This is gonna be kinda long, and I'm sorry, but I need some serious help. And I'm not looking for an answer to EVERYTHING, but if you can answer part of my questions, I'd appreciate it. I'm looking to find the flaws in my recording process and possible ways to upgrade my setup. Currently my setup is something like this:
I'm using Cool Edit Pro as software on a new PC Laptop that keeps up with me so far. Connected through the mic-input of the computer, I have an RCA to 1/8th inch cable, but it only comes in mono, which is suitable I suppose. I'd rather have stereo, so that's one thing to consider. On the other end of the RCA's, they are connected to the "tape output" jacks of my Mackie CFX-12 mixer. 12 channels, 8 XLR's, all that jazz, and I use that with my 6 drum mics to record drums, and of course I use the same mics for guitar, bass, and vocals, because they're suitable. I'm not worried about the mics though. I am worried about the software, hardware, and my methods.
Using this setup, I record each track separately. Drums, then guitar, then bass, then vocals, etc. Here's the latest song we've mixed down:
Article 15 - Thousand Yard Stare
That's the quality I'm at now. I want it better. My questions are as follows:
Am I losing substantial quality by going from RCA's to my mic-input on my computer? I have no idea how many bits that is, or what it could be, or any of that. Should I be doing this digitally (even though the mixer is analog) through a PCI slot or USB port? Will it make a big difference?
Should I use the same mixer, and then XLR-output the mixer to something like the M-Box or a similar Pro Tools type mechanism (and from that to my comp)? Or should I ditch the mixer and get something completely digital? Or just go STRAIGHT to a Pro Tools piece of equipment that will take all 6 (or more in the future) of my drum mics at once? I'm pretty sure what I'm doing now is the best method for recording drums. But I'm trying to sound better here!
If I DO stick with the mixer for drums, and get something like the M-box, will it make an extreme difference in the sound of the guitar, the sound of the bass drum, the fullness of the bass guitar? Or is that just my mic-ing? I might have problems setting up my bass mic on these applications, but I can never seem to get the same OOMPH that professionally-done CD's have...although I'm sure many of them are triggering their kick.
And if any of you are drummers out there that know how to make a bass drum sound immaculate in a recording, I would LOVE to know the general placement of it, but more importantly what frequencies to focus on and what effects to use. I can't isolate it enough to get the hit without some crazy ringing that makes it sound like a marching band is rolling by.
Also, could Cool Edit Pro be the thing that's holding me back? Because it doesn't seem like the best software out there, and is pretty easily accessible on Limewire and Kazaa. Maybe just mixing down the same tracks with better software will make it sound more crisp and stop cutting out some of the mix? The more tracks I add to Cool Edit Pro, the more upset it gets and seems to cut certain frequencies out of tracks that aren't as high in decibal at that point. So sometimes you'll hear the cymbals clear as a bell, but when a distorted guitar is thrown in, the drums sound like they were recorded with a 10 dollar microphone from a cheap karaoke machine. Y'know?
Ok, I'm done asking questions for now. Thank you VERY much for trying to help me, and for those that knew what I was talking about and had the knowledge, I respect you dearly. Thanks again.