#1
Do you think one can produce music with decent quality (in regards of fidelity) with just royalty free tools?

I'm stuck with Garageband for about 3 years now and while I try to learn as much as I can about recording, mixing and mastering, it seems like I've reached some kind of dead point were I don't make much progress anymore. The problem is that I don't know whether it's because of the tools or the lack of knowledge about that kind of stuff. I've probably downloaded every free sample pack and plug-in there is, but I still don't get the sound that I want. While I would love to use software like Ableton or Logic, that would be an option in few years when i can afford the accompanied hardware as well.
On a few tutorials I watched, it sometimes appears that the engineers press one button of a 300$ plugin and it greatly improves the sound of their mix. While I don't think those are particularly necessary, I wonder how far one can get with "non-professional" equipment.

What's your opinion about this?
Last edited by verkiII at Feb 5, 2014,
#2
If you gave a 3 year old with no knowledge the best tools money can but could he build you a house?

There is your answer right there. Tools are only tools. A skilled artisan makes something beautiful using the tools he has.
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#3
^ that applies to lotsa stuff, but not everything.
You will hardly be able to produce a decent sounding guitar based recording with a marshall mg mic'd up with a $20 sony mic going through a behringer UCA202, producing the thing with audacity.

You can get nice sounds from cheap stuff, you can get nice sounds from free stuff and you can get nice sounds from damn expensive stuff.

Depending on what you're doing and on your knowledge you can sound from bad to average with garageband.

Anyway yeah, expensive stuff usually sounds better.
BUT!
Logic is $200 and with that alone you can make top notch ITB productions.
If you wanna record stuff and so on you'll also need hardware.
Good thing is, cheap hardware exists too.
Say you already have an amp - you spend $250 in a mic + an audio interface and you're good.

My point here being, you can't make things sound that good without making some investments, but those investments don't have to be big.

Why wouldn't you get logic already anyway?
What kinda hardware are ya talking about when you're saying "that would be an option in few years when i can afford the accompanied hardware as well"?
'cause I started off mixing with garageband, and then I got logic 9 back when I still didn't really have any hardware.
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Last edited by Spambot_2 at Feb 5, 2014,
#4
I'd say it's a little of both. I, too, am stuck with GarageBand (it gets better... v.1.0 on the first Intel Mac Mini), and while my recordings are nowhere near perfect album-quality, a proper knowledge of filters, volume and panning, EQing, and mastering can still produce decent-quality recordings. I would still like to upgrade to something better eventually, but these cheap tools are good to learn basic mastering and engineering practices on.
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#5
Your DAW is going to be one of the lowest items on your list in terms of importance for quality. Now, better workflow coming from a better DAW is important, but I'll bet you I could make an equally good SOUNDING recording on my macbook with Garageband as I could with my Protools HD rig. ...provided I used my preamps/converters/compressors/plugins. No one ever asks what OS or computer you're running and they shouldn't be asking what DAW. I run a POS Windows XP computer with PT8HD. That computer SUCKS. My macbook blows it out of the water. Still turn out good sounding records.

Knowledge is always more important, I would rather work with a killer engineer using Garageband, a scarlett and an SM57 than someone who doesn't know what they're doing at sound city. That being said, I do notice fairly dramatic quality differences when I work on my Firestudio with Logic vs when I work on my protools HD rig. The gear matters.
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Last edited by Artemis Entreri at Feb 5, 2014,
#6
Quote by Spambot_2

Why wouldn't you get logic already anyway?
What kinda hardware are ya talking about when you're saying "that would be an option in few years when i can afford the accompanied hardware as well"?
'cause I started off mixing with garageband, and then I got logic 9 back when I still didn't really have any hardware.


Well, the DAW itself is not the problem, I could afford spending 200$ on that.
I'm talking about the computing power. If I want to work seamlessly on a project with +15 tracks and effects / plugins on each of them, you have to have a decent processor and some memory. I've already reached the threshold on my i5 Macbook with 4GB RAM.
The other thing is, I don't want to limit myself on Apple stuff only. I haven't decided yet whether the next big investment will be an IMac or a PC.

Quote by Artemis Entreri

Your DAW is going to be one of the lowest items on your list in terms of importance for quality. Now, better workflow coming from a better DAW is important, but I'll bet you I could make an equally good SOUNDING recording on my macbook with Garageband as I could with my Protools HD rig. ...provided I used my preamps/converters/compressors/plugins. No one ever asks what OS or computer you're running and they shouldn't be asking what DAW. I run a POS Windows XP computer with PT8HD. That computer SUCKS. My macbook blows it out of the water. Still turn out good sounding records.


