Audio recording


#1

hi guys, forgive me if this topic has been covered, i’m a complete technophobe, and i’m looking for a way that i can record myself playing my guitar and singing, so as to practice my banjo backup, and breaks etc. i have looked at online suites etc but i don’t really understand them!. i’m not interested in mixing or dubbing etc etc, just looking for a straight ahead good quality audio recorder that i can plug into a pair of small speakers. i have tried my laptop but the onboard mic is’nt good enough!, i’ve set up my sure mic, but still no luck. is there a good portable device on the market?.

kind regards Brumski


#2

Some of us use the AT 2020 or the Blue Yeti Pro to record with. Basically they are external USB mics that give “decent to good” sound. Both will cost you around $100-$175 each.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16882436012&nm_mc=KNC-GoogleAdwords&cm_mmc=KNC-GoogleAdwords--pla--Microphones-_-N82E16882436012&gclid=CJ-fxYvqm7kCFQto7AodK3MAXw

I use “Audacity” to record with, it’s a free online software editing program.

If you wanted to play say a rhythm track and record a banjo break then you are gonna need to get a decent set of headphones. I use either the Sony Playstation 3 wireless headphones or a set of Turtle Beach headphones. Both of these are wireless USB headphones. For an external speakers for my laptop I use a $100 set of Bose speakers. These put out about the same type of sound quality as either set of headphones I use, so I get a consistent sound.

The Headphones and At2020 (and 2010 I think) can be purchased at Best Buy…so can the Bose speakers. So if you have around $350-$400 to spend head to Best Buy and grab some stuff. These products should be “good enough” for all your recording needs. If you want “studio” style quality then you’d need to go a different route, but the USB products I mentioned are perfect for your “medium level” recordings.


#3

If you’ve got a Shure mic, it’s probably plenty good to do what you want. You may just need an audio interface for your computer. What model mic do you have?


#4

thanks for the info gents, oldhat, i looked at audacity, it seems a bit “involved” i just don’t understand the jargon! so, do you think that buying one of the suggested mics and downloading an online audio recorder, would allow me to sit in front of my laptop with the the mic and record myself (vocals and guitar) playing and singing on one “track” and then play it back and play banjo back up to the recordings?.idpayton, my shure mic is sm58 it’s a vocal mic i think, and you have to get up close and personal with it i can sing into it but it won’t pick up the guitar, or visa versa. i hope i’m not sounding too dumb!!! Brumski


#5

An SM58 is a great mic. True, it is generally thought of as a vocal mic, but for your purposes, it would be fine for the instrument use as well. It is a dynamic mic, and I have used similar ones for recording instruments and they sound just fine. Like Larry said, all you would need is an interface and you could use it with your computer. My audio interface is a focusrite model that is no longer made, but there are a bunch of different ones available. They start about $50 and go up from there. Mine was about $200, and the only reason I got a more expensive model was due to the good reputation of the preamps (I am a bit of a sound geek). If you have a guitar center or similar nearby, they usually stock lots of audio interfaces. Like Oldhat said, you can also go with a USB mic. I have seen XLR to USB converter cables, but I have no idea if they are worth pursuing. They might well be more difficult to use. Any of the audio software packages would allow you to do what you are looking for. With all the Audacity users here, that might be the best way to go in case of questions.
The biggest hurdle is getting started, but once you get over that, recording on the computer is very easy. I think you’ll find it to be time and money well spent.


#6

— Begin quote from "brumski"

thanks for the info gents, oldhat, i looked at audacity, it seems a bit “involved” i just don’t understand the jargon! so, do you think that buying one of the suggested mics and downloading an online audio recorder, would allow me to sit in front of my laptop with the the mic and record myself (vocals and guitar) playing and singing on one “track” and then play it back and play banjo back up to the recordings?

— End quote

Yep one of those USB mics will do the trick. However, you may not be happy with recording two instruments or say vocals and an instrument together as most of us that play around think it’s like" Real Estate"…location, location, location. I know my guitar sounds best with the mic at a certain location, and that same location does not give me the best vocals. But I’d go with the BLue Yeti Pro because it has abotu 5 or 6 different settings you can select for what you are going to use it for…it can be things for like “solo voice”, multiple voices, musical instrument, etc…and the AT 2020 just has 1 setting…“ON”.

Audacity is pretty simple, hook up your mic to your pc, open audacity, click “record”, and you are off to the races.

Once you get you something worked out then you’ll have to join us at the bottom of the forums in the “netgrass” section and throw up some parts. We are always looking for new folks to toss in stuff! It’s typically Myself, Mike, Larry, and Ozi so we need some new blood!

If you are interested in how recording all comes together, then you should venture over to Kompoz and see how tracks work.
A lot of it is “jargon”, it’s really not that bad and I can offer up advise on recording, but I think Mike and Larry possess a lot more knowledge and are pretty much smarter than I am! :bulb:

Oldhat


#7

We might be in trouble. I thought Oldhat was the smart one. I guess we still have Larry to be the brains of the operation.


