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

Thinking about getting started. I got qustions.

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by TDPRI, Mar 24, 2003.

  1. TDPRI

    TDPRI Administrator Staff Member

    Mar 2, 2003
    Admin Post
    I don't know why but I find myself very interested in setting up a home studio. I don't play well and I don't write songs or anything. But I'm very drawn to the idea of my own recording setup.

    I've thought of just getting one of those little Tascam 5's or whatever they're called. I've looked at the bigger digital studio in a box solutions, but don't want to spend that much. My only experience is pushing the buttons on demo units at the big box Guitar Stores.

    I think part of what attracts me to this is the electonic toys. I love to tinker with these things. Plus as an advertising guy, I've been in countless professional studios.

    I have an older Pentium 400 computer just lying around and I was thinking of buying an input box and some software. Is there a USB (preferably USB 2.0) mixer input device. In other words something just like a Digital Audio Workstation, without the Hard disk or computing power that I can marry with my old computer and have a complete solution for under $600?

    I played around with Cakewalk Guitar Studio a couple of years ago, but it had too much latency. The drums were stupid and the inputs in my standard sound card were inadequite.

    I want drums, mic and guitar inputs, I'd like effects like reverb and delay. And I HAVE NO IDEA WHY I WOULD WANT THIS KIND OF SETUP!

    Paul Green

  2. stevieboy

    stevieboy Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 16, 2003
    the valley
    re:i don't know why


    I can tell you why, because it's fun, it gives a whole new level of involvement with music, it's a great learning experience, and it will make anybody a better guitar player and musician--talk about feedback!

    I have a Tascam 5, and it does pretty well. Working with four tracks makes you think a bit, but can produce great results (just ask the Beatles). I went on and got more tracks because I was spending too much time, and getting confused, loading back and forth to my computer, and because I wanted to record and store lots of guitar tracks, being an improvisational blues player.

    I don't know too much about the software based systems, but I would look carefully at what you get in the starter system, and what plug-ins you might want in the future--such as guitar effects or amp modeling, which can cost more than the basic system.

  3. Ward

    Ward Tele-Holic

    Mar 17, 2003
    San Diego
    Start out w/ computer stuff

    I think the way to start is via computer. There's so much room for cheap upgrades. Soundcard wise, the Deltas seem to be popular. A good starting system is N-track. Nowadays, you can even get a protools LE with an 8 input rackmounted soundcard for under $1000. I have a DAW (Roland VS-890) the problem is that while its good, I can't ever upgrade, ie, use with ADAT or even use outside effects. Ward

  4. Revrund

    Revrund TDPRI Member

    Mar 17, 2003
    Tascam US-428

    Not sure how much they run but from what I understand are basically a mixing console without the hard-drive and computing power. Made for recording directly to pc. For that matter (and properly less expensive than the Tascam) you could always just get a Mixer and download N-tracks ($50.00 I think). I use N-tracks occasionaly and it's pretty easy to use, although I don't exactly test the limits of it. Good luck let me know if you need more info.
    BTW, thanks for the great work on the site.

  5. halouis

    halouis Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

    Mar 2, 2003
    i cant answer you on the computer setup. I remember Tascam making some unit with USB connection to you machine. the unit basically is a mixer with some added functions, and then you do all the recording on your computer.

    I like my standalone unit for the reason that it is so easy to use. and the limitiations of it, keep me form getting too "tweaky" and technical. I use it for songwriting. and even though you say you dont write songs, I bet when you get something, that you will be more inclined to do so. even just getting down ideas. or putting down a rhythm, and adding a bass track, then exploring harmonies or leads over the top. a lot of fun.

    the best thing about it, is kind of the worst thing. It shows me all my imperfections, and there are many. sloppiness really shows when you listen back. when I play cleaner stuff, i really should use a compressor to even things out, but I have the same philosphy as Silverface. that compressors are used to hide bad technique, so I stay away from them in order to try to improve that technique.

    ahhh. i went long. best of luck to you. it is a lot of fun.

  6. TDPRI

    TDPRI Administrator Staff Member

    Mar 2, 2003
    Admin Post
    Re: re:i don't know why

    Do you like the Portasound 5? What about the memory card thing. Sounds very limiting.


  7. stevieboy

    stevieboy Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 16, 2003
    the valley
    Tascam response for Paul

    Well, like I said, I've moved on to a larger machine for the reasons I specified, but the Tascam Portastudio 5 does work okay. They had some serious problems to start out, but since the system is software upgradable, they were able to work those out with a new system downloadable from the web.

    As far as the card goes, if you get a 128mb card, or even with the 30mb card they give you, it's not really limiting unless you're going to try to record live shows. You upload/download files using your computer, so there's really no limit to the number of songs or takes that you can store. Constantly uploading and downloading and keeping track of multiple files can be a bit inconvenient and difficult.

    If you haven't seen it already, they have a discussion area on the Tascam website, with a specific page for the Portastudio.

    I'd be glad to answer any more questions you might have, either here or by email.

