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Beginner at recording. Help!

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  • Beginner at recording. Help!

    All I'm doing is trying to play around and record some easy stuff at home.

    I have a Behringer cheap DI400P box, an XLR to usb cable, and guitar rig 5. I can't get guitar rig 5 to record my guitar and playback the settings. Any help? I'm very new to this so simplicity helps

  • #2
    Cant record or even connect without an interface. (external sound card that uses ASIO drivers for high speed streaming) A DI like that Behringer is for impedance matching. Most interfaces have instrument level inputs so a DI isn't even needed.

    If you're using a windows sound card, forget it. They use low speed windows drivers and are not only too slow for multitrack recording, but the software wont even recognize it as being a professional interface.

    First get an interface. You can buy a 2 channel Tascam or Lexicon on EBay for less then $50.

    Next you need something to hear the music. You can use headphones to track with. You can buy decent AKG headphones for $50~80.
    They wont work for mixing however. You need studio monitors for that. Monitors made by JBL, M-Audio and KRK begin in the $130 each range new so you need around $300 for those just to hit the lowest tier for recording.

    You don't need to spend anything on software right away because there is plenty of free software available.

    When buying an interface you need to make sure the interface drivers work on your computer. If you post the computer type I can help.
    You should also run this small program that checks the computer latency.

    Most computers will come up with an average of around 200us. A high speed quad core properly optimized may get below 100us which is where you need to be if you plan on using guitar amp emulation software.

    What software manufacturers don't tell you very clearly (and if they do its in fine print) is, unless you have a screaming fast computer and interface, you can forget trying to use their software as a substitute for hardware recording. You can use it for mixing when latency isn't a problem but its useless when recording because of the huge time delays you get between the time you pluck a guitar string and the time you hear the processed sound.

    You see, interfaces act like a small mixer. They have zero latency (not time delay) when monitoring the analog signal being passes straight through and that tap that signal which gets recorded to the drive. It also allows you to play along to previously recorded tracks at the same time.

    The daw program aligns the old tracks with the new compensating for the delays that occur when the analog signal is converted to digital then back from digital to analog.

    If you try and set the interface and software to only monitor the processed signal when recording (as in the case of using Guitar Rig) the signal gets converted from analog to digital by the interface> then its sent through the communication port> computer buss> it gets processed by the software where mathematical algorithms are performed > Its sent back through the buss> Through the communication port> Converted from Digital ones and zeroes to an analog sine wave> then to your headphones or monitors.

    That round trip can take a long time and by the time you hear the guitar coming back out the monitors its delayed enough where you cant play along to it with any sense of normal rhythm. Its like you're playing along with a drunken guitarist which is always behind the beat.

    What you do is record while listening to the direct signal that has no time delay. Then you add the effects when you play the recording back. The software adds the guitar effects when latency doesn't matter.

    By the way I have Guitar Rig, both the stand alone version (which as a small DAW recorder built in) and the plugin version which work within a DAW program. I've even tried it on several computers. (It comes with Sonar) Its a huge CPU pig that easily crashes a computer and its latency is horrible.

    If you're looking to record guitar with effects happening already, you're still better off running hardware to get your sounds. All this stuff you read about software doing the job is a load of crap put out there by software companies trying to get your money. Even with a high end computer its tough to get the latency low enough to not matter. I recently set up a new DAW which is a Quad Core running 64 bit and has solid state drives and thunderbolt. Its still not fast enough to do the job running effects in real time recording.

    PC's are designed for business uses. Audio has always been an add on and though its gotten much better its really not the main focus of computer and operating system manufacturers. There are some companies that make specialized computers for recording where every chip is optimized for sound. Companies like UA make add on boards that take the load off the CPU and you can get nearly real time audio processing but trying to get some low end computer to do that isn't going to happen.

    Luckily they will record many tracks all day long so using hardware to get your tones works great and there's no problem adding effects when mixing. All you need is a good interface and a hardware unit that provides amp/cab emulation and effects that mimic a miced amp. Those too have become quite inexpensive. I been recording direct for a good 40 years and the low cost options today are amazing.

    A unit like this can be switched from feeding a guitar amp to feeding a line level signal to an interface. It gives you 30 amp heads and 10 different cabs plus dozens of other effects so you can match anything a miced amp can provide. The sound quality is very high too. You'd never know the guitar was recorded direct in a blind comparison to a miced amp.

    Of course you don't need to use all the effects either. You can add all the effects you need when mixing. What I typically do is use just enough to emulate playing through a guitar amp. I can always add additional drive and effects later when the mix is coming together and I know what proportions are needed. This way I don't over do it. You can always add more effects and drive when mixing, you cant convert a recorded track back to sounding once it has too much added.

    Go to this site and read all chapters. you'll find everything you need for home recording. DON'T BUY ANYTHING until you've read it all first.

    The most important thing about quality recording comes from knowledge, not the gear. If you were to proportion them out its easily 95% knowledge and 5% gear. Even the least expensive gear made today is capable of high quality recording and any experienced engineer can easily get it to stellar recordings. The knowledge however cant be bought at any price. They haven't been able to plug into a brain and do a direct transfer of it so you still have to learn it all the hard way. It's no different then learning to play an instrument. Manufactures love people who are infected with GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) because that's how they earn a living by selling you gear and software. The truth is recording is an art form that requires acquired knowledge gained through trial and error so you need boundless amounts of passion to get past the many hurtles you face trying to capture great recordings.

    Go to that site and read. Its a great tutorial for teaching you the basics. You should be able to start making gear choices after reading it. Just realize some of the information there is already dated and obsolete. The recording industry is continually changing and you have to keep up with the latest technology and know where the boundaries are being pushed so when you do buy gear you'll get a few years out of it before it becomes obsolete.