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Old 01-04-2013, 01:53 AM   #1
jhalterman
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Beginner/Basic Recording Equipment

I am completely new to the recording world and luckily UG has that sticky which helped out a good amount. There are still things I'm uncertain about (like what "VSTs" and "plug-ins" are), but those I can simply Google.

I do require some help, though. I'm looking for free to inexpensive recording equipment to get my toes in the water, but I don't even know what's considered "bare bones" in the recording world. From what I've learned you can have a DAW, an audio interface, a drum track program, mastering software, a mic, and a software for adding effects. Not sure what else a home recording studio would need, but there are probably things I've missed.

But, like I said, I'm going bare minimum to start. I know you need a DAW like Reaper (seeing as it's been mentioned so much) or something similar found here. I've not yet done research on those programs yet, though. And then there's a drum tracks program to consider. Your opinion: yay or nay? I can probably find a free, simplified version to start off with, but not something as low-end as Tux Guitar, which I've used before.

In terms of the audio interface, I'll try to and a used Saffire 6. The only question I have concerning that is a buddy said he has the same interface, but it doesn't have a mic plug-in. I'm assuming there's more than one model because the link provided in the sticky states that the Saffire 6 (and even the Scarlett 2i4) have mic plug-ins. From there, I can either go guitar to interface to (free) digital modeling amp software or guitar to amp to mic to interface. Ideally, I want the best possible sound quality, but would that be possible with a decent mic (been recommended the SM57 or SM58), a Vox Valvetronix (hybrid amp), and a living room of an apartment? Even without any experience I'm going with "Hell no." Only thing I could think of to help would be to (don't laugh) create a cube with an open face that my amp could sit in and line the walls with that special foam liner stuff. Honestly, I would love feedback on that idea because I have no idea if it sounds absolutely ludicrous or even a little feasible.

EDIT: Almost forgot. How much does your computer's on-board sound card play a factor in this whole mess?
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Old 01-04-2013, 02:59 AM   #2
roaraudio
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Just buy protools. an mbox and a good dynamic mic and a condensor. I'd suggest a sm57 for most things. sex1 and maybe an audix d6.
also. Gearslutz.com is great for these types of things.

An mbox is pretty good and cheap. However its not a mixer.

Last edited by roaraudio : 01-04-2013 at 03:00 AM. Reason: coz wants more
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Old 01-04-2013, 03:37 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jhalterman
I am completely new to the recording world and luckily UG has that sticky which helped out a good amount. There are still things I'm uncertain about (like what "VSTs" and "plug-ins" are), but those I can simply Google.

VST stands for Virtual Studio Technology, and plugins (generally) are referring to the same thing. These do pretty much anything, they are your Equalisers, Amp Simulators, Chorus effects, Delays, Reverbs, Drum Machines, other Virtual Instruments, Compressors, etc. You'll get the hang of it and good on you for actually reading the stickys.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jhalterman
I do require some help, though. I'm looking for free to inexpensive recording equipment to get my toes in the water, but I don't even know what's considered "bare bones" in the recording world. From what I've learned you can have a DAW, an audio interface, a drum track program, mastering software, a mic, and a software for adding effects. Not sure what else a home recording studio would need, but there are probably things I've missed.

Bare bones is probably an Interface, a DAW (REAPER is cheap,Kristal Audio Engine is free), some free VSTs (explained above), and a set of headphones (good ones, not beats by dr dre). Mic's are optional unless you're recording vocals. A drum machine is worth having if you don't have a way to get drum tracks otherwise, I don't know of any VST ones for free but there's some good kits available for Hydrogen if you're willing to make them there then export them.

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Originally Posted by jhalterman
But, like I said, I'm going bare minimum to start. I know you need a DAW like Reaper (seeing as it's been mentioned so much) or something similar found here. I've not yet done research on those programs yet, though. And then there's a drum tracks program to consider. Your opinion: yay or nay? I can probably find a free, simplified version to start off with, but not something as low-end as Tux Guitar, which I've used before.

