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Home recording - bare essentials?

Phil Edwards 23 Jun 10 - 05:53 AM
matt milton 23 Jun 10 - 06:32 AM
theleveller 23 Jun 10 - 06:32 AM
matt milton 23 Jun 10 - 06:32 AM
matt milton 23 Jun 10 - 06:38 AM
GUEST,Jonny Sunshine 23 Jun 10 - 06:39 AM
matt milton 23 Jun 10 - 06:44 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 23 Jun 10 - 06:45 AM
Phil Edwards 23 Jun 10 - 07:06 AM
matt milton 23 Jun 10 - 07:07 AM
matt milton 23 Jun 10 - 07:13 AM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 23 Jun 10 - 07:21 AM
matt milton 23 Jun 10 - 07:36 AM
GUEST 23 Jun 10 - 08:20 AM
GUEST,guest mattkeen 23 Jun 10 - 08:22 AM
Gedi 23 Jun 10 - 08:41 AM
GUEST,Phil Beer 23 Jun 10 - 11:00 AM
Will Fly 23 Jun 10 - 11:30 AM
GUEST,Phil Beer 23 Jun 10 - 11:46 AM
sciencegeek 23 Jun 10 - 12:07 PM
WalkaboutsVerse 23 Jun 10 - 12:26 PM
treewind 23 Jun 10 - 12:50 PM
sciencegeek 23 Jun 10 - 01:33 PM
Howard Jones 23 Jun 10 - 02:58 PM
Phil Edwards 24 Jun 10 - 07:51 AM
treewind 24 Jun 10 - 09:03 AM
GUEST,S O'P (Astrray) 24 Jun 10 - 09:16 AM
GUEST,maryrrf (lost cookie!) 24 Jun 10 - 09:22 AM
frogprince 24 Jun 10 - 10:24 AM
Steve Shaw 24 Jun 10 - 10:42 AM
matt milton 24 Jun 10 - 11:07 AM
GUEST,Phil Beer 24 Jun 10 - 11:19 AM
matt milton 24 Jun 10 - 11:21 AM
Phil Edwards 24 Jun 10 - 11:49 AM
matt milton 24 Jun 10 - 11:57 AM
GUEST,alan bard 24 Jun 10 - 12:25 PM
Howard Jones 24 Jun 10 - 02:44 PM
Maryrrf 24 Jun 10 - 03:23 PM
Backwoodsman 24 Jun 10 - 03:55 PM
Howard Jones 24 Jun 10 - 04:29 PM
Charley Noble 24 Jun 10 - 05:15 PM
Phil Edwards 04 Jul 10 - 11:50 AM
WalkaboutsVerse 04 Jul 10 - 12:10 PM
Suegorgeous 04 Jul 10 - 12:58 PM
treewind 04 Jul 10 - 01:22 PM
treewind 04 Jul 10 - 01:26 PM
Amos 04 Jul 10 - 03:38 PM
Steve Shaw 04 Jul 10 - 06:07 PM
Tangledwood 04 Jul 10 - 11:14 PM
GUEST,Tradharp 13 Jul 10 - 06:16 PM
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Subject: Home recording - bare essentials?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 23 Jun 10 - 05:53 AM

I want to record myself singing. The recordings don't need to be great, as all I want to do with them at the moment is turn them into MP3s and upload them to the Web; they don't need to be CD-quality, let alone asking-people-to-pay-money quality. But it'd be nice if they were good-ish.

What I've got: a Mac, a copy of Audacity... and, er, that's it.

Audacity will record off the built-in mike, and its noise-reduction function is quite good if you don't overdo it. But the best I can produce at the moment is something that sounds as if I'm singing into a bucket (the fact that the Mac is sitting on a desk may have something to do with this).

So, calling all MySpace and Youtube types: what's the absolute bare minimum I need? Is a decent recording going to be possible without too much outlay? Or is a day in a studio going to work out cheaper?


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Subject: RE: Home recording - bare essentials?
From: matt milton
Date: 23 Jun 10 - 06:32 AM

Depends. Do you just want to record yourself the once? Or do you think it might turn into a regular thing.

