Recording


daveasdf
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daveasdf
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11/27/2003 5:37 am
So I've got a decent soundcard and lots of RAM. I want to make a little demo. I did it before some 6 years ago using Cakewalk and the cheesyist drum program ever. I was wondering what the opinions are for recording something with just an amp (line-in, I have no decent mics) and a soundcard (audigy something exterior, what a gimmick). I can't say I appreciate MIDI only because I don't understand it and I think perhaps anybody can make it sound good with little effort. What I'm looking for is a decent recording program. .. The best recording program in your esteemed opinion.
# 1
Kevin Taylor
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Kevin Taylor
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11/27/2003 6:23 am
Hard to say cause you usually end up sticking with the one you originally started with. I've got Cubase & spent the better part of 2 months learning how to use it properly & then probably another year to feel comfortable enough to make a recording that didn't sound 'homemade'.
Everybody else I know uses ProTools & it's a royal pain not being able to swap files and stuff, but there's no way I'm gonna re-learn it now. If I was starting out right now though, I would probably go with ProTools cause it's the standard in most studios.
I don't think I agree with ya about midi though. A well done midi file is hard work, especially if it's meant to be played back on different types of software. If you want to program drums using samples from your HD, it's pretty much essential too. I usually end up spending over a week on just the drum tracks, then have to go back after the song's finished to tweak em again. Just finding the right cymbals can take all day when there's a hundred .wav files to choose from.
There's other stuff to consider too like whether you're going to want to use VST instruments etc...
Some of the newest software isn't backwards compatible with earlier plug-ins...one of the major reasons why I haven't upgraded past Cubase 5.1 is it renders all my older VST instruments useless.
You also have to be careful about mistaking RAM for CPU power. I've got plenty of RAM which means that in theory, I can get about 5 plug-ins going at once...but the CPU on my G3 Mac is too slow to keep up, so the sound constantly cuts out unless you print the effects to tape. Anyways...blah blah... it's probably gonna take ya like a year for you to figure out what the heck I'm talking about :)

# 2
Azrael
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Azrael
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11/27/2003 6:33 am
IMHO the most versatile proggy is Emagic´s Logic Audio Platinum. it takes a while to learn, but sound- and featurewise its high end. compared to pro-tools its much cheaper and AFAIK Protools uses (needs?) special hardware too to work propperly. logic does not need that. its much more versatile than any cubase or cakewalk version i have seen. its very widely used in studios though it is not as widely known as protools. for further info: http://www.emagic.de - alot of absolutely high end effects have been designed especially for logic. the only problem is, that the later versions (6.0 and upwards) are only available for MAC anymore since the majority of high-end HD-recording takes place there. the new space-designer plugin for examle : " The testers were especially impressed by the revolutionary reverb sound and its unique editing possibilities. Last but not least they pointed out that 'Space Designer isn't just a fantastic reverb unit; the creative possibilities are awesome'. The conclusion: 10 out of 10 points for Space Designer." it can simulate virtually EVERY reverb unit that has ever been built harware and software-wise. and thats only ONE of a tonn of plugins for Logic. so if you ask me, go for it!

[FONT=Times New Roman]Holiness is in right action and courage on behalf of those who cannot defend themselves. What you decide to do every day makes you a good person... or not.[/FONT][br][br]

# 3
Dr_simon
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Dr_simon
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11/27/2003 11:16 am
Just to add yet another perspective ...

I'm using Sonar (3 producers pack) with Waves gold (plug-ins) and Wave lab. Not cheap but a very user friendly interface. This system is better than pro tools in several respects and one of my favorite selling points it the way it uses system resources i.e. it digs into to processing power. I'm running a (400 MB FSB) 2.4 GHz PC with 512 MB RAM..so far no problems. Incidental Sonar 3 is a lot more processor hungry than Sonar 2.2XL which is another brilliant program.

Pro tools is the industry standard however the setup I have easily keeps up and as we all know from VHS/beta max story it is not always the best one that becomes the industry standard !

All of these programs have a learning curve and the more you use them the better you'll get so don't be shy, get in there and start recording !
My instructors page and www.studiotrax.net for all things recording.
my toons Brought to you by Dr BadGAS
# 4
daveasdf
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daveasdf
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11/27/2003 2:21 pm
Thanks for the info. Odd that I've heard of all the programs fore-mentioned with the exception of ProTools. I'll have to look it up. I'm going to go with Emagic for no particular reason. With respect to MIDI, you're right. I have no clue except I need it for the drum track. Is there a program available that produces realistic drum patterns? I think it wise to lay down the drums first so I'll have to figure it out before I get to anything else. (No worries about CPU power here either).
# 5
Azrael
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Azrael
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11/27/2003 2:31 pm
if you go for emagic, then be sure to get a manual from somewhere - else you´ll be having a difficult start. but once u got used to it, it is absolutely brilliant. the latest versoin for PC is 5.5 which IMHO is absolutely sufficiant for 99.99% of all recording situations. there is a B3-Hammond simulation, several high-end synths and samplers and effects included. you goin to buy it or you goin to get it.. er... elsewhere?

