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Paul Seager


From:
Augsburg, Germany
Post  Posted 5 Dec 2022 1:53 pm    
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This began as some mild tech fun. My wife, never a computer fan, got fed up with her old laptop, a 2011 Samsung. The machine was taking 20+ minutes to start and ran like syrup in winter.

I traced the problem to the disc drive and decided to invest 50 Euro on a solid-state drive. I cloned and replaced the drive, upgraded Windows 7 to 10 and hey, it now takes max 1 minute to start. Despite this, my wife had lost interest so I got a new toy that is 2 years younger than my old Mac!

I've installed Audacity and set-up my Zoom H1N as an USB microphone. Works just fine. I may have to upgrade the RAM from 4 to 8 GB, the most this machine can work with but, as-is this set up works well for checking what I am practicing.

My practice amp, a Yamaha THR5, has an USB output, albeit one with a weak signal. That may be a better choice for recording an electric instrument and I could also use it for monitoring! Longer term, I may buy an USB interface but right now my 50€ investment is looking like a good one!
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Jack Stoner


From:
New Port Richey (Tampa) Florida
Post  Posted 5 Dec 2022 2:16 pm    
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Check "Cakewalk by Bandlab". It is a free professional recording program, on the same level as Protools, Presonus Studio One and others.
There is also a full featured forum.

Cakewalk gets updated, generally every 2 months.

It was called Sonar when Gibson owned it.

Cakewalk: https://www.bandlab.com/products/cakewalk

Forum: https://discuss.cakewalk.com/

I have used Sonar/Cakewalk in my home recording studio since 2006.
_________________
GFI Ultra Keyless S-10 with pad (Black of course) TB202 amp, Hilton VP
Cakewalk Sonar and Studio One Pro V4.6 DAWs, MOTU Ultralite MK5 recording interface unit
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Paul Seager


From:
Augsburg, Germany
Post  Posted 7 Dec 2022 6:29 am    
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Thanks for the tip Jack. I see that Cakewalk recommends 8GB RAM so, even though my current use is minimal, that would require an upgrade (and another 50 bucks! Smile ) if I were to go to multi-tracking.

I am probably going to do that anyway but I'm curious, what is your experience? Is it a hungry app or only when one uses soft-synths and suchlike?

Audacity is very light on RAM, hence it was my first stop.

\ paul
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Rick Campbell


From:
Sneedville, TN, USA
Post  Posted 7 Dec 2022 6:54 am    
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Paul Seager wrote:
Thanks for the tip Jack. I see that Cakewalk recommends 8GB RAM so, even though my current use is minimal, that would require an upgrade (and another 50 bucks! Smile ) if I were to go to multi-tracking.

I am probably going to do that anyway but I'm curious, what is your experience? Is it a hungry app or only when one uses soft-synths and suchlike?

Audacity is very light on RAM, hence it was my first stop.

\ paul


Audacity is great for what it does, but if you are serious about recording and having full editing and mixing capabilities, I'd get a DAW. I use Presonus Studio One. You can see my home studio work on YouTube. .. just search "Rick Campbell Music"

Have fun!

RC
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Jack Stoner


From:
New Port Richey (Tampa) Florida
Post  Posted 7 Dec 2022 11:31 am    
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Unless you are doing a lot of MIDI and a lot of tracks, 4GB is adequate for Cakewalk.

I have both Cakewalk and Presonus Studio One (4.6 Pro) and Cakewalk does it for me (and has in the studio I had for 15 years).
_________________
GFI Ultra Keyless S-10 with pad (Black of course) TB202 amp, Hilton VP
Cakewalk Sonar and Studio One Pro V4.6 DAWs, MOTU Ultralite MK5 recording interface unit
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Jim Fogle


From:
North Carolina, Winston-Salem, USA
Post  Posted 7 Dec 2022 5:48 pm    
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Paul,

I'm a big believer in using what you have. Using the Zoom H1n for your audio interface is a great idea. However, I agree with Rick and Jack that you might want to consider using a DAW instead of Audacity.

