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Old 04-18-2020, 08:41 PM
jaz761 jaz761 is offline
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Default Quick & Dirty-ish Demos

I can't seem to set up a simple and consistent way to record my original music at home. I almost always end up resorting to my iphone just to get the ideas down.

I have a fair amount of experience working with electric guitars and vocals at home and in studios but can't seem to get out of my own way when I'm on my own. I have been using a Scarlett 2i2 and I have an SM57 and an AT2035. I also have K&K in both of the guitars I want to use. I can get around Garageband or Logic Pro X at a beginner level. I also have an old Zoom H4N.

I'm trying to sing and play at the same time so have experimented with a single mic for vocals and guitar, an AT for vocals (and some guitar bleed) and guitar plugged in to the 2i2, and also using a mic for vocals and mic on guitar.

I get so caught up in getting things set up etc that I often run out of time and focus by the time I can start recording. I write a good amount and would like to start to record this stuff more regularly, at least for my own amusement.

I'd like to hear how others manage to make quick and dirty recordings of at least reasonable quality to use as demos or maybe even to throw up on Soundcloud etc. The Zoom? One mic? Some technique that doesn't use the DAW for recording?
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Old 04-18-2020, 09:29 PM
jim1960 jim1960 is offline
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You're trying to do three things at the same time: play the guitar well, sing well, and keep an eye on your tracking. That's not easy and is going to require some practice. You might try tracking your parts individually. Laying down the guitar track first, then laying the vocal over it. That way you'll only have to concentrate on doing two things well at the same time.
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  #3  
Old 04-18-2020, 10:49 PM
heavy_picker heavy_picker is offline
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Default Home recording setup

I use a Focusrite Saffire Pro 40 audio interface plugged into a MacBook Pro. I use Garageband software.

For a microphone I use a Rode NT2 with a pop filter on a boom stand to record my vocals and acoustic guitar. It stays in the same place and I record seated in the same position. This works out very well for me.

If I want to add another track of just guitar I might position the microphone aimed lower at the twelfth fret.
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Old 04-19-2020, 02:05 AM
Wrighty Wrighty is offline
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For what you describe, I tend to use my Zoom with it’s internal mics on it’s own - i use a tripod to allow flexibility on placement or at a punch just place it on the desk in front of me. Quality is not quite as good as using my interface and stereo mics, but the difference is minimal and the ease of set up is a major factor.
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Old 04-19-2020, 11:28 AM
Rudy4 Rudy4 is offline
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Quick n' dirty?

I'd suggest recording stereo tracks using a Tascam DR-05, you could even use two separate recorders for guitar and vocal, combining them in your DAW later. The DR-05 has omni mic capsules which can contribute to a fuller sound.

The huge advantage of this is it unchains you from your DAW environment and lets you record anywhere since there's no noise from computer fans, hard drives, etc.

I just did a VERY quick n' dirty audio recording of a newly built acoustic guitar (posted in the general section... https://www.acousticguitarforum.com/...d.php?t=578582 ) and combined it with a VERY poor quality video (done with Reaper) to demo how the guitar sounds. You can see the DR-05 about a foot in front of the guitar.

I'm sure if you play with positioning a bit you could get a very clean recording of both guitar and vocal using a single DR-05 if you wanted. You could also turn the recorder 90 degrees to have the mics facing up and down, balancing in your DAW later.


Last edited by Rudy4; 04-19-2020 at 11:34 AM.
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Old 04-19-2020, 12:19 PM
jaz761 jaz761 is offline
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Thanks for the input so far. That new guitar build sounds fantastic.

I have an old H4 but there's something wrong with the AC input and the it goes through batteries at a furious rate. I didn't feel I could re-solder the AC input so brought it to a local fix-it guy here. Now it's ready to be picked up but the current situation is making it tough to pick up.

The H4 has been great for what I've used it to do over the years but the menu based controls for everything are definitely cumbersome. I guess the H5 and H6 resolve that.

