Pages: [1] 2   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Home recording novice  (Read 2480 times)
The Hickman
Member
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 61




Ignore
« on: December 29, 2009, 09:26:31 PM »

I would like to get set up at home to do small time recording projects. Just vocals and guitar mainly. What is a good beginner set up? Recorder? Mic? With in a budget of about $500.
Logged

Sincerely,
-The Hickman

     You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
                                                       -Psalm 16:17
sdelsolray
Senior Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 492




Ignore
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2009, 01:36:34 AM »

I would like to get set up at home to do small time recording projects. Just vocals and guitar mainly. What is a good beginner set up? Recorder? Mic? With in a budget of about $500.

Double your budget and you can put together a workable setup.  Here's what you need:

1)  Room;
2)  Table;
3)  One or two mics (preferably 2 - one for your guitar and another for your vocals);
4)  Mic preamp with two channels, DI inputs would be helpful, as would a headphone amp;
5)  AD and DA converters with digital clock;
6)  Interface to a computer;
7)  Computer;
8)  Recording, mixing and mastering software;
9)  Nearfield monitor speakers;
10)  Headphones; and
11)  Miscellaneous (mic stands, cables, etc.).

## 4, 5, 6, and 8 can be found in one unit called a "computer recording interface".  You would use it with a desktop or laptop computer.

You can also get standalone recorders that combine ## 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8.

Plan to spend 100 hours or so getting used to the gear and how to use it.  It's quite enjoyable.
Logged
The Hickman
Member
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 61




Ignore
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2009, 01:40:41 AM »

Thanks! What should I plan on increasing my budget to?
Logged

Sincerely,
-The Hickman

     You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
                                                       -Psalm 16:17
Blue in VT
Gold Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1954




Ignore
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2009, 03:22:32 AM »

If you are just looking to record basic single guitar and vocal for ideas and posting on sites like this...or working up a demo CD etc....look into a Zoom h2...you can get a used one for less than 200.  If you want something a little more advanced look at the Zoom H4...still less than 400.

Cheers,

Blue
Logged

OM-05MT "Mary Helen"
Silvercreek T-170
Harmony Herd (1203, 162, 165, 6362)
sdelsolray
Senior Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 492




Ignore
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2009, 04:18:17 PM »

If you are just looking to record basic single guitar and vocal for ideas and posting on sites like this...or working up a demo CD etc....look into a Zoom h2...you can get a used one for less than 200.  If you want something a little more advanced look at the Zoom H4...still less than 400.

Cheers,

Blue

And how does he listen to what he recorded?  How is he able to hear what is being recorded while tracking?  How does he edit the soundfiles before creating final songs?  How does he put them on the internet?
Logged
sdelsolray
Senior Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 492




Ignore
« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2009, 04:21:18 PM »

Thanks! What should I plan on increasing my budget to?

Realistically, by the end of the day, about $1,000.  Buying used gear can lower that a bit.
Logged
Queequeg
Gold Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 3724




Ignore
« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2009, 04:32:14 PM »

Actually, a new H2 should cost you less than $150USD.
(H4, only if you want to multi-track.)
 You can listen to it as you record and/or afterward with a pair of earbuds or headphones with a mini-jack.
You can move the file over to your computer via USB cable and you can edit the file in Audacity software (the free downloadable version). there are a number of youtube tutorials on the use of Audacity software to get you started.
You will also want to download the (free) LAME software so that you can export your Audacity files as MP3s.
Logged
sdelsolray
Senior Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 492




Ignore
« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2009, 07:40:46 PM »

Actually, a new H2 should cost you less than $150USD.
(H4, only if you want to multi-track.)
 You can listen to it as you record and/or afterward with a pair of earbuds or headphones with a mini-jack.
You can move the file over to your computer via USB cable and you can edit the file in Audacity software (the free downloadable version). there are a number of youtube tutorials on the use of Audacity software to get you started.
You will also want to download the (free) LAME software so that you can export your Audacity files as MP3s.

