Recommendations for home recording

thesamhill

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$500-$700 for a 2015-2016 mac book pro.

Mac mini is a great option too.


My philosophy is use what you've got.

The simpler your setup is—the faster you’ll be making great recording

I agree with both of these. Get up and running. Change what you need to later. I have a Rocksmith cable and Rockband mic plugged into a Mac mini and thrift store monitor. Works great. I A/Bed both with more expensive alternatives- interfaces, condenser mins, etc- and didn't hear any difference.
 
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Jakedog

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I recently started home recording as well. For the first time. I didn’t want to use a traditional computer, as I don’t own one, and have never really used them. I don’t know anything about them, and attempts to use one usually end badly. I didn’t want to buy an expensive computer, and software, and whatever else, when I don’t even know how to handle the basics of PC operation.

I went with the Tascam DP24SD stand-alone unit. I love it so far. I was able to start recording basic tracks that sounded pretty good within a few minutes of opening the box. I’m learning as I go. I spent $500 on the unit and another $500 on some condenser mics. Starting from total scratch I’ve been able to make multi-track recordings with no problem, and I’m totally useless when it comes to tech.

I like that there isn’t a lot of menu diving or layers. Pretty much every function has a button, knob, or slider. If you’ve used a mixing board, and any kind of multi-effect, you pretty much know how it works already.

I have only been learning tracking so far. I haven’t dug into the editing, mixing, and mastering capabilities. But they’re all in there.

The DAW route will give a person more options. The plug ins, number of possible tracks, endless effects, etc are definitely much more than what you get in something like the Tascam unit. But personally I don’t need it and never will. Every one of my favorite records was made on equipment exponentially more limited than what the DP24 is capable of.

I’m looking at adding a couple pieces of outboard gear as I get better at things. Maybe a nice comp, an external eq, and a better mic pre. But I’m getting very useable tracks as-is.
 

Wulf

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Don’t overthink this when starting out.

You can do a hell of a lot with a small mixer, a USB interface, and a Mac running GarageBand. The program is not a toy or ‘add-on’ software common on Microsoft machines.

The simpler your setup is—the faster you’ll be making great recordings.
Got to agree with you on that one.
I use my machine like an 8track tape...2 mics then balance them...the more bits of wire and contraptions the more signal degradation...once its gone you cant "boost" it back.
Go for performance...not perfection....that was George Martins words.....
Ive tried using computer recording software and amp sims and the like and it doesnt work for me..too old school...i do everything in realtime.
Keep it Simple and your results will improve
( not sure mine did...i will let others make that call)
also...if you try to deaden a room it makes things sound artificial...tried all sorts...a room with a bit of "life" sonically is better...sounds more natural...and mic positioning is vital.
every room will need different mic spacing...but if you use 2 mics and blend them into one channel then balance them works best..or thats what i found.
one mic will make your track sound one dimensional...a mic up close //and one 10-15 feet away makes a huge difference...the second mic is milliseconds behind the first...and you notice it.
 
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Wulf

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I recently started home recording as well. For the first time. I didn’t want to use a traditional computer, as I don’t own one, and have never really used them. I don’t know anything about them, and attempts to use one usually end badly. I didn’t want to buy an expensive computer, and software, and whatever else, when I don’t even know how to handle the basics of PC operation.

I went with the Tascam DP24SD stand-alone unit. I love it so far. I was able to start recording basic tracks that sounded pretty good within a few minutes of opening the box. I’m learning as I go. I spent $500 on the unit and another $500 on some condenser mics. Starting from total scratch I’ve been able to make multi-track recordings with no problem, and I’m totally useless when it comes to tech.

I like that there isn’t a lot of menu diving or layers. Pretty much every function has a button, knob, or slider. If you’ve used a mixing board, and any kind of multi-effect, you pretty much know how it works already.

I have only been learning tracking so far. I haven’t dug into the editing, mixing, and mastering capabilities. But they’re all in there.

