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RobM
post Sep 21 2007, 05:25 AM
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I've read all or most of the other threads on this but don't know which way to go? I've downloaded some of the trial versions of the software that Andrew reccomends in this forum FAQ (Audacity, Reaper, Beatcraft, Scale Tool) and looked at them, but I didn't know if going hardware only or harware that also connects to the computer like the Boss BR-600 would be better than software only?

Will I also need to buy microphones (what kind and how many for just myself). What about Effects pedals I have no experience with them, will I have to buy one or more of them to get good quality sound?

Sorry I'm so new at all this I have no idea what to buy?

I have or can alter my computer as needed (what should i have inside for music recording, mixing, mastering)? Right now it's a winXP Pro system with 2 GB memory, A 500GB HD, a cd/dvd and a burner, it has a Creative labs X-FI Extreme Music Soundcard.

As for amps etc I'm not sure I have a post in gear looking for help there:
https://www.guitarmasterclass.net/guitar_fo...?showtopic=7084

Any and all help would be appreciated.


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Saoirse O'Shea
post Sep 21 2007, 05:54 AM
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Just to go back one stage Rob and for a q question... Do you intend to do all/most of your recording at home or live/mobile? (Reason for asking is will the recording equipment probably stay in one place or would you have to move the gear around a lot.)
Cheers,
Tony

I'm probably going to ask several more question btw


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RobM
post Sep 21 2007, 01:01 PM
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QUOTE (tonymiro @ Sep 21 2007, 12:54 AM) *
Just to go back one stage Rob and for a q question... Do you intend to do all/most of your recording at home or live/mobile? (Reason for asking is will the recording equipment probably stay in one place or would you have to move the gear around a lot.)
Cheers,
Tony

I'm probably going to ask several more question btw



For right now at home, later on still at home but in my garage. Ask away, you asking me more questions will more than likely help me get exactly what I need for recording.


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shredmandan
post Sep 21 2007, 01:29 PM
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Hey Rob
Are you looking for a recorder thats portable or just computer software?I can tell you that reaper is the cheapest way to go,you would just have to buy a mic ,but its nowhere near as fun as having a actual portable reocrder like i got,atleast thats my opinion.I wrote a breif review on my Fostex i just got here's the link.Its 8 tracks so plenty of tracks for me to record guitar ,bass and drums on.How many tracks are you looking for in a recorder like 4 , 8, 12 ect?

https://www.guitarmasterclass.net/guitar_fo...?showtopic=6991

QUOTE (shredmandan @ Sep 21 2007, 08:27 AM) *
Hey Rob
Are you looking for a recorder thats portable or just computer software?I can tell you that reaper is the cheapest way to go,you would just have to buy a mic ,but its nowhere near as fun as having a actual portable reocrder like i got,atleast thats my opinion.I wrote a breif review on my Fostex i just got here's the link.Its 8 tracks so plenty of tracks for me to record guitar ,bass and drums on.How many tracks are you looking for in a recorder like 4 , 8, 12 ect?

https://www.guitarmasterclass.net/guitar_fo...?showtopic=6991


Also this is a killer value for a digital 8 track recorder.Almost every other 8 track like this is double the price and you can get this one for $250.00 new.It can hook up to your computer via usb port and if you have a cd burner on your computer then you just got a whole studio along with being able to make your own quality music cd's cool.gif


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Andrew Cockburn
post Sep 21 2007, 05:32 PM
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You also need to ask yourslef what type of music you want to record. As Dan say, protabe units are a great way to get started, and great for mobile recording of a band etc. If you want to record yourself and a mate jamming and add some vocals and maybe use the built in drum machine you will likely never look back.

If you have more ambitious plans such as sequencing strings and bass, other instruments, making complex arrangements and using many audio tracks, software is the way to go. Today's DAWs such as reaper have a practically unlimited number of tracks, wheras portastudios are generally limited to 8 or 16. Unlimited tracks can make you lazy, or help the workflow depending on your point of view.

Case in point: We used to have an 8 track. We wrote one song that needed 7 tracks of vovals alone, we ended up recording 3 separate versions of the song, bnouncing vocals around, cutting and pasting to try and merge it all together, it added a huge amount of extra effort. Today we just keep adding tracks as we ned them.

Another case in point. With the 8 track, say we wanted to record a lead vocal. We had one track for it. We would record until the singer made a mistake. The stop. Then try and punch in just before the mistake ( a manual prcess wfraught with potential errors). Repeat until you get fed up or the singer is tired. Now, we just record take after take until we have all parts of the song covered - 3 takes, 6, 10, doesn;t matter we have enough tracks for it. At the end we either select the best take, or comp a take out of the best bits of the takes we have.

