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-   -   Easy and Inexpensive, Beginner (https://www.acousticguitarforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=547847)

kats45 05-26-2019 03:07 PM

Easy and Inexpensive, Beginner
 
Hi All,

I was wondering if you can tell me about a good, easy, and fairly inexpensive recording system to use with your compute. I'm looking at Focusrite. I'm a beginner at recording, so I'm looking for something that's not too complicated. I know Focusrite comes with a lite version of software. Anybody have an experience with this? Any ideas or suggestions are appreciated.

MikeBmusic 05-28-2019 07:32 AM

There are a number of audio interfaces that come with limited ('light') DAWs.

When looking at audio interfaces consider:
1) Number of inputs/mic preamps. Maybe you only need one now, but you may want to move to a 2 mic set up in the future, so invest a little now for the future capability.
2) Driver availability. Some older (used) interfaces don't have drivers for the latest Mac OS or Win 10. Some don't come with drivers at all and rely on generic drivers or ASIO4ALL.
3) All DAWs are essentially equal, however the user interfaces differ - download a few and look at them and see which seems 'friendly' to you.

Besides an audio interface and DAW, you'll need a mic, stand, and headphones to get started.

ChuckS 05-28-2019 09:47 AM

Do you know how you plan on using your recording system and what your expectations are for quality of recording? How simple does it need to be, and how much time are you willing to spend to learn how to use it (especially the DAW)?

I'm not trying to talk you out of a computer based recording system with an audio interface, DAW, mic(s), etc, but have you considered a portable recorder such as a Zoom H5 (or similar)?

hurling frootmi 05-28-2019 07:32 PM

Focusrite is a nice interface. For software take a look at Reaper. Reaper's stock plugins are very usable. I use the Gate and the IR stuff all the time.

runamuck 05-28-2019 08:08 PM

I use Cubase and have since the start. But if I were starting out I'd use Reaper. It's inexpensive, has all the needed features and then some, and you can lay it out and make it look the way you want.

And if on a budget, the Focusrite stuff is as good as any. But whatever you get, make sure you get at least 2 inputs that have mic preamps so you can record in stereo. You may not think that's important now but you will.

kats45 06-03-2019 03:41 PM

Can the Zoom H5 handle a plug in for mic and guitar both? Do you just transfer from the H5 to the computer as an audio file?

Rudy4 06-03-2019 04:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kats45 (Post 6071311)
Hi All,

I was wondering if you can tell me about a good, easy, and fairly inexpensive recording system to use with your compute. I'm looking at Focusrite. I'm a beginner at recording, so I'm looking for something that's not too complicated. I know Focusrite comes with a lite version of software. Anybody have an experience with this? Any ideas or suggestions are appreciated.

You might want to consider a Zoom R8 (or something similar) to dip the toes in the waters of recording. The R8 is only slightly more difficult to use than an old cassette recorder.

You can use the R8 with it's built in mics and nothing more than a good set of headphones. Throw some batteries in and record under the shade tree if you want.

When you want to move up you can use a couple of phantom powered mics for better sound.

When you want to go farther then download your tracks (do record 24 bit 44.1khz files...) via USB and use a DAW with a computer (Audacity is free, Reaper is inexpensive and has everything you could possibly need to edit tracks.)

The R8 can be used with your computer in that case to function as an interface; no need to purchase a seperate interface.

Want to go farther? Purchase a good set of powered monitors.

The beauty of the R8 (or something similar) is you can easily experiment with recording in various locations. Sometimes you'll find acceptable locations that don't need acoustic treatment to get a usable recording.

Fran Guidry 06-03-2019 06:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kats45 (Post 6077840)
Can the Zoom H5 handle a plug in for mic and guitar both? Do you just transfer from the H5 to the computer as an audio file?

Yes, there are two XLR/TRS combo inputs allowing you to plug in a mic and a guitar pickup to create either a single stereo file or two separate mono files to mix later.

And the unit comes with an XY mic attachment, so you don't actually need a separate mic.

You will probably still want some sort of DAW software so you can trim heads and tails, adjust levels, maybe add effects to the final track.

