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What do... I .. do?

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Brooks11, Mar 30, 2010.

  1. Brooks11

    Brooks11 Guest

    What do... I .. do?

    *Note: I did know the proper board for this.

    Note: This could be drenched with fluff and extra length, as I am quite a expatiator when it comes to the realm of explanation~ aka, I always say more than needed in every category, especially when it comes to asking questions.

    2nd Note: I know in reality probably Jack about recording, the only recording experience I have is with my handheld digital recorder because before recording music with it as more of a note, I used it to jot down all my notes, ideas, and other for my writing (non musical related).

    Background: Loved music since I was.. 14-16. When I started to adore it even more I actually thought I was simply to old to start playing an instrument... then one day I was listening to music and I decided "I want to play so..... why not?"

    I picked up the guitar and havn't looked back, 20 now, started 3 months ago, I play and involve myself with music 10-15 hours a day. I've gotten to the point where I do have enough songs to probably consider recording, though I could easily just hoard them and wait. Plus I feel like when songs are fresh you really need to record them, everyday you don't you become further severed from the original intent, the original emotion. But yeah I have about 10 real songs that I actually think are worthy- varying in style, genre, and I'm sure needs for recording technique.

    Here's my question: The older I get the more I realize simple is better, and to have 200 pairs of jeans to buy is worse than 5 pairs of jeans to buy. What I'm getting at, is I want to know what I really should do for my 'recording setup'.
    Very simply put my music is no more complicated than Beck's [One Foot in the Grave] early stuff and John's (Frusciante's) [Niandra Lades and Usually Just a T-shirt] early stuff. Very very simple stuff- well in terms of recording needs. {I am guessing that though}
    I know John used nothing but a 4 track I do believe.
    And I know Beck used 4 trakcs and then a basement studio with Calvin for One Foot~

    My biggest question is: Analog or Digital.

    To base your advice... my music as stated is very similar to the aforementioned.

    As well my musical equipment included an acoustic guitar, an electric guitar, an amp, Harmonica, my voice, cymbals, Bongo Drums, other household items. I really don't think there could be anything else, not for my solo stuff.
    My music will consist as well with many Double Voice Overs and Second Voice overs both by me and other people. I'm planning to of course record this all seperately in terms of seperate tracks and then combining them (ofc).

    Also my current recording equipment if any is a Digitial Handheld recorder which actually records my guitar quite decent I think, Recording software that actually came with it. A laptop computer 2007~ Audacity I suppose?

    Probably where it gets itchy, different songs do require different stuff, I have some songs where it would be anywhere from 1-4 tracks needed and then others where it could be anywhere from 4-24.

    So I suppose after "I" choose digital or analog, I then need to ask what do equipment do I need?

    If I do analog: What equipment do I need in terms of recording the type of music I've described. Items, software, hardware?

    If I do digital: What equipment do I need in terms of recording the type of music I've described. Items, software, hardware?

    I guess what I'm asking is do I just need a 4 track / 8 track and a mic with what I got. Or do I need more, what do I need?

    Really as I ramble, digital or analog if which then what do I need to aquire to get along the results I've described for one of the above.

    So which school of recording, then the items for the school, specific items or guidelines for WOULD BE GREAT. As well price, tell me whatever in terms of price for said item, though really the lowest possible I need to provide a sound satisfactory. I mean theres no question I project and envision lo-fi recording, in fact it's what I want. You can't beat solo work with an intimate feel~

    Note: I will say as well if your not biased I really seem to be a fan of analog over digital as long as it's not holding me back in any way really, and please tell me if it does.

    Finally I know this is most likely incredibly stupid to ask but should I actually just go and find someone who has a studio/recording setup. I have some friends here and there that I think could hook me up. So I probably should do that because they have experience with recording and making music as well as they'll streamline it, help me, teach me, supply the necessaries, and it will be more fun and organic most likely. Hell as I typed this I kept thinking, why don't I do that, but snice my brain is fried from the tackles of the day I figure I'll just post this to you gurus and see what the ones with knowledge have to say~

    Thanks to all, any amount, quality or quanity of information, help, advice is greatly appreciated.

    P.S. Yes I am praying someone tells me go crazy with a 4 track and whatever... but only if that's really all I need~
  2. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    A LOT of information.

    Clearly dissiminated, sure, but still a bunch of stuff that didnt include even one word about budget.