In addition, a portastudio will probably come with some built in effects, but some effects are what song production lives and dies by - good compression for example and accurate EQ are both imp[ortant. With a protastudio you are limited by what you get with it, although they will usually be more than adequate. Anoter thing is synths and sequencing - using a portastudio you would need a complex outboard midi hookup. Using software you can host it all in a program and automate your mixes.

One downside of software though is that it will cost a lot more to put a solution together than if you jsut buy a portastudio. You have the cost of the PC, the sequencing software, a good interface, and all of the software swequencers and effects. In your case sounds like you have the PC covered, and your soundcard should be up to the job. Most DAWs come with a set of basic effects and reaper is no exception, you would need to spend money on synths thoug is you wanted strings, bass or anything else (although increasingly there are good free options for a lot of these things).

So, it really depends on how serious you are about this, and how much effort you want to put into the final product, whether or not you would benefit from a software solution. I guess I am trying to distinguish between the click and go fun of the portable solution vs the more in depth and versatile attributes of a software system. Both have their place of course, depends what you want to achieve!

You can of course get good results with either these days, but as you have probably guessed, I am a software man, and if i had to record on the road I'd get a laptop and an interface and use software smile.gif


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Saoirse O'Shea
post Sep 21 2007, 08:55 PM
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Great response Andrew - covered all, and more, then where I was headed with the questions.

As you're most likely to stay put with the gear Rob I'd almost certainly recommend going the software route. If you were moving about a lot then a portastudio or software sequencer/daw (digital audio workstation) depending on whether you prefer things in a single box (Portastudio) or several (laptop, audio interface).

As Andrew says portastudios have the big advantage of simplicity. The down side of that is you are stuck with the hardware of the one you get. Nowadays its possible to get 48channel portastudios for between 1-2000UK sterling that come with good mic preamps, can render to cd, offer good quality effects and so on. The more channels you have the less you will have to bounce tracks. Some can remember scenes so you can instintly recall settings. Some also offer a video out so that you can link to a separate monitor (in built portastudio lcd screens, imo. are too small to be of much use). Some have good workflow - so you're not jumping around menus/screen pages trying to find how to alter a compressor setting. Many people like hardware in the sense that it can be more intuitive/easier to push a real fader then mess with a mouse. That all said it's hard to upgrade a portastudio. You can make firmware revisions to the internal software but you are pretty much stuck with what you have got. Need something else like a synth - you'll have to buy one, don't like the onboard reverb - buy one... Also, if something goes wrong you have to take the whole thing back to the shop for repair.


With a pc set up, as Andrew has said, most of the full software sequencers are pretty much unlimited in the number of channels: pretty much, the software is unlimited but its how good your pc is that may limit the track count - yours is generally fine (but bigger, faster never hurts) so you shouldn't have an issue here apart from one thing which I'll come to. Most come with effects and a few software instruments and its relatively easy to add other software effects/instruments for free or you can buy some. Now many people don't like using a mouse to push things about on screen - this isn't a problem as you can get controllers/consoles that will provide a hardware interface, for instance I actually have mixing desk as my front end that is digitally connected to my sequencer. If i push a fader on the desk the software fader moves, and vice versa. With regard to workflow - its really a case of trying out different sequencers to see what is best for you (and this is true to some extent with portastudios). Different software daws often do the same/similar things in different ways (Reason is different from Cubase is different from Live! is different from Reaper) - and is often a case of getting one that is comfortable for you OR really learning one and getting used to how it does things.

One major plus of a software system is you can upgrade the software, add to it, change it. With your initial set up you may well find that you don't need a full open ended, unlimited number of channels but could get by with a simpler setup (and cheaper) with fewer channels and options. Pretty much all the big name daws do a cut down version and many people start with these and then at a later date decide if they need/want to upgrade. For many the upgrade isn't necessary as they don't ultimately need unlimited channels, 7.1 surround sound recording, convolution reverbs, track freeze, warp editing, unlimited non-destructive editing etc etc.

The big downside of a daw is that you really are expecting a computer to do a hell of a lot of complicated processing. Many people who use a software system have seen the blue screen of death at least once. Some people arguably spend more time sorting out their computers then actually recording. Sometimes you can feel like you are on a never ending pc upgrade spiral. Here a portastudio, in its simplicity can be a big advantage, it's built to do one job and is unlikely to fall over and crash just when you're about to start recording rolleyes.gif . Nonetheless, to me I'd still stay with the software despite all pc issues.

With regard to your pc the spec I'd be most at odds with is your soundcard. It's a reasonable card but (despite what Creative say) is not really designed for music production/creation. It's certainly ok for now but I'd be looking to upgrade it when you can. If you go the software route another possible thing to consider is more hard disc. Initially you should at least partition the one you have and keep your music files on a separate partition - ideally on a different hard disc. If this is your only pc and you also need it for the internet, playing games etc then you should partition and consider a multi-boot system - one boot for general stuff and a separate one on a clean OS for music only.

