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 Post subject: Home Recording 101
PostPosted: Fri Sep 01, 2006 5:10 am 
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Home Recording 101

I get a lot of questions regarding how I record, what I use etc. so this thread is for those wanting to get started with home recording to get an idea of possible options for getting yourself down on track. If you have any questions let 'em fly!

Equipment/Software/Hardware

Unless you're made of cash, you're probaby looking for an inexpensive way to get a decent sounding product on a budget. Unless you've got Eddie's "5150 Studios" or Vai's "The Mothership" in your spare bedroom, here's what I recommend...

Computer - basic requirements

Well first off, if you're reading this, you probably have a computer, so that knocks out the first thing. A decent soundcard pretty much comes standard on whatever PC you buy. So unless you're using Doogie Howser's old computer, you should be ready to roll. To make sure it performs with the least amount of hassle, you really want to have at least 256 MB worth of RAM, preferably 512 so that you get a glitch free experience and don't end up with your fist through your monitor at the end of the day. You might be able to get away with 128, but I wouldn't suggest it. Now on to how to get your guitar sounding good on your PC.

Line 6 Guitar Port
Price : $99.00 US
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In my opinion, the best bang for your buck if you want the closest thing to a professional sound for a good price. If you really feel like puting a preamp and a $200 mic into the input on your PC mic'ing up a $2000 dollar amp rig + FX, be my guest. If you already own that stuff, chances are you won't be needing to read this anyways! We're on a budget remember? So on to the guitar port...

Line 6 makes a few really interesting toys that allow you to create just about any tone you want. The guitar port is one thats been out for a few years that offers a large number of amp models, mic's, FX, all at your disposal. I've heard about and seen a few other interesting things they've come out with since then*, but this one I'm the most familiar with.

*Note - These items I refer to are the tone port and the variax. I'm not very familiar with each, but I believe the tone port comes with recording software. I've always been pleasantly surprised by line 6 products.

All you gotta do is plug this bad boy in a USB port on your computer, hook up a few audio cables, plug in your guitar and you're good to go. Comes with everything you need to set it up and usually goes anywhere from the $99 - $125 range last I remember. Its a lot better than plugging your Metal Master 2000 guitar pedal into your sound input and getting something that sounds like buzzing hot cheese flatness.

Drumsite
Price: $50
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If you've got a drummer handing you drum backing tracks, you're very lucky, if not, then you're like me and there are alternatives. The best program I've found so far is called "Drumsite". Very simple to use drum program that uses actual drum samples for about the most realistic sounding drum tracks you can create. Very easy to use. Point and click where you want the drum hits. You can also adjust the volume/panning of each hit by right clicking and going into the properties of a hit. Also allows you to export the finished product to a .wav file. You can also import wavs into the drum kit for more sounds. Check out http://www.powerfx.com for more drum samples.

Recording Software
$200 - $350 US

Theres several to choose from. Cool Edit pro, which is now called Adobe Audition I believe, Acid Pro, which is now owned by Sony and goes by a newer name also. I recommend Cool edit/Adobe audition because its what I use and its never given me any problems. Acid Pro is better for creating music using loops as it seems to lag really bad when trying to record live into it. Now there might be other cheaper alternatives out there, but these are the only ones I know of off hand. Now I don't recommend it *cough cough* but some people chose to find these programs other ways. *cough* Geez must have a frog in my throat...

Adobe Audition
Fairly simple to use. Offers FX, EQ, mastering capabilties... pretty much everything you'd need. Its like having a studio/mixing board on your computer.

Also as noted before I believe the tone port comes with recording software.


How To / Tips

Once you've got everything set up, you're ready to create some masterpieces. You got your guitar plugged in (obviously), you've got some tones crankin' through the guitar port you like, and you're ready to go. You can set your output levels on the guitar port for recording so its not too loud.

I usually start off with the drums first. After you complete your tracks in drumsite, or drum program of choice, you can export them to wav and then import them into your recording program.

Once you're in your program and ready to lay down bass and guitar parts, make sure you select the guitar port as your recording input device so that you can actually record what you're doing. Through cool edit pro this is done by selecting the recording input on each individual track. Once you do that its pretty much just time to press the record button and let the magic happen.

After the drums are in I generally lay down the bass parts using the guitar port, and then come back with rhythm, then lead guitars.

