Hey guys!

So, I sat down with my drummer, and we decided it is finally time to invest in a good recording setup.

My original plan was to do this:

Buy a Apple laptop.....use a presonus firebox as an interface, each band member would buy his or her own mics....guitar would go into pic input 1, drum mics, mixed down with a mixer, into mic input 2, and bass either direct (3 or 4) or miced with the bass drum mic after words.

The advantages of that setup I saw was that each instrument would record as its own track, for simpler editing and fixing. All the editting would also be digital.

Now, this was my optimal plan, but we really want to get the recording setup together within the next week or two, and I will not have the funds for the laptop for quite some time, so we need to find an alternative.

What would you guys recommend? I have thought of a few alternatives....please either comment on these, or share and idea of your own!

- Get the identical setup mentioned, but work with our desktops for now, and later just use it with the laptop when we get it.

- Get a digital recorder (I have a few questions with this one....)
- This way, can instruments be recorded as seperate tracks, and then layered (each member lays his part down while listening to what has already been done so far).....or does it all record as one track? Is there any way we could export the seperate channels as tracks onto a computer to be editted?

Help me out guys! We want to go get all this stuff this weekend, so all help is greatly appreciated!
id say just go with your desktop PC's for now. For me, my drumemrs PC isnt very far from kit drum set so recvording isnt that hard. so if he could, get ur drumemr to get his PC close to his kit. Hpw many tracks for a mixer you planning to get? and how many mics for the drums?
Problem is that the desktop is in the next room....getting it to there would basically mean that we would have to send the mixer and mic cables through the hallway, into the next room, to the interface.

Please keep the comments coming. Could someone give me a rundown of how the recorders would work?
I would go with the laptop option. It is easiest to transport while keeping all of your editing and tracking options open. It also allows more tracks. A good hard drive recorder starts to get bulky and is hard to export single tracks (from experience with the ones I have used). I do like that most recorders have actual analog sliders and knobs, you don't have this on a laptop but you could buy a cheap mixer if you wanted to to get the sliders and knobs. Computer is the way to go though.

Edit: You are going to need a mixer for the drums anyway, so that problem is fixed.

A recorder you would just plug the mic's into it and record. You can edit on them, and depending on how easy the interface is you can easily (or pull your hair out trying and run the risk of losing all your work) edit the tracks. Also, on the 4 track that I have it is hard to export single tracks, but keep in mind this is a MD recorder not hard drive.
Last edited by myvaliantleap at Jun 13, 2006,
My problem, though, is that I won't be able to afford the mac for quite some time. Should I just go ahead and run everything into a desktop for now? How do I go about doing this?

^So I can't export single tracks from a recorder (guitar only, for example?) Some are USB....could I export the channels seperately, or does it mix it all together at the output?
Oh, ok. If you can't get the mac now go ahead and do the PC thing. You need an interface like the Firebox. Just get something like that and get a cheap mixer. You will only need the mixer for drums since you will use more than one mic, or if you use some ambient mics for guitar but that's up to you. Anyways, just line the mixer out to the Firebox into the computer. I couldn't export a single channel on mine, unless I turned down all other channels and then played the whole track while running the output from the recorder into my computer... this 4 track was not made with computer recording in mind. The newer usb types probably can, but I can't guarantee you anything because I haven't used them. Computer recording is still the way to go, because of
1. Unlimited tracks (usually)
2. Better editing features
3. No loss in sound quality due to bouncing tracks down.
4. Better mastering features
5. Everything and every company is moving towards computer and hard drive recording.
6. You can get a nice home computer or laptop recording set up for just as much as you can a nice hard drive recorder, plus you can use a computer for more than one thing.
That's what I'm thinking. The PC and interface may be the way to go. My only concern is the distance to the PC....

Do you guys think a recorder could be a temporary option? Could I record the tracks, walk the recorder over to my PC, and USB the single tracks onto the computer, where I can edit and mix?
Any chance of moving the computer into the rehearsal room? It would be worth it, but someone else will have to answer the recorder question because, as I said, my recorder wasn't meant for computer recording. Hope I helped
you could do that, but IMO just dragging the PC down will be better in the long runm and will save u a coupel hundred from getting a hard drive recorder

EDIT: a hard drive recorder thats has USB interface is leik around 400, so for that much you coudl get an extra leik 200 gig hard drive for ur comp if u ever need it for recording, . but as i previously stated. moving ur comp down to rehersal room is waaay better
Last edited by Dyaxe666 at Jun 13, 2006,
as long as you are using devices with balanced inputs/outputs, and using balanced cable, I think you can run much longer cable lengths. I know the Echo Mia Midi card has balanced inputs.
"The fool doth think he is wise, but the wiseman knows himself to be a fool." - W.S.
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So, Erock, are you saying I could just run a really long cable from the computer to the interface? That would make things much easier, and allow me to use the setup on the PC now, and laptop later......

