's Only Tools." ROBOT, for short. ;)

    After the beginner learns more about the process, he, or she can make a more informed choice of what they would like in their next system.

    If this is a good idea, what would go into this kit?

  2. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    That sounds like a good idea. Let's throw this in the ring and see what everyone else has to say and suggest. Everybodie, disscuss.. (he says in his best impression of "Linda Richmond")
  3. realdynamix

    realdynamix Well-Known Member

    :D Thanks, now I feel all Verklept...

    --Mike,..oh I mean..

  4. TedB

    TedB Guest

    Great idea. Kind of like a Roll Your Own Daw over at ProRec.

    But I worry that pitfalls abound and flame wars could start on this topic.

    Perhaps nailing down some assumptions will help, given the various strong feelings about what constitutes the lowest level quality equipment, room, etc..

    What is a beginner? Someone soley pursuing a commercial professional studio recording work? Or can we say a beginner is anyone who wants to have a home studio to produce home grown commercial cd's, at any level of professionalism?

    To me, this question strikes at the heart of the indended audience of this board, especially given Kurt and Ethan's recent thread regarding good rooms, newbies, the advent of poorer quality recordings and less experienced engineers, 'lazy gear' etc..

    As a weekend warrior, non commercial "engineer", can I hope that the end result of the ROBOT will be usefull to me? Or should I just bow out now since the assumption behind the board is to educate those pursuing commercial studio careers?

    I don't mind either way, I just thought I'd raise the issue and ask the question. I have some thoughts for the home studio guy/record my garage band guy, if this is one type of person you're aiming for with the ROBOT. Otherwise I'll be happy to drool over the equipment list. :)

    Even if guys like me are not the targeted audience for the ROBOT, I still suggest nailing down some assumptions of what a beginner is, or even specifying different kits for different applications. Not all pro-bound engineers will be targeting the same applications (live production, stage, classical, studio, etc).

    just my thoughts.

  5. realdynamix

    realdynamix Well-Known Member

    :) Ted, good question, and I will attempt to define a RAW beginner.

    "A beginner (re: recording audio) is a person who has a concept of music, maybe even performs music. Can make some observations of what things are, like the difference between a speaker and a microphone. Other than that, knows absolutely nothing else, with the exception of having a desire to learn more."

    Rather than lump every "non-pro" in the same category, though they may be beginners, they may have far more experience then what I am defining. Like Algebra 1 vs. Calculus A/B. Though an experienced beginner may benefit from the use of ROBOT in the same way.

    So, no, I only make a distinction on those who are truly at the beginning stage, out of the cold and off the street, with a desire to enter the field that can be assured that this proposed kit will contain what is needed to cover all the concepts.

    In fact, Ted, your question is a great one.

  6. Opus2000

    Opus2000 Well-Known Member

    That would be verklempt! lol

    Being a jew and all grew up with a yiddish speaking grandmother! Kvetch...kvetch..kvetch

    Opus :D
  7. realdynamix

    realdynamix Well-Known Member

    :) Thanks Opus, I could only use the way it sounded on the box. When using a combination of a buried mic and over head boom on a set, the slight mmm sound could easily be cut via the gate or lost in the limiters recovery time, both via live from NY or your local affiliate, and of course the AGC in your VCR, or TV.

    However, having attended many a Bar Mitzvah, wedding party's, and Passover dinners, I never heard the word actually spoken. I learned to play by ear, so now I know. hee hee. Clint say's "Nag... Nag... Nag" At least I hope I got that right. :D

  8. Opus2000

    Opus2000 Well-Known Member

    I think nag is an understatement when you are talking about a jewish grandmother! :D
  9. vinniesrs

    vinniesrs Active Member

    Hey, Rick! Fantastic idea. We should target a budget cap for this project so that anyone who can afford a quality instrument can also afford the kit. I'm thinking somewhere in the $1000-$1500 range.
    That's figure is in beaverbucks from this canuck.

    Maybe even a step by step approach. ie: Lets start by figuring out the best mic for the dollar, then move into best pre, best recording format, and a modest budget for acoustic treatments.

    I'll start the debate here. I think that an economical condenser might be a good choice for a starter kit, here's why.
    I guess it will depend on the recordist in question, but I'm going on the assumption here that our first example will be a singersongwriter.
    Single instrumentalist with vocals. Something like a rode nt1 would be perfect for vox, and acoustic guitar.
    An economical mike with a good sound.

  10. falkon2

    falkon2 Well-Known Member

    ... Wow. Money is rather tight around where I live, but if this takes off with the right pace, I could volunteer myself as a guinea pig. Always been wanting to take that leap from fooling around with mixing and playing around with FX to actually recording and producing stuff.
  11. Tore Nylund

    Tore Nylund Guest

    I love this idea!
    I guess this kit will be for recording audio... with one or two mics?
    And while we're on a tight budget....
    Let's put in some great buget tips like " How to use your bathroom as an echo-chamber"
    and " Great vocals with your mouth close to your mother's old nylon stockings" :D
  12. realdynamix

    realdynamix Well-Known Member

    :) Tore, I agree, 2 mics, and suggest a dual channel pre with DI's. The extent of available effects is a consideration for whatever software will be chosen. Or it could be a stand alone inline unit. I prefer a fresh pair of taoupe hose. :D

  13. bgavin

    bgavin Guest

    I'm a complete beginner to recording, but I'm an accomplished musician (40 years), and a computer expert (my line of business).

