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What recording software for beginner?

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  • What recording software for beginner?

    I've been using audacity to record but I keep wondering if they're all the same or does one give better quality than another? I plan to record sermons at a church too. But at home I just record me singing karaoke.

  • #2
    What you track to the hard drive is not influenced by the DAW program.
    Once the analog signals sent to your interface are changed to ones and zeros by
    your interface's converters, its streamed directly to your drive for storage on separate tracks.

    All your sound quality comes from your source, mics, and preamps. If those items are collecting
    a crappy analog signal, then you're going to have crappy tracks to mix.

    The DAW "only" comes into play mixing. Different DAW programs have different methods processing
    the data. Thay have varying quality plugins and settings, but for the most part thay are very competitive and
    use many of the same algorythms to process the data. After mixing the sound is sent back through the
    converters to be converted back to an analog signal.

    Having a good front end for tracking, good converters in the interface and goos monitors for listening
    are a much bigger factor than the daw program is. You should be able to get a good mix with any of the
    major DAW programs. If you cant, the DAW program wont be the magic bullet you seek. If your tracking quality
    was as good as it could be, you wouldnt have to use any features of the DAW besides volume and panning and get
    an excellent sounding playback. The players performance and sound quality before the mics is a huge factor too.

    A player needs to target the mic as an electronic ear and make that ear hear what sounds good, not what your
    human ears hear in the room. If a mic is a few inches from a grill cloth, and your ears are 10' away from that speaker
    the two wont be hearing the same thing. Your ears will be hearing all the room acoustics, and the mic will be hearing
    95% of the direct sound of the speaker 3" away. All the adjustments you make to the amp, effects chain, guitar and playing
    style will target the room acoustics you hear from 10' away gtom the amp and it may be awful sounding for that electronic ear
    next to the speaker.

    Best thing you can do to dial up good tracking tone is listen to what the mic is monitor the mic through headphones and
    compare the room sound to the miced amp. Then dial up the best sound thats striking the mic diaphram. Once you have
    great mic sound, the sound of the amp in the room may sound awful, but your have to deal with it and learn to play with that tone.
    The only thing that matters is what the mic hears tracking. If you put in the hours needed to get good tracking tone and then
    apply your best performance you can playing, the DAW program isnt going to matter much because the tracks will practically
    mix themselves.

    Recording isnt easy, especially when you do it all yourself. There are many things you need to learn and put in perspective before you
    start to get it to all come together. The most important being patience. You do a recording, you evaluate the results, you find the
    weaknesses and strengths, you come up with a plan to preserve the strengths and improve the weaknesses, you implement
    that plan, you reevaluate the results, you determine if your plan was successful and by how much it was successful, then you
    learn from that experience.

    If you find some sucess, you're on the right track, persue it by refining what you did till you find the
    maximum benifit your gear can provide. If you find the gear wont perform any better because you've isolated
    its maximum performance ability and used it again and again and know its a bottleneck, then you can focus on
    an upgrade to remove that bottleneck.

    Gear, and Daw programs are very good these days though.
    If you cant thump your chest and say look at what I did with this modest gear and be proud of it,
    chances are you wount have much better results with state of the art gear.

    It may be your expectations are too high for what recording gear actually does and you're expecting
    it to do something it cant possibly do. Having modest gear forces you to focus on technique and you
    just dont know how far you can go with it untill you know it inside and out and applied everything you
    can to get great results.

    My analogy is this. A carpenter can build a beautiful custom home with nothing but a saw and a hammer.
    Think of the tools they had to build the beautiful mansions and furniture in historic homes.
    They didnt have state of the art power tools to do that work. they learned the craft and used basic hand tools.

    Then if that same carpenter who now knows how to build that beautiful home with simple hand tools is
    given the best power tools available, he can use his his craft and build that home in half the time.
    Give those power tools to an amature and he wont have the ability to build an out house let alone a
    functional home.

