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Old 05-06-2019, 05:40 AM
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Mbroady Mbroady is offline
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Default Your Recording Evolution - then and now

Would love to hear about your recording evolution, especially in regards to what you can do now that you could not do then

My first recording machine was a tascam 4 track portastudio. I was a hack then and it many ways I’m still a hack. But as a newbie to guitar being able to record rhythm tracks and practice, record, and listen to my leads was ground breaking for me.

I used the Tascam for years but eventually picked up an Adat 8 track. Once again it’s primary use was for instant gratification and to record band practice.

Eventually DAWs were popping up everywhere but it was not until recently I actually started to record for song documentation and “Product”. I have a lot to learn (mic placement, mixing, room design..etc). I currently use the last Sonar version of Cakewalk platinum. Band labs is now giving it away for free, minus some plugins

Though there are many basics procedures we take for granted now (cut and paste being the most basic) there are relatively new(ish) things that are starting to gain traction. At first they were sketchy but the tech has gotten better.

Don’t use them all to often but 3 things that blow me away are.
1. slowing down, speeding up and stretching audio. The soft were I use (Groove clips in Sonar) still leaves artifacts but still, wow. What do you use with good success.
2. Though i prefer a good take, Pitch correction, especially in polyphonic tracks is impressive.
3. This has been around for a while but being able to upload digital tracks and send them to other musicians, so they can add tracks is ...convenient. And with today’s upload speeds large files are not an issue
What about you? What do u do now that you could not do then, and what do you use to do it.
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Old 05-06-2019, 09:14 AM
DanR DanR is offline
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My home recording endeavors started in 1972 with a portable cassette deck and a second borrowed cassette deck. I would bounce between two decks. I had to balance the overdubs by positioning the microphone between the new source and the cassette decks speaker. Very primitive.

Around 1975 or so I purchased a Sony three head reel to reel deck. I would bounce back and forth on the tracks adding additional parts. Only the most recent track was usable as the previous track would be slightly out of sync due to the distance between the record and playback heads.

In the mid 80's I used a Yamaha MT44 4 track cassette deck and later a Tascam 414 4 track cassette deck.

At the end of the 90's I went digital, first with a Boss BR-8 and then a Korg D1600 in around 2007.

I currently record using a PC laptop and Reaper as my software. A Steinberg UR242 is my interface.
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Old 05-06-2019, 09:16 AM
FrankHudson FrankHudson is offline
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I'm sure there are going to be some stories of moving up the technology ladder, but I suspect most of them will start higher in the food chain than I did.

I first recorded on an early battery powered mono cassette recorder player back in the 60s. I didn't play, but I can remember recording an acoustic duo by moving the handheld mic as one soloed, or the other sang etc, sort of the reverse of the one mic bluegrass band tactic.

I'd edit by playing back on the cassette player into it's internal speaker and recording on another cassette player.

When I started playing in the 70s I recorded onto an 8-track. No, not a multitrack recorder, an 8-track, those chunky cassettes that folks once had in their cars. You had to make sure that you didn't go past 20 minutes or your track would cut over to the next segment (anyone who had an 8-Track player will remember that "feature"). Still mostly recording solo acoustic and vocals, now in stereo.

Later in the decade I bought a pair of cheap battery powered Radio Shack mixers and ran into the output of each into one channel of a stereo cassette recorder. Mics were now Radio Shack 1/4 plug mics. This made it easier to record with more than one sound source, including percussion tracks I'd make myself and play into the mixer on a second cassette player. As the 80s began I added electronic drums, via the Mattel Synsonics drum toy which I would play "live" or use to make the percussion tracks. And as we all remember the 80s had synthesizer bands with banks of synth to go with their somewhat more sophisticated electronic drums. I had a Casio VL-1. Full control of ADSR on it's single monophonic oscillator--and you could balance your checkbook with it too! I bet Depeche Mode couldn't do that!

