newbie question

with industry Pro, Nick Batzdorf

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newbie question

Post by hummingbird » Sat Jan 22, 2005 10:23 pm

Hey Nick, how're you? Bearing in mind that I know nothing about recording other than singing.... got a couple questions for you.I just upgraded my computer system, got 256 mgs now, a faster processor, more memory, and a new soundcard... now I'm gonna download Protools for free... so I can do some basic 2 - 4 track demos and learn the ropes. My problem is figuring out how to (cheaply) rig up the audio input... i.e., mike. I'm assuming I need some kind of interface between the mike and the computer... I have a mike I use for gigging... and some free USB slots.Drew said on another thread that somebody told him you can use a quadraverb or similar types of processors as a mic pre-amp for computer recording, and that you can get a used one really cheap. I'm not sure what that is or how it works...Can you explain to this non-techie what my next step should be?Thanks a lot for your expertise,Hummin'bird PS - Oops, scratch the bit about Pro Tools for Free -- my new operating system is XP... and they aren't compatible. SIgh.
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Re: newbie question

Post by nickbatzdorf » Mon Jan 24, 2005 6:13 am

You need a mic preamp to bring the mic up to line level, HB. I wasn't aware that the Quadraverb had one built in, but then whadda I know. You can pick up something like an ART mic preamp for <$100, so that might be a solution.I'm not sure what the minimum computer specs are for Mackie's Traktion (256MB might be low, especially with XP - which is a good idea, since it's current), but you might go to their website. As of a couple of weeks ago it was a free download.The easiest and not necessarily cheapest solution would be to look at, say, a Tascam, Edirol, or M-Audio USB interface. They probably come with everything you need (except the mic).

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Re: newbie question

Post by ernstinen » Mon Jan 24, 2005 10:02 am

I've got a Quadraverb 2, and I still use it as a main reverb. But there's no mic pre in it. I guess it's possible you could plug a dynamic mic into it and crank it up to some usuable level --- who knows! Ern

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Re: newbie question

Post by hummingbird » Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:03 pm

Hey, thanks guys. I checked out Traktion, unfortunately their free version promo ended Dec 31st, however, you can download a demo of the software and play with it. The full version is only $80, so that's pretty good. I'm working on getting some kind of audio interface for my mic. Once I get all this stuff (and figure out what to do with it)... watch out, I can built my own tracks from scratch in Traktion, or flow in stuff from my midi keyboard and clean it up - so that means I could finally do those 15 sec and 30 sec instrumental recordings so useful for tv. And record home demos at last! Thanks a lot for all your willing help! I'll let you know how I get on (cause I know you are interested, right? ),Hummin'bird
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Re: newbie question

Post by nickbatzdorf » Fri Jan 28, 2005 8:04 pm

Behringer of all companies just came out with a $200 USB 2 interface that's hard to believe. I don't understand how they can do that for $200 - and this isn't a stolen design or anything, it's just a dirt-cheap interface with all kinds of functions.

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Re: newbie question

Post by hummingbird » Mon Jan 31, 2005 9:02 pm

Hey Nick, I was just reading about Spike athttp://www.mackie.com/products/spike/"Meet Spike: A complete desktop solution for 24-bit/96kHz audio recording & MIDI production on a Mac or PC.Recording music on a Mac or PC just got exponentially easier with Spike, a complete digital recording solution from Mackie. Spike consists of the XD-2 USB 24-bit 96kHz Audio/MIDI Interface featuring clean, high-headroom Mackie mic preamps and onboard SHARC dynamics processing; incredibly easy-to-use Tracktion multitrack audio recording software with unlimited track count and VST plug-in support; and the Nomad Factory Blue Tubes Warmer Phaser plug-in. Quite simply, this is the easiest open-ended system for computer music production."It seems, as I read it, that this package includes the software, the mic preamps and the USB interface - am I right? And I think it will work with my system - I've got XP service pack 2, AMD Athlon(tm) Processor, 224 MB of Ram (at present), 1.20 Ghz. They say "With which audio applications will the XD-2 work? The XD-2 will work with audio software applications that support ASIO, WDM, or OS X Core Audio. Out of the box, Spike offers a full copy of Tracktion audio recording and mixing software, and the Nomad Factory Warmer Phaser plug-in with tube emulation. "Does that mean I need any additional audio software, or are they taking about further compatability?A current review in Electronic Musician seems to rate it highly.Price is $495 US.Thanks for your advice,Hummin'bird
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Re: newbie question

