Amazed by bang-for-buck with modern recording equipment

Discussion in 'Recording In Progress' started by cwcowell, Apr 16, 2011.

  1. cwcowell

    cwcowell Tele-Meister

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    I've started doing simple recording, and am astonished at the quality you can get out of cheap modern equipment.

    I'm writing this to encourage anyone who has thought about recording but been put off by the perceived expense or complexity. Go for it! It doesn't have to be expensive, and it doesn't have to be difficult.

    My playing and singing have a long way to go, but I've gotten amazing (to my ears) sound quality out of a pretty minimal set of equipment:

    $0 low-end computer that I already owned
    $100 Line 6 Pod Studio GX computer interface with Pod Farm plugin
    $40 Reaper DAW
    $60 Studio Project B3 large-diaphragm condenser mic (used on eBay)
    $30 ART MP Tube preamp
    $40 mic stand and cables
    ------
    $270 total

    This setup works great for recording electric guitar, acoustic guitar, or vocals (though not all at once). As a DAW, Reaper definitely plays in the major leagues, and the Pod Farm's tone-shaping possibilities are endless.

    Want to spend even less? Eliminate Reaper and the Pod Farm plugin and add GarageBand. I'm sure there are cheaper replacements for the Pod Studio GX interface as well. Or ditch the computer entirely and use an iPad with GarageBand and an audio interface. This stuff is just so inexpensive now (and often available used) that there's no reason not to record.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2011
  2. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    I have heard great things about Reaper. It was even featured in a recent issue of Tape Op. I am sure you already know about Audacity, the latest of which has a ton of plug-ins. The main thing that kept me from sticking with Peak is its batch-processing ability. The latest Audacity now does this with a "chain" function.
     
  3. woodman

    woodman Grand Wazoo @ The Woodshed Gold Supporter

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    It is indeed amazing from this geezer's standpoint ... I wish I'd had this capability when I was young and hungry! (But I'm doing my best to make up for lost time.)
     
  4. Geoff738

    Geoff738 Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Yup, it really is something. How much did I pay for my Tascam Porta one four track cassette recorder (with high and lo eq on each channel - not sure there were even any inserts?) back in the 1984? I'm guessing it was $500 or $600. Add a Shure 57, stand and cable for $150. (Ok, that hasn't really changed) If you wanted reverb or delay, I think there were some stompboxes around. If there were digital delays (maybe the Roland Dep 3/5s were around by then?) they sure weren't cheap.

    No consumer monitors around then. If you wanted a "pro" condenser mic, there was the AKG 414 or the Neumann U87. Budget 2 or three thou for either of those. I think the Craig Anderton book was out then, but there wasn't much info for the beginner.

    So, yup!

    Cheers,
    Geoff
     
  5. binkydognose

    binkydognose Tele-Afflicted

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    It's astonishing. I never imagined it'd be like this. It's like discovering music all over again.
     
  6. Scott B.

    Scott B. Tele-Meister

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    It sure is like discovering music all over again. I could make a four or an eight track recorder work, this software stuff confuses and angers me.

    Glibness aside, it really is phenomenal what a couple hundred bucks and the patience to read the instructions manual can currently accomplish. In particular, I still find it amazing that you can experiment without putting tape or takes at risk. That's just voodoo.
     
  7. Batman

    Batman Tele-Holic

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    I've been recording with Reaper for about three years and it is ridiculously good for the money. The thing I love most about it is so light on my computer's resources. When I used Cubase there were loads of simple things that would max out the cpu, but Reaper just takes them in its stride. I've since got a better PC but I can't see myself ever going back to Cubase. I might consider using Logic if I switched to Mac but I'd have to have a pretty good reason to.
     
  8. T Prior

    T Prior Poster Extraordinaire

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    I Paid over $800 for my first Tascam 144 cassette machine.., I believe 84 or so...I was in heaven when I brought that thing home !

    fast forward...

    I just paid $169 for Pro-Tools 8 M Powered which I loaded on a stripped WIN XP Pentium something or other /4 meg PC that we had sittin' around doing nothing !

