Well, first you’d have to record notes played on your guitar. You could just record one note and have it played back at different pitches, but that will sound fake. You could record each note on your guitar and assign it to a key in your sampler. You could record each note on your guitar at five different velocities and assign velocity layers to each key in your sampler.
How to do that will depend on what tools you have at your disposal. What software are you using?
The best guitar sounds I have ever recorded were both done very differently.
1. About 15 years ago. A 1950’s Tele plugged direct into a Marshall Plexi, miked up with a plain ol’ SM57. The tone in the room was beautiful. My challenge was simply to not f**k it up. 2. About 1 year ago.... double tracked “hair metal” style guitar. Gtr 1 - Roland modelling amp using Mesa Boogie model, miked up with an SM57 Gtr 1 - same signal split to a DI and then run through JamUp ipad app using Marshall JCM800 model. Gtr 2 - Same amp, same model, miked with a Sennheiser MD421 Gtr 2 - same signal split to a DI and then run through JamUp ipad app using Randall Treadplate model. Two parts panned R/L, with the miked and JamUp tracks mixed about 50/50.
Cajun nailed it when he said that your room is more important than your gear. I built my own bass traps and acoustic treatment for about $200 and a couple of afternoons worth of work. The difference is incredible. I went from a room that I couldn't mix to save my soul in to a room that I can record vocals and acoustic guitar in without any funkiness.
Counter-intuitively, the smaller the room, the more treatment you need.
Ceiling is important, as are corners. Then behind your speaker monitors, and then behind your chair.
I can post pics of how I made mine if you like. When it comes to handyman stuff, I am a total hack, and even I can do it.
Just to add... the advantages of balanced cables are most realized with longer cable runs. So, if you are using a 10ft cable, you'd be lucky to notice anything. If you are using a 50ft cable... you might wish it was balanced.
I've only ever used a PC for music. Well, for anything, really. Not once have I wished I had a Mac. My current setup was a clearance computer from a computer retailer. Off-the-shelf... a fast dual-core Celeron processor at 3Ghz, 8GB of RAM, Win10. I think it was, like, $300.
I'll second the John Sayers forum. Just be prepared to give lots of details and expect to get into some pretty technical stuff. It is a forum for people who take things seriously.
The first thing they will tell you (probably) is to ixnay the carpet idea. You're much better off treating the ceiling. A lot. Sound will reflect off the floor, yes, but it won't keep reflecting back and forth, as your ceiling absorption will take care of that, and will do so MUCH better than anything you're likely to ever put on your floor. Also, lots of treatment on the walls... but not TOO much.
And they'll probably tell you to build corner traps. (there are a few other words for them... bass traps, superchunks, etc.)
As was mentioned above, when you want to get into recording, your physical space is every bit as important as the sum total of all of the gear you're going to put into it.
The post is about sound rejection, not getting the best vocal sound with bleed
On the surface, perhaps, but I think if we were to dig deeper, the intention is to get the best recording possible. Although neither would be my first, second, third, or even fifth choice, I would take a cheap condenser over an SM58 for a vocal track pretty much any day. (With the noted exception that I mentioned above.). Yes, it does depend on the room, the singer, context, etc.
I would take a little bleed with plucky electric guitar strings way in the background in a cheap condenser before I would use an SM58 with no bleed at all. However, angling the condenser so that the electric guitar strings are in the null of the mic will minimize that considerably.
I disagree, personally. I'd sooner have a tiny bit of pinkety-plink of electric guitar strings and capture my voice with the AT2035 than record my vocal with an SM58. (depending on the voice and singer.... I've actually had it happen - once - where after trying a whole bunch of other mics, that the SM58 was a perfect fit for the singer). Mixed in the song, you won't hear the electric guitar strings pinking away in the background.
You can probably minimize this a little. Notice how the best rejection is at about the 5:00 and 7:00 positions (relative to the on-axis of the mic being the 12:00 position).
Angle the mic such that the on-axis angle of the mic is pointing to the singer's mouth, while the 5:00 or 7:00 position of the mic is pointing at the guitar strings. That is where you'll get the best rejection.
And as I say... a teeny bit of plinking of electric guitar strings in the background shouldn't be a deal-breaker for a lead vocal once you get it in the mix.