Like Andrew I'd go with a software setup because of its versatility. I'd strongly recommend that you initially download and look at Reaper (The web site address is stickied at the top of this forum). It's shareware but unlocked for evaluation and so will give you a free chance to look at what a daw is like. If you like the software type route then you can make a decision on which actual daw to buy. If you don't its cost you nothing but a bit of your time.

Whatever route you go you are almost certainly going to need to get some mics. You may well find that you need more than one. If you only get one mic I'd suggest a Shure SM58. Add to that a boom stand and a pop shield and the xlr mic cable. The xlr btw will almost certainly just plug into a portastudio. But if you go the software route few soundcards will take an xlr so you'll need someway of interfacing to the card (lots of ways to do this - its no big deal).

Guitar amp - you can either mic the amp into a portastudio/daw or you might be able to take a line out direct from amp to the portastudio/daw. Fender, for instance, do a very good small amp designed with recording in mind. For home/garage use I'd recommend though that whatever amp you go for get a lowish wattage one. Its unlikely that you would ever need a 100 watt stack in your garage smile.gif .

Sure this has probably raised as many questions for you as we've tried to answer so fire away.

Cheers,
Tony

This post has been edited by tonymiro: Sep 21 2007, 08:58 PM


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RobM
post Sep 22 2007, 03:05 AM
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[/quote]
Great response Andrew - covered all, and more, then where I was headed with the questions.

As you're most likely to stay put with the gear Rob I'd almost certainly recommend going the software route. If you were moving about a lot then a portastudio or software sequencer/daw (digital audio workstation) depending on whether you prefer things in a single box (Portastudio) or several (laptop, audio interface). [quote]

I was leaning towards the software side and I'm glad that you and Andrew have explained it so good for me.

[/quote]
With a pc set up, as Andrew has said, most of the full software sequencers are pretty much unlimited in the number of channels: pretty much, the software is unlimited but its how good your pc is that may limit the track count - yours is generally fine (but bigger, faster never hurts) so you shouldn't have an issue here apart from one thing which I'll come to. Most come with effects and a few software instruments and its relatively easy to add other software effects/instruments for free or you can buy some. Now many people don't like using a mouse to push things about on screen - this isn't a problem as you can get controllers/consoles that will provide a hardware interface, for instance I actually have mixing desk as my front end that is digitally connected to my sequencer. If i push a fader on the desk the software fader moves, and vice versa. With regard to workflow - its really a case of trying out different sequencers to see what is best for you (and this is true to some extent with portastudios). Different software daws often do the same/similar things in different ways (Reason is different from Cubase is different from Live! is different from Reaper) - and is often a case of getting one that is comfortable for you OR really learning one and getting used to how it does things.[quote]

What do you think all of the software would cost me to buy and/or register the sharware? I have downloaded Reaper, Audacity & Beatcraft but have not had the time to really look at them yet. Is beatcraft the best drumming program or is there one better? Does a Syntheseiser program come with a drums in it? What would I need to buy or what is good out there for a Synth? I have no idea what would be adequate, I'm a complete novice at this stuff.

[/quote]
The big downside of a daw is that you really are expecting a computer to do a hell of a lot of complicated processing. Many people who use a software system have seen the blue screen of death at least once. Some people arguably spend more time sorting out their computers then actually recording. Sometimes you can feel like you are on a never ending pc upgrade spiral. Here a portastudio, in its simplicity can be a big advantage, it's built to do one job and is unlikely to fall over and crash just when you're about to start recording rolleyes.gif . Nonetheless, to me I'd still stay with the software despite all pc issues.[quote]

I'm more confortable doing anything (well almost anything, lol) on a computer, I know there is always the chance of the BOD, but as far as computers go I used to work in the field solving software and hardware problems for people at a few very large companies here in New England I find learning new sowtware and hardware pretty easy, especially when it has to do with something that I'm also interested in.

[/quote]
With regard to your pc the spec I'd be most at odds with is your soundcard. It's a reasonable card but (despite what Creative say) is not really designed for music production/creation. It's certainly ok for now but I'd be looking to upgrade it when you can. If you go the software route another possible thing to consider is more hard disc. Initially you should at least partition the one you have and keep your music files on a separate partition - ideally on a different hard disc. If this is your only pc and you also need it for the internet, playing games etc then you should partition and consider a multi-boot system - one boot for general stuff and a separate one on a clean OS for music only. [quote]

Right now my PC is an AMD 4000+ with 2 GB's of memory and the sound card that I told you about earlier and a Sata II 500 GB HD. I plan on upgrading my PC to probably an AMD 6000+ or better, too bad I can't add more memory in XP but it maxes out at 2 GB, of course Vista loves memory but I'm not going to go that route, lol. I could easily add another HD for music related things a 750 GB Sata II HD is only $200.00, less if I wait for a sale price. What would you reccomend for a soundcard?

