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  #31  
Old 04-28-2012, 09:11 AM
Bob1131 Bob1131 is offline
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It depends on what you want for sound. The 6-string banjos don't have the drone 5th string and open tuning, so the chord voicing will not be the same as a genuine 5 string banjo. Of course you can tune the 6 string to an open tuning, but it still won't have that 5th string drone. I recommend that you try 5-string, or if you want to do more Celtic-type stuff a 4 string tenor banjo would be good.

For me, I obtained a bass before I bought a banjo. The bass goes with just about everything I play, whereas the banjo I use for texture in only certain songs. It's all good and fun, so your mileage may vary!
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  #32  
Old 04-30-2012, 05:58 AM
SeamusORiley SeamusORiley is offline
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It depends on what you want for sound. The 6-string banjos don't have the drone 5th string and open tuning, so the chord voicing will not be the same as a genuine 5 string banjo. Of course you can tune the 6 string to an open tuning, but it still won't have that 5th string drone. I recommend that you try 5-string, or if you want to do more Celtic-type stuff a 4 string tenor banjo would be good.

For me, I obtained a bass before I bought a banjo. The bass goes with just about everything I play, whereas the banjo I use for texture in only certain songs. It's all good and fun, so your mileage may vary!
Thanks, Bob. I am going to go the route of bass first. That will give me guitar, harmonica and bass.

Today, UPS brings the Tascam dp 004, so I get to play with the new toy and start on the fun and exciting new road of home recording. The sample recordings from this thread are professional sounding, so I have some great things to aim for.
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  #33  
Old 04-30-2012, 07:57 AM
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Thanks, Bob. I am going to go the route of bass first. That will give me guitar, harmonica and bass.

Today, UPS brings the Tascam dp 004, so I get to play with the new toy and start on the fun and exciting new road of home recording. The sample recordings from this thread are professional sounding, so I have some great things to aim for.
Wise choice. Don't hesitate to post what you record in the Show & Tell section, and don't let the professional recordings intimidate you. We welcome everyone's music from the seasoned professionals like Doug Young and Eric Skye, to the rank amateur hobbyists like me. It's all good and worthy to be heard! BTW, as an "old guy" you might get a kick out of some of the 1960s covers my wife and I attempted at the link in my signature (you will hear my bass, banjo and other things in some of those songs).
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  #34  
Old 05-02-2012, 09:13 AM
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One thing to keep in mind is that the "learning curve" is mostly figuring out all the buttons to ignore until you need them. Computer DAWs look intimidating because they offer so many features. But the basics of recording on most of them are just about identical to something like a portastudio:

1. Create a track (the portastudio creates 4 and only 4 for you - on a computer, you'll probably have to find the "new track" button, or start up with a template that pre-creates them.)

2. Arm the track you want to record on (same as a portastudio) and set levels (same as a portastudio)

3. Hit record (Same as a portastudio)

4. Rewind and play back (same as a portastudio)

5. Arm an other track and overdub (same as a portastudio)

That's about it, and you're now doing everything you can do on a simple hardware recorder, and doing it pretty much the exact same way. Most even have a mixer panel and transport panel that looks amazingly like the hardware. All the complexity and learning curve tends to come when you start asking "what are all those other buttons?"

The other aspect of computer recording is getting the audio interface configured. But that can be as easy these days as buying a USB mic and plugging into the USB port, again not that different from plugging a mic into a hardware portastudio.

Just don't let all the extra buttons overwhelm you. Ignore them and start recording. The computer offers so much more flexibility once you're ready to explore further that it makes little sense to me to use any hardware multi-tracker in most situations (tho they do have their uses). At a minimum, just get something like the portastudio app on an ipad!
This is quite interesting. I made a thread recently http://www.acousticguitarforum.com/f...d.php?t=248717 about getting into digital recording from an '80s background of multi-track cassette recording. Some of you here posted on that thread.

After reading here and some Amazon reviews, it seems the Tascam (4 or 8) can be pretty complicated to learn. Having been messing with PCs for 20 years I think I'm going to go the PC route. I did install Audacity as someone from my thread suggested, and I think you're right -- all the controls can be intimidating, but only a few are actually needed to get started.

I had to switch from old-time toolmaking to modern PC-based CAD-CAM machining in the late '90s and the software (despite costing $10,000) was quite complex and intimidating. But it wasn't too bad to just get started on and I learned new functions as time went on -- and I'm still learning (mostly because new versions have new functions to learn.)

