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DrRogerFisher

smple recording gear

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Looking for suggestions for putting together simple home recording gear to use with my computer, for recording guitar, voice, and overdubbing:

Any brands, models, advice for cheap, practical home computer recording re:

- interface

- mics

- software

- whatever else is required.

 

Probably been asked many time before, but any feedback welcome on what you're using.

Thanks

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I cut my teeth on the single cassette recorder and then upgraded to a 2-track cassette recorder that could mix and bounce to a total of 4 tracks. The controls were very simple and the quality was mediocre. But it was fun. Fast forward to the digital age and when multi-track, multi-function recorders reached a price I could afford I thought I needed the biggest and best there was. I went through a couple different ones and found they were serious overkill for what I needed and had learning curves that I didn't have the desire to tackle. I've found that for me, less is more. The basic pocket studios of today do way more than my cassette recorders ever did, and although they require a bit more digging into to operate properly and utilize all they offer, they're well worth it when you do.

 

My current recording setup consists of the Tascam DP-006 for recording, and the free software Audacity for editing once the recording is done. With an interface you can record directly into Audacity and I've done that before, but I prefer having my recording gear separate. I find there's no concern with latency issues, it's very portable, and I like having knobs to twist rather than using a mouse to control things.

 

The Tascam has built in microphones as well as inputs for guitar and microphone. So if you've got an instrument, the recorder, and a pair of headphones, you're good to go. They come with an SD card that you record your music to and then use USB to transfer to the computer. There are others out there that do the same thing and are equally good or better.

 

There are folks that really get into the whole recording aspect of music and know much more than I do. I just like being able to put my ideas and songs down for posterity so I haven't delved too deeply into the subject, but have gone far enough to have a lot of fun with it and end up with a recording that sounds good to my ears.

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I've been recording for about 17 years now and building/selling gear in a music shop for about 6 years, most of my gear only gets used to record full live bands but the principles are kinda the same for bedroom stuff (only no need to worry about venue ambiance and mic phasing). Bedroom/home studio stuff that's one track at a time is easy to set up. All you need is a good dynamic mic for guitars (Shure SM57 is the industry standard) and a good condenser mic for vocals. Finding one that suits your voice can be a costly adventure but a great neutral-ish one I'd recommend is the MXL 2003A (NOT the original 2003, the circuitry in that doesn't match the diaphragm. The 2003A on the other hand is a great mic). A simple USB/Firewire audio interface with a good mic pre is obviously essential, companies like Focusrite and M-Audio will do one for about £100-£200 that will be fine (avoid cheap valve/tube mic pre's at all cost, they are a con, and sound dreadful. Real valve mic pres are EXPENSIVE). And then you need to hear what you are actually recording/mixing so you should spend at least £250-£350 on monitors. KRK seem to be very popular, and they may be the most detailed monitors in that price range I've heard in years.

 

MOST IMPORTANTLY

The ROOM you record in MUST sound good acoustically. Microphones pick up the sound of the room more than you can imagine. Right down to early reflections slapping back into the mic and phasing out low frequencies before you can even be aware there is any ambiance, if you see what I mean.

Acoustic treatment is what makes a studio. You need lots and lots of thick foam (at 'least' 4 inches thick) and diffusers all over the place to make an average house room sound reasonable. Don't forget foam/diffusers on the ceiling, and a nice fluffy rug on the floor.

 

Oh, and play good music.

 

Have fun!

 

 

--edit--

'Acoustic Foam' is often more expensive than the stuff we use to make flight cases but is is virtually the same. 'Open cell' is what is important. So I got enough proper acoustic foam to fill an appropriate amount of wall space and thickened it up with a couple of layers of standard 'eggbox' foam. Do that and you can spend the money you saved on beer!

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