recording on computers

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kingofpartick
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Post by kingofpartick » Mon Feb 04, 2008 23:23

i would like to try a bit of sequncing at some point. But mainly i want to have a basic recording suite, and also be able to use midi so i can utilise emulator software such as rhodes sounds and organs and the like, along with real instruments.
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sunnyset
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Post by sunnyset » Fri Feb 08, 2008 08:09

I use Cubase and phonic helix mixing desk for recording instruments etc. And I've just bought a little midi ekeys keyboard which I use with fruityloops for making other noises. It is lovely becuase it takes up so little room and it is really easy to get out and just plug it into my computer.
It took me a while to get it all to work as I wanted it to and I'm still not really sure I'm doing things the most efficent way but it is lots of fun and that is the main thing!

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Post by Concrete » Sun Feb 10, 2008 11:09

kingofpartick wrote:i would like to try a bit of sequncing at some point. But mainly i want to have a basic recording suite, and also be able to use midi so i can utilise emulator software such as rhodes sounds and organs and the like, along with real instruments.
A sequencer such as Cubase/Nuendo would definitely be the obvious choice there; we're using Nuendo for our February album here. It's not that different from Cubase, really, just has a few extra bits and pieces to it (there may be some fundamental difference under the surface as well, but I'm not that up on techincal things). Because we live in a terrace and can't really record live drums in the house, I'm using drum samples, and can record MIDI tracks of me playing pads once I get the interface back off my band, so it'll have human timings, even if it doesn't have real drum sounds. We're basically doing exactly what you say - using Hammond plugins, drum plugins and synth plugins on MIDI tracks, and recording guitars etc. onto audio tracks.

I have a Soundblaster Audigy 2 in my laptop; I'm not sure how good the on-board audio is on most, so yours may be fine for the job. The biggest problem with VST use (is probably what you'll be using for plugin instruments) is latency (you press the key, then anything up to half a second later you hear the sound), which my soundcard sorts out nicely.

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gloom button
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Post by gloom button » Sun Feb 10, 2008 20:23

Concrete wrote:The biggest problem with VST use (is probably what you'll be using for plugin instruments) is latency (you press the key, then anything up to half a second later you hear the sound), which my soundcard sorts out nicely.
I have a perfectly serviceable M-Audio MIDI keyboard which is almost completely useless because of this pause thing. I thought it was just my computer having not enough free space or something, but it's even more irritating if it's a soundcard problem. I don't suppose there's any way to minimise the effects of this or anything, or even of getting a consistent delay so that I can play normally and then shift the whole track back 0.5 seconds...
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Post by Concrete » Sun Feb 10, 2008 21:05

gloom button wrote:I have a perfectly serviceable M-Audio MIDI keyboard which is almost completely useless because of this pause thing. I thought it was just my computer having not enough free space or something, but it's even more irritating if it's a soundcard problem. I don't suppose there's any way to minimise the effects of this or anything, or even of getting a consistent delay so that I can play normally and then shift the whole track back 0.5 seconds...
It's a driver problem generally, I think. Audigy cards come with ASIO drivers, which I believe is the key thing. You can get third-party ASIO drivers for some soundcards, which I believe someone else provided a link for on Anorak before...

Also, there were tricks for using VSTs before ASIO drivers became common on cheaper cards. What I used to do was record everything with the bog-standard General MIDI stuff on the soundcard, then put the VST into the track afterwards.

It's bloody irritating though. No one ever explained this to me when I first started getting soundcards, and people have very different views on what constitutes "acceptable" latency.

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Post by tompony » Mon Feb 11, 2008 08:09

These drivers might help:

http://www.asio4all.com/

But yeah, you basically need a decent soundcard to avoid high latency. Or a mac, for some reason.

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Post by sunnyset » Mon Feb 11, 2008 20:58

I don't get any latency problems using my midi keyboard in fruityloops but I do using VST instruments in cubase. I have no idea why this should be. It is a bit of a pain having to use the two program separately since I should be able to use fruityloops as a plugin of cubase but it works so I try not to analyse it too much.

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Post by Concrete » Mon Feb 11, 2008 23:01

sunnyset wrote:I don't get any latency problems using my midi keyboard in fruityloops but I do using VST instruments in cubase. I have no idea why this should be. It is a bit of a pain having to use the two program separately since I should be able to use fruityloops as a plugin of cubase but it works so I try not to analyse it too much.
When you use Fruityloops, are you using the in-built synths, or are you using VST plug-ins? Lots of standalone software is fine - I don't remember the details, as I stopped my Computer Music and Future Music subscrtiptions a long time ago, but it's to do with the two-way communication between the different bits of software I think.

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Post by tompony » Tue Feb 12, 2008 11:36

You might have different drivers selected in Cubase than you do in Fruityloops perhaps? Check the options... that's all I can really think of.

