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Recording Studio To discuss recording gear, home studios, home studio PCs, studio techniques and the likes.

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  #1  
Old 12-10-2012, 04:55 PM
IVsakeN  is offline
 
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Help a total beginner with recording?


I currently have a PODxt that I use at night when my Mesa Roadster just won't fly, but I'd like to start recording things in a better way than using my cell phone as a camcorder in the room (example here http://youtu.be/b0NoNWw5L4w). Also, I've never been happy happy recording direct via USB with the POD. Though it works great for me coming out of my nice computer speakers when simply practicing, the tone recording direct just sounds dead to me.

Since I have a nice amp, I'd like to try recording it miced. Few questions though:

Can I used my POD as the interface from the SM57? I'd have to guess I'll get better results getting something like an MAUDIO FASTTRACK PRO to start off with.

If going to MAUDIO route, is it better to use something like a SPDIF in instead of USB to help with latency?

I'm not looking to do a crazy amount of tracks, but more start to learn how to record guitar over some basic drum tracks that doesn't sound thin and dead like it does with the POD. I have recorded miced before, but none of the gear used was mine so I've never tried to do it myself.

Any advise would be great or even a good place to go and read up before I ask more stupid questions haha. Thanks all.
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  #2  
Old 12-10-2012, 05:12 PM
6fingers  is offline
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Re: Help a total beginner with recording?


Go take some classes.
Believe me with only tips from forums in a decade you'll know the same..........nothing.
I already saw a dozen guys who started that way and 10 years later their recordings still sound like noise, tips are shortcuts to nowhere.
There's a lot of people spreading myths, some read something a famous guy posted in a magazine so it's a fact, some can't even tune their guitars but give tips about recording etc.
You never know who's speaking to you.
INVEST some money in recording classes, even online if there are no recording schools next to you.
Recording is not about tips but quality knowledge even if you only want to record some riffs, learning(classes) is always an investment and not spending money
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  #3  
Old 12-10-2012, 05:19 PM
IVsakeN  is offline
 
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Re: Help a total beginner with recording?


ha fair enough of an answer.
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  #4  
Old 12-10-2012, 05:40 PM
6fingers  is offline
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Re: Help a total beginner with recording?


Quote:
Originally Posted by IVsakeN View Post
ha fair enough of an answer.
Well I want you back here in 6 months making music and making good recordings, I wanna listen to good music and not to another pod player with a drum machine asking how is my mix?
If mix was good, people won't need to ask about it.
Go for it, research about prices, learning is cheapier than keep buying and buying gear but never getting a good recording.
Once you learned the basics, you'll be able to get a good tone even out of a zoom.
With only tips you'll sound as bad as 1 million out there.
Am I hearing steps?
Are you going to the garage?
Yes drive your car to a recording school!
Call them!
Whatever
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  #5  
Old 12-10-2012, 05:56 PM
Drew  is offline
 
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Re: Help a total beginner with recording?


You can't really use your PodXT as an interface - if you're just recording electric guitar, there's a ton of good 2-channel USB or Firewire interfaces out there for pretty cheap. I've had great luck with the M-Audio stuff, and am currently using a ProFire 2626 - I would recommend their budget stuff unequivocally.

I wouldn't worry about latency on USB, unless your computer itself is ancient - you should have more than enough bandwidth if you're just recording a single track of electric guitar at a time.

As far as other gear, definitely grab a SM57 - it's not the be-all, end-all of recording electric guitar, but if you can't at least get a decent recorded sound out of a SM57 and a budget recording interface, then your problem isn't in the gear - more guitar has been recorded with an SM57 than anything else, I'll wager, and while it's not the most full-frequency of mics, it's strong everywhere you want a guitar to be, and weak everywhere you don't. You're also going to want some sort of monitoring chain - studio monitors are definitely the way to go if you get serious, but if you're just learning and only recording electric guitar a single track at a time, you can't get into TOO much trouble with phase so a set of decent studio headphones will work well enough, though you're going to want to check your mixes on a few other systems (this is best practice anyway - my car, actually, is my favorite "consumer" reference system, since I do so much music listening in there anyway).

Classes certainly won't hurt, but I've heard plenty of awesome recordings by people who have never taken a class, and plenty of uninspired recordings by people with degrees in audio engineering. Yes, there's a lot of bad information on the net, but you can usually weed out the proverbial wheat from the chaff by listening to people who are making great recordings, and ignoring people who aren't. Ola Englund has a couple great videos on micing amps on YouTube, so I'd start there.

That said, I think more than "tips and tricks," what really pays off in home recording is just time spent actually doing it. There are no "silver bullets" here - spend some time getting the fundamentals down, and then just spend a lot of time experimenting and trying things out, and listen as objectively as you can to what works and what doesn't.

