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  #16  
Old 05-07-2013, 05:08 PM
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Doug Young Doug Young is offline
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Originally Posted by QBert View Post
Alright, I'll take your guys' advice and go with the H4n and Reaper.
I don't want to oversell the portable idea, but it is a really good way to get started. On the other hand, there may be benefits to different form factors. For example, the Zoom won't fit in a rack, or sit nicely in a permanent spot on your desk. Little things like that can make a big difference in whether your setup works for you. On the other hand, the Zoom will let you seek out different places to record, in your house, or elsewhere, and the acoustics of the room play a huge role in how successful you may be. So it's a tradeoff. Don't let anyone on the internet talk you into things :-) I just wouldn't dismiss the idea out of hand.

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That's an interesting idea. I also found out that it's a single stereo input, so in reality it would work with 2 mics. It just wouldn't be balanced. Not sure how good this room will be with electrical noise :/
I don't know anything about that unit, but it sounds like maybe this means you already have an interface? Try it out.


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But you know how a bad guitar can prevent a beginner from progressing? That's really what I want to avoid. I do want to learn the techniques of recording and editing, I just don't want to have bought any gear that's actually limiting.
That's a good goal. The main thing to look at is what you want to do. The zoom would be limiting if you wanted 3 external mics, for example. But so would most interfaces anywhere close to your budget. A truly flexible setup will cost many times what you're budgeting, unfortunately. Again, I don't want to over-push the zoom as your solution, cause it might not work for you, but for me, I can start with the Zoom, and even later, when I've "grown" to spending 10's of thousands on recording gear, the Zoom's still very useful. A non-portable low end interface, on the other hand, ends up in the trash.

If you want a nice, flexible interface that you can buy once and that will grow with you, I'd move your budget up substantially and look at something like an RME Fireface, a UAD Apollo, or on the lower end, an Apogee Quartet (only 4 channels, tho) - just examples, there are lots of these. Add some nice mics, like some mid-tier Audio Technicas, or even Neuman KM184s or equivalent, and now you're closer to gear that you can buy once and be done for life. But this is way beyond your planned budget.

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I'm actually able to get Sonar for free through my work, but yeah I'm just gonna go with Reaper.
I missed that you said Sonar. That's a very full-featured program, steep learning curve, but is going to have better built-in effects and plugins than reaper, and I think also has much better MIDI support, since you're interested in that. If you get that for free, why not go with that?

By the way, the 2 big pieces you're missing, as far as I can tell, are monitors, and room treatment. These affect what you hear and what gets recorded, so they're far more important than almost any thing else you're thinking about. Good monitors, especially, can be costly.
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  #17  
Old 05-07-2013, 06:21 PM
KenW KenW is offline
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I'm actually able to get Sonar for free through my work, but yeah I'm just gonna go with Reaper.
When it comes to sound, a DAW is a DAW. The deciding factor is how well you know your way around a particular DAW, how it behaves with your system and preferred plugins, and how it adapts to your workflow. I have a friend who is a pro that swears by Sonar. If you already know your way around Sonar, that's a good chunk of the battle already won.

The only thing I might add is just how "free" is it? Most EULA's do not allow for employees to take copies home, even if it is work related, unless the actual license holder buys additional licenses.

I posed this to gearslutz awhile back:

http://www.gearslutz.com/board/music...-software.html

Last edited by KenW; 05-07-2013 at 06:28 PM.
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  #18  
Old 05-07-2013, 07:36 PM
QBert QBert is offline
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Originally Posted by Doug Young View Post
I don't want to oversell the portable idea, but it is a really good way to get started. On the other hand, there may be benefits to different form factors. For example, the Zoom won't fit in a rack, or sit nicely in a permanent spot on your desk. Little things like that can make a big difference in whether your setup works for you. On the other hand, the Zoom will let you seek out different places to record, in your house, or elsewhere, and the acoustics of the room play a huge role in how successful you may be. So it's a tradeoff. Don't let anyone on the internet talk you into things :-) I just wouldn't dismiss the idea out of hand.
Yep that's exactly what I was thinking of the second time around. Worst case scenario it'll just end up sitting on my desk like any other interface.

