Hey guys! I've been reading on this forums for quite sometime, and I've heard lots of different things. I decided to get some more specific answers to myself I figured I'd finally make a post.
I currently have a recording "Studio" that my band and I just set up. Its in our drummers basement, and I spent a lot of time studying and working to make it sound really good acoustically. Now we are getting to the actual recording part. Before we set this place up we got some songs recorded so im posting this link so you can keep in mind what we sound like while I list off stuff: http://soundcloud.com/winters-iris/...rojections-demo
Obviously the recodings arn't awesome but good enough, which is why im here asking for more suggestions, but they're good enough for you to see kinda what we sound like.
Now my main question through out this post is what is YOUR opinion on what I should do to get the best sound with the equipment I have. I'm sure I might get some conflicting idea's but I want an influx of Ideas that I can try for myself.
Here is the equipment I currently own:
Samson CO2 x2
Shure SM57 x1
CAD CM217 x2
MXL 990 x1
Shure Super 55 x1
A couple Gear One Dynamic Mics that came with some other equipment I bought
Ibanez TBX150H x1
Red Voodoo 100Watt x1
Hartke LH500 Bass Amp x1
Custom built Speaker cab (2 Avatar speakers... I think)
Marshall MG412C x1
Hartke VX410 Bass Cab x1
Epiphone of some sort (Our lead guitarists... not a high quality one, thats all i know)
Ibanez Gio GS09
Squire Bass of some sort
Lots of older, not as good quality equipment from when we started out.
A Drum set that I wish I could give more detail on but I know nothing about it.
Its the same drumset thats used in the recordings I linked, so if you can tell anything from it... then there ya go =)
From what I know... snare, kick, double bass pedal, 3 toms, floor tom, ride, china, hi-hat, 5 other cymbals haha
Some sort of 16channel mixer
2200 watt power amp
2 crate 150watt crate speakers
2 150watt RMS speakers
2 100 watt Phonic speakers
2 or 3 DI input/converters for guitar
LOTS of other crap laying around.
Reaper (I've been using this mostly)
Plenty of drum samples I've found on forums
Currently we are Triggering / Sampling our drums, (for lack of mics and cuz our drumset isnt too great) and we are Mic'ing our cymbals... The cymbal mics pickup some of the drums which honestly sounds good mixed with the samples we lay over them.
Im not near the studio right now, I can look into getting more detail on stuff later.
So yeah... thats the studio we have. What are some techniques, ideas etc. that I can do to make our recordings sound as good as possible with what I've got? Ofcourse suggest things I can get to compliment what I've got as well.. I'm always looking to upgrade/increase my small arsenal... I am honestly planning on doing this professionally after I get out of highschool, and go into college xD
1. Take out a subscription for SOS
and read the how to do recording articles
2. Post links for your songs onto
and ask for advice on improvement - but don't get too hung up about perfection
3. Buy and read / put into practice Brandon's Killer Home Recording:
4. Stick with Reaper - watch all the Youtube vids on how to do this and that.
I've listened to you recordings and while they're not at all bad considering I think you need to learn loads about how to EQ stuff, how do compression and parallel compression, and how to use the automation features in Reaper, and try to get your selves an epic guitar sound (57 in front of a Marshall should be doing it for you - but is it?)
Best microphone for guitars are either the SM57 or the 57 beta.
For vocals, go condenser and try and get it sound proofed as well as you can. AKG make decent condenser microphones
Drums, I like to use a SM57 for the snare, for the toms, I used these mics before but I forgot what they are called, they were made by sannheiser though.
Use a pencil mic for the hi hats and two over heads for the full kit. Try and get good mics that capture a lot of high frequency on the overheads and hi hat (hi hat is optional really)
Bass drum, use the AKG D112 as most engineers use.
Bass, I would use a DI straight to the PA or interface you are using.
Usually I would stick to Pro Tools for editing purposes but Reaper should be fine.
You've got good recording gear, but I would definitely step it up on the actual guitar gear. I had a listen to your stuff, get some guitars with active pickups or just sound high output passive, SD/bare knuckle pickups. The MG cabinets aren't great, I don't know what speakers they're loaded with but get something like Eminence speakers or Celestion V30's or just higher quality. You could probably change the speakers in the cab rather than buy a new cab.
I'm not much of a drum sound expert, but if you want to use drum software instead of real drums, look into Superior Drummer, not EZ Drummer (I think they're both by the same company)
Superior Drummer is really good for that heavy metal shit.
From your list, I see two pretty significant sins.