There are other solutions that involve getting other mics (like a figure-8 pattern mic, or a hypercardiod dynamic mic better suited for vocals.... like a Sennheiser MD441 or even a Shure SM7), but my suggestion should be a good start.
Although well-intentioned, I'm not sure even the most accurate of answers will be truly helpful. For instance, what if we found out that the frequency center was 1khz with a bandwidth of one octave. What would you do with that?
It might be tempting to just master all your tracks with an EQ dip at 1khz then, but that's not really a good approach. Alternately, you could simply dip the EQ there temporarily to see what it might sound like in your car. But then what?
Where your efforts are going to be best placed is in actually treating the disease and not the symptoms.
What can you do to your room to prevent you from making mix decisions that over-excite those frequencies? In the end, that will ensure greater compatibility (translation) from your mix environment to *all* listening situations.
Let's maybe start with describing the room you are in. (dimensions, materials, any existing treatment, etc.)
I wouldn't mix with either of those headphones.... or well.... any headphones. I've got good monitors for that. The K240's I use for getting "up close" to things when editing and things like that. The HD280's I got because I wanted something that isolated well for tracking things like vocals and acoustic guitar and still sounded half-decent. They fit the bill perfectly. I wouldn't say they sound garbage-y at all. But half decent.... sure. I guess it comes down to "how good do you really need them to be for the purpose for which you are using them?" But at over $100 for a pair of phones, I'm generally not in a hurry to throw them out in the tracking room mostly unsupervised while I'm monitoring a session in the control room.
Every person in the studio needs headphones. They don't have to be the best on the market just decent enough to hear each other and powerful enough to stand up to some heavy volume. Also have you considered how you are going to power those headphones so each person has their own control over the volume and tone or at least volume? Lets say you have a five piece band with a vocalist. That's six active headphones you will need in the studio plus six headphone amps/boxes and at least six headphone extensions. At a bare minimum you are talking about $1,000 and that's just for a really bare bones headphone system.
Here is how I do it entirely on the cheap.
Cubase has studio sends where you can configure four independent monitor mixes via the software and send that out to different outputs from your interface. So, four of the outputs on my interface are assigned to a mono output for the performers.
I have two Behringer Powerplay Pro headphone amps (about $100/ea). The first one drives cue mix 1+2 and the second one drives cue mix 3+4. Those get sent down the snake to the snake box in the live room and run the four independent headphone outs there.... in mono. If I have more than four performers, I have two options. I can use a splitter at the snake box and have two people share a headphone signal. (surely two people will be able to compromise on a headphone mix.... not pro, but reasonable enough.... and cheap.....) Or, I can run a line out from one of the many other headphone outs in the control room and send a mix that way. Each headphone amp can send out to 8 channels.
Though I have two "good" pairs of headphones (for when it matters.... AKG K240 and Sennheiser HD280 pro), most of my tracking headphones are $30 jobs - sound decent, comfortable fit, padded ear cups... but nothing to cry over if they get killed.
By 1, 2 and 3, I mean the three things I listed as probable culprits in the death of your computer, in order of likelihood.
1 - overheating - Laptops tend to run hot. Older laptops will run even hotter. Laptops placed where they cannot circulate air easily are even hotter again. 2 - power surges - We had a TV get knocked out in a lightning storm. Any electronic device can be fried this way, but more sophisticated electronic things are more vulnerable. Your electric shaver being plugged in to charge is a lot less likely to be fried than is your $5000 gaming PC. 3 - connecting things incorrectly. USB carries data and power. This is why you can recharge your phone when you plug it into your computer via USB. Power in USB cables is meant to flow in one direction. If you were able to plug one device that sends power into another device that sends power - and thus not expecting to receive power - you could fry something. For instance, a powered USB hub expects to send power. The USB output on a PC expects to send power... not receive it. So, if you plugged the output of your USB hub into one of your USB ports on your PC, bad things could happen. This is why the ends of USB cables are different at each end.
Context: I run a project studio out of my house that has the capability to track full bands. I've been at that for about 20 years. Like you, I started smaaaaaallll and have continued to upgrade my space and my gear. I have never worked in a pro studio.