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Originally Posted by Doug Young View Post
I don't know anything about that unit, but it sounds like maybe this means you already have an interface? Try it out.
Yeah, I'm trying to find the drivers for this thing. They don't seem to exist.


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Originally Posted by Doug Young View Post
If you want a nice, flexible interface that you can buy once and that will grow with you, I'd move your budget up substantially and look at something like an RME Fireface, a UAD Apollo, or on the lower end, an Apogee Quartet (only 4 channels, tho) - just examples, there are lots of these. Add some nice mics, like some mid-tier Audio Technicas, or even Neuman KM184s or equivalent, and now you're closer to gear that you can buy once and be done for life. But this is way beyond your planned budget.
I'd definitely like to have those things, I just can't justify it when I'm not making a penny off of my music (yet! ).

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Originally Posted by Doug Young View Post
I missed that you said Sonar. That's a very full-featured program, steep learning curve, but is going to have better built-in effects and plugins than reaper, and I think also has much better MIDI support, since you're interested in that. If you get that for free, why not go with that?
I dunno, everyone just seems to like Reaper. But if Sonar is more powerful and provides better quality effects then that's great.

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Originally Posted by Doug Young View Post
By the way, the 2 big pieces you're missing, as far as I can tell, are monitors, and room treatment. These affect what you hear and what gets recorded, so they're far more important than almost any thing else you're thinking about. Good monitors, especially, can be costly.
I already have monitors (JBL somethings) that I bought to listen to music on, since the consumer market just didn't cut it. I also have high end reference quality headphones, IEMs, and amps too (Sennheiser HD-800, JH Audio JH-16). So my outputs are covered pretty well.

As far as the room goes - it's relatively small, and there are plenty of soft surfaces all around (curtains, carpet, couches) So as far as reflections go I might get lucky. But there is this one Window that is particularly noisy during the day and would limit my recording to nighttime. I don't care for it though, so I was thinking that if it became a problem I could just cover it with foam. Would that work?


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Originally Posted by KenW View Post
When it comes to sound, a DAW is a DAW. The deciding factor is how well you know your way around a particular DAW, how it behaves with your system and preferred plugins, and how it adapts to your workflow. I have a friend who is a pro that swears by Sonar. If you already know your way around Sonar, that's a good chunk of the battle already won.

The only thing I might add is just how "free" is it? Most EULA's do not allow for employees to take copies home, even if it is work related, unless the actual license holder buys additional licenses.

I posed this to gearslutz awhile back:

http://www.gearslutz.com/board/music...-software.html
It would actually be given to me by another company that I do business with. It wouldn't be a copy, it would be a full license.

Last edited by QBert; 05-07-2013 at 07:46 PM.
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  #19  
Old 05-07-2013, 07:50 PM
sdelsolray sdelsolray is offline
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QBert:

Regardless of what gear you get, I would suggest you find and allocate about 100+ hours to experiment, study, research, listening, etc. Recording skills are acquired only through such efforts.
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  #20  
Old 05-07-2013, 08:47 PM
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I'd definitely like to have those things, I just can't justify it when I'm not making a penny off of my music (yet! ).
I think you're reversing your earlier logic about how having a good instrument helps you learn :-) If everyone here waited until we were making money off music to get recording gear, you wouldn't hear many recordings! I'd dare say almost no one makes money off home recording. In fact, it's arguably cheaper, at any given quality point, especially if you factor in time for learning, to just go to a studio. I suspect most people do it because they enjoy it, so they invest in it, both time and money, the same as other aspects of playing the guitar.
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  #21  
Old 05-07-2013, 08:50 PM
louparte louparte is offline
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So I'd like to start recording my playing a bit, but I have no idea where to start with equipment. I've got a solid background in engineering and audio so I should have a pretty good head start on figuring out the mixing stage, but I have no clue about mics and I don't know the pro sound card market at all.

I'm looking to record guitar and vocals (the latter not that often), and would like a MIDI input as well. I'd like to keep this in the 'relatively affordable' range, as I'm doing this mostly for fun.