Make sure your levels aren't peaking and clipping, because this creates a crappy sounding finished product. You want the sound waves to have a little bit of head room. If you're going to adjust your mid's, hi's and low's, I suggest doing it at this stage, to each separate track, rather than trying to compensate for this later during mastering. Your best bet though is to get the exact sound you want coming directly in so you don't have to tweek it much, if at all.

This is where things get interesting... after you've got all your tracks recorded and your levels adjusted, its time to mix it all down. You don't want each track at full blast or your going to get a messy heavily saturated mix with all kinds of fun happy clicks and pops. Get your levels right and then mix it all down to one track. Its best to turn everything down just a tad, and then when you're mastering, thats when you bring up all the overall levels collectively.

Once you're ready to master you mix down, open the mixdown up in its own track. Its all really subjective from here because producing is up to the individual and what sounds best to that person. I suggest already having done your eq's before this stage, because adding EQ at this point could muddy up the mix. Like I said, if you get the EQ's right from the start, you don't have to mess around with it later. At this point you should just be more concerned with volume and fullness. You can
put a hardlimiter on the track which will boost the volume by the amount you select, and limit the peak volume of each track from clipping. Theres also other things you can do like pan/expand which really bring out the sound. Just experiment with each and see what you like and what sounds good to you. From there do your final mixdown. You can mix down to several different formats. I recommend WAV's for CDs and mp3's if its something you want to share online.

------

Well, thats all for now. The more in depth you chose to go, the more complicated it gets. This is just a really basic overall idea of a few options. I urge to read up on each program you get and understand its full capabilities before you jump off into things because theres always new things to learn and implement into your recording. I did everything the hard way and learned it all by trial and error and creating a lot of crappy recordings.

Feel free to ask questions because I just pretty much skimmed over everything to give an idea of what you can do. Once again, these are just a few of many recording options out there. I'll answer any questions to the best of my ability to try and help. Now go get started!!

Here's a few samples of what kind of sounds I've gotten out of these methods before...
sample 1
sample 2

Matt


Last edited by Matt on Sat Sep 09, 2006 3:41 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 01, 2006 12:14 pm 
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I think this just became my new favourite thread.
I really appreciate this Matt, I've only just started trying to get serious with recording things this summer, and I really couldn't get the whole drum tracks thing down and just started using pre-made ones.
I'm sure I'll have some questions for ya when I get further into it.
Thanks again :)


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2006 6:35 am 
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Great post Matt, thanks for taking the time and effort to do this. 8)


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2006 1:53 pm 
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That's an awesome post Matt!! 8)

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2006 2:08 pm 
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Hey!

Well, I just got two questions: For the bass part, can my bass player plug his bas into the guitar port?
And since I got a Macbook, do you have any experience with Garage Band?

Thanks 8)

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2006 1:33 am 
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Thanks Matt !!

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 09, 2006 3:36 am 
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No problem guys! :)

Steinberg wrote:
Hey!

Well, I just got two questions: For the bass part, can my bass player plug his bas into the guitar port?
And since I got a Macbook, do you have any experience with Garage Band?

Thanks 8)


I know for sure you can plug the bass into guitar port, it already has a bunch of bass presets.

As for the Macbook, I'm not very familiar with those...


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 09, 2006 2:00 pm 
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thanks for that man, i think its time i reposted my randy solos after lasst times embarassing effort :oops:

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2006 2:47 pm 
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Hey Matt that is a completely different method of going about things than I have ever considered, and sounds interesting. Very cool. I am going to check out that drum software for sure.

Have you tried riffworks yet with your GP? Are you familiar with Reason?

I use GP and Riffworks to record the guitar and drums (instant drummers) and even the bass if I feel like playing it.

But lately I have been recording just the guitar in RW, and programming the bass and drums in Reason, syncing with RW as rewire device and mixing to wav from RW. Then I "master" it using Audition.

Amazing what you can do with $200-$400 worth of hardware and software isn't it?


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2006 11:47 pm 
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thanks matt,
hi steinberg. i have a macbook pro which i use in my studio. I dont rate garage that high. Its ok if you want to use lots of loops etc. I use logic express at the moment and its excellent, it covers all my needs. I will at some point upgrade to logic pro when i can afford it.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2006 9:52 pm 
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Thanks man!
Yeah, I found out that Garage Band isn't the greatest, but for home recording it's all you need.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2007 9:04 pm 
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wow, that guitar port really sounds great.. that'll be next on my list.. thanks for the thread

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2007 6:15 pm 
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Hey matt thanks a lot for this info, it really helps in getting a great recording sound rather than buying instrument amps etc. I got one this week and was well worth it!