A recipe for mediocrity.
Logged
The Hickman
Member
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 61




Ignore
« Reply #8 on: December 30, 2009, 08:19:30 PM »

I really appreciate all the advice!  bigrin I think to start out (b/c of budget) I will actually get the H2.
My reason:
It's a good compact, portable recorder, that produces a really good recording (for the price) I actually was able to listen to some sample online.
Queequeg, do you have good, reliable links to those free downloads?

I would, however, like to eventually have my own personal recording studio (small scale) to record full length, full band projects.

sdelsolray, you mentioned standalone recorders that combine #s 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8, what brands do you prefer? What specs would I look for that indicate a good deal?

Again thank you all for all of the great advice!
Logged

Sincerely,
-The Hickman

     You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
                                                       -Psalm 16:17
Queequeg
Gold Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 3724




Ignore
« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2009, 09:52:08 PM »

A recipe for mediocrity.
People record for different reasons. It is a lower budget solution for those who, like myself want to hear ourselves  so that we can improve our live performance. Not everyone is going to be able to invest $1000 or more, or a lot more in recording. If one's playing skills are in the intermediate range, a remarkable studio reproduction of these sessions isn't necessarily the best solution, IMHO.
I have heard several recordings even on this forum done with a Zoom H2 that sounded quite good.
I don't tell folks who buy a $300 guitar that their purchase is a recipe for mediocrity. It is a learning tool and as they progress they may wish to advance to the next step.
Thanks for your comment, though. I assume that you no doubt have graduated way beyond the intermediate level.

I really appreciate all the advice!  bigrin I think to start out (b/c of budget) I will actually get the H2.
My reason:
It's a good compact, portable recorder, that produces a really good recording (for the price) I actually was able to listen to some sample online.
Queequeg, do you have good, reliable links to those free downloads?

This is the Audacity page.

This is the LAME MP3 encoder
Logged
The Hickman
Member
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 61




Ignore
« Reply #10 on: December 30, 2009, 10:12:05 PM »

thanks for the links!
Logged

Sincerely,
-The Hickman

     You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
                                                       -Psalm 16:17
sdelsolray
Senior Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 492




Ignore
« Reply #11 on: December 31, 2009, 01:08:49 AM »

I really appreciate all the advice!  bigrin I think to start out (b/c of budget) I will actually get the H2.
My reason:
It's a good compact, portable recorder, that produces a really good recording (for the price) I actually was able to listen to some sample online.
Queequeg, do you have good, reliable links to those free downloads?

I would, however, like to eventually have my own personal recording studio (small scale) to record full length, full band projects.

sdelsolray, you mentioned standalone recorders that combine #s 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8, what brands do you prefer? What specs would I look for that indicate a good deal?

Again thank you all for all of the great advice!


I do not have much recent experience with "standalone recorders", as they are called when they combine ## 4-8.  Fortunately, there are dozens of products these days in several price ranges.  The H2 is such a device and includes a pair of mics built-in to boot.  As to specs, they all seem to have adequate specs.  Focus more on features, particularly features you want.  Of course, you might not realize that certain functions even exist and yoku might not realize you need or want a feature until you get into recording for a time and experience things.  For example, does the unit provide zero tracking/monitoring latency?  If it does, that's good.  If it doesn't, that sucks.

An H2 is certainly a place to start.  Realize, though, that if your goal is to put together a basic home recording studio, you will eventually replace and/or ignore the H2.  It may make sense to just get the gear you really need.  That way, you won't waste money and invest time in gear you will eventually replace.
Logged
sdelsolray
Senior Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 492




Ignore
« Reply #12 on: December 31, 2009, 01:24:52 AM »

People record for different reasons. It is a lower budget solution for those who, like myself want to hear ourselves  so that we can improve our live performance. Not everyone is going to be able to invest $1000 or more, or a lot more in recording. If one's playing skills are in the intermediate range, a remarkable studio reproduction of these sessions isn't necessarily the best solution, IMHO.
I have heard several recordings even on this forum done with a Zoom H2 that sounded quite good.
I don't tell folks who buy a $300 guitar that their purchase is a recipe for mediocrity. It is a learning tool and as they progress they may wish to advance to the next step.
Thanks for your comment, though. I assume that you no doubt have graduated way beyond the intermediate level.
This is the Audacity page.