I'm really not sure how true it is that people want you to have pro tools or else "no deal." To my knowledge, nobody has ever turned me down because I run Cubase. But again.... I'm not competing in the pro studio arena, so....
I think what people are looking at - potential clients - before they spend their money is "What am I getting for my money?" To that question, they want to know what your work sounds like. Who have you recorded? What did it sound like? If you recorded a band with a great sounding album, EP, demo, whatever using Cubase (for instance), they'll take you every time over the person who uses pro tools with no track record... or worse... with a track record of crappy sounding recordings. Another valuable piece of your track record is word-of-mouth.
So... question one to consider: How do I establish a track record?
Then there is your gear list - especially microphones. Most people know (I like to think) that they are more important than what software you use. Do people want to book time at a studio that uses ProTools and a handful of SM58's, or at a studio that uses Logic and has a varied collection of interesting mics? I like to think that the answer is B. You want to record a drum kit? You're going to need a few different mics for that - usually, the more the merrier.
A good quality interface is important, but I'm not sure you really need to spend $5k on it. Those Apollo interfaces mentioned above are great. Need a few extra channels? Get a few cheap channels and run them into the Apollo via ADAT. You won't use those for critical things, but use them for things you're probably just going to overdub anyways, or for secondary things.
Another big money sink, though, is your physical space. People have a vague idea of what a pro studio space should look like. In the end, they have a reasonable idea of what one should sound like. If you don't invest in your physical space, it will neither look, or more importantly, sound even vaguely like a pro studio.
If you have a good interface, a good microphone collection, and a decent physical space (and the know-how... ), you will be well on your way to being able to establish a track record, because you'll actually be able to make a decent recording.
If people hear your work and are still concerned about whether or not you use proTools, there are basically two possibilities: a) You haven't really sold them on the quality of your work, and thus, they still think ProTools is going to be the magic bullet that transforms what they have heard of your work so far into the work they hope you are capable of. OR b) They are considering working between two studios and are worried about compatibility between the work they do at the two studios.
The third scenario is highly unlikely, yes. I would be most likely to consider either #1 or #2 as the reason for your laptop frying. If it fried while you were using it, and there was no lightning storm nearby, it probably just overheated. If it worked fine the last time you used it, and then didn't the next day or the next week you went to use it, then I might blame #2.
Sure, you can record a guitar with a dynamic mic. But there is a reason why condensers are more typically chosen. If you're on an SM57 budget, consider an inexpensive condenser from the likes of Behringer or something - either a large diaphragm B1 or B2, or a small diaphragm C2. Never mind the rhetoric. They're decent mics and perfectly usable. Yeah you'll grow out of them if you stick with recording and decide to invest some serious money into it, but to get you in the door and start getting things done... they're fantastic.
There is a tendency to say "dynamic mics this" and "condenser mics that." There are standards of practice, but there are always going to be other things that work. Saying you can't record a guitar with a dynamic mic is like saying you can't make furniture with a cross-cut saw. Sure you can. It might take longer... and it might not be as good.... but you can do it. People did it for hundreds of years before anyone even thought of the table saw. Some dynamic mics are *very* condenser-ish. I love my Sennheiser MD441 - a dynamic mic. But it is also one of the most expensive mics in my collection. But I would probably choose it over, say, my Behringer ECM8000 condenser. Not because it is Behringer, but because it is a small-diaphragm omni mic, and for acoustic guitar, I would rather pick up more guitar and less room by using the MD441. And because the MD441 is quieter.
Given a choice, an SM57 would be among the last mics I would choose. But if I had to.... well.... I would/could. But I wouldn't expect the same results.
I think the interface/preamp/software/guitar you were using at the time has absolutely NO bearing on the damage done to your computer. With that particular interface, assuming you are connecting it to your computer via USB, the preamp and converters are already out of the picture and it is just transmitting data to your computer. As was mentioned above, this is no more dangerous than syncing your phone to your computer. If that's what fried it, there was a big problem elsewhere.