Like I mentioned above, DAWs worth looking at are REAPER if you can pay $60 (or have no soul and use the unending trial), or Kristal Audio Engine if you really need free. Drum programs the only one I know of is Hydrogen, and that has to be used externally then exported to WAV (audio files) and imported into your DAW.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jhalterman
In terms of the audio interface, I'll try to and a used Saffire 6. The only question I have concerning that is a buddy said he has the same interface, but it doesn't have a mic plug-in. I'm assuming there's more than one model because the link provided in the sticky states that the Saffire 6 (and even the Scarlett 2i4) have mic plug-ins. From there, I can either go guitar to interface to (free) digital modeling amp software or guitar to amp to mic to interface. Ideally, I want the best possible sound quality, but would that be possible with a decent mic (been recommended the SM57 or SM58), a Vox Valvetronix (hybrid amp), and a living room of an apartment? Even without any experience I'm going with "Hell no." Only thing I could think of to help would be to (don't laugh) create a cube with an open face that my amp could sit in and line the walls with that special foam liner stuff. Honestly, I would love feedback on that idea because I have no idea if it sounds absolutely ludicrous or even a little feasible.
You're friend is mixing up interfaces, the Saffire 6 definitely has XLR/Jack combo inputs, as does the Scarlett 2i4 (as do most interfaces around that price range). Although I have a friend who's got some really good results from his Valvetronix VT40+ and a SM58 (57 and 58 are identical except for the grill which does play a minor role in frequency response), I would definitely recommend going with amp simulators. It's not any more or less complicated than micing an amp, it's more flexible (even more than your modelling amp), and it's cheaper. If later on you decide that you want to mic your amp then you can do that, but I always recommend trying amp sims first because it doesn't cost you anything to do, but it might save you some cash.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jhalterman
EDIT: Almost forgot. How much does your computer's on-board sound card play a factor in this whole mess?

Nothing, at all, whatsoever. The interface essentially replaces the soundcard.


Quote:
Originally Posted by roaraudio
Just buy protools. an mbox and a good dynamic mic and a condensor. I'd suggest a sm57 for most things. sex1 and maybe an audix d6.
also. Gearslutz.com is great for these types of things.

An mbox is pretty good and cheap. However its not a mixer.

Worst, advice, ever. You just said go buy a $700 piece of software, a $300 interface, a $200 kick mic, a mic I've never heard of and can't find on MF (not even going to try googling it), and an SM57 (the only good part of your recommendation).
You just told a beginner to spend ~$1500 on gear straight away, and then told him/her to go to another forum. Then you mentioned a piece of gear that so many beginners think they need but really don't (the mixer).
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Old 01-04-2013, 12:15 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by chatterbox272
Nothing, at all, whatsoever. The interface essentially replaces the soundcard

Epic. No one seemed to be able to answer that question for me and yet it was that simple.

I have no idea how to thank you. Usually people respond to parts of my comment that they know a decent amount about, not the whole damned thing Seriously, though. Thanks a bunch, chatterbox. And I think roaraudio wins for one of the most useless comments I've seen on UG. Sorry to hate, but chatterbox summed it up best and I even stated, explicitly, how much of a beginner I am.

I think my best bet is to get as much free recording gear as possible. If it turns out it's not for me than all I've lost is the money on a used interface and not all of the software and mics and stuff that I mentioned.

For a DAW, for now, it will be between REAPER's free trial and this Kristal Audio Engine. I'll most likely give REAPER first dibs as everyone seems to use it. The next step would be the paid ($60) version.

I'll search for a used Saffire 6 or Scarlett 2i4. I've been recommended them way too much and the price is phenomenal compared to other interfaces I've been recommended.

For a free drum program someone mentioned this guy.

And I'll forgo mics altogether. I'm sure I can find a decent, free amp simulator online.
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Old 01-04-2013, 01:37 PM   #5
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Just want to add that you do NOT need a separate drum program if you're just starting out. Reaper comes with several drum machine plugins that will work with any samples you give it, which are easily found on the web.