This is the LAME MP3 encoder


The reason your gear selection will result in mediocrity is mostly because of the lack of nearfield monitors.  Ponder the idea that nearfield monitors are perhaps the most important component of any home recording studio.  To replace them with earbuds is a recipe for mediocrity.  Recording doesn't work unless you can accurately hear what you are recording.  The H2, although feature packed and quite functional, has one major flaw - you cannot separately position the microphones.  With a standard computer interface (say, with two channels) and a pair of mics, the whole world of mic placements becomes available.  Any recording cat will tell you that mic placement is a critical path item in recording.

I understand your analogy to the $300 guitar.  However, a home recording studio is made up of many parts, each of which are needed.  A guitar is a single thing.

I stand by my earlier list as the minimum set of gear needed to have a home recording studio.  The fact that it will cost about $1,000 (maybe less if buying used), is simple reality.  That's what it takes to put together a functioning studio.

For sure, folks may do with less than the full list.  But it's like having a car without tires, or an engine, or seats.
Logged
HAMFIST
Senior Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 471


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #13 on: December 31, 2009, 03:16:31 AM »

Here is what I have always used ... you are typing on the Interweb, so I assume you have a PC.

Sony ACID software -- (you can start with the basic ACID MUSIC STUDIO version which is, like, $60 for a great recording platform and multitrack editing)
Sony Sound Forge software (another $60 or so -- includes numerous plug-ins for effects, mastering, etc.)
basic Behringer mixer (about $50)
various patchcords, etc.
A decent condenser or ribbon mic (about $50)

This, along with a few basic patch chords and a decent sound card (the Soundblaster Audigy will work fine), you are set. You now have unlimited overdub capabilities and can also add ACID loops to your piece for percussion, etc.

This set up will also allow you use MIDI, etc. ... I have not done that with ACID yet, but know people who do to great effect.

Logged

"Soulshine is better than sunshine, better than moonshine, damn sure better than rain."
Anton Emery
Member
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 17


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #14 on: December 31, 2009, 07:34:06 PM »

I'll throw my two cents in and assume you want to record to straight to your computer.  Are you on PC or Mac?

There are a few different things you will need.

The interface - these connect to the computer via Firewire or USB and get the audio from the mic into the computer
DAW Software - what you will use to manipulate the audio once its recorded to your computers hard drive
A Mic - lots of those around for different prices
A mic stand - kind of essential
Headphones - i am skipping monitors for now, if this just for home/hobbyist stuff you can get monitors later own down the road.

If you can stretch your budget a bit would you might want to consider the Mbox.

http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/MBox2/

So right there you have the interface and plus DAW Software, as it comes with Pro Tools.

Here is an Audio Technical mic package for $150

http://www.zzounds.com/item--AUTAT2041

Yea they are not the greatest mics in the world, but they will get you started.  A few cables and you are set.


I can understand where Sdelsolray is coming from.  He has a ton of nice gear, good ears, a good room, and can hear the improvement that comes with good converters and really expensive mics.  But i think different people are at different levels, and everyones gotta start somewhere.

There are probably other setups too similar to the one above for a similar price.  You could also go with a cheaper interface, DAW software from Reaper, www.reaper.fm, and a different mic.



Anton
Logged

The Hickman
Member
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 61




Ignore
« Reply #15 on: December 31, 2009, 08:35:47 PM »

I'll throw my two cents in and assume you want to record to straight to your computer.  Are you on PC or Mac?

