Noob With Xmas Present and No Idea...

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by nickhairyegg, Jan 3, 2009.

  1. nickhairyegg

    nickhairyegg Guest


    Have had a look at plenty of the forums in here but think my level of newness to this game is below even some of the most basic queries so had to post my own...!!

    In short, i've gone down what is probably a fairly common path of 'learn to play guitar...spend five years as bedroom guitarist...visit open mic night at local pub (acoustic)...start playing regularly at said night...wonder about recording some stuff' and ended up with some thoughtful Christmas presents this year of a Crafter electro-acoustic and a Samson CO1U USB studio condenser mic boxed with SONAR1/Cakewalk software.

    Fantastic as this all is, i've no idea where to go from here...!! From what I can work out, my Vaio laptop doesn't have a MIDI output of note that SONAR picks up so I can't hear anything recording and i've seen entries on other forums for MIDI devices, mixers, get the picture. I'm a long way from home here. I've got the basic gist of SONAR and there's enough tutorial-wise on YouTube etc to get on with (plus i'm not a complete nimrod...) it's more the technical stuff, for example not knoing anything about MIDI and i'm clearly missing at least some equipment somewhere...I think. I'm not planning on releasing an album next week, but want to have a go at producing tracks to as good a quiality as will allow at home.

    So BASICALLY (lol)...

    1) What other kit, it any, do I need to start recording stuff I can hear and play with at home (vox and guitars)? To recap, so far littering my bedroom is:

    - Sony Vaio laptop (1.7GHz processor, 2GB memory recently upgraded, 80GB HDD);
    - Crafter electro-acoustic guitar;
    - SONAR1/Cakewalk software;
    - No MIDI output (apparently);
    - Samson C01U condenser mic;
    - Marshall Valvestate VS15 amp (how/can this be incoporated and if so where?!)

    2) Is what i've got worth persevering with or could I try other hard/software (and if you have any recommendations are they easliy available over here in the UK)??

    3) Why does my head hurt so much???

    Any and all help/pity/patrony much appreciated!!


  2. Space

    Space Well-Known Member

    Jun 26, 2007
    Your next step is to locate and purchase an audio interface.

    Your Viao has usb and firewire ports,,,I believe? You can look into a usb interface:

    OR something in a firewire type:

    I cannot speak of either of these, but they are purchased and recommended by new users who do what it is you are doing.

    Nevermind MIDI, you can search on it and learn about it, but it doesn't apply to recording analog audio. It is, in a nutshell, a method for electronic instruments/gear to communicate with each other. So I would move past it and don't get hung up on what you do not need on your plate, so to speak.

    Cakewalk has good products, I like them and have a few. Here is a page you should get intimate with:

    Good luck in the New Year, welcome and write if you get work!
  3. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    Along with your USB microphone, if you want to start working with MIDI? You'll need to purchase a USB to MIDI port device. This will give you the 5 pin DIN connectors needed to interface with MIDI musical instruments. Sonar isn't integrated program allowing for both recording audio & combining MIDI information that can be synchronized to the audio recording. This will allow you to program for musical instruments you neither own or, can actually play.

    For instance. My favorite cartoon The Simpson's has all of its sound effects generated by a guy & his guitar that is designed to play sample effects depending upon which strings he plucks. Which is then synchronized through MIDI to the time code of the cartoon. Sonar gives you that kind of power.

    Well I have to go now since I didn't invited to Outback Steakhouse. Where I like my steaks MIDI um, rare. That's as close as I get with MIDI.

    We have a lot at steak here
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  4. natural

    natural Active Member

    Jul 21, 2006
    I'm pretty sure that RemyRad meant to say that SONAR IS AN integrated program.
    I really wished that she would proofread her posts, as most of us can't understand what the hell she's saying most of the time with all the Question marks, and odd punctuation. Especially new comers.
    I believe that she's using a voice to text program. The problem is probably that half the time her tongue is firmly planted in her cheek. (just not sure which one)
  5. Space

    Space Well-Known Member

    Jun 26, 2007
    "Samson CO1U USB studio condenser mic"

    I completely missed that. I am so not used to usb and microphone being in the same sentence. It just seems like anyway to get the younger gens hooked, we don't care how, just do it.

    Bluetooth mics already available I guess?
  6. nickhairyegg

    nickhairyegg Guest


    Thanks for the swiftest of replies, guys - much appreciated!!

    (Thanks even more for the suggestion I might be 'new generation' - new generation of people recording music, maybe, but that's it ;-)

    Looking at the replies though, I think i'm getting an idea of what's happened here insofar as I think i've mislead on the MIDI front...

    Long story short, i'm happy to record in whatever format SONAR allows, whether that's straight from the mic (analog?) or whatever and if it's possible to get going simply with what i've got, that's great - it'll probably just require my researching/manual-reading a bit more. For now though, i'm being told by the programme that I have no MIDI output and therefore cannot hear anything that I record (that's pretty much the pop-up on loading the software, word-for-word). Therefore there must be something i'm missing from the gear i've got in order to get started...

    ...n'est ce pas?!

    Any clarification greatly received!!


  7. Space

    Space Well-Known Member

    Jun 26, 2007
    You are not recording MIDI

    Sonar doesn't have a special format. Most will track to a WAV file format, and that ain't midi.