Anyone else using Zooms or similar to do what I'm trying to do?
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Old 04-19-2020, 12:53 PM
Gordon Currie Gordon Currie is offline
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Some people are using Izotope Spire to do this. Built-in decent microphone, simple workflow including basic overdubbing. Requires a dedicated i-Device while using it, and the export processes are shockingly clunky, but it is effective for quality in-the-moment demos where setting up will chase away the muse.

I like to leave a setup plugged in and ready at all times in my project studio. A five minute delay to plug things in seems to cause all inspiration to evaporate. And, contrary to a lifetime of wishful thinking, the inspiration rarely returns in the same form (at least for me).
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Old 04-19-2020, 12:59 PM
paulp1960 paulp1960 is offline
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Like Jim1960 said why not record guitar and vocal separately?

You would most likely get a better recording that way.
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Old 04-19-2020, 01:10 PM
jaz761 jaz761 is offline
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I should've replied to Jim1960...my apologies. Your observation is clarifying and on the mark.

It's just not the way I want to do it! For better or worse, I want to capture a performance and it doesn't need to be flawless. Recording separate guitar and vocals is certainly a better way to get empirically better performances, but not what I'm after. A minimum of computer fussing while tracking is a big goal.

I looked at the Spire thing and it seems interesting but I'm trying to use what I have on hand for now. I'm going to have to figure out a way to get my Zoom H4 back from the shop.

My ideal situation would be to sit down, press a record button and do a take. The more I read, the more I am realizing that the onus is on me to take the time to figure out my own foolproof setup. There prbly isn't a one-size-fits-all solution.
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Old 04-19-2020, 01:25 PM
KCharlesD KCharlesD is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rudy4 View Post
Quick n' dirty?

I'd suggest recording stereo tracks using a Tascam DR-05, you could even use two separate recorders for guitar and vocal, combining them in your DAW later. The DR-05 has omni mic capsules which can contribute to a fuller sound.

The huge advantage of this is it unchains you from your DAW environment and lets you record anywhere since there's no noise from computer fans, hard drives, etc.

I just did a VERY quick n' dirty audio recording of a newly built acoustic guitar (posted in the general section... https://www.acousticguitarforum.com/...d.php?t=578582 ) and combined it with a VERY poor quality video (done with Reaper) to demo how the guitar sounds. You can see the DR-05 about a foot in front of the guitar.

I'm sure if you play with positioning a bit you could get a very clean recording of both guitar and vocal using a single DR-05 if you wanted. You could also turn the recorder 90 degrees to have the mics facing up and down, balancing in your DAW later.

I have the Tascam DR-05 as well for quick and dirty recordings and getting ideas down. I heard Rudy's recording of his new self-build guitar and thought 'that sounded great'. If you want to do guitar and vocals together with this method, presuming your Zoom H4n is similar then it'll be about finding the best position. I have to be careful not to have the guitar drowning out my voice. Attach to a mic stand somehow?
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Old 04-19-2020, 01:26 PM
jim1960 jim1960 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaz761 View Post
My ideal situation would be to sit down, press a record button and do a take. The more I read, the more I am realizing that the onus is on me to take the time to figure out my own foolproof setup. There prbly isn't a one-size-fits-all solution.
The problem is the performance for every song is different. It's likely there are going to be some songs where you're singing quite a bit louder, and others quite a bit lower, and some where you go from one extreme to the other. There's no one-size-fits-all set up for that. Each song is going to require some individualization.

My best suggestion then is this... Rather than do a complete take of a song, save yourself some time and record the loudest section and the quietest section of a song. Experiment with mic placement and distance until you get those sounding right, then go for the full take. If you have the loudest and the softest sitting pretty, everything in between will be fine too.
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Old 04-19-2020, 01:30 PM
runamuck runamuck is offline
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In my opinion, a quick and dirty result can easily be had by using an iPhone.
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Old 04-19-2020, 02:04 PM
jaz761 jaz761 is offline
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True enough....I'd like to be able to import into DAW to add a little ambience etc. I actually tried to do this with an iphone file and am convinced I need to start with a higher resolution file.
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Old 04-19-2020, 02:44 PM
FrankHudson FrankHudson is offline
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I use Logic Pro X a good deal, and the amount of stuff I need to complete for my current project where I play most of the instruments and am always own engineer means that I like to have a fast setup.