The main reason I say that is Audacity has at least one serious limitation. Once your computer music talents grow you'll bump into the limitation and be forced to move to a DAW. Why not start with a DAW now and avoid bumping into the the limitation? Also the time and effort you spend learning Audacity you can apply to learning a DAW.

By the way, the serious Audacity limitation is Audacity does not work with MIDI. You may not be interested in MIDI right now but chances are very good you will down the road.
_________________
Remembering Harold Fogle (1945-1999) Pedal Steel Player
Dell laptop Win 10, i3, 8GB, 480GB
2023 BiaB UltraPlus PAK
Cakewalk by Bandlab Computer DAW
Zoom MRS-8 8 Track Hardware DAW
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Paul Seager


From:
Augsburg, Germany
Post  Posted 8 Dec 2022 3:57 am    
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Thanks for your tips and advice.

For the record, I have worked with other products in the past. After selling my Tascam Portastudio (sniff), I went with an early version of Cubase, using loops and MIDI. It drove me nuts! Since then I have dabbled on and off with various versions of BiaB (got too bloated for my needs) and more recently an old version of Garage Band (including using a MIDI keyboard).

However the focus of this thread is having fun, learning what can be done with an old but revitalized laptop, (btw, I just ordered some more RAM Smile ) and I am having fun with the Zoom interface. It occurred to me that the Zoom has a line-in socket and I'm curious if that could work as well with the USB functionality so that I can use it for an electric instrument. Basically I am tinkering and getting the most I can out of what I have!

Cakewalk sounds interesting and I've recently watched a lot of YT stuff on Reaper. This is a "mostly free" DAW and its interest to me is that it supports video production as well as being a good DAW. The Zoom can work as an external mike to a good digital camera so that will be a future project! Obviously video work eats up RAM!

Anyway, I will keep you posted how this project develops!

\ paul
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Norman Evans


From:
Tennessee
Post  Posted 8 Dec 2022 6:35 am    
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Lots of good info on Cakewalk here. I really like this DAW.
https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=cakewalk+tutorial
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Jim Fogle


From:
North Carolina, Winston-Salem, USA
Post  Posted 8 Dec 2022 5:45 pm    
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Reaper is a very good DAW. Lot of people use it. The forum is strong and there are plenty YouTube videos to teach you how to use it.

However Reaper's official trial period is sixty days. After that you can continue to use it but you will see a nag screen every time the program opens. If you decide to purchase a personal license it cost $60 US. I understand your desire to have fun and part of the fun is keeping the cost low. Choose Reaper and your cost to play around doubles!

Which TASCAM PortaStudio did you have? A long time ago I had a Teac A-3340S with a Teac AN-300 Dolby noise reduction unit and Model 2 six channel mixer. I never did much with the set up since I was in the military and moved a lot. After the military I worked full time while also attending school full time so I ended up selling the stuff.

Adding the 4 GB of RAM is likely your best bang for your euro.

One thing you might want to do is check out Groove 3 dot com. It's a paid website where you can access the whole website for a monthly or annual subscription or you can purchase and download a video tutorial series outright. The website is having a free 7 day trial during December. Here is a link: https://www.groove3.com/. It worth taking a look. YouTube is great but each video is hit or miss. If Groove 3 has a video series you want you'll find the content is well organized, presented in small chunks and professional.

Silly question but have you loaded your old version of Cubase on your "new" computer? It might provide you with everything you need.
_________________
Remembering Harold Fogle (1945-1999) Pedal Steel Player
Dell laptop Win 10, i3, 8GB, 480GB
2023 BiaB UltraPlus PAK
Cakewalk by Bandlab Computer DAW
Zoom MRS-8 8 Track Hardware DAW
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website

Paul Seager


From:
Augsburg, Germany
Post  Posted 12 Dec 2022 3:45 am    
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Jim ....
Quote:
Which TASCAM PortaStudio did you have?
After looking at some images I am pretty sure it was a Tascam 464 - for which used prices are currently insane! Very good machine though, ease-of-use beats all and the quality was not bad for cassette tape.

Quote:
... check out Groove 3 dot com.
I will do that but not sure if I'll make that free trial!

