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RaVenCAD

Let's talk about recording on a computer...

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So recently I decided to build myself a little recording rig.  I bought an iMac, a Motu M2 interface, a pair of Presonus Eris 3.5 speakers and Bias FX2 Pro..  I'm currently running GarageBand, but I've also got Ableton Live Lite I've yet to explore.  I'm really considering adding the Neural DSP Plini plugins..  They look and sound incredible. 

Anyone have suggestions for ways to enhance what I've got?  

On a sidenote, I'm planning to add a condenser mic to my setup.  <$100 suggestions would be greatly appreciated..

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I see MXL 990 usb mics on sale for $109.  Picked one up a year or two ago.get really good results after  I figured out how download the preamp. 

we've used it for voice and instruments . I didn't realize how noisey my quiet house is until I tried the first recording. Cars driving by,dogs barking even the hvac system are very noticeable background noise,  A soundproof studio would be ideal.

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Keep an eye out for MusiciansFriend's Stupid Deal Of The Day. You can get some nice prices on condenser mics if you're patient. Don't eliminate used from your search.

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Since you already have a recording interface DO NOT get a USB mic. The MXL 990 is supposed to be decent. (see it in action here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lwCR8EggBYw)

If you can buy used, the AKG Perception series can be found for less than a hundred bucks. I bought a used CAD 300 large diaphragm condenser mic with 3 switchable patterns for $40 from that big box music store because the mic didn't come with a shock mount or case. I bought an Australian-made Rode NT-1 for a hundred bucks from my local craigslist. 

There's tons of "mic shootouts" and so forth on YouTube. 

 

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RaVen, what are you planning on using the condenser mic for - acoustic guitars? Micing up an amp? Vocals? A little of all of the above? 

 

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If you're wanting to record all the parts you'll need some additional instruments. A good used bass is at the top of the list. You can find great deals as low as $50.

For drums I like using the Zoom stereo drum Machines like the 123, 223 etc.  You can also do drum loops which are a bit monotonous to build but you do what you have to. 

This site has many virtual drum machines and free effects.  http://www.vst4free.com/index.php?m=VSTfx  You can check KVR as well.  You shouldn't have to buy any plugins for awhile. I'd exhaust the free ones so you have a clue on what you might actually want or need. 

For recording guitar you can mic an amp,  record direct and use virtual amp plugins, or you can record direct using hardware modelers. 

Each have the positive and negative attributes.  Amps and mics for example make noise that my drive the family nuts. Using a good multi effect units with amp modeling can give you dozens of great amp heads and cabs plus a full set of stereo effects which wind up sounding as good as any amp you've used.  some are very inexpensive I use the Vox Stomplab 1G For Guitar and the 1B for bass. I've had them a couple of years and still haven't exhausted the possibilities.  Many other manufacturers make them too. 

Virtual effects have issues with computer latency so you'll simply need to try them and see what you get.  I use them on instruments after tracks have been recorded to add additional drive but I prefer the zero latency of hardware when recording direct. 

 

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Rav, I tried using Ableton, and I felt like a monkey sitting in front of a computer for the first time! Just too alien for me. (Makes me wish I had a 7 year old nearby so they could explain it to me.) I have been using Adobe Audition for the last 15 years, so that may explain it.

I do have a Launchpad mini for Ableton. PM me if you are interested.

Edited by badpenguin

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On 12/11/2019 at 4:55 PM, Phil O'Keefe said:

Look into Cockos Reaper and get away from Garage Band's limitations as soon as you can. 

I see people talking about the limitations of Garageband, but so far I haven't encountered anything it can't do..  What roadblocks are looming?

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On 12/13/2019 at 7:41 AM, Phil O'Keefe said:

RaVen, what are you planning on using the condenser mic for - acoustic guitars? Micing up an amp? Vocals? A little of all of the above? 

 

Yeap, all of the above.  

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On 12/13/2019 at 7:09 PM, badpenguin said:

Rav, I tried using Ableton, and I felt like a monkey sitting in front of a computer for the first time! Just too alien for me. (Makes me wish I had a 7 year old nearby so they could explain it to me.) I have been using Adobe Audition for the last 15 years, so that may explain it.