1. From the other gear you have listed, I'm guessing you're plugging stuff into the 16-ch mixer. But you haven't mentioned how you're getting the sounds from the mixer into the computer. There is a HUGE difference between using a proper interface and using the line-in on your sound card.
2. You haven't specifically listed proper monitors for mixing. Just like you can't choose and utilize colours correctly if you are painting a picture while wearing glasses with tinted lenses, you can't choose and utilize EQ correctly if you are mixing on stereo speakers.
I can find other nit-picks, but I would definitely start with those two things.
Thanks for all the suggestions.
Axemanchris: Yes we are plugging in from the stereo (Red and white) output on the mixer, into my PC. What "proper" interface would you suggest for a low minimum wage budget? Also, you are correct we do not have monitors. We have been using our Crate 4x12 cabs (more for live shows), and the RMS speakers. (Basically I just have my computer plugged into the PA system) What monitors would you suggest for someone with a very low highschool budget?
AJScott: We would love to step it up on our guitars, but we are on the "Let Tyler (me) buy everything for the band cuz none of us can get jobs and he works minimum wage so thats good enough right?" budget haha. In other words we (me) just don't have the money to be upgrading to awesome quality stuff, everything we do have I bought while on sale, and one piece at a time over the past year. Although, the recordings listed we recorded with the Ibanez amp, my friends cab (Dont know what model), and the crappy epiphone. Now that we have the Red Voodoo, my custom Ibanez (I say custom cuz I've replaced humbuckers with high output passives), our own cabs, and better acoustics, were planning on getting much better quality guitars when we record.
Zakarai: I will definitely try using a a DI for the bass, for some reason it never occured to me. Thanks =)
PSimonR: Thanks for those links I will look into all of those =) You are absolutely right on the compression, EQ and such, we really didn't do much at all TBH. And TBH im completely unaware of the "automation" feature in Reaper... Somewhere you suggest I can read about that? (Or I guess I can just search for it and play around with it when I get a chance)
Thanks all of you for your input =) And thanks in advance to everyone who continues throwing ideas at me =)
Since you're only recording one or two tracks at a time (ie. not live drums), you can get away with just about any interface on the market. Lots of people around here recommend the Sapphire something-or-other from Focusrite as a good "bang for the buck" unit, though I have no experience with it.
My first actual interfaces are no longer in production, I don't believe. There is a Steinberg CI2 that comes bundled with Cubase AI, a "light-ish" version of Cubase. I think it's around $150. My own interface is a Steinberg, and I've been really happy with it.
Monitors are another bag of tricks altogether. Quite honestly, I'm not sure I'd trust anything under $500/pr. (they're often marketed at a price point that reflects the cost of one, so you'll see a price like $289 and think it's really inexpensive, and then you notice that works out to nearly $600/pr.)
But now you're seeing the advantage of going into a project studio. To DIY, you've got to spend a significant amount of money for just the bare minimum of tools, and then learn how to do it all. Let's face it. None of us were really ready for "show time" after playing guitar for a year. We're not ready for "show time" after recording for a year either.
So, an alternative would be to go to a project studio. You'll pay maybe a couple hundred dollars for a whole day of recording, which will include access to all the gear you'll need at a quality that can produce good results, and have it all done by a person who knows what they are doing. Even two days of time comes out to about what you'll spend on a couple of SM57's and an interface, and you'll have a demo in your hot little hands by the next weekend, rather than going DIY, spending a grand, and waiting a year before your recordings are any good.
My own way of looking at it is this:
If you want to get into recording, do so. Be prepared to spend time and money comparable to or more than buying and learning any other quality instrument. If you just want a recording, go to a studio.
It's like this...
You're finishing your basement and need wiring run to the various rooms and switches and lights and stuff. You could DIY and buy all the tools and learn how to do it. That will still cost you some and will take a measure of time. Or you could call an electrician, pay him for his services, and have it done in a day, and you can sleep easily knowing your house won't burn down.
Thanks a lot!
Yeah I'm definitely going to continue doing it myself, simply because this is my career choice, and I enjoy doing it anyway. For now my recordings might not sound too great, but its all a learning process, and it may take time, but so does anything great. =)
As for an interface, what exactly is the benefit to them? Don't they still go through the soundcard anyway? Maybe I've misunderstood how they're used.
I forgot to list off that I have an Alesis Drum I/O for triggering the drums, can that be used as an interface anyway?
Also, are there any good interfaces out there that don't come with some sort of DAW? I don't see a reason in paying for one if I wont be needing it. I'd rather spend money on getting a better Interface that doesnt come with software.