Post by matto » Mon Jan 31, 2005 9:17 pm

Vikki,It seems to include everything you need to get started: Interface, software and some basic fx plug-ins. I couldn't find the system requirements anywhere, but you should be fine...I used a 866 pentium until about a year ago and never really ran into any problems until I started relying heavily on VST instruments.You might wanna see what Rick Greenly has to say too, he might know of some similar competing systems you can check out and compare.matto

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Re: newbie question

Post by hummingbird » Mon Jan 31, 2005 9:56 pm

Hi, thanks Matto, it sounded good to me but as I am just now learning about recording, I just wanted to be sure. Here's the PC system requirements, from their manual:Win XP;Intel Pentium 3 or 4, or AMD Athlon (750 MHz or better recommended);min 128 MB Ram; 256 MB or more recommended;Super VGA (1024 x 768) or higher resolution video adapter and monitor;CD-Rom or DVD drive;keyboard and wheel mouse or compatible pointing device;USB port.I have all that, all I'm not sure of is the video adapter thing... but I have Band in a Box and can play videos on Windows Media so I think I'm okay.I can't afford to get this at the moment - it's about $700 or so Canadian... but at least I know there's a system that will give me everything I need... I probably would have spent that much anyway if I purchased everything a la cart.At least once I have this I won't have to spend money making basic demos at a recording studio just so I can get some feedback! Onward and upward!Hummin'bird
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Re: newbie question

Post by bobc » Tue Feb 01, 2005 5:12 am

Hi Vikki:For both Midi as well as audio check out the Tascam 122usb. Comes bundled with Cubasis (a cut down, but fully funtional, version of Cubase with some decent effect plug ins, Giga Studio sampling software (which really needs to be upgraded to use the samples in recording) and all the software you need to interface with Band in a Box on your rig.Currently I use Band in a Box (ver 2005), PowerTracks Pro Audio 9 (the DXI plugins are awesome), Roland's Virtual sound canvas VSC3 DXI for my instruments (I'll be upgrading to sampled sounds in the near future). I generally do a background in Band in the Box, send it over to PowerTracks as a general Midi file, edit and tweak and add more part if needed, convert it to an audio file, import that audio file into Cubasis, record "flat" vocals in Cubasis and then import the audio file and seperately the vocal track back into power tracks to add the DXI effects. The best feature of the Tascam122 for me at least is that it has MIDI in/outs as well as the Audio (1/4 inch and XLR) and phantom power. Sells for around $300. I plan to upgrade to Cubase SE for another hundred bucks or so and eventually upgrade the GigaStudio as well as purchase the GM sounds for GigaStudio.Bob

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Re: newbie question

Post by rickgreenly » Tue Feb 01, 2005 7:29 pm

Hi there Hummingbird.Lots of good advise floatin' around in here for you to digest. I just returned from attending the mother of all musical gear trade shows (at least in the US) called Winter NAMM in Anaheim, CA. So, I got to see the latest gear for the home recording enthusiast (or newbie ) all under one giant roof, for four days.The options are, as you might imagine, more powerful and flexible, for less money, than ever before. Even the company I work for is getting involved, shipping a little USB hardware/software bundle in March called io|2 for $199. We also make an analog mixer called MultiMix 8USB for $149 US (with Cubase LE included) that sounds good and is super-easy to use as a computer interface. Yeah, a little gratuitous flag-waving there; my apologies to any and all offended. At least I don't hide my identity. The point is, everyone and their cousin seems to be getting into the computer audio game, at all price points and levels of functionality. Its gotten almost to the same level as trying to buy a digital camera. You do some research online, ask a ton of questions, and hopefully hook up with a good local dealer in West Canada that knows what they're talking about ( www.steinbergcanada.com can help point you to one).The box for you with all the right features and functions might be $149, it might be $500. You really would have to try hard to buy something crappy at either price point these days. Everything works so well that your engineering skill will likely be the limiting factor for quite awhile...not the interface or software.Best of luck...Rick GreenlyAlesis

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