If you guys have any suggestions on what to buy, or links to any good resources, it would be much appreciated.
Don't rule out the iPad. No need for a sound card. There is a revolution occurring right now in DAW's and it is all about migrating to iPad. My iPad will be my DAW hardware for years to come. And I'm a PC guy. I'm no Apple fanboy.
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Last edited by louparte; 05-08-2013 at 04:54 AM.
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  #22  
Old 05-08-2013, 12:12 AM
QBert QBert is offline
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I think you're reversing your earlier logic about how having a good instrument helps you learn :-) If everyone here waited until we were making money off music to get recording gear, you wouldn't hear many recordings! I'd dare say almost no one makes money off home recording. In fact, it's arguably cheaper, at any given quality point, especially if you factor in time for learning, to just go to a studio. I suspect most people do it because they enjoy it, so they invest in it, both time and money, the same as other aspects of playing the guitar.
That's actually a very, very good point.

Truth be told I have been looking forward to seeing what I can do with a DAW. I'm sure there's lots of stuff I don't know about yet I'll be able to get creative with.

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Don't rule out the iPad. No need for a sound card. There is an revolution occurring right now in DAW's and it is all about migrating to iPad. My iPad will be my DAW hardware for years to come. And I'm a PC guy. I'm no Apple fanboy.
Is there a portable interface to connect multiple mics to an iPad? I know you can do the whole "iPad->Camera Kit->Powered USB Hub->Sound Card" thing, but that doesn't really count as something portable.
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  #23  
Old 05-08-2013, 05:04 AM
louparte louparte is offline
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That's actually a very, very good point.

Truth be told I have been looking forward to seeing what I can do with a DAW. I'm sure there's lots of stuff I don't know about yet I'll be able to get creative with.



Is there a portable interface to connect multiple mics to an iPad? I know you can do the whole "iPad->Camera Kit->Powered USB Hub->Sound Card" thing, but that doesn't really count as something portable.



Lots of 'em. I use an Alesis ioDock. Fantastic gadget - no camera kit necessary but obsolete post iPad2.

When I buy a new iPad, I'll look at Focusrite iTrack - no camera kit necessary. But there are cheaper options from Apogee, Behringer and other companies. It's a real revolution. If someone had told me five years ago I'd be doing all my recording on a tablet from Apple, I would have said, "Huh?"

When you compare the prices for iPad DAW's to computer-based DAW's, it quickly becomes a no-brainer. Of course, the critical component is the interface. You'd want something that connects directly to it - not USB. And ideally, you'd want it to charge the battery too.
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Last edited by louparte; 05-08-2013 at 05:13 AM.
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  #24  
Old 05-08-2013, 11:13 AM
QBert QBert is offline
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[/B]

Lots of 'em. I use an Alesis ioDock. Fantastic gadget - no camera kit necessary but obsolete post iPad2.

When I buy a new iPad, I'll look at Focusrite iTrack - no camera kit necessary. But there are cheaper options from Apogee, Behringer and other companies. It's a real revolution. If someone had told me five years ago I'd be doing all my recording on a tablet from Apple, I would have said, "Huh?"

When you compare the prices for iPad DAW's to computer-based DAW's, it quickly becomes a no-brainer. Of course, the critical component is the interface. You'd want something that connects directly to it - not USB. And ideally, you'd want it to charge the battery too.
Thanks.

Just checked those out, and found a few more. I can't use an iPad for serious mixing (I'm just way more comfortable on my desktop) but it'll definitely come in handy at some point.

The thing is that I'm getting Sonar for free, so an iPad DAW is actually more expensive .
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Old 05-08-2013, 12:29 PM
J-Doug J-Doug is offline
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I started back into recording with the Zoom H2n I got at Xmas. Absolutely love it. Super simple and sounds great. Click my soundcloud link below my signature to hear some solo acoustic guitar recordings I have done with it.
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  #26  
Old 05-13-2013, 11:54 AM
myersbw myersbw is offline
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So...given the window in the room...don't rule out picking up an SM57 or 58 for a cardiod pattern in the room. That can help when you can't eliminate outside noises from creeping in.

