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Kevin Quick


From:
Sacramento, Calif
Post  Posted 4 Nov 2022 2:39 pm    
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Looking for a simple recording program for PC.
I have no experience with this. I don't even know what midi is. ­čść Anyhow just looking for the best way to start out.
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Douglas Schuch


From:
Valencia, Philippines
Post  Posted 4 Nov 2022 3:04 pm    
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There are way more experienced people than me on this topic, but maybe being a NO-vice too, my thoughts might help.

First, I still find it easier to record using a recorder vs. straight to the computer. My old Zoom R16 finally bit the dust, so I acquired a Zoom H6 at a good price, but with an adapter to go from XLR to the 1/8" stereo jack, a Zoom H1N would work as well.

Having said that, if you have a good fast computer, you can easily go straight to the computer. The problem I had with my basic laptop was serious lag when trying to play back a backing track and add instrument to it - my computer could not do it. Maybe others know how to deal with this? I was using a mixer with usb connectivity as my interface.

So, program - this is easy - to start, just use Audacity. It's free and it's powerful and it's fairly easy to understand. If/When you hit limits to what it can do,, you can think about upgrading to a pro audio software suite.

One other factor if you are going direct to computer - the interface. It IS possible to connect a USB mic direct to the computer, or even get a splitter cable that splits the headphone/mic jack on most laptops into separate jacks for each and go direct (like from a line-out on an amp to the computer) but the cabling will be an issue - you will probably need to build a specific cable for the task for the is second option, or end up with some adapters. A basic audio interface is pretty cheap, so I would suggest getting one if you decide to record straight to the computer. Choices and price points are proliferating daily in this category!

Some mixers these days act as an interface, as do the Zoom H series of recorders, so you may already have an acceptable interface and not know it!

So - short answer: Audacity

Long Answer: it's more complex than just the software!
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Jim Fogle


From:
North Carolina, Winston-Salem, USA
Post  Posted 5 Nov 2022 10:02 am    
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Like Douglas I prefer the simplicity of using dedicated hardware for recording. Not only do I think hardware recording is more simple than computer recording I believe hardware recording helps the mindset or musical muse. Hardware recording is basically plug in, turn on and hit the record button. Computer recording is make sure the audio interface is plugged into the computer, turn on the interface, turn on the computer, open the recording software, make sure the software identifies the audio interface, plug in your instrument and hit record.

Douglas mentioned Zoom. The H6 he purchased is small enough to hold in your hand. I prefer something larger that can sit comfortably on a desk or table top. My hands are clunky and the bigger the button the better!

Zoom presently has two desktop sized eight track recorders available, the R8 and R12. Both devices are eight track recorders. The R8 is a mature product while the R12 was just released. The major difference is the R12 replaces some knobs with a color touchscreen. The R8 will soon be discontinued as existing stock runs out. Here are links to the R8 and R12 webpages:

https://zoomcorp.com/en/us/digital-mixer-multi-track-recorders/multi-track-recorders/r8/

https://zoomcorp.com/en/us/digital-mixer-multi-track-recorders/multi-track-recorders/r12/

TASCAM also makes recorders. The DP-03SD is an eight track desktop recorder. https://tascam.com/us/product/dp-03sd/top

All these units store recordings on SD or micro SD memory cards and have a USB connection that can be used for file transfer between a computer and the recorder. Both Zoom products can also be used as an audio interface between your instrument and your computer.

To record on a computer you need a computer, recording software and an audio interface.

Pretty much any computer is powerful enough to record audio. Audacity, https://www.audacityteam.org/, is free, easy to use and a good way to get started in computer recording. Later on you may want to try a digital audio workstation or DAW. Cakewalk by Bandlab is free and full featured; however it only works on Windows computers. https://www.bandlab.com/products/cakewalk

An audio interface performs multiple tasks: it converts audio going into the computer from an analog signal to digital code, converts audio leaving the computer from digital code to an audio signal and last provides a connection to monitor a mix of both audio signals in real time. Sometimes an audio interface may offer additional features such as MIDI connections or built-in effects.

