I'm really trying to make it big in the Alt-Rock scene, and I'm constantly writing, but I think it's time to advance. I'm saving up for a small, yet still half decent, home recording studio.

First of all: I honestly hate using microphones for recording instruments. I've seen on multiple occasions a chord that plug into your guitar/bass and computer. Then, it directly records it what you play. It has a USB or microphone jack at the end that goes into the computer. That seems great for me, so here are my questions...

What are those chords called? What's the best one to buy? What are the pros and cons of them? Do they work with heavy or distorted bass? Would they work with an electric drum set (Specifically, the Yamaha DTX430k Electric Drums)?

Those "cords" are the cheap versions of a Analog to Digital USB Audio Interface. Some popular versions are made by Presonus, Avid, Mackie, and so much more.. Everybody and there dog is making one of these.

I personally have an old MBox 2 Mini that at the time of purchase was priced at just over $200.

Since you don't like Microphones for whatever reason it sounds like you want to record direct. Direct meaning you would plug your guitar directly into the USB audio interfaces line input jacks. With this you can achieve any number of things provided you have the correct software to do so.

If you already have a guitar processor like a Line 6 POD or Eleven Rack than you might be able to get away with recording the POD/Eleven rack signal directly into your DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) Software.

There is plenty to learn and most recording hardware will set you up with a quick start guide to get you going. Digital Recording is nearly limitless in possibilities depending on your hardware and software of choice.

Some things you will want to consider is what sample rate your device supports and the latency of said device. A higher sample rate will give you more headroom as far as quality of audio goes. Keep in mind CD's were recorded at a 44100Hz 16-Bit sample rate so a higher sample rate is not a necessity but if you want the best possible clarity of sound and will be using lossless codecs like FLAC to distribute your audio than it may be worth it.

Anyways drank too much this weekend so if this is poorly formatted I apologize.

Lots to learn but also lots to achieve.

EDIT: These will work with a the drum set provided it has a line out. Even better would be to use the drum set as a Midi Controller provided you have a Midi input on your Audio Interface or Computer Sound Card. By using your drum set as a Midi Controller you can use a Software Drum Set (usually in the form of a plugin for your DAW software) to give you a more realistic sound and different drum types as well.

The distorted bass could be recording directly in but you may also want to look in to Software that can process your clean bass and distort it.

Use your ears. At the end of the day sh!t in, sh!t out.
Last edited by spicyfourpiece at Jan 14, 2014,
If your trying to get serious, software and other plugins are not the way you want to go in any situation. Whats the problem with mic's? I dont understand the issue.
You need to go read the Interfaces sticky. That tells you all you need to know about connecting your guitar to a computer for recording, as well as some of the other options available to you.
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It might be best to get a proper USB audio interface then when you get monitor speakers they can go straight out of the box.

I've heard the focusrite-scarlett-2i2 is a decent starting point.

If you want to use the drums as a controller you'll need to find a box with midi as well.

Depending on your vocal mic you may need phantom power as well which a focusrite-scarlett-2i2 will support.

If you are serious about 'making it' don't cut corners with a line to USB cable. Get a reasonable interface that will enable you to grow and try new techniques.
ExtraIntestinal, those are rocksmith real tone cables. They can be had for $30 and actually work great (as in great sound capture). I use mine, but there is a bit of latency with my set up that I'm trying to figure out.
Quote by maidenmyguide

If you are serious about 'making it' don't cut corners with a line to USB cable.

I'm going to stop just shy of agreeing here. If you want to "make it" as a songwriter, band, etc., then you don't really need to learn or spend a lot of time and money on learning to record. Record your demos on a very basic level like a Zoom H2 or whatever - just to keep track of stuff. Then get a band together, and make a serious recording where you get someone else to do the recording.

If you want to make it as a recording engineer / producer of sorts, then yes, you should spend as much time and money as you can on learning to record.

To the TS.... why do you want to record? To keep track of your ideas? To get gigs? To promote yourself to other musicians? To share with your friends? To send to record companies? To get radio play? To maybe become a recording engineer / producer?

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.
I totally agree with Axemanchris.

One of my best friend's bands is doing really, really well. He recorded their first demo and it's okay. I'm a recording engineer by trade and we just finished their second album. He's a halfway decent engineer and has some good gear but having the ability to pay me to focus SOLELY on engineering and producing to let him focus only on writing and creativity made a huge difference.

If you're serious about "making it" (there are a lot of ways to make it other than the conventional) then get yourself a decent mic and a decent interface and leave your recording to someone who is trying to make it as an engineer. Both of you will benefit and the product will be better.
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I'm just going to reiterate what's already been said, but:
- If you're serious, use microphones. I've never had as good a result from going direct (AxeFX aside) (EDIT okay never is an exaggeration, but it's rare I prefer a direct recording to an amp/mic recording) "I don't like microphones" is an absurdity.
- If you're REALLY serious, then focus on the music and let someone who knows what they're doing worry about the recording - instead of spending your money on an average interface/mic, spend it on an actual engineer who already owns the sweet gear you wish you had, and who knows how to get the sound you want!