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Recording Help needed and advice in a Recording setup

swampster247

New Member
Messages
3
Hi all,

I need some advice on setting up a small home studio to record my progress? I have been informed that i cannot use an amp with a mic passing though it as the frequencies from a horn/vocals are to high, so i must use a PA system. I must admit i have no technical experience in this field. But i would like some advice on how to set this up. i am aiming to have backing music played into mixer/pa from my ipod with a microphone input so i can record the two tracks together, and be able to listen through headphones during practise sessions but also somehow be able to place onto a hard drive, and playback through headphones or speakers. Any help in this matter would be fantastic, without being to technical would be fantastic. Cheers in advance.
 

stefank

Member
Messages
366
I don't understand why you need a PA, unless you really want to annoy the neighbours!

Perhaps the cheapest and simplest solution would be to install a multitrack recording program on your computer (Audacity is free), and record or import your backing tracks into it. You can then overdub your own tracks while monitoring the backing ones, preferably through headphones. You can then mix to taste.
 

Sweet Dreamer

Senior Member
Messages
505
Like Stefank suggested, I use Audacity. I'm currently using a C-1 Behringer studio condenser microphone. No amp. But I do go into a Behringer mixer which does have a preamp for the mic. The mixer also supplies the +48 phantom power for the mic.

I either import a backing track into Audacity like Stefank mentioned, or I sometimes actually play and record other instruments first to use as a backing track. You can listen to the backing track as well as your current input in the headphones when you record.

So far I haven't had any problems with frequency cut-offs. But then I'm deaf to really high-frequency stuff anyway. If you're just looking to record your own progress studio condenser mic should be more than sufficient. I think I paid about $50 for this C-1 mic, it's a really nice microphone. I use it for flute, violin, cello, acoustical nylon string guitar, vocals, and of course the sax. In fact, it seems to work pretty good for all these things.

Of course, if you get a C-1 Berhinger mic, you'll need a mixer too for the +48 volt phantom power to drive the mic. They have suitable mixers for near that same price.

I'm really pleased with this set up for most everything I do. You don't need to shove this mic right in front of the horn either. It picks up the sound really nice just off to the side and the volume remains pretty constant no matter where you aim the sax. Of course if you shove the horn right at the mic it will get louder, but there's really no need to do that. Just play a couple feet from the mix and it'll pick everything up just fine. You can completely ignore the fact that you're playing into a mic. It's not directionally sensitive like dynamic mics are.
 

swampster247

New Member
Messages
3
Cheers guys, just one last quetion with regards to your replies, how is the condener microphone powered if its running directly into a pc as i was under the the impression that it had to run through a amp of some kind hence the reason i mentioned the PA sysytem?
 

Clivey

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,023
You should try and pre-plan what you want to achieve so you can work out a budget. Some people will be prepared to spend £1000 or more on their setup, but realistically you can get away with a few hundred and that includes an OK mic.

I used to own a full studio in the bad old days. but now I only use my computers and a couple of pretty old pieces of software. I ditched all my outboard fx ,compressors and synths ages ago although I still use a Spirit desk.

For original midi and backing stuff I prefer "Reason".

After I`ve finished the track I import it into Cubase SX for multitracking . SX is still a very good program even after about 10 years. It enables the user to access the thousands of VST plugins for almost Zero cost and is easily capable of pro results.


Remember the Old recording and programming maxim

" Garbage In Garbage out" and you should do OK.

Re specialised Soundcards. You don`t need one but they are useful if you want to use virtual synth stuff in real time with no latency.:mrcool
 
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Sweet Dreamer

Senior Member
Messages
505
Cheers guys, just one last quetion with regards to your replies, how is the condener microphone powered if its running directly into a pc as i was under the the impression that it had to run through a amp of some kind hence the reason i mentioned the PA sysytem?
This is not necessarily a "recommendation". I'm just sharing what I bought.

The Behringer C-1 condenser Microphone:

51iTeKOo1OL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

I really love this mic. In fact, I'll probably buy a second one of these. It's really nice for vocals, and acoustical instruments. However, I'll tell you up front that my own hearing isn't real great in the higher frequencies. So if this mic is lacking in that range I'm totally unaware of it. It works great for everything I do.

Here is a link to Amazon, but you can get this from a lot of different music equipment stores.

http://www.amazon.com/Behringer-C-1...0RLK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1295138781&sr=8-1

The mic comes with a really nice padded case, but there is no cable. So you'll need a cable for it too.

