#1
I am completely new to recording.

I want quality but cannot spend a fortune.

I will be recording vocals, sound from my guitar amplifier, and from a contact microphone. Then mixing them together. I do not know what I want the resulting format to be. But I want a high quality recording.

I know I need:

-headphones
-microphone
-contact microphone

From this board and internet reviews I figure the Audio Technica ATH M50, and the Sony MDR7506 are good choices. The MDR7506s are about $50 dollars cheaper, and that matters to me. But if anybody can argue why I should spend the extra money, I'll listen.

The Shure SM57 seems like the go to microphone.

I have no clue about contact microphones. But like the microphone and headphones, I'm looking for something that will do a good job but not empty my bank.


What I don't know is what I should record into, mix with, or what format the recording should take.

Are lossless computer files like FLACs the only realistic format to expect to produce without having a traditional studio?

I assume that the recording interfaces mentioned in the "read now" sticky go to the computer to create these files?

Would I also need to get a compatible computer program?

I don't know anything about interfaces, but a multi-track recorder sounds like it goes with what I want to do. Am I correct?

Is there anything I am missing? I want to put together a complete checklist.
I once hit a man in Dearborn. Michigan. A hit and run. I hit him and just kept on goin. I don't know if he's alive or dead. But I'm sorry. Not a day goes by i don't see his face.
Last edited by rabbittroopsux at Feb 22, 2014,
#2
I don't have any experience with the Sonys but I can tell you that if you buy the M50s you will probably never need to upgrade your headphones again. By the time you're looking at something 'better' than them you should be looking at a set of monitors rather than better headphones.

What kind of guitar are we talking here? because I don't understand why you would take a contact mic to an electric, or why you would take an amped signal from an acoustic. For recording an electric guitar the 57 is a great mic, for vocals/acoustic it'll do but it's not ideal. For an acoustic I would mic the guitar itself with a condenser of some sort. A good large diaphragm condenser should do both vocals and acoustic very well if thats what you're recording.

If you're recording with a computer and software DAW you'll probably get .WAVs by default for each track (you can change this, I would recommend staying with lossless formats for raw tracks though). When you mix down you can go to just about any format you want. Not sure what the typical output format is from a multitracker.
#3
Quote by chatterbox272


What kind of guitar are we talking here? because I don't understand why you would take a contact mic to an electric, or why you would take an amped signal from an acoustic.


The contact microphone is for general purposes. The SM57 is for my electric guitar.
I once hit a man in Dearborn. Michigan. A hit and run. I hit him and just kept on goin. I don't know if he's alive or dead. But I'm sorry. Not a day goes by i don't see his face.
#4
Quote by chatterbox272
Not sure what the typical output format is from a multitracker.

They usually output in .wav, so you get the same quality and format as software based DAWs.

TS - you're right in assuming the interfaces mentioned in the stickied thread are used to hook up to your PC. The recommended software mentioned in that thread is Reaper, and that creates the .wav files you're talking about.

The multitrackers do the same job as an interface/PC/Reaper setup, but they do it all in a standalone unit.

The choice between a PC based setup and a multitracker based setup is mainly down to preference and ambition. If you just want a simple way to create high quality recordings as an addition to your guitar playing hobby, then a multitracker could be the best way forward for you. If you want to get seriously into recording and make recordings that could be professionally marketed, you need to go the software route.

What are your goals with entering the world of recording?
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#5
Quote by GaryBillington

The choice between a PC based setup and a multitracker based setup is mainly down to preference and ambition. If you just want a simple way to create high quality recordings as an addition to your guitar playing hobby, then a multitracker could be the best way forward for you. If you want to get seriously into recording and make recordings that could be professionally marketed, you need to go the software route.

What are your goals with entering the world of recording?


