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  1. #1
    Musicaholic Forums Moderator ForeverAutumn's Avatar
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    A little OT - Desktop recording

    I'm in the market for a desktop recording studio. Does anyone here have one? I'm looking for something relatively simple to use because, as you all know, I'm not very technical. For now, I just want to record vocals and guitar. But I can see myself adding a keyboard for other effects at some point.

    I know that Troy uses Garageband but I think that's only available for Macs and I have a PC. I went into my local music store this afternoon and the guy there recommended Lambda Studio, which comes with Cubase LE software. There was another one that he also recommended that used Cakewalk's Sonar 6 software, but I didn't write down the make of the Studio component.

    He said that Sonar 6 is their top selling software and Cubase is their second best seller, but that he personally felt that Cubase was a little more user friendly.

    Anyway, if anyone here knows anything about these home studios, I sure could use some educating and some advice.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Crackhead Extraordinaire Registered Member Dusty Chalk's Avatar
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    If you don't want to waste your time piddlin' with half-assed pieces of software, go for one of the ProTools LE systems that have been coming out lately. They've been pairing them with M-Audios smaller interfaces. They might come as the designation "M-Powered". Here, for example, is one. You would still need a microphone.

    If you want to go even cheaper, your best bet is probably to get a USB microphone, and find some cheap or free recording software. This won't allow you to add keyboards later, but it'll give you the chance to hit the ground running from a hardware perspective, and then all you'd need is the software.

    BTW, GarageBand is more about putting tracks together than actual recording, although one can record, but it expects you to start inside of it, rather than start externally. If you're going to do the coffeehouse/campfire/singer/songwriter thing (as the basis for your songs) and add stuff later, your best bet is to do what you actually said -- get some recording software.
    Eschew fascism.
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevef22
    you guys are crackheads.
    I remain,
    Peter aka Dusty Chalk

  3. #3
    Musicaholic Forums Moderator ForeverAutumn's Avatar
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    Thanks Dusty. But that's more than I want to spend right now. Since I'm a newbie at this, something cheaper will do me just fine. The one that the music store guy recommended was $230. Plus another $120 for a decent mic. Add in another 15% for tax and that's about my budget at the moment.

  4. #4
    Crackhead Extraordinaire Registered Member Dusty Chalk's Avatar
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    Okay, let me do some research, and I'll get back to you.
    Eschew fascism.
    Truth Will Out.
    Quote Originally Posted by stevef22
    you guys are crackheads.
    I remain,
    Peter aka Dusty Chalk

  5. #5
    Musicaholic Forums Moderator ForeverAutumn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dusty Chalk
    Okay, let me do some research, and I'll get back to you.
    Wow. You're actually going to spend your own time doing research for me? What a guy! I owe you a big lactose free milkshake!

  6. #6
    Crackhead Extraordinaire Registered Member Dusty Chalk's Avatar
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    No big -- "research" consists of me flipping through my copies of Sound on Sound and going over their website (to which I have a subscription). And looking around on zZounds.com and other music sale sites. Which I do once in awhile anyway.

    Lexicon Lambda Studio? You know what, that's probably fine. That's even a steal at full retail. You know they just came out with an even smaller one called the Alpha Studio, but it comes with some other software that's probably much more entry level than Cubase LE.

    Okay, what I did was, I went to zZounds, looked up "audio interfaces" (USB), sorted by price from low to high, and just started going through them. Some of them are highly specialized (like the Guitar Port and the JamLab), some of them just won't cut it (M-Audio Transit), some of them don't come with any software (the Gemini). That left a little bit of competition (based mostly on price), but the biggest contender was far and away the Emu 0202 -- looks like it lets you choose between Cubase LE and Sonar LE and a plethora of other software -- I'd get this one just based on the great amount of software they shovel on you. The Edirol also appears to have phantom power, which could come in useful later if you get a better mic, but so does the Lambda Studio. So in my mind, it's between the Emu and the Lexicon, I don't think you could go wrong either way. But if you buy the Emu locally, make sure it comes with all that software that it comes with on the zZounds site. The M-Audio FastTrack is cheaper, but doesn't come with any audio production software.