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Post by Sootyzilla » Sat Feb 16, 2008 00:13

the great thing about music software is that lots of it is standardised, so you're not limited to choosing just one and then having to do everything in that. you can compose things in one program and import them into another, then process them and export them again if you need to. of course there are dead-ends, so be careful when taking stuff into a program if you can't get it out again.

for example, i use garageband for recording things, but it only gives you a tiny little editor window for midi tracks, so i've now started to compose my midi lines in a separate program and then import them into garageband.

two programs not yet mentioned which i've been meaning to try out:

http://ardour.org/
ardour is a completely free (free as in speech) DAW

http://mutools.com/
mu.lab free is a free (free as in beer) DAW but limits you to 8 tracks, which was enough for the Beatles.


also, computer music magazine always comes with a dvd which is packed with stuff that is probably enough to get you started, although the articles tend to be more about production than arrangements.

has anyone used ableton lite? it always seems to come on the cd when you buy interfaces or midi controllers.

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Post by Concrete » Sun Feb 17, 2008 20:33

Sootyzilla wrote:has anyone used ableton lite? it always seems to come on the cd when you buy interfaces or midi controllers.
I haven't. What is it, just a cut-down version of Live? Wintergreen use Live for all the live mixes, soft synths, backing tracks and so on. We've just bought the latest version actually, so I'll finally get to see it in action in a week or so. I've heard tales of wonderful new drum samples and so on. The previous version (which probably isn't that different) is a bit odd if you're trying to record stuff, because it's not set out like a sequencer. I believe you can get it to look different, but as I have Cubase and Nuendo as well I've only ever used it for live drum triggering and keyboard playing.

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Post by humblebee » Tue Feb 19, 2008 15:32

I don't suppose any of you might know how to make the input level on this computer into something greater than a self-conscious sparrow concealing a fart?

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Post by tompony » Tue Feb 19, 2008 15:54

Is it a PC?

If so, go to the Control Panel, double click 'Sounds and Audio Devices', go to the 'Audio' tab and click on 'Volume...' in the sound recording section. It might be that your record level can be boosted in there.

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Post by humblebee » Tue Feb 19, 2008 16:20

It is a PC, yeah. But everything's different cos it's on Vista.

I remember when I first started recording using XP. I had exactly the same problem. It took me about three weeks to find the little tick box hidden away in the advanced settings section on a sub-sub-sub-sub-sub-menu - the little tick box that said "1. Microphone boost" but which should really have said "If you don't tick this box it's a total waste of time trying to record anything on your computer ever, but if you do, it'll be mostly OK. Come to think of it, we should really have made whatever happens when you tick it into the default setting for the computer and saved you wasting the last three weeks of your life. Sorry about that Pete."

I assume the same tick box exists somewhere in Vista, but I haven't found it yet. And when I do, and I tick it, it'll ask me if I *really* want to tick it, then whether I'm absolutely sure I want to tick it, then it'll say "hang on a minute - we need to check with the owner of the computer if it's OK for you to tick it" and I'll say "wait - I *am* the owner of the computer!" but it'll be too late and the screen will have briefly turned black while the computer pretends to be going away to ask someone else, and then it'll come back and ask me and I'll say yes again and it'll say "ha, well, you can't! You need, er, I dunno... *permission*!" and I'll go and throw myself under a bus.

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Post by tompony » Tue Feb 19, 2008 16:37

Ah, I have absolutely no idea about Vista, sorry! I still use Windows 2000 on my home / recording computer.

A google search throws up the following:
1. Right‑click the speaker icon in the taskbar, and choose Recording Devices.
2. Double-click the input source you want to use.
3. Click the Levels tab, and adjust the slider as needed
Which sounds a bit TOO easy, so I'm guessing it's not much help.

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Post by humblebee » Tue Feb 19, 2008 17:11

Yeah, I've discovered that slider and turned it up to 11 but to no avail. Thanks anyway!

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Post by kingofpartick » Wed Feb 20, 2008 08:03

I'm just getting used to Vista at the moment, and its a bit of a faff generally. I've not done much recording previously on XP, so at least i dont have to get used to a whole new world in that sense, but it does seem to be a bit over keen to double check everything you want to do. I'm happy that its more secure, but not so happy that it seems to run 1000 processes all the time that basically suck up an entire 2.0ghz processor, that really does seem unwise.
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Post by tonieee » Fri Feb 22, 2008 16:59

Could you try some kind of pre-amp? It was once suggested to me to use a guitar peddle with the effects turned down and the volume turned up - I never tried it though...

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Post by let it ride » Fri Feb 22, 2008 18:23

humblebee wrote:Built-in laptop microphones? Pah. That stuff is for wanky muso types. From now on it's the sound recorder on my mp3 player all the way!
Haha! Macbook + garageband = my dream studio.

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Post by marksby » Fri Feb 29, 2008 19:51

Does anyone else read Tape Op magazine? It's pretty techy, and a lot of the stuff they cover isn't of much use to home recording people, but it's got lots of useful stuff in terms of technique, mic placement, that sort of thing, and some interesting articles about the production of classic records. Best of all, you can get a free!! (supported by advertising, apparently) subscription here:

www.tapeop.com

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