[/quote]
Whatever route you go you are almost certainly going to need to get some mics. You may well find that you need more than one. If you only get one mic I'd suggest a Shure SM58. Add to that a boom stand and a pop shield and the xlr mic cable. The xlr btw will almost certainly just plug into a portastudio. But if you go the software route few soundcards will take an xlr so you'll need someway of interfacing to the card (lots of ways to do this - its no big deal).[quote]

I wrote down this information on my list, slowly but surely I'm getting a pretty good list of things to buy/check out when I do go shopping. thanks for this information.

[/quote]
Guitar amp - you can either mic the amp into a portastudio/daw or you might be able to take a line out direct from amp to the portastudio/daw. Fender, for instance, do a very good small amp designed with recording in mind. For home/garage use I'd recommend though that whatever amp you go for get a lowish wattage one. Its unlikely that you would ever need a 100 watt stack in your garage smile.gif .[quote]

So your thinking more like a 50W Amp? In the gear forum i was told about the H & K amps, from what i saw with MikeM's links and what I read they look pretty good, The 100W amp he showed me looks like it would be good for my needs?

[/quote]
Sure this has probably raised as many questions for you as we've tried to answer so fire away.

Cheers,
Tony
[/quote]

I asked everything i could think of for now, but as time goes on I'm sure I'll have more questions, I always do. Thanks for all of your help, same goes to Andrew, Dan and MikeM to.


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Saoirse O'Shea
post Sep 22 2007, 07:13 AM
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Hi Rob,
going down the list:

Software DAW- fine.

Cost of software named -
Reaper - initially free but a licensed copy for non-commercial use (ie you're not a studion/producing a commercial recording) is @ 50 USD. However you are able to use it for free to evaluate it.

Audacity - free if you download, you can pay for a cd if you need/want. If you really like it and use a lot you acan make a donation (helps with future development but its not obligatory).

Beatcraft - sorry don't know.

So for the above its @ 50 USD plus whatever beatcraft costs. This will give you a pretty good software based daw.

From here you can choose to add software synths, samplers and effects. Again here you can buy commercial, shareware or get free ones. I'd say that the freeware ones have improved dramatically in the last few years by the way - particularly for the effects. Without going into details - because there are literally hundreds - a good place to look for software synths and effects is KVR.

For what its worth some of the ones I use are: synth - Sylenth1, Luxonix, Spectrasonics Atmosphere, Pentagon, Triangle II, Greenoak Crystal, Arturia Moog Modular, Native Reaktor; effects from Kjaerhaus (whose classic series is freeware and pretty good), GDuckDLY, Glaceverb, Eventide Eclipse. (Should say that I think the SYlenth1 soft synth is extremely good).

For soft synths, consider getting a midi keyboard unless you want to write your own midi control via the sequencer. You can get good midi keyboards form Novation, M-Audio, Alesis, CME and Edirol to name a few - from 100USD upwards.

Best drumming program - elsewhere there's a thread on the board - partly depends on whether you want to work with samples and loops or do some actual programming. Have a look on the board though for a fuller discussion. BTW - some hardware synth keyboards include a drum panel/matrix of about 12-16 little rubber trigger pads that you can program to react to your hitting/beating to write drum patterns (haven't explained that particularly well - sorry, I'm a bit tired). You can also get synths that are specifically made as drum synths - ll you need is a way to trigger the drum - and you can get hardware trigger pads (M-Audio or Akai for about 150USD).

End users - I spend more time sorting out my wife's pc then is good for me. Will she listen and learn rolleyes.gif .

PC hardware - I'd suggest that for a second hard disc get an external with at least a 7200 rpm spin speed and USB11 or Firewire (pref 800 if you can get one - and a pc interface that will take it). External as it will allow you to share with another pc or, maybe more likely, a laptop for 'field work'/live recordings. I run internal satas in raid mirror btw for backup security plus two external satas that are on Ghost and also for hot swop between my pcs and laptop - but I'm paranoid. If you're building from the ground up consider a 10000rpm raptor for program (and samples) disc and 7200 satas for data writing. Maybe also use your main pc only for music and your child's for internet etc wink.gif .

Sound card - maybe an external from RME, MOTU or a Focusrite Sapphire or Mackie Spike. You may also want to consider an external soundcard/midi keyboard interface -Novation and M-Audio do good ones.