#8

all of a sudden this sounds a whole lotta fun!! i just googled “audio interface” and now i know what one is (do i need audacity with the interface)? so thanks for your input chaps, gonna sort me out a new mic (i’ll try my shure first) an audio interface a pair of good cans, a how to use an audio interface, book!!!. so as i now see it: track one play my guitar and record it,track two, with the cans on, listening to the guitar, record the vocal (are they automaticaly “mixed” vocals/guitar, or do you mix them a a later date?). play them back over and over whilst trying to be a better banjo player than jens kruger (might take a while) thanks for the offer of help!, regarding questions “i’ll be back” (a much used expression in the usa, i believe lol) many thanks Brumski


#9

You’ll still need some kind of recording software even with a new audio interface or USB microphone, but depending on what interface or mic you buy, it may come bundled with recording software.

With either an interface or USB mic, the most important thing you will get is a preamp so you don’t have to get so close to your mic to get a decent recording level. A USB microphone is really easy because all you have to do is plug into a USB port on your computer and you’re ready to go. The mic is powered through the port.

The audio interface is a little more complicated, but ultimately more versatile. In addition to the preamp built into the box, you’ll get various input/output connections (like a balanced XLR input for your SM58). As the units get more expensive, more functionality is added (like multiple input channels, individual gain and EQ, etc), and they become more like a mixer.


— Begin quote from ____

I guess we still have Larry to be the brains of the operation.

— End quote

I’ve never been the brains of the operation before. Seems like a lot of pressure.


#10

— Begin quote from "brumski"

so as i now see it: track one play my guitar and record it,track two, with the cans on, listening to the guitar, record the vocal (are they automaticaly “mixed” vocals/guitar, or do you mix them a a later date?)

— End quote

You have it correct on the order of recording. You record one track, then record another listening through the headphones. As far as the question about them being automatically mixed, the answer is that it is not automatically mixed. As soon you record your first two tracks and play them back, you will be able to hear both tracks. It might be that the guitar track is too loud and you can’t hear the vocals well or vice versa. Setting those levels so they sound right to your ear is the most basic part of what mixing is. It’s about as complicated as using a dimmer switch on a light. If you want more guitar, turn up the volume on the guitar track. If you want less guitar, turn down the volume on the guitar track (or turn up the volume on the other tracks). If you do no more mixing than that, you can have a perfectly usable practice track. The next fundamental part of mixing would be panning. You can control how much of each track goes to the right or left speaker. So with your headphones on, you can “move” each track so it sounds like it is coming from the left or right. This is the equivalent of moving a light around the room. Those are the two most essential parts of mixing… 1)setting volume levels and 2) panning. So in answer to the question about how and when mixing occurs, it kind of occurs whenever you want it to occur. You can mix after you add each track, or you can record multiple tracks and then mix them.


#11

See Mike’s post above and you will realize that he is the smart one…I typically break things when I move them around the room and my dimmer switch must be broken as when I try to make it “half dark” it automatically flips to dark or light…is hard trying to get that thing to stay in the middle position as it just flicks itself to either on or off! Duct tape?


#12

yep i think mike (or should it be mic :stuck_out_tongue: ) is the smart one, great analogy!!! but your all smarter than me!!. so, audio recording is a BIG topic, and i need to take my time to learn “how to” in easy stages. my first move, i have just ordered the blue yeti usb mic from amazon (£78.00 and 177 reviews!! phew) it’s a real bargain, i did’nt go for the “pro” as it’s more than twice the price, as i learn to use this mic with audacity, i will save more pennies, and decide which interface to go for, does this sound like a plan? thanks for the input guys

Brumski

ps i could’nt seem to find “best buy” here in the uk


#13

If I am king of the smarts just because I can turn on a light switch, we’re all in bad shape :astonished:

Excellent on getting that Yeti! I don’t know how to convert pounds to dollars, but it sure sounds like a good deal. I don’t think you will regret getting the non-pro version. That’s all you will need (hardware wise) to get rolling. It may well be all you ever desire to get. Let us know how it goes when it arrives.


#14

As mentioned for a couple hundred bucks you can be well on your way to making pretty good recordings.

Recordings are pretty cool as you get to hear what you sound like and can make the necessary adjustments. In the past you have been sitting “behind the sound waves” with them being projected out in front of you vs hearing yourself coming back at you, so you will make some adjustments!

I think that any time one ever tries to become a “decent” musician that they should learn a little bit about recording and music theory in vs just sitting around and banging something out on an instrument…taking all things into consideration will make one a much better musician.

I know I personally get a kick out of the stuff we have done as “netgrass”…it still amazes me that we don’t even have to meet up, can record our unique parts and then mix it all together and have a tune that sounds pretty darn good! You will now be able to do this Brumski and it’s pretty cool listening to others parts and their “take” on something.

Welcome aboard to the “recording” part of music, I am sure you will enjoy it + it’s relatively simple in this day and age.


#15

— Begin quote from ____

See Mike’s post above and you will realize that he is the smart one…

— End quote

Dang! I only got to be the brains of the operation for one night.


brumski, with your new mic you should be able to easily record both your vocals and guitar on a single track for practicing purposes, too. I make throw-away single track recordings as part of my practice just about every day.


#16

Well, if it’s any consolation you’ve still got me beat Larry…I’m still using my DR-50 eight track for everything and jsut dumping the finished product onto my computer.


#17

Seems like your set-up works just fine, fiddlewood. Good to have you back on the forum.


#18

If you are looking for a professional audio recording program, here I recommend you a tool Audio Recorder for Windows, it can help you capture any audio playing on your computer such as Tidal, Google Play, YouTube songs to MP3, WAV, AAC, with preserve the original audio quality. Then you can playback them freely.