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Best method for recording a band - a track at a time!

Member for

21 years
Egad.. I've done the 'one-man-band' recording thing and it's not a problem (guitar, bass, keyboard, octapad drums). But now I'm trying to do a quick recording on the cheap with 3 other band members.

We tried a tascam UL-122 and it seems to work fine; except I couldn't figure out how to record more than one track at a time! I thought these usb2 devices would at least allow 2 signals to be processed on seperate tracks.. but I couldn't find a way that worked in CubaseLE. THe guitar player who owns it says he's never tried recording more than 1 track at atime.. so I'm not sure if it is even supported.

So that's one problem. The other is the order of recording. I've done multi-track recordings in pro studios and thought I would follow the same stategy:
- record the drum track first with bass, keys, guitars playing along (but all wearing headphones so it doesn't bleed into the drum mics)
- once the best drum take is down, use the full band recording as a guide track. If necessary retrack the bass, rythmn guitar, keys
- additional guitar solos are punched in etc.
- vocals are done over the now 'solid' bedtracks
- cd is mixed/mastered and shipped to the adoring fans on a flatbed truck (okay got carried away,...where was I?)

So.. trying to do this in my basement, one track at a time, is no picnic!
Also.. the performance suffers when 'the band' plays in such a detached segmented process.. SO my question is;
- is it possible for this to work?
- are there any better solutions?
- Is the order of laying down tracks any different than in a studio?

Comments

Member for

21 years

Member Mon, 03/24/2008 - 10:39
I feel as though this is the obvious way but it hasn't been explicitly said yet, or if it has I missed it, so @Rimshot, a quick and dirty way to layer things in is to do the "everyone play together standing around the mic with the drummer hidden behind something so that he's not blasting everyone out but you can still hear him " trick. Then you go back and have it on headphones and add your bass/drums/guitars/etc. and lock in your bed track before adding your vocals. Or whatever order you want it in. I don't think this has been mentioned yet and if it has, apologies to all. Good luck!

Nathan

Member for

16 years 7 months

pr0gr4m Mon, 01/28/2008 - 16:33
I'm taking a guess here but I think that is just a 2 track device.

Make sure that in Cubase (im guessing again) that both inputs are enabled, (i think it's under Devices/VST Inputs or Multitrack or something like that) then in the individual tracks make sure that each is set to one of the inputs...track 1 = input 1.

To me, your method seem sound. Once you get the recording thing working, then you can work out the best method. Being able to record just 2 tracks at a time makes it a bit rough if you want to split it all up but it can be done.

Member for

15 years 10 months

hueseph Mon, 01/28/2008 - 19:48
Edit: I really should read before I post. I'm so good at making an ass of myself.

When you create your project, start with an empty template. Insert two new tracks by going to Project/add track/multiple and adjust the number of tracks to two mono tracks. You should be able to record enable these together or separately.

Member for

21 years

Member Tue, 01/29/2008 - 07:17
1. Use a clicktrack or use a simple rhythm guide track (2, maybe 3 percussion instruments) to steady the drummer;

2. Use only one musician who is rhythmically the most solid/stable on one scratch/guide instrument track (maybe not even her/his own; e.g. if the bass player may play better a steady rhythm guitar part, let him/her do it i/o the guitarist); the instrument scratch does not have to resemble the final arrangement for that instrument at all - just authoritatively strummed open chords may do the job;

3. Do a scratch vocal too - leave it rough and with all the mistakes in, its only scratch and its purpose is orientation and to sense the build-up for the choruses and other song dynamics;

4. Redo a take, punch in/out etc., only for the drummer - leave the instrument and vocal scratch with mistakes in until the drums are finished; only then get back to these and correct if necessary - i.e. don't wear your drummer out by start-stopping because of mistakes in the instrument/vocal scratch tracks.

5. Then, continue building up the instrument and vocal tracks one by one;

6. Or get everyone in (minus the drummer) for live takes.

cheers, -Buzzgrowl

Member for

15 years 11 months

mark_van_j Thu, 01/31/2008 - 19:52
Bent... I can't verify that either, I've never really used Cubase besides twice in my life. The first time I couldn't record any audio (similar to Rimshot's issue, except that Cool Edit at that time was recording perfectly) so I ditched it, and vowed never to touch it again.

7 years after that I decided to give it another shot. I decided to bounce out a session, and after bouncing out 4:23 of nothing but silence, I made my final decision to leave it alone and haven't touched it since.

Just thought I would share an anecdote. :D

EDIT: It seems you're right. It's limited to 8 simultaneous inputs. That guy seems to be full of you know what... :D

Member for

13 years 11 months

bent Thu, 01/31/2008 - 20:40
Somewhere on here I posted the actual total tracks Vegas 5.0 supports.
TheBear might remember it. I think I got it to 999 and then it started numbering them with something like 'A001', 'A002'.