Here's the type of cable you'll need:

http://www.amazon.com/GLS-Audio-Cab...QMD8/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1295139366&sr=8-2

41Z%2Bkt29f2L._SL500_AA300_.jpg


And then you need a mixer with preamp and the +48 v power supply for to drive the condenser mic

Here's the first one I bought. It's an 8-input mixer for only around 60 bucks. It has the phantom power to drive two of these condenser mics. It also has preamps for these as well. It can be used with regular dynamic mics too.

(Beware! They have a cheaper 5-input mixer, but it doesn't provide the phantom power for the condenser mics) So be sure if you get a mixer it provides the +48 volt phantom power for the mic. The 802 mixer shown below does supply this+48 volt power for two mics.

http://www.amazon.com/Behringer-802...XS3C/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1295138865&sr=8-3

51h%2BM11LQTL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

But then to connect this to your computer you'll need a USB converter:
(this went up in price considerably since I bought mine. I think I only paid $25 for mine)

http://www.amazon.com/Behringer-Aud...1?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1295139820&sr=1-1

31TMTBtP2UL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

So the above is what I bought. I'm not recommending this necessarily. I'm just saying that it worked for me and I'm happy with it.

In fact I was so pleased with everything that I bought a larger mixer.

The following 12-input mixer will power four condenser mics and comes with a built-in USB. (so you save on having to buy the USB converter above. ;}

http://www.amazon.com/Behringer-X12...PW60/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1295138865&sr=8-4

61-zMRyzsYL._AA300_.jpg

In other words, if you buy the 12-channel mixer, the cable, and mic, you're all set to go.

12-channels might sound like overkill, but it's actually only 6-channels. Because each channel is stereo and so they count each input individually. (same goes for the 8-channel mixer, it's actually 4 stereo channels). But typically you record in mono anyway. Unless you buy two mics! They you can put on on either side of you and get stereo. ;}

So anyway, that's what I got. And then I just use Audacity as the recording software. It's far from professional, but it serves my purpose.

I don't think I paid that much for my 12-input mixer though. I think that went up in price too.

