newbie question

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Re: newbie question

Post by hummingbird » Tue Feb 01, 2005 7:45 pm

Hi there, thanks for all the advice! As I stated at the beginning of this thread, I am a total newbie with all of this. By no means am I an engineer or a producer.I have a computer, and Band in a Box. At this point, all I want to be able to do is:-import BinaBox into some form of software and record vocals over the top;-maybe build tracks in the software for instrumental cuts;-and record midi keyboard, or guitar, and vocal tracks.thereby creating my own home demos. I have a mike I use for gigs, I think that, from what I have read, I need a mike preamp and also an USB interface to get the audio into the computer. I think that's why the Spike package sounded good - cause it seems to have everything I need... but it is pricey.Rick, does the USB hardware/software bundle - io|2 include mic preamp? Or is that the MultiMix 8USB? If the MultiMix 8USB has Cubase, mic preamp & USB interface, it sounds like a deal. I'll check out the specs.Once again, thanks very very much!!Hummin'bird P.S. - You guys all talk about plug-ins, I'm not sure what they are. Duh.
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Re: newbie question

Post by matto » Wed Feb 02, 2005 8:33 am

H'bird,told you Rick would have some alternatives for you...if you haven't already, you should also check out the offerings from the following companies:TascamPresonusAardvarkLexiconM-AudioI think most of these companies' products come bundeled with some kind of recording software.Plugins are "virtual" effects processors or instruments that live inside your recording software (such as Protools, Cubase, Traktion etc etc). They use the computer's CPU and RAM to modify or generate sounds.There are various formats, including VST, Direct-X, RTAS and a couple more on the Mac.Most recording software includes at least some of the most common effects, such as reverb, delay, EQ, compression... Some also include a few instruments.Additionally, there's a large number of companies that make their own plugins which are available seperately.Those range from software emulations of vintage studio equipment, to synthesizers, to samplers, to instruments that have the same variety of sounds you'd find on a modern keyboard...all living inside your computer. One of the biggest advantages of such a system is that it is fully self-contained, and when you save your song all the sounds, settings, automation etc is saved (and can be recalled) with one mouseclick.matto

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Re: newbie question

Post by rickgreenly » Thu Feb 03, 2005 10:34 am

H'bird,You have clearly defined what you want to do in your studio...1) Import BIAB MIDI files into a software MIDI/digital audio sequencer.2) Record audio parts like vocals and guitars.3) Record instrumental parts, using a MIDI keyboard.4) Edit and mix the parts into a finished song.The Tascam US122 (or Alesis' upcoming competitor io|2), plus a MIDI keyboard will allow you to do all of those things.To answer your questions about the $149 Alesis MultiMix 8USB's capabilities, let me respond. The 8USB has mic and line inputs, but no instrument level (guitar) input. It also has no MIDI interface. It is meant to get mic and/or line level audio into a computer via USB, and also operate as a normal stand-alone analog mixer when disconnected from the computer. You would have to add a gizmo called a direct box to the mixer to get your guitar plugged in, plus a separate MIDI interface to get your keyboard plugged in (unless the keyboard has its own onboard MIDI-to-USB interface, which is becoming somewhat common). The 8USB also uses the standard USB audio codec (no ASIO driver), which I'll explain below. Therefore, for what you want to do, the 8USB may not be the best choice of hardware.ASIO (pronounced AZZ-ee-oh) driver... Steinberg (makers of Cubase) invented a way for their software to interface to your audio hardware directly, rather than go through Windows. It's called ASIO (Audio Stream Input/Output). This helps tremendously with an issue called latency. Latency is the term used to describe how long it takes for you to hear a note from your computer speakers or headphones after you play or sing the note, when you are monitoring yourself through your recording software. You want this delay to be as short as possible (under 10 milliseconds), so you can play (and record) in time with your existing tracks. Make sense? The ASIO driver is written by the company that builds the hardware interface, specifically for that interface, not by Steinberg! Most major manufacturers have figured out how to write a good ASIO driver for their hardware, so you shouldn't be too concerned about that. What's important is that the ASIO driver exists, and that you use it when you set up your hardware for the first time. Come back to this thread when you get your interface, and we'll get you dialed in.Whoa...now you're an expert! More info than you thought possible! There's more, but you aren't looking to become a rocket scientist, right? You just want to make music. Well, computers were never designed to record music, they were designed to do business applications. Fooling the PC into thinking it is a recording device can be tricky. It can be done though, and its a lot of fun! Rick GreenlyAlesis

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Re: newbie question

Post by hummingbird » Thu Feb 03, 2005 10:22 pm

my eyes are bugging out with all this information.My local gear supplier (long & mcquade) is having a sale next weekend...they have the Digidesign Mbox Micro Studio Music Production System on sale... it's 2-channel USB audio peripheral, and it comes with Pro Tools LE. But I don't think it works with my OS. The Spike package sounds like an easy solution for me - as long as it has an ASIO driver, right? (Am I getting it? Is this me talkin'?). They say "The XD-2 will work with audio software applications that support ASIO, WDM, or OS X Core Audio." So (duh) does that mean I need something else besides?I have a MIDI connection for my keyboard already, and it's really getting my awesome vocals into the computer I am most concerned about Now that I am armed with all this information I will at least be able to go to the 'inventory blowout sale' and have a somewhat coherant conversation with the excited young salesperson spouting recording acronyms.Thanks a lot Hummin'bird
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Re: newbie question