In a sense, you do already have the bare minimum you need. Though that is the barest of bare minimums. I recorded some stuff directly into my laptop mic. It sounded OK - good enough to get me some gigs out of. When you say you want to record yourself singing, do you mean acapella? If so, then that simplifies things, and you could certainly get some half-decent recordings with your built-in mic and judicious EQing in Audacity.

But if you were going to be doing it regularly, I would say save up and buy:

1. a decent soundcard (in your case, something like an M-Audio firewire or similar)
2. a decent mic

These don't have to be hugely expensive and they also complement each other: a decent Firewire soundcard will have good preamps and phantom power for your decent mic.

Your soundcard will be circa £200, your mic circa £120 (most of the AKG condenser mics around this price point will do proud.

I'd also add to the shopping list two books:

1. Guerilla Home Recording (under a tenner on Amazon, bargain)
2. Mixing Audio by Roey Izhaki (for once you catch the bug)


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Subject: RE: Home recording - bare essentials?
From: theleveller
Date: 23 Jun 10 - 06:32 AM

For around £150 the Zoom H2 portable recorder is an excellent piece of kit. You can record up to CD quality in wav. or mp3 format then upl;oad it to your computer and tweak on Audacity or whatever programme. You may find a second-hand one on ebay.


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Subject: RE: Home recording - bare essentials?
From: matt milton
Date: 23 Jun 10 - 06:32 AM

Oh and what Mac do you have? Did it come with Garageband?


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Subject: RE: Home recording - bare essentials?
From: matt milton
Date: 23 Jun 10 - 06:38 AM

Yes, as the leveller says, you could buy a Zoom for the price of a day's recording in a studio – much better value for money.


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Subject: RE: Home recording - bare essentials?
From: GUEST,Jonny Sunshine
Date: 23 Jun 10 - 06:39 AM

Basically, you need a decent mic (preferably a condensor type), and the wherewithal to plug it into your computer. There are various mics designed for exactly this job which have a built-in USB interface. If all you ever want to do is record your singing directly into the computer it may be enough.

Another option you could consider is to get a portable digital recorder such as the Zoom H2) with built-in mics. That would allow you to record anywhere, so you could find a space with a nice acoustic (and no noisy computers in the background!) and upload recordings to your computer for editing etc afterwards.


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Subject: RE: Home recording - bare essentials?
From: matt milton
Date: 23 Jun 10 - 06:44 AM

for what it's worth, I doubt whether the Mac being on a desk or not would effect the sound of your recording. Titchy built-in mic housed in a plastic or aluminium container isn't liable to be picking up vibrations from much. If it sounds like you're singing into a bucket, it's more likely to be the room ambiance or reflections from a wall. (Or, of course, the fact that it's just the crap built-in mic!) Try moving the Mac to different places around the room (or try a different room)


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Subject: RE: Home recording - bare essentials?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 23 Jun 10 - 06:45 AM

Ditto the Zoom (2 or 4). Highly portable so you can easily record live at sessions. And fine for unaccompanied ballads and such.

All depends what you wish to achieve I guess, but homemade lo-fi recordings can have a certain 'charm' about them - or so I was told by the chap who runs Reverb Worship and put out a CD of traditional songs by this lass:

http://www.myspace.com/allinthemerrymonthofmay


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Subject: RE: Home recording - bare essentials?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 23 Jun 10 - 07:06 AM

CS - she's got a lovely voice, but that's exactly the recording quality I want to avoid: that constant background whirr makes it unlistenable to me.

Matt - yes, just voice. Not sure about this EQing of which you speak - the big problem I'm getting is general ambient white noise, which appears on the waveform as a thick fuzzy line where there should be a thin line of silence. Audacity's noise reduction filter sorts that out, but seems to do it by nuking those frequencies throughout... & hence making me sound like I'm singing in a box (and through my nose, although that may just be because I am singing through my nose!).

I've tried GarageBand, but I actually preferred the quality I got recording with Audacity. GB has a 'gate' setting for on-the-fly noise reduction, but it didn't seem to do much.