Quote:
Silly question but have you loaded your old version of Cubase on your "new" computer?
I have no idea what happened to it but it was for Win98 so probably not going to work too well on a 64 bit platform with hi-resolution monitors, etc.. I do recall that setting up MIDI was an absolute pain as, whichever instrument I selected, I always got piano as well. Eventually I was a sent a disc by someone (yes the plastic thingy) with a script that suppressed the piano!

However this thread has given me an idea of working with MIDI. I like to practice with iRealPro and I note that one can export a MIDI file so therefore I will give Cakewalk a shot before jumping to Reaper!

\ paul
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Jim Fogle


From:
North Carolina, Winston-Salem, USA
Post  Posted 14 Dec 2022 6:45 pm    
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Paul,

I hope you will continue to update this thread so those of us that are interested can follow your progress.

To me, Cakewalk by Bandlab is hard to beat. In addition to the DAW it has a multi-timbrel MIDI soft synth, TTS-1 with general midi, GM and general midi 2, GM2, patches built-in. There is also the Studio Instrument Suite that includes MIDI drums, strings, electric bass and electric keyboard. Finally Cakewalk also comes with a trial edition of Melodyne. This is a different trial edition than the one available on Melodyne's website. The Cakewalk Melodyne trial edition can convert monophonic audio to midi even after the trial expires.
_________________
Remembering Harold Fogle (1945-1999) Pedal Steel Player
Dell laptop Win 10, i3, 8GB, 480GB
2023 BiaB UltraPlus PAK
Cakewalk by Bandlab Computer DAW
Zoom MRS-8 8 Track Hardware DAW
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website

Paul Seager


From:
Augsburg, Germany
Post  Posted 26 Dec 2022 11:49 pm    
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Ok, so the RAM arrived. I decided to buy a single 8 GB card rather than add a second 4 GB card so as to avoid speed differences. It was a good decision as this PC is now really flying! Of course the title of this thread should now be updated to "82 Euro Studio" .

I played around with the Zoom some more, using the line-in socket (mini-jack) to record an instrument. It's amazing how flexible this thing is! I also added my Yamaha THR5 practice amp as an interface and this is a better choice for an electric instrument, not because the Zoom doesn't sound ok but because I can use the Yamaha without an adapter cable.

Now regardless of which I use, I hear a "fluttering" background noise and one can see this on the visual audio monitoring, even when not actively recording. As illogical as this may sounds, I think this may be due to Audacity's configuration against the input sources.

Much encouraged by your previous comments, I have installed Cakewalk. Obviously this is a far bigger product and quite challenging when the screen loads up for the first time but I managed to run my first test recordings within minutes, all without issues and no "fluttering".

I will keep Audacity on the laptop as it is useful for cutting up, slowing down and looping recordings from external sources. Once I learn more about Cakewalk, I may drop Audacity.

Your arguments for Cakewalk etc., included access to MIDI so I plugged in my USB keyboard and although this was recognised by both Windows and Cakewalk, there is a latency issue, between pressing a key and the sound coming through the monitor. This is where one appreciates a Mac / Garage Band - everything just worked first time!

But I am not willing to pay for another Mac and quite happy that I have what I need to practice and equally happy to research the MIDI issue. I'll post the issue separately should I not solve it!
_________________
\paul


Bayern Hawaiians: https://www.youtube.com/@diebayernhawaiians3062
Other stuff: https://www.youtube.com/@paulseager3796/videos
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Norman Evans


From:
Tennessee
Post  Posted 27 Dec 2022 6:16 am    
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This video tutorial might help.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9c_2jZ5Qw_s
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Paul Seager


From:
Augsburg, Germany
Post  Posted 28 Dec 2022 10:52 am    
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Norman Evans wrote:
This video tutorial might help.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9c_2jZ5Qw_s

That was all that was needed! During the initial setup I chose the MS General MIDI synth or such like, not considering that a modern DAW has it's own stuff. Just removing that initial choice from the Output Device list did the trick. Using Cakewalk's own stuff is fun!

Thanks Norman!
_________________
\paul


Bayern Hawaiians: https://www.youtube.com/@diebayernhawaiians3062
Other stuff: https://www.youtube.com/@paulseager3796/videos
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