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View Full Version : Home Recording -- How do I get started?



erich v
11-28-2003, 09:41 AM
I'm a songwriter, with about 130 finished songs under my belt, and about 35 unfinished songs still in the cooker. I've never had any of them recorded, let alone sold.

I would like to get set up to record them all as demos with some kind of very modest, cheap 4-track or 8-track system, but I am COMPLETELY ignorant of the technical aspects of recording and what kinds of equipment to buy.

I wonder if anyone has any info, tips, or links that would help me get started in my investigation.

My aim is to set down tracks of voice and acoustic guitar, then add layers from a keyboard, using digital gizmos and whatchamacallits (there's my ignorance again). :tongue :cry

Thanks,
erich v.

mammamaia
11-28-2003, 11:10 PM
you should find more info than you need by googling... and also find/go to forums that are more geared to the music industry than this one is... i'm sure you'll find kindred souls there who'll be glad to give you the benefit of their experience... best of luck...

love and hugs, maia

circusrunaway
12-23-2003, 05:26 AM
The best product out there for this (imo) is Cool Edit. I know my brother has it (and I've used his copy) but I can't tell you how much it is. Try searching for it, I'll bet they have a website that can give you more info.

Grendelvs
02-16-2004, 03:40 AM
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biotales
03-30-2004, 04:43 AM
Erich,
You stated "I'm a songwriter, with about 130 finished songs under my belt, and about 35 unfinished songs still in the cooker. I've never had any of them recorded, let alone sold.

I would like to get set up to record them all as demos with some kind of very modest, cheap 4-track or 8-track system, but I am COMPLETELY ignorant of the technical aspects of recording and what kinds of equipment to buy.

I wonder if anyone has any info, tips, or links that would help me get started in my investigation.

My aim is to set down tracks of voice and acoustic guitar, then add layers from a keyboard, using digital gizmos and whatchamacallits (there's my ignorance again). "

Some advice here that might help you safe you some money and heart ache...you have 130 or so finished songs. At this point do not do full demos. they are very costly and it is not needed at this point. IF you live in a large city. pick out 10 to 20 of what YOU feel are your best and lay them down to guitar or piano vocals and then do a search for your nearest University. Thats right University. (that is if you do not live in New York, L.A. Atlanta, Nashville.) and Talk to the head of the Music dept. and see if they will give you a critque on the songs. BUT BE READY FOR A HONEST CRITQUE......?
Your songs might be wonderful to you but may not be ready to pitch or do a full demo. Anything might be wrong with the song from metering to is it airplay. Many times songs are written for one genre and when looked at by a independant person they fit in another arena all together.
Another person you can contact at the University is the Acting dept. They may be doing their own plays and see if they might be interested in listening to your songs to include into their plays. It is a great way to get noticed. And it gives you a pro to listen to your work. No you will not get paid but adding that to your resume as a songwriter is a BIG hit. Pro Tools which is what you are asking about in the Tech side of the industry can be very very expensive. Take the time to make a few phone calls in your area and reach out to find a mentor.
Good luck. Song writing is not the easiest business to get into.
Biotales

Grendelvs
10-02-2004, 09:23 AM
i don't know how much i had typed there, but i wish i had seen that it didn't take sooner.

all you really need to record is a soundcard that's duplexed (meaning you can record something while listening to something else), a multitracking program, a mixer with an RCA out, a mic for your voice, maybe for your instruments (depending on what you're recording) or something like the Line6 POD.

all in all, to get started recording at home should run you maybe $500. the set-up i'm using to record now cost about that much, and this is what i sound like: No Quarter (Led Zeppelin cover) (http://jokersaints.net/MP3/new/No%20Quarter.mp3)

TCreek
01-05-2005, 06:26 AM
Circusrunaway: Cool Edit pro is no more, Adobe actually bought them out! Now it's called Adobe Audition. It's a great little piece of software too!

Fartin Mowler
01-14-2005, 02:52 AM
go to your local music store and buy Cubasis or Cubase (if you can afford it) and then write to me...at crashmycarhard@hotmail.com if you need help...cubase is a very easy and inexpensive program for recording if you have a half decent computer...atleast 512mb of ram and atleast a pentium 4

Alphabeter
03-26-2005, 03:10 PM
Pinging for the search engine again (yeah I'm padding my posts but its 5 am and I'm doing a "service" so shush).

There are several posts that have good advice so I'm quoting them-this should ping the keywords.


