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Charlie99 06-29-2018 07:39 PM

Basic home recording equipment
 
I知 looking at getting the basic kit I need to make reasonably high quality recordings of a solo acoustic guitar. I gather I値l need a condenser mic and a large diaphragm one would seem most appropriate. But what else? Any advice and recommendations would be very helpful. Budget up to around 」500/$700.

Thanks.

Charlie

DukeX 06-29-2018 09:30 PM

For solo acoustic, I recommend two small condensers so you can record in stereo. This is the standard, although a single mic will work just fine as will a large condenser.

If you are using a computer, you will need a two channel interface with converters and mic preamps.

You will get a lot of good suggestions here regarding the interface and mics.

TBman 06-29-2018 10:15 PM

I just started using a large diaphragm condenser (MXL 990) and a small condenser (Rodes NT-5) into a Zoom H5. The MXL 990 is part of a large and small mic set (990/991) that cost me about $90 nine or ten years ago. The Rodes is supposed to have better clarity so I'm experimenting with it. I like the freedom the Zoom H5 gives me to move from room to room to record. Some people use a usb device, that has mic preamps, into an ipad or laptop as well. I think the farther away from a computer when you record, the better although I do a lot of my mic'ing and recording experiments sitting in front of my computer with the Zoom set up..

The differences with the Zoom and the usb devices are that usb devices are an interface to be used with a DAW (digital audio workstation) like Audacity, Audition, Reaper, etc. The Zoom is a stand alone device that saves its recordings to a flash card and has a usb cord that you connnect to a computer to upload the tracks to the hardrive and import into a DAW to process.

Just letting you know that this is a rabbit hole just as big as GAS, lol.

Charlie99 06-30-2018 09:26 AM

Thanks for your replies, guys. I値l research your suggestions to gain better understanding. If I don稚 record from a mic (via pre-amps etc) into a computer, then how else would I record? What is generally used for amateur home recordings of reasonable quality within a budget of $700?

Gtrfinger 06-30-2018 09:54 AM

The main expense apart from the laptop can be the microphones. I'm currently using a Shure sm81 small diaphragm, and an AKG c3000b large diaphragm. They both capture the sound a little differently though if I had my time and money over, I would have had two of the Shure's. That's a class mic.
They both input to an old E-Mu audio interface which still does the trick, before being edited by Reaper. Reaper was the cheapest of the set up and incredible value as it can handle so much.
Don't underestimate the value of getting the best mic leads you can.
In total it comes in at just under 」1000, I'm guessing.

TBman 06-30-2018 10:10 AM

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The Zoom H5 has built-in mics that will get you started. You will still need a DAW to process your sound files, if you choose to. There are free ones, I believe Audacity is free, to name one.

It's a hobby in itself that is fun and frustrating at the same time. The best thing to do is pick your starting point. You can start with a Zoom and a DAW would be all you additionally need to get some recordings done. Even though you may abandon the Zoom later on or buy external microphones for it, the Zoom is a good way to get started besides your smartphone. There are also other less expensive and more expensive versions of the Zoom line of recorders.

Just my personal view on things is to always start small and simple and add equipment as your needs, experience and knowledge expand - if you choose to. I'm just really beginning to go down the road of home recording. I've been recording at home for over 10 years, but it was always an afterthought as the guitar playing and music was the focus. Now as I'm doing it more, I'm paying more attention to the details. I'm trying to convince myself that good decent sounding recordings can be made at home, it the right room, without room treatments - just the right post processing. Maybe I'm wrong, but I'm going to try.

ChuckS 06-30-2018 10:57 AM

TBman gave lots of good advice. If you choose to go with mics and an interface you can get a very nice setup within your budget. I’d suggest a 2nd generation Focusrite 2i4 audio interface ($200 or less new, look at Reverb. com), a pair of Oktava sdc mics (MK-012-01 MSP2 for $475 less 15% on sale at Reverb from Front End Audio), and Reaper for $60. You can try out Reaper for free to see if you like it.

There’s also another recent thread in this Record forum discussing mics at entry level prices.

Wrighty 06-30-2018 12:42 PM

I would definitely recommended an interface and a couple of mics - my vote would go to a Scarlett 2i2 or better still an Audient ID14 and a couple of AT2020 mics. I use an IPad Pro with Auria to record into and mix. Good luck - it痴 quite a journey...

Rudy4 07-01-2018 07:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Charlie99 (Post 5771095)
I知 looking at getting the basic kit I need to make reasonably high quality recordings of a solo acoustic guitar. I gather I値l need a condenser mic and a large diaphragm one would seem most appropriate. But what else? Any advice and recommendations would be very helpful. Budget up to around 」500/$700.

Thanks.

