#1
Really want to be able to get as close to a professional recording sound as I can. I am limited on cash, but I can always save up. I already own:

Shure SM58 Microphone
Epiphone Les Paul Special II Guitar
Audacity
A cheap computer mic

Help!?


Originally what I posted. Got lost in the threads.
In addition...
I would like to put my recordings on sites like Reverbnation and UG. I would also like to make cds/albums to listen to and hand out to friends. I need to record a 5-STRING BASS, a guitar, drums, and vocals. When I record drums with the cheap computer mic, I don't fully get the sound of it. It's mainly just the impact noise I hear.

I HAVE NO IDEA HOW TO HOOK MY SM58 UP TO A COMPUTER! IF THAT'S WHAT YOU'RE SUGGESTING, PLEASE EXPLAIN TO ME WHAT I NEED AND HOW MUCH IT WILL COST ME.

I have a grand total of...$20. I can always get more though! (Don't be ridiculous and tell me I need to buy thousands of dollars of equipment.)

THANK YOU!!!!!
#2
You're gonna need to drop at LEAST around 400 to be able to begin to properly mic a set. HOWEVER, you could pull off some decent recordings for around 200-300 bucks probably.

Quality (especially CD quality) comes with a great cost but your technique will be more important than anything to be honest.

Start by getting some sort of USB interface, like an M-Audio fast track. That will allow you to run your 58 into the computer via USB and dramatically increase the quality of your sound. From there I would recommend getting a pair of condenser mics which you can use as an overhead for the set (or another SM57 for that matter) which will get a decent drum quality. Both of those mics will also serve to record bass and guitar.

Let me emphasize again, technique will carry you further than any piece of equipment but getting a USB interface will be a huge step in the right direction.
Winner of the 2011 Virginia Guitar Festival

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#3
Another option, if you don't want to drop the cash on mics for your drum kit, is to program the drums via MIDI. If you're going to go with Reaper, you can learn to do this for free.

Also, get a copy of Reaper, which is infinitely better than Audacity... and turn off the capslock. If you shout at people they're not going to be keen on helping you.
#4
Quote by CarsonStevens
... and turn off the capslock. If you shout at people they're not going to be keen on helping you.


Sorry!
Didn't mean to seem rude, just wanted to put emphasis on this. People keep telling me I need an interface but I have no idea what that is or how to use it.

Could someone please post a link to some site where I could buy a decent interface? I don't know where to look.

If no one has noticed, I'm very new at this.
Last edited by gateway01 at Jun 13, 2011,
#5
At the risk of insulting your intelligence...

Sound (in the form of sound pressure waves travelling through the air, or indeed any material that allows sound to pass through it) is considered analogue because it is a real world occurence with no exact (or 'discrete') measurement system. This is because anything occurring in our world can be measured in infinitely small or large scales. As a result, the sound waves we hear (and that vibrate the diaphragm/move the voicecoil of a microphone) are fine in the analogue world but a computer (which can only work with discrete figures) cannot comprehend infinite values.

Therefore we require analogue-to-digital (A/D) converters to convert the incoming analogu audio signal into a computer-friendly digital audio signal. As mentioned, computers cannot take infinite values, so instead we have set scales for categorising the analogue signal into certain values depending on how it meets certain criteria.

To handle frequency ('pitch', to musicians) the audio is 'sampled' (a snapshot of the signal is taken) very quickly, thousands of times a second. This is the sample rate, and a law of physics called the Nyquist Theorem dictates that for a signal to be sampled correctly, it must be sampled at least twice the frequency of the highest desirable frequency... human hearing maxes out at 20kHz when a young child, and gets lower as we grow old, so a minimum of 40kHz (or 40,000 samplesa second) is required. CDs run at 44.1kHz, however many DAWs will now cope with rates as high as 192kHz, provided the computer can cope at this speed. The higher the sample rate, the more accurate the converted waveform.


So the pitch is converted now, but what about the volume? Well, again due to the limitations of the digital world, the computer needs a way to place the sound into discrete volumes for it to make any sense of the audio signal. This is done through a process called quantisation, whereby the volume is assigned to a series of 'steps' or bits. The bit-depth of the converter determines how many steps the volume could possibly be read as (by the computer), so a 1-bit converter would either be silent or full volume (effectively an exaggerated noise gate!).

Most converters these days are used at 16-Bit or 24-Bit depending on the computing power and the desire of the user - to use the CD example again, the required bit-depth is 16-Bit, however many people prefer to record at 24-Bit (as this allows for greater dynamic range, as the audio has more posible values and is thus more accurate to the original signal) and then dither the finished mix down to 16-Bit to meet CD 'redbook' standard. The process is only as accurate as half the least significant bit (as in, any value is rounded up or down to the nearest step, so the 'margin of error' is referred to as half that step).


An audio interface does all of the above (typically a lot better than a computer's stock sound card, which is rarely designed for pro-audio and is not accurate as a result), as well as incorporating typcal mic (and often instrument/line level) pre-amps into the product. This gives the user all they need to record digitally in one neat and tidy package.