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Subject: RE: Home recording - bare essentials?
From: matt milton
Date: 23 Jun 10 - 07:07 AM

I don't even think homemade has to mean lo-fi. Or that lo-fi has to mean muddy.

What's been brought home to me recently (from reading books like the ones recommended above, and putting the techniques in them to practice) is how much you can do with judicious EQ and compression.


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Subject: RE: Home recording - bare essentials?
From: matt milton
Date: 23 Jun 10 - 07:13 AM

I don't know Audacity really - I only know Logic, Garageband and Cubase.

Audacity's noise reduction filter is basically EQing of a sort, those it sounds like it's a bit of a blunt instrument.

I'm looking at this webpage now:

http://www.guidesandtutorials.com/audacity-effects2.html

Read the bit about equalization and clicking on lines. It's not quite as precise as you get in Logic, but it looks like you should be able to eventually draw a line that will single out the frequency you want to get rid of.


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Subject: RE: Home recording - bare essentials?
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 23 Jun 10 - 07:21 AM

well there's a coincidence...

the June edition of "Sound on Sound" magazine
features a cover article titled

"Guerilla Recording"

£4.99 if you can find still it at your local Smiths..

or Back issues direct from

http://www.soundonsound.com/


and the July mag will feature "Vocal Mics"


Its well worth investigating the SOS forums for all levels
of advice and info.


The least amount you'd need to spend for reliable ok quality recording
is about 20 or 30 quid for a good sturdy budget priced mic stand and pop shield.


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Subject: RE: Home recording - bare essentials?
From: matt milton
Date: 23 Jun 10 - 07:36 AM

oh and Garageband appears to have a few high pass filters and low pass filters, and a parametric EQ. You use a high pass filter to get rid of any bass frequencies you don't want - rumble etc, you use a low pass filter to get rid of any high frequencies you don't want - hiss etc. I suspect there'll be blunt instruments. But it's worth your while looking to see what EQ facilities Garageband has.

Pip, if you like you could send me what you've recorded so far and I'll have a go at EQing them. I need the practice! Send me a PM if that appeals .


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Subject: RE: Home recording - bare essentials?
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Jun 10 - 08:20 AM

Fuzzy white noise sounds like a description of earth loops or something

Matt will know if you sen dhim the files.

By the way;
Garageband is a really capable little programme I think
I generally use Logic Pro for paid jobs


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Subject: RE: Home recording - bare essentials?
From: GUEST,guest mattkeen
Date: 23 Jun 10 - 08:22 AM

Last one was me by the way

If you haven't gone for it really do consider the Zoom or something similar
I use Olypmpus LS10's for sketch book and back up recorder on location sessions - but they're a bit dearer and yoou dont really need what they offer in addition


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Subject: RE: Home recording - bare essentials?
From: Gedi
Date: 23 Jun 10 - 08:41 AM

I recently bought a Zoom MRS4 off ebay for £50 secondhand. This is a portable 4 track recorder, very good for overdubbing (a la Mike Oldfield) which I'm having much fun with at the moment. You can lay down a guitar track, then sing to it, then add harmonies etc.

I also needed some mics (2 ideally as it had two mic inputs) so bought a cheap one off the net for £16 (A KAM KDM500) which seems ok to me (Any comments on this anyone?) plus another unbranded one for just a few quid which also seems to work ok. Then I found I needed a mic stand to position them properly. All in though I've spent less than £100 and got what I think is a reasonable setup for home recording/editing. Admittedly I wanted to both play instruments and sing, not just acapella but I dont't think that makes much difference.

cheers
Ged


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Subject: RE: Home recording - bare essentials?
From: GUEST,Phil Beer
Date: 23 Jun 10 - 11:00 AM

Just used an Edirol literally last night with its built in mics. Just transferred the result to Pro-Tools. Will report back after I've worked on the files. Seems to be a very nice little machine and easy to use.