Post by rickgreenly » Fri Feb 04, 2005 9:31 am

The Spike is a software/hardware bundled package. What they mean when they say "The XD-2 will work with audio software applications that support ASIO, WDM, or OS X Core Audio." is that the hardware (the XD-2 part of Spike) will be compatible with software that uses ASIO, WDM or OS X Core Audio to operate.Simple translation - the XD-2 hardware box can be used with other manufacturer's software (Cubase, Sonar, etc.) if you don't like Mackie's included Traktion software. Don't let those acronyms make your head spin! M-Box is a slightly different kind of animal. Do a search in this forum for previous discussions about that product. It isn't a good or bad product in my opinion, and you should be aware of it's strengths and weaknesses before you consider buying it. It sure is popular, I know that! They've sold billions of them!Another product that might be worth a look is the Lexicon Omega. Its another competitor to the Spike and M-Box.Good luck!Rick GreenlyAlesis

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Re: newbie question

Post by hummingbird » Sat Feb 19, 2005 8:46 am

Hi - I've been looking at the Lexicon Omega, it sure looks good to me (everything in one box is right up my alley )here are the PC specs:Pentium® III 500 MHz (1.2 GHz recommended) Windows XP 128 MB RAM (512 MB recommended) 100 MB of available hard disk space EIDE/Ultra DMA 7200RPM hard disk type or better Available USB port (1.1 or higher) at the moment I have:Windows XP 2002 (service pack 2)AMD Athlon 1.20Ghz224 MB of ram my chipset is SiS PCI20 Gig and 40 Gig hard drivesand (I think) my hard disk type is1 - Fujitsu MPF 3204At2 - Quantam Fireball 1ct 20 40is there a way to know how much RPM they have?Appreciate your help in making sure I have the compatibility... cause, I'm seriously considering this product.Thanks for all your help and advice! Hummingbird
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Re: newbie question

Post by nickbatzdorf » Sat Feb 19, 2005 6:32 pm

You can do an internet search for the HD model number to find its specs, but my honest opinion is that it doesn't really matter unless you're recording a lot of tracks. Sure, you want to buy drives with a sub-9ms seek time all things being equal (and those are generally 7200 RPM), but I have no problem playing back 16 tracks off my Powerbook drive, which is 4200 RPM and very slow.(I don't do that very often - it's part of my live recording rig.)And now that I've said that: as a general rule, you'd rather not use the minimum computer system recommended, because it's going to leave you no overhead at all. That doesn't mean you *can't* use it, just that you're likely to bump into the limits of your machine more than you want.If you have problems with the drive, you can buy 7200 RPM Ultra DMA drives for very little. There was one in today's LA Times at Fry's for something like $50 for a 60GB drive, for example.

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Re: newbie question

Post by hummingbird » Sat Feb 19, 2005 6:40 pm

Thanks Nick. This is good to know. I think that, at this point, just getting started would be good. I have a lot to learn. I can add RAM, etc as I go on... right now, just being able to flow BIAB into some recording software & learn how to clean it up and then have the ability to record vocals over it; or be able to lay down a track from my keyboard or guitar & record vocals - these are the two things I need to do to start pumping out some basic home demos.Now I just need to find a local supplier. I'll try Seattle.I'll let ya'll know when I get the system... I'll probably have more *newbie questions* if you have the patience.
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Re: newbie question

Post by hummingbird » Mon May 09, 2005 8:56 pm

Hi... just thought I'd let ya'll know... my equipment list is now:~Tracktion 2~Shure SM57 unidirectional dynamic mic & MWS-56DLX Pop Filter~M-Audio Fast Track USB - mic preamp~Yamaha PSR-260 MIDI keyboard~Acoustic guitar - Eko "Coronado", circa 1967Thanks again for all your help!!! Couldn't have done it without ya!Hummin'bird
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Re: newbie question

Post by hummingbird » Thu Jan 05, 2006 10:16 pm

Hey, just an update. I ended up getting:- single channel M-Audio guitar/mic preamp- Tracktion 2- a Shure SM27 instrument micI also recently picked up Jammer, which I think is more progressive than Band in a Box, except I can't write melody / soloist lines in it, which I like to do. However, I can sequence instruments in Tracktion. My next goal is to get a better vocal mic with cable, and then a 4-channel mixer (I need it for performing, anyway). I also read thru 'the Idiot's Guide to Home Recording' which, altho uses examples from Pro-Tools, helped me understand more about panning, reverb, delay, compression/limiting and EQ Thanks again to everyone who patiently gave such detailed and thoughtful advice.cheersVikki
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