Tired of spending money...

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by drmetrnally, Jun 18, 2008.

  1. drmetrnally

    drmetrnally Guest

    I'm new to home studio recording. My goal is not to have the top of the line professional studio so much as to have something both effective and sturdy without going way over the top, but without cutting corner and make compromise after compromise...

    I am currently working with:

    - Mbox2 Mini
    - Home-built PC (P4 2.6 duo core, 2 gigs of ram, and a satisfactory sound card.)
    - Line 6 Spider III 15W
    - Schecter Hellraiser C-1

    My desired sound is somwhere between the lines of Children of Bodom and Killswitch Engage.

    I need some guidence without so much of the technical garb that I don't quite understand. Anyone???
  2. Kev

    Kev Well-Known Member

    Nov 13, 2001

    really really good monitoring ... amp and speakers (powered speakers are ok)
    and headphones

    I think headphones for listening to the mix
    headphones for track laying.
    many would say that they should be the same
    I don't
    not the time to explain

    really really good couple of microphones
    an SM57 (or 58) is probably one of them
    and a LDC (large diaphram condensor)

    really really good mic-preamp

    would need to know what style of music and instrument choices and vocal to advise on the mic and mic-pre
    but you get the idea

    " My desired sound is somwhere between the lines of Children of Bodom and Killswitch Engage. "

    I have no idea what that is

    your room may need some attention to acoustics
  3. drmetrnally

    drmetrnally Guest

    Ah. Forgive me. I didn't want to go too much into detail, but it seems nevessary. I've been reviewing a lot of stuff on Tweakheadz.com. I just can't seem to figure the setup that suits me.

    Music style is melodic death metal. The vocals are a mix of singing and screaming.

    Problems I have:

    My electric guitar never sounds just right. Granted, I am comparing it to pro studio recordings, but I would hope I could get more of my equipment.

    I've used a 100.00 condencer mic for vocals, but it always sounds so unnatural. It doesn't sound like the track is supposed to be there. The sound quality doesn't mate well with the other tracks.

    All in all, I feel boxed into this system; like I have less creative control than I want. What additions could I make to enhance my sound and dynamic creative abilities?
  4. GeckoMusic

    GeckoMusic Guest

    The equipment you have to start with should be fine for a guitar rig. It sounds to me like you want to play music more than record. A professional track starts with professional musicians. All the effects and studio editing are not going to make you sound like the pros.

    I would get an SM57 to mic your cab, and and SM58 for vocals. The 58 will probably sound better for death metal. Get right on top of it so the bassy proximity effect is big.

    Get to know the gear you have.

  5. Kev

    Kev Well-Known Member

    Nov 13, 2001
    Gecko is right

    you have enough there with a 57 and simple amp with good tone
    and perhaps add a couple of the classic stomp boxes

    Tones for recording often are not the ones you would use live
    simplify and back off the distortion
    I like the very small wattage heads with a single 12 inch

    try layering the rythm/grunt guitars
    getting them to sit with the bass is the key to the Wall of Guitar

    Vocal technique does matter
    learn how
    imitate your heros
    practice ... recording as well as live vocals
    can be subtly different

    learn how to apply a compressor

    perhaps if you feel you need some help with the vocal
    find someone with the Waves Renasonce / Vocal compressor plug-in
    and see if it suits you vocal

    learn to apply a comp/limiter on the stereo master

    Death Metal Drums can be difficult
    Guitar, Bass and Vocals should be achievable with what you have
  6. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    Unfortunately, quality recorded sound and lack of knowledge of the details of the technology dont generally add up.

    You have to spend some time learning about mic placement and the application of various devices needed to enhance your recordings to the point you seem to want to achieve. Since you already recognize the lacking in your sounds as opposed to your desires for your sound, you are well on your way to finding the techniques you will need to know to achieve this.

    Or you could simply approach it like this....... Your home rig is simply a songwriting and arranging device and you book time in real studios for your final product where getting a great sound is under the direction and skills of someone who has done this a thousand times.