I do have a Launchpad mini for Ableton. PM me if you are interested.

Yeah, that Ableton interface is rather bewildering.  Can Adobe Audition run on a Mac?  I used it years ago and I liked it.

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On 12/13/2019 at 1:07 PM, WRGKMC said:

If you're wanting to record all the parts you'll need some additional instruments. A good used bass is at the top of the list. You can find great deals as low as $50.

For drums I like using the Zoom stereo drum Machines like the 123, 223 etc.  You can also do drum loops which are a bit monotonous to build but you do what you have to. 

This site has many virtual drum machines and free effects.  http://www.vst4free.com/index.php?m=VSTfx  You can check KVR as well.  You shouldn't have to buy any plugins for awhile. I'd exhaust the free ones so you have a clue on what you might actually want or need. 

For recording guitar you can mic an amp,  record direct and use virtual amp plugins, or you can record direct using hardware modelers. 

Each have the positive and negative attributes.  Amps and mics for example make noise that my drive the family nuts. Using a good multi effect units with amp modeling can give you dozens of great amp heads and cabs plus a full set of stereo effects which wind up sounding as good as any amp you've used.  some are very inexpensive I use the Vox Stomplab 1G For Guitar and the 1B for bass. I've had them a couple of years and still haven't exhausted the possibilities.  Many other manufacturers make them too. 

Virtual effects have issues with computer latency so you'll simply need to try them and see what you get.  I use them on instruments after tracks have been recorded to add additional drive but I prefer the zero latency of hardware when recording direct. 

 

I have a few other devices that I'll be using.  I have a POD HD500X which I can either go direct with, or just hook up the output to my interface.  Then I've got a POD X3 that does pretty much the same thing.  My H&K Tubemeister 36 has an XLR direct out, so it can also hook up to the interface.  You can disable the speaker output on it too, so I can crank that puppy up.  

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2 hours ago, RaVenCAD said:

I see people talking about the limitations of Garageband, but so far I haven't encountered anything it can't do..  What roadblocks are looming?

 

Here's just a few, for starters... 

 

Limited number of recording tracks. 

Limited, god-awful editing of digital audio tracks.

No ability to use third party plugins.

Limited automation capabilities.

File transfers are a PITB. 

 

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I suggest you try the free version of Studio One by Presonus. In my experience it's the easiest to grasp but still seriously pro option. If you like it the Pro version isn't very expensive and it comes with a whole mastering suite for when you want to get your recordings ready for public consumption. 

None of this comes without effort, but once you hit your stride you can do anything, quickly. 

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3 minutes ago, Grant Harding said:

I suggest you try the free version of Studio One by Presonus. In my experience it's the easiest to grasp but still seriously pro option. If you like it the Pro version isn't very expensive and it comes with a whole mastering suite for when you want to get your recordings ready for public consumption. 

None of this comes without effort, but once you hit your stride you can do anything, quickly. 

 

Studio One is a solid DAW - at least in the pro version. I've never tried the free version. About the only thing it really lacks IMHO is a built-in MIDI notation editor. 

ANY DAW (or recording medium) is going to have a bit of a learning curve to it. The best way to handle that is in bite-sized chunks. Start slow, and learn the basics first, then add to that knowledge by learning about new features as the need for those things arises. But IMO it's better to pick a program that has the features you need, and then learn it rather than bouncing around from program to program. I HAD to learn multiple DAW programs, because it's my job... for the average person, that's largely a waste of time IMO. 

 

 

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4 hours ago, RaVenCAD said:

I see people talking about the limitations of Garageband, but so far I haven't encountered anything it can't do..  What roadblocks are looming?

lots of roadblocks if you get hooked into computer recording, it is one big deep rabbit hole,if you are into that then fine, it can be a lot of fun exploring all the editing possibilities and different sounds you sift through but very time consuming  along with trying all the free vst plugin effects  and then the mixing process which can be a right ball ache,i was hoplessly hooked on it but i am  getting back to simplicity.i`ve being recording onto a 4 track tape machine lately.if you value your guitar playing i`d keep the recording process as simple and as short as possible because you can get to the point where you don`t have to learn a tune the whole way through you can just record in sections and do repairs in the editing ,you can become a very lazy player but a great editor,saying all that i do have Cubase 9.5 and am thinking of gettingf the new 10.5 upgrade which would set me back £120 because i`d like to have a mess with the new features ,lol.