With a soundcard think about how you want to input and output the data. How many channels you will need at the same time and how you want to connect the inputs and outputs; do you want to try to connect the guitar direct without an amp/interface (this requires a HiZ input); do you need to phantom power a mic (which many condensor mics require); are the mic pre amps one the card pro quality; does it offer other things such as midi in/out and word clock. Overall the quality of the card is reflected in the price to a very great extent - RME, for instance, are very high quality pro audio but expensive.

As an example - I use an RME card that has adat across 64 channels in and out from a digital desk. Basically all my a/d conversion happens before and after the pc. I have pretty much zero load on the pc as the sound card and desk do it all so the pc just has to concentrate on doing the other bits of number crunching for the daw software. My soundcard can go to about 2 ms latency (though to be honest the accuracy of reading latency below 4 ms is debatable) and I can run an awful lot of soft synths/convolution reverbs etc without maxing out the pc. My card also has EBU and word clock and can be linked to other cards. However you may not need this amount of processing/input output flexibility and so may be able to spec down.

Vista at the moment - agree with you its a definite no at the moment.

Amp - 50 watt should be more than enough for most occasions. My main amp is rated at 15 and I rarely have an issue. If I need more volume then I mic into a pa. Again there's quite a bit of discussion on amps, how loud they need to be etc on the board. Nonetheless the H&K amp MickeM mentioned elsewhere should be good and its a plus that i has headphones out which presumably mutes the speaker at the same time wink.gif .

Cheers,
Tony


--------------------
Get your music professionally mastered by anl AES registered Mastering Engineer. Contact me for Audio Mastering Services and Advice and visit our website www.miromastering.com

Be friends on facebook with us here.

We use professional, mastering grade hardware in our mastering studo. Our hardware includes:
Cranesong Avocet II Monitor Controller, Dangerous Music Liasion Insert Hardware Router, ATC SCM Pro Monitors, Lavry Black DA11, Prism Orpheus ADC/DAC, Gyratec Gyraf XIV Parallel Passive Mastering EQ, Great River MAQ 2NV Mastering EQ, Kush Clariphonic Parallel EQ Shelf, Maselec MLA-2 Mastering Compressor, API 2500 Mastering Compressor, Eventide Eclipse Reverb/Echo.
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RobM
post Sep 22 2007, 09:18 AM
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QUOTE
Software DAW- fine.

Cost of software named -
Reaper - initially free but a licensed copy for non-commercial use (ie you're not a studion/producing a commercial recording) is @ 50 USD. However you are able to use it for free to evaluate it.

Audacity - free if you download, you can pay for a cd if you need/want. If you really like it and use a lot you acan make a donation (helps with future development but its not obligatory).

Beatcraft - sorry don't know.

So for the above its @ 50 USD plus whatever beatcraft costs. This will give you a pretty good software based daw.


So I don't need to buy something like Wavelab 6? Sorry if this is a stupid question but I thought I had to buy Audacity, Reaper, Beatcraft or another drumming program, and a Syntheiser program + Add Ins and then Wavelab 6 to put it all together and master it etc..? I was looking at Wavelab 6 ($699.00) and the other products offered by the company that makes it and they are all expensive.

QUOTE
From here you can choose to add software synths, samplers and effects. Again here you can buy commercial, shareware or get free ones. I'd say that the freeware ones have improved dramatically in the last few years by the way - particularly for the effects. Without going into details - because there are literally hundreds - a good place to look for software synths and effects is KVR.

For what its worth some of the ones I use are: synth - Sylenth1, Luxonix, Spectrasonics Atmosphere, Pentagon, Triangle II, Greenoak Crystal, Arturia Moog Modular, Native Reaktor; effects from Kjaerhaus (whose classic series is freeware and pretty good), GDuckDLY, Glaceverb, Eventide Eclipse. (Should say that I think the SYlenth1 soft synth is extremely good).


That's a mouhtfull huh? laugh.gif I'll take a look at them as soon as I can. Sounds like You have a real professional setup at your house?

QUOTE
For soft synths, consider getting a midi keyboard unless you want to write your own midi control via the sequencer. You can get good midi keyboards form Novation, M-Audio, Alesis, CME and Edirol to name a few - from 100USD upwards.


With this is a buy a good enough one I can (I'm guessing here) use that to add in a lot of the sounds, instruments etc I would need?(Told you I was green).

QUOTE
End users - I spend more time sorting out my wife's pc then is good for me. Will she listen and learn .


