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Starting to take home recording very seriously, for obvious reasons

Discussion in 'Recording In Progress' started by dlew919, Apr 27, 2020.

  1. fretWalkr

    fretWalkr Tele-Meister

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    Just a few thoughts based on years of recording.
    - Work with existing resources as much as you can...avoid the endless gear quest and GAS. Ex: Garage band works fine for your needs. Searching for the best DAW is complex, time consuming, and at the end of the day, they all do the same thing. Blindfold tests I've seen show you can't really tell the DAW results apart.
    - At minimum you need a decent interface. Neutrik interfaces will support both XLR and hi-z mics/guitar phone jacks. They're all pretty good until you jump into the $1000+ pro range. Make sure your interface works with phantom power. Many mics require this.
    - Record to a click / drum track. You will save yourself endless amounts of time tracking down timing errors
    - you need to school yourself on the mechanics of recording. Also, mixing obviously is related but requires many different skills. There are great videos on Youtube.
     
  2. tintag27

    tintag27 Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I'm jealous - you've got way more picks than me... |:eek:(
     
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  3. TokyoPortrait

    TokyoPortrait Friend of Leo's

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    Hi again.

    I’m going to chime in again and second those that say you don’t need much. There’s a lot of money to be made flogging DAW / home recording related stuff and the internet is full of people telling you that you really really need to have it.

    A lot is cleverly done, with people offering a lot of free info and the promise of that extra bit to make you excellent if you just pay them for it. But really, it’s all out there for free anyway.

    And on the DAW front, all sorts of companies are trying to sell ‘essential’ plugins to give you ‘that sound’ you lack, to make your songs more analogue, organic, radio ready, or whatever.

    It all works on FUD.*

    GatageBand, which you already have, is a world class DAW, with superb recording quality and it contains world class plugins (exactly the same as it’s bigger sibling, Logic Pro X). All the actual plugins that you will really, actually need (EQ, compression, delay, reverb, etc.) are already there, often with multiple varieties, and they are world class.

    If you really ever feel the need for more plugins, try free ones first.

    If your recordings don’t sound good, it will be almost certainly be the engineering, not the software or the missing secret sauce someone is flogging.

    For the home recording person, the only ‘disadvantage’ of GarageBand is you cannot run aux channels / busses. You won’t have to worry about stuff like that for ages.

    I’m going to stress again, at this stage all you really need is some hardware (& some knowledge & practice). Get a cheap but decent modern audio interface (that has phantom power) and some halfway decent headphone (the basic Shure SH440 ones for example, are great), and you’ll be set. Next, add a cheap midi controller keyboard, as someone mentioned. You’ll be really set then, and able to do absolutely heaps.

    Pax/
    Dean
    * Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt - a kind of disinformation campaign, often used in marketing (you probably knew that, but just in case)
     
  4. Steve 78

    Steve 78 Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    For BPM this is my approach. Record a rough take of the track or part at a tempo that feels right. Highlight X number of beats in the recording (you can play it on loop to make sure you have the start / end in time). Your DAW should show you the length of time of the highlighted section. Calculate: # beats / time (in seconds) * 60 = BPM. It's possible your DAW can do the calculation automatically, but I'm not familiar with Garage Band. Then set your metronome to the BPM and record the real take.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2020
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  5. beagle

    beagle Friend of Leo's

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    They're the ones I haven't dropped yet...
     
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  6. dlew919

    dlew919 Doctor of Teleocity

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    Thanks for this. I’ve done a lot of work in the studio with big boards etc. done a fair bit of mixing. But it seems I’ll need an interface.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  7. superjam144

    superjam144 Tele-Afflicted

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    I use scarlett focus rite with a shure dynamic mic to my blues junior, a Logitech webcam and a program called video maker.

    Reaper is amazing. Used to use it before I decided to do videos.

    Great sound and super easy to use. Got an older windows laptop dedicated to recording.

    IMG_20200427_200710.jpg
     
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  8. TokyoPortrait

    TokyoPortrait Friend of Leo's

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    Hi again.

    This may or may not be of use to you, but the first tip here talks about how to set a track as the master groove, which the others can then be set to align to. When it says the left side, it means over the track number at the very left.

    https://www.musicradar.com/how-to/20-great-garageband-power-tips-you-need-to-know

    Also, if you are using Drummer (another great reason to have GarageBand / Logic), then, down in the bottom pane, in the bottom right of the Drummer window with the wee kit (highlight the Drummer track and hit the e key to show this), you will see a "Follow" checkbox. Clicking this will give you a pop-down menu to select which other track you want Drummer's kick and snare to try and sync to.

    I use Logic Pro X and uninstalled GarageBand, so I can't remember if GarageBand has this, but in Logic I sometimes record the riff or whatever first with the tempo set to "Adapt" (click on the Project Tempo pop-up menu, under the Tempo Display - if GarageBand has this feature). This will give you a map of the tempo if you have the Global Tracks pop-down open (top left, right next to the track header where you see the bar numbers listed). I might have to adapt what I'm playing to accentuate the beat, but this gives me a range of BPMs that I can figure out the average from and that I can then set (switching back to "Keep") for the whole project. Select all the tempo markers on the tempo map and delete them too though, otherwise they'll mess with things.

    It's all algorithms remember, results will vary. But, it can help in many situations.