:lol:




No really, I held down Ctrl+Q (add track) for a minute or so...

Member for

15 years 10 months

hueseph Fri, 02/01/2008 - 12:55
Rimshot wrote: Thanks for all the info people!

I think in retrospect (a habit of mine :shock: ) the guy may have been kidding - as Cubase claims that it 'supports' 48 tracks.. and he said he maxed it out at 49!

Must be for those Terry Bozio setups!

You can record up to 48 audio tracks but NOT simultaneously. Eight tracks at a time.

Vegas supports unlimited audio doesn't it. Limited of course by your computer but otherwise.....

I like Cubase and have been using it since version 3? I don't remember. Since you had to install it using two floppies on the old Atari Falcons. No hard drives back then and midi only. I temporarily left the platform when they started to support 1 gig external hard drives. Wow! That's a whole 10 minutes of 24 track audio at 16 bit 44.1k!

Member for

13 years 8 months

malamikigo Wed, 01/30/2008 - 00:15
i think his problem was more on the technical end of things, not the physically how to to layer things in.

just bouncing an idea here... doesn't the "LE" in "Cubase LE" stand for "limited edition"?

perhaps one of the limitations is that only one track can be enabled for recording at a time...not sure, but sounds like something they'd do.

Member for

15 years 11 months

mark_van_j Wed, 01/30/2008 - 02:52
Ahh. "Limited" as in confined and restricted... I see now...

It's because I wasn't wearing my goggles...


Back on topic. I still don't understand what the problem is. Can you record enable both tracks? Do you get signals in both of them? Are they identical?

Answering these questions should sort out whether it's a hardware or software issue, but I think it's just software. Here's a short checklist that should be quite universal:

1) Make sure you have 2 MONO tracks

2) Assign input 1 to the first channel, and input 2 to the second. (might also be labeled as "input 1 - L" and "input 1-R"

3) Arm them

4) Record two very different signals. For simplicity, (if you can) get two mics and speak into one, while tapping the other. This will help clearly differentiate between both tracks to make sure you aren't getting a copy of one in both, or a summed mono input.

5) Report to RO

Member for

21 years

Member Wed, 01/30/2008 - 10:50
Thanks for the inputs - I'll try to adress them in order;

- we tried starting with guitars but it lost the feel. Without a solid drum track my bandmates are not as tight. So I guess I'm stuck with being first off the mark.

-scratch vocals are good

-it seems there are no limitations on the number of tracks you can record simultaneously; based on one forum where some guy claimed he was able to use the max. 48 tracks!

- this what I tried without success (IT just treated them as one track..):
"1) Make sure you have 2 MONO tracks

2) Assign input 1 to the first channel, and input 2 to the second. (might also be labeled as "input 1 - L" and "input 1-R"

Assuming it is a SW problem, I'll take another look at the device setup in the Cubase menu under VST inputs.. it should show the available inputs and they have to be enabled. I read somewhere that they can be hidden if the window is not resized..

Thanks!
I'll let you know if I can get it to work..

Member for

15 years 10 months

hueseph Wed, 01/30/2008 - 11:20
mwacoustic posted a link to the manual and I gave you a breakdown as to how to record two separate tracks. If these methods are not working, you missed something.

The MAX number of simultaneous channels you can record with a US-122 is 4 if you include spdif digital input which would require an external A/D converter. You could use an external mixer and do a sub mix of however many channels the mixer has but you will still be recording to 2 or potentially 4 tracks MAX(Cubase LE supports only 8 simultaneous inputs). Unless you get an interface which has the inputs and supports 48 simultaneous channels (which would likely involve two interfaces linked together) you will be confined to your 4 max.

Regarding Cubase LE. It is as limited in functionality as ProTools LE in comparison to ProTools HD. Which, with consideration of the fact that it's free, really is not that limited. Unless of course you absolutely need to record more than 48 audio tracks and 4 simultaneous inputs. For the average home user, that is plenty.

Member for

13 years 11 months

bent Wed, 01/30/2008 - 13:23
it seems there are no limitations on the number of tracks you can record simultaneously; based on one forum where some guy claimed he was able to use the max. 48 tracks!

I'd like to read that forum!
"How to get 48 tracks out of a US122", should be an entertaining read.

I swear we've gone over this already in another thread.
The input settings are referenced in Ch.6 ( Pg 17-18 ) of the manual, which MW posted earlier.

Hueseph is on the money (though I don't see any mention of SPDIF with this box).

Here's some important info which backs him up, directly copied from the manual:

The US-122L has two input channels (L,
R), with a MIC IN jack (XLR) and LINE IN
jack (1/4” phone jack) provided for each
channel. Do not connect signals to both
of these analog input jacks at the same
time. If both are connected, the signal
will not be correctly input to the
US-122L.


It's gotta be one heck of a feat getting 48 channels to record simultaneously on a box whose manual directly states the info above!

8)
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