That's kind of hard to answer. Calling it a hobby is a realistic answer. But I'd be lying if I said I didn't want there to be a chance of somebody taking a serious look at it. And I think I might be disappointed if all I was left with was a wav. The recordings I want to make are often focused on "noise". So the subtle qualities of whatever I'm recording are a large part of what makes a song what it is. I want to feel like I am fully capturing those qualities.
I once hit a man in Dearborn. Michigan. A hit and run. I hit him and just kept on goin. I don't know if he's alive or dead. But I'm sorry. Not a day goes by i don't see his face.
Last edited by rabbittroopsux at Feb 20, 2014,
#6
What exactly are you meaning when you say "contact microphone" cause from the context of this thread, I have a feeling you mean something else....
Quote by Dave_Mc
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maybe you're not saying the right things? an amp likes to know you care.





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#7
Yeah, when somebody says 'contact mic' I think of transducer/piezo type mics rather than the kind of thing you'd typically mic up most sources with.
Hey, look. Sigs are back.
#8
Quote by MatrixClaw
What exactly are you meaning when you say "contact microphone" cause from the context of this thread, I have a feeling you mean something else....


That's a possibility.

I mean a microphone that you press against a solid object so you can record sounds like you would hear if your ear was pressed against it.
I once hit a man in Dearborn. Michigan. A hit and run. I hit him and just kept on goin. I don't know if he's alive or dead. But I'm sorry. Not a day goes by i don't see his face.
#9
Quote by rabbittroopsux
That's a possibility.

I mean a microphone that you press against a solid object so you can record sounds like you would hear if your ear was pressed against it.

Ok, so yes... you want a piezo mic.

Still, not sure WHY you want one? What exactly are you planning to do with it? From what it sounds like, you're wanting to record vocals and electric guitar. I can't see where a piezo pickup would fit into that equation...
Quote by Dave_Mc
I've had tube amps for a while now, but never actually had any go down on me
Quote by jj1565
maybe you're not saying the right things? an amp likes to know you care.





www.SanctityStudios.com
#10
Quote by MatrixClaw
Ok, so yes... you want a piezo mic.

Still, not sure WHY you want one? What exactly are you planning to do with it? From what it sounds like, you're wanting to record vocals and electric guitar. I can't see where a piezo pickup would fit into that equation...


Noise oriented music.
I once hit a man in Dearborn. Michigan. A hit and run. I hit him and just kept on goin. I don't know if he's alive or dead. But I'm sorry. Not a day goes by i don't see his face.
#11
Doesn't all music consist of noises? In fact most sounds consist of noises, I can't think of any that don't.
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#12
Quote by GaryBillington
Doesn't all music consist of noises? In fact most sounds consist of noises, I can't think of any that don't.


Of course all music is made up of noise. However, "noise" is used as an umbrella term used to cover many unconventional genres.

To a degree, I resent the term myself, because I think "noise" is as musical as anything else. But the vocabulary is what it is.
I once hit a man in Dearborn. Michigan. A hit and run. I hit him and just kept on goin. I don't know if he's alive or dead. But I'm sorry. Not a day goes by i don't see his face.
#13
I'm definitely going to go with the SM57 and ATH-M50s.


My only reason to go for something like a 2i4/Reaper is to record to lossless files. However, I like the idea of a stand alone multi-track recorder. It might be a better place for starting out, and my computer is trash. But I was wondering how limited they are with storing tracks. Are you free to go back and edit old tracks along with their individual parts at any time?

Does anybody have anything to say about contact microphones? I see they are typically used for acoustic instruments. I know I want some that can pick up very low frequencies well, but I have no idea what to expect from them.

Also if I'm recording something that I need to wear headphones to hear, how do I listen to the backing track that it goes to while recording? Is sending two signals to a pair of headphones something people do?
I once hit a man in Dearborn. Michigan. A hit and run. I hit him and just kept on goin. I don't know if he's alive or dead. But I'm sorry. Not a day goes by i don't see his face.
#14
WAV files are lossless, they're just uncompressed so they tend to be pretty big. You can fix that by putting them on your computer later and using something like Format Factory to convert them to FLAC for smaller lossless, or MP3/M4A for lossy.