    I'm not much interested in sitting home in making multi-track overdubs of myself. My interest is live performance recording with multiple micing.

    I've accumulated a small collection of SM57, SM58, and electret condensor mics. Hope to grab an AT4040 if eBay is kind to me. My interface is the Aardvark Q10 into a hot rod DAW I'm currently building for it. If it works out well, I'll add a 2nd Q10 to the rack.

    I found RM's drum micing technique to be exactly what I'm looking for. I would like to find similar lessons on using Sonar, effects, EQ, etc for DAW multi-tracking and mixing.
  14. Tore Nylund

    Tore Nylund Guest

    Aha....Rick... software.. So we're talking about PC-DAW now? ( I thought that we were talking about stand-alone-DAW) In that case it would be nice to see what software you should go for... Anyone tried the "Magix Music Maker"? Or should we stick to whatever software-bundle that goes with the soundcard?
    Well, I think that the upgrading potential of a PC-based DAW, that's the way you should go. But 1000-1500 $ is way too tight if you're buying a PC too.
  15. realdynamix

    realdynamix Well-Known Member

    :) If it is a stand alone, then which unit? That could also eliminate the need for the preamps. This unit, small HD recorder and burner, may be just the ticket. But, inevitably PC/Mac based systems are going to enter the picture. The idea in my head was to pass along the card and software with the kit. But then, we are looking at computer literate individuals that have access. It is hard to maintain the bare minimum concept approach here isn't it?

    bgavin , you are hardly what I consider a beginner. Perhaps a beginner at live performance capture. I am trying to construct ROBOT on the premise that the individuals are at the "recording 101" stage. Open your books to page one please!
    What is sound? etc.

    The idea of a uniform system makes it much easier to help troubleshoot and answer questions on it's use. With some time in implementation, just about everyone will know how it is supposed to function.

  16. Tore Nylund

    Tore Nylund Guest

    Well, even if computers are the future I think that stand-alone units would be a better choice for the absolute beginner.

    I sold my old Tascam 488 portastudio a few days weeks ago... I had to try it out to see that everything was ok before I sold it. I plugged in my guitar and recorded a few tracks... and it was amazing how fast and easy it was to work with it.

    I think that it should be a system that can work like that. Real faders and so on... that "physical" response that you get by just moving real faders is just great!
    An 8-chanel system would be enough for this.
  17. TedB

    TedB Guest

    I kindof agree here with Tore.

    After doing nothing but PC-based recording for 5 years, I got the Korg D1200 for queiter, portable recording.

    It has changed my attitude towards pc-based recording. Give me that tabletop unit to record with and my pc to mix/add synths with.

    I only want to use a keyboard and mouse for mixing and midi. The faders, knobs, buttons and dials even on these cramped surfaces kicks the daylights out of having to use a mouse and keyboard.

    But this strikes to the "application" issue: for someone recording live performance, tabletops are great. For someone doing electronica, PC's are best.
  18. Rod Gervais

    Rod Gervais Active Member

    I have a Korg D1600 that i use for recording outside of our studio - and also for the quickie recordings we do of our practices.... just to establish baselines for our songs....

    And i have to tell you that i have never had a complaint with it.......

    It isn't the same as free standing gear - but the effects are workable - the ability to use virtual tracks to add something to the song (if i have used all 8 inputs) and then the ability to do a final stereo mix and burn cd's all in the one piece of gear makes it worth the cost for me.

    I would reccomend this to anyone.......

    Happy Hunting

  19. vinniesrs

    vinniesrs Active Member

    I have a roland vs-840gx. Very handy, easy to use, and the quality isnt bad. Problem being the cost of such a unit. I would think software and a soundcard would be less expensive. Yamaha makes a soundard with a spdif input that retails in canada for $50. It would be fine for a beginner, I know because I own one. It's obviously not as good as my audiowerk 8 card, but it's damn good for the buck.

    A program like cooledit, acid pro, or even logic would keep us within a budget and leave room for a 2ch pre with a spdif out, and a mic.

    What do ya think?
  20. Rod Gervais

    Rod Gervais Active Member


    The Roland is a nice piece of equipment, and maybe for my next stand alone i'll look hard at it (i just love new toys) :D :D :D

    But the price is about 3,800 US right now - for 16 channel inputs......

    The D1600 can be bought for about 1,150 US right now with 8 direct inputs...... and i think you would be hard pressed to set up a computer that you could do a simultaneous 8 track recording for that kind of money.

    The D1200 is 4 track simultaneous for 950 US - and both have Cd burners for the final product.

    I think (IMHO) that for a beginner's DAW these are pretty good deals.


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