  8. rcliffg

    rcliffg Tele-Meister

    Mar 17, 2003

    I've got a Boss BR-532 and have been overjoyed with it. 4 tracks, but with 28 additional virtual (storage) tracks, and it's easy to use. The drums aren't worth much except as metronome, but you can get incredible drum programs these days on the cheap. Leafdrums2 is amazing and INCREDIBLY easy to use for about $25. There are a lot of effects available, but I generally don't mess with 'em. I'm a clean sounds kinda guy.

    It's really easy getting tracks back and forth to computer with smartmedia cards, and I paid a whopping $400 for it.

    I've been EXTREMELY satisfied with mine...

    Paul, heres a very basic little track (just rhythm and lead guitar) I did with the BR-532.

    This is a very primitive recording, but gives you some idea of how easy it is to put out something semi-decent sounding...

  9. minoru

    minoru TDPRI Member

    Mar 19, 2003

    Sounds like you're better off with an all-in-one solution. The thing about comuter setups is, you need to be clear about what you want to do, otherwise, there is so much software and so much features and options out there, that one could easily get lost in all of that, along with spending tons of $$$$$.

    Software wise, the most popular are Emagic Logic, Steinberg Cubase, Steinberg Nuendo, Cakewalk, Digidesign Protools.

    I'm not much of a Windows lad, so my comment is not precise, but it sounds like a Petium 400 is underpowered for what the current software offers. If you do go the computer route, please be careful about which software you use and ALWAYS double check compatiability (required OS version, required memory, etc).

    Most of the soundcards (also known as i/o boxes, as in in/out) accept line level only. ie, You will need a microphone preamp and/or direct box before plugging in a guitar. Some i/o boxes seem to have guitar inputs built in though.

    I have also heard that the M Audio Delta 1010 stuff sounds pretty good for the price. Some i/o boxes also come bundled with software. As for the USB i/o box, even with 2.0, there is always an issue of data overflow. The effect of which, you will not be able to record and/or playback too many tracks at a time. I have used an USB i/o box made by Aardvark and Emagic, forget model names. Both sounded good for the pricepoint.

    As for effects, the most widely accepted format is VST, there are lots of freeware/shareware VST plugin's available, along with commercial ones. However, most plugin's require CPU power to operate, thus, how many and what plugin's you can use simultanelously will depend on your setup.

    Compressors........they are hard to understand initially, but once you get the hang of them, they are a very subtle to effective tool. I usually try not to record with any compression on the way in, compression is done either post recording. Compression also reacts differently when used with an EQ, especially pre-compression EQ.

    Actually once recorded, the most natural compressor are your hands manipulating the volume levels on the fader manually or via automation.

    Hope this helps.

  10. Bob Rogers

    Bob Rogers Tele-Afflicted

    Mar 16, 2003
    Blacksburg, VA
    My Betamax .. er...Tascam 488

    Let me put in good word for the option of going with an analog tape unit. My experience with the Tascam 488 unit has been great. It is very easy to use, functions as it's own mixing board, and is completely self contained. Having eight tracks is a lot of fun. (You do want to sing three part harmonies with yourself, right? Let's see ... drum machine, bass, dual leads, rhythm guitar...)

    Yes, the price of these units is in free fall, and some day I can put it next to my betamax and my neXt computer. (I didn't really buy the neXt.) But if/when I go digital I will spend some serious cash to get a system that I don't have to fight with. As long as I'm using it as a toy, I'm happy with the 488. It's worth thinking about.

  11. halouis

    halouis Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

    Mar 2, 2003
    Re: BR-532

    rcliffg: great playing. very tasty. are you using a built in COSM model on that? I have the big brother BR-8 and love it. at first i hated the internal models, but have since, made a couple of my own that work nicely for my brand of noise-making. Basically i needed to strip all the glossy effects off and try get a rawer custom model.

    I love that i can plug in late at night, tap a tempo, and lay down some ideas real quick without too much fiddling.

    again. great stuff!!

  12. rcliffg

    rcliffg Tele-Meister

    Mar 17, 2003
    thanks, Halouis!!

    I sure appreciate the compliment, and I'm VERY glad you liked the mp3! I'm always hesitant to post anything musical on the TDPRI, what with all the big boys that swim in these waters; I figured over here in this little digital domain corner it would be alright...

    You know, I haven't figured out how to modify the models yet, to be honest. I just turn the COSM stuff off. Originally, I was using a POD into the BR-532, but I've found that using a couple of effects going in direct is the best way for me, at least until I figure out how to mod the models as you have. That recording was an ASAT Classic -> CS-3 compressor -> TS-9 (just a little bitty bit of drive) -> BR-532. With all my POD tweaking, I never found anything which really worked for me, so I sold it and bought a cheap bass to add a little bottom end to future recordings...

    Yep, I love this's so easy just to turn it on, plug in and lay down some ideas. And I've heard great things about the BR-8.

    Do you have any mp3s up for download??

  13. Roel from Holland

    Roel from Holland Tele-Holic

    Mar 16, 2003
    Den Haag, Nederland
    I use a Fostex MR8 standalone recorder. You can transfer the tracks to a pc with the USB cable. The recorder is very easy to use.....almost like a good old taperecorder. You can hear a sample at
    The track is called "Sundayafternoon". It was recorded using the internal reverb and without any other effects. I think these recorders are pretty cheap in the US (around $300 at Musicians Friend)

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