    Pax/
    Dean
     
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  9. suthol

    suthol Friend of Leo's

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    This is done in Reaper by a guy on the Pitbull guitar builders forum

     
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  10. tintag27

    tintag27 Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I have not found these features in GB - not yet anyway...
    But this is interesting as I always wondered whether it was possible to get 'rubato' (ie varying tempo within one project) in GarageBand - I assumed that it is possible in Logic, but not in GB...
     
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  11. TokyoPortrait

    TokyoPortrait Friend of Leo's

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    Hi.

    This talks about varying tempo within a project.

    https://thegaragebandguide.com/tempo-track

    Also, zooming in on the screen shot, I can't see the Smart Tempo features, so I guess what I was talking about above (playing and having smart tempo analyse the BPM) only applies to Logic - sorry.

    Also, I don't think GarageBand has the "Metering" set of plugins, or perhaps not the full set? I can't really remember. You should check just in case. Logic has a BPM meter in this set. I know there are free ones out there too.

    Pax/
    Dean
     
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  12. Whatizitman

    Whatizitman Friend of Leo's

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    Don't even need a midi controller. Computers have a mouse. I've never used a controller. Most DAWs have a built-in piano roll.
     
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  13. TokyoPortrait

    TokyoPortrait Friend of Leo's

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    Hi.

    True, but I find it hard to swing on a mouse :)

    Pax/
    Dean
     
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  14. JaySeb

    JaySeb TDPRI Member

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    No sweat, the whole point of a forum is to exchange! I've been recording for years so here's my 2 cents. Of course, it always depends on how serious you are (costs...etc.). I'm happy to share some knowledge - I personally run Logic Pro X in my studio using a MacBookPro a Universal Audio Interface... and many other gadgets... lol

    So.

    Rode NT-USB condenser microphone... : for any platform, if you can manage to record and are happy with the sound you're getting, it’s all good! Why make things more complicated when you don't have to? At the beginning decades ago, that's exactly what I did and it worked perfectly (basically used what I could find and the results were very surprising sometimes). I even use very basic field recorders and those are great. So underrated it’s crazy. You would be amazed at the sound of a simple field recorder... Roland, Zoom, etc., many manufacturers make those. Great for electric and acoustic setups. Pro Tip - Try different angles with any type of mic or recorder, you'll be able to play with the sound. You can even record more than one at a time and mix those in your DAW if you wish; very fun discovery. Even after 25 years of recording, I still have fun doing this.

    I have an interface - a Digidrive Mini M2... If I can save you time and frustrations... Don't fight a card, drivers or things that just don't work with your station. Trust me, I've wasted time in my life and it isn't worth it. Find something else that will work at a cost you find is acceptable. We each have different budgets, and that’s cool. For myself, I decided years ago to use Universal Audio and they work great. Again, it depends on your budget and goal. You can use much lower cost equipment and the results will be great. A used USB (certified for your platform) can do just fine like a small scarlet and so on. If I bought a small interface, Scarlet should be an option. Avid and many others have also great solutions. But from the purchase, make sure it’s compatible with your OS. Pro Tip - Once you find something that works do not update your Mac without verifying full compatibility first. Sometimes, it may take 3-6-9 months before manufacturers update...

    Garage Band... (GB) is an excellent tool and super easy to use once you get the hang of it. I've used GB many times, and always amazed at the quality you can get out of it. The best is usually on YouTube... TheGarageBandGuide is a classic. Pro Tip - Use Garage Band it’s more than enough for 99% of people ; )

    Rock on and have fun!
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2020
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  15. tintag27

    tintag27 Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Well I am embarrassed to say I never knew that was in GarageBand!
    Doh! that is exactly what I was thinking about - how could I have missed it !
    Thank you very much!
    Cheers
    Tony!
     
  16. niilolainen

    niilolainen Tele-Meister

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    7...8 years ago I used to be active on a songwriting forum called Songstuff and a guy posted a very simple, rough acoustic recording I really liked. I immediately heard a Robert Wyatt kind of layered synth arrangement in my head. So I asked him to email me the original recording, which he did. I then tried importing it into GarageBand to make my remix and it was impossible. The original recording's tempo was varying quite a bit and on occasion he was dropping a beat altogether. There were some variable tempo features in GB back then, but they didn't work too well and they would crash my machine. I started trying to chop it up and line it up manually and it was just awful. So I gave up.

    But then recently I came across that original audio file. In the meantime I have graduated to Logic Pro X. Yesterday I imported that old audio file into a project using the Tempo>Adapt feature. It got the first 7...8 bars perfectly analyzed straight away. After a bit of research on how the Smart Tempo Editor works, I was able to use that to put all beats and bars in the right place and hence to match the project timeline to the original recording. Which meant also setting some bars to 3/4 time instead of 4/4 where the original recording dropped beats.

    But now I can freely play around with Apple Drummer, Apple Loops, have a good framework for Midi etc.

    I think GarageBand is a great simple DAW that is excellent for most applications. And really should be enough for most home recordists like myself. But then having Logic with some of those extra features comes in handy for solving specific problems.

    Also during this corona-time I did a dumb-but-fun mashup of Led Zep's Hearbreaker and Primal Scream's Don't Fight It, Feel It. There again the pitch and tempo kind of tools were really handy.
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2020
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