Im New to Digital Recording (well any recording)-questions

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by Multani, Jun 29, 2005.

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  1. Multani

    Multani Guest

    i think this is the right forum for this-
    to start off- hi, i am a guitarist in a metal band (based in london) who has a love for music. so i decided to get into recording-

    well i bought a Tascam US-122 about one year ago and didnt have a clue what any of it done. i dug it out yeasterday and now i have the hang of it!

    it is a sort of "USB interface thing" between what you are recording and the computer. it has two xlr inputs and four 1/4 inch inputs.
    i hooked it up to my cd player speakers(monitor-looking) and then record using a pg58 shure mic.

    so far i have laid down 7 tracks of one of my bands songs and it sounds pretty cool. you can tell it is not studio quality but it is good for £150 worth of hardware and software. i will upload the song when it is finished so you guys can listen(it is very metal by the way!).

    it comes with Steinberg cubasis VST which i think is the most basic version ever. i use that to record+mix and play God with all the parts if something is messed up. its so cool..........

    then there is Gigastudio- what the hell is this for?!?! what exactly does it do and how do i get my Cubasis songs on there (they have their own ".Song" file type).

    here are some quickfire questions-

    1.why do sound engineers like using apple macs? it seems to me that they have inferior processors (like 2ghz and 512ram)....

    2.what are plugins?

    3. what are the best/most popular recording/mixing softwares? is it worth me upgrading fom basic cubasis?

    there is so much to take in- have you guys got like a list of terms/aplliances and their explanations?

    ok thanks peeps. :eek:
  2. axel

    axel Guest

    multani asks:

    hi multani, and welcome to RO!! :D

    ok here are some brief answers to your questions:

    1, IMO macs are simply plug and play, dead stable and lots of audio apps, that i like and consider to be pro, are native on a mac or mac only...

    like LOGIC, DP, Pro Tools, Peak...

    i personally would not touch a damn PC for any serious audio work, but with this statement you (or i !!) can create easily a war on RO... and endless discussions about MAC vs. PC
    you are from England right?? i have lived and worked pro audio in london for a very long time... in the UK no one who take his work serious uses PCs or at least i have hardly met anyone in my time there, except hobby twiddler... but you discovered that yourself already... another reason... look at your enviroment... lots of macs around, means lots of support, people to ask... that said all mac audio users i personally know simply don't have computer issues, they all can concentrate on recording and making music... (that includes myself never ever had any problems!!) instead of enhancing their IT skills!! go to Digitall village in Acton, Gunnerburys Lane, ask for pete... he is THE mac audio man and will set you up with a stable work friendly MAC... and super great support!!!!!!!! if you will ever need it LOL

    2, VST plug-ins are a format developed by steinberg, host apps like cubase or any VST supporting software allows you to use any VST Applications / Plugs.
    a VST is a "Virtuel Instrument" that means they are never (or mainly!) standalone apps, they are usually things like EQs, Compreesors, Reverbs, Software synths, Sound-modules, samplers, etc, etc, in software format that require a HOST e.g. Cubase, Logic, DP or the like... in order to use them within your DAW.

    3,most popular ones for pro audio work, are, i would say:
    Pro Tools, Logic, DP all great (and native) on mac!! Cubase, Sequia, Samplitude on a PC, you get Pro Tools and Cubase for both PC and MAC... but they performing better on their respective native mashines (said that it counts more for cubase, which is a pain on macs, and a great pain for me anyway, but that is my absolut personel opinion... )

    question 4, is difficult to answer..... only can say that i am a logic freak, it's extremely strong for midi, which is very important to me, and super good for audio as well, really great plugs it comes with... basically all you need (ok, nearly LOL) Pro tools is strong for pure recording, not that strong for midi (and to be found in most pro studios) and i like DP it's mac native as already said and a good apps (midi and audio strong), but that's just my 2cents....

    you have to check as well with what surface you feel comfortable next to functions the apps offers, that's a big issue to me, thou... shortcut support, GUI and all that stuff for a quick intuitive workflow... hmmm, i love logic...

    okey dokey, mate hope it helps and answered your questions for a start.... keep it coming!
  3. Multani

    Multani Guest

    thanks- that cleared some stuff up - but has also created more questions!-
    what is/are-
    1. DP? (software i think)
    2.native (you mean that it is made primarily for that system?-and will work on others-but less well?)
    4. an "ASIO Driver"- and why everytime i load cubasis does it ask me, "New ASIO Driver: should a similar configuration of outputs be used where possible".- it doesnt seem to make a difference whether i say yes or no.

    cherrs matey.,
  4. axel

    axel Guest

    1, DP is Digital Performer by MOTU i great recording / sequencing apps
    that is mac native.

    2, native: yes primaly made for a specific or "written on a certain OS" system like PC or MAC... and usually "Translated" versions to another OS / Platform doesn't perform to it's max. (or drain more CPU power from your comp.) or sometimes they are not even avialable "translated" like DP or Logic which are MAC only!!

    3, DAW: Digital Audio Workstation, your computer (HD Recording system) and surrounding, e.g. control surface, etc.

    4, ASIO driver another /crap/ product developed by steinberg... Audio Signal In / Out driver, a duplex (in / out at the same time) usually-low latency (the amount of time from triggering / playing a sound untill you hear it) driver
    software which is a sort of standard (like VST) to connect your soundcard with your Audio software application...

    5, i don't know why your cubase is asking that all the time, probably something in your settings (driver set-up in the cubase preferences) ior the bios and / or a conflict with maybe a onboard soundcard?? what kind of comp do you use?? what soundcard, etc. etc. ??? but you should ask a PC (IT) freak here... or steinberg, LOL, hey just kiddin', just kiddin'

  5. Multani

    Multani Guest

    cool, i've taken most of that in. i have just finished my GCSE's so i have alot of space in my head to clear out...................and new stuff to fit in it.................

    i have no new "definition" questions but some about recommended pc/mac configurations-(for if i am buying a computer/mac for dedicated recording)-

    1. in both cases (pc and mac) is it always better to go for a "full" OS (hehe- i used technical slang!) or are laptops possible for just as good recordings?

    2. In PC- what are recommended (1) Rammages(i.e 1GBram ETC) (2) proccessing speeds?, and (3) hard drive (size wise).

    3. same as 2 but for mac.

    thanks for answering all this- but does the above need my "needs" (ie- what i am looking to do with this OS)?

    thank ye.
  6. Multani

    Multani Guest

    and theres more!

    - concerning "audio interfaces"- am i always gonna need one of these to record onto programs like cubase, logic, pro tools etc. or are audio interfaces just one of many ways? (or are they the only way).

    -concerning audio interfaces- there seems to be four types-
    1. USB

    - i know the first one (USB)-is that the most common?

    but i havent heard of the other 3 before- are they better/worse than using USB- pros/cons?

    -concernign mixing- ATM i am doing mixing on the Cubasis program- but can you use a "mixing desk" (a physical one) to do this-
    what is most commonyl used?

  7. Opus2000

    Opus2000 Well-Known Member

    Apr 7, 2001
    Ahh yes...the blissfully blind mac user who thinks that PC's can't do anything...when will people realize that both platforms can do what is needed...BOTH..not just one...BOTH!


    Whatever platform you are most comfortable with is the way you should go.

    If you don't want to spend an arm and a leg you can have someone or even yourself build you a PC and have plenty of cash left over to buy the appropriate software and a decent sound card. just pains me to hear people say things like PC's can't do anything.

    Opus :roll:
  8. axel

    axel Guest


    who has ever said that PCs can't do the same as macs, he?

    they just doing it less good... reasons:

    first of all stability (ok - since XP, blah blah happy feeding gates?), second some of the nicest audio apps (IMHO) are mac only or native, third if you are not a IT guy with plenty of comp knowledge you ususally end up spending the money you saved when you buy the pc instead of a mac... for maintanance, a mac every idiot (and i mean it in a positibve way!! people with zero IT or computer skills) can install and use.
    you simply buy one push the big button install your software progs and you are up and running the OS, specially OSX feels easy just after a couple of minutes... you see i am an recording artist and producer i am not willing to learn the whole comp thing just to do my job... i rather fill my head and TIME with music and not with computer issues... (or how to build a good one!) but that's just my personal opinion!!!

    however i know that this is a endless debate... and no way to be ever agreed. just ask any MAC user if he would ever like to switch to a PC... ask PC users (if they could afford it!) if they would like to switch to a mac... the answers will speak for itself...

    yes they cost an arm and a leg, but it's money very well spend on a quality product... like any other quality product which is worth the money... ahh one more reason for macs, they usually are much longer in use, they don't alter so fast, speaking of processor power, many pro tools systems and others still running on 5-6 and more years old g4s with around 400mhz, macs and they keep up with the job, PCs you usually have to be upgraded about every 2 years.

    but multani opus is right about choose whatever feels comfortable for you... choose the audio apps you like most and then choose the comp, as i said go to digital village in acton and check audio apps out they have workstations where you can try stuff hands on...

    but that's all just my state of mind....

    if you want to stay with cubase then go PC, it performs bad on macs (but i personally dislike Steinberg, because i think that they're programmers must be all def... IMO!!)

    ok, now to your other questions...

