Seeking opinions on home equipment!

It definitely sounds like you Mac users have a solid starting ground for this kind of thing! Thanks for the input Brian :slight_smile:

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Home studio music production has become my hobby at this point. I have a lot of advice to give here but no time to post it at the moment - I’ll come back in a bit later on between meetings.

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Awesome, no rush at all @howard! Will appreciate whatever experience you can impart :slight_smile: It’s past a reasonable bed time where I am so I won’t be checking back until later anyway!

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I’m kind of in the same boat.

I’ve got a custom PC with FL Studio on it, but I’ve never really recorded a live instrument into it. Do you have any suggestions for interfaces?

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I’ve had two different Zoom Multii-effect processors at one time or another, but never used them for recording… I wasn’t even aware it was capable of that.

I have a Zoom U-44 DAI that I use for recording the audio into Reaper. I shoot my videos with either Sara’s professional camera setup, or just use my Android (which does a damn fine job). I then do the final mixing and video editing in Adobe Premier Pro.

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Cool, FruitLoops is popular, never used it but it looks fine to me.

Yep, tons of good interfaces. I use a Zoom U-24, a lot of people have gone with the FocusRite Scarlett series and love them. Presonus makes good ones, and there’s higher end ones as well from Audient, Arturia, and other companies that offer additional features.

There’s also some less expensive ones from Behringer that actually look just fine to me.

So to get started on this there’s a few other topics already. To initially get squared away what you need is:

  • A computer. I do not recommend mobile devices for this, though they can be fine for simple recording.
  • An audio interface, as mentioned. While you can get away with cheaper things like the iRig, you will want a real audio interface if you get serious.
  • Good Digital Audio Workstation software. As mentioned above, audio editors like Audacity are insufficient for real music production. There’s a lot of choices here; I use Reaper, Ableton is also great choice (and would be my second pick), FL Studio, Pro Tools, Cakewalk/Sonar, and others exist.
  • If you have a Mac, just start with GarageBand as your DAW and then upgrade to Logic Pro when you really get in to it.

Here’s a thread that covers a lot. This should get you all started:

As you get more in to it, I’ve started another thread about DAW plugins:

We have separate threads for GarageBand, Reaper, and other DAWs as well.

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the Zoom multi-effect would be used as a preamp but not directly as a DAI ; if I remember, there is not direct USB connectivity on those Zoom.

with a Line 6 multi-effect/preamp you can record directly because it’s also a DAI at the same time (from the POD XT generation, which is very old).

that’s what I will buy in a few weeks to replace my dying TonePort UX1.

that’s a great sum up @howard , I wonder if this could be a dedicated thread ? so we could redirect the beginners to this thread, because those are very common questions

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There kind of is, the “Recording Hardware Beginner Setup” thread I quoted. But it has info spread throughout the thread :slight_smile:

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yeah, maybe a sum up could be a good idea, I don’t know

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Summaries could be a good idea for a number of threads! It takes time and effort, though… I was wondering wether @eric.kiser could be persuaded to look into this!? I am sure he would be more than up for the task once his computer issues are solved…

(Sorry, Eric - don’t mean to imply that we could just push this on to you, but you are good at tying things together and connecting the dots :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:)

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I just got a Presonus Audiobox 96. StudioOne is the DAW and it is pretty easy to use, and is comparable to ProTools.

We have gone to a studio since, but this was our first fully recorded song. Mixed by a pro, but all captured on a Presonus 8r and StudioOne. Came out pretty good, just showing an example of what a home studio can accomplish

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If anyone has questions, I can try and answer to the best of my knowledge how we did everything.

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That sounds great! Came out very nicely mixed and mastered.

The sound engineer made an interesting choice with how they mixed your drums. At about 2:20 in as the other instruments came in and the vocals kind of crescendo the drums lose distinction and are overrun by the rest of the mix. The engineer had a choice there where they could have compressed the drums a bit more, or run them up into the limiter a bit (effectively similar) to make them stand out a little more through the rest, but they chose not to (or if they did it was really subtle) and I think it was the right choice. It works well to let the vocals kind of own the show there and fits with the general feel of the song well.

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Howard thanks for that…I had never even thought about using compression on the drums I just took a loop and added some reverb and let it go. Just went through a bunch of presets in bandlab on a loop and it was a world of difference…I’ve been missing out.

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Yeah drums are nearly always compressed, or at least very very often are. And often way, way overcompressed.

I feel kind of bad though because now that you’ve heard the difference you will notice it all the time in recorded music and now you can’t unhear it :slight_smile:

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I’m sure you are right. Wish I had an ear like yours my friend.

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Hah! This particular case wasn’t hard for me to hear because I have just found this challenging myself in a couple mixes, and I opted for the other path (to make the drums stand out) because it worked better for the song. But you can really hear the compression on the drums.

This song has a lot of stuff going on down in the kick frequency range so to make it audible I had to raise the loudness of the drum track up in to the limiter a bit, compressing the crap out of the snare.

If I were going to mix it again I would break the kick out into a separate track and handle its loudness separately. That’s pretty common. Eh whatever, I’m still learning all this :slight_smile:

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and I always used to give our drummers a fit about not having a sledgehammer for a snare hand…I’ve got like a dozen apologies to make. I’ve got so much more to learn I’m making and mixing like it was 1959. I play all the instruments straight through no cut and paste the only effect I use is a little reverb, I sit everyone in the mix like they would be on a bandstand…adjust the levels and call it a day. I do duplicate the vocal track to add some thickness but thats it…LOL…I only just learned how to fade out.

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Yeah it’s really amazing how much there is to learn about sound and mixing. I’m spending a lot of time on it right now and still at a pretty basic level. For compression and limiting, even just learning the difference between volume and loudness in a mix (and the tradeoff with dynamics) is eye-opening.

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This is potentially another “world” that I have fully, utterly and totally underestimated with regards to what is involved and how much there is to learn :crazy_face:

Add to that all the new technology that is constantly being developed to allow you to do things that were not really possible 20 or perhaps even 10 years ago.

Sad/funny story in this context: I played drums in this band about 25-30 years ago and we were mostly a garage band, but as it became clear that I was going to move to the US for a while, we wanted to record what we had. The bassist had a mixer and an 8-track Tascam for recording, and we managed to record the mic’ed drums and the keyboards directly and pretty much together, along with a dummy bass track. As the bass player had all the equipment, the reasoning was to get the drums and keyboards as good as we could, and he would then later add the real bass tracks.

Well, now, about 25 years later, there are still no “real bass tracks” :weary: Apart from the fact that “life” got in the way for the bass player as well, every time we’d see each other (about every other year around Christmas), he would go on about that new piece of hardware just coming out that would allow him to compress/mix/enhance/… our tapes so much better, so he was just waiting for the stuff to come down in price a bit… (Repeat every two years or so since :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:)

At least, at some point, he transferred and digitized all the stems from cassette to computer, but even that he probably did reluctantly, as there always seemed to be a better digitizing technology/hardware just around the corner.

I guess that is also why even pros go back to their tapes from the 70s, 80s etc and re-master, re-digitize, and re-mix them every now and then…

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