    THIS (budget) is a point that cannot be stressed enoughas there is a myriad of gear that could fit your needs as you have described.

    Point in fact.....a 4-track system can be a very interesting way to record. You need some skills at recording to use it effectively when multi-tracking beyond the 4 basic tracks. When you mention the artists using this media and having great results, be aware that they have years of recording under their hats.

    Not to say you couldnt learn this. It sounds like you are able. There is a process and a curve. Learning this curve will benefit you in so many ways not available to someone starting out on a system with unlimited track counts and a huge variety of effects and DSP horsepower.

    Some of this is the reason for such a homogenization of music today in that, the decisions dont have to be made and adhered to.....you can "fix it in the mix"...........and IMHO the quality and immediacy of the performance suffers because of this. As a songwriting tool it cant be bettered, but as a production tool, it lacks in the 'heart' of how the music is presented.


    Think on a budget. Return with infromation regarding this. Be aware that only a few will take the time to read long-winded posts.
  3. Brooks11

    Brooks11 Guest

    My budget is for the reason and goal of the terms and enviroment I've mentioned. No more 'advanced' then what those artists use. That's all I want, or need, I want a setup that will allow me to that point.

    For example in my head I was initiall thinking, okay a 8 track and recorder and a mic outta do it? Or will it? And so on.

    So no, I don't wanna spend $1000, I don't wanna spend $500. I want to have a fiarly simple and lo-fi setup that will allow me to record my technically simple music. Right now for instance I have nothing in my head for the music I want to record except what I know I can do. So giving me tons and tons of extra stuff want to all that much. I have them thought and written the way I want, just really need to record them and to do that I can't need that much more than that simple lo-fi setup because at this point that's all my mind can create because it's all I know. You know what I'm saying, I don't need more cause at this point what I know in terms of the songs I would record is what I can produce through me alone, it's a matter of getting what I produce to record with the standard recording features.

    I'm really looking for the couple basic 'parts' I need (if that's what I need for my situation). So to go on further I want whatever I need but limiting it as much as I in fact need. Ergo in my mind, strip it down, lo-fi it~ Let the music speak for itself so to speak. So I want something that will reproduce and allow satisfactory quality as a whole setup, allow me to aquire that lo-fi feel, simple and less complicated if it can be. As a bonus, authentic, I'm a guy that was not born in the right time. I don't like all the moderinization of our culture and technology. So which is why if I can I'm leaning analog, and not computer/digital. Not defintite but the fact that I have a computer right next to me and I'm trying to say emotional vocals and feelings, to me just pulls you right out of that sphere.

    My budget max is I'd say 250-300 preferring to keep this at free-150 (belive me there are ways of getting things free, havn't payed for food or clothing in I don't know how long.) If it was absolutely necessary I'd run up for 400 if I HAD TO.

    Thanks Davedog~

  4. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Distinguished Member

    Feb 21, 2009
    Well, your idea sounds like a lot of fun :D That's how I got into all this in the first place. Sitting around bored with lots of musical ideas floating around inside of me with nowhere to go, it can be a great way to vent your emotions. The only problem is that your current budget doesn't allow for a whole lot of 'fun'.

    Digital. That is it. Plenty of people say that they love the sound of analog. What does that mean? You love the sound of older tape studio recordings, but those were made with millions of dollars of equipment and recorded by experts in engineering. If you buy an analog/tape setup for $200 I can guarantee it will sound dull and warbly. Plus they require a lot of maintenance like cleaning and demagnetizing the tape heads so that the tape doesn't stick and become noisy. A sonically accurate digital setup will force you to learn the basics of recording and engineering, and after you learn that, you can do anything. With a digital computer based setup, the options for expansion and tweaking and sonic flexibility are astounding. This is the road that you want to take.

    I am guessing that you don't need too many simultaneous inputs then? Maybe two at the most? It doesn't sound like you are using a standard drum kit but rather an amalgamation of separately recorded percussion tracks. You will need lots of tracks to do this, and you don't want to be confined to 4, 8, or even 24 tracks. You don't want limits on creativity. Let me suggest something within your budget range and then you tell me if you think you need more.