Rather than say get this or that, here is a recent review of audio interfaces: https://www.musicradar.com/news/the-best-audio-interfaces

Don't forget the Zoom products can be used as both a recorder and as an audio interface. Smile
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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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Norman Evans


From:
Tennessee
Post  Posted 5 Nov 2022 1:16 pm    
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You can learn how to use Cakewalk watching this person's videos.
https://www.youtube.com/c/CreativeSauce
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Jack Stoner


From:
New Port Richey (Tampa) Florida
Post  Posted 5 Nov 2022 2:24 pm    
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Norman Evans wrote:
You can learn how to use Cakewalk watching this person's videos.
https://www.youtube.com/c/CreativeSauce


And, Cakewalk (used to be called Sonar when Gibson owned it) is free. Basic analog recording learning curve is not steep.

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

Cakewalk forum: https://discuss.cakewalk.com/

I started with a dedicated hardware recorder, when I went to computer based it opened up a new (positive) world for recording.
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Douglas Schuch


From:
Valencia, Philippines
Post  Posted 5 Nov 2022 5:07 pm    
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Just a bit more info on Jim Fogle's post - my understanding is the new Zooms - both the newer H models, and the newer desktop models - have much better preamps - i.e. more volume, less noise. So I would skip the R8 - as he says, and older model being phased out - unless you get a super price on it. Also, the R8 and R12 only can record 2 tracks at a time, but can play back up to 8. This is fine for layering tracks. My little H6 can record up to 6 at one time with the optional 2 x XLR module in place of the standard mics (or just using the standard mics to get stereo ambient sound). To get a recorder that can record 8 tracks simultaneously with the desktop models you need either the R16 (what I had before and also an older model that is being phased out, I think) or the R20 - it's replacement.

I live in the Philippines, so am limited to either what's available on the local online retailers (Lazada and Shopee being the biggest) or else having the complexities of shipping it twice and/or dealing with Philippines customs. It's also $100 more than the H6 I bought, and to be honest, I've never needed 8 inputs, but often want more than 2. I like the portability of the H6 as I've used my recorder for recording practice sessions with my band. But honestly, any of these would be an excellent choice for home recording.
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Paul Seager


From:
Augsburg, Germany
Post  Posted 13 Nov 2022 11:29 pm     Re: Looking for advise
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Kevin Quick wrote:
Looking for a simple recording program for PC.
I have no experience with this. I don't even know what midi is. ­čść Anyhow just looking for the best way to start out.

OK, so as you are starting out there are several components needed to make a small computer-based home studio.

    - Input: The source (your electric instrument or microphone),
    - an interface (to convert your audio to digital). Your computer's microphone is a simple starting point, but I suspect you will soon get fed up with the background noise that typically occurs. A dedicated USB boxes (e.g., Focusrite Scarlet) are the next step.
    - the computer (doesn't have to be the latest, greatest)
    - DAW - the software
    - Output:a monitor (speakers or headphones). Again, your computer's speakers or headphone jack are the simple starting point.

As you say you have a PC (e.g., Windows) then Audacity is a good bet. Free, fairly easy to use, good online support. But it is open source and bugs occur. If you just need something to start with then this is it.
After that there is a lot on the market. Reeper is sort of free and sort of not. There are some good "getting started" videos from Hop Pole studios which begins with how to download Reeper, setting it up and so on! It is much more advanced and takes more time to get used to.

Like everything in life, set a clear goal as to what you want to do and then take it one step at a time!

Simple stand-alone devices are great to record yourself. One button and then you can playback - that's it, job done! (I have a Zoom H1). But for multi-track work, I personally find a visual screen very helpful and go the computer route.

\paul
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Jim Fogle


From:
North Carolina, Winston-Salem, USA
Post  Posted 14 Nov 2022 5:46 pm    
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Kevin,

I hope you will update this thread by sharing your decision with everyone.
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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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Bill Dobkins


From:
Rolla Missouri, USA
Post  Posted 31 Dec 2022 4:58 pm     Re: Looking for advise
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Kevin Quick wrote:
Looking for a simple recording program for PC.
I have no experience with this. I don't even know what midi is. ­čść Anyhow just looking for the best way to start out.