Casio VL1

Still mixing down to cassette, but the two tracks while not over-dubable did allow some post recording choices.

Eventually in the 90s I got a Portastudio. 4 Tracks and overdubbing! I never really went full Sgt Pepper with overdubbing on it, in fact I was still recording mostly "live" but 4 discrete tracks did allow better mixes when I mixed down to cassette. I probably started using "real" microphones then, like a Sure SM58 and SM57s.

I bought a Digidesign Digi001 Protools setup right as they came out at the turn of the century and used it to record live rock band stuff as well as solo acoustic for over a decade. I would occasionally overdub, but I never really learned to edit in Protools, despite the product being the popularizer of the whole DAW concept for a great many people. I used a pair of Yamaha mixers by this point and I got a few more SM57, a pair of Octavia small diaphragm condenser mics, and one of those early MXL mics. I actually did all my post-recording editing and mixing in Cool Edit Pro which became Adobe Audition.

In the 2010's I bought my first Focusrite interfaces and while I still recorded live rock band stuff in Protools using them, I started using Logic Pro 9 and then Logic ProX.

I still record "live" playing and I still record things with just a single acoustic guitar, but Logic has lead to my use of Virtual Instruments. Whole string sections, wind instruments, Mellotron tapes without the mechanicals, syths. I no longer own an electric piano, I use VIs. I'll play various ethnic instruments via a guitar MIDI controller. Lots of one-man-band overdubbing, in-the-box digital effects, and more DAW style digital editing than ever (though I still do much less of it than most DAW and VI based musicians do, preferring to play or overdub live parts). My mic selection has improved. I tend to use mid to low priced dynamic mics for most vocals (Shure SM7b and ElectroVoice RE-20), that Octavia pair for acoustic guitar. SM57s still work well on electric guitar cabs, just like they did decades ago.

So what's improved? I never had a high-quality analog setup, so digital recording is what I associate with much better sound quality. Digital editing and mixing is such a boon, just fader automation alone has eased my workflow tremendously. Digital effects are so much cheaper than their hardware equivalents. VIs and soft-synths are amazing.
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Old 05-06-2019, 10:20 AM
paulp1960 paulp1960 is offline
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I first started with a Yamaha MT3X 4 track cassette with DBX and a 6 channel mixer.

I also had an Alesis MMT-8 midi sequencer and a Kawai drum machine and a Yamaha DX100 synth. I could record a click track on the MT3X from the sequencer and also sync the drum machine to the sequencer.

That way I could use 3 analog tape tracks and mix in a bassline from the DX100 with stereo drums from the Kawai using the 6 channel mixer on the portastudio.

I also owned a Casio VL-1 - great fun!
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Old 05-06-2019, 11:09 AM
jim1960 jim1960 is offline
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My first attempt at recording was back in the mid-70s when a friend and I managed to rig his home stereo so that we could a microphone and record onto the cassette deck. I was recording a song I'd written for someone and wasn't really taken by the recording bug ...probably because of how badly the recording came out.

Sometime around 1999 or 2000 I was having lunch at the high school where I was teaching and one of the music teachers came in with a person he'd brought in as a guest lecturer on digital recording. I wasn't a music teacher but my colleague knew I was a songwriter and he introduced me to Jack. We started talking about recording and I told him I dreamed of making an album some day. He offered to let me record at his place for a ridiculously good price. We worked on the album on and off for about a year and as we went I became more and more fascinated with the process, especially when he showed me things he could do in Pro Tools to correct any minor mistakes I'd made. By the time we'd finished, I'd gotten quite a recording education from him and I was even doing some of my own editing on his computer.

Within a year of finishing that album, I decided I wanted a home studio of my own. Although I had gotten a fair bit of experience using Pro Tools, I had little idea what I'd need to buy to be able to record, so I gave Jack a call and he helped me put a package together that included a 2001 Power Mac, a Digi 001 and a pair of Mackie 624s.