Check the Resources sticky for the "Creating Drum Tracks in Reaper" tutorial. You may eventually want to upgrade, but it's perfectly acceptable for just beginners.
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Old 01-04-2013, 10:02 PM   #6
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Read everything you can find on the web.

Here's a great primer:

http://www.recordingreview.com/kill...R_SettingUp.php

Other good forums to learn from:

http://forum.recordingreview.com/

http://homerecording.com/bbs/
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Old 01-04-2013, 10:40 PM   #7
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OK, easy peasy:

- A good quality interface for DI guitar/bass
- Amplitube 3 to make the DI'd tracks sound good
- A large-diaphragm condenser mic for vocals and acoustic
- REAPER as your software (Imperial theme FTW)
- Drummix Beta for drums
- Kjaerhus Classic, Variety Of Sound, TAL and JB plugins for mixing
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Old 01-05-2013, 12:44 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kyle62
Amplitube 3 to make the DI'd tracks sound good


For free Amp Sims and you'd be set. I've never liked the sound of Amplitube
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Old 01-05-2013, 07:30 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by strangedogs
Read everything you can find on the web.

Here's a great primer:

http://www.recordingreview.com/kill...R_SettingUp.php

Other good forums to learn from:

http://forum.recordingreview.com/

http://homerecording.com/bbs/

Sweet Jebus, so much information I love it
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Originally Posted by lockwolf
Sub out [Amplitube 3] for free Amp Sims and you'd be set. I've never liked the sound of Amplitube

Duly noted. Thank you.
Quote:
Originally Posted by kyle62
OK, easy peasy:

- A good quality interface for DI guitar/bass
- Amplitube 3 to make the DI'd tracks sound good
- A large-diaphragm condenser mic for vocals and acoustic
- REAPER as your software (Imperial theme FTW)
- Drummix Beta for drums
- Kjaerhus Classic, Variety Of Sound, TAL and JB plugins for mixing


No idea why you listed all of this info. I said "bare bones" like an audio interface, DAW, and amp simulator (all either free or cheap). A Saffire 6 or Scarlett 2i4 sound perfect (if I can learn to bid on eBay...) along with REAPER and whatever free amp simulator I find. I said no mics and I don't even know what "mixing" is.
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Old 01-05-2013, 07:45 PM   #10
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Well I think Drummix Beta is free and I thus I think the plugs might be free too.
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Old 01-05-2013, 09:20 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChemicalFire
Well I think Drummix Beta is free and I thus I think the plugs might be free too.

I know Drummix Beta is free (unless you want to donate), but I'm not sure about the plug-ins. Either way, I've narrowed down "bare bones" to what myself and others have already mentioned (audio interface, DAW, and amp sim) and not a drumming program (at least not right away) and not anything for "mixing." Even then, with all of the recommendations both on UG and elsewhere, I only really need to look for decent amp simulator software now.

Never got to properly thank you for the sticky, by the way. I believe either a Saffire 6 or Scarlett 2i4 will last me a little while if I end up liking this whole recording side to music. If so, all I have to do is just start getting the purchased versions of software such as REAPER
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Old 01-06-2013, 03:12 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jhalterman
I know Drummix Beta is free (unless you want to donate), but I'm not sure about the plug-ins. Either way, I've narrowed down "bare bones" to what myself and others have already mentioned (audio interface, DAW, and amp sim) and not a drumming program (at least not right away) and not anything for "mixing." Even then, with all of the recommendations both on UG and elsewhere, I only really need to look for decent amp simulator software now.

The Kjaerhus Classic stuff is free, and if you want any effects on your guitars then that's probably a good place to start.
The amp sim sticky has some good free sim recommendations, what kind of music are you recording?
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Old 01-06-2013, 03:32 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by jhalterman
Sweet Jebus, so much information I love it

Duly noted. Thank you.