    Someone should write a book !


    t
     
  9. String Tree

    String Tree Doctor of Teleocity

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    Although nothing sounds like 2" Tape @ 30 IPS, there is something to be said for the new breed.
    Storing tape properly, demagnetizing the heads, I don't miss that at all!

    For the work I do, I can get up and recording faster than ever with a DAW than I ever could with tape.

    Who needs an Eventide H3000?
     
  10. woodman

    woodman Grand Wazoo @ The Woodshed Gold Supporter

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    Not to mention editing by cutting and splicing tape!
     
  11. Rolling Estonian

    Rolling Estonian Friend of Leo's

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    I've tried to contact Stephen Hawking and ask him how I can slow this whole world thing down a bit....... He won't return my calls.

    It's amazing how fast it's all happening. I bought a new laptop for $750 last year and now you can get almost twice as good for $600.

    For my simple needs I have a Line6 UX2, Ableton, EZ Drummer and Guitar Pro...... That'll cover me for a LONG time.

    M
     
  12. thelowerlip

    thelowerlip Tele-Afflicted

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    Amen. With the computer based set up I have now I can record 14 tracks live. Under 900 bucks for the computer and interface (software included). I´ve bought lots of extra mics and other goodies, but I hate to imagine what a comparable set up would have cost even just in the mid 90s.

    Awesome!!!
     
  13. String Tree

    String Tree Doctor of Teleocity

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    OH BABY, AIN'T THAT THE TRUTH!!!

    Praise the LORD for the UNDO/REDO button.
    Give the Apes my opposing thumbs, I'll keep the non-destructive editing functions. :)
     
  14. String Tree

    String Tree Doctor of Teleocity

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    Rolling Estonian, thelowerlip, thank you for proving my point.
     
  15. davmac

    davmac Tele-Afflicted

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    Oh yes! And with the SWS add ons in Reaper I just love being able to take snapshots of mixes and A/B them as I'm working.
     
  16. T Prior

    T Prior Poster Extraordinaire

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    Around 2002 I purchased a 16 track Yamaha AW2816 with the OS2 OP system..very involved recorder for sure...more fluff than a human could ever require ! They sold new for about $2000 , I bought it used from a guy who couldn't figure it out, I paid $900, it had 3 min on the HD.


    I have an engineer friend on the left coast who had the same unit but also ran a full blown studio, He compared that Yamaha to about $30,000 worth of gear in the 80's/90's...
     
  17. Old Cane

    Old Cane Poster Extraordinaire

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    You know wood, now that I can afford a 2" and a 32x8 console and even have room I think......why? I got a $200 box that goes into my 5 year old Dell and sounds pretty good. I've still got my splicing block and just sold my half-track a couple of years ago but this thing is "always on". Clcik, click, hum, record. I'm with ya. Pretty cool. I'm thinking the converters used in the little cheapies like I have are better than when they started the digital stuff in the 70s and 80s.
     
  18. Televised

    Televised Friend of Leo's

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    I have a Tascam DR-07 for recording practice in mp3 or Wav. I also have an Imac that has "Garage Band". I also have regular Mics and stands etc. I am totally clueless with what to do in the recording arena. Of the Gizmos and apps that I have never heard of that "cwcowell" listed what is my next step or purchase and where do I start? Is there a good online resource or book for beginners with no back ground whatsoever to get their feet wet?, (sorry in advance if this winds up stealing the thread and probably should have started a different one but just curious what would be my next bang for the buck investment.......once I know what the heck I'm doing.)
     
  19. AirBagTester

    AirBagTester Friend of Leo's

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    I've stopped buying recording gear and software because if you wait 5 minutes something cheaper or free will become available.
     
  20. Geoff738

    Geoff738 Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    I started a thread on here not too far back ( 2 or 3 mos?) about books etc.

    Honestly, lots of useful stuff on youtube.

    The first 10 or 15 pages on this thread: http://forum.cockos.com/showthread.php?t=29283&highlight=ass is the most useful thing I've ever read about recording and mixing. Might be a bit over the heads of those just starting out.

    As for the computer recording thing, once you have mics and and interface and know how to hook them up, Garageband is pretty intuitive. If you get lost, Help can be helpful.

    Cheers,
    Geoff
     
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