    Okay, so now you need a mic. I really like my Shure SM58 (clone, a Shure "Prolog"). But that may not necessarily work for you. You may prefer a Shure SM57. Either one of those should be fine, but you may want to go in and try a few out. If the salesman will let you, it'd be nice if you could record your voice with it, to see how well it matches up with your voice. (A microphone is a very personal thing.)

    Audio Technica, Sennheiser, Shure -- all make good microphones. If you're going to do what I was saying above, and if you have access to a quiet environment, you may want to even get an omnidirectional microphone like the Shure "Green Bullet", but that's something you're going to have to live with. But don't get a hypercardioid. Unless you're going to mic one thing at a time. link
    Eschew fascism.
    Truth Will Out.
    Quote Originally Posted by stevef22
    you guys are crackheads.
    I remain,
    Peter aka Dusty Chalk

  7. #7
    Can a crooner get a gig? dean_martin's Avatar
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    I haven't done any digital recording yet. I do some recording with an old 4-track recorder. So I'll limit my comments to microphones. I use the MXL 990/991 condenser mic package (requires phantom power), a Shure SM57, a single channel Presonus tubed mic preamp and a Presonus 2-ch tubed mic preamp. The MXL package is a great buy. You can also get the 990 by itself. The 990 is an excellent vocal mic and I've even used it to mic a bass guitar amp. Microphones are my newest toy interest. I found a guy who makes mics from old telephone parts. It makes you sound like you're talking through a telephone! It's next on my list of "must have" toys.

    http://www.musiciansfriend.com/produ...age?sku=273166

  8. #8
    Musicaholic Forums Moderator ForeverAutumn's Avatar
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    Hey Dusty and Deano, thanks for your help. I ended up with the E-mu 0404 (and accompanying massive software offering) and a Shure SM58. I worked with the manager of the recording dept. to figure out what was best for me, based on what I wanted to accomplish.

    The E-mu 0202 doesn't have a built-in Midi interface and that was something that I know I'm going to want down the road. It also doesn't have phantom power, which may or may not be important down the road, but nice to have the option if I want additional mics once I get into this (I also looked at condenser mics). The 0404 has all of this.

    As for the mic, based on my use and current set-up, which I described to the guy, he recommended the SM58. I want it mostly for vocals, and I'll probably need to be about a foot away from it. He said that I'd practically have to eat the SM57 to get a good vocal recording from it.

    He ended up giving me a deal on everything, and I got the Emu, mic, a stand, and cable for $5 over my anticipated budget - after tax. I'm happy.

    Now I just have to start playing and learn how to use this thing.

  9. #9
    Can a crooner get a gig? dean_martin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ForeverAutumn
    As for the mic, based on my use and current set-up, which I described to the guy, he recommended the SM58. I want it mostly for vocals, and I'll probably need to be about a foot away from it. He said that I'd practically have to eat the SM57 to get a good vocal recording from it.
    Congrats on your recording package! I use the SM57 to mic my guitar amp and sometimes to mic my son's drum kit. The only vocal use it's seen is by the screamer in my son's band. For vocals, the SM58 has the reputation of being THE vocal mic, particularly for on-stage. IOW, the guy gave you good advice!

    You've got me interested in E-mu's gear. M-audio used to have some reasonably priced recording equipment, but some of their most popular stuff has been discontinued.

  10. #10
    Musicaholic Forums Moderator ForeverAutumn's Avatar
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    Thanks Dean. I may end up with the SM57 at some point also. I play two guitars which have very different sounds. As things stand now, I'll only be able to plug in my Ovation. But eventually, I'll probably want the SM57 for my Yamaha which is much more twangy, but totally accoustic. I can already see that this new hobby is going to cost me some dough in the long run.

    I forgot to include the link for the E-mu 0404. I ended up paying $215 cdn, after the discount that he gave me. After looking around on-line, I think I got a pretty good deal.

  11. #11
    Crackhead Extraordinaire Registered Member Dusty Chalk's Avatar
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    I have nothing to say except, "huzzah".
    Eschew fascism.
    Truth Will Out.
    Quote Originally Posted by stevef22
    you guys are crackheads.
    I remain,
    Peter aka Dusty Chalk

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