At this point do not do full demos. they are very costly and it is not needed at this point. IF you live in a large city. pick out 10 to 20 of what YOU feel are your best and lay them down to guitar or piano vocals and then do a search for your nearest University. Thats right University. (that is if you do not live in New York, L.A. Atlanta, Nashville.) and Talk to the head of the Music dept. and see if they will give you a critque on the songs. BUT BE READY FOR A HONEST CRITQUE......?
Your songs might be wonderful to you but may not be ready to pitch or do a full demo. Anything might be wrong with the song from metering to is it airplay. Many times songs are written for one genre and when looked at by a independant person they fit in another arena all together.
Another person you can contact at the University is the Acting dept. They may be doing their own plays and see if they might be interested in listening to your songs to include into their plays. It is a great way to get noticed. And it gives you a pro to listen to your work. No you will not get paid but adding that to your resume as a songwriter is a BIG hit. Pro Tools which is what you are asking about in the Tech side of the industry can be very very expensive. Take the time to make a few phone calls in your area and reach out to find a mentor.


all you really need to record is a soundcard that's duplexed (meaning you can record something while listening to something else), a multitracking program, a mixer with an RCA out, a mic for your voice, maybe for your instruments (depending on what you're recording) or something like the Line6 POD.


all in all, to get started recording at home should run you maybe $500. the set-up i'm using to record now cost about that much, and this is what i sound like: No Quarter (Led Zeppelin cover)


Cool Edit pro is no more, Adobe actually bought them out! Now it's called Adobe Audition. It's a great little piece of software too!


go to your local music store and buy Cubasis or Cubase (if you can afford it) is a very easy and inexpensive program for recording if you have a half decent computer...atleast 512mb of ram and atleast a pentium 4

Hotrock
03-30-2005, 07:02 PM
I have used cubase since before the name cubase, way back in the early 80's when it was called Steinberg Pro 12. Today it has become somewhat of a monster program - Cubase SX3 - that carries with it a pro price tag.
I strongly recommend Cubase 5 for you as it now costs about 25 on e-bay (original with dongle - watch out for the cracked versions) It is a breaze to use and will do everything you want as far as recording is concerned.
You will need a decent CPU and as much RAM as you can afford but its a truly useful program (It cost me boat loads more than that for each upgrade I've ever had) With this program you can install 3rd party plugin instuments and effects to complement the ones on-board.
There is also Cakewalk and Pro-Tools to consider but they are all pretty much the same. I recommend Cubase only because its the one i know best but don't expect much in the way of customer support.

Another tool similar to Cool Edit is Sony's Sound Forge which is an excellent editing tool.

Reason 3 is well worth checking out too although you cannot record external instuments or vocals directly into it (Though you can import wavs and other sample formats) This program consists of a 'rack' of instruments and effects (the number of instances is limited only by the power of your pc.)
Check out a demo to be impressed. (The first versions of this i considered as a nice 'toy' but version 3 is so much better that it can be...and is... used in pro studios) Reason can also be used within cubase as a plugin (well it does with Cubase SX series, I aint tried it on cubase 5)

A full duplex sound card is a must. Don't go for the 'commercial' or gaming cards. Look to spending in triple figures if you really want quality. Look too, at the latency capabilities - the lowest figure is best, anything more than 20ms is going to cause you timing problems.

If you buy a mixing desk, don't go for a modern one, go for the old type that have seperate 'strips' that can be replaced or repaired seperately, modern desks are just one circuit board that once it dies will cost you the same to replace as buying a new desk. (I bought a rather nice Mackie that has recently started playing up and have been advised to start looking for a new one, shame because it was a nice desk)

If you need any other advise, email me at hotrock@bandwidthstudios.co.uk

BattleChaser
04-08-2005, 06:48 PM
A very decent beginner home recording system that I would recommend:

1) M-Audio FireWire Solo (computer would need to have a firewire port; if you don't have one you'll need to buy a firewire card too. (The Solo includes phatom power and soundcard in one box)
2) MXI 2001 Condenser (or any decent microphone)
3) Any microphone cord
4) Mic stand
5) Any headset
6) Software such as Fruity Loops, Magix Music maker, etc. (search recording software)

All this would probably cost you around $400, probably less. This would be a very major upgrade from basic computer recording, but no where near the top of the line equipment for home recording.

If you are serious about this, then this is the minimum.

Dewayne
06-27-2005, 08:17 AM
I personally use Sonic Foundry Sound Forge and Cool Edit Pro. I run thru my Soundblaster Audigy Sound Card and use an amp modeler to plug my guitars into, then run that into either my pc mic jack or the line-in.