Newbie Needs Advice, PLEASE!

Discussion in 'Mixing & Song Critique' started by toneuc, Dec 29, 2010.

  1. toneuc

    toneuc Guest

    Thanks for checkin this out! I need some advice on setting up my home audio workstation. My band consists of my cousin (piano) and myself (bass). We use a drum machine for our drummer. For the last 2 years, we have been recording on a Zoom MRS 802b 8 track recorder. Well, to make a long story short, the recorder died on us.

    I've been interested in these DAW programs for a while now. I thought it might be a good time to start now. The problem is that we know nothing about what to buy to set this up. I would like to get the best quality sound for as low of a price as possible.

    Here are the things I would want with a setup:

    1- Ability to record (real) instruments (ie piano, bass, vocals)
    2- A solid equalizer and drum kits
    3- Copy/Paste/Delete instruments/FX
    4- Ability to burn to MP3 format to burn to disc

    If you have any (and I mean advice!) on these questions I would greatly appreciate it.

    Thanks Guys,
  2. TimOBrien

    TimOBrien Active Member

    Jan 19, 2003
    My obligatory standard reply-for-newbies that I keep in Wordpad so this is just a paste (I don't want to re-type this all the time):

    First off, immediately get a good beginner recording book (spend $20 before spending hundred$/thousand$) that shows you what you need to get started and how to hook everything up in your studio:
    Home Recording for Musicians by Jeff Strong - $15 Home Recording For Musicians For Dummies (9780470385425): Jeff Strong: Books
    (Wish I'd had that when I started; would have saved me lots of money and time and grief)
    You can also pick up this book in most any Borders or Barnes&Noble in the Music Books section!

    Another good one is: Recording Guitar and Bass by Huw Price Recording Guitar and Bass: Getting a Great Sound Every Time You Record (Book) (9780879307301): Huw Price: Books
    (I got my copy at a place called Half-Price Books for $6!!)

    And you can get a FREE subscription to TapeOp magazine at

    Barnes&Noble or Borders are great places to start --- they have recording books and you can go get a snack or coffee and read them for FREE! Don't pass by a good recording book --- this is a VERY technical hobby and you REALLY want to start a reference library!!!

    Good Newbie guides that also explains all the basics and have good tips:
    Tweak's Guide to the Home and Project Studio
    Free beginner PDFs | Computer Music Magazine |
    The #1 online community for musicians | Harmony Central
    Tips & Techniques -

    21 Ways To Assemble a Recording Rig: How to Configure a Recording Studio Rig

    Also Good Info: Directory - The Project Studio Handbook - Digital Audio, Compression, Mixing, Monitoring, Microphones

    Other recording books: Music Books Plus - Home Recording

    Still using a built-in soundcard?? Unfortunately, those are made with less than $1 worth of chips for beeps, boops and light gaming (not to mention cheapness for the manufacturer) and NOT quality music production.
    #1 Rule of Recording: You MUST replace the built-in soundcard.
    Here's a good guide and user-tested suggestions that work: The Best Audio Interfaces for your Home Studio by TweakHeadz Lab
    (you'll want to bookmark and read through all of Tweak's Guide while you're there...)
    Another good article: Choosing an audio interface - Choosing An Audio Interface

    Plenty of software around to record for FREE to start out on:

    Sony ACID Express (free 10-track sequencer): Free Downloads: ACID Xpress
    Audacity: Audacity: Free Audio Editor and Recorder (multi-track with VST support)
    Wavosaur: Wavosaur free audio editor with VST and ASIO support (a stereo audio file editor with VST support)\
    Kristal: KRISTAL Audio Engine
    Other freebies and shareware: Music Software - Computer Music Resources - Shareware Music Machine

    Another great option is REAPER at REAPER | Audio Production Without Limits (It's $50 but runs for free until you get guilty enough to pay for it...)
    I use Reaper and highly reccomend it...

    Music Notation and MIDI recording: Melody Assistant ($25) and Harmony Assistant ($80) have the power of $600 notation packages - Myriad: Music Notation Software and much more... / Myriad : logiciels de musique, et bien plus...
    Demo you can try on the website.

    And you can go out to any Barnes&Noble or Borders and pick up "Computer Music" magazine - they have a full FREE studio suite in every issue's DVD, including sequencers, plugins and tons of audio samples. (November 2006 they gave away a full copy of SamplitudeV8SE worth $150, November 2007-on the racks Dec in the US- they gave away SamplitudeV9SE and July 2009 issue they put out Samplitude10SE, November 2010 SamplitudeSilver. FREE. It pays to watch 'em for giveaways...)

    'Give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day, teach a man to fish and he'll eat forever...'
  3. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

    Mar 20, 2000
    BC, Canada
    Home Page:
    Send him everywhere but here lol, right on, and sending him over to Gearshills (We actually started RO 3 years before GS was even born.) is about as bad as it gets but, wow, all great advise just the same... you put together a stellar list.

    Way too much information for a newbie and all the info you need is right here.

    Do you have any gear? Tells us your budget and you go from there.
    You go from spending a grand to many thousands. You've posted in the pro audio forum, I recommend posting in our Home Recording Forum as well. You wouldn't be asking these question in the Pro Audio forums just yet.

    Reaper and a PC is a great start. You need a PC (what OS laptop or desktop), Recording software (reaper, Pro Tools 9, Samplitude, Sonar, Cubase etc), a soundcard (adda interface), preamp(s) , Mic(s), cable

    Starting reading...

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