Aducity is free and easy.
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ajm

 

From:
Los Angeles
Post  Posted 1 Jan 2023 9:40 am    
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Drums. (No one addressed this.)

What do you plan on doing for this?
If you are not planning on using them, or are planning on recording actual live drums, you can probably skip the rest of this.
If not..............

Stand alone recorders:
As another poster stated, I also like the idea of a stand alone self contained system.
However, it gets complicated.

If you are going to use an external drum machine you'll probably want to sync it to the recorder using MIDI.
Two problems here.
1) Drum machines are much fewer and far between than they were 20 years ago.
The ONLY ones that come to mind off the top of my head that are still available new are the Alesis SR-16 and SR-18.
2) The MAIN problem is that (unless I'm missing something) THERE ARE NO CURRENT STAND ALONE RECORDERS/STUDIOS THAT HAVE MIDI.
So that pretty much kills that idea.
I have an old ancient Tascam 788 with MIDI that I sync to a drum machine. (Currently an old Zoom RT-223 which is a real POS, but that's another story.)
The day that my 788 dies will be a tragic day for me.
Until a few years ago Tascam had MIDI interfaces built into all of their stand alone recorders, then they took them out. That has always been a real head scratcher to me.

So, your other option for home recording if you need drums is.....

A computer based DAW system.

You have (at least) two options for doing drums.
1) If you want to use a stand alone external drum machine, make sure that the interface that you buy has a MIDI In/Out on it.
Then you can sync up the machine to the recorder.
This will let you go back and tweak the drum arrangements as your song progresses.
Or........
2) Forget about the drum machine altogether.
This is probably the preferred way.
Instead, many DAWs have a built in drum kit or "virtual instrument" (or whatever they call it).
If not, you can always get an add on "plug-in" or "virtual instrument" or whatever it's called.

So practically, in this day and age, the PC method is probably the easiest solution.
You should probably be able to get a PC laptop, a recording interface, and a DAW for less than $1000 total.

If I'm wrong on any terminology please feel free to correct me.
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Roger Rettig


From:
Naples, FL
Post  Posted 14 May 2023 11:54 am    
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This thread is exactly what I had hoped to find.

I'm tempted to try home recording and will start at a basic level.

I have a Yamaha P125b keyboard - is this any use to me (adding bass lines, for example)?

Thanks for all the input. I'm giving it serious thought.

I was told I needed a program (DAW?), an A to D converter and an SM58. It was suggested that my 202 Toneblock would serve as a preamp.

Have I misunderstood anything fundamental?
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(8+9: 'Day' pedals), Quilter TT-12, B-bender Teles and several old Martins.
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Mike Selecky


From:
BrookPark, Ohio
Post  Posted 16 May 2023 8:56 am    
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Hi Roger, well, I'm certainly no expert, as I'm just getting into this myself very recently, and have more questions than answers.

If you just want a basic interface (2 inputs) and a DAW, Presonus has several inexpensive options:

PreSonus® AudioBox USB
https://www.presonus.com/en-US/interfaces/usb-audio-interfaces/audiobox-series/2777700105.html

PreSonus® Studio 24c
https://www.presonus.com/en-US/interfaces/usb-audio-interfaces/studio-series/2777700403.html

The main difference that I can see is that the Studio 24c allows for a higher sampling rate.

You can use a microphone or go direct from the Toneblock 202 Sig Out(switch in the "pre" position) using a 1/4" TRS balanced cable.

The hard part is learning the software, but there are tutorials available.

Hope this helps!
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Roger Rettig


From:
Naples, FL
Post  Posted 16 May 2023 9:46 am    
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Mike - thank you!

That's very useful and, coincidentally, I have just got off a Skype call with Dale Rottacker who made the same suggestion.

I'll be checking those links; it's much appreciated.
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Roger Rettig - Emmons D10
(8+9: 'Day' pedals), Quilter TT-12, B-bender Teles and several old Martins.
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