I don't know shit about contact mics I'm afraid, I've only ever used the clip ones you can get to silently tune an electric guitar and I doubt they sound any good.

What you're after there is input monitoring, it's a pretty standard feature in software DAWs I would assume multitrackers do it too.
#15
Quote by rabbittroopsux
My only reason to go for something like a 2i4/Reaper is to record to lossless files. However, I like the idea of a stand alone multi-track recorder. It might be a better place for starting out, and my computer is trash. But I was wondering how limited they are with storing tracks. Are you free to go back and edit old tracks along with their individual parts at any time?

Multitrackers usually record in .wav format, the same as software. Different kit will have different memory, so you'd need to investigate that, but I've never had any issues with it - I'm not a particularly prolific recorder though, so YMMV. Obviously if memory did start becoming an issue you can simply back up to PC, and some use standard memory cards so you could have a collection of those lined up ready for use.

I presume by going back & editing old tracks you're talking about loading up something you've archived? That would simply be a case of reloading the files back to your multitracker.

Quote by chatterbox272
What you're after there is input monitoring, it's a pretty standard feature in software DAWs I would assume multitrackers do it too.

Apart from software plugins, multitrackers do everything the software equivalent does. There have been several conversations in the past on here where people have said "multitrackers don't do this or that", 95% of the time my answer has been "yes they do!". What you're talking about here has been standard functionality on every multitracker I've ever owned since the days of my cassette based Tascam Portastudio.
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Last edited by GaryBillington at Feb 22, 2014,
#16
TX. I'll go with the multi-track recorder then. I know I'm asking about the very basics. I just want to make sure I get what I need.
I once hit a man in Dearborn. Michigan. A hit and run. I hit him and just kept on goin. I don't know if he's alive or dead. But I'm sorry. Not a day goes by i don't see his face.
Last edited by rabbittroopsux at Feb 22, 2014,
#17
Contact microphones are typically used more for things like drum triggers/elec. drum kit pads more than anything else. Piezo transducers are not the same thing as the piezo crystal pickups used in the bridges of electro-acoustic guitars/violins etc. as the transducer pickups you see for cheap on eBay are pretty much only good for a clean trigger signal in my opinion. That being said, I have very limited experience with them beyond that.

I think what you're probably after is a boundary microphone, the sort you can place on the ground or attach to a wall. Sennheiser do a good one but I can't remember the model number off the top of my head. They have an extended low frequency response so it sounds like it suits your requirements.

Also, if you're going down the multitracker route I highly recommend you get one with good connectivity to a computer (at the least, a USB connection that allows basic exporting of audio files) so you can try to get the best of both worlds and see how you like them. I'd imagine most, if not all, modern machines offer this functionality but Gary can probably tell you more.
Hey, look. Sigs are back.
#18
Quote by DisarmGoliath
Contact microphones are typically used more for things like drum triggers/elec. drum kit pads more than anything else. Piezo transducers are not the same thing as the piezo crystal pickups used in the bridges of electro-acoustic guitars/violins etc. as the transducer pickups you see for cheap on eBay are pretty much only good for a clean trigger signal in my opinion. That being said, I have very limited experience with them beyond that.

I think what you're probably after is a boundary microphone, the sort you can place on the ground or attach to a wall. Sennheiser do a good one but I can't remember the model number off the top of my head. They have an extended low frequency response so it sounds like it suits your requirements.

Also, if you're going down the multitracker route I highly recommend you get one with good connectivity to a computer (at the least, a USB connection that allows basic exporting of audio files) so you can try to get the best of both worlds and see how you like them. I'd imagine most, if not all, modern machines offer this functionality but Gary can probably tell you more.



I will definitely make sure to get a multitracker with connectivity.