Your comments about how just getting started shouldn't be difficult, and you expand your knowledge of the other buttons/functions as you get more familiar with the program, to be true of most software. Within the past year or so I have figured out how to record video from Youtube (or any other source), save it to hard drive, and burn it to a DVD disc which I can play on my TV or give away to friends, so I think I can get started with Audacity without too much frustration. (haha)

My one question (at this point): On my thread someone mentioned needing an "interface" (which I didn't even know what it was, but they explained it) to convert the audio mike signal to digital. But you said above that all you need is a USB mike -- does the USB connection/port automatically convert the signal to digital?
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  #35  
Old 05-02-2012, 10:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Bruze View Post
On my thread someone mentioned needing an "interface" (which I didn't even know what it was, but they explained it) to convert the audio mike signal to digital. But you said above that all you need is a USB mike -- does the USB connection/port automatically convert the signal to digital?
To record a mic to a computer, you need basically a

mic -> preamp -> analog to digital converter -> computer interface.

In my own setup, I have each of these as separate things, but there are lots of boxes that combine the last 3 into a single unit, (MBox, RME Fireface, many, many others). But lately, some people make USB mics that cram everything into the mic itself, like the BLUE Snowball. You just plug these into the USB port and it will appear as an input device on most recording systems, like Audacity. The results may not be quite the level of quality you can get with the component route - it's easy to spend thousands on each of the 4 elements I listed above, and you can get USB mics for under $100 that combine everything, but for home recording, the results can be just fine, and it makes getting started really simple. (There are also some high end USB mics that aren't cheap, and presumably compete with pro level signal chains)
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  #36  
Old 05-02-2012, 01:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Doug Young View Post
To record a mic to a computer, you need basically a

mic -> preamp -> analog to digital converter -> computer interface.

In my own setup, I have each of these as separate things, but there are lots of boxes that combine the last 3 into a single unit, (MBox, RME Fireface, many, many others). But lately, some people make USB mics that cram everything into the mic itself, like the BLUE Snowball. You just plug these into the USB port and it will appear as an input device on most recording systems, like Audacity. The results may not be quite the level of quality you can get with the component route - it's easy to spend thousands on each of the 4 elements I listed above, and you can get USB mics for under $100 that combine everything, but for home recording, the results can be just fine, and it makes getting started really simple. (There are also some high end USB mics that aren't cheap, and presumably compete with pro level signal chains)
Thanks for the info!

I'm not interested in anything fancy (or complicated) so the all-in-one mike sounds like what I'm looking for.
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  #37  
Old 05-02-2012, 02:48 PM
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Thanks for the info!

I'm not interested in anything fancy (or complicated) so the all-in-one mike sounds like what I'm looking for.
One thing to be aware of - I'm not sure you can use 2 USB mics at the same time. There's no way to sync the digital converters, as far as I know. So this is a quick way to get started with 1 mic, but if you eventually want to record in stereo, or do guitar+vocal mic, you'll need something else. But even that, mic(s) + all-in-one interface box is quite simple. You plug the mic into the box, and the box into your USB or firewire port, and you're set.
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  #38  
Old 05-02-2012, 06:15 PM
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One thing to be aware of - I'm not sure you can use 2 USB mics at the same time. There's no way to sync the digital converters, as far as I know. So this is a quick way to get started with 1 mic, but if you eventually want to record in stereo, or do guitar+vocal mic, you'll need something else. But even that, mic(s) + all-in-one interface box is quite simple. You plug the mic into the box, and the box into your USB or firewire port, and you're set.
I won't ever need 2 mikes (I can't even sing), but here's another question.

I will want to record with my 30 year old Casio keyboard which has a standard RCA output. Will this interface work? From what I've read it seems that it will, it has RCA ins and outs, but otherwise I'm assuming I can use this to record the keyboard onto my PC. Again, I don't care about high quality studio sounds or anything even close. Simple, inexpensive, but functional is all I care about.



Here is the link to it at Sweetwater: http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/UCA202/
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  #39  
Old 05-02-2012, 07:26 PM
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If you've got a free PCI slot, get an M-Audio 2496 instead. Much better all round: good drivers for Mac, Windows and Linux and decent audio quality. You can pick them up on ebay for $50 or so.

If you're trying to figure out how to interpret the figures in the link, the correlation score is the important one. Anything around 10 is going to sound very good. Anything higher you won't even be able to hear the difference without forensic listening in a top quality monitoring environment.

You'll need a mic and preamp as well as the interface. Also decent headphones and studio monitors to hear what you're doing. And then there's room treatment...

A Zoom H4N might be another way to go. Decent mics built-in, line inputs for the keyboard, and overall great value for money.
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  #40  
Old 05-07-2012, 03:15 PM
SeamusORiley SeamusORiley is offline
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This thread has been a great help, so I'll take the next step in learning:

What's the entry level multi track recorder with drum machine?