The places I would look - especially on an older laptop are: - overheating - Laptops tend to run hot. Older laptops will run even hotter. Laptops placed where they cannot circulate air easily are even hotter again. - power surges - We had a TV get knocked out in a lightning storm. Any electronic device can be fried this way, but more sophisticated electronic things are more vulnerable. Your electric shaver being plugged in to charge is a lot less likely to be fried than is your $5000 gaming PC. - connecting things incorrectly. USB carries data and power. This is why you can recharge your phone when you plug it into your computer via USB. Power in USB cables is meant to flow in one direction. If you were able to plug one device that sends power into another device that sends power - and thus not expecting to receive power - you could fry something. For instance, a powered USB hub expects to send power. The USB output on a PC expects to send power... not receive it. So, if you plugged the output of your USB hub into one of your USB ports on your PC, bad things could happen. This is why the ends of USB cables are different at each end.
While I really like Kevathuri's point, I might also add this. There are two layers here... gear and tone. The two are not necessarily synonymous. Would he be open to trying to improve his tone with the gear he has? Maybe use the multi fx for fx and use the distortion from the amp. It's a solid-state amp from the '70s. Def Leppard used Randall stuff, as did a lot of other of the '80's bands. Vito Bratta from White Lion used solid state amps.
Dimebag was already mentioned. He's a perfect example of tone being subjective. As much as there are people who will take shots at him about his horrid tone, there are as many others out there trying to cop it so they can sound more like him. /shrug/
Is it that he really likes his tone, or is it that he really likes how he gets his tone?
I've heard some pretty decent tones out of older model Marshall MG combos. (mind you, I've heard some shockingly atrocious tones from some of the newer Marshall solid state stuff.... horrid.... ) Maybe he can get a better tone with what he has?
See, if he gets new gear - let's just imagine for a moment that you can convince him to update his rig - he will probably try to use it to replicate his current tone that he really likes... and fail.... and then blame the band. That is, if he likes his tone and not necessarily his gear.
This sounds like a classic case of a buffer setting. In short, your buffer is like a supply bucket that stores sound (for microseconds) between the input of your interface and your computer processor. If your computer is very fast and efficient, and if you have really good drivers, you can get away with a teeny tiny bucket. It will fill, albeit not much, but will not over-fill as the computer can keep up with the almost direct supply. What is happening here, probably, is that the bucket is too small to handle the stream of data that it is receiving, and your system can't keep up with it all. So, what happens, is that the bucket overflows and you spill some as you hurriedly try to get it to your processor. That spilling is what is happening when you get dropouts or crackling.
So, the solution is to set your buffer settings such that you have a larger buffer. (this will usually be done in your DAW software.) A bigger bucket will not overfill... but it will take longer to empty. In other words, you will have what is called more "latency" - a delay between the time that the input signal is sent to the computer, and the time it is processed and spit back out of the computer. This might be, but is by no means necessarily a big deal.
Your master fader channel should *never* exceed 0db. Anything over that clips. If it is just a couple of samples that clip for a millisecond here or there, nobody will probably ever notice. If you export your project with a good deal of the program material hitting about +6db, it will probably sound like someone took a saw to it... literally.
Now, a raw mix track that peaks at -0.1 db will usually sound too "quiet." The perceived loudness is achieved by compression and limiting on the master channel (or arguably more correctly, done during the mastering stage). To overgeneralize a little, the more you compress it and limit it, the more modern it will sound, assuming you are after the very "loud" modern aesthetic. For a folk tune, you probably aren't looking for that - even if it is a modern folk tune. So, you probably won't bash the living daylights out of all the dynamic range. You'll probably add a bit just to kind of glue it all together a bit.
I doubt there has ever been a person in history who has complained that their Gordon Lightfoot or James Taylor albums just weren't loud enough.
First off, I got an iRig last year and it has totally revolutionized my setup. I even use it live, no longer carrying an amp to gigs and rehearsals. I'm using the JamUP PRO app.
I also use it in the studio from time to time. Here is one project I used it on for a client. Now, in all fairness, you're *also* hearing real mics on a real amp in a room.... but even the amp is a modelling amp, so.... haha. In all, there are four rhythm guitar tracks - two takes right and left, with each one copy/pasted for a second track. One of each pairing is the miked amp (used a combination of SM57 and Sennheiser MD421) and the JamUP Pro amp models (used the Marshall 800 model and the Randall Treadplate model). I'm quite happy with how they turned out.