If your computer is Mac-ish you can probably do everything you want in GarageBand, although if you're looking for more horsepower there's a solid REAPER version for Mac.

If you're on a PC I agree with the folks recommending REAPER. https://www.reaper.fm/

I've used REAPER for years and it has been powerful and reliable. Support comes in the form of a very responsive user community https://forum.cockos.com/forumdisplay.php?f=20 and there is a great collection of tutorial videos by the inimitable (and Grammy winning) Kenny Gioia https://www.reaper.fm/videos.php

Fran

kats45 06-04-2019 03:37 PM

So, I've really been contemplating which way to go between the Zoom R8 and the H5. What do you think? Is there an advantage to one over another? I can't seem to make a decision.

kats45 06-04-2019 04:40 PM

I bit the bullet for the Zoom R8. I'll let you know how it goes! :)

Fran Guidry 06-05-2019 03:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kats45 (Post 6078663)
So, I've really been contemplating which way to go between the Zoom R8 and the H5. What do you think? Is there an advantage to one over another? I can't seem to make a decision.

Too late to make much difference but ...

The R8 allows you to add effects and mix down on the device, although there's a bit of a learning curve and some limitations.

The H5 has quieter preamps and an XY mic array option.

Fran

RGWelch 06-14-2019 11:44 PM

I got an R8, but was considering an H5 at the time. I believe there is an additional XLR input adapter that goes in the place of the built-in mics on the H5, is that correct? And does it allow you to simultaneously record more than two tracks simultaneously? The one thing I'm finding I wish the R8 had would be that capacity. It would be nice to record the guitar in stereo, while recording vocals on a separate track. Also, while I appreciate all that the R8 can do, it is rather cumbersome to use in many ways. It's not the most intuitive piece of equipment I've ever handled.

Rudy4 06-15-2019 07:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RGWelch (Post 6087010)
I got an R8, but was considering an H5 at the time. I believe there is an additional XLR input adapter that goes in the place of the built-in mics on the H5, is that correct? And does it allow you to simultaneously record more than two tracks simultaneously? The one thing I'm finding I wish the R8 had would be that capacity. It would be nice to record the guitar in stereo, while recording vocals on a separate track. Also, while I appreciate all that the R8 can do, it is rather cumbersome to use in many ways. It's not the most intuitive piece of equipment I've ever handled.

The Zoom R series recorders are great as audio capture devices, but all the advanced functions are much easier to do on a computer DAW. The nice thing about the R series recorders are not being chained to a computer to record and that they work flawlessly to record your tracks quite easily without all the possibilities of glitches or the need to set up tracks, etc. All that, and they are totally quiet, no fan noise or need to record someplace where the ambiance doesn't fit the mood.

I have an R24, bought for the ability to record higher simultaneous tracks (I've done some full band recordings with it) and the ability to supply phantom power to 6 inputs at once. I very rarely use dynamic mics, so the phantom power capabilities is important to me. Most of the menu-selected stuff on the R24 I ignore for the same reasons you site. They cram a lot of features that won't be used by most folks as a sales point, and you can't blame them for wanting to keep up with all the competition.

The R8 does limit you to recording two tracks at a time, but consider using a single input to record a scratch track of your guitar and voice. Make sure you do a good count in with your vocal.

Go back and record a nice stereo guitar track while listening to your scratch track. Add your vocal with another pass, and a bass or second guitar afterwards. Delete your scratch track and mix as you wish.

I don't know about your capabilities, but very seldom can I nail the guitar and vocal to my liking for recording. Doing isolated tracks not only allows better abilities to mix, but you can make multiple attempts until you feel like the results meet your liking.

With the R8 you can do all this while sitting in your easy chair in the living room or wherever produces the best results for you.

If your work structure is often similar you only need to set up your R8 the first time and save your setup with the name "TEMPLATE" and write protect it. All you have to do is pull up your template and record as a new project.

KevWind 06-15-2019 07:56 AM

My recommendation as always is, figure out Budget range first then research and shop.

ljguitar 06-15-2019 09:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by KevWind (Post 6087139)
My recommendation as always is, figure out Budget range first then research and shop.

Hi KW

He already sprang for a system.




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