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Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

Getting Started - Home Recording

Discussion in 'Recording In Progress' started by Bob L, Apr 19, 2018.

  1. Wrong-Note Rod

    Wrong-Note Rod Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 4, 2009

    low latency

    ie, the road to hell being paved with good intentions.

    latency is so totally dependent upon various factors, a huge one being the computer, not the gear.

    Make sure you have an ubber machine, I'd suggest one built for gaming, with a mega-chip, lots of ram, and huge caverns of free space on an additional drive.

    Theres a lot of things you can do but its a learning curve. You start piling on VST effects into a track and latency will bite you quicker than a rattler.
    AlbertaGriff likes this.
  2. magicfingers99

    magicfingers99 Tele-Holic

    May 7, 2015
    if you want to be able to record in under 30 seconds from strapping on your guitar, consider a Zoom R8
    its 8 channels, 2 inputs, records to sd card. Has a usb interface if you want to use it with Reaper etc.

    Recording has 2 main, components, 1. tracking (recording tracks of material voice, guitar, etc)
    2. Mixing (eq, efx, mastering,editing etc)

    you want to be able to track fast to catch ideas as they are happening and then be able to mix at your leisure on the devices of your choosing.

    The zoom will be ready in 30 seconds or so, once you've got your tracks down you can do a rough mix in the box, it has 21 mastering presets and room for 7 or so custom presets. So in twenty minutes or less you can have a song demo created. It has 2 built in room mics (electret condensors) that aren't terrible, 2 xlr jacks for mics, and one instrument level jack which is shared between the input 1 mic jack. (2 physical xlr neutrik ports - with impedance switching on one for instrument level)

    You can pull the sd card out of the zoom and put it into your computer to make backups or open tracks in Reaper or whatever DAW you want to use, you can also transfer tracks over the USB port.

    it runs on batteries if you want to use it that way, its smaller than a sheet of paper and its fairly durable for its size. I own 3 of them and have used them for 3 or 4 years, all were used when I purchased them. I paid between 50 and 150$ per unit.


    sound on sound has a review of it as well as plenty of youtube videos. it has a selection of basic guitar and vocal fx, has a drum machine and a sampler function.

    I own about 13 different hardware recorders, and this is the best for fast 2 track recording and demo mixing. A nice companion is the boss gs-10 if you can find it, or whatever its modern equivalent is. The GS-10 is also a USB recording interface, but it has loads of guitar fx and twiddly knobs and 100 presets and 100 user presets.


    it has a small pair of monitoring speakers built in , and headphone jack. I keep one of my R8's patched to this GS-10, and usually mic the speaker and run that into input 2 on the zoom and run the instrument level (amp out) on the GS-10 into input 1 on the zoom. Then I can mix the two signals for a fuller sound. These go for between 100$ and 200$ on ebay. There are a few clips of it on youtube. You can control it from a midi pedal board, if you want to be hands free. (and like to dance while you play)

    This is the simplest way I have found to work without a computer, to record guitar and voice.
    Roland makes some interesting boxes that combine usb recording interfaces with backing track playback and fx like the Boss JS-10 if you'd like something fancier

    The GS-10 is built like a tank, its actually made of steel and will likely outlive me.
  3. raito

    raito Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Nov 22, 2010
    Madison, WI

    Make sure you have an ubber machine, I'd suggest one built for gaming, with a mega-chip, lots of ram, and huge caverns of free space on an additional drive.

    No. None of that really affects USB transfer. OK, USB 2 transfer (I stopped developing for USB 2 about the time USB 3 came out -- I got a different job. But it likely doesn't affect USB 3 transfer, either.). At least class-compliant audio uses isochronous transfer. The host is supposed to reserve bandwidth for that. Unlike poor MIDI, which has to make do with bulk transfer (where I've seen Windows just skip frames with no apparent reason).

    Still, you're only going to get a transfer a frame. So it partly depends on your definition of 'low'.
  4. Garruchal

    Garruchal Tele-Meister

    Nov 29, 2013
    Latency. I've been dealing with this since I started digital recording in '97. Every year, computers have gotten faster, connection technology has improved and changed, and software has become better designed.