That served me well although the Digi 001 preamps left something to be desired. When the Digi 003 came out, I decided to upgrade the entire system. I bought an early 2008 Mac Pro to go along with it and I sent the 003 to Black Lion for an upgrade. It was an improvement but there was still something sterile about those preamps that I didn't love and that's when my preamp journey began.

My first outboard preamp was a Focusrite Twin Track channel strip. Didn't love it and bought a used Avalon M5. Didn't love that either.

Next up was a John Hardy M1. That pre is excellent for acoustic guitar but I wasn't thrilled with the vocals I was getting. At the time I my main vocal mic was an AKG Solidtube that I'd bought used. I had the Avalon M5 up for sale on various sites and someone contacted me with a trade offer: the M5 for a Blue Kiwi microphone. Since the M5 was selling for $1500 at the time, and the Kiwi was selling for $2k, I figured it was a good trade to make since even if I didn't like the Kiwi, I'd still have a more valuable piece of gear to sell.

It turned out I loved the Kiwi. It was a big upgrade from the Solidtube but I was curious about whether a tube preamp would make it even better. I think I spent a couple of months researching what tube pre to buy. I eventually settled on the Demeter VTMP-2c. The Kiwi through the Demeter sounded wonderful. I probably could have stayed with the combination but I was still curious about what was out there and began collecting information from others into recording as to what mic they'd reach for when they heard my voice. Most of them answered with some kind of 47-type mic. And that began a new quest.

I think I spent a year or more reading up on just about every 47ish mic available at the time. I listened to videos of them and as many shootouts as I could find. The Flea 47 emerged a clear winner but the idea of spending $3700 on microphone seemed a bit nuts to me. It took another couple of years to summon the courage to pull the trigger. Glad I did though because I found my vocal mic. I don't even think about vocal mics anymore. I'm still keeping the Kiwi though because on many women, the Kiwi-Demeter combo is just killer.

On the rack side of things, after Pro Tools decoupled the software from the hardware, I bought a UA Apollo Firewire which I've more recently upgraded to the Apollo 8Xp. I've also added a couple of other preamps in recent years: a Sebatron Axis and a Hendy Da Vinci ...and there's the new jump into the 500 series that I talked about in another thread.

I've been into this stuff for about 18 years. I made a lot of bad purchasing decisions when I started. With the exception of a few microphones, all of the gear I bought in the first eight years or so has been sold off. But this is also true... I haven't made a bad purchase in a long time so maybe I've learned a few things.
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Old 05-06-2019, 12:39 PM
DukeX DukeX is offline
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Started with a tape recorder (then two to bounce tracks, LOL).
Had a reel-to-reel for a while (until I broke it).
4-track Tascam (that was a lot of fun).
DAW with lots of other software (still trying to learn how to use it all).
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Old 05-06-2019, 01:11 PM
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Bob Womack Bob Womack is offline
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Well, now. I started fiddling with my father's kit Realistic reel-to-reel with a "magic eye" instead of a VU meter when I was about seven. I learned to thread the thing up, route a signal, and record on my own... and then he walked in on me.


Being a fantastic dad, he decided to buy me my own recorder for my birthday to his protect his gear so he bought me a Webcor 620 reel-to-reel, around 1968 when I was eleven. I loved that thing. I learned to make tape loops and playback tapes backwards and that kind of fun stuff on this one.


Probably the first one I made serious recordings on was a Tandberg 9100X with cross-field heads. I later picked one of those up and now it lives in the studio with me.



During college I bought a Tascam 3440 and Model 3 mixer and started my own studio.


Meanwhile I was studying recording, music composition, and electronic music in college.


(I'm on the left)

Which leads me to being hired into the industry in 1981, and working on Neve and Solid State Logic consoles and Ampex, Sony, and MCI tape decks. Pic is from 2003.




These days I record non-linear on DAWs with Nuendo.


So, that's kind of hard-core, I guess.

