Other guitar-y things

Recording at home- what do you use?

1

Once upon a time, I had a small, 24trk digital studio in the basement. It was hardware based (Roland, for the most part), and it worked well back in the day...

But now I do most of my work in software and it's time to nail down a budget-priced, semi-pro DAW application (not ProTools) that will handle input from outside the computer through an interface (voices and "live" instruments) as well as all digital MIDI files (plus WAVs) from the PC world.

I was using Reaper, which was very inexpensive, but Reaper has become amazingly process heavy these days, with the result that I spend as much time figuring out HOW to do something as I do actually accomplishing it!

So I am looking for something more sophisticated than Audacity, but not so process-heavy as Protools (never mind expensive) that can be installed on a stand-alone PC and become my "new" recording studio.

I have looked at a couple- M-track Studio 9 and Presonus Studio One (names are simply coincidence, methinks). Neither really turns my crank, so I am wondering what others are using these days in the way of semi-pro, budget tool sets?

PS- if it interfaces nicely with my primary composition and arranging tool -Finale- so much the better.

2

If you have access to a Mac or iOS system, I’ve had awful good luck with Aurea Pro. I still have a PC laptop loaded with Reaper that I still use sometimes, but I also a 512 gb hard-drive iPad with Aurea Pro that I like a lot. Not quite as deep as Reaper but still extremely useful IMO.

3

Old skool. Tascam 38 open reel 8-track, currently out of commission as it needs a new pinch roller. I do have an Alesis adat digital 8-track machine as back-up -- fairly old skool.

Audio access to either of these machines in through assorted rackmounted analog mic preamps -- TL Audio and Aphex etc. Mixdown is via an Alesis desk and a TL Audio Fatman compressor plus fx by Lexicon.

I like the idea of just 'recording a performance' -- if we don't like it we play it again, although if the odd dud note spoils an otherwise decent take then a drop in is allowed.

4

I have a zoom R24. They also have the new liveTrak series with some more knobs and options.

5

I like the Zoom R24 in the band room. I can record 8 tracks at once and download the wav files to a computer where I mix down in either Adobe Audition or Garage Band. I also keep a Zoom R8 in the living room (8 tracks with 2 inputs) for quickly capturing fleeting ideas. These can also be used as a very good input for a computer.

6

I think Cubase is worth the steepish learning curve. Like most things,its easier once you get it figured out,lol. Cubase 10 for me,with Ableton Live as a fantastic sidekick. Both Cubase and Ableton have inexpensive versions that are great.

7

I still love SONAR which is now free!!! And there are plenty of online tutorials... https://www.bandlab.com/pro...

If you want a group of great FX plugins that integrate perfectly with SONAR just add WAVES gold and you will have everything you need software wise. https://www.sweetwater.com/...

For interfaces I use RME in both my homestudio (babyface) and project studio (UCX and ADI-8DS).

Here's a song I just recorded with my Gretsch 6120T '55VS used for the fills and lead solo

https://soundcloud.com/dani...

Here's my project studio...

8

Old skool. Tascam 38 open reel 8-track, currently out of commission as it needs a new pinch roller. I do have an Alesis adat digital 8-track machine as back-up -- fairly old skool.

Audio access to either of these machines in through assorted rackmounted analog mic preamps -- TL Audio and Aphex etc. Mixdown is via an Alesis desk and a TL Audio Fatman compressor plus fx by Lexicon.

I like the idea of just 'recording a performance' -- if we don't like it we play it again, although if the odd dud note spoils an otherwise decent take then a drop in is allowed.

– Dave_K

Hey DaveK,

Give these folks a shout about your T 38 machine Pinch Roller...

https://openreel.net/index_...

They responded back to me in one day....from Japan!

9

PreSonus Studio One. It's compatible with ProTools, but way cheaper (and not based on annual renewals) and more user-friendly.

10

I'm using a 12-year old Dell desktop, a 1-channel M-Audio USB interface, and Cakewalk as a DAW. The PC was practically free, a friend gave me the interface, and Cakewalk is a free download. I'm a tightwad, but I've been able to produce this:

https://soundcloud.com/raen777

Three of the songs have live drums, which I recorded at a church using their 16-channel interface, then took the WAV files home on a USB drive. On one of the songs with live drums, "I'm Home", the snare was very inconsistent and not well isolated, so we replaced everything with digital samples synced to the live drums. "Faithful" percussion was all programmed. "Things Are Gonna Change" was a 2005 Gretsch Pro Jet. Other songs were a Telecaster and a Heritage H-140.

