Recording Recommendations for Practice

Discussion in 'Recording In Progress' started by kappa2583, Apr 11, 2011.

  1. kappa2583

    kappa2583 Tele-Meister

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    I would like to record some rhythm tracks to practice improvising. There seem to be a LOT of options out there so I was hoping that I could get some inexpensive (<$200) recommendations. Some of the ideas that I have floating around in my head are:

    1. A looper like the Boss RC-2, RC-3 or Digitech Jam Man. I like this option since the recorded loop can be played through my amp without the need of a computer, interface and all that other "stuff".

    2. Handheld recorder. I think this would be fine but I think that I would have to run the recorded track through some sort of speaker system such as computer speakers.

    3. Get an USB interface and record sraight into the computer.

    I also have some questions about the gear that I already have. I have a Vibro Champ XD which has a line out. Would I be able to record straight from the line out to the mic in on a handheld recorder?

    A similar situation with my other amp that has a headphone out. Would I be able to record straigt from the headphone out to the mic in on a handheld recorder?

    I'm not looking for a high-tech home studio, just something where I can easily lay down the comp and solo over it for practice. Right now I'm leaning towards one of the looper pedals even though it's one of the more expensive options. What do you use or would you suggest?

    Any suggestions are very welcome! Thanks!

    -Joe
     
  2. woodman

    woodman Grand Wazoo @ The Woodshed Ad Free Member

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    The looper is the simplest option, almost plug-and-play once you get the basic operation down. Very little delayed gratification between your moment of comp inspiration and being able to solo over it.

    Most handhelds have their own microphones, some of them pretty good ones, and you could record from your cranked amp without a line or mic out/in, but then you get into transfer/translation into a playback system and so forth. ... Line out > Mic in wouldn't give you the signal level you need, but Headphone out > Mic in might. My guess is, going direct like that might not give you the sound you're looking for (though I could be wrong — never did it and don't know anyone who has, because the mikes are so handy, what's the point?).

    With computer-based approaches, one thing tends to leads to another ... that would be your best long-term solution, but it would take a while to get up to speed. However, even with a simple setup like you describe (amp>interface>DAW) you'd be building a foundation for a lifetime of recording satisfaction, in the event you get hooked (as so many of us do!) and eventually want to take your music beyond jamming to comps.
     
  3. kappa2583

    kappa2583 Tele-Meister

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    It looks like I might be going the way of the USB audio interface; and now I have some questions about how it works.

    When recording guitar directly through the interface into a DAW what will it sound like? Obviously it won't sound like my amp. Are there amp models or effects built within the DAW. I understand there are many DAWs and I'm sure the answer to the previous question will vary depending on what software is being used, but let's say I'll be using a free DAW like Audacity.

    I figure the only way to get MY amp's sound recorded is to mic it and hook up the mic to the interface. Is that a correct assumption?

    Finally, any recommendations for USB interfaces? I'm a first timer so simplicity would be my primary concern followed by sound quality.

    Thanks again!

    -Joe
     
  4. FMA

    FMA Poster Extraordinaire

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    If you're going guitar tracks, it's hard to go wrong with one of the Line 6 products. I have a two-track deal -- I forget the model number -- but it is bone simple to use and the guitar sounds you can get from the Line 6 software are pretty good.
     
  5. Mad Kiwi

    Mad Kiwi Friend of Leo's

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    I would suggest a looper.

    PC or computer recording just leads to a very convuluted path of all sorts of fun and games, mostly NOT associated with playing and develping playing skills.... Fun but not very productive....

    Woodman is spot on, a looper is the direct path to what your stated goal was. I would go with the Digitech as you can record backing tracks to the SD card as well...best of both worlds.

    Each to their own though, but that is my experience. YMMV :)
     
  6. woodman

    woodman Grand Wazoo @ The Woodshed Ad Free Member

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    It'll sound like a squeaky-clean line-level signal — great for processing/reamping and what-not, but definitely not the sound you get with your amp. FMA's suggestion of a Line 6 would fill that gap — your interface and guitar sounds all in one box. My experience with the Line 6 plugs and hardware POD has been that the presets are created to dazzle at first glimpse, but rarely fit into a mix without tweaking ... no different from tweaking your amp and mike placement, tweaking time is built into the recording process.