When I used to work for Pfizer I used to come home telling my wife how many stupid end users there were there. (Doctors you know, all brain and no common sense). For the longest time whenever we were out and saw or heard someone having a problems with their computer we used to say or more time than not whisper "Stupid end user" and we would laugh. Keep at it my wife eventually listened and learned and now whwnever there is a computer question or problem where she works they go to her first for the answer before going to IT. I'm proud to say that more time than not she knows the answer.

QUOTE
PC hardware - I'd suggest that for a second hard disc get an external with at least a 7200 rpm spin speed and USB11 or Firewire (pref 800 if you can get one - and a pc interface that will take it). External as it will allow you to share with another pc or, maybe more likely, a laptop for 'field work'/live recordings. I run internal satas in raid mirror btw for backup security plus two external satas that are on Ghost and also for hot swop between my pcs and laptop - but I'm paranoid. If you're building from the ground up consider a 10000rpm raptor for program (and samples) disc and 7200 satas for data writing. Maybe also use your main pc only for music and your child's for internet etc .


I dunno about going external I already have three monitors( 19" Micron, 20" Sony and a 22" Acer widescreen), three keyboards(can't use the switch as a lot of the time there is more than one person using the computers.) three roller Mice and other assorted computer paraphenalia all over my desk. But I'm not a computer Junkie wink.gif

QUOTE
With a soundcard think about how you want to input and output the data. How many channels you will need at the same time and how you want to connect the inputs and outputs; do you want to try to connect the guitar direct without an amp/interface (this requires a HiZ input); do you need to phantom power a mic (which many condensor mics require); are the mic pre amps one the card pro quality; does it offer other things such as midi in/out and word clock. Overall the quality of the card is reflected in the price to a very great extent - RME, for instance, are very high quality pro audio but expensive.

As an example - I use an RME card that has adat across 64 channels in and out from a digital desk. Basically all my a/d conversion happens before and after the pc. I have pretty much zero load on the pc as the sound card and desk do it all so the pc just has to concentrate on doing the other bits of number crunching for the daw software. My soundcard can go to about 2 ms latency (though to be honest the accuracy of reading latency below 4 ms is debatable) and I can run an awful lot of soft synths/convolution reverbs etc without maxing out the pc. My card also has EBU and word clock and can be linked to other cards. However you may not need this amount of processing/input output flexibility and so may be able to spec down.


Wow, I have a lot to think about I guess? I didn't know it was going to be this involved. I orignally thought I would have to just purchase a software package that would take care of everything. I had no idea that I would have to make this many decisions. takes me a long time to make up my mind on what I want to spend my money on. That way I only have to spend the money once and get what I need the first time. I've lost countless thousands of dollars during my life time buying what I thought I needed instead of what I actually did need.

I've actually looked at the RME cards in the past ( I think there was another thread on the gear board about soundscards?), they have some really good cards and not really that expensive considering all that they do.


QUOTE
Amp - 50 watt should be more than enough for most occasions. My main amp is rated at 15 and I rarely have an issue. If I need more volume then I mic into a pa. Again there's quite a bit of discussion on amps, how loud they need to be etc on the board. Nonetheless the H&K amp MickeM mentioned elsewhere should be good and its a plus that i has headphones out which presumably mutes the speaker at the same time .


Well I'm going to play on a few Amps and make my decison that way. I was given the link to the Carvin Guitar site. I went there and although their guitars look good ( I designed what i thought was a killer guitar) they have no way to look at what your final product would be ( ala Peavey Custom Shop) before you have to buy it.

Well now off to digest all that I learned today.

Thanks again Tony


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exorcyze
post Sep 22 2007, 09:37 PM
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Just to chip in on Beatcraft : It's $40 USD and is essentially just like a hardware based drum machine. I had been used to practicing and programming those for years, so it was a small transition for me to use beatcraft - and it's much cheaper than buying a regular drum machine.

http://www.acoustica.com/beatcraft/

Personally I've enjoyed it. I've found it simple and easy to make some beats, export them and get them into reaper for recording against.

Also, the drums for this recording were something thrown together in beatcraft ( of course you can customize the samples, levels, etc more than what I have, but it should give you an idea ) :
https://www.guitarmasterclass.net/guitar_fo...?showtopic=6940

This post has been edited by exorcyze: Sep 22 2007, 09:40 PM


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Saoirse O'Shea
post Sep 23 2007, 02:58 AM
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Thanks for the info exorcyze.

Rob - starting out I personally don't think you need to initially invest in Wavelab - whilst you can do some mastering in it the program is perhaps more orientated towards sample manipulation - some of which you can achieve in Audacity (freeware). To be honest I'm a bit lazy and view mastering as a skilled area - if I get something to a point that needs mastering I send it to a specialist mastering house.