By the way, not sure what your budget is, but if you want to get into your own drum tracks, EZDrummer is currently on sale at Sweetwater download-only for like $30, and the Superior 2.0 crossgrade is $99. EZDrummer is a no brainer at that price, and if you don't mind the extra hundred bucks, Superior is really pretty solid. Drum programing is a whole different art form, though.

By the way, if you need a DAW, check out Reaper.
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  #6  
Old 12-10-2012, 07:10 PM
6fingers  is offline
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Re: Help a total beginner with recording?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Drew View Post
Classes certainly won't hurt, but I've heard plenty of awesome recordings by people who have never taken a class, and plenty of uninspired recordings by people with degrees in audio engineering.
Personal tastes are not facts.
They are unispired to you but I guarantee they are master pieces to others.
Never judge the quality of anything based on your personal tastes, you judge if it was well recorded or not.
There are a lot of recordings I don't like(because my tastes are different) but I can tell they were well recorded so I put my tastes aside to be able to see it was well recorded.
It'd be chaos if people use personal tastes to judge something cause we all have different tastes.
A painting teacher can tell if a student is good even if he doesn't like that student paintings cause they're not his style.
Classes guarantee you will learn the basics, you'll know how to record properly.
Some people will think your recording is crap, some will think they're awesome and some won't care.
It's all about personal tastes.
What matter is your tastes, you'll record and mix the way you like no matter what people say, if you keep accepting tips, you're music/recording/mixing will never be yours, they'll be a bunch of tips of people with different tastes trying to make YOUR music sound the way they like.
Classes won't give you talent or success but you'll have the basics to try to achieve them
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Old 12-11-2012, 08:41 AM
Drew  is offline
 
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Re: Help a total beginner with recording?


That's a completely circular argument, though, because you could just as easily say that if you take classes, your music/recording/mixes will never be yours, they'll be a bunch of things a teacher with different tastes than you trying to make YOUR music sound the way you like.

And I don't think it's a matter of subjective taste - I've heard mixes by guys who have degrees that were kind of flat, a little indistinct in the low end, and just somewhat unclear. I've also heard guys who have been working at their craft on their own for years and just have a natural aptitude producing mixes that are exceptionally clear, have great transient response and detail, excellent stereo spread, and just sound really expertly done. I may not like the style or agree with all of their mixing decisions, but there's no questioning the final product.

There's a tremendous amount of information out there on the internet, and you're right, some of it is garbage. There's also a lot of really quality stuff, though, a lot of it from guys who ARE professionals, and if you take the time to look for it, and then furthermore take the time to try it, experiment with their suggestions, and really internalize it, you will absolutely produce better work for it.

Classes can help, sure. But classes are just one way to internalize information, and if you're more comfortable with independent study (as I usually am) and then take the time to find and talk to guys who really know their ****, you're going to get that same information.

And ultimately, getting information isn't what makes you an excellent audio engineer - it's how you USE it. Saying the only way to learn is by taking a class is absurdly reductionist.
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Old 12-11-2012, 08:55 AM
Drew  is offline
 
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Re: Help a total beginner with recording?


...and since there's an element of "put your money where your mouth is" here, here's a couple resources I've found really helpful:

*Slipperman's Distorted Guitars From Hell is, underneath all of the Hunter S. Thompson style ravings (or perhaps because of it) a pretty excellent look at tracking guitars and how to approach a mix.
*Ola Englund has a couple of great home studio tracking tutorials on YouTube.
*Harvey Gearst posted a spectacular and VERY lengthy discussion on the physics of how various types of microphones physically capture sound, and what that means as far as using them in a studio for various applications.
*Ermz' Systematic Mixing Guide was all pretty familiar to me by the time I got it, but what I did find particularly valuable was his discussion of the different styles of compressors at the beginning, and what each is ideally suited for.
*also, I'm just going to link this one: http://www.massivemastering.com/blog...ing_Levels.php gain staging in the digital world.
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Old 12-11-2012, 09:00 AM
6fingers  is offline
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Re: Help a total beginner with recording?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Drew View Post
And ultimately, getting information isn't what makes you an excellent audio engineer - it's how you USE it. Saying the only way to learn is by taking a class is absurdly reductionist.
I never said that, I said the opposite, learning the BASICS won't give him talent or success but will give him the tools to achieve them.

Obviously is how you use it, that's what I said.
Learning the basics is what will open a world of options, his own options.
Basics everybody needs them.
A teacher teaching basics is never a stranger pushing his personal tastes OR we all would have the same tastes after graduating from school or college.
Basics(foundation) are basics and never personal tastes, a teacher teaching how audio(sound) behaves is not pushing his own tastes.

