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PreSonus AudioBox and IPad Advice

Hello,

I'm an extreme novice when it comes to recording. I purchased a PreSonus AudioBox and have been using my Ipad mini to do some simple recording of myself and the acoustic guitar. Last week I did a recording and it sounded not bad. Last night I tried and the vocals were way overpowering. I had it on the same levels so not sure why this came out different.

I guess my question is based on everyone's experience what levels for the guitar and vocal are a good balance to use with using an interface and garageband via and ipad mini?

Thank you so much for the help!

Comments

Boswell Fri, 09/02/2016 - 07:12

From the way you phrase your email, I assume you are singing and playing guitar at the same time rather than recording the guitar first and then adding the vocals afterwards. However, you don't say anything about your microphone, or whether your guitar is acoustic (recorded only through a microphone) or acoustic with pickup.

A prefered way of working is to record your guitar on one channel and the vocals on the other. Since you haven't mentioned the acoustic environment in which you are making these recordings, there may be some sound bleed between channels while recording, but it can be reduced by careful placement of microphones.

Once you have a two-track recording that has essentially guitar on one channel and vocals on the other, you can bring them into Garageband as two mono tracks and mix them, possibly with added effects (reverb etc) to a pseudo-stereo result. During the mixing process, you can set the balance between the levels of the vocal and guitar that you think best suits the song. Doing it this way takes the pressure off getting a correct balance while recording.

Good luck!

FrankieD Fri, 09/02/2016 - 07:31

Sorry I should of added more detail.

This is a two track interface where I am playing and acoustic guitar and singing at the same time. It's a Shure microphone. The guitar is one one channel and the microphone is on the other. I am in a room at my mothers house with a few pieces of furniture in there.

Would you suggest then recording them separately? The volume of both seems to be a challenge for me. I find that I cannot get the guitar and vocals at good levels.

Let me know your thoughts.

Boswell Fri, 09/02/2016 - 07:37

No, it's perfectly possible to get good recordings while recording both at once - I do it all the time with folk singers and the like. The important thing is to record the vocal and guitar to separate tracks, since, to a large extent, the relative levels of the signals on the tracks don't matter during the recording. You set the balance between the vocal and guitar when you come to the mixing stage.

FrankieD Fri, 09/02/2016 - 07:56

Boswell, post: 440943, member: 29034 wrote: No, it's perfectly possible to get good recordings while recording both at once - I do it all the time with folk singers and the like. The important thing is to record the vocal and guitar to separate tracks, since, to a large extent, the relative levels of the signals on the tracks don't matter during the recording. You set the balance between the vocal and guitar when you come to the mixing stage.

I understand now. Makes sense. I did notice in garageband when I go to the tracks, it seems to be in one track. Not sure if I'm doing something wrong. Also, once I plug in the interface, it's asking me if I want the monitor on or off. Not sure which one to chose?

bouldersound Fri, 09/02/2016 - 08:26

FrankieD, post: 440945, member: 49970 wrote: Also, once I plug in the interface, it's asking me if I want the monitor on or off. Not sure which one to chose?

If monitor means Garageband's input monitor function, yes, turn it off. The interface has a simple and effective direct input monitoring feature (the Mixer knob).

FrankieD Fri, 09/02/2016 - 08:48

bouldersound, post: 440946, member: 38959 wrote: If monitor means Garageband's input monitor function, yes, turn it off. The interface has a simple and effective direct input monitoring feature (the Mixer knob).

Thank you. So in essence, this recording doesn't matter as far as the volume levels go as it all comes down to the mixing and mastering. Is that right?

bouldersound Fri, 09/02/2016 - 08:55

FrankieD, post: 440949, member: 49970 wrote: Thank you. So in essence, this recording doesn't matter as far as the volume levels go as it all comes down to the mixing and mastering. Is that right?

Right. Capture each source (guitar, vocal etc.) on its own track then blend them to taste. The better you record them (source sound quality, performance, mic choice/placement, room sound etc.) the easier it is to get a good mix.

FrankieD Fri, 09/02/2016 - 09:31

bouldersound, post: 440950, member: 38959 wrote: Right. Capture each source (guitar, vocal etc.) on its own track then blend them to taste. The better you record them (source sound quality, performance, mic choice/placement, room sound etc.) the easier it is to get a good mix.

Gotcha. Now again when the interface is connect it allows me to just record track 1 (vocals) or 2 (the guitar), or stereo. Any suggestions? I can still play both at the same time but was unsure if that was an issue with the sound quality.

Thank you.

bouldersound Fri, 09/02/2016 - 09:52

FrankieD, post: 440951, member: 49970 wrote: Gotcha. Now again when the interface is connect it allows me to just record track 1 (vocals) or 2 (the guitar), or stereo. Any suggestions? I can still play both at the same time but was unsure if that was an issue with the sound quality.

Thank you.

