How to get the best out of your daw.

Discussion in 'Computing' started by vinniesrs, Jul 15, 2003.

  1. vinniesrs

    vinniesrs Active Member

    May 12, 2003
    Have any of you decided to get into recording, gone down to the local music store and bought a stand alone daw? If you did you were probably thinking making a recording would be pretty simple.

    I thought it would be good to start a thread on daw's, neat shortcuts, problems, and ways around those problems.

    Since I really started out my recording career on a daw, and still use a roland vs 840 in my rehearsal hall, I thought we could discuss the machines you're using now, and wghat's happening.

    Just a thought.

  2. downflow

    downflow Guest

    That's exactly what I did, Steve. I bought a fostex vf-160 DAW, THEN joined RO. If I had joined RO first, I would probably have gotten cubase SX, or something.

    So, I saw this DAW in musician's friend, and I thought it was everything I needed to record, in a box (where would I get such an idea?). Right off the bat, I start running into things like: The ad said sixteen track simultaneous recording, which was one of the main reasons I bought it. It's only got eight inputs. You have two buy another $300 piece of gear to get that capability. Phantom power, but only on two channels. XLR inputs, but only on two channels (same two). Channel inserts, but only on two channels (same). So basically it has two good and six ok channels. The editing is not accurate enough to move a kick drum around. It has scrub zoom, but only for what the manual calls "finding a cue" before a song. I have located a point only to find it has moved once I come out of the scrub mode. Very frustrating.

    Now granted, you only get what you pay for, but I didn't know what to buy. If I knew then what I know now, I probably would have bought the Yamaha aw4416, I've heard it's the real deal.
    We are getting some recordings now, that are starting to sound good. I do know that I don't want to get to the point where I just listen for production and not for the song. I'm no pro engineer, and I probably never will be. But I am going to do the best I can with what I have, and then see if I can get it on the radio.

    It would be nice if some of the companies would be a little more up-front about their products, telling what they will do, AND what they won't do. Getting started in recording is a lot like pulling yourself up by your bootstraps. One of the smart things I did was to buy a pile of books on the subject, and read them until some of the fog went away. I could go on and on about this subject, but I'll save some bandwidth for someone else.

  3. vinniesrs

    vinniesrs Active Member

    May 12, 2003
    I found that in the case of my 840, breaking the rules was what got me the best sound. I would overcome xlr inputs issues by adapting to 14, or bouncing tracks like the boucy ball in a cartoon singalong! :D
    Both of these things are detrimental to the signal, but it was a tradeoff. Better control over the final product, or less noisedistortion.
    I had people telling me that an mtc sync would be the end of the world, but when I found out a buddy had another v-studio, that's what I did! Worked out fine, and I got twice as many tracks.

    I have been on kind of a thing lately about the ear VS the technical aspects of recording. I think it's not unlike musicians. A musician can learn to play by notes, and make good music. A musician can play by ear and make good music. Each has their own way of getting good music, but in the end that's what they get. A good guitarist can make a bad guitar sound quite nice. It won't be the best sounding guitar you've ever heard, but if the content is right it may just be memorable.
    Some engineers go to school, and learn to "play by note" then in practice they develop the ear. Some engineers develop the ear, and then learn the technical aspects. Both are equally as valuable, but different. In each situation a good engineer can make an enjoyable recording with just about anything.


    Steve. :c:
  4. israelsonny2

    israelsonny2 Guest

    well my Zoom multitrack has a USB output so i can just put the .wav files on my computer and edit them in Sonar. This to me is a huge advantage and was worth the money for the USB card that i had to buy seperately. Trying to edit on the recorder itself is a nightmare for me and takes way too much time. Plus i can get all the sonar effects if i want to. Then at the end of it all i just put the .wav files back on the recorder and mix it down to a master track.

    I find that without some sort of mixer or preamp the sound in general is quite muddy, and lacks any treble. I'm not sure why it does this but i think it's just something to do with the inputs. A mixer/preamp not only improved my sound but it allowed me to use more than 2 mics (i only had 2 inputs) for recording drums etc.

    I'm not very economic with my track usage so if i am recording something a bit more ambitious i usually have to bounce to one of the stereo tracks, and then i have heaps more tracks free again. I've learned a lot so far from my experiences and my recordings and mixes are far better than when i started. I dont know how these things compare to a computer rig for example though - i've never had one.
  5. Skeetch

    Skeetch Guest

    Hi Steve -

    I started out on a Yamaha MT120 4-track and over the years have arrived at a VS1880. As a Roland owner, you've probably experienced the love/hate relationship that comes with owning a VS. I suspect the same thing is true with other stand alone DAW brands too. The 1880 has many limitations but two I find increasingly troublesome are lack of channel inserts and the 8-channel at a time limit (running a close tie with these two is the difficulty in running outboard FX into the unit). I bought the VS knowing about these but at the time it was all I could afford. Oh yeah, the metronome sound in the 1880 just plain stinks.

    Unfortunately, there's just no getting around the 8 channel at a time issue. I've been able to get around the lack of channel inserts by using the ones on my outboard mixer (Mackie VLZ). This adds some additional gain staging problems from time to time, but it's a necessary evil right now. Also, most of my pre's have some kind of insert on them so that's another option.

    The heart of the matter is that I'm outgrowing the 1880 but can't afford to move up to the capability and quality I want right now.
  6. vinniesrs

    vinniesrs Active Member

    May 12, 2003
    With my 840 I was making recordings that had up to 40 tracks. It was damn near impossible to mix. What I learned was after each step if I bounced my 8 track to a 2 tr stereo track, i could use that to monitor while recording, and mixing the other tracks. I divided everything into subgroups like drums, guitars, vox, percussion, etc.
    It's was very difficult to mix this way, but did the job.
    With the roland stuff, I like the V-track setup.
  7. israelsonny2

    israelsonny2 Guest

    what kind of music do you record anyway steve?
  8. vinniesrs

    vinniesrs Active Member

    May 12, 2003
    Most of the music coming through my studio has been hard rock and metal, but I've also had pop, funk, and jazz as well. I will record anything, as I love everything.(except polka's) I will even record polka's with a smile on my face though.

    Personally I would like to get into more acousticelectric stuff, kind of like a tom petty
    em kinda feel. Bit of a change from disturbedpantera vibes! :D
  9. israelsonny2

    israelsonny2 Guest

    well its good to have a wide range of music to listen to i think :D

    i just saw you commenting on the deftones and thought to myself "HUH?" so now at least i know what you like as well.

    yay rock

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