From what I read, boundary microphones are placed on a wall to eliminate the recording of slight echoes, rather than pick up the vibrations of the surface it's on. What I'm looking for is basically a stethoscope that you can record with. Maybe that's an odder request than I thought.
I once hit a man in Dearborn. Michigan. A hit and run. I hit him and just kept on goin. I don't know if he's alive or dead. But I'm sorry. Not a day goes by i don't see his face.
#19
Also how should I feel about used multitrackers? Do they lose quality in any way?
I once hit a man in Dearborn. Michigan. A hit and run. I hit him and just kept on goin. I don't know if he's alive or dead. But I'm sorry. Not a day goes by i don't see his face.
Last edited by rabbittroopsux at Feb 28, 2014,
#20
Tape multitrackers do due to wear on the heads, etc. but I don't think you're going there...

Digital multitrackers are usually fine second hand unless the seller has found a problem with their and unloads. Since you won't be very familiar with the unit until you get to the problem it might be too late. For example a friend got stiffed on one that had a track not working. He found that out when he had to track a full drum kit and needed all the inputs, about a year later
#21
Never done any recording? Start with this:
http://www.amazon.com/iM2-Channel-Portable-Digital-Recorder/dp/B0065GF5VW
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/garageband/id408709785?mt=8
http://www.amazon.com/Sony-MDR7506-Professional-Diaphragm-Headphone/dp/B000AJIF4E

About $100 all in. This will render higher sonic quality than Paul McCartney's 1st solo album by far. Once you understand the nuts and bolts of multitrack recording you will have a much better idea of what you will need next. Technology changes in a blink of an eye so never overbuy this stuff.
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
#22
Quote by Cajundaddy

About $100 all in. This will render higher sonic quality than Paul McCartney's 1st solo album by far. Once you understand the nuts and bolts of multitrack recording you will have a much better idea of what you will need next. Technology changes in a blink of an eye so never overbuy this stuff.


#23
Quote by Cajundaddy
Never done any recording? Start with this:
http://www.amazon.com/iM2-Channel-Portable-Digital-Recorder/dp/B0065GF5VW
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/garageband/id408709785?mt=8
http://www.amazon.com/Sony-MDR7506-Professional-Diaphragm-Headphone/dp/B000AJIF4E

About $100 all in. This will render higher sonic quality than Paul McCartney's 1st solo album by far. Once you understand the nuts and bolts of multitrack recording you will have a much better idea of what you will need next. Technology changes in a blink of an eye so never overbuy this stuff.


I'm not looking to buy anything that I will soon want to replace. I just bought the headphones in the ad I posted too. (I deleted it. It looked like they raised the price $20 for the last ones available)
I once hit a man in Dearborn. Michigan. A hit and run. I hit him and just kept on goin. I don't know if he's alive or dead. But I'm sorry. Not a day goes by i don't see his face.
Last edited by rabbittroopsux at Feb 28, 2014,
#24
Quote by rabbittroopsux
I'm not looking to buy anything that I will soon want to replace. I just bought the headphones in the ad I posted too. (I deleted it. It looked like they raised the price $20 for the last ones available)


Hey I still use these iphone recording tools for live recording and they work great. I also have a Roland VS2000 20 chnl DAW a dozen vintage recording mics and complete ProTools suite on my Mac. Choose the right tools for the job at hand. No reason to bring out the 60" gas chain saw when a simple hand saw will do. 99% of this game is talent, not technology.

Here is one of my highly talented musician friends taking iphone recording and video through a whole new door:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P5PJloYN3pk
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
Last edited by Cajundaddy at Feb 28, 2014,
#25
Quote by rabbittroopsux
Also how should I feel about used multitrackers? Do they lose quality in any way?

I've always bought all of mine used and never had a problem, but like diabolical said you may occasionally find someone who doesn't tell you the full story - but that's true of any used purchase.

When you get it delivered, hit it hard and try everything you think you'll ever need so you know of any problems quick enough to complain. Like I said though, you should really do that with anything you buy used.
Gibson LP Traditional, LP GT, LP Studio, SG Standard x2
Barber Tone Press > EHX Worm >TC Polytune > MXR Custom Badass 78 > EXH Glove > EHX East River Drive > Zoom G3 > TC Spark Mini Booster
Laney VC30
Marshall TSL602
Jet City JCA22H
.
My SoundCloud