You, and the thread, haven't mentioned templates yet. I suspect GB has them, and I know Logic X does. I have templates for a number of things setup that are ready to choose in My Templates in Logic and I have Logic's preferences to ask what template when I open Logic. I have a three mic array physically setup for recording acoustic guitar and vocals and the template has all of them set with channel/tracks open and labeled so I know what's what. I can arm which ever ones I'm using for each recording and then hit record. I open Logic, select my solo acoustic guitar template and, click for one to three mics, and hit record.

I sit where I can see the Logic screen. Yes, every so often need to fiddle with levels, but things are usually close enough for simple and done. This isn't like the old days of tape when you really aimed for a narrow range to keep noise down and the tape in the hot zone. I just make sure that I'm not hitting any overs volume wise. I can see that in the first few bars on the screen while recording, and having a template, default mic setup, and recording regularly helps me learn what acoustic and vocal volume to put out for my setup.

I'll mix later, I don't worry about getting an exquisite mix before hitting record when it's just me recording solo. If I want to overdub vocals in a separate pass, it's just a matter of what track I arm.

I have other templates for "one man band" recording, and others for band projects with multiple musicians. I do the same thing in ProTools, though that's not something you're using.

So first step, if you aren't using templates, you should be. Secondly, if you keep your mics setup and in placed for your own solo recording, that's a real timesaver.
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Old 04-19-2020, 04:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaz761 View Post
I can't seem to set up a simple and consistent way to record my original music at home. I almost always end up resorting to my iphone just to get the ideas down.

I have a fair amount of experience working with electric guitars and vocals at home and in studios but can't seem to get out of my own way when I'm on my own. I have been using a Scarlett 2i2 and I have an SM57 and an AT2035. I also have K&K in both of the guitars I want to use. I can get around Garageband or Logic Pro X at a beginner level. I also have an old Zoom H4N.

I'm trying to sing and play at the same time so have experimented with a single mic for vocals and guitar, an AT for vocals (and some guitar bleed) and guitar plugged in to the 2i2, and also using a mic for vocals and mic on guitar.

I get so caught up in getting things set up etc that I often run out of time and focus by the time I can start recording. I write a good amount and would like to start to record this stuff more regularly, at least for my own amusement.

I'd like to hear how others manage to make quick and dirty recordings of at least reasonable quality to use as demos or maybe even to throw up on Soundcloud etc. The Zoom? One mic? Some technique that doesn't use the DAW for recording?
Hi j-761

At home, my Zoom H4n. Traveling my Zoom H1n. I needed a really simple solution, otherwise I didn't get all the ideas actually captured.

I just stick either on a camera tripod (I do a lot of photography so my tripod is always close to my playing area of the house) and set it at just about hair-line level pointing about midway between my mouth and the soundhole from about a 15-18" away (at the neck/body joint region). I let it pick up both at the same time.

Fits my vocals and guitar volumes perfectly. Experimenting with ear buds in will help one fine the 'right' spot very quickly.

I pop the SD card and dump it in a folder on my iMac and then do quick edits in a little editing program I've used for years for trimming, Normalizing, adding effects to, and fading tracks. (Amadeus II)

I rarely load them into my DAW to edit them. Logic Pro takes too much time to set up, edit…mix down etc. The little app I use is built for quick-n-dirty editing. I bought so long ago it's been through many serious updates/upgrades. I think it's about $60 these days. It's like a multi-tool for editors. You can do all the simple editing functions of Logic Pro in a fraction of the time.

I can record something, dump, load and edit in about 10 minutes round trip - and I'm picky. If you are less picky than me, it could be much faster/shorter. And then I put the edited version in the folder where my other Samples/experiments/demos go.

Hope you find the remedy of your dreams…




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