I'm using PC.....for now. Eventually (hopefully soon) I will be a converted Mac user. IMO, they just produce better quality equipment/service. ( I'm sure some may disagree, but like I said IMO)

Regardless, what kind of ram/hard drive/processor would I need to "effectively" run this sort of equipment/software? By effectively I mean quickly and smoothly.
Logged

Sincerely,
-The Hickman

     You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
                                                       -Psalm 16:17
Blue in VT
Gold Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1954




Ignore
« Reply #16 on: December 31, 2009, 11:06:31 PM »

A recipe for mediocrity.

 cop cop

Give me  a break...we are talking about 1/10th the price here...but not 1/10 the quality...even if you decide to go for a full set up in the future the H2 has MANY advantages that your in home studio doesn't....like it fits in your pocket.  I think we are talking about 2 different levels of recording here...absolutly get the equipment that fits your needs.

Blue
Logged

OM-05MT "Mary Helen"
Silvercreek T-170
Harmony Herd (1203, 162, 165, 6362)
HAMFIST
Senior Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 471


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #17 on: January 01, 2010, 05:37:08 AM »

Indeed. Simple recording gear can yield some excellent results. I have not used hand-held recorders, but do use some pretty simple gear direct through a mixer to a hard drive. And you can do some broadcast-worthy stuff like that. Your computer really is a digital recording medium.

Heck, man. You would be amazed how much stuff that has a commercial success comes off very humble recording gear.
Logged

"Soulshine is better than sunshine, better than moonshine, damn sure better than rain."
Anton Emery
Member
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 17


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #18 on: January 01, 2010, 07:43:26 PM »

If you are moving to a Mac the Apogee Duet is supposed to be a real nice interface.  Like the Mbox its limited to two channels, but if all you want to do is record vocals and guitar that might work well.  The downside is it unlike the Mbox it does not include any software, so you would have to either use Garageband which comes included on the Mac or drop some more money for DAW software. 

This home recording stuff can be kind of a money pit, there is always that new mic or interface or gadget out there that you think will make your sound pro quality.  I think the biggest factors are learning to use what you have well, and the sound of your room.

Here is a great blog that centers around home recording techniques.

http://www.homebrewedmusic.com/



Anton
Logged

kwakatak
Gold Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1367


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #19 on: January 02, 2010, 06:05:20 AM »

A recipe for mediocrity.

Hoo boy.  rolleye

I don't have the best setup but I've spent a few hundred $$$ on small-time equipment such as a Behringer mixer, a few microphones and a modest pair of headphones. As for software, I've found that Reaper is actually pretty dynamic provided you get around the latency issues. I've done some rudimentary multitracking with it but being a solo fingerstyle player and singer/strummer I usually follow the credo "less is more" and stick to a single stereo track. 

Another thing I've repeatedly come up against is ambient noise and electronic interference. In the case of the former, I've come up against the sound of an appliance humming from the next room or the slap back echo off the walls of the room I'm in. In the case of the latter, I repeatedly come up against a hum brought about either by the substandard wiring in my home or from a nearby appliance. There are things you can do, but in my case it's actually best if I DON'T record at home - my family is not very accommodating to my need for starters.

For XMas though I received an H2 and I gotta tell you that it's actually quite good. IMO the recording quality is actually better than the large diaphragm condenser microphone that I bought earlier this year can produce - IMO because the Zoom's 4 small condenser mics appear to be slightly less sensitive. You can actually use a set of decent headphones to monitor yourself with the unit. The only real limit is the size of the memory card you put in the unit. It comes with a 1GB card but I had a compatible 4GB card in my digital camera that I swapped in. I have a friend who has a separate garage that he has set up as a photo studio which is actually a better recording environment since it has higher ceilings and all those backdrops actually attenuate room echo. Once I got the unit home it was just a matter of plugging the USB cable into the laptop and firing up Reaper, adding some light VST reverb effect, and exporting via the free LAME plugin.

I gotta tell you, I'm looking at some of my recording gear as being expendable in light of the H2's arrival though.
Logged

Neil

2009 Martin D-16GT

2006 Larrivée OM-03R

1998 Fender American Standard Stratocaster, Ash Body, Natural finish

1989 Kramer 610

1973 Takamine F-360 ("Martin Lawsuit" all-laminate D-28 clone)
Pages: [1] 2   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to: