New At Home Studio Recording

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by Love, May 30, 2010.

  1. Love

    Love Guest

    Hi guys, so I have decided that I want to do some home studio recording of piano, vocals, and acoustic guitar but I've had tons of problems I've run into and even more questions that need answering, so here goes and any help is greatly appreciated :smile:

    To start off I plan to record into my laptop which is Windows Vista 64-bit SP2.
    I recently bought a M-Audio Fast Track Ultra USB interface and obtained an Apex 435 condensor microphone, and I have the updated driver.
    I am currently using Audacity, (since I do not know how to use any other software :wink:), so I need recommendations on software I can use.

    I was expecting to achieve quality similar or equal to this: YouTube - You and Me- Lifehouse Acoustic Cover since I have the same mic, and an equal or (I think) better interface.

    I know that he uses Logic for mac and has added effects, but how can I achieve that sort of recording quality? What software + effects do I use?


    The first thing I noticed was that the gain level for the microphone had to be cranked to the maximum to achieve any sort of signal. Phantom power is on, and pad is off. But I read that it is normal for the M-Audio USB series requiring almost maximum gain.

    Now I noticed the apex 435 condensor mic had a constant hiss, and the recording is very muddy - even worse than my crappy laptop mic! So I tried a cheap dynamic microphone and another cheaper Apex pencil condensor and it was already better, but the quality was still mediocre compared to the video.

    I have a feeling that the Apex 435 may have been broken, since it was a rental.

    I wish to get the quality seen in the video, am I missing something?

    Anyways thanks for reading through this excessively long post, (you've got patience) and thanks for your input :redface:
  2. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Apr 19, 2006
    Home Page:
    That particular M-Audio interface has a nigh noise floor and lacks gain. Your Apex 435 may be a low-end microphone, but you are not doing it any favours by putting it through the Fast Track interface.

    About the only variables you have to play with are microphone position and room acoustics. Given the hardware, you will need to get in close, and so position is very important. Don't judge your efforts on the first few takes. Be meticulous about noting down exactly where the mic was positioned and make small changes, seeking improvement. We are talking days of experimentation here.

    Audacity software may well be adequate for your initial needs, but if you intend to move on to lay down more tracks on top, make sure you have the latest beta version that has delay compensation.
  3. spaceman

    spaceman Guest

    i agree you are better shape when you treat the room right..
    the equipment you use plays alot about the sound your going to get but if the room is not right no equipment will sound its best.
    take a look at this it might help you out some:

  4. jg49

    jg49 Well-Known Member

    Oct 16, 2008
    Frozen Tundra of CT
    Smells just like spammmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm
  5. Cuy

    Cuy Guest

    I'll risk raising the spammer flag (for being new to the forum and giving basically the same advice twice ;) )
    Try Reaper - everything prior to version 1 is free, but if you like the software, I strongly suggest buying it. The guys at Cockos are doing an excellent job with this DAW. You can do quite a lot more with this software than with Audacity.
    Secondly: The guy in the video uses a ton of reverb on his vocals. I believe, he does this to eliminate the influence of his recording room acoustics. Could be, your recording sounds worse because of too much "natural" reverberation.
    Finally: He must have used quite a bit of EQ and dynamics processing there. That's stuff you'll need a lot of training for to get right.
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