[FONT=Times New Roman]Holiness is in right action and courage on behalf of those who cannot defend themselves. What you decide to do every day makes you a good person... or not.[/FONT][br][br]

# 6
daveasdf
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daveasdf
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11/27/2003 2:40 pm
I'm going to get it elsewhere. (What's IHMO?) 5.5, thanks. Should help with the search. The only drum program I know of is called fruityloops and it's worthless. You folks are probably set up with MIDI drum sequencers or how ever the terminology goes or a MIDI keyboard that does drum loops right?
# 7
Azrael
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Azrael
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11/27/2003 3:53 pm
IMHO means "in my humble opinnion"

however

i personally have alot of AKAI-sample CD´s from various companies like LILO and such, providing a vast amount of all kinds of samples which can be used with the built in EXS24 Sampler in logic. other than that i got a Roland XV2020 Soundmodule.

[FONT=Times New Roman]Holiness is in right action and courage on behalf of those who cannot defend themselves. What you decide to do every day makes you a good person... or not.[/FONT][br][br]

# 8
daveasdf
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daveasdf
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11/27/2003 5:12 pm
I'm going to do some research to translate that to english.
# 9
Azrael
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Azrael
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11/27/2003 5:27 pm
what exactly did you not understand?

[FONT=Times New Roman]Holiness is in right action and courage on behalf of those who cannot defend themselves. What you decide to do every day makes you a good person... or not.[/FONT][br][br]

# 10
daveasdf
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daveasdf
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11/27/2003 5:36 pm
I guess I'm not too clear what a sample is. A sampler relates to a sample. Is a sample a particular sound (like an effect) or an instrument (like middle tom or rim shot)? And then does the Sampler put these instrument sounds in a particular order (sequence?)
# 11
Kevin Taylor
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Kevin Taylor
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11/27/2003 6:11 pm
Think of it this way. A sample is a recording of just about anything you want. You save it on your hard drive as either an MP3, .aiff or .wav file. Usually the sample will be of something fairly short like a snare hit, but you also get longer ones like cymbal crashes that last as long as 15 seconds. On my hard drive for instance I've got groups of samples for about 20 different drum 'kits'. Everything from a cheap sounding garage band sound, to a compressed studio kit, to a huge stadium sound. There's also about 10GB of other samples I've got that are anything from blib sounds, to shakers, tweaks, synth stabs, orchestra hits... anything you want basically.
When I program the drums, first I have to figure out what sounds I need. So I'll usually scan through several of the 'kit' presets to find a drum sound that fits the song I'm working on. Next on the list is to put those sounds into your 'virtual drum machine'. I used to use the Cubase drum machine called LM-4 but found it limiting in that I could only have the drum machine playing about 14 different sounds per kit. I've recently changed to a drum machine called 'Battery' which is laid out almost like a spreadsheet.
There's enough places to put about 64 sounds in one drum 'kit'. Basically, I just go onto my hard drive and either import a premade 'kit' by choosing one ie, jazz kit.
The empty 'spreadsheet' spaces on the drum machine that were previously empty now automatically fill up to put a different sound into each space. A-1 would be the snare. A-2 the kick.
A-3 Cymbal. all the way up to H-9 or whatever.
You can then go back to your hard drive and still pick out individual sounds that you can just drag and drop onto the drum machine. ie, you find a .wav file of a guy farting and want that in your song...just select the file and drag it over onto one of the empty spaces in the drum machine.
Now whenever you click that space ya hear a fart.

Next up is to program the drums. You can either do it from scratch yourself or use premade patterns that have already been done for you in MIDI format.
You assign each one of those spaces on the drum machine to a note on your keyboard (or guitar synth), set your sequencer running and basically play drums on your synth by triggering each one of the sounds. You basically keep working on it until you come up with a complete song.

Another way of doing drums is to use loops. Which is basically a real drummer in a studio who's recorded 10 seconds or whatever of his drum playing.... and when you put it in the right program, it just loops the same thing endlessly. You can usually find several loops in the same style so that you can add fills, extra cymbal crashes and beginnings and endings to your song.