    BUT once you home in on a keeper sound, you can save it to tweak for the next song. Out of thousands of possible sounds on my PodFarm plugs and '99 hardware POD, I've dialed in about a dozen sounds I always know I can take to the bank ... dozens more for specific occasions/needs, but you get the point.

    Never used it, but I don't think you'll get much in the way of amp sims with Audacity. The only free software I know of with decent modeling is Garageband, but if you don't have a Mac, you're out of luck.

    Yes, although getting a faithful recording of your amp's sound the way you hear it can be daunting. So much depends on the mike, the mike placement, the room acoustics ... in my situation, I found amp sims the best solution. A lot of folks disagree and believe there's nothing like the sound of a cranked amp through a mike. ... It's really a matter of, "how can I best sound like me?" Listeners (excluding audiophiles and serious studio types) don't know or give a hoot how you got your sound, as long as it makes for a good song.

    In your situation, I would go with an interface/modeler like POD or equivalent (there are other brands, I just don't know them). The POD Studio GX would get you there for guitar — about a hundred bucks — but for a little more, you could get their UX1, which has an XLR mike input in case you ever want to incorporate vocals. Again, I'm not a Line 6 flack, and there are comparable alternatives, but it's the only brand I have personal experience with.
     
  7. FMajor7add9

    FMajor7add9 TDPRI Member

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    Had the Jamman looper for a few days, biggest tone sucker ever, perfect specs otherwise, returned it. Back in 2007, they may have improved since.

    Computer recording is a breeze on a mac, Garageband is pre-installed default and by far the easiest recording app. ever. Loaded with useable loops and beats to get any practise session beefed up straight away. Lots of similar options on PC of course, though not with the same sleek user friendly design.

    Used a Zoom H4 as a guitar -> mac interface, worked fine. Zoom H4 can multi track (ie looping) on it's own also and can be loaded with any backing track you prefer which is really handy if killing time in odd places with a guitar. H4 built in mic great for voice/acoustic also (some examples from that set up, track 2 & 5 best)

    I can see why a dedicated looper at your feet opens other possibilities but would really only care for the big ones (RC50 f.x.) as a performance tool. For solo practising it's way overpriced.

    Nothing has been more rewarding for my playing than practising to a beat/loop and recording and reviewing it. Same approach can be applied to band rehearsals obviously and really gets you in that focused studio mode.

    On a side note:
    ingenious remote control of Ableton live for smart looping and triggering
     
  8. kappa2583

    kappa2583 Tele-Meister

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    The Line 6 POD UX1 or UX2 look like solid units. But yet, in my compulsive scouring, I came across the zoom G2Nu (or the other zoom models for that matter) and have another question.

    The Zoom G2Nu is a multi-effects pedal/amp modeler that has an USB interface. It seems like I would be able to use the modeling software of the pedal to get a specific tone that would be recorded by the DAW. Have any of you had any success in using a multi-effect pedal as a USB interface for recording? If so, what were your results?
     
  9. mkorsmo

    mkorsmo Tele-Meister

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    I like the Digitech JamMan Solo, I don't keep it in my effects chain, for me it's a jam along device. I like it because I have about 200 backingtracks that I have loaded via the internal memory and an SD card. Works well. Typically, I put it in the loop of my amp when I want to use it.

    For simple recording tasks, I use a TASCAM DR-07and its built-in condenser mics. Works well for evaluating what I'm playing/rough song demos/songwriting. I'll use what I record with it for scratch tracks in ProTools if I get something I want to develop further.
     
  10. davmac

    davmac Tele-Afflicted

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    I've had a lot of success with a Line 6 Pod XT Live. Makes a great recording interface. Has a couple of really decent amp and FX sims. Now that it has been superseded by both the X3 and the HD series, you can pick them up pretty cheap too.
     
  11. guitarmikey

    guitarmikey Tele-Holic

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    My UA-4FX from Roland goes so goood for recording, practice as well, even some interesting hardware mastering options!
    You can go straight to computer or through its effects. It has an upgraded version I think...
     
  12. Rolling Estonian

    Rolling Estonian Friend of Leo's

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    If you go with the Line 6, it comes with Pod Farm which has a bunch of amp and effect choices, more for sale of course. I personally went with the UX2 years ago as my first interface...... And Woody's right, a lifetime of recording satisfaction indeed!

    M
     
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