Now you're getting into the tradeoffs between performance and recording technique. You should, and I assume the software can do it, record to two separate mono tracks. Whether you record both together or guitar first is up to you. Recording both together leaves you with the problem of bleed, sound from one thing getting into the mic for the other thing. This can make it tricky to mix as adjusting one track can affect how the other source sounds. Also, it's harder to do any punching in (re-recording a small part of one track) or editing. The usual solution to that is to record the guitar first then sing over it while listening on headphones. But that will affect how you play and how you sing, so you have to select the method that best fits your needs.

FrankieD Fri, 09/02/2016 - 10:11

bouldersound, post: 440954, member: 38959 wrote: Now you're getting into the tradeoffs between performance and recording technique. You should, and I assume the software can do it, record to two separate mono tracks. Whether you record both together or guitar first is up to you. Recording both together leaves you with the problem of bleed, sound from one thing getting into the mic for the other thing. This can make it tricky to mix as adjusting one track can affect how the other source sounds. Also, it's harder to do any punching in (re-recording a small part of one track) or editing. The usual solution to that is to record the guitar first then sing over it while listening on headphones. But that will affect how you play and how you sing, so you have to select the method that best fits your needs.

Thank you. So Mono means that all that is being recorded is coming through that one track. Although both can be played at the same time. Stereo is picking up everything correct?

bouldersound Fri, 09/02/2016 - 10:52

FrankieD, post: 440955, member: 49970 wrote: Thank you. So Mono means that all that is being recorded is coming through that one track. Although both can be played at the same time. Stereo is picking up everything correct?

Maybe it's best not to use mono and stereo for this part of the process. Your mic on the guitar produces one channel of audio signal, your vocal mic produces another channel. The guitar mic, one channel, should be recorded to a single track in the software and the vocal should be recorded to a separate single track. When you record to a single (possibly called "mono" in the software) track it should have only one waveform display. You can record one input to a dual channel ("stereo") track, but you gain nothing and it takes up twice the memory. You can record two separate inputs to a single dual channel track but that makes it hard to treat them separately.

When you're mixing the recorded tracks is when stereo comes into play. That's when you decide where in the left-right panorama (where "pan" comes from) you want to place each element. Once you've set levels, panning, eq, effects etc. you render/export/bounce (different terms for the same thing) it to a stereo audio file.

FrankieD Fri, 09/02/2016 - 11:22

bouldersound, post: 440957, member: 38959 wrote: There are times when you might want to use a dual channel track, like when you're using a stereo mic technique or recording a stereo keyboard. But otherwise just record to single channel tracks.

I'm sure another issue is that I don't even use a microphone for the guitar. I just use the controls on the acoustic-electric to adjust volumes etc. So it's just the vocal mic and then the guitar plugged in.

bouldersound Fri, 09/02/2016 - 14:51

FrankieD, post: 440958, member: 49970 wrote: I'm sure another issue is that I don't even use a microphone for the guitar. I just use the controls on the acoustic-electric to adjust volumes etc. So it's just the vocal mic and then the guitar plugged in.

That's fine, everything I said still applies except you won't get bleed in the guitar track so you can change the vocal without affecting the guitar. You could sing and play at the same time then go back and retake the vocal, for example.

But in most cases a mic will sound better.

kmetal Fri, 09/02/2016 - 15:09

I will add/complicate, that when recording guitar and vocals seperatly it can be beneficial to use a click track.

There can be a natural drift that happens and when your playing and singing at the same time you keep up with yourself. Like holding a vocal note or letting a chord ring. It can be problematic when recorded seperately becuase the feel can be a little or a lot different even when trying to sing over the take right away.

It's certainly not impossible to do, but have a click or some sort of consistent time reference can help keep the overdubbing process smooth.

FrankieD Sat, 09/03/2016 - 13:21

bouldersound, post: 440965, member: 38959 wrote: That's fine, everything I said still applies except you won't get bleed in the guitar track so you can change the vocal without affecting the guitar. You could sing and play at the same time then go back and retake the vocal, for example.

But in most cases a mic will sound better.

So then after I record the vocals and guitar at the same time. I should be able to go in and add another track with some riffs or lead parts right?

kmetal Sat, 09/03/2016 - 17:42

FrankieD, post: 440984, member: 49970 wrote: So then after I record the vocals and guitar at the same time. I should be able to go in and add another track with some riffs or lead parts right?

Yes.

You may want to use a click track to give yourself a time guide. It depends on how tight you are rythymically, and how tight the song needs to be.

But either way you can continue to adds tracks on top of each other. You can use the daw mixer to set the levels of the pre recorded tracks you hear in your headphones/monitors, and the mix knob on the interface to blend the live track your recording w the rest of the pre recorded stuff.

Also when your setting your recording levels very generally they should hover around halfway up the meters.

And it doesn't have to be a click track, it could be a pre made drum loop, or a simple beat you program. It could even be just you tapping on the acoustic guitar. The idea isn't perfect timing, just aome consistency for when yor layering in more tracks.

FrankieD Sun, 09/04/2016 - 13:25

kmetal, post: 440986, member: 37533 wrote: Yes.

You may want to use a click track to give yourself a time guide. It depends on how tight you are rythymically, and how tight the song needs to be.

But either way you can continue to adds tracks on top of each other. You can use the daw mixer to set the levels of the pre recorded tracks you hear in your headphones/monitors, and the mix knob on the interface to blend the live track your recording w the rest of the pre recorded stuff.