Bob
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Old 05-06-2019, 02:21 PM
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KevWind KevWind is offline
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I started a similar thread back in 2012 along the same lines, "How we got started recording " but I think it's a good idea for a redo because there are many new contributors here now

Like others as a teenager I tried with a simple stereo cassette in the mid 60's but it sounded so bad I gave up.

Thru some fortunate circumstances in 2002, I got the chance (for free) to knock out about 8 songs in a high end Post Production studio in midtown Manhattan one Sunday afternoon. It was a Pro Tools TDM system with acoustically accurate control rooms to record in , and using two Neumann U87 ai mics, one on my acoustic guitar and one for vocal. I was hooked.

When I got back to Wyoming in the spring of 2003 I bought a home studio system. A Digi- 002 8 channel console mixer, with Pro Tools LE , an Apple G4 laptop. And an inexpensive Studio Projects C1 LDC (I think) mic, and dove in.....And some KRK 8 " monitor spks.

As jim1960 noted the pres in the 002 were also marginal at best, and coupled with the cheap Studio Projects mic I was frustrated when A/B ing against the CD of songs I recorded in NYC. As noted it was quite brittle sounding comparatively.

I bought a Focusrite ISA series 220 single Channel Strip which was slightly better sounding .
Then a Apogee Rosetta 200 2 channel converter again some slight improvement.

I finally gave up on the Studio Projects and went in search of something better ended up with a pair of Shure KSM 44 s good improvement

A few years later I decided to try to find something like the Neumann U 87. Sold the 44's and ended up with a Brauner Phantom V . Pretty significant improvement.

I then set out to get a Mic Pre-Amp, after about a year of searching I bought an A Designs MP2A tube 2 channel pre , after playing and singing through one.

Next in January 2011 I made a big change. I sold the 002 and got an Avid Omni interface with HD Native PCIe card and an Apple Mid 2010 Mac Pro Tower.
I also enrolled in a 12 week online Pro Tools production course, at Berklee Collage of music


Then in aprox 2013-14, got a Schoeps CMC 6- MK4 SDC for acoustic guitar

2015 ,sold the KRK's got a pair of Amphion One 18's and an Amphion 100 watt amp.

2016 got an IGS Tubecore 3U tube Mastering Compressor

And finally early this year I sold the Schoeps got a pair of AEA N 22 ribbon mics an ADK Z-Mod 251 LDC tube mic .

I am pretty well set now just need to try to get my performing, recording, and mixing chops, up to somewhere near the level of my gear
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Old 05-12-2019, 04:32 PM
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Mbroady Mbroady is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Womack View Post
Well, now. I started fiddling with my father's kit Realistic reel-to-reel with a "magic eye" instead of a VU meter when I was about seven. I learned to thread the thing up, route a signal, and record on my own... and then he walked in on me.


Being a fantastic dad, he decided to buy me my own recorder for my birthday to his protect his gear so he bought me a Webcor 620 reel-to-reel, around 1968 when I was eleven. I loved that thing. I learned to make tape loops and playback tapes backwards and that kind of fun stuff on this one.


Probably the first one I made serious recordings on was a Tandberg 9100X with cross-field heads. I later picked one of those up and now it lives in the studio with me.



During college I bought a Tascam 3440 and Model 3 mixer and started my own studio.


Meanwhile I was studying recording, music composition, and electronic music in college.


(I'm on the left)

Which leads me to being hired into the industry in 1981, and working on Neve and Solid State Logic consoles and Ampex, Sony, and MCI tape decks. Pic is from 2003.




These days I record non-linear on DAWs with Nuendo.


So, that's kind of hard-core, I guess.

Bob
Some classic looking Tape machines you had/have. Do you think we are know able to simulate the warmth or analog recording.
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Old 05-12-2019, 06:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Womack View Post



Which leads me to being hired into the industry in 1981, and working on Neve and Solid State Logic consoles and Ampex, Sony, and MCI tape decks. Pic is from 2003.