The DAW route will give a person more options. The plug ins, number of possible tracks, endless effects, etc are definitely much more than what you get in something like the Tascam unit. But personally I don’t need it and never will. Every one of my favorite records was made on equipment exponentially more limited than what the DP24 is capable of.

I’m looking at adding a couple pieces of outboard gear as I get better at things. Maybe a nice comp, an external eq, and a better mic pre. But I’m getting very useable tracks as-is.
Seems you arrived at the same conclusion as me.
i cut my recording teeth yrs ago with a tiny 4 track tape....you really had to put the time and effort in with it...it was as basic as it got but did the trick.
ive even used multi mono tape machines to build tracks...remember those little phillips cassette players with the one button?...try using half a dozen of those
 

Jakedog

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Seems you arrived at the same conclusion as me.
i cut my recording teeth yrs ago with a tiny 4 track tape....you really had to put the time and effort in with it...it was as basic as it got but did the trick.
ive even used multi mono tape machines to build tracks...remember those little phillips cassette players with the one button?...try using half a dozen of those
That’s sounds whacky, man!

This is all new to me. I never wanted to learn how to record. I’ve been performing and releasing original music forever. But I never had any interest in recording. I’d still rather not do it. I’d rather worry about writing, playing, and singing, and let engineers do the engineering. But unfortunately it’s not an option.

With the new world situation, I’m not performing live hardly at all. Only outdoor shows that follow all protocol. But now winter is coming on. Won’t be any more outdoor shows for the foreseeable future. It’s dawned on me that I need to record and release a lot more if I’m going to have any hope of making up even a fraction of my gig revenue. Paying a studio to do that with the gig revenue is hard enough. Without it? Forget it. So I have to learn to do it myself.
 

cnlbb

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Quick follow up. For software those suggesting you start with garage band *if* you're getting a mac are spot on. It's cheap, does a lot, and upgrades easily to logic. If you're on PC I sadly suggest avoiding audacity despite it being free and good it can be annoying as hell and I'm guessing this is a hobby you want to stick with. So.. get demos and record quick little demo tracks with them. Then get whichever you like most, there isn't a huge advantage to any these days and what's popular switches around.
 

Wulf

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That’s sounds whacky, man!

This is all new to me. I never wanted to learn how to record. I’ve been performing and releasing original music forever. But I never had any interest in recording. I’d still rather not do it. I’d rather worry about writing, playing, and singing, and let engineers do the engineering. But unfortunately it’s not an option.

With the new world situation, I’m not performing live hardly at all. Only outdoor shows that follow all protocol. But now winter is coming on. Won’t be any more outdoor shows for the foreseeable future. It’s dawned on me that I need to record and release a lot more if I’m going to have any hope of making up even a fraction of my gig revenue. Paying a studio to do that with the gig revenue is hard enough. Without it? Forget it. So I have to learn to do it myself.
The Rules during "the current shenanigans" have been a bit different here...i spent most of my summer outside with either flamenco guitar or 12 string...the only live entertainment in town
 

Wulf

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my outdoor workhorses....that classical...if you can call it that....is the cheapest guitar you can get...ripped the finish off...( ithink it was applied at a tractor factory)..bone saddle and hard tension strings ...great for flamenco type stuff
20201117_030027.jpg
 

farmcaster

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Don’t overthink this when starting out.

You can do a hell of a lot with a small mixer, a USB interface, and a Mac running GarageBand. The program is not a toy or ‘add-on’ software common on Microsoft machines.

The simpler your setup is—the faster you’ll be making great recordings.
Second on the Garage Band advice, plus GB files are transferrable into Logic if/when you so desire.
 

iamjethro

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I am really beginning to get into Harrison Mixbus. I now have the 32c version, but the regular Mixbus is fantastic and is about 90 bucks. It is being picked up by a lot of pros even now. They were having a anniversary sale on it for 20 bucks until just recently. You could have gotten in cheaper even and it is all based on analog recording mixers. That makes it a little bit easier for old guys like me to make sense of some things.
 