I bought my stuff a couple years ago.

~~~~

Just for the record, once again. I'm not pushing this particular equipment. Plus I can't even compare it with other stuff out there because this is all I have ever used. I just know that when I shopped around at the time, this stuff met my budget requirements, and thus far I've been happy with it. I use both the 8-input and 12-input mixers now and often have them both filled to the hilt.

But that's partly because I bought a drum-mic set and so my drums take up 8 inputs right there!

Anyway. There may be far better ways for you to reach your specific goals. All I can say is that this stuff works for me and I absolutely LOVE this C-1 condenser mic. I'll never go back to a dynamic mic again. It's probably the cheapest condenser mic on the market, but it's NICE. At least I'm really happy with it.

Maybe after having read this post some other people might be able to offer other options.
 
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Sweet Dreamer

Senior Member
Messages
505
I forgot to mention also, you'll need a microphone stand of some sort. I bought a nice boom stand. But you could get by with just a little short desk top stand. You don't need to have this mic too close to you. It will pic up everything in the room. In fact, if you have a noisy environment that might not be good. For a noisy environment you might be better off with a dynamic mic that is mounted right on the bell of the sax. That's an option too, obviously. Then you wouldn't need the +48 volt phantom power. You could go with the cheaper mixer that way too.

I'm so in love with this condenser mic that I can't even imagine going back to a dynamic mic. :)
 

VirusKiller

Member
Messages
449
There are quite a few two-channel USB preamps out there with phantom power, for instance:

http://www.amazon.com/M-Audio-MobilePre-Mobile-Preamp-Interface/dp/B0000TP57E

Tascam do something similar. I picked up a Tascam US-144mkII when I was last in the States for audio calibration purposes - this model digitises at 24/96 which is useful if you're a bit of an audiophile (see my sig!). All I need to do now is to add a reasonable mic and a mic stand and I can record myself on my laptop :eek: .

Thanks for the pointer to the Behringer C-1.
 

johnboy

Senior Member
Messages
1,179
Why not just use backing tracks and a Zoom H2? You can then use the H2 to record yourself on any gigs.

John.
 

Two Voices

Senior Member
Messages
1,113
Just before Christmas I was looking to set-up up a cheap recording studio. I decided against a PA System as space is a little tight. So I decided to record straight to my PC.

I bought three items which cost a total of £152.98 including free shipping. Click on the Product to follow the link to the product:

Microphone to USB Recording Suite £29.99

This is a great as it allows you to connect a XLR Microphone to a computer via USB. The cable is 5 metres. It has a built-in analogue-to-digital conversion and can record 16-bit / 44.1kHz. It is also compatible with either a PC or a Mac.

The Suite comes with two software’s to get you started: Magix Audio Cleaning Lab SE and Magix Music Maker Lab SE which is a restoration and recording software.

NOTE: It does not provide Phantom Power to Condenser Microphones. So I chose a Dynamic Microphone that doesn’t require Phantom Power.

Shure SM58 HQ Professional Dynamic Microphone £99.00

This is a great Microphone for recording the Saxophone and it doesn’t require Phantom Power. :D It is supplied with break-resistant stand adaptor which rotates 180 degrees and a case.

Microphone Stand with Boom (Black) £24.99

It’s working a treat!
 

Chris98

Senior Member
Messages
1,093
It might just be me, but I'm confused by the mention of a PA (assuming that's the abbreviation for Public Address) in a thread about recording. In my mind they are generally two very different things. If on the other hand we are talking about a PA as in a Personal Assistant, then great! It's always nice to have someone else to hit record or point the microphone for you.

Some old threads that might be of some help:

http://cafesaxophone.com/showthread.php?402-Recording-with-Audacity&highlight=Recording
http://cafesaxophone.com/showthread...ng-at-home-(and-software)&highlight=Recording
http://cafesaxophone.com/showthread.php?2371-advice-on-recording-stuff-needed&highlight=Recording
http://cafesaxophone.com/showthread.php?548-Recording-with-a-Zoom-H2&highlight=Recording

I'm sure there are others, I didn't dig too deep.

Best wishes,

Chris
 

Two Voices

Senior Member
Messages
1,113
It might just be me, but I'm confused by the mention of a PA (assuming that's the abbreviation for Public Address) in a thread about recording. In my mind they are generally two very different things. If on the other hand we are talking about a PA as in a Personal Assistant, then great! It's always nice to have someone else to hit record or point the microphone for you.
PA System is Public Address and there has been some debate over the name is meantioned here in this Wikipedia article - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_address
 

Chris98

Senior Member
Messages
1,093
Just before Christmas I was looking to set-up up a cheap recording studio. I decided against a PA System as space is a little tight. So I decided to record straight to my PC.
PA System is Public Address and there has been some debate over the name is meantioned here in this Wikipedia article - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_address
Hi Paul,

"Sound reinforcement" seems to be the more common term used professionally now, but my point is, a PA / Sound reinforcement system is for amplifying the sound for the purpose of making it heard by the audience. Recording on the other hand is quite a different thing. That is why I was confused as to why, in your post above, you explain that for the reason of limited space you decided against going down the PA route for your recording studio.

Best wishes,

Chris
 

Two Voices

Senior Member
Messages
1,113
Hi Chris,

Valid point - I'm no sound engineer so I often get confused when it comes to audio. When filming I prefer a sound engineer to be around if at all possible - other than that its a shotgun and radio mic slapped to the cam on my duffus default setting and pray :)))
 

johnboy

Senior Member
Messages
1,179
Oh yes, she's right up to speed now!!!

Trouble is, the best band I play with, have thrown their toys out of the pram. The singers girl has gone off with the lead guitarist.
I turn up for a gig, no amps, bodies or explanations. Great!!!

Life in Spain is wonderful, think I'll s#d off to Australia.

John.

And yes the H2 is SUPERB!!
 
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elcheeposax

New Member
Messages
13
Hi there swampster,
Just wondering how you faired with your studio setup. Probably like many others out there who don't have big money to spend on all the latest tech stuff, I have managed to get along with a very simple setup. I use a decent desktop microphone placed about 3 feet away and check the input levels aren't too high. For home recording try Magix studio edition which is now a free download from cnet. Take your backing file in either Wav. or MP3 format you simply drag and drop onto the track, then record your stuff which comes up as a separate track. Magix allows you to reduce or increase the volume of either track, apply any of the preset effects you require, you can do whatever you want from there. Obviously all depends on the quality you want to reproduce. I have had some great results using this very cheap setup good enough for making a half decent CD of yourself. Have fun...
 
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