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Author Topic:  Would like some input on setting up a Simple Home Studio
Larry Ball

 

From:
Alberta, Canada
Post  Posted 27 Sep 2020 8:06 pm    
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Gentlemen,

I have researched a Home Studio concept for the purpose of improving my sound
quality when playing with my backing tracks. I want to keep it simple and just for my steel.

I am leaning towards a Focusrite Audio Interface with Pro Tools DAW. I have computers and mic’s (S57) cables, headphones and monitors etc.

Questions:

Should I mike the amp or DI the steel.
Can my existing backing tracks be loaded into Pro Tools and I overdub the steel.

Your expert thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
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Douglas Schuch


From:
Valencia, Philippines
Post  Posted 27 Sep 2020 9:49 pm    
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First off, I'm a big fan of originating the recording using a Zoom Recorder. It definitely will let you put a backing track onto it, and you can either listen via speaker or headphones and record your track in perfect synch. But that was not your question..., so:

Biggest concern is background noise. Amazing how much our brain filters out - Aircon/Heat running, kids playing outside, motorcycles, doors closing inside. If you have a noisy environment, you would definitely want to go straight in. I've noticed Tommy Detamore is often recording tracks for albums this way in his pro studio these days (and I'm sure many others).

One option is to use two tracks and mic the amp with one (next room, even) and go direct through the interface with the other, and see which you prefer. Might need to be two tracks of the same stereo channel - but you can always seperate/delete what you don't want in post.
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Ian Rae


From:
Redditch, England
Post  Posted 28 Sep 2020 1:04 am    
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I go direct, encouraged by the fact that my amp has a good modelled output. That way I can choose speaker or headphone monitoring instantly.
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ajm

 

From:
Los Angeles
Post  Posted 28 Sep 2020 7:55 am    
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Let's go back to square one for a second.

It sounds like you have some sort of recording set up now.
What do you have? Computer, interface, DAW, etc etc etc.....
You may not need to get anything else, if saving money is a factor and/or attractive.
You may end up spending a lot of money and getting very little upgrade in return.

Your existing backing tracks..........
What format are they?
If they are WAV files, my very limited understanding of DAWs tells me that you can load them into probably ANY DAW out there.
So that problem is solved.

If you decide to upgrade your DAW, there are a couple out there for FREE, or almost free, that will probably suffice.

Micing versus going direct is IMO a whole nuther topic.

The thing that I don't like about using a mic is that it creates noise for your neighbors (if that is a factor).
I am a big fan of silent home recording.
There are several ways to do it, using either amps or "modelers" or models in the DAW or "plug ins".
I personally use a set up with an amp and dummy cabinet, with a DI box in between the amp/dummy load made especially for that purpose.
Does it sound as good as a well mic'ed amp/speaker? Probably not.
But it's a lot less hassle, more consistent, and silent.
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Ian Rae


From:
Redditch, England
Post  Posted 28 Sep 2020 8:01 am     Re: Would like some input on setting up a Simple Home Studio
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As "ajm" says, going back to the original question
Larry Ball wrote:
I am leaning towards a Focusrite Audio Interface with Pro Tools DAW. I have computers and mic’s (S57) cables, headphones and monitors.

Do that then, it's what I did. I actually use the Ableton DAW that was bundled with the Focusrite software but I don't think there's much difference for what you want.
_________________
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Larry Ball

 

From:
Alberta, Canada
Post  Posted 28 Sep 2020 8:07 am    
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My existing backing tracks came from MP3 files on the various websites and placed in my Dropbox file. The rest of my equipment as mentioned is from playing overs the years. The computers are just ones available from home.

So my objective is to play along with a backing track and overdub my steel on to it. Thus hoping to improve the sound quality of the steel. Just to record into a simple recorder is not what I am after. Utube shows the Focusrite Audio Interface with a DAW package tied into a computer as a simple arrangement. But does it improve sound quality and let me download existing tracks to overdub on ?
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Mullen SD10,Williams SD12 Extended E9, Peavey Nashville 112, Mission Pro V/P, Telonic's F100 Multi-Taper Super Pro V/P, too many other guitars, amps and effects to mention.
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Rick Campbell


From:
Sneedville, TN, USA
Post  Posted 28 Sep 2020 11:32 am    
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Check this out. I have one and I really like it.