So, if I go firewire, which Interface would you guys recommend? I've heard very good things about the Presonus...anything else I should consider?
I'm pretty sure that's how they run cables in studios, but I'm no recording expert. PM Crunch, he knows what he's doing with studio gear.

edit: and are you using a preamp device, or a mixer with a preamp?
"The fool doth think he is wise, but the wiseman knows himself to be a fool." - W.S.
amp clips
amp vids
Last edited by Erock503 at Jun 13, 2006,
just one note...im a little too wiped out to make a real good suggestion on all of this..but RUN YOUR DRUMS STEREO!!! not just one mono input...mix them on your little mixer and use the left AND right outputs to go to your interface....trust me you do not want mono drums...use some of the stereo field! and you can probably get away with using 4 mics on the drums...i would put one on the snare, one on the kick, and used two overheads...at least pan your overheads!
I'll be sure to suggest it to my drummer when we actually do the recording....at the moment, we need to find the means to do it.

I think the interface may be the way to go......what would you guys say is a reliable one?

All opinions are still appreciated! I want to do this right the first time!
The Presonus Firebox pwns. You could also try two Presonus Inspires, those also pwn.

General break down:

SM57-must have mic. Super versatile, and sounds nice. For better impact, record with two, pointed in at the speaker cone at a 90-45 degree angle from each other, and pan one far left, and one far right. Makes it sound really fat. You can also put one up close, and one a bit further back to get an airy yet powerful sound. That stuff is fun to mess with. For acoustic guitar, and MXL 990 is good. It can sound a bit too airy though, so I point my SM57 at the sound hole when needed.

Bass-I'd go straight into the board, but a kick drum mic works well too. Let your bassist decide, but those are the two best options. Bass is easy. Whatever you do though, DON'T USE A '57 ON THE BASS!!! Also, an EQ is really important when directly inputting.

Drums-Some sort of mic package to pick up the brutal thudding. I use a CAD mic pac, it's 4 mics for 100 bucks. These get a good impact tone down, but don't have the best overall tone. Because of that I suggest an overhead mic, MXL 991 works well. An overhead on its own won't make the drums sound powerful enough. The drum mics should then be fed into their own submixer, the Behringer ones are good and cheap.

Vocals-MXL 990 is the way to go, works really great.

Now, I like to record ****loads of crap, and I find that a few SM57's can't hurt at all...
For piano a '57 shoved way inside the thing sounds nice, then with the MXL out a bit picking up some ambience.

For bongos, I put one '57 inside the hollow bit, and one on top.

For shakers, the MXL 990 is good.

Now this stuff should be group buy:
Interface-300 bucks makes up a large part of the buy...make the bassist pay for alot of it since he doesn't require much other gear
Same goes for the vocalist, his gear is also cheap.

Program-Makie Tracktion is $150, it's at www.tracktion.com/. There's a free demo on there too.

And for computer, get a Mac

The refurbished stuff is really good, and a few hundred bucks off. My Powerbook was 200 off. (That was a year ago, now you can get a 15 inch PB for like 7 hundred off.)
And IMO buying an Intel Mac isn't worth the extra cash at the moment. Don't get me wrong, they are going to pwn, but I like to give new stuff a bit of debugging time. The PPC Macs are still widely supported, theres tons of free software, etc...and now the prices are lower.

Drum mics.

Behringer mixer into Firebox into Powerbook.

All the guitar stuff is around the corner from the drums for noise isolation.

Guitar amps, you can see one of my '57s, and my MXL.

And my beautiful new attenuator, part of my homebuilt amp, and some tubes, and a few spare tube sockets just because they're sexy. RaWr.

I've been considering downgrading a bit to a two or four track tape actually. They're cheap(because they're "outdated") and you get really nice tape saturation and compresson. It's also much simpler to record with. (But not edit.)

I'm not very active here on UG currently.
I'm a retired Supermod off to the greener pastures of the real world.