    BUT! If you really want to know how to do it yourself, then you will have to spend the time....and it IS a lot of time...and experiment, practice, get frustrated, start over time and time again....in short, do the time.....like most all of us here have done and still do.

    I wish I could give you a short set of shortcuts that would get you where you want to go, but there arent any.

    Here's the reality of it. Someone with a developed skillset about recording can make excellent recordings with most any budget of gear whereas someone who doesnt have these skills could use the highest end gear and still not achieve a great sound.

    Plus, you are doing one of the hardest genres of music to make sound great.

    Homework is in order here. A 57 and a 58 is all the mics you need. A very good mic pre....decent guitar rig with the ability to go direct for the effects needed as well as small wattage with tubes for that real guitar sound...loud isnt all it seems to be in front of a mic....and above all patience and a great work ethic . You're going to fail over and over. We all still fail. The difference is, with experience, the time between failures grows longer and longer. It becomes second nature at some point and with that point comes the satisfaction of trial and error leading to accomplishment.
  7. drmetrnally

    drmetrnally Guest

    I appreciate the guidance. I really believe that I have a good direction plotted thanks to your advice. I will invest in the mics, but the compressor/limmiter is another story. There are just so many of them at such varying prices. I'm willing to throw down the moolah, but I'm starting to wonder the more I learn, if the Mbox2 Mini is going to a longstanding piece of gear in my arsenal. I've been reading up on Tweakheadz.com and I feel like maybe something else would be more applicable to a person who will not be a solo artist all the time. I want to record my entire band at the very least. I'm starting to doubt the Mbox is capable of that.

    In short... I know I needs the mics. I know I need a compressor/limiter, but if I can get rid of the Mbox and use something more sophisticated and versatile, I might be able to minimize my pain in the future.

    I'm not one to know which gear works good together, but I'd hate to buy a perfect compressor/limiter for my Mbox when down the road I will be moved to buy something in its stead that might not be so kind to the compressor/limiter I choose.

    Any advice there?
  8. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    Dec 11, 2007
    Scotland, UK
    Unless you want to do record everything at once with external mixdowns you don't really need a compressor. If you record individual parts of a song onto the computer there are plenty of free VST compressors.
    See the stickies on "Free plugin links" on the Digital Pro Audio board.

    If you're in two minds about interfaces, outline what you need. Does it need to be portable? Are you likely to regularly be recording more than 2 items at once (eg drumkit or full band)? Then search for stuff knowing what you need.
  9. drmetrnally

    drmetrnally Guest

    For the time being, I am using the studio for a "track-by-track" recording tool. In the future this rig should be capable of recording a simple band (drummer, bass, guitar, lead guitar, vocals) with enough versatility.

    As you all know well enough, this business is a great financial burden, so I'd like to also be able to use this rig to earn money by recording a variety of other artists.

    Those are my intentions. Perhaps that will shed light on my possibilities.
  10. Kev

    Kev Well-Known Member

    Nov 13, 2001
    you are not really going to be able to record a drum kit with an Mbox2 Mini ... melodic death metal

    you have set you sites high
    and to earn some money with this

    everybody has this sort of stuff now and everybody new to recording thinks they can earn some money
  11. drmetrnally

    drmetrnally Guest

    Well I simply wont rest until I have reached my aspirations.
  12. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    Dec 11, 2007
    Scotland, UK
    Motivation is good.

    If you're one-at-a-time tracking onto the computer, you don't need a compressor. Just the interface (mbox) and some mics etc.
    Then get Cubase (unless something comes with the Mbox?) or whatever and some free VSTs.
  13. IIRs

    IIRs Well-Known Member

    Oct 23, 2005
    I believe the M-box requires him to use Pro Tools LE, which probably means VSTs are not an option. I could be wrong..?
  14. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    Oct 31, 2005
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    You can use the Mbox with Cubase or you could buy the FXpansion VST to RTAS wrapper. Either way it's an investment. However, I don't think Digidesign's ASIO drivers are anywhere near good. In fact, I'd dare say they suck. So, you're better off buying the VST wrapper. Mind you the plugins that come with PTLE are pretty decent.
  15. drmetrnally

    drmetrnally Guest

    Oh I am certainly motivated to perfect my music and recordings.