    any g5 dual with 1gb of ram will do a fine job... (huggh... very fine indeed logic and g5 to me match made in heaven...)
    they come with big size drives 120-160gb more than enough for all your apps and even backup on a partition...)

    it is always a good idea to install at least one more 7200 rpm hard drive for audio only. size between 120 and 250 is fine. if you need more space, it is better to go for a second or a third drive instead of buying one really big one because of speed performance.

    if you do not really need it portable, it is always better to go for a tower because you have more expansion options e.g. aditional hard drives, pci cards etc. etc.

    audio interfaces are more stable and faster as pci or firewire versions. usb connections you won't find in really high spec, audiocards anyway.

    there are a lot of different ways how to record into your computer. most commonly is either to buy a mutliple in/out interface e.g. motu 828 (often even with preamps) and then do your mixing within your daw e.g. cubase or you buy a hardware mixer and a simple 2x2 in/out sound card and do your mixing on a hardware mixer (but for "full" hardware mixing you will need quiet a bit of outboard prossessors like compressors, reverbs etc.). I personnaly would go for solution 1, or a combination of both, DAWs and modern plug-ins are very powerfull but it is a matter of taste how you prefere to work and how much money you can spend... good hardware is much more expensive than good software...

    in order to answer the last question in detail, you have to give me more detailed information about what (and how) you like to record (how many microphones, instruments..., midi??)

  9. Multani

    Multani Guest

    well- i would be looking to record sort of 6 piece bands at max. so the most mics i would ever need (absolute max- if i were recording the whole band together- quite hard?) would be 13.(ha-good number to have!). but i doubt i would ever actually do that- more realistically it would be 8 inputs/mics in use.
    im going on the preface of 8 drum mics, 1 vocal, 1 guitar etc.

    i would probably very rarely use midi.

    i can see what you mean with pcs being less reliable- my pc just "lost" one of the guitar tracks on the song i recorded(check out other thread for link)......thankyou!
  10. Multani

    Multani Guest

    hhhmmm- i've been looking into hardware/software etc- and this is gonna be expensive!- i was looking to get into recording/mixing as a hobby and a job- but it might be easier(and cheaper) to just get a job in a studio rather than having to buy all of this. i would love to but its quite a hard prospect for a 16 year-old!

    concerning monitors- i have seen these for as much as £5000- which is the equivalent of several custom built Jackson Sl1's (very sexy guitars that i will hopefully soon be acuiring). i would rather take the guitars..............

    anyway- what im saying is- cant you get the same sound quality out of a pair of £300 monitos?

    also- passive vs. active- in the world of guitar- this simply means whether your guitar (pickups- the electronic bits) uses batteries or not. active=battery preamps in pickups, passive=no batteries.

    so whats the deal with active/passive monitors?
  11. axel

    axel Guest

    hi, i make it very short this time, but will have more time next weekend to give more answers, sorry working on a big project...

    it's not a bad idea to have a basic recording setup over time at hand (your own!) even if you use for "full projects" a hire facility, i don't know the "low budget" market of studios in or around london only high end facilitys which will for shure exceed your imagination... so you have to check it out yourself if it is better to hire or build your own in the long run... (you know step by step...)

    about monitors, yepp 5 grand monitors are very different from 300 quid ones, i personally would not go under something like the KRK rokit series... and i prefer actives (which simply means that the amplifier is built in and optimised for the drivers!) to passives when it comes to monitoring as you don't have to match (amp with speaker) and configure, most actives working fine and are plug and play...

    they are not very much recommended around RO but i am personally a big fan of bigger genelecs (from at least the 8040a's upwards) or dynaudio's (bm5a or bm15a, very nice monitors! and in the lower price range KRK's just my two cents...
    wharfedal or B&W (home hifi) do some suitable passive models which are easier on the budget as well... which are fine powered by an say used NAD which you can grab cheap in the UK...

    the whole point of monitoring is to achieve a mix that translates well... which simply means that it sounds decent and balanced on a nice stereo, in your car, disco and in mom's kitchen... so whatever works for you is OK, really hard (or i think nearly impossible) to give an answer to that question... you really have to listen to monitors yourself, or in ideal try them... but start to go with a CD containing your Favorite material (music) and drag it to a shop and listen to various speakers, keep in mind that they are hardly set up in ideal prositioning... but a good shop(-assistant) will help you decent, (DV e.g.) here we go as i said a rather dificult part choosing the right pair...


    till next weekend earliest, being busy....
  12. Multani

    Multani Guest

    ah- so active monitors mean you dont need an amplifier (like- at the moment i just use my cd- player/hi-fi system-active monitors mean i dont need this?)- thats cool................

    i will look further into the monitors you listed...............