    Here are the basics:
    If you are recording, your microphone or guitar signal is converted to a digital signal by your audio interface, this is streamed to your computer over a USB, Thunderbolt or Firewire bus, your DAW applies any volume or FX, then sends the digital signal back to the interface, where it is converted back to an analog audio signal so you can hear it in your headphones. This whole process usually takes from 12 to 24 milliseconds. Every computer has limits to how fast and how much it can process at one time, and if there is a lot of processing being done (many channels at the same time, lush, complicated reverb, etc.) it will begin to stutter. To avoid stutter, you need to set the sample buffer higher (the time you give your computer to do the work it needs to do) and this adds to the latency time.
    Many audio interfaces, if not most, offer "zero latency monitoring" which just means that you can hear what you are playing without sending it to the computer first, cutting out all but about 3ms of latency. You won't hear any of the software FX from your DAW that way, just the clean input sound. However, you can set up the DAW to monitor only the FX return, and to hear your input through "zero latency", and then the only latency is on your FX, which will usually be unnoticeable.
    So, if you are using guitar FX in your DAW, you will hear every plucked string about 12 to 24ms after you pluck it. Is this noticeable? Not much. For most people, not at all. In my experience, I begin noticing latency at all only after 24ms, it is ok up to about 40ms, and it becomes really not ok after 70ms. It feels like playing a pipe organ; there is a delay in response that organists just naturally compensate for.
    I was recording a lap steel player at my home last week who said he was fine going directly into the audio interface. After a minute or so, he laughed and said that he was being thrown off by the latency (about 24ms). I split the signal and plugged him into my amp and let him hear that while I recorded his clean sound.

    Computers nowadays are plenty fast enough to deal with audio recording. If you want to record 16 tracks at once, you might want a higher-end laptop, but for normal use, any computer will be alright. USB 2 is plenty fast enough for audio recording. It used to be that Firewire was the way to go, but it almost doesn't exist any more. Thunderbolt is very fast, but also allows adaptors to USB 2 and 3 as well as Firewire. My advice: get an audio device with USB 2 [as of April 2018]. Don't get hung up about latency. With the right setting, it will be in the 12 to 24ms range and you probably won't notice it at all.

    All of the above information is just a roundabout way of saying: don't worry about it.
  5. Sollipsist

    Sollipsist Tele-Afflicted

    Aug 25, 2016
    In my experience, everybody who tells you that you won't have a problem with latency will also have plenty of helpful suggestions to try to fix the latency problem when you have it. Except for the ones that'll just say "jeez, I don't know, it always worked for me..." :D

    I had to laugh when "direct monitoring" became a regularly promoted feature. It's a bit like a pedal manufacturer touting their product's ability to let you hear what your guitar would sound like without the pedal - in real time! - just by hitting the footswitch :D
  6. Guitarteach

    Guitarteach Poster Extraordinaire

    Aug 6, 2014
    Few people understand how cheap I am too.

    Reaper is the FIRST and ONLY honestyware I was happy to invest in to get a licence. It's THAT good.

    The stock plugins looks don't reflect their performance.
    suthol likes this.
  7. burntfrijoles

    burntfrijoles Poster Extraordinaire

    A lot has been made of the learning curve. I can't speak to all DAW software but to me the biggest thing is getting over the intimidation factor.
    The response to the question "how do you eat an elephant" is "one bite at a time" and so it is with home recording.
    The basic process is straightforward. Don't expect to produce a finished mastered recording at first.
    Learn the basics. Slowly build your knowledge little by little, i.e. one bite at a time.
    I assume they are very similar.
    1. Create a new track. (audio or software)
    2. Set the tempo
    3. Enable a count it and possibly the metronome
    4. Record
    Rinse and repeat.

    My basic process looks like this:
    1. My first track is always a drum loop (I previously used a drum machine)
    2. My second track is always rhythm guitar (just for a rough guide
    3. My third track is typically a guide vocal
    4. My fourth track is a bass
    5. I redo whatever I need and add any other parts as needed

    When I first started I couldn't sync midi (for the drum machine). I couldn't punch in/out. I had a difficult time with levels (too little is just as awful as too much). I couldn't insert the plug-ins. Hell, I was too intimidated to even install 3rd party plug-ins. My first was EZ-Drummer. I took a deep breath and followed the instructions. Holy crap. It worked. Then I bought some EZ-Drummer compatible midi beats. (Now, I program my own).
    MY point is that it took time but none of it was too complicated once I let go of my fear of the technology.
    There are still things I don't do but I am sure I could learn.
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2018
    w3stie likes this.
  8. Bob L

    Bob L Tele-Meister

    May 16, 2003
    Thanks again for all the helpful responses! I have been watching YouTube demos of various interfaces, guitar modeling plug-ins, and Cubase. I am accustomed to using computer based engineering tools and Cubase seems straightforward for basic operation. I am getting close to making a decision on my next step.
  9. SacDAve

    SacDAve Poster Extraordinaire

    Dec 23, 2009
    Rocklin Ca.
    Take your time find what fits your needs. One thing for sure your hardware and software will grow over time theres always that must have upgrade, oh that looks like a good plugin. Most of all have fun
  10. paratus

    paratus Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

    Dec 2, 2010
    RE: the latency issue, UAD Apollo interfaces let you track with several UAD plugins, and can keep the latency under 1.1 mS at 96k, a bit more at 44.1k or 48k.

    The Apollos do cost more, but they are very high quality, and come with a fair number of excellent plug in emulations. If you like to track with classic mic pre sims, channel strips, comps, FX or amp sims, it might be worth saving up a bit for something that will allow you to get your sound on the way into the DAW.