11

I'm using a 12-year old Dell desktop, a 1-channel M-Audio USB interface, and Cakewalk as a DAW. The PC was practically free, a friend gave me the interface, and Cakewalk is a free download. I'm a tightwad, but I've been able to produce this:

https://soundcloud.com/raen777

Three of the songs have live drums, which I recorded at a church using their 16-channel interface, then took the WAV files home on a USB drive. On one of the songs with live drums, "I'm Home", the snare was very inconsistent and not well isolated, so we replaced everything with digital samples synced to the live drums. "Faithful" percussion was all programmed. "Things Are Gonna Change" was a 2005 Gretsch Pro Jet. Other songs were a Telecaster and a Heritage H-140.

– stratman

sounded good stratman

12

Teac A-3440 reel-to-reel. Maybe it shouldn't be this way, but for me, the experience is different than digital. When the tape is rolling, it feels like being in a real studio, like OK, lets focus and get this right. Also, you can really hit that thing in the front end. Us analogue guys are in the minority, but that's OK; I use fiberglass fly rods too.

13

I like Apple Logic. Great value and functionality for the money. Does more than I’ll ever need. I have an old TEAC portastudio that I think I’ll dust off soon. Would love to find an old reel to reel.

My challenge is capturing quality live recordings of the duo. Haven’t yet found a good way. Tried recording with lines out from the mixer, but the mic’d up electric guitar sounds weak, because the level is purposely low in the mix through the PA. Sounds great in the room, because a lot of the electric guitar sound to FOH is from the amp.

14

Zoom R16 and I try and do EVERYTHING on it, using the onboard effects, eq and mastering. Just to be awkward. I use a Mac all day for work and want to avoid having to deal with the software learning curve. So we mic up ambiently (no ghastly close micing) and press play/record. Bingo, we record the song!

15

I'm stuck with one of these.

16

I'm stuck with one of these.

– Suprdave

.... Still too complex

17

I'll have to say, It is difficult to play and hand turn the wheel while playing.

18

I still use my old Korg D1600 16 track recorder. I've used it so long, I can manipulate it with my eyes shut. (exaggeration) Then I move the tracks to Adobe Audition and mix and master there. I have no desire or patience for learning the newer stuff.

19

15 year old Korg D1200.

20

Pro Logic through a Mac Mini with glorious results.

21

Same as crowbone - although I wouldn't claim that my results are always glorious...

Mac mini is souped up with an SSD and RAM'ed to the max.

Universal Audio plug ins have been a massive game changer for me, although the Logic plug ins have improved.

For mixing I like to run individual stereo stems through a DIY passive summing mixer. To my ears it provides improved clarity, separation and dynamics.

As a studio pro, my working day always started with cleaning, de-magging and aligning whatever 24-track tape machine I happened to be using. As much as I loved recording onto tape, I don't miss it.

22

Scarlet 2i/2 Condenser mic Garage band Apple tablet

23

Maybe someone here can help this digital recording nube(?). I recently installed Cakewalk on my laptop. I tried to make a quick recording with an M-Audio midi keyboard controller using the soft synths built into Cakewalk. The recording sounds great in Cakewalk, very clear, hi-fi, studio recording. But when I export to wav or mp3 and play it in other apps on my laptop it sounds like crap! I lose all that clarity. Way too nasaly.

24

Logic Pro is what I use for my job (contract games composer and sound engineer for a casino games developer). I don’t use any after market plug-ins. Logic has everything I need, including a decent sound library, lots of license-free loops, and flexible drummer/percussion tracks.

Universal Audio Apollo Twin interface, Neumann monitors, a few decent mikes. Simple, quality components. A few steps down from pro level, but more than enough for my application.

Logic Pro has a bit of a learning curve. The old joke is that Logic is not logical. But there’s tons of YouTube resources, and once you have some time in it becomes second nature.

Others I know have had good results with Ableton.

Good luck with your journey!


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