Gaz_

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I did all this about 6 months ago. I'd been banging my head against a wall for 2 years trying to understand cubase as I got it free with a Zoom H2n. Never got anywhere, couldn't ever get anything to sync up (interfaces etc) hated every second. Many many late nights achieving nothing. Bought an interface specifically for cubase, couldn't get that to sync up, asked Steinberg and waited.

And while I waited, I thought "I'll check out that Reaper thing people are always talking about on TDPRI"

10 minutes later I was recording a song. The interface worked first time. It just works. And then it's only £60 for a hobby! It's great, try reaper. it's free to try for 60 days, and it's just intuitive!
 

CapnCrunch

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If you're going to set up your own home studio and actually record live instruments/vocals, then I would advise you invest more time and (possibly) money into making the space sound good before dropping any more money on equipment.

Do some research and educate yourself on the physics of the way sound waves behave in a space. You could spend thousands on gear, buy the best monitors and mics and compressors, etc, but wonder why it still sounds s**t when you record.

Figure out the particular acoustic character of your space, then "mend" the space if it throws up problems. This usually means building bass traps and high-frequency scattering furniture. There is no single right answer to this step, but it is the most important and the most rewarding: experiment in your space and then build the acoustic treatments you need to get a good sound. Then the equipment you buy won't be that important.

Wow, talk about a rabbit hole. I started reading up on this last night. I've dealt with sound treatment issues in live rooms a little but wasn't the person making the decisions or buying the sound treatments. Lots to think about here. My room is 16 feet wide, 26 feet long and has a 10 foot ceiling height. By sheer dumb luck it is pretty close to the golden mean in terms of measurements. Ceiling is sheet rock, walls are wood, and the floor is concrete, so it's at least a good place to start.
 

Wulf

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Wow, talk about a rabbit hole. I started reading up on this last night. I've dealt with sound treatment issues in live rooms a little but wasn't the person making the decisions or buying the sound treatments. Lots to think about here. My room is 16 feet wide, 26 feet long and has a 10 foot ceiling height. By sheer dumb luck it is pretty close to the golden mean in terms of measurements. Ceiling is sheet rock, walls are wood, and the floor is concrete, so it's at least a good place to start.
a dead room sounds too clinical to me.
if you look at old studios...lets say Sun records...home of many many great recordings...they didnt wall people off in bass trap or soundscreens...hence you get that "live band" feel that makes those recordings sooo great
 

CapnCrunch

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Thanks everyone for the thoughts and comments, this helps a lot. Sometimes you need to be told, or reassured, that even though there are lots of ways to skin the cat, you just need to choose and start. As with everything, you learn as you go. I was mostly wanting to make sure I was not making any huge boner type errors to start off that would snow ball and then entropy would kill any progress and desire later on.
 

Wulf

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another of the old greats was Joe Meek...he turned his flat into a home studio...recorded vocals in bathroom to get a bit of echo.
The first album by the jam...again vocals done in bathroom to get a "live" feel
 

thesamhill

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you just need to choose and start

Yep yep yep. If there's anything that is holding you back due to analysis paralysis, then forget it all and go ultra lo-fi. Get Reaper, get some janky adapters, plug into the mic/line port on your PC, and get some tracks down. Pick what to do next based on what you want better. For me... it always ends up to be "practice more" lol.
 

CapnCrunch

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a dead room sounds too clinical to me.
if you look at old studios...lets say Sun records...home of many many great recordings...they didnt wall people off in bass trap or soundscreens...hence you get that "live band" feel that makes those recordings sooo great

I have a lot more reading to do, but my gut was telling me last night that my initial "sound treatments" for this room will be diffuser type treatments rather than absorption, though I think I will install bass traps in the corners to start also. It appears that diffusers are actually more expensive to implement, so I'll likely build them.
 

Jakedog

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Thanks everyone for the thoughts and comments, this helps a lot. Sometimes you need to be told, or reassured, that even though there are lots of ways to skin the cat, you just need to choose and start. As with everything, you learn as you go. I was mostly wanting to make sure I was not making any huge boner type errors to start off that would snow ball and then entropy would kill any progress and desire later on.
Heh heh. You said “huge boner”.
 




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