As far as software goes, there are many packages on the market. Reaper is the best choice for anyone on a budget. It has a pretty open-ended and very inexpensive license, and feature-wise, competes with the pro packages.
As suggested before, everything is way more competitive than it ever has been. Profit margins are smaller, which means nobody - record labels, talent buyers, programming directors - takes a chance, and instead chooses to play it safe. Taking a chance would mean the potential for your boss to register a loss on their books, which means you're fired.
Now, more than ever, it is more and more true that you no longer look for a record label to sign you as much as you do everything right on your own and the labels will find you.
If they can't - or don't - then you're not doing it right.
How do they find you? You have a buzz going. You are touring and your live shows are well-attended and have a reputation as being outstanding. You can count on an audience, whether you're playing in Dallas, Boston, or Seattle. You have your recordings for sale on iTunes and your stuff is on Spotify and YouTube and you are getting clicks and sales into the tens of thousands. You are proving to yourself and the world that your band not only has potential, it has actual bona fide commercial value. People are buying it already. Not just a few dozen CD's to you local fan base, but by the thousands and even tens of thousands.
You don't think that's possible? Get out of the way for the people who do. Back in the late 80's, the Barenaked Ladies sold cassette tape versions of their album - all packaged and dubbed themselves - at shows and at local record stores and stuff. It went gold. The labels couldn't help notice and literally fought each other for a tasty piece of that pie.
Lisa Loeb wrote and recorded a song that got placed on a movie sountrack (1994's Reality Bites). The song went to #1 on Billboard's Hot 100. Again, the labels fell all over themselves trying to sign her.
Walk Off the Earth recorded a cover of an Australian band called Gotye. "Somebody that I used to Know." The made a really creative video for it, and did a *fantastic* cover of the song while they were at it. They released the video in January of 2012. By the 13th of January, the video was already viral, getting over 16 million views. By the end of the month, they were on the Ellen Degeneres show. By February, they were signed to Columbia.
When the music lacks physical energy (not necessarily emotional energy), you don't want to be looking like a jack@ss jumping around like Flea or putting on your best Angus impression. You're right... it would be ridiculous.
Consider this. Who are you performing for? If you are staring at the back wall, it suggests that you are performing for the back wall. I bet the back wall really digs that, but the back wall will not ask anyone to book you again. So.... perform for the audience. Make eye contact with people in the audience. Smile at them. Not cheezy-like, but as if you really are glad they came to see YOU play. Engage the people. Clap when appropriate. Sing along when appropriate. Pick different audience members, which will require you to face different directions, move to different parts of the stage, etc. If you're effective (as in, if you've gotten them to "buy in"), then they'll follow your lead.
Both good suggestions so far. There are likely a few things at play.
One: masking = when two things of similar frequency compete for the ears' attention. Like, if you have two people talking in a room, neither of them is very easy to hear. However, if you have a voice in a room and a truck rumbling by the window outside, it's not as hard to hear the speaker. Guitars and vocals compete for the same space. Two: dynamics - compression and limiting are useful tools. Three: gain staging. The idea that turning things up in a channel until they clip and distort is obviously bad. Gain staging is (in part) learning how to work with those levels.
Broadband absorbers should be made from semi-rigid fibreglass - not the fluffy Roxul Safe and Sound stuff you would use for the bass traps.
The semi-rigid is often marketed as a brand name "Owens Corning 703" but of course, other manufacturers make it other than OC.
I think the general recommendation is to use 4" thick panels of the semi-rigid glass, and to stand them out a bit from the wall. Mine are on little legs made out of PVC pipe that stand the panels out from the wall by about 4".
It's not a bad sized room. It's not that unlike the room I use for my "live room" here. (About 3.3m x 6m with a similar height ceiling). The smaller the room, the more "boxy" you risk it sounding. My control room is a little less than half that size, so it needed a ton of acoustic treatment.
Solid concrete is going to present some challenges to work around. It is going to be reflective as all get out, so you're going to need way more treatment than you would if, say, they were framed walls with drywall or whatever. Maybe consider getting a heavy theatre style curtain that you can install on a track that goes around the room and have it hang about 8" from the wall or something.
