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12/6/2019 7:27:02 PM
Posted: 9/26/2011 6:09:08 PM EST
I've been curious about getting a simple to use and cheap home recording setup. I considered buying a four or eight track digital recorder like Boss or Fostex makes but didn't want to spend the money. I've seen several people refer to Audacity software and downloaded it a few months ago, but after a few minutes of messing with it decided it was too complicated ( I know, I'm a dumbass). Well today I started watching some Youtube videos on how to use Audacity and it really is simple.

Tonight I spent a few minutes messing with it and recorded some stuff with my acoustic/electric plugged straight into my laptop and I'm pretty impressed. I can see that I'm going to have a lot of fun with this. I found a preamp made by MXL for $50 that allows you to plug your XLR mic directly into the computer and plan on buying one for vocals.

So for a grand total of $50 bucks I will have a nice little setup to record song ideas and to practice with. If you have been intimidated by this kind of stuff like I was, don't be. It really is simple.

Link Posted: 9/27/2011 5:32:54 PM EST
Yeah, it's a lot easier than a guy would think.

One thing I've learned is that your interface will make or break your recordings. When I started I was using a computer with a decent sound card, so the recordings sounded really good. But when I started using my laptop, the quality sucked. So I ended up buying a Line6 thingy & the quality is back, plus it came with some nice plugins.

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Link Posted: 9/30/2011 8:43:25 AM EST
I started with my old Korg G3 effects processor and Casio keyboard headphone jacks plugged into the mic input. Realized after fighting the messed up sound that I needed to go into the line input. I was and am still using Cool Edit Pro, and after coming up with several tracks for a zombie movie that sounded great when played through that software, but had some distortion issues when played through media player or whatever, that I needed to make it 44.1khz and 16bit. I was also using a little cheapo mic acoustic recording that came with my dads computer.

I finally got tired of dealing with the line input issues though, and got a Presonus Audiobox to plug into the USB. I also picked up a condensor mic set (vocal mic and an istrument mic). Recording quality got a lot better from the keyboard, mic, and guitar stuff, but the computers I'm using are kind of buggy sometimes. I was using Cool Edit to do the recording.

I have three office cubicle panels set up in my spare bedroom to cut down on noise when recording with the microphone.

Was still a PITA though going to computer, hitting record, going over to mic, sitting down, playing, going back to computer, listening to playback, finding some random crackle in a few spots, trying again, etc, so I bought a Zoom R8 multi-track recorder last week.

Now I can set that in front of me, and record with the acoustic guitar and playback without getting up, and use it's built in mics to record to one track, and my external condensor mic hooked up to record to another track, and get a nice full range stereo like recording. Can run off AA batteries too so it's nice and portable.

Next I'm going to try running my guitar amp into one input, and use a microphone in front of the amp going into the other input, and see what kind of sound I get with that setup.

After I get tracks recorded, I can hook it up to the computer and transfer the wav's over and do more editing from there.

I'm still learning how to use it for now. It has drum beat stuff that I need to figure out. My Yamaha keyboard (the replacement for the Casio) has drum beat/loop capabilities too.

Slowly getting it figured out. Still need to cut a hole in the wall and put the tower in the other room so I don't have noise from it. (it sits in the hallway at the moment with cable extensions for everything plugged into it.)
Link Posted: 9/30/2011 8:49:24 AM EST
I ended up passing on the MXL unit and bought a M-Audio Fast Track interface. I didn't have much time to mess with it last night, but I did test it to make sure it works with audacity. It came with some kind of Pro-Tools software that I'm not sure I should install on that laptop since it barely meets the minimum requirements. One drawback to the M-Audio unit I've discovered is that it doens't have phantom power so condensor mics won't work with it which may prove to be a problem later. For now I'm just using a SM58 though.
Link Posted: 9/30/2011 5:58:47 PM EST
I use a digital Fostex 16 track recorder, burn the tracks to cdr, and import them via cdr onto the laptop to mix. It works well. I might use just the PC if I had a better system and wanted to take the time to learn about soundcards, interfaces, softwares, etc. It works ok for now tho.

Here's one: Where It's Taking Us
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