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Very new to DAW

Discussion in 'Recording' started by billrc, Jun 7, 2003.

  1. billrc

    billrc Guest

    Hi all. I am sure this question is asked every three months but I can't seem to find the answer as I wade through all the posts. So I'll ask it again with apologies.
    Until recently I have been using a very old reel to reel to record my songs. Using sound on sound to put down all my tracks. I was going to buy a SIAB but after reading posts here it seems that a computer based studio is much better. Since I'm going to buy a new computer soon I need to know what I will need to use it to put down all my tracks. I was hoping to use conventional instruments as well as MIDI and software instruments like symphony and drums or a drum machine. I would like to avoid the old debate on which computer (mac or ibm) is better though so I don't want to mention which platform I am going to use if I can help it. Do I need anything other than the computer and sound card that comes with it, mics and software? Thanks for any help, Bill
     
  2. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2002
    Location:
    77 Sunset Lane.
    Bill,
    So much of what you are asking is dependent on which choices you make. Usually the soundcard that comes stock in a computer sucks. Once you get into upgrading the soundcard you may need external converters, some converter interfaces come with sound cards. If you go PC you will have a different set of choices than if you go Mac. External hard drives can be an extra, especially in Mac world. There are lots of variables, how many inputs and outputs do you need? What are you recording and why are you recording it? Will you be using the computer for gaming and graphics work and will it be an Internet computer also? It is hard to give advice when we don't know the specifics because there are so many options available. Kurt
     
  3. billrc

    billrc Guest

    Thanks for the reply. I'm more versed in Mac but my wife uses a pc. I help her through all her computer problems so I know both platforms. I was going to go Mac only because I've used it for so long but am still deciding. I'm going to use it for recording. If I use it for anything else I will dedicate a hard drive just for recording. I want to put my songs down and arrange them the way I hear them in my head. I don't know what converters are. Mixing boards? I don't need too many inputs and output I don't think because I'm just recording myself (voice and instument) and then use software and midi to add the other instruments. I did read your article on hooking a mixing board up to a computer and it was helpful although I didn't understand everything. I'm just starting out ya know.

    Thanks for your help,
    Bill
     
  4. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2002
    Location:
    77 Sunset Lane.
    Bill,
    Converters are devices that convert analog audio into digital audio. Waveforms into 1’s and 0’s.

    If you decide on the Mac, you can use a USB interface. This will have the converters, a small mixer and mic pres in it and will provide facilities to monitor pre recorded tracks as well as live inputs. I recommend the Tascam USB interfaces, the US-122, US-224 and US-428, all under $500. These have faders, transport controls, and midi interfacing, almost everything you could want. This is a good solution if you are recording one or two tracks at a time. If you want to record more than two tracks at once you will need something else besides a USB interface. Pro Tools LE, Pro Tools TDM and MOTU are the most popular interfaces used with Macs. Recording software is included with the Pro Tools Hardware. If you opt not to go with Pro Tools, you will need to purchase recording and midi software. If you need less than 8 tracks total, you can probably get by with “Pro Tools Free”. This can be downloaded off the net at http://www.digidesign.com or you can order a copy from Digidesign for a nominal shipping charge. They sent me my copy and didn't charge anything. If you want more than 8 tracks, you will have to purchase some audio software. Pro Tools, Digital Performer, Logic are the programs that are most often run on Macs. I hope that helps a bit. This can be a confusing step to take and it is made more difficult by not having used computer based recording equipment before. If you have any other specific questions please ask. There are lots of nice folks here that will be glad to help guide you on the way… Kurt
     
  5. billrc

    billrc Guest

    Kurt- Thanks so much for your help. It is starting to make some sense and I now know what options I can choose from. I'm sure I'll have many more questions and it gives me some peace of mind to know there is someplace I can go to get the answers.
    Once again thanks for you time,
    Bill
     
  6. jdier

    jdier Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2003
    Location:
    Milwaukee
    Home Page:
    Billrc,

    I would suggest calling on someone like Scott of ADK (advanceddesignky.com)

    I was also very new to this about 4 months ago and Scott spent a pile of time with me on the phone figuring out what I should get. I wound up making one choice that he did not recommend (and in fact warned me about) and that wound up causing some problems, but he has stood by his machine and worked with me to get it running.

    I would suggest ADK to anyone looking for their first DAW.

    Jim
     

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