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/ioStation24C--presonus-iostation-24c-2x2-usb-c-audio-interface-and-production-controller

RC
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Ian Rae


From:
Redditch, England
Post  Posted 28 Sep 2020 12:05 pm    
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Larry Ball wrote:
My objective is to play along with a backing track and overdub my steel on to it. Thus hoping to improve the sound quality of the steel. Just to record into a simple recorder is not what I am after.

I know exactly where you're coming from. The mix between steel and backing that's comfortable for recording will generally have the steel too far forward. With the simple rig you're contemplating you can rebalance (and of course apply any other post-production you like).

Also if you're playing tracks from inside the computer (or YouTube) a USB interface magical cures any latency problems.

As an example of the kind of thing you can do, a singer friend sends me song ideas in the form of vocal and simple guitar, and I add bass and steel to make it into more of a demo. The free version of Ableton has 8 tracks and you can do a fair bit with that. In no time you'll be wanting to do a lot more than just play along to backings!
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David Hodan


From:
Denton, Texas; USA
Post  Posted 28 Sep 2020 2:32 pm     Pro Tools?
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For a home studio I would stay away from Pro tools. Look into Reaper or better yet Ardour. For donating as little as $1 you can get completely unencumbered Ardour
http://www.ardour.org. Ardour will work with whatever interface you choose on Windows, Mac, or linux. It comes with a large variety of plugins. AU, VST2, and VST3 coming plugins will work including BIAB. Projects are interchangeable between OS's provided plugins match up. Check it out.

On top of all that I'll provide any support you want or need with Ardour.

Dave
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Bob Womack


From:
Virginia, USA
Post  Posted 28 Sep 2020 7:53 pm    
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If you want your steel to sound decent and you have noise problems in you room you'll probably want to use a modeler. It models amplifier, effects, speaker system, and microphone. A Line 6 Helix modeler for instance can function as both modeler and interface.

Bob
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John McClung


From:
Olympia WA, USA
Post  Posted 29 Sep 2020 11:31 am    
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Following...
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E9 INSTRUCTION
Mullen pre-RP D-12 9+10 / Zumsteel S12 7+6 / Rittenberry SD-12 8+5 / Li'l Izzy / Webb amp / Stereo Steel combo amp-preamp / JBL, BW & Telonics speakers in Telonics cabinets / Hilton and Telonics volume pedals / BJS bars / George L strings & cables / StealSeat.com pack-a-seat / Macintosh computers / This Space for Hire / Burma Shave
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Larry Ball

 

From:
Alberta, Canada
Post  Posted 29 Sep 2020 3:44 pm    
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Well I made the plunge into the depths of the unknown with eyes and ears wide open.

I just bought the Focusrite Scarlett Solo to start with. Not quite sure on the accompanying software yet. I am thinking the Ableton live lite that comes with it. Pro tools is probably more for the high powered brain matter types. I can drag drop my backing MP3 tracks without first converting them to WAV format directly into Ableton. I know the experts will say the same for Pro Tools. I am listening to some of the advice I have received and researched in this great forum.

Thx.. Gentlemen for your input.
_________________
Mullen SD10,Williams SD12 Extended E9, Peavey Nashville 112, Mission Pro V/P, Telonic's F100 Multi-Taper Super Pro V/P, too many other guitars, amps and effects to mention.
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Jim Fogle


From:
North Carolina, Winston-Salem, USA
Post  Posted 29 Sep 2020 3:52 pm     Hardware Recorder
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Larry,

Have you thought about using a hardware recorder? The Zoom R8 or a TASCAM porta studio offer effects, recording channels, editing and mastering all in one box. All of them also have the capability to transfer files to and from computers.

Here is a page for some TASCAM products: https://tascam.com/us/category/PortaStudios_and_Trainers The DP-03SD, DP-24SD and DP-32SD are good choices.