    concerning the "monitoring to achieve a mix that translates well"- this is my exact problem. i can mix my songs on my stereo (player) speakers and it sounds almost like a real bands CD! then i burn it and take it downstairs to another stereo system or a computer and compare it to other (real band) tracks and it sounds pooh!!

    its sort of all muffeled and the drums are indistinguished- quite "poor" if everything has a cardboard box wrapped around it!

    also- i went to check out the "music technology" course at a college today- its so cool! they have an 8 floor building with a whole floor dedicated to recording(god knows what goes on the other 7 floors!). each room has an EMAC with logic express 6, active monitors, a tiny mixing desk, midi keyboard, and a decent guitar amp.

    i have gotta get me logic!! logic express is the "cut-down" version of logic and it is wayyyyy better than the cutdown cubase! it has loads more stuff to mess around with..................

    with the set up i listed above- i guess we were using the macs soundcard right? as there was no interface sort of thing- just the mixer dealing with ins/outs starting to get the whole pictue now of how it all works.!

    thank again!.

    c ya............
  13. Multani

    Multani Guest

    another few quick questions-

    what is a cache? and what does it do to slow/speed up your computers performance?

    and what is a 667MHz frontside bus

    and what does that do?

  14. Multani

    Multani Guest



    1. is quality of digital recording goverened (to a point) by the "amount of bits" and the "frequency" of the interface/sound card i use- i.e- I see "24-Bit/96kHz" as the "bittage" and "frequency" for many audio interfaces such as the edirol FA101- is this referance to the quality that it records at? so are higher numbers (ie- 192 khz) better??

  15. axel

    axel Guest


    the higher the frequenzy (sampling frequenzy) and bittage is, the higher the quality of the recorded and prossessed sound is.

    that said "within reality limits" keep in mind that the normal CD standard in our days is 44.1 khz 16 bit, and DVD 92khz 24 bit, lots of people (sound and mastering engineers) believe that it is still better to have a high resolution signal pass before you downsample to say a CD... i think in most occasions the same but not in all instances, because the actual sound quality in my eyes can not only be measured in numbers, i do know for example pieces of equipment that don't have the greatest tech specs but they sounding amazing and better that some stuff with high tech specs...
    but however generally yes!

    also if you want to say do all your recordings in 24 bit you need about double of harddisc space, that means higher costs for a fraction of higher quality IMO!! you need really a couple of big drives for all your audio... backup and so on....

    by the way logic express is great I THINK, the only down side is that aparently you can't use vst instruments? (can't remember propperly only used it once!) , but everything else is absolut powerfull and by far enough for recording issues (i did a full 18 mic recording with express once and it was absolut ok), specially as a beginner, after a probably rather long time :) you can upgrade to logic pro :) and you are familiar with the platform, it will slowly grow on you!! but you can check the excact differences of express and pro at

    about the cache, that is an area i don't know very much about, i am not into computer stuff at all (that is another reason why i run a mac, it's just plug and play no hussle with damn good quality)

    but i know that drives with a bigger cache (it's a kind of temporary memory where data is kept before it is written to the drive) are faster and a little more reliable, and the question about the frontside bus ???? ask one of the IT guys here on RO, eh, the PC ones...
  16. Multani

    Multani Guest

    cool, i see what you mean aboot frequency/bittage- if it is gonna be compressed to 16bit/44.1khz in the end then there isnt gonna be a great deal of difference between mixed down recordings from a 96khz sampler and a 192khz one then................................

    also- concerning "pre-amps"- if an interface has say, 10 mic inputs, does it necessarily have 10 mic pre-amps? is the idea behind a pre-amp to amplify the signal before it is sampled/recorded??

    so you cant get away with using mic inputs that have no pre-amps? (does this mean my Tascam US-122 has mic pre-amps?- i have recorded successfully with it!)

    and- concerning inputs on audio interfaces- is it better to use XLR/phantom jack leads? than normal 1/4 inch leads? on interfaces like the Motu896HD- does it have 8 1/4-inch inputs or are they proper XLR?

    and- concerning MIDI- if i get a program like Logic(which seems really good for midi) can i hook up my digital keyboard and use it as a midi controller sort of thing? it has a midi (weird socket) output, so is this kind of thing possible with my old digital Yamaha keyboard? basically- can i use it as one of these-


    i used one at the music tech taster class and it seemed pretty cool.

    Finally- could you recommend some good-

    1. mics for recording vocals/guitars (would these be called "condensor" mics?- the M-Audio Solaris looks good)

    2. a firewire/pci interface to deal with recording up to 8 tracks- all using XLR/ 1/4inch jack mics (this would be recording a drum kit basically)- would a Mout 828 mark2 be a good start point?

    is still dont really understand the preamp thing- do i need mic preamps to record on drum mics oor not?

    thanklyou for your time/help matey!

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