    Remy said it, I said it and natural would have said it if he had more time. You will need more gear to get a midi don't have one, as Sonar keeps telling you.
    Disable the midi in Sonar. That takes it out of the way.

    Have you recorded anything yet? Do you have headphones to playback and listen?
  8. natural

    natural Active Member

    Jul 21, 2006
    I agree with what Space said, and his MIDI link is a good source of info.
    You're going to have to do a little work/reading on your end before we're going to be much help to you.
    There is usually a setup guide in these programs (Sonar) that help you set up your system for what you are doing.
    Find the Preference Menus and research them in the manual.
    We're suggesting that you uncheck/disable (for the moment) anything that has to do with MIDI production.
    Your mission is to set up your system for Audio production.
    You should be able to do this just with what you have. No need for an Audio or Midi Interface just yet.

    The chain will be something like this:
    Guitar into Marshall
    Marshall plays into Microphone
    Microphone to USB input
    USB input assigned to AUDIO track in SONAR.
    Hit Record and smile.

    Get it that far and the rest should be easier.
    Next Chapter will be editing, mixing, FX sends, Aux sends and something called Bouncing.
    Lot's O' Fun ahead.

    Hope that helps.
  9. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    Ooops? Yeah, it should have indicated that SONAR IS an integrated MIDI & audio recording program.

    I do usually proofread most everything I write. But at the wee hours of the morning where I frequently respond to these posts, my eyeballs start jumping around when I'm tired. So I devote all of my worn-out time here. Rife with mistakes. My humor? I'm humorous? Naw. Not me. I'm absolutely serious. Totally humorless.

    Farting in complete privacy
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  10. song4gabriel

    song4gabriel Active Member

    Mar 27, 2007
    NY, USA
    Home Page:
    GOOD just began a life more addicting than GOLF.

  11. nickhairyegg

    nickhairyegg Guest

    Crap - i'd better get used to it before the spring comes around and the local 18 opens...

    Thanks for the help guys - i've managed to get around a few people over here today and it sounds like the root of my problem might be the soundcard in my Vaio insofar as i'm told that's why i'm getting an error message and that maybe the basic one that was pre-bundled with the laptop might not be picked up by SONAR, or rather the programme can't detect it for the USB mic, something like that...

    I've followed the suggestions of changing the audio output settings (in fact I had already tried that) but still no avail - the only options i've got for sound output are the Realtek drivers that are pre-installed and SONAR isn't picking them up or the sound comes out at about 2 decibels...does this sound like I need a new/better soundcard??

    Could it be that the error message is just something peculiar to SONAR? I've got my head around the differences in analog/MIDI recording and yeah, i've no interest at all in going near the latter, so why the hell does it tell me that some form of "MIDI output" is required, otherwise I can't hear anything I record, every time I start the programme?!?

    If it helps solve this conundrum, the exact error message is: "You have not selected any MIDI outputs. This means you won't be able to hear anything play!" I then select "Choose MIDI Outputs Now" and it takes me to another pop-up with what should I presume be a list of potential outputs but which only shows 'Microsoft MIDI mapper' which it won't let me select.

  12. song4gabriel

    song4gabriel Active Member

    Mar 27, 2007
    NY, USA
    Home Page:
    take a look at sonar's website and see if your soundcard is supported. you might need to get a different one.

    all the technical problems you overcome will be a learning process that will make you a better recorder. all i can say is THANK AL GORE FOR THE INTERNET! i cant even remember the old days before searching google for help
  13. casper

    casper Guest

    I would start at the begining check this site out This guide should help get you familiar with recording and its easy to understand.

    If the soundcard driver is not working or is not installed you will have an issue configuring any of this. To check this go to start>settings>control panel>sounds and audio devices>The audio tab this playback should be set for the sound card /record set for the USB mic/Midi playback set for soundcard synth>click OK. Now that that is confirmed you have to set these settings in sonar.

    The settings sonar is requireing is the windows setting for you built in soundcard in the vaio. The MIDI is not required but sonar still needs to know what MIDI hardware(soundcard) is going to use as default. Sonar also needs to know where your audio input will be coming from. That would be the USB mic in this case. The audio output will be through the built in soundcard. Once this is set you should be able to record and hear the playback through pc speakers or headphone.
  14. Space

    Space Well-Known Member

    Jun 26, 2007
    With Sonar the text links/top of screen) Options>>>MIDI Devices.

    Uncheck the box that reads "Warn me about MIDI errors"

    The press "OK"

  15. Greener

    Greener Guest

    I have midi ports and Sonar keeps prompting me to point to them. The selection box to stop Sonar asking is also in the window of this prompt.
  16. Space

    Space Well-Known Member

    Jun 26, 2007
    Seems kinda silly when ya say it like that doesn't it ;)
  17. nickhairyegg

    nickhairyegg Guest

    Thanks guys - especially Casper, from what you've said think it may be a soundcard issue after all as i've already checked half those steps you'd said with no joy. Good recommendation of Tweakheadz, definitely gonna use that later on.

    At least i've realised the pop-up is not relevant, anyway. Will put you all out of your misery if I ever figure out what I was doing wrong!!

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