Newbie needs help

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by blindmelon1091, Nov 14, 2007.

  1. Okay I am a total novice at recording so please bear with me...

    I recently acquired a Tascam MF-P01 and a Shure Sm-57 mic and have been trying to record simple guitar, bass, and drum demos on it.

    But I have run into a few problems and have a few questions.

    1. Why are the sound levels different for different tracks? ex.(if I record a guitar track on track 1 and then a bass on track 2 you can hardly hear the bass)

    2. What else do you recommend to round out my limited setup?

    3. Any general recording tips when working with one of these portastudios?

    4. Also can someone link me to a beginners sections or something similar on this forum?

    Add in whatever tips you'd like but those are my basic questions.

  2. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    Oct 26, 2007
    Cocoa, FL
    Home Page:
    Were they both hitting unity gain when you recorded them?
    Is the guitar distorted or clean?
    The gain of a bass can be misleading, if the lower frequency spectrum is boosted too much (that's where the energy is!), the relative volume will be lessened even though the input is at unity.

    More mics, stands, cables, etc...
    You're asking for a loooooong list there!

    Pay attention to your input gain, it's really easy to overmodulate those cassette tapes.
    Gain too low brings that noise floor up quicker than anything!
    If you can, jump into something more robust, those cassette portastudios are mainly for throwing things down quickly on a tour bus, etc., for future reference, not for making your next great recording!

    Technically, you are here, and so are we.
  3. Thanks man!

    I've heard you can do alot with a Sm-57 but I guess I could spring for more mics. What exactly is the purpose of a mixer and do I need one?
  4. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    Oct 26, 2007
    Cocoa, FL
    Home Page:
    In my opinion, everyone should have a mixer if they are tracking.
    On second thought, I think everyone should have a mixer, period!

    A mixer allows you to record more individual signals at one time.
    With a mixer you could bus an entire drum kit to two tracks on your Portastudio - and make them sound waaay better than the preamps in it could ever hope to sound!

    Mixers allow you to route effects and monitors, and more precisely eq your tracks.

    With a four track, do you need a mixer?
    Not really, as I said, you can't really expect to do anything more with them than a basic demo for archival / reference purposes, but it helps - if it's all you've got! I've been there, no money, a couple mics; but, I had a mixer with me, an old Tapco 12 channel, wood sides and all, and I was able to work magic with the stupid thing.
  5. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    Oct 26, 2007
    Cocoa, FL
    Home Page:
    I asked:
    But I didn't tell you why.

    Distortion is the byproduct of over-amplified signals which results in compression. This in turn raises the apparent loudness of the source signal.

    What this means is, though you may have a cranked guitar amp, turned up to 11, hitting 0dB (Unity) on your input, it's apparent loudness will be higher than, say, a vocal track which also hits 0dB.

    This can make your bass difficult to hear, as well, compared to that overdriven guitar.
  6. Sorry I must've skipped over your question. The guitar was clean.
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