Mastering software will help you get a professional finished sound to the final recording and enable you to render to full pro red book standard. However mastering is an art in itself, imo, separate to mixing/recording. I've seen some good initial mixes spoilt by bad mastering - and some mediocre mixes brought to life by excellent mastering. So I leave it to the mastering pros - coward that I am smile.gif .

With Reaper - it will act as both the software mixing console/desk and also allow you to 'import' soft synths and other virtual instruments and effects to record their output alongside real physical instruments. It will also allow you to do some editing and manipulation of the waveform that is recorded. Once you're happy with the result you can then also use it to render your final mix to a wav/mp3 etc on you pc or to a cd.

With regard to effects, synth and drum programs - well you can never have to many (particularly if they're free) provided you have the hard disc space and sufficient ram laugh.gif . As you delve deeper in to synthesis you find that there are different types - analogue, FM, sample based, grain state and so on - some are good for some sound generation, others for others. Its one reason why keyboard players often come equipped with several (or the ones I've played with in the past - bad memories of lugging a Pro 5, DX7, Moog and a CS10 up several flights of stairs whilst the keyboard player sat drinking in the bar dry.gif ).

Pro set up in my house? I started my midlife crisis a few years ago mate laugh.gif .

Midi keyboards - few have much in the way of sounds themselves (some of the novation ones do and some have very basic sound banks). Generally the midi keyboard is more so you can play the software synth using a hardware keyboard rather then trying to enter notes with a mouse. Some midi keyboards also include an onboard soundcard so that it's one less thing to have to get. (Many of the these are aimed at gigging laptop musicians who want to reduce the amount of gear they have to carry. The idea here is you can take your laptop, headphones and suitable keyboard and nothing else and be able to record.)

Have to say that I have little experience with hardware keyboards as I don't play keyboards at all well. (I use a guitar to midi converter setup instead.)

Endusers - started my working life at ICI in research. My boss had a sign on his desk that read, 'if you need to ask the question then you are too stupid to understand the answer. Put it back in the box and return it to base.' My wife admits she thinks she doesn't have to learn as I'm here to sort her pc out for her dry.gif (I'm going to start charging for site visits.)

External equipment - laugh.gif . The one thing I always need is more space - two large desks cluttered by two 19'' screens, mixing desk, laptop, two sets of speakers and various bits of outboard (need another hardware rack rolleyes.gif ). Maze of cables which our three kittens really like exploring rolleyes.gif and two floor mounted pcs. Twice a year I unplug everything and untangle and clean up - takes the best part of a day blink.gif .

Perhaps the main thing to think of with the sound card is how many inputs and what type. My experience is that we usually underestimate how many mics/instruments we are going to use at the same time so allow a bit extra.

RME are excellent imo . Pretty much all RME stuff can be chained and so expanded. They deliver pro quality audio and are very robust. I know a few pro studios that will only have RME installed for sound cards. Mine's been in and out of three pcs and to date has never caused me a problem in about 3-4 years. If I had to buy a new card then I'd personally look at RME first and foremost. I built my most recent music pc around the RME card as I saw it as the most important component.

Cheers,
Tony


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Andrew Cockburn
post Sep 23 2007, 11:37 PM
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As usual, Tony is doing an excellent job covering all bases, I have very little to add, other than, complex as the software route can be in the limit, you will end up with pro quality results and it is a lot of fun in its own right.

And I'd like to plug Native Instruments - they make various types of soft synths and samplers, excellent products. The reason I particularly mention them is that they have a package called Komplete which includes sampled electric and acoustic pianos, several synths, a really excellent sampler and sample library - its over $2000 for the package but it is a hell of a kick start if you want to setup a really complete and capable studio. Also, check out garritan.com for affordable orchestral and jazz sample libraries.


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Saoirse O'Shea
post Sep 24 2007, 12:25 AM
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+1 for NI

- btw Komplete 5 is out very soon along with Kontakt3 and Guitar Rig 3 - due October 1st. See here.

laugh.gif I'd only just upgraded my Kontakt to v2.2.3

Cheers,
Tony


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Andrew Cockburn
post Sep 24 2007, 12:32 AM
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QUOTE (tonymiro @ Sep 23 2007, 07:25 PM) *
+1 for NI

- btw Komplete 5 is out very soon


I know sad.gif I have to decide if the upgrade is worthwhile from Komplete 4 - haven't looked into it yet but I think Kontakt 3 is the only really big change, I only bought Komplete 4 about 3 months ago!


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Effects : Line6 Helix, Keeley Modded Boss DS1, Keeley Modded Boss BD2, Keeley 4 knob compressor, Keeley OxBlood
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Saoirse O'Shea
post Sep 24 2007, 01:07 AM
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Depending where NI draw the line you might be due either a free or a heavily discounted upgrade to 5 Andrew.