Your dimensions, though close to 2:1, are not exactly and might not be as bad as you think. (it's 1.88:1) I believe it is one of those things where, the closer you get, the exponentially worse it gets. So, for instance, a room that is 1.7:1 is probably perfectly fine. 1.8:1 is probably reasonably okay. 1.9:1 is noticeably worse. 2:1 is noticeably worse again.
Trap as much as you can. You've got two great big corners at the front on either side of your desk. Build two big-ass traps there. Yes, put in first reflection absorption, and yes, put in a cloud at the first reflection on the ceiling, and yes, put in some absorption on the wall behind you.
Don't forget that you actually have 12 corners in a room. We always think about the four vertical ones, but there are four horizontal corners around the perimeter of the ceiling, and four horizontal ones around the perimeter of the floor. Maybe you could put traps along the back wall behind you that will go horizontally - one along the floor and one along the ceiling - instead of the vertical ones?
Carpet the floor if you haven't already done so - at least a large area rug.
Well, you *can* record the output of the headphone jack to whatever input you want on your interface. The question is whether or not it will sound any good. It will probably sound okay for doing recordings for the purposes of evaluating your playing, letting a friend hear some licks you're working on, etc. It will almost assuredly not sound good for recording an album that you are going to release for sale. It kind of depends on your expectations for it.
The only way to tell is to try it out. You certainly won't break anything by trying.
You're correct to be thinking about how it is going to appear from the client side. Appearances matter. The good news is that even in my little studio, I can mic up a guitar cab and let it fly. However, if you have some recordings where your work speaks for itself, then you can gain some leverage. When the client says "I have to crank my tube amp and mic it, you can either do as he wishes, or you can play him something and say, "you know how we got that sound? You'll be amazed.... ". And then you get your direct setup ready to go..... haha. I did a friend of mine's album and we used all amp modelling. Half of the tracks were direct through the JamUP app on the iPad, and half of the tracks were the models in his (crate? Roland cube?) amp that we miked up with a combination of a SM57 and a MD421. Miked, sure... but the sound was a model. It got reviewed on decibelgeek.com and they commented on how slick and lush the guitars sounded. Yeah, it can work, but you have to have proof before the client will buy in.
It's the drums and the ability to have everyone in the same room playing live that is going to be the difference. Sampled drums can sound amazing, but depending on the project, there really can be no substitute for a live kit in a room.
Kudos to you for even considering it. It's a brave move. In this climate, I wouldn't have the guts to do it. Studios close down all the time, and with all the bedroom producers and basement project studios out there, there is ever-increasing pressure to cut your rates in order to be competitive... but you can't give your product away if you have rent to pay.
Consider this though....
So you invest a truckload of money into gear that will attract client. You invest that much again in constructing your physical space to look nice and meet your needs. You invest a monthly cost of rent.
In order for it to make money, you have to have it staffed. How many hours are you going to spend there per week, even just for the studio to break even? That is, before you even see a nickel of that money? Are you going to work for $1/hr? Even at $10/hr in your pocket, and 6 hours a day for 7 days a week, that is $420/wk or 1680/mo. Let's say your rent is another $1000/mo. (Just grabbing numbers out of the air...). Let's say you finance your other expenses for construction and gear over five years at $250/mo. And, let's say insurance is $120/mo. The studio needs to make over $3000/mo just to break even and pay you minimum wage. Let's say you're charging $60/hr for recording time. That means you have to book 50 hours *each and every month* to make minimum wage.
Can you charge $60/hr where you are without a decent live room, a real drum set, and a large-ish space? Nope. Can you do it with 1000+ sq ft, and lots of room for a full band setup with drums, and a separate vocal/ISO booth? Probably. If you can convince clients that you know what you're doing.... but enough clients that you'll be running 50 hours a month?
A DI box allows you to plug in an instrument level source (keyboard, bass, guitar) into one end and have it spit out a mic level signal at the output via XLR. It will also (usually) allow you to send an additional output signal at instrument level.
For instance, for recording, you would plug your guitar into the DI box input. The XLR out would go to the recorder. The 1/4" out would go to your amp, allowing you to play your guitar through your amp so you're not forced to monitor the clean, dry signal that you are recording.
Note that there are electronics inside a DI box, so it is NOT the same as getting a bunch of adapters and a Y cable.