Also, would it be a good or bad idea to (If i ever needed to) use the multiple channels on the mixer that I have, then plug the mixer into the interface? Using the stereo 1/4" ouputs.
Did some research, still would like your response on benefits, as I found a few, but am still slightly confused on how exactly they work...
It seems that the Alesis iO2 Express would be the one of my choosing from what I read, what do you think?
Well, then. Onwards!
No. They go right to your processor, RAM, etc. bypassing your sound card completely. In effect, it replaces your sound card.
That's a midi device, right? That's an interface of sorts, but it isn't an audio interface. An audio interface, these days, generally consists of one or more mic preamps, one or more line level inputs, and analog/digital digital/analog converters.
Not sure. Most of them come with something basically because the manufacturers know that anyone using an interface like that will need some software to make it useful. I gave away my copy of Cubase AI, as I already had the full version of Cubase. If you get that Steinberg interface, you might even be able to sell the copy of Cubase AI to offset the cost.
Many interfaces have four or more inputs. In that case, you could go from four or five or eight outputs from the mixer into four or five or eight inputs to the interface.
However, since most interfaces have preamps built right in, you could very well just skip the mixer altogether and run all of your tracks right into the interface.
Even your high-end gaming cards are built to have great sounding outputs, but not to have great sounding inputs. Obviously, for recording, this is probably the most significant consideration. That, and the drivers for a proper interface will give you better performance (ex. lower latency, etc.) for recording than a gaming card.
Looks decent in terms of features and stuff. Alesis is an entry-level manufacturer for these kinds of things, along with Samson and Behringer and Phonic, etc. The M-audio stuff, along with Focusrite, etc. represent the next step up. You'll still outgrow even those, though, eventually.
Okay.. awesome! Thanks for answering all of these questions =)
I would like to clarify a bit more on the Mixer to Interface though.. so what I was thinking, (maybe im completely crazy) is if I were to buy just a two channel Interface, but I was using 4 mic's simultaneously, I could plug my mics into the mixer using XLR ofcourse, then connect the mixer L-R 1/4" outputs into the interfaces inputs. Would that give any benefit? Would that be detrimental? Is it even possible?
To give an example... the reason I am asking is because I would prefer saving money and getting just a two channel interface right now. But when we record drums we use four condenser mics to mic the cymbals. (1 on Hi-hat, 1 on the ride, and 2 overheads) Those mics are plugged into the mixer, and from there its plugged into the computer using a stereo to 3.5mm converter cable. I would like to, if there is any benefit, connect the mixer to the interface instead, because then it would stay stereo, if I am understanding this correctly.
download Modern Recording Techniques 7th edition's PDF and browser it. that's my bible.
Cool thanks for that suggestion Jwax, ill check it out.
BTdubs, if anyone cares i just found out my Mixer is the Mackie CR1604-VLZ
That mixer has direct outs on channels 1-8, according to this:
Get something like this ($169)
You'll need to get eight 1/4" to RCA short cables.
Run each of the eight direct outs on the mixer to the inputs on the Delta 1010.
You can use the pre-fader aux sends 1+2 to drive a headphone amp to give people two customizable monitor mixes (ie. the drummer and the bass player want more kick, but the singer wants more vocal) without affecting the record levels.
I used a setup VERY similar to this until about two years ago, and we recorded our album with it. You can hear the results at www.now-here-this.com (geez, hard to believe it was recorded about six years ago already...)
Basically, we used a Behringer UB2442FX-PRO mixer going into a rack-mounted version of the Delta 1010 (which has been discontinued) in exactly the same way I described.
Modern wisdom has come to be that you no longer need a mixer AND an interface. As much as this is true, you already have a mixer, so you can utilize it and get away with a fuller-featured interface at a price point at what you would otherwise pay for a 2+2 interface.
Awesome thanks for that suggestion! I will probably do that instead of going with an Interface for now atleast. How would I connect some studio monitors though? I was looking into getting a pair of them after I decided on my interface, or Card for this matter now.
IMO an interface is a MUST!
You'll need an interface, but that one I linked you to (the Delta 1010LT) will be a perfectly fine one.
The 1010 has outputs that you can connect a stereo amplifier of some description to, and then you connect your speakers to an amplifier.
Awesome, so here is a little snippet of some recording we did today. Using a lot of your tips and whatnot.
Important stuff used:
Shure SM57 and a Samson CO2 - Guitars
Samson CO2 (2)-Cymbals
Here is the result so far of all your help
Thanks so much guys! Any new suggestions?
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