My Kontakt is ages old so I know I'll have to pay sad.gif .

Cheers,
Tony


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Andrew Cockburn
post Sep 24 2007, 05:21 AM
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QUOTE (tonymiro @ Sep 23 2007, 08:07 PM) *
Depending where NI draw the line you might be due either a free or a heavily discounted upgrade to 5 Andrew.

My Kontakt is ages old so I know I'll have to pay sad.gif .

Cheers,
Tony


Cool, I'll check it out!


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RobM
post Sep 24 2007, 08:50 AM
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QUOTE (Andrew Cockburn @ Sep 23 2007, 06:37 PM) *
As usual, Tony is doing an excellent job covering all bases, I have very little to add, other than, complex as the software route can be in the limit, you will end up with pro quality results and it is a lot of fun in its own right.

And I'd like to plug Native Instruments - they make various types of soft synths and samplers, excellent products. The reason I particularly mention them is that they have a package called Komplete which includes sampled electric and acoustic pianos, several synths, a really excellent sampler and sample library - its over $2000 for the package but it is a hell of a kick start if you want to setup a really complete and capable studio. Also, check out garritan.com for affordable orchestral and jazz sample libraries.



That's way over my budget for something like that, I appreciate the knowledge but 2K for a synth package is a lot. My wife would kill me if I ever bought something like that. I'm going to hear it when I spend the 2.5 - 3k on the stuff I'm going to buy already. Wife's can be funny when it comes to spending money on things they could care less about unless that spent cash results in a relatively fast winfall of cash more than what was spent.


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Andrew Cockburn
post Sep 24 2007, 08:55 AM
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QUOTE (RobM @ Sep 24 2007, 03:50 AM) *
That's way over my budget for something like that, I appreciate the knowledge but 2K for a synth package is a lot. My wife would kill me if I ever bought something like that. I'm going to hear it when I spend the 2.5 - 3k on the stuff I'm going to buy already. Wife's can be funny when it comes to spending money on things they could care less about unless that spent cash results in a relatively fast winfall of cash more than what was spent.


Well something to work up to if you need it later then (I use the elctric piano, sampler and hammond organ synths a lot) - there are plenty of free synths available, so don't let that scare you off smile.gif


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Saoirse O'Shea
post Sep 24 2007, 08:15 PM
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Hi Rob,
As Andrew says there are hundreds (well literally thousands) of soft synths ranging from commercial through to freeware. A very good way of finding what is out there is via the KVR website.

Native Instruments stuff is generally excellent and you can buy them singly rather then as the all-in-one package that Andrew mentions. (IF you're really into programming and willing to build your own synths - using basic pre-defined building blocks then NI's Reaktor is wonderful. You can pretty much use it to build any type of synth and effect BUT it takes time to get used to and isn't for the feint hearted. I love mine and on a good day I cn even get a squeak out of it laugh.gif - bad days it just stares at me in silence rolleyes.gif .)

With the freeware/shareware - have a look on KVR for Greenoak Crystal, Pentagon, sylenth1 and Triangle !!: I think all but Sylenth here are freeware (Sylenth is about 110Euros - 150ish USD?)

Cheers,
Tony


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Get your music professionally mastered by anl AES registered Mastering Engineer. Contact me for Audio Mastering Services and Advice and visit our website www.miromastering.com

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We use professional, mastering grade hardware in our mastering studo. Our hardware includes:
Cranesong Avocet II Monitor Controller, Dangerous Music Liasion Insert Hardware Router, ATC SCM Pro Monitors, Lavry Black DA11, Prism Orpheus ADC/DAC, Gyratec Gyraf XIV Parallel Passive Mastering EQ, Great River MAQ 2NV Mastering EQ, Kush Clariphonic Parallel EQ Shelf, Maselec MLA-2 Mastering Compressor, API 2500 Mastering Compressor, Eventide Eclipse Reverb/Echo.
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Andrew Cockburn
post Sep 24 2007, 08:21 PM
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I have reaktor but never use it - I don;t actually use a lot of synth sounds in my music, but it does look cool, and I love the concept. There is a cheap (free) Synth construction program along similar lines as well, can;t remember its name at the moment though.

I am a great fan of NI Massive - a very well laid out subtractive synth, and superb sound quality to boot.


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Live long and prosper ...

My Stuff:

Electric Guitars : Ibanez Jem7v, Line6 Variax 700, Fender Plus Strat with 57/62 Pickups, Line6 Variax 705 Bass
Acoustic Guitars : Taylor 816ce, Martin D-15, Line6 Variax Acoustic 300 Nylon
Effects : Line6 Helix, Keeley Modded Boss DS1, Keeley Modded Boss BD2, Keeley 4 knob compressor, Keeley OxBlood
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