    For solo use, I can see that I don't need much more than what I have:

    PC, Mbox, Line6 Spider III, Schecter C-1 Electric, Generic Monitors, Generic Yamaha Keyboard, SM57, & SM58.

    But what would be more practical for a band? Let's imagine I scrap my rig. What should I replace it with if I 'm recording Two Guitars, Drums, Vocals, and a keyboard?

    Would a mixer be more practical instead of the Mbox?
  16. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    Oct 31, 2005
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    A mixer would still leave you with only two inputs unless it was specifically designed as a multichannel interface. A Digi 003 for example. But you don't need a mixer. You can get a multi i/o interface for less than half the price of a Digi 003. The FireStudio and FP10 are well spoken of. I would suggest a Mackie but they have been slacking in the driver department and have yet to come up with a driver for either Vista or Leopard.
  17. Tekktronic

    Tekktronic Guest

    Audio Interface.

    The Presonus FP10 comes with multiple I/O. They run about 500 bucks, and comes with Cubase LE. I got the same advice from a lot of folks both at tweakheadz.com and here. They all said basically the same thing: Audio Interface.
  18. Kev

    Kev Well-Known Member

    Nov 13, 2001
    as I said in the first reply
    perhaps the second reply
    as the first was aimed at really, really good monitoring ... and that still stands
    ... the mbox is fine for a soloist to record bass and guitar and vocal

    but a metal drum kit, with only two inputs, is going to be difficult for a new-comer to nail

    a mixer would provide more inputs but you would need to mix the drum kit correctly ... live ... to a stereo pair through the mBox
    again difficult for a new-comer to nail

    I suggest you stick with the mbox and find a friend with a 001, 002 or 003 set up with additional Lightpipe unit
    use a cheap studio with similar gear and the PT software so you can track the drum kit as individual tracks and take them home for further work

    you will be able to prepare sessions to take to the studio and even have the drummer rehearse at your place with the session that they will be recording to at a later date ... at the studio

    you have much to learn and there is no point leaping into a 003 with additional Lightpipe unit
    until you are very confident with the workings of bass and guitar and vocal through the mbox

    a big metal drum kit is not an easy record

    you might find it better to use BOXed drums for the time being
    BFD as an example

    I know they can be cheesy
    but it will allow you to work on your bass and guitar and vocal techniques
    ... the BOXed drums can be replaced later as described above
  19. drmetrnally

    drmetrnally Guest

    I see where you're going with this, Kev. If I can't do well enough with an Mbox, then how the hell am I supposed to drop a ton of cash on a mixer or something of the like and not still be completely lost. I guess the advice you're giving here is that I need to take baby steps.

    So it's not impossible to record an acceptable demo using this interface. Drums would be a challenge, but you've suggested BFD and I've looked it up. It looks great.

    So when I get back to the states, I'll be buy the SM57 and SM58 Mics and getting straight to work with what I have.
  20. Kev

    Kev Well-Known Member

    Nov 13, 2001

    I think that about sums it up.

    I'll add one more thing.
    Try to find a mentor.
    It could be us here ... but some things in mixing and editing and mic placement and vocal delivery etc
    can be hard to explain here in just words and short replies.

    Being able to see and here your sessions would help someone to advise you.

    So later when you do go looking for a studio to record some live drums ....
    maybe you can strick up a friendship and try to learn from the things they are doing.
    This is one of the BIG advantages of using the same software that your chosen studio is currently using.
    I'm not just referring to the obvious recording program but to ANY of the current popular programs.

    good luck
    let us know how you go

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