Charlie

I recommend you read All of the recording articles at Fran Guidry's Homebrewed Music website:

http://www.homebrewedmusic.com/

Charlie99 07-01-2018 10:25 AM

Some really helpful information in the responses, so thanks everyone! I知 now going to spend some time following them up - seems I have a fair bit of reading to do...

TBman 07-01-2018 10:53 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Charlie99 (Post 5772222)
Some really helpful information in the responses, so thanks everyone! I’m now going to spend some time following them up - seems I have a fair bit of reading to do...

This what my Zoom H5 records like, without any post processing or effects.
I'm in our spare bedroom, sitting on the bed with the Zoom laying on the bed about 10" away pointed at the lowerbout a little towards the soundhole. The guitar is a Guild D-120C, in CGCGCD tuning. It may not be that loud on a smartphone, but sounds fine on my computer.




When people used to tell me the room is one of the most important aspects of home recording I listened, but didn't place too much emphasis on it and kept trying to get better recordings in the most convenient recording area I have, sitting at my corner computer desk in a 10x12 room. I was using a Tascam US-122 usb device that connected to my computer. It had built in pre-amps and I could use mics or direct in from my guitar. It was a struggle, with some recordings better than others due to gain, mic placement and just dumb luck.

Then I got the Zoom and I had more or less the same results sitting at my computer desk. I finally said, what the heck and tried some recordings in our 20x18 family room. Better. Not great, but better. I found I still had to fool around with noise removal, but not as much as the computer room. I did have better results using external mics as opposed to the built in mics of the Zoom as well.

Yesterday I decided, even though its pretty hot without air conditioning this weekend, to shut everything off and go into the spare bedroom to record. I felt it was a big improvement and found that our refrigerator has a voice of its own that sometimes is quite loud, but goes largely unnoticed until you're trying to record.


I think this may be the best way to start. One device, learn to use it. (I use mine in stereo mode, btw) and save the recording files as wav at 96/24). I also connect it to my computer to transfer the recording files I want to folders I setup for the recording purpose and then do file maintenance as well on the Zoom. (I delete all the files after I transfer). You can do file maintenance using the Zoom's menu system as well, but on the PC is faster for me. Because it's an external storage device when connected to a PC you have to "eject" it before disconnecting the cord from the computer.

I also use my son's old set of Beats to monitor as I record (with an 3.5 mm extension cord).

ManyMartinMan 07-01-2018 10:59 AM

Minimum - one mic, computer, interface, recording software. If you already have an iMac or Macbook you already have access to Garageband. Concentrate on the mic and an interface. You can always rent high-quality mics for a few days for cheap.

sdelsolray 07-01-2018 11:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Charlie99 (Post 5771095)
I’m looking at getting the basic kit I need to make reasonably high quality recordings of a solo acoustic guitar. I gather I’ll need a condenser mic and a large diaphragm one would seem most appropriate. But what else? Any advice and recommendations would be very helpful. Budget up to around 」500/$700.

Thanks.

Charlie

Many of the above posts provide good suggestions and information. However, all of them omit discussion of a few necessary and critical parts of "basic kit...to make reasonably high quality recordings of a solo acoustic guitar".

These are:

1) Monitoring/playback system. This equipment allows you to listen to your recordings after you have recorded the virgin/raw tracks, to make informed choices concerning mixing those tracks, applying certain analog or digital processing to the mix (e.g., eq, reverb, limiting, etc.) and other mixing decisions. This usually involves a pair of nearfield monitors and a pair (or two pair - one open-backed and one closed) of headphones.

2) Support equipment. These items include such things as mic stands, cables and a properly designed table. For example, the placement of your nearfield monitors should form an equilateral triangle with your head (when you are seated in front of them) at a height level with your head.

3) Room. Although not necessarily a cost item, where you record and listen is a rather important aspect if you want "reasonably high quality recordings". Put another way, a poor room will infect your recordings with low quality results. Often, a room is improved with (i) the use of certain sound absorption and diffusion products and (ii) finding the better/best places in the room for mic placements and monitor placement.

DukeX 07-01-2018 04:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sdelsolray (Post 5772324)
Many of the above posts provide good suggestions and information. However, all of them omit discussion of a few necessary and critical parts of "basic kit...to make reasonably high quality recordings of a solo acoustic guitar".


Personally, I was afraid of scaring him off with the additional costs. Thought it better to coax him partly down into the rabbit hole first. Then, once we have him snared, say "Oh, we forgot to tell you that you will also need…" :D

Charlie99 07-02-2018 03:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DukeX (Post 5772579)
Personally, I was afraid of scaring him off with the additional costs. Thought it better to coax him partly down into the rabbit hole first. Then, once we have him snared, say "Oh, we forgot to tell you that you will also need…" :D

�� Thanks for that! When I posted the question originally I was expecting to get a simple reply or two saying get this, this and this... Seems there’s a bit more to it...


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