:D :D


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2007 10:38 pm 
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Excellent Matt!

Aucacity is another Shareware Program that is pretty neat.
Audacity is free, open source software for recording and editing sounds.

http://audacity.sourceforge.net/

I really need to get on the ball and start recording some of my playing.
After 25 years I still dont' have a good way to record.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2007 2:21 pm 
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I use -Sonar 6 Home Studio XL- and -Sonar 4 Producer Edition- for recording software " The Sonar 4 Producer addition can be found on Limewire no problem..

Drums I use EZDrummer and Session drummer that is built into the new Sonar 6.

http://cakewalk.com
http://www.toontrack.com/ezdrummer.asp


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 8:46 pm 
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Nice setup, dogfall.

I run my guitar into a GNX3000, then that goes into a graphic EQ, and into a power amp, and I use tape outputs out of the poweramp into my line in, and it sounds great!

Short Sample


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 9:09 pm 
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Thanks for posting this Matt. I have been using the Line 6 Guitar Port for a couple of years now and I highly reccomend it. :wink:

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2007 11:46 pm 

i have my own home studio & i agree w/ matt on a lot of things except for the software cost. i now use & sell as part of an affiliate program(but won't sell/spam here) a software called mixcraft by acoustica. you can go to my myspace site here. to hear my 1st try w/ it.
http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fu ... =167178582
it's a lot easier than cakewalk or pro tools & the forum/support is quick & phenomenal- it's $50.00 for the recording software & has effects & vst etc. ya can try it free for a week. if you decide to become an affiliate seller you get between 20-40% commission for each sale. it's a great deal- go check it out. if ya don't do myspace go to acoustica.com & try mixcraft3 & beatcraft or all their products free for a week. hope this didn't sound like spam but i'm just turning y'all on to a better less costly product.


  
 
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2007 12:05 am 

oops i forgot i'm running my drums,guitars,bass,etc through a behringer ubb1002 board & i have a zoom g1 processor which is good for some things- i can get the exact randy "blizzard"sound or iron maiden off "piece of mind" outta a single coil strat but the sustain cuts out after 2.5 bars so i'm going back through a marshall w/ a line out while waiting on a 100 wt 1/2 stack for that max norman production style of mic'ing the guitar. using onboard fx & vst fxthrough mixcraft. a helpful hint- if you experience latency (what you are calling lag time) you can go here & get asio4all for free & adjust your buffers.
http://www.asio4all.com/
if ya got vista here's a help board w/ links i made which may answer questions or be of some help.
http://gypsy101admin.proboards83.com/index.cgi


  
 
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2007 1:20 am 
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Thanks for the tips Robyn. Its been a while since I wrote this so I'm sure theres better stuff out there by now for recording because software is always growing and improving by leaps and bounds. I'll look into it. 8)


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2007 9:33 pm 

no worries. i tried cakewalk & protools but the mixcraft was a lot easier and a WHOLE lot cheaper.


  
 
 Post subject: Re: Home Recording 101
PostPosted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 9:49 pm 
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heres a very cool multi-track program that I first started on a few years ago.... http://www.kreatives.org/kristal/ ....the best thing is it's free


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 Post subject: Re: Home Recording 101
PostPosted: Sat Mar 29, 2008 10:02 pm 
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I was wondering if anyone knew how to clean up an audio file, more specifically static on the file?

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 Post subject: Re: Home Recording 101
PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2008 6:29 pm 
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WyldeRhoads wrote:
I was wondering if anyone knew how to clean up an audio file, more specifically static on the file?


In cool edit pro, theres some filters you can tweak to remove hiss, clicks, and pops. :wink:


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 Post subject: Re: Home Recording 101
PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2008 2:14 pm 
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i dont think im cut out to be a sound enigneer or whatever, i cant get a hold of adobe audition. its got a hell of alot of options but i cant get my head around it! i record something in and then im lost haha
how do you mix o nfile in with another? like a rhythm and a lead?

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 Post subject: Re: Home Recording 101
PostPosted: Sun Apr 13, 2008 6:27 am 
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CliffDimeRandy wrote:
i dont think im cut out to be a sound enigneer or whatever, i cant get a hold of adobe audition. its got a hell of alot of options but i cant get my head around it! i record something in and then im lost haha
how do you mix o nfile in with another? like a rhythm and a lead?