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Subject: RE: Home recording - bare essentials?
From: Will Fly
Date: 23 Jun 10 - 11:30 AM

I really can recommend the Zoom H2 - around £150 brand new from Amazon. They're excellent quality, simple to use, and you can load them into your Mac and use either Garageband or Audacity to tweak them and create mp3 files.

I've seen the Edirol in action - and that also appears to be an excellent machine.


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Subject: RE: Home recording - bare essentials?
From: GUEST,Phil Beer
Date: 23 Jun 10 - 11:46 AM

The Edirol is quite basic but these files were recorded in 24bit at 96hz and certainly seem pretty good to me. A pair of good condensers and a suitable pre-amp system would no doubt make a difference but I'm impressed so far.


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Subject: RE: Home recording - bare essentials?
From: sciencegeek
Date: 23 Jun 10 - 12:07 PM

I can attest to the quality of recording with the Edirol R-09, both the original R-09 & the updated R-09 HR with built in speakers & ability to use a 32 GB SD card. Lightweight & durable, the internal mics do a respectable job.

I got mine on ebay for way less than retail & use them at festivals & in the car to catch tunes that pop into my head and I know I'll never remember them later.... darn "oldtimers"... lol

You can set them to record as mp3 or wav files and are easy as pie to download to any PC, Mac or laptop regardless of what operating system you use.


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Subject: RE: Home recording - bare essentials?
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 23 Jun 10 - 12:26 PM

I've read all this, thanks, as I too would like to reduce the amount of background whirr Pip refers to. From trial and error, I know the soundcard/computer and mic makes a difference, as well as something that hasn't been mentioned - how loud we sing/play and how close to the mic we are. Here's a sample of my recordings so far - http://myspace.com/walkaboutsverse


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Subject: RE: Home recording - bare essentials?
From: treewind
Date: 23 Jun 10 - 12:50 PM

One of the best things about the Zoom, Edirol or similar is that it's portable so you can take it to the best room for recording in (for a start, that's not any room with a computer running in it) and place the mic in the best position. That's the factor that makes the most difference to the sound, and the quality of the mics in a Zoom H2 are quite good enough to make very good recordings.

If you need to use Audacity's noise reduction on a fresh recording, you are recording it wrong. That should never be necessary - find a quiet place!

For something that's going to be turned into MP3s and uploaded to the web, you don't need 24 bits - 16 bits is CD quality already and the next step to improve your sound (which nobody does at home) is to spend a fortune on acoustic treatment. Then maybe mics...

Anahata


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Subject: RE: Home recording - bare essentials?
From: sciencegeek
Date: 23 Jun 10 - 01:33 PM

At the Mystic Seamusic Festival, the individual performances done in the chapel are recorded using a laptop & an external mic... more than that I couldn't say. The stuff I see on youtube done by webcam can be pretty hard to listen to. I'm not sure how good usb mics are... anyone ever use them?

I record the symposiums using my R-09 running on the power adaptor instead of the AA batteries and using the internal mic if I can't get a line from the sound system. From there it's an easy step to downloading onto a PC & burning a CD even in my usual festival sleep deprived mode.

Using it on just batteries, I can still get a number of workshops recorded and with pretty good sound considering that they are held outside. These small, solid state, hand held units seems to be pretty good at making raw recordings that can be touched up later using good software.


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Subject: RE: Home recording - bare essentials?
From: Howard Jones
Date: 23 Jun 10 - 02:58 PM

I have a Zoom H4 which someone else has already mentioned. Besides having stereo condenser mics you can attach external mics (XLR or jack). You can use it to record stereo or multi-track 4 tracks at varying quality from MP3 to full CD quality. You can also use it as an interface to record onto a PC (effectively as a microphone recording into Audacity), or simply transfer the sound files to tweak in Audacity.

One thing to bear in mind when recording onto a PC is that if you want to multi-track there can be a timelag between the sound being played back to your headphones, so what you're recording ends up out of synch. You may also find that your PC's fan is louder than you realise!

Personally I think a good standalone recorder such as the Zoom or Edirol is a better investment than trying to beef up your PC, since it is so much more flexible. You can also record well away from that noisy PC fan.


