New to recording: In home setup and help

Discussion in 'Recording Studio' started by nanthil, Dec 17, 2019.

  1. nanthil

    nanthil SS.org Regular

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    I have never done any recording on my own before, and I'm looking for some advice. I am a guitarist, and have no experience with recording software, plugins, "reamping"?, drum programs (since I don't have a drummer), and anything else really. I'm looking for advice on how to accomplish my goals (listed below) with as little up-front investment as I can manage (time and $$).

    There is a project I'm working on and I would like to best position myself to record as much as I can on my own, and that what I record is flexible enough to be tweaked later on. My initial thoughts from what I've picked up conversationally, online, youtube videos etc. is that it seems common to record raw direct input signal and then reamp the original dry signal later on in the process. With this limited understanding, I thought I would pick up a simple direct input interface and some software to record that, and hire someone to help me with the effects/mixing/arranging/drum tracking etc.

    To that end, if this approach is advisable for a first foray into in-home recording, what is a good direct input interface (preferably usb-c or usb 3.0).

    If this is approach is inadvisable, please let me know what approach can help me get started. I don't have space for real amps, mics, and the volume needed to record, so digital recording is preferable.

    My goals:
    1. Practice and record sections for guitar and bass independently with little or no external support needed
    1.A. must be digital, something I can do from my desk with my laptop
    2. Take what I'm able to record on my own and work directly with someone more experienced to refine what I have
    3. Learn from this experience to engineer things on my own in the future (repeat if necessary)

    What I think I need:
    1. A direct input interface for Windows 10 (usb-c/usb 3.0)
    2. Recording software
    3. Software amplifier modelling (to hear something while recording) while recording the dry signal to be reamped later
    4. Some kind of drum software? (or a drummer)

    I want to learn, so any advice, links to articles, or suggestions are welcome, whatever you can think of.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2019
  2. littlebadboy

    littlebadboy SS.org Regular

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    What guitar gear do you have now?
     
  3. nanthil

    nanthil SS.org Regular

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    For the purpose of my question, you can consider me as starting from square one. The important point is help me get started with something I can manage without being overwhelmed, while also leaving me in a position to get help on the rest.

    If the things I start with also scale well as I become more experienced that's preferable.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    But for completeness, right now I have a Strat, an esp EC something or other, and I'm going through a line-6 toneport ux2 that I've had for years and it isn't working for raw direct input. The (old) toneport sounds very processed without much body, and there's a lot of static when I try to use other plugins, or record with it.

    I want to say I had a license for protools years ago when I was in school, but I don't have the foggiest notion where I would dig that up. I have a few amps, and pedals which I'm not married to. I've been playing through the toneport almost exclusively for a while due to living circumstances.

    So I'm open to suggestions on method, hardware, software, whatever, so long as I can do a bulk of the playing/recording on my own, and work with someone to finish and polish what I'm doing.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2019
  4. KingAenarion

    KingAenarion Resident Studio Nerd

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    At the moment I'm recommending for home artists Presonus' Studio One. Free Demo on their website. It's just super easy to use and super stable at the moment, with features up the wazoo. They also these days have really good interfaces with USB-C, so you can buy one, it comes with the artist version of the DAW and you can upgrade.

    For Software Amp modelling, my best suggestion is to buy a Helix and get Helix native, so you have the best of both worlds, but being realistic, the Neural DSP and Mercurial stuff is top notch. But there are dozens of options and still some great free ones on the market. Getgood drums are really amazing value, but Superior/EZ Drummer are still dope, and to start you off there is also a free version of Steven Slate Drums.

    Just some food for thought to get you started.
     
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  5. littlebadboy

    littlebadboy SS.org Regular

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    Thanks for the info nanthil.

    I have a budget but decent home studio (I'm poor) and here's what I have:

    An old Acer Laptop which used to be my late Dad's. I just upgraded the processor to i5 and maxed out the RAM.

    DAW:
    When I was starting out around 9 years ago, I tried Magix Music Maker. For it's price at $69.99, it had a drums track maker, bass, synthesizers, guitar amp sims, midi and audio loops, and a lot more. I meant to switch over to the popular Reaper, which is really good with a very generous trial version, but Magix just have everything I need for free.

    Interface:
    I have been a multifx person eversince. Recently, I got to own a Boss GT-1 and a GT-100. They were both an interface too. So I just plugged them to the computer via usb and started to record! I now have a Headrush Gigboard which is also an interface. However, I also have a Behringer UMD204HD as a backup interface. It is affordable but works just the same.

    Studio Monitors:
    I used to just have a headphones for recording and used a good computer desktop speakers for playback and mixing. I later on upgraded to a Presonus. Pick the biggest you can afford.

    Screen monitor:
    I think it makes it convenient to have 2 screens. DAW on one screen and mixer or meters on the other. I just bought a good one at Goodwill for $5.