    PreSonus FireStudio Mobile | Sweetwater.com

    This will get the mic signal into your computer, and allows you to adjust the incoming signal volume to the proper level. Your computer requires FireWire for this. If your computer does not have FireWire, USB setups are also possible. You can use free audio recording/mixing software like Audacity, or you can use the software that comes with the interface. You could always buy more flexible and powerful software somewhere down the line, and I recommend that you do if you are still doing this 6 months or a year from now.

    Shure SM57 | Sweetwater.com

    For recording your electric guitar/percussion

    Audio-Technica AT2020 | Sweetwater.com

    For recording your voice.

    And you can use a dual mic setup using both mics to record your acoustic guitar.

    Hopefully I have touched on everything that you needed. If you have further questions, let me know.
  5. drumist69

    drumist69 Active Member

    Feb 26, 2005
    North Carolina, USA
    I'd have to agree with GuitarFreak. Get a simple two channel interface like he mentioned. Get an SM57, and an AT2020. This will all set you back about $500-$600 new for the whole package. Then get something like Reaper, as your DAW. Research and download as many free vst effects as you need, and there you go.
    Keep this in mind...Someone like Beck wasn't recording the way he did (way back when?) because he wanted to. I'm pretty sure he would have preferred to record at a kick ass studio. However, he made do with what was available, what he could afford, and made some great music with it. Use what you have available, and what you can afford, and above all, make great music. No one will question your recording technique if you have great material to begin with. That's where it all begins and ends, i'nt it?
  6. Brooks11

    Brooks11 Guest

    What do you think of a Tascam MKII 488 8 Track Analog/Cassette Recorder?

    I sort've IF I CAN mind you wanna really simplify this and be able to once again if I can almost eliminate the computer in the recording process and so forth. I would really like to enter my room, (the floor is my bed) and just sit down with a simple 4 tracck or 8 track recorder and mic I woul assume and just record a song or material right there and then. - I get an idea, Bam. I don't wanna complicate it, I don't wanna burden it I don't think I want the computer, I feel lit will bog down the actual experience of making the music. For whatever reason my mind says instinctively that something like a 4 track / 8 track is alot better for me if all it requires is that __ track, and a mic for the reasons I've mentioned, comfortability, simplicity, low distraction and burdening and so on. I could even go to say that recording with little just a __ track recorder and a mic with my instruments on my bed as opposed using a comp, (having to turn it on, get up the programs, even look at the screen vs looking at the __ track. I don't know rambling I know but... It just seems it's possible that for my needs this MIGHT be best.

    As well for the aforementioned I think it will help that lo-fi simple sound I want especially once I learn for lack of a better term how to record properly and naturally with my possible new __ track.

    So what do you guys think?


    It's true about that with Beck probably I agree. But that IS the beauty of it, for something of this nature if it's what I'm after Simple, Lo-fi, Easy, concentrating on the cores, the music, the vocals, the emotion is best. To not have a kick ass studio. To be on the struggle to try to make due with cheap and simple as opposed to high-tech. In many ways it's what I'm after. I truly don't think One Foot in the Grave would have been good as with a High tech Studio.

    Also I now know Niandra Lades and Usually Just a T-shirt which I keep citing because it is a perfect example of the absolute limit of what I would ever need, there's no way I need more than that. And to that it was all done by a 1971 4 Track Recorder.

    So am I just being romantic and so forth with the recording or in my own odd way am I making sense, once againw hat do you guys think. Digital with the computer and so forth. Or what?

    Also what do you guys think of the MKII 488 like I've noted? Would it be plenty for what I need or not? Also I'm not great at this but it does have a built in mixer and pre-amp yes?
  7. drumist69

    drumist69 Active Member

    Feb 26, 2005
    North Carolina, USA
    I think a Tascam 4 or 8 track tape unit would be a great start for you, considering what you want to accomplish. One point, though... how will you get from the master tape of your recording to a format you can share with other people? You'll have to make it available online or on CD, either of which requires dumping from tape to a computer. I have a guitarist friend who records on a Tascam 4 track (its actually one I sold him, dirt cheap, which was the unit I got started recording on. I got it from a pawn shop for $200). He gets tracks done, brings them to me, I hook up his 4 track to my comp, dump the tape, tweak eq a bit and other things if needed, and burn him a cd. You'll need someone to do that, at least, for you. Or figure out how to do it yourself. But overall, it sounds like what you need (and want) is a 4 or 8 track cassette recorder, and maybe a few SM57's and/or SM58's. That's some fun stuff, there! Best of luck! Andy

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