Also when your setting your recording levels very generally they should hover around halfway up the meters.

And it doesn't have to be a click track, it could be a pre made drum loop, or a simple beat you program. It could even be just you tapping on the acoustic guitar. The idea isn't perfect timing, just aome consistency for when yor layering in more tracks.

Thank you for the advice. I had some time today to play around with it. What's strange is that now I'm hearing the play back and not having the option to turn the monitor on or off which is odd. Also when I had the second track (a lead guitar over the vocals and acoustic), I just hear lots of background noise.

Any tips?

kmetal Sun, 09/04/2016 - 15:42

FrankieD, post: 440996, member: 49970 wrote: Thank you for the advice. I had some time today to play around with it. What's strange is that now I'm hearing the play back and not having the option to turn the monitor on or off which is odd. Also when I had the second track (a lead guitar over the vocals and acoustic), I just hear lots of background noise.

Any tips?

I'm sorry man, I'm not real familiar w the audiobox or garage band. When I use the iPad/garage band it's w the built in mic, and when I've used the audiobox it was at the writing room at one of the studios I work out of. I'm really not sure how the monitoring options work on the GarageBand for ioad or the audiobox.

I wish I could be more helpful

FrankieD Sun, 09/04/2016 - 17:00

kmetal, post: 440997, member: 37533 wrote: I'm sorry man, I'm not real familiar w the audiobox or garage band. When I use the iPad/garage band it's w the built in mic, and when I've used the audiobox it was at the writing room at one of the studios I work out of. I'm really not sure how the monitoring options work on the GarageBand for ioad or the audiobox.

I wish I could be more helpful

Thank you though I do appreciate it.

FrankieD Mon, 09/05/2016 - 10:53

bouldersound, post: 441020, member: 38959 wrote: Use different software. From what I've read GB is a toy, a Fisher-Price imitation of a real DAW. But on an iPad you're probably stuck with it.

That's what I'm thinking. The Presonus comes with Capture Duo. Any feedback on that? Also what other software can I use on the ipad mini?

kmetal Mon, 09/05/2016 - 11:59

FrankieD, post: 441029, member: 49970 wrote: Look as if this capture duo then recommends studio 1. Not sure what everyone knows about them.

Studio 1 is a great daw for a computer. I'm not sure if they have a version that works for iPad. If you have a computer studio 1 is fully fledged and will get the job done. It's made by presonus so that's why they reccomend it. Reaper is another good affordable daw.

FrankieD Mon, 09/05/2016 - 12:43

kmetal, post: 441030, member: 37533 wrote: Studio 1 is a great daw for a computer. I'm not sure if they have a version that works for iPad. If you have a computer studio 1 is fully fledged and will get the job done. It's made by presonus so that's why they reccomend it. Reaper is another good affordable daw.

Is reaper for the iPad?

dvdhawk Mon, 09/05/2016 - 14:46

Can we back up for a minute and determine exactly which AudioBox set-up you bought?

There are at least half a dozen products available from PreSonus under the name "AudioBox", and every single one of them includes the very capable StudioOne Artist software for recording, editing, and mixing. If you have an iOne or an iTwo interface, you can use Capture to record to the iPad, and transfer / transmit the tracks wirelessly to your desktop, or laptop computer (if you have one) and mix it much easier in a full-feature computer running the StudioOne software.

FrankieD Mon, 09/05/2016 - 15:12

dvdhawk, post: 441032, member: 36047 wrote: Can we back up for a minute and determine exactly which AudioBox set-up you bought?

There are at least half a dozen products available from PreSonus under the name "AudioBox", and every single one of them includes the very capable StudioOne Artist software for recording, editing, and mixing. If you have an iOne or an iTwo interface, you can use Capture to record to the iPad, and transfer / transmit the tracks wirelessly to your desktop, or laptop computer (if you have one) and mix it much easier in a full-feature computer running the StudioOne software.

Yes sorry I did not make that clear. I have the iOne. I have a PC so would that be something I can transfer the tracks to?

dvdhawk Mon, 09/05/2016 - 15:24

Absolutely.

Did you register your iOne on the PreSonus website when you bought it? If you didn't, take 5 minutes and do that. Once you have a user account you can download the free version of StudioOne Artist v3 that is included with your AudioBox purchase.

You can use Capture to record into the iPad, if that's more convenient for you. Then you would transfer those sound files to your PC, and open them in StudioOne.

FrankieD Mon, 09/05/2016 - 15:30

dvdhawk, post: 441035, member: 36047 wrote: Absolutely.

Did you register your iOne on the PreSonus website when you bought it? If you didn't, take 5 minutes and do that. Once you have a user account you can download the free version of StudioOne Artist v3 that is included with your AudioBox purchase.

You can use Capture to record into the iPad, if that's more convenient for you. Then you would transfer those sound files to your PC, and open them in StudioOne.

I have not registered the iOne yet. I will do that.

So could I use the studio one artist v3 on the iPad? Is there much difference between that and the capture duo? Thanks for the help.

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