It seems that alot feel that reverb is important. What about a drum machine?

thanks!
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  #41  
Old 05-07-2012, 03:28 PM
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Originally Posted by SeamusORiley View Post
This thread has been a great help, so I'll take the next step in learning:

What's the entry level multi track recorder with drum machine?



It seems that alot feel that reverb is important. What about a drum machine?

thanks!
FWIW, I'm using my 80s era Casio keyboard on one track for accompaniment cuz it has drums, bass, arpeggio, various rhythms, etc. I may drop $100 and get a new keyboard after a while, I'm sure the new ones have a zillion more combinations than my old clunker does.
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  #42  
Old 05-08-2012, 02:08 PM
SeamusORiley SeamusORiley is offline
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Originally Posted by Bruze View Post
FWIW, I'm using my 80s era Casio keyboard on one track for accompaniment cuz it has drums, bass, arpeggio, various rhythms, etc. I may drop $100 and get a new keyboard after a while, I'm sure the new ones have a zillion more combinations than my old clunker does.
Let us know when you have something together.

I am playing with some steady strum and some lead.

I sound so much better not recorded!

It is surprising to me how many mistakes I make as I listen back on the recording.
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  #43  
Old 05-08-2012, 04:56 PM
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Originally Posted by SeamusORiley View Post
This thread has been a great help, so I'll take the next step in learning:

What's the entry level multi track recorder with drum machine?



It seems that alot feel that reverb is important. What about a drum machine?

thanks!
Quote:
Originally Posted by SeamusORiley View Post
Let us know when you have something together.

I am playing with some steady strum and some lead.

I sound so much better not recorded!

It is surprising to me how many mistakes I make as I listen back on the recording.
I generally play drums from a Yamaha keyboard but sometimes I use a drum track from my recorder (Boss BR864). I like the Boss recorder because it is fairly intuitive to operate and has lots of effects, amplifier modeling and a variety of presets for inputs and mastering. I spend more time recording my playing and less time playing engineer.

You've hit on one of the big benefits of recording...I never realized how bad I sounded until I started recording. Over the years I have corrected a lot of bad habits in my singing and playing, all because I could hear them in recordings. It's challenging and fun, so it has renewed my enthusiasm and the joy of playing my guitars!
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  #44  
Old 06-05-2012, 10:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeamusORiley View Post
This thread has been a great help, so I'll take the next step in learning:

What's the entry level multi track recorder with drum machine?



It seems that alot feel that reverb is important. What about a drum machine?

thanks!
Hi Seamus, good thread. I have looked into this for a while, but not actually bought anything. Years ago I bought Zoom PSO4 but found it difficult to use and could not get good sound out of it (though many did). I was thinking of getting the Zoom R8 - 8 tracks, drums, effects (such as reverb), looks pretty simple to use - and they are the most competitive prices in Australia - good bang for the buck compared to others. I haven't bought one yet - put the money toward a new Eastman E10OM as I kept getting sore shoulder playing my dred for more than 1/2 hour. Today I noticed a post (in this thread) saying Zoom H1 can have update and use as an interface meaning you could plug it into a computer via USB and use it as a microphone into recording software (such as Audacity or Reaper). This appears to be the cheaper route at the moment - I already have a laptop but no microphones. I have mucked around with Audacity before and it is not that hard - if you can use Word you will work it out I'm sure, though I was only plugging in to the mic input on the computer with a 1/4 to 1/8 adapter so the sound was not very good. Given you have the H1 - you may want to give it a go. It won't cost you anything.
Do others have suggestions as to what I could do - or have I come up with the cheapest way to get a decent sound recorded that I can multi-track?
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  #45  
Old 06-06-2012, 12:20 AM
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I would vote for the Tascam DP008, its not expensive and does 8 tracks and is super super easy to use. Unless you really need a field mic, ie. Zoom type digital recorder, just score a dedicate multitrack. I have both, and honestly the zoom has portability and thats why i got it. But making it be a multitrack mini studio is pushing what it was made for which is for grabbing live sound performance.

I think of the Zoom as somthing more for recording a choir practice or something like that, not really designed for home studio. Has no reverb for one The portastudios give ya that. I love how the Tascam lets me just push a button out of 8 for the channel i want to record. It has a great set of stereo mics on it. I cant tell the diff between those and my Zoom. I have the 2 though, maybe the 4 has better mics.
I could be mistaken but I thought the Zoom H4N has reverb, delay, etc?
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