I used to use Cool Edit (Audition) or a trackerprogram like FastTracker or MadTracker who had some sort of drum beat playing or metronome playing and then I would record the rythm part over that track and then add the solo tracks for instance.

A really simple and quick way I used to do was to start up two sessions of Cool Edit where one had the drums/rythm playing and then a second one where I'd record the guitar. When the guitar part was finished I would copy it to the first session and paste in onto a new track. This was before the lo-end sound cards would let you do much, hehe.

The main problem has always been to get the background music to not get picked up by the microphone while recording the guitars! So headphone could be really suiting whilst recording with mics.

If you don't have any fancy set up I'd suggest connect headphones to your sound card (if it has a HEADPHONES jack), plug the guitar in to your sound card to LINE-IN, preferably through some gear that has sort pre-amp - POD, V-Amp, DI or stand-alone pre-amp. Don't connect your guitar to the MIC-jack directly unless you know your sound card can handle the signal.

I haven't used Audition in a long long time so I can't help you there but it has a multi-track feature which will let you record several audio tracks if you want. You'd have to read the manual or ask someone else about how to use Audition unfortunately. I believe you toggle the Edit-view and Multitrack view with F11 or F12 if I remember correctly =)


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 Post subject: Re: Home Recording 101
PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2008 12:14 pm 
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progg wrote:
CliffDimeRandy wrote:
i dont think im cut out to be a sound enigneer or whatever, i cant get a hold of adobe audition. its got a hell of alot of options but i cant get my head around it! i record something in and then im lost haha
how do you mix o nfile in with another? like a rhythm and a lead?


I used to use Cool Edit (Audition) or a trackerprogram like FastTracker or MadTracker who had some sort of drum beat playing or metronome playing and then I would record the rythm part over that track and then add the solo tracks for instance.

A really simple and quick way I used to do was to start up two sessions of Cool Edit where one had the drums/rythm playing and then a second one where I'd record the guitar. When the guitar part was finished I would copy it to the first session and paste in onto a new track. This was before the lo-end sound cards would let you do much, hehe.

The main problem has always been to get the background music to not get picked up by the microphone while recording the guitars! So headphone could be really suiting whilst recording with mics.

If you don't have any fancy set up I'd suggest connect headphones to your sound card (if it has a HEADPHONES jack), plug the guitar in to your sound card to LINE-IN, preferably through some gear that has sort pre-amp - POD, V-Amp, DI or stand-alone pre-amp. Don't connect your guitar to the MIC-jack directly unless you know your sound card can handle the signal.

I haven't used Audition in a long long time so I can't help you there but it has a multi-track feature which will let you record several audio tracks if you want. You'd have to read the manual or ask someone else about how to use Audition unfortunately. I believe you toggle the Edit-view and Multitrack view with F11 or F12 if I remember correctly =)


thanks for the info. i forgot about this thread. i pretty much went back to the old way of recording. i cant seem to figure out adobe audition, theres way too many options. haha. im not so much technical at all unfortunately.

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 Post subject: Re: Home Recording 101
PostPosted: Wed May 14, 2008 2:55 pm 
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Do you guys know any good quality digital 4-8 track recorders that are portable? Not extremely expensive, but not cheap either. I need something I can take with me on the go and still do music recording. There are so many different choices and I'm not sure about all the technical points. So any brand suggestions or specific models would be great. And also certain features I should look for when buying. For example, some come with a built in cd burner. So is that necessary or is a USB port sufficient enough so I can plug in to the computer and burn the music.

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 Post subject: Re: Home Recording 101
PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2008 8:22 am 
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WyldeRhoads wrote:
Do you guys know any good quality digital 4-8 track recorders that are portable? Not extremely expensive, but not cheap either. I need something I can take with me on the go and still do music recording. There are so many different choices and I'm not sure about all the technical points. So any brand suggestions or specific models would be great. And also certain features I should look for when buying. For example, some come with a built in cd burner. So is that necessary or is a USB port sufficient enough so I can plug in to the computer and burn the music.


try and hunt out a fostex dmt 8....I have had mine for over 10yrs and it still going strong *yay* they are cheap as chips now, and really basic to use. they don't have a burner or USB but I run the optic cable to my sound card, it kind "old school" digital but thats how I like it :wink:


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 Post subject: Re: Home Recording 101
PostPosted: Sat Aug 23, 2008 8:02 pm 
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Thanks Matt! I am really gonna check out the Line 6 stuff! seems cool, and i've been looking for some home recording.. great thanks!

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