    Focus on technique, experimentation, performance and getting 100% out of what you got.
    When you think you've gone as far as you can, take a break and reflect on what you've done.
    If you dont come up with a dozen work arounds to make it work better, do some reading and borrow some
    ideas from other to try. Some may work and some may fail. You dont know till your try them no matter
    how crazy they sound. This builds up experience, and with that experience you will identify your bottlenecks
    and find work arounds for those bottlenecks. Then when you can afford it you upgrade that problem area
    and work it to its extreme.

    Even your state of the art studios have limitations. There is nothing perfect that is man made.
    The magic bullet in recording is getting the maximum potential from everything you use. When you can
    make some modest gear sound like great gear used poorly then you'll be able to take great gear and
    get every ounce of quality out of it. It just takes time, experience and passion - And - realistic expectations.

    Its the easiest thing in the world to get a great recording from a great band of professionals and its torture
    getting a great sounding recording from amature performers. Recordings "are" truth detectors.
    If you dont like what you hear then identify the faults and take baby steps to improve them.
    The DAW program isnt going to make much of a difference for sound quality.
    It simply manipulates whats already there to mix.


    • #3
      Thanks for your insight. You're right. These days and age, one gets frustrated and think New gadgets is the answer to everything. Guess ill just stick with audacity until I master it. I kept thinking free things are never good. Cuz u know what they get what you paid for.


      • #4
        Much wisdom in what WRGKMC says, but it's worth nothing that all DAWs are certainly far from created equal. A well-designed DAW should not affect the sound -- in its basic functionality -- and though I don't know of any cross-DAW tests that include the free, open source Audacity, there are a number that show that most contemporary DAWs appear to do the basic jobs of signal summing (the basic function of a mixer, after all) and even EQ more or less equally.

        (That said, a basic DAW will count on the hardware driver to report its operational latencies correctly. Unfortunately, through the history of computer recording, there have been a number of drivers which misreport. And, unless the DAW has an a way of adjust for that, you will end up with tracks 'misaligned' from each other on the timeline. ie, if there is uncompensated for latency, each new overdub will be 'delayed' on the time line by that amount. However, over the last few years, there has been greater awareness of this problem and many DAWs do have a way of manually setting the necessary compensation or additional compensation. Without proper ping loopback testing, no one should assume that their tracks are being aligned properly on the timeline. Just between you and me and the wall, I believe such uncompensated latency is still a problem for many recordists who aren't aware of or understand the problem. In tests I pushed folks to do about five years ago, virtually every user reported some amount of misalignment on their timeline unless they were already compensating for it. Just because ASIO drivers report a certain latency does not guarantee the accuracy. A ping loopback test will test that. [Unfortunately, I'm aware of at least one USB device (which I owned) which did not have a consistent latency from session to session -- so each session had to involve a new ping loopback test and setting of the compensation adjustment.)]

        But, well beyond those technical considerations are the functionalities and work flow of different DAWs. Though their basic functions are often the same -- and will generally even produce identical results in basic situations with identical settings (watch out for those pan laws!) -- the way they work tends to vary greatly. Some folks like one DAW, some another.

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        • #5
          I dont use it but i I hear great things about reaper. And its free, but it asks for donations. Like a church


          • #6
            I dont use it but i I hear great things about reaper. And its free, but it asks for donations. Like a church

            Not exactly. The new version is a trial version thats good for 30 days I believe and then you have to buy it.
            The cost is low and its a very good program so its foolish to run a trial version and deal with upgrade prompts.
            Its not donationware though.


            • #7
              Presonus has released a free version of studio one, it's free forever, just lacking in features that the other versions have


              • #8
                Not exactly. The new version is a trial version thats good for 30 days I believe and then you have to buy it.
                The cost is low and its a very good program so its foolish to run a trial version and deal with upgrade prompts.
                Its not donationware though.

                Reaper never expires. You are "encouraged" to register after 30 days with a 5 second delay when it starts. Everything will remain fully functional. It's extremely powerful, but has a higher learning curve than, say, Studio One. Whether you use Reaper or not, the forums there are a great place for information and support for just about anything related to recording.