Well those can be quite expensive too. When I see something is done with an expensive plugin, I usually try to apply the basic approach the stuff I am using, but qualitywise it's still not on the same level.
#7
Quote by verkiII
Well, the DAW itself is not the problem, I could afford spending 200$ on that.
I'm talking about the computing power. If I want to work seamlessly on a project with +15 tracks and effects / plugins on each of them, you have to have a decent processor and some memory. I've already reached the threshold on my i5 Macbook with 4GB RAM.
The other thing is, I don't want to limit myself on Apple stuff only. I haven't decided yet whether the next big investment will be an IMac or a PC.



Well those can be quite expensive too. When I see something is done with an expensive plugin, I usually try to apply the basic approach the stuff I am using, but qualitywise it's still not on the same level.


Working "seamlessly" is over rated imo. Now by all means, if you have access to/money for a powerful computer, go for it. However, I say this because I spent a ton of money on a desktop (windows) to run a home studio and then eventually a Laptop (Mac) and it has had the most insignificant effect on my engineering. Ended up selling the PC and keeping the macbook.

I DO get irritated when I'm waist deep in mixing a project with close to 100 tracks and it freezes everytime I load a plug in though. Sort of wish I had kept the PC now haha. That being said, I've bought 4 mics since and have only briefly considered a new computer, usually at the butt end of a mixing session.

What's the clock speed on your processor? What about slots for RAM? You should be able to upgrade to at least 8GB of ram for less than 40 bucks. If you have at least a dual core 2.5 or a quad core 2.3 you should be fine. What about hard drive speed? That matters a lot too. You probably have a 5400RPM drive, I'd push for AT LEAST a 7200, if not an SSD.

Once again, just for emphasis. I would much rather have a good signal chain (mic>preamp>converter>decent plugins) than a good computer. If you can spend 200 on Logic, you can probably also spend 250 on Waves Silver if you're so worried about plugins. The waves stuff IS good but there are also good free plug ins.
Winner of the 2011 Virginia Guitar Festival

Protools HD
Lynx Aurora 16/HD192
Mojave, Sennheiser, AKG, EV etc mics
Focusrite ISA828 pres
Waves Mercury
Random Rack Gear

65 Deluxe Reverb
PRS CE 22
American Standard Strat
Taylor 712
Last edited by Artemis Entreri at Feb 5, 2014,
#8
Knowledge/Experience.

I'd venture to bet that Bob Rock or Mutt Lange could make a better recording in my studio than I could in either of theirs.

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

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#9
well..if you're worry about lag time. Try using a reel to reel.lol
Holy wow man, I had spaghetti of wires to just run each channel of the mixer into
tape thing of ma roo. Then you have to patch in all the FX. More wires everywhere.
Then you have to wait..wait and wait for it to rewind.
Without visual to assist you. I need to see all of it in your head.lmao

I think Jimmy Page used to kick the reel to get a phasing Fx.haha
So he said....

With that said. I learn alot about sound waves, accoustic...ect Live micing it.

What the who??? The slowest PC I have has 6gig of ram , 2 plus Gigs of cpu.
It's only a $400 laptop. HDMI/D-sud port. Hook that badboy to my 50" flat screen.
I need to get a touch screen. It would be totally awsume.

I seriously need to get a midi interpahse so I can hook up all my FX chains to my foot padel board. You need it for the patch in botton, at least.
Last edited by smc818 at Feb 6, 2014,
#11
The knowledge is definitely more important - give a good workman bad tools and they'll make the best of what they can; give a bad workman the best tools in the world and they'll still do a poor job.


Obviously you need some tools to do certain things, but once you have the basics, the upgrades are to allow you to make better use of features and qualities not in the basic/entry-level stuff.
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#12
Quote by DisarmGoliath
The knowledge is definitely more important - give a good workman bad tools and they'll make the best of what they can; give a bad workman the best tools in the world and they'll still do a poor job.


Basically I think so as well, but it can get frustrating when you simply can't do something important just because of the missing/ insufficient tools. I mean, you can't even have busses on garageband. When I first heard about what they are, the mixing process in general made a lot more sense to me.

On another topic, do we have some sort of compilation of links and websites on this forum where you can get good and helpful royality free plugins and samples? There are many developers out there who offer some of their products for free and I think it would be a good idea to collect them in a forum for musicians.

Anyway, thanks for your answers, I appreciate it.