Way newbie...

Discussion in 'Mixing & Song Critique' started by rmp5s, Dec 3, 2004.

  1. rmp5s

    rmp5s Guest

    I've been making music for about 10 yrs now and I want a way to record ideas that I have. I've been in many bands, some to varying degrees of success than others...everything from "made a cd" to "played together once". Basically, I'm looking for a way to record music by myself. I'm kinda tired of dealing with other people's crap...and I don't really have the time for dealing with other people's crap.

    I have a new Compaq Presario 2100 laptop. I know it can handle pretty much whatever I would dish out to it. I don't think I'm going to be doing anything TOO complex with it.

    Sound quality is a huge priority. MUST have the highest sound quality. I had a digital 8 track console type recorder and I could NEVER get a good sound out of it...so I sold it.

    All I want to do is be able to lay my guitar and bass tracks down over a drum track and mabye do some vocals if I can find someone to sing...I don't do vocals.

    Just looking for some recommendations...
    Hardware: Something to get the guitar/bass into the computer and keep it sounding good.
    Software: Something to arrange and master the drums, bass and guitar. Also, how's the BFD thing work? I figure it's an add on to a cubase type program or something like that.

    For the drums...been eyeballing the BFD "expansion"...what do I have to have before I can get the "expansion"? What am I "expanding"? I need something like this...very flexible...very realistic. I don't want something that will just do click tracks or something...I'm not making rap...

    For the guitar/bass...what kind of hardware should I get? I know I need something to plug the guitar/bass into. It's just that there are oodles of boxes and cards and rack stuff and so on out there and I don't know what's worth a damn and what's not.

    Any info is appreciated.

  2. Big_D

    Big_D Well-Known Member

    Aug 21, 2004
    Quakertown PA
    There's alot of options out there. I use Echo Layla 24's and Cubase but the Layla won't work with a laptop as it is only PCI. Firewire sounds like the way you should go if your laptop supports it but I'll leave that to others who have used laptops for recording. I know the MOTU's have the pre's and DAC's in the same box with a firewire interface so that may be a good option for you. I happen to love Cubase but there are many other choices out there and it really comes down to your needs and the type of interface you like.

    If you have a decent guitar amp there is one peice of gear I would highly recommend, the Little Labs Red Eye. I borrowed a friends about a month ago, and don't want to give it back so I'm going to have to order one soon. I believe Fletcher has also recommended this little wonder. It's a DI as well as a reamp box. I record alot on my own also, so it has been invaluable. It allows you to DI your guitar clean and then reamp the signal and dial in that perfect tone. This way you can just play and save setting amp EQ's and mic adjustments for later. I can't say enough good things about it. I would recommend it to anyone who records by themself or just doesn't have good isolation when recording multiple parts. It's the Bees Knees.

    Hope this helped! :D
  3. Big Harpe

    Big Harpe Guest

    Don't listen to him. ANYONE can get a pro sound from a laptop with a SoundBlaster card and a couple of WAVES plugins.

    :D :D :D :D

    (Just kidding!) :-?
  4. rmp5s

    rmp5s Guest

    Thanks for the info guys. I know that I'm not going to get "straight to the record stores" quality at home without dumping ass loads of money, so I think I'm just gunna be less picky and just pick something that seems decent. I just want something decent. That's all. Doesn't have to be "ready to release" quality...I just want "good" quality. I was planning on using Cubase anyway...so I'm thinking this is a given.

    Either I'm going to get some recording stuff or buy another instrument to play with...thinking about getting an electric violin for myself for Christmas.
  5. adamf

    adamf Guest



    Firstly I should point out I work for FXpansion before anyone thinks im being sneaky (but theres only 10 of us in the company, and we don't make commission, so this is me late at night on my own time). I would say you would find BFD useful depending on the stage your at. You can use it to jam along with as it has a randomise feature which switches between grooves (supplied midi drum rhythm files which are used to control the BFD, separated into musical styles) within a chosen groove bundle every bar, and has the option of performing a fill at every set amount of bars. I find this useful myself, Im a guitar player and find it's a lot more inspirational to work with than a metronome, its like having a very good drummer in the same room to write with.

    It's also easy to use for jamming along on a midi keyboard or pulling in and editing the grooves supplied for entirely original compositions. The idea for BFD was to recreate the sound of a real drummer in your dream studio for you to mix as you like. I doubt you would be too interested in the mic mixing options at the demo creation stage but the quality and control is there if you need it.

    If you want the expansion packs (XFL - many more realistic drums and kits played with brushes and mallets with more detailed sampling), and 8 Bit Kit - a weird ass set off of customized and electronic drums recorded through a variety of strange mics and using weird-ass techniques) you need to own the first piece of software - BFD. The expansion packs are essentially sample data ready to slot into the BFD engine. ( I have to say, I got to play around with 8 Bit Kit all night for the first time tonight and am finding it hard to get a boring sound out of it). BFD Original is more than enough to do decent drum tracks, it comes with seven kits and additional kit pieces, it will sound a lot more than slightly better than click tracks.

    Right, I should give you the downside as well before this starts sounding like a fridge-freezer sales pitch. BFD requires a fairly powerful computer and a lot of hard-drive space, I think its 9gig for BFD original flavour, a further 22gig for XFL and another 13gig for 8 Bit Kit. The required sys. spec. is on the site at http://www.fxpansion.com , so check it there. If you are truly just beginning in the world of producing it may be a little a little pricey, on the other hand I would say it is fast becoming the industry standard as we have now been allowed to create programs which import the data from Scarbee Imperial Drum Library and Drumkit From Hell (the main alternatives to BFD). Personally, I think you would be able to use it straight away (providing your system is powerful enough) as it is quite simple to get started, and the more advanced features you would learn as you need them.

    Anyway, hope this helps and you get your stuff together either way.

  6. rmp5s

    rmp5s Guest

    Alright guys. I bought myself a Christmas gift...I got a Cubase System 4. Saw it in Guitar Center's little book thing and went out and bought it that day. Got a pretty good deal on it. It has Steinberg's MI4 media interface as well as Cubase SL...everything I need to make music at home...except on thing...drums. I have guitars, basses and other miscellanious [sp.] stringed instruments scattered about my house...but I don't have any drums! So with the system, I bought DKFH. This is what I have a question about.

    I can't get it to do anything!!! How the hell do I use it? I have it all installed and it runs and all that just fine. In the program's control screen, it has all the controls along with a keyboard along the bottom of it. You click on the keys and it plays the selected drum sound...whee...but that's all I can get it to do. I opened it in Cubase SL (as a VST instrument) and I have NO CLUE how to use it. It won't let me open the Drum Editor thing...the option in the menu is greyed out. I'm expecting a piano roll type of interface so I can program the thing to do what I want it to do, but I can't find anything of the sort. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
  7. tonyb

    tonyb Guest

    drum editor problem

    u must record midi,before you can edit it.if your using a keyboard, go to devices,mixer 2 and configure it to recieve sound from the keyboard.after that record,and then you will be able to open the drum editor.i had the same problem it worked for me i have no problems now. good luck
  8. rmp5s

    rmp5s Guest

    I don't have a midi keyboard. I'm guessing I'll need one?
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