Of course he can learn a lot in the net, I did it myself but only when I got the basics with a guy who really knew how to teach them in a way I could use them as tools, I started to grow and not depending on strangers tips which I didn't know if they were good or bad or if they knew what they were talking about.

Forums are to exchange ideas and learn but still we all need to go to school and college, we don't live only with tips.Nobody needs 4 years of recording engineering classes but 3 months with a good teacher will save him time, money and will open new horizons.

I really can't see how telling someone to study could be a bad thing, it's like people don't go to school or college, there are tips everywhere.
Sorry I disagree.
Balance is good, learn the basics with a good teacher then decide what to do with a gazillion tips out there.
Or not, it's up to him to decide what he wants for his life, still with or without classes or tips, he could never achieve what he wants cause that depends on passion and effort too and not only learning and discussing about it, we're giving him different point of views and options

Last edited by 6fingers; 12-11-2012 at 09:06 AM.
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Old 12-11-2012, 11:19 AM
Drew  is offline
 
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Re: Help a total beginner with recording?


Well, we can happily agree to disagree, then - ultimately, if the OP wants to engineer/mix for a living (which reading his post, I don't think he does) some form of formal education makes sense - everyone I've talked to who's gotten a degree in recording recommends it not for the classroom experience (ironically, many of them have told me that most of what they learned they could have picked up on the web) but for the networking and connections that comes with it. And if I've learned anything professionally it's that WHO you know matters as much as WHAT you know.
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Old 12-11-2012, 12:30 PM
therightjem  is offline
 
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Re: Help a total beginner with recording?


It also depends on how much of an autodidact a person is. Some people need outside structure and organization to learn, others do not. The former grossly outnumbers the latter. That fact is why most countries employ a primary education system.
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Old 12-14-2012, 07:25 AM
rty13ibz98  is offline
 
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Re: Help a total beginner with recording?


most of recording is trial and error. even if you go to school for it: you only get to understand signal flow, gain structures, compression, mic placement, mic selection, preamp characteristics, etc. just by being there and getting your hands dirty. i have a really good project studio, but like most of us here i started with a factory sound card and a small mixer. i don't think i even owned a single sm-57 back then...rather some radio shack special. i learned best by making mistakes and figuring it out or asking people with tons more knowledge than me(the PROs at gearslutz).

rich
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Old 12-14-2012, 09:30 AM
Drew  is offline
 
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Re: Help a total beginner with recording?


Quote:
Originally Posted by rty13ibz98 View Post
i have a really good project studio, but like most of us here i started with a factory sound card and a small mixer. i don't think i even owned a single sm-57 back then...rather some radio shack special. i learned best by making mistakes and figuring it out or asking people with tons more knowledge than me(the PROs at gearslutz).
Hell, man, do you remember those old computer mics that looked a little bit like whammy bars? Back in '99, after briefly using my laptop's built-in mic, I worked with one of those and a copy of Sonic Foundry ACID 2.0 and recorded an album with it on mp3.com. Working with such an objectively awful signal chain made me REALLY appreciate the gear I have today, and I learned a ton back then.

I had to record 30 seconds at a time, because much longer than that and audio would start dropping out because my computer couldn't take any more.
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Old 12-14-2012, 09:58 AM
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Re: Help a total beginner with recording?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Drew View Post
Hell, man, do you remember those old computer mics that looked a little bit like whammy bars? Back in '99, after briefly using my laptop's built-in mic, I worked with one of those and a copy of Sonic Foundry ACID 2.0 and recorded an album with it on mp3.com. Working with such an objectively awful signal chain made me REALLY appreciate the gear I have today, and I learned a ton back then.

I had to record 30 seconds at a time, because much longer than that and audio would start dropping out because my computer couldn't take any more.
Heh, I'm not even gonna say what my first recording experiences were on. Suffice to say it was reel-to-reel. "Digitial" was something only a couple of the biggest studios had. Can't believe how far things have come since then.
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Old 12-14-2012, 03:39 PM
rty13ibz98  is offline
 
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Re: Help a total beginner with recording?


yeah, i tried using those crappy plastic gooseneck mics, but those are epic fail. i started recording on an old tascam 414. i know how hard it was to record!!! ping pong bouncing, signal degradation, mono everything, PITA punching!!! today's DAWs are so powerful that no one actually uses any of them to their fullest capacity. i remember before i got the tascam, i was using a karaoke machine to bounce between tapes. WRETCHED!!!

now i have unlimited tracks in sonar x1, 24 ins and outs, lots of nice preamps, compressors, and effects boxes. i own a healthy collection of microphones and feel that i have just paid my dues behind the board to crank out decent product.

rich
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