Want to make simple but good quality recordings from home

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by JuliusSolo, Nov 30, 2007.

  1. JuliusSolo

    JuliusSolo Guest

    Hey all. I've had a few years of experience in live performance, and now I want to look into recording my own stuff at home. I'm just looking for a way to get some decent quality recordings in a simple setting from home. I own and play drum set, guitar, bass and piano and I'd like to put together a simple set up so that I can record each of those on separate tracks and then digitally put it all together. I've gotten some advice from a friend so I have a rough idea of what I need to get started. So here's what I think will get me started:

    MXL V63M Studio Condenser Microphone
    Alesis 3630 Compressor
    M-Audio MobilePre USB Interface

    On top of that I would like some software to mix tracks together on the computer. Right now, because I'm a major penny pincher (and I'm new to recording on my own), I'm looking into downloading Audacity for free.

    All those are what I believe are the basic necessities I need to get some decent recordings.
    Am I missing something? Are these products too cheap and won’t last? Am I totally lost as far as the bare necessities?

    Any advice?
  2. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    Oct 31, 2005
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Audacity is no good for multitracking. If you'r on pc, Kristal Audio Engine is your best free alternative. As regards hardware, I find it's difficult to change the minds of the average person. Often suggestions are made but overlooked. So, go with what you feel comfortable getting. You will find out if it was a good decision or not and will learn from that hopefully. No disrespect meant.
  3. hummel

    hummel Guest

    The MobilePre comes with Ableton Lite Live recording software. It lets you record 4 simultaneous audio tracks and 4 MIDI tracks. That would be enough to get started.

    I will tackle the hardware question: why are you getting a hardware compressor? As a starting point, you might find it more versitle to get something like the Presonus Firebox (about $300) instead of the compressor and MobilePre. The Firebix links to your computer via Firewire which is generally better than USB1. The Firebox also comes with Cubase LE (a more powerful entry level software package which permits up to 48 audio tracks. It includes a software compressor and many other effects). There are several other audio interfaces in this price range (e.g. Alexis IO|14, Edirol FA66). They will all be generally similar in performance.

    In terms of other items, you will eventually need a pair of near field monitors for mixing. And, depending on your room layout, you might need some type of 'treatment' to improve sound quality. And, a computer (which I assume you have but, depending on the type and hardware features, might need up-grading or even replacing).

    Another thing to consider is that, commonly, drums are recording with multiple mics (up to 10). You might find that using only one mic will not give you the results you are looking for.
  4. JuliusSolo

    JuliusSolo Guest

    I gotta say, those were really quick as well as very helpful responces. Thanks.

    Well, I think it's obvious I haven't done much research. But that's part of why I got on this forum.

    First off, I will take your adivce seriously that Audacity definitly is not the way to go. As far as free downloadable software, I looked up Kristal Audio Engine and that does sound better. However, now that i've learned that there are interfaces that come with software, that might eliminate the need for downloading software.

    Well, the PreSonus Firebox does sound like a much much better deal than some of the stuff I had been checking out. I also found Digidesign Mbox 2 which seemed like a pretty good deal. The Mbox includes Pro Tools LE although it is typically much much more expensive than the Firebox. However, the reason I bring it up is because I discovered a bundle package that comes with two monitors, an MXL 990 condenser mic along with the necessary cables, stands and software and hardware. I also found a similar deal for the Firebox which comes with the Cubase LE. The Firebox bundle package is around $570 and the Mbox is about $400.

    However, I am not too sure about it being a package set and it having so much for so little. In my experience, this usually means lower quality, one way or another. Nonetheless, I don't know anything about recording equipment and what's good and what isn't. What do you people think? Bundle package good or bad? Good enough?

    Also, as far as recording drums, I know what's required to get decent drum sound, but I'm still on a low budget. For now, I'm taking baby steps and seeing what I can make do with for now. If I can't get good sound without getting a set of drum mics, then I'll do without drums for now.

    My computer is pretty up-to-date and I checked and it does have a firewire input. So I think my computer can handle that stuff, but i will do some further research on that.

    This may be a ridiculously stupid question but I'm not sure I fully understand the need for monitors. Do any speakers work also?

    Again, thanks for the pointers. I'll keep doing research.
  5. hummel

    hummel Guest

    If you haven't already found Tweak's Guide (on another site), you might find it a useful source of information: http://www.tweakheadz.com/guide.htm

    Near field monitors are designed to provide a flat frequency response while most general purpose stereo speakers have some coloration to make the sound more enjoyable. 'colored' speakers can distort your mix. For example, if they have an exaggerated bass response, you will tend to lower the bass frequencies when you mix through them. Then, when the mix is played through a different system, the bass will largely be missing. You can learn to overcome this problem but it is a challenge.

Share This Page