There's drawbacks to both ways though. MIDI drums, even using samples, tend to sound boring and most people can tell they're fake. Samples...same kinda thing. It's the same all the way through the song and any half-assed musician can tell when they hear the same roll 3 times.
I've usually found that the only way to even get close to a 'real' drummer is to combine samples, MIDI drums and playing a real kit yourself, then combining all of them to make up one full pallette of drums. We're talking about 20 tracks just for the drums alone... then you have to mix them down to stereo etc...
That's why it takes a week or more sometimes.

Try this song for an example.

http://www.schmange.com/NeonLies.mp3

The beginning up to where the vocals starts is a drum loop I got off a royalty free CD of drum loops. I've also added in a few little rolls and hits of my own on a real kit.
Where the vocal starts, it changes over to a midi kit, mixed in again with some real drums. Then it changes back to a loop and so forth. All the time, you're trying to come up with something interesting so people don't get bored.
Like I said, we're talking 20 or more tracks and about 8 days work. Then several more weeks of tweaking to get rid of little things that bug you.

Of course, once you've done all that work and you think it sounds amazing on your own equipment...you end up bouncing everything down to stereo on a cruddy MP3 for other people to listen to and it sounds like crap...but that's another story.

wow.. long post.

# 12
daveasdf
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daveasdf
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11/27/2003 6:33 pm
Hey, thanks for taking the time. I have no midi instruments so I'm stuck with using loops I figure. Cakewalk had loops come to think of it, and a window where you could put them in whatever sequence you wanted. That's probably something like what I'll do seeing as I don't want to spend too much time at it. Next on the list is finding loops and a program to put them in sequence. I'll have a look in Logic Audio to see if there's something like that in there. If not I'll try to find a program that exports .wav so I can make a drum track independent of Logic and just plug it in.

... Are programs like Little Drummer Boy, Hammerhead, or Fruityloops worth my time?

[Edited by daveasdf on 11-27-2003 at 01:15 PM]
# 13
Azrael
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Azrael
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11/27/2003 8:40 pm
cool post schmange.

but to aviod a wrong impression - a sample can ba anything - not only drums. there are literally millions of samples out there covering every instrument imaginable from low quality to super-high-end samples. vienna symphonic library for example just released a set of orchestra samples of a supperior quality. the box costs over 3000 bucks. but its worth every cent. http://www.vsl.co.at check it out - there are alot of demos to listen to ther - everything you hear has been midiprogrammed. no real musician has been directly involved.

[FONT=Times New Roman]Holiness is in right action and courage on behalf of those who cannot defend themselves. What you decide to do every day makes you a good person... or not.[/FONT][br][br]

# 14
Kevin Taylor
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Kevin Taylor
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11/27/2003 8:53 pm
yup...like I said. If want the sound of a guy farting in your song, grab a mic and record it next time you feel the urge.
Assign it to a midi note & everytime you play that note 'braaap'. If ya have a guitar synth, you can assign sounds to specific notes & trigger them when ya want.. like embarrassing the hell out of your roadie when he bends down in front of your amp...
I've always wanted to try building up a 60 track song of just rude noises...but process em so that they sound like real instruments.
It'd be real satisfying to have that play on top 40 radio. :p
Teen girls screaming "We love your song!!"
"Thanks! It's farts!!"
# 15
daveasdf
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daveasdf
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11/29/2003 3:22 pm
I've changed my mind about getting into home recording at this time. Rather concentrate on my guitar than learn another specialized art.
# 16
daveasdf
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daveasdf
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12/14/2003 4:31 pm
I've changed my mind again. Under the advice of PRSplaya I've started making use of Acid pro 4 because it's relatively straight forward and doesn't deal primarily with midi. I've gone and discovered some short .wav files of drums beats, fills and such. I understand the concept of looping but what in the sam hell do I use to loop them? And - are they confined to the tempo they were recorded in? That'd really blow, to find the exactly loop to fit the tune and then have it in the wrong tempo. I'm right clueless in this department.

... Is there something in Acid that'll piece those .wav files together and (after some help file reading) stretch them to the correct tempo or do I have to make use of an exterior program?
# 17
daveasdf
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daveasdf
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12/14/2003 4:37 pm
I went for help without even looking into the subject. I've solved the loop dilema but not the stretch one. I'll probably solve that in the next 30 seconds too.
# 18
daveasdf
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daveasdf
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12/14/2003 4:43 pm
man, you just input a new time change and it changes the speed of the .wav file. no clue how that happens but is it ever nifty. i'm on my way.
# 19
Azrael
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Azrael
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12/14/2003 5:22 pm
acid is fun, but not nearly as professional as cubase or logic or protools - however - depends on where you want to go.

[FONT=Times New Roman]Holiness is in right action and courage on behalf of those who cannot defend themselves. What you decide to do every day makes you a good person... or not.[/FONT][br][br]

# 20

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