I'm also one to scour C-list to see what locals have what for sale...especially regarding interfaces.




Quote:
Originally Posted by QBert View Post
Yep that's exactly what I was thinking of the second time around. Worst case scenario it'll just end up sitting on my desk like any other interface.



Yeah, I'm trying to find the drivers for this thing. They don't seem to exist.




I'd definitely like to have those things, I just can't justify it when I'm not making a penny off of my music (yet! ).



I dunno, everyone just seems to like Reaper. But if Sonar is more powerful and provides better quality effects then that's great.



I already have monitors (JBL somethings) that I bought to listen to music on, since the consumer market just didn't cut it. I also have high end reference quality headphones, IEMs, and amps too (Sennheiser HD-800, JH Audio JH-16). So my outputs are covered pretty well.

As far as the room goes - it's relatively small, and there are plenty of soft surfaces all around (curtains, carpet, couches) So as far as reflections go I might get lucky. But there is this one Window that is particularly noisy during the day and would limit my recording to nighttime. I don't care for it though, so I was thinking that if it became a problem I could just cover it with foam. Would that work?




It would actually be given to me by another company that I do business with. It wouldn't be a copy, it would be a full license.
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  #27  
Old 05-13-2013, 07:25 PM
QBert QBert is offline
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So...given the window in the room...don't rule out picking up an SM57 or 58 for a cardiod pattern in the room. That can help when you can't eliminate outside noises from creeping in.

I'm also one to scour C-list to see what locals have what for sale...especially regarding interfaces.
Good idea, I can just keep the back end of the mic(s) pointed somewhat towards the window.

I already placed an order for the gear though. I got an H4n and two Samson C02 mics, plus two stands and cables. I can't wait for them to get here so I can start messing around
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  #28  
Old 05-13-2013, 08:04 PM
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Doug Young Doug Young is offline
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Good idea, I can just keep the back end of the mic(s) pointed somewhat towards the window.

You''ll want to experiment with positions, the sound can vary throughout a room. But my intuition in this case (which could easily be wrong, since I have no idea what your room is like) is the opposite. Depending on how close you are, playing while facing a reflective surface means the sound will be projecting out of the guitar and bouncing back at you. Just because the mics are aimed away from the window doesn't mean you won't pick up reflections. It can bounce from the guitar to the window, to the floor, etc. On the other hand, sitting with your back to the window (which yes, means the mics will be pointed toward it), will produce fewer reflections from your guitar to the window. What's behind you often doesn't matter all that much. And the mics will be aimed at your guitar, with both it and you blocking them from directly "seeing" the window. But experiment, even if the window does cause reflections, who knows, you may like it! And if the window is across the room, I doubt it will matter much at all either way.
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  #29  
Old 05-14-2013, 08:43 PM
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Yeah, Doug's take on reflections just goes to show how what would seem logical may not work. Experimenting is the only way "on the cheap". I have friends that save the "egg carton" sculpted shipping foam and use spray adhesive to pop it onto very heavy cardboard & make sound sound absorbers & diffusers to, what you would strive for, "deaden" the recording zone. Once the recording is devoid of most natural reverb..."adding" the style of reverb & effects is more controllable via software/plugins to achieve the voicing you want. Some like a live floor (hardwood) for percussion recording. Depends on what you prefer & are producing.

Most of all, don't get discouraged & just have a bit of fun with it!
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  #30  
Old 05-18-2013, 10:59 PM
QBert QBert is offline
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Thanks for the pointers

I just played around with it a little bit today with it and it seems like reflections may not be much of a problem. There's very little, and I think just hanging up a thick curtain or even a comforter should do the trick. However, I'm having a little problem with noise (a hiss, not ambient noise). I'm not sure if it's at the input or output stage yet, as I haven't listened to the files on the PC yet. On one hand it could be the output because it's present even with the Mic gain at 0, but on the other hand there's different levels of noise depending on which Mics are being used. Is this normal for the unit?

It's really late here now, so I'll look into it more and post a recording tomorrow.

And thanks for all the help so far guys, I really appreciate it!
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