No idea why you listed all of this info. I said "bare bones" like an audio interface, DAW, and amp simulator (all either free or cheap). A Saffire 6 or Scarlett 2i4 sound perfect (if I can learn to bid on eBay...) along with REAPER and whatever free amp simulator I find. I said no mics and I don't even know what "mixing" is.


Everything I posted is free.

Amplitube 3 has a free 'Custom Shop' version that's excellent, and by far the easiest amp software for a beginner to figure out.

Drummix Beta is a free virtual drum instrument. You could try Drumcore Free as well though.
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Old 01-06-2013, 04:50 AM   #14
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Amplitube 3 has a free 'Custom Shop' version that's excellent, and by far the easiest amp software for a beginner to figure out.


Debatable. Also, the quality of LePou's or AcmeBarGig's stuff compared to Amplitube is arguably better.
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Old 01-06-2013, 04:26 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chatterbox272
The Kjaerhus Classic stuff is free, and if you want any effects on your guitars then that's probably a good place to start.
The amp sim sticky has some good free sim recommendations, what kind of music are you recording?
I think I'll leave any effects out of the equation for now. In terms of the stuff I'm recording, I don't know. Hard rock, blues, classical, tiny bit of country (Brad Paisley's "Ticks" being the only modern song), heavy/trash/speed metal, some hard rock/technical metal in low tunings like B standard, etc, etc.

Totally skipped over the amp sim sticky, though. Thanks.
Quote:
Originally Posted by kyle62
Everything I posted is free.

Amplitube 3 has a free 'Custom Shop' version that's excellent, and by far the easiest amp software for a beginner to figure out.

Drummix Beta is a free virtual drum instrument. You could try Drumcore Free as well though.
Great, thanks for the info. Sorry if I seemed pushy in my last post, as well
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Originally Posted by lockwolf
Debatable. Also, the quality of LePou's or AcmeBarGig's stuff compared to Amplitube is arguably better.
I was told LePou's stuff was quite good.
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Old 01-06-2013, 04:42 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jhalterman
I think I'll leave any effects out of the equation for now. In terms of the stuff I'm recording, I don't know. Hard rock, blues, classical, tiny bit of country (Brad Paisley's "Ticks" being the only modern song), heavy/trash/speed metal, some hard rock/technical metal in low tunings like B standard, etc, etc.


So you're telling me you're not going to EQ or compress anything?

You need effects to mix. Not all effects are putting crazy sounding chorus on everything.
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Old 01-06-2013, 05:00 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by ChemicalFire
So you're telling me you're not going to EQ or compress anything?

You need effects to mix. Not all effects are putting crazy sounding chorus on everything.


Honest answer? Yes I want to hear what all of this sounds like before I do anything to it at all. I think it would be as simple as hooking up my guitar to my audio interface and using the amp simulator, no? Might not sound pretty, but I still want to hear what "not pretty" sounds like

Plus, this will help immensely in terms of "ear training" as I've never monkeyed with compression or an EQ before. I know compression lowers the peaks and raises the troughs in the signal and I think EQ just messes with the treble, mids, and bass of certain instruments (or even the track as a whole). Still want to know what different styles of music sound like with just a dry signal with only an amp sim to tweak.
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Old 01-06-2013, 05:04 PM   #18
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Well EQ and compression is a must if you're going to record more than just a few guitar licks.

It's not too hard at all.
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Old 01-06-2013, 07:34 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by ChemicalFire
Well EQ and compression is a must if you're going to record more than just a few guitar licks.

It's not too hard at all.


I'll get the hang of it

Also, the Scarlett 2i2 seems to be a bit cheaper and I don't have to bid on it (which is annoying as hell). I know the 2i4 has been recommended, but is there that much of a difference? I tried comparing the specs, but I don't know what's what
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Old 01-06-2013, 07:42 PM   #20
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The 2i2 has no pad. Which makes effectively using it for DI'd guitars extremely difficult.
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