Edited by catscurlyear

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3 hours ago, Phil O'Keefe said:

 

Here's just a few, for starters... 

 

Limited number of recording tracks. 

Limited, god-awful editing of digital audio tracks.

No ability to use third party plugins.

Limited automation capabilities.

File transfers are a PITB. 

 

Right now, I only need a few tracks.  That'll change, but I can't imagine needing more than 10 or so..  I'm not looking to make a record here.  Just cool guitar recordings and some vocal stuff for my daughter.

I used to use Sound Forge to edit audio tracks.  Is there a Mac equivalent to that?

I'm using Bias FX2 through Garageband daily.  Isn't that a 3rd party plugin?  It'll load any VST or AU plugin, at least that's what it says.

Can't imagine needing automation for what I'm doing.  What would I automate?

I haven't tried exporting anything yet.  I probably should.

 

Keep in mind, I'm totally new to this.  I don't know what I don't know, yet...  I'm totally open to a new DAW if I need to be. 

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2 hours ago, Grant Harding said:

I suggest you try the free version of Studio One by Presonus. In my experience it's the easiest to grasp but still seriously pro option. If you like it the Pro version isn't very expensive and it comes with a whole mastering suite for when you want to get your recordings ready for public consumption. 

None of this comes without effort, but once you hit your stride you can do anything, quickly. 

I looked at the website but I don't see a free version.  Got a link?

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1 hour ago, catscurlyear said:

lots of roadblocks if you get hooked into computer recording, it is one big deep rabbit hole,if you are into that then fine, it can be a lot of fun exploring all the editing possibilities and different sounds you sift through but very time consuming  along with trying all the free vst plugin effects  and then the mixing process which can be a right ball ache,i was hoplessly hooked on it but i am  getting back to simplicity.i`ve being recording onto a 4 track tape machine lately.if you value your guitar playing i`d keep the recording process as simple and as short as possible because you can get to the point where you don`t have to learn a tune the whole way through you can just record in sections and do repairs in the editing ,you can become a very lazy player but a great editor,saying all that i do have Cubase 9.5 and am thinking of gettingf the new 10.5 upgrade which would set me back £120 because i`d like to have a mess with the new features ,lol.

I didn't buy a Mac, an interface, speakers and plugins to keep it simple.  I'm a geek, and I like this kind of stuff.  I don't play out, so the idea of piecing together something that sounds cool is awesome to me.

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Oh and I did try Reaper.  So far, it's meh.  Functional, but boring and ugly.  I want a cool looking DAW 😃

Plus, it didn't have my Bias FX presets.  They seem to only show up in the DAW that saves them.  That's annoying...

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12 minutes ago, RaVenCAD said:

I used to use Sound Forge to edit audio tracks.  Is there a Mac equivalent to that?

 

They did come out with a Mac version, but as a longtime Sound Forge PC user (for mastering), I was somewhat disappointed - it's not just a port of the PC program - it's a completely new program, and not as fully developed. It may meet your needs, but for professional mastering purposes, it's not quite up to that IMHO - at least not the last time I checked. 

 

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5 minutes ago, RaVenCAD said:

Oh and I did try Reaper.  So far, it's meh.  Functional, but boring and ugly.  I want a cool looking DAW 😃

 

 

:lol: Don't we all? ;)

Seriously - check the Cockos site - I wouldn't be surprised if there aren't skins available for it. It's highly configurable, so you may be able to customize it more to your liking... although you'd have to know your way around it first in order to do that. 

 

Quote

Plus, it didn't have my Bias FX presets.  They seem to only show up in the DAW that saves them.  That's annoying...

 

Check your main Bias folder - sometimes things like presets are saved in a folder / directory in the plugin's main folder, and other times, in a DAW subdirectory. Re-installing it may give you the option of where you want to have those directories saved. 

 

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