Bob
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Old 05-12-2019, 08:26 PM
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I can't say I rose nearly to the heights that Bob & others have, and I'm a bit younger, but remember recording things in the '70s/early '80s with a Realistic cassette recorder and supplied microphone. Serious quality there!


In college, had a couple of tape decks, so my roomate and I would record two tracks (one L, one R) and then bounce those to one track of the other deck while we played a third track, back and forth infinitum.

Finally found a friend who had a Tascam Portastudio 4-track, an 8 track mixer, and a few SM58s.


During this time, I also worked at a radio station and learned the art of splicing reel-to-reel tape. Did some limited production work there, although no music recording.

Upgraded roommates and recording capability eventually, with someone who had a Tascam 238 8-track cassette, 16-channel mixer and a couple of AKG 414s.

I finally discovered digital in the late '90s with the original CoolEdit Pro (which became Adobe Audition), then to Audacity, now to Reaper and full digital capability. CoolEdit/Audacity gave unlimited tracks but you still needed some outboard gear, and any effects were not real-time and were destructive. But the biggest leap was the ability to cut & paste sections or whole tracks to assemble a piece.

Reaper (and other modern DAWs that have come along since) have upped the game considerably, from much easier tracking, comping tracks, editing to real-time effects and VSTs. I am still learning a lot about these, but have no desire to go back!
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Old 05-12-2019, 09:59 PM
Rudy4 Rudy4 is offline
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I started with a "reel to reel" as others did, about 50 years ago!



I begged my mom for one of these for Christmas, and as soon as I had it I immediately pulled the capstan cover to see how it all worked. I figured out quickly that I could lift the magnet that swung down on the tape when recording and could record over the top of what I previously did!

It was my very first "overdub", but it wasn't very useful because you couldn't listen and record at the same time, obviously. I did a few passes and my mom came in to see who else was in the room with me...

I went through a small variety of recorders, one of which was a Webcor with the "Magic Eye" level indicator.
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Old 05-13-2019, 03:55 AM
Martin Maniac Martin Maniac is offline
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I started out with a Sony 5" reel to reel mono recorder. moved up to a Teac 2340 four track. Then to a DA-88 8track....then moved in to the software DAW's. I've had Cool Edit, Adobe Audition, Sonar, Studio One 4, and now Cubase 10. I've had a few others but they have fallen by the wayside.
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Old 05-13-2019, 03:58 AM
Fingerpicker23 Fingerpicker23 is offline
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In 6th grade I had two Realistic cassette recorders. On the first would record my guitar, then position the second so that the microphone of the 2nd would pick up the "1st track" and either my voice or a second guitar part. It was pure GENIOUS! I would even add a third track if the first two tracks sounded clear enough.

Years went by until I bought a cheap Teac real to real that could kind of do the same trick as my 6th grade projects.

Then of course I bought a Tascam 246 Potastudio which was 20X better quality, LOL.

THEN...16 tracks of ADAT and the requisite Mackie 24-4 with a couple of great mics.

Now I have just an RME Babyface and use mostly Gefell mics with some sweet outboard preamps and compressors.
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Old 05-13-2019, 04:31 AM
Martin Maniac Martin Maniac is offline
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regarding mics, I stated out with a $29.99 Radio Shack mic. I was so proud of that mic even though it sounded awful. then I bought Sennheiser 421's, and was so proud of them, but they had a very weak signal, tried Shure 58's, C-1000's, Neumann 102's, Shure SM7b, and a bunch of others, Now my main mics are AKG 214's, Telefunken M-80 and MXL V69 ME. Best sounding mic to my ears is the MXL V69 ME tube mic....


guitar amps, I've had many, but ended up with Roland Jazz Chorus 40, Fender Super Champ XD, Fender SFX and BOSS Katana mini. I also have a Roland 12" keyboard amp which sounds great.
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