There are oter factors that affect quality and accuracy, however I don't wish to confuse you further, and on a semi-related note: any typos are down to the fact I wrote all this on my phone touchscreen... don't anyone say I'm not kind and helpful (occasionally )
Hey, look. Sigs are back.
Last edited by DisarmGoliath at Jun 13, 2011,
#6
http://www.guitarcenter.com/In-Store-Used-USED-M-AUDIO-MOBILE-PRE-USB-7-0-061011845-106651562-i1978768.gc

i started with one of those, i liked it so much i got another one when my laptop and recording stuff got stolen.
#8
Thanks for posting that DisarmGoliath!
I learnt something new today!

I didn't know about the whole kHz thing and the bit rate. I knew about them, just didn't know the law.
..I was watching my death.
#9
No problem There is more to it, but it's degree-level physics when you get to the really fine points so I left it at that before I confused TS with too much info in one post haha. If you want to learn more explained in a better way you could google oversampling, anti-aliasing (in digital audio) and nyquist theorem, but they're not necessary to be able to use the gear!
Hey, look. Sigs are back.
Last edited by DisarmGoliath at Jun 14, 2011,
#11
Great explanation, Goliath! The only thing I might clarify is that your wording might lead someone to think that a 16 bit recording has 16 steps of volume and a 24 bit recording has 24 steps of volume. I'm sure *you* know that this isn't the case, but a reader might interpret it as such.

As I understand it - and my understanding might be a little off - is that it works kinda like this:

0 bit = 0^2 = 0 = "off" (but zero bits is no data....)
1 bit = 0^2 + 1^2 = 1 volume (quite simply.... "on.")
2 bit = 0^2 + 1^2 + 2^2 = 5 volume steps (plus off)
3 bit = 0^2 + 1^2 + 2^2 + 4^2 = 21 volume steps (plus off)
4 bit = 0^2 + 1^2 + 2^2 + 4^2 + 8^2 = 85 volume steps

... etc....

So it is an exponential curve as opposed to a linear curve. 16 bit is WAY more than "twice as good" as 8-bit, etc.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#12
^ not quite right chris. binary is base 2, so its always 2^x.

so with no bits, you have 2^0, or nothing.
1 bit = 2^1 = 2 steps
2 bit = 2^2 = 4 steps
3 bit = 2^3 = 8 steps
10 bit = 2^10 = 1024 steps
16 bit = 2^16 = 65536 steps
24 bit = 2^24 = 16777216 steps
#14
jof1029 got it right, but chris is correct that bit-depth is an exponential growth, as it increases in powers/indices as opposed to doubling etc. FireHawk, I think you may be getting confused with various dB measurements, as decibels are logarithmic in growth.
Hey, look. Sigs are back.
#15
Quote by DisarmGoliath
jof1029 got it right, but chris is correct that bit-depth is an exponential growth, as it increases in powers/indices as opposed to doubling etc. FireHawk, I think you may be getting confused with various dB measurements, as decibels are logarithmic in growth.


gah i hate logarithmic and exponential growths.....soooo glad I am down with math..

Anyway thanks for the clarification I knew dB was logarithmic...wasn't sure on bit depth...
#16
Haha, I felt the same when learning about binary code and hexadecimal (which is a base 16 system and even worse!), but I think you can study most subjects indepth enough to make them complex if you wish - it's just a case of finding something you're passionate enough about, to spend ages going incredibly in-depth about to get somewhere, and that's essentially what most degrees are!

And if anyone thought binary alone was confusing, learn about the different ways computers read binary from various inputs (pulse code modulation, pulse width modulation etc.) and how a one (or 'high' state) can be a temporary 'on' signal, or a signal to change state until another one comes along, regardless of how many ones follow each one, which could mean that a signal is 'one one zero one one one zero one' but the computer would read it as 'one zero one', so a byte made up of 8 bits becomes 3 characters/values, shortening the binary wordlength considerably but losing a lot of accuracy at the expense of easier data handling further down the line... I think o.0


Back on topic, I see what chris means now - it didn't even strike me that anyone would think of bits as anything but binary, so I forgot to explain how many steps were in 16-Bit and 24-Bit!
Hey, look. Sigs are back.
Last edited by DisarmGoliath at Jun 15, 2011,
#17
Quote by jof1029
^ not quite right chris. binary is base 2, so its always 2^x.

so with no bits, you have 2^0, or nothing.
1 bit = 2^1 = 2 steps
2 bit = 2^2 = 4 steps
3 bit = 2^3 = 8 steps
10 bit = 2^10 = 1024 steps
16 bit = 2^16 = 65536 steps
24 bit = 2^24 = 16777216 steps


I stand corrected. Thanks!

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#18
.....WHAT!??
nvm, I'm still in high school...

But thanks for the tips!
Last edited by gateway01 at Jun 18, 2011,
#19
Quote by gateway01
.....WHAT!??
nvm, I'm still in high school...

But thanks for the tips!

Don't worry about our ramblings in the last few posts, all we said (with the binary and numbers) that matters to you at the moment is that recording at 16-Bit means there are 65,536 possible volumes for any track in your recording, and 24-Bit has 16,777,216 possible volumes, meaning 24-Bit is a hell of a lot more accurate (not just 50% more as people might expect.
Hey, look. Sigs are back.