    Extras:
    I bought an affordable Alesis Q49 usb keyboard for putting in synths or arranging drum lines. Not necessary, but I used to be a keyboardist so I just wanted one.

    All of the above just works fine. Everything on my YouTube channel (in my sig) were made on this set up.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. shnizzle

    shnizzle johnny

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    i´m just gonna throw in one small info for the OP - usb c or usb 3 interfaces don´t have any benefits over usb 2 interfaces. these ports are not about speed directly, but rather about bandwidth and how much data they can transfer at a time. and usb 2 has plenty of bandwidth to transfer audio data. so usb c doesn´t provide lower latencies. latency is determined by the drivers of the interface and your cpu power. the better those are, the lower you can go with the buffer size, the lower the latency. and nowadays almost any interface and mid range cpu will do the trick for simple guitar recording projects.
     
  7. nanthil

    nanthil SS.org Regular

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    Thanks for the suggestions. Do you have any examples of what you've been able to do using this setup? Have you ruanyn into any limitations with your rig? What growing pains have you experienced with it?

    Anyone else have experience with parts of his rig, or any gotcha's and limitations I might bump into with taking this sort of path?
     
  8. littlebadboy

    littlebadboy SS.org Regular

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  9. littlebadboy

    littlebadboy SS.org Regular

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    The older versions of the DAW I used crashed once in a while. But, later ones worked out fine for me.

    The only limitation I could think of right now is... not being able to reamp. I'm not sure if it can though as I'm not a fan of it.

    Sample work?

    Hmmm, this was last year when I still had the Boss GT-1.

    In the season's spirit, this was one is a Christmas song!

     
  10. ikarus

    ikarus SS.org Regular

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    1) Focusrite Scarlett interface
    2) Reaper
    3) Neural DSP Archetyp
    4) GGD modern & massive
     
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  11. fcv

    fcv SS.org Regular

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    2. reaper
    3. You can always run the passthrough on your DI box or interface into whatever you normally play into if the goal is simply to hear something while you play. Should have no effectively no extra latency and won't require any extra software for that. Ignite amps and lepou have some free amp sim plugins that are generally well liked, and since it sounds like you plan on reamping anyway, not much sense buying expensive ones just for sound previewing purposes if they're not going to be used in the final tracks. Vadim Taranov amp sims are really cheap too and have free preview versions available that are usable but some knobs disabled.
    With the amp sim you'll also need an ir loader. nad ir is free, and likely sufficient. Wall of sound or mixir3 if are both affordable if you want more features.
    4. steven slate drums has a free version if you just want to get started and figure out what you might like better later.

    "Hop Pole Studios" has a pretty nice set of videos to give you a crash course in using reaper. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOXcoJa5jjNUkuAx8ACDDOINyXf7jtocS
     
  12. Boofchuck

    Boofchuck SS.org Irregular

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    As someone who started recording/song writing from scratch last year;
    I suggest getting the Scarlett 2i2 interface. They are simple to use AND they come with software downloads. Including a few DAWS. You will need an interface regardless and the Scarlett interfaces come with enough free software that you can begin to learn with very little risk.
    Once you have an interface, try the free amp sims from Ignite Amps and Lepou. Or download the Neural DSP free trials.
    For drums I've been using EZdrummer, which also has a free demo.
    Have fun! I hope this helps.
     
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  13. nanthil

    nanthil SS.org Regular

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    Thanks everyone for all the great advice so far! I have had success working with Reaper and Neural DSP. It's so easy to work with I'm floored. I think I will pick up a focusright, since I see that used pretty widely, and doesn't cost an arm and a leg. And now that I'm getting the hang of what sorts of things I'm going to be doing, will probably pick up a midi keyboard.

    It sounds like the main thing I really need is Monitors. Can someone explain to me Monitors vs studio Headphones? Why are Monitors so important? Almost everything I've read, watched, and gotten recommendations from elsewhere are good monitors.
     
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  14. hurley78

    hurley78 SS.org Regular

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    I agree with Ikarus:

    1) Focusrite Scarlett interface
    2) Reaper
    3) Neural DSP Archetype, I like Helix Native as well
    4) GGD modern & massive

    As far as studio monitors go there are a ton of options. A good set of monitors will give you a nice flat response and give you a true representation of how your mix sounds. My suggestion is to use both a set of headphones and monitors but if price is a concern then start with headphones a usable set will run you $300+ as well as the cost of balanced cables.
     
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  15. Kobalt

    Kobalt SS.org Regular

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    As for a DAW, I'd rather recommend Cakewalk by Bandlab over Reaper, as it is ACTUALLY free and I find it's MUCH more intuitive and less convoluted than Reaper.

    It's basically the old and once popular Cakewalk Sonar with a few things taken out and now offered absolutely free.
     
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