    You can of course use the UAD plugins as inserts in your DAW, how many depends on which UAD hardware you have.
  11. burntfrijoles

    burntfrijoles Poster Extraordinaire

    The user interfaces may vary but they are all straightforward once you dip your toe in the water.

    This!!! It's supposed to be fun. Regardless of your experiences, minor frustrations, just have fun. Relax and enjoy the ride.

    Good luck
  12. Bob L

    Bob L Tele-Meister

    May 16, 2003
    I have acquired the UR44 and Cubase. When I first installed all the software, I played around with direct monitoring an electric guitar with effects within Cubase. Now I can't seem to get the effects in the monitor. All I get is the dry signal. I have the Direct Monitoring box checked in the setup menu. Any ideas?
  13. raito

    raito Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Nov 22, 2010
    Madison, WI
    dspFX is the thing you seek, but not being either a Cubase nor a Steinberg user, I can't say just how to turn it on and off, other than very simple Google searches indicate that there's a 3-state button somewhere for dealing with this.
  14. Bob L

    Bob L Tele-Meister

    May 16, 2003
    I can access dspFX with Cubase off. I followed the directions for using it in Cubase but I seem to be missing a check box or connection.
    Last edited: May 7, 2018
  15. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Friend of Leo's

    Apr 3, 2015
    Winchester, VA
    Does anybody who uses Cakewalk know how to friggin' move a clip in a track, left or right along the friggin' timeline, after a friggin' envelope has been assigned to it? Whenever I try to drag the friggin' clip, it instead tries to adjust the friggin' envelope.
  16. Bob L

    Bob L Tele-Meister

    May 16, 2003
    For those still following along, I am able to monitor the built in effects found in Cubase by deselecting direct monitor in the studio setup menu. Seems counter-intuitive to me. I am now evaluating the built in effects. There seem to be lots of plug ins out there in cyberland. Has anyone used VST Amp Rack?
  17. studio

    studio Poster Extraordinaire

    May 27, 2013
    You might have to assign the envelope to it's own mini track space and then you can move the clip.
    At least that's how I think it works.

    In track mode, there are two icon boxes that allow you to
    transfer the envelope to a narrow track all it's own.
    Notice in track 4, soft pad, the volume envelope is displayed
    under the actual waveform track. There is a highlighted box
    underneath the number 4. It kinda looks like an "N", but it also
    represents the editing point function.

    On your track, push that button and see what happens.
    The button right next to it is a similar functionality.
    Have fun. Feel free to PM me so we don't hijack this thread.

    3-Chord-Genius likes this.
  18. T Prior

    T Prior Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 17, 2003
    Charlotte NC
    Who needs more ? great question from above , regarding a simple plug and play system.

    Answer: nobody needs more, well, until they do !

    The first thing anyone should need beyond a very simple plug and play system is a reasonably good tube preamp. Once you start recording thru a preamp in front of the interface you will never go back. A reasonably good channel strip is recommended.

    Even if you are only tracking 1 instrument at a time. 2 preamps or a dual channel preamp will become a necessity at some point.

    Different instruments and voices respond differently to the front end, just like different mics are used for various purposes.

    Regarding using a stand-alone such as the really nice Zoom R8 for boot up time, a DAW on a PC or Laptop which is already ON is insignificant. Pro Tools 12 for example takes about a minute to load and access an active session or a new session template. Obviously if the PC/Laptop is OFF, we gotta turn it on ! Being a Zoom R16 owner as well, I can say with certainty, there are no advantages that the R16 offers over a DAW on a PC or Laptop other than it's portable. As much as I like the R16.

    The first massive thing that all workstation users recognize when they upgrade to a DAW is visually seeing everything , all at the same time, in real time. There is no going back from that once you experience it.

    It's not a diss on a workstation but they are not to be compared to a DAW and the visual feature set directly in front of you for tracking, editing..etc...AND perhaps on a 29" monitor !
    Last edited: May 12, 2018
  19. Geoff738

    Geoff738 Poster Extraordinaire

    May 11, 2007

    I’ve posted this here before a few times. Doesn’t really go into the technology and equipment side of stuff so much, and is quite outdated in any event, but it is very good on technique and skills building. It is very long and the signal to noise ratio falls off rapidly after the first dozen pages or so. But those first few pages are gold. Well, not all gold, but imo it’s worth wading through.

    suthol likes this.
  20. studio

    studio Poster Extraordinaire

    May 27, 2013
    Yup. I think we've all posted that link at one time or another.
    The thing about that 50 plus page thread is it seems to be
    Geared towards the intermediate recordist. Someone who has
    A few projects under their belt.

    If there was a lesson like that for beginners that could bridge
    the gap, and have the recordist actually finish a song through it's
    process, that would be gold!
    suthol likes this.
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