Here is the Zoom R8 webpage: https://zoomcorp.com/en/us/digital-mixer-multi-track-recorders/multi-track-recorders/r8/

The Zoom R8 and TASCAM DP-03SD can be used as a desktop device with AC power or use batteries. Both have built-in microphones, have USB ports and record to SD cards.

The nice thing about a hardware recorder is it is a computer dedicated to one function, recording. Quick power up and a very stable operating system are two hallmarks of a hardware DAW.
_________________
Remembering Harold Fogle (1945-1999) Pedal Steel Player
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2021 BiaB UltraPlus PAK
Cakewalk by Bandlab Computer DAW
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Larry Ball

 

From:
Alberta, Canada
Post  Posted 29 Sep 2020 7:10 pm    
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Yes Jim I did.

So now that I have jumped into the swimming pool I have got to learn to swim
_________________
Mullen SD10,Williams SD12 Extended E9, Peavey Nashville 112, Mission Pro V/P, Telonic's F100 Multi-Taper Super Pro V/P, too many other guitars, amps and effects to mention.
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Jim Pollard

 

From:
Cedar Park, Texas, USA
Post  Posted 30 Sep 2020 5:48 am    
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Also throwing in my two cents for Ardour. The caveat there is I only use it for mixing and mastering these days. I have a little Tascam DP008-ex that I track with and then transfer the tracks into Ardour.
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Kenneth Mennen


From:
Wisconsin, USA
Post  Posted 30 Sep 2020 7:18 am    
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I've been using Reaper since 2011 and I really like it. It's inexpensive, easy to use, and would work well with your Scarlett. I used to use a Focusrite Saffire Pro 40 and it was great. I recently upgraded to a Presonus Quantum 2626 and it works well with that too. But, mine is just an opinion, so I've attached a link explaining why you might want to use Reaper...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zyKSfStJElo
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Williams SD10, Milkman Half and Half, Peavey NV112, Divided by 13 CJ11, Fender Pro Reverb, Strymon Iridium, Sarno Black Box, Goodrich Volume Pedal, Umpteen Guitars and Effects, Eastman Mandolin
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Tim Kowalski


From:
Illinois, USA
Post  Posted 30 Sep 2020 10:03 am    
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+1 for Reaper
I have used it successfully with Focusrite, Presonus and Behringer interfaces.
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Jim Fogle


From:
North Carolina, Winston-Salem, USA
Post  Posted 30 Sep 2020 5:48 pm    
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Larry,

Good luck on your recording journey.

From the time stamps it appears I was writing my suggestion near the same time you were writing your announcement and the two posts crossed paths.

Now is a golden age for home studios. There are few bad choices.
_________________
Remembering Harold Fogle (1945-1999) Pedal Steel Player
Dell laptop Win 10, i3, 8GB, 480GB
2021 BiaB UltraPlus PAK
Cakewalk by Bandlab Computer DAW
Zoom MRS-8 8 Track Hardware DAW
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Justin Emmert

 

From:
Martinsville, VA
Post  Posted 1 Oct 2020 4:56 am    
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Larry,

You have the whole direct\DAW thing solved it looks like, I go direct myself because of household noises like HVAC etc. Now you get to go down the rabbit hole of plug ins and amp sims to find your tone. One thing not mentioned is using a good tube pre-amp. I use a Sarno Blackbox myself, but there’s plenty discussions here in the recording forum on what other guys use as well. The important part is to run the tube preamp as the first thing your pickup sees in the signal chain. So, run your guitar directly to the tube preamp first, then to volume pedal, effects boxes, etc. have fun and good luck!
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John Macy

 

From:
Denver, CO/Rockport, TX
Post  Posted 1 Oct 2020 6:14 am    
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Brad Sarno has made recording direct so sweet. Steel- Black Box-VP-Sarno V8=instant tone! I also like my Telonics direct out, too.
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Denver, CO/Rockport, TX
Engineer/Producer/Steel Guitar
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