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Subject: RE: Home recording - bare essentials?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 24 Jun 10 - 07:51 AM

if you like you could send me what you've recorded so far and I'll have a go at EQing them

Thanks for the offer, but I think I'll go the Zoom H2 route. Since starting this thread I've become hyper-conscious of the noise the Mac's fan is making - either that or the Mac's been running hotter than usual over the last couple of days - and the idea of recording into a microphone that's right next to a powerful fan is starting to look a bit self-defeating.

If anyone's interested, here are a couple I prepared earlier - there will be more, and more recent, stuff up there as soon as can get to the shops (or eBay)!


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Subject: RE: Home recording - bare essentials?
From: treewind
Date: 24 Jun 10 - 09:03 AM

"I've become hyper-conscious of the noise the Mac's fan is making "

Unwanted noises like that are always much more noticeable in a recording. While it's happening live, you mentally tune them out. Same with squeaky chairs, barking dogs, passing traffic, ticking clocks, aircon hum etc...

Apart from the audible noise from a fan, its air flow can cause microphone rumble too.


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Subject: RE: Home recording - bare essentials?
From: GUEST,S O'P (Astrray)
Date: 24 Jun 10 - 09:16 AM

Anyone wanting superior sound from their laptop or PC than the standared soundcards supplied check out Behringers dinky little UCA202 USB sound module which comes in around £25 - £30. Nothing by way of bells / whistles, stereo phono in & out, headphone socket & top quality sound. Such external sound modules are replacing soundcards these days, ensabling the fashion of running of pro quality software on relatively inexpensive PCs and laptops with excellent results.


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Subject: RE: Home recording - bare essentials?
From: GUEST,maryrrf (lost cookie!)
Date: 24 Jun 10 - 09:22 AM

Another vote for the Zoom H4 or H2. I have the H4, which can theoretically do more stuff, although I find the four track mixing to be really complicated on the Zoom H4, and prefer to load the files into Audacity and do the tweaking there. I almost wish I'd gotten the H2 - simpler and smaller, and the quality is just as good or better than the H4. One good thing about the H4 is that if you would rather play guitar and sing at the same time (as I do)you can plug in the guitar, and sing into a microphone, and then you can still have a separate instrumental and vocal track, so you can adjust the volume of the instrument to suit the voice, or vice versa, in order to get the mix you want.


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Subject: RE: Home recording - bare essentials?
From: frogprince
Date: 24 Jun 10 - 10:24 AM

What's all the fuss anybow? If you're recording at home, no one who hears is will know if you were wearing anything or not.


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Subject: RE: Home recording - bare essentials?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 24 Jun 10 - 10:42 AM

Guest maryrrf, that's very interesting. I have an H4 and don't understand all that 4-track mallarkey at all. I'd like to be able to use it to record my son on guitar accompanying my harmonica-playing. Are you saying he can plug into the H4 somehow and I can play into a mic? You mean the mics on the Zoom? They would still pick up his playing though, wouldn't they? I'd appreciate any more info on how you do it, but please bear in mind my thickness!


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Subject: RE: Home recording - bare essentials?
From: matt milton
Date: 24 Jun 10 - 11:07 AM

Computers don't have to mean noise. I record to my Macbook. No noise. That's ultimately what converted me to Macs (well laptop macs anyway). No noise while I record. No noise while I work. No noise while I'm typing this.

I have a Zoom H4 which I've never used. I'll buy eBaying it once I've dug it out the loft. I just don't record outside the house, so I've never needed that portability. Plus I suppose if I did, I'd just take my Macbook and a holdall with mic and preamp. I prefer to record using riboon mics so I need to use a decent pre.


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Subject: RE: Home recording - bare essentials?
From: GUEST,Phil Beer
Date: 24 Jun 10 - 11:19 AM

Pip

Having just idly checked out the built in mic on my Macbook, I wouldn't advise using it for anything other than Skype etc. Its not good enough for any kind of serious audio recording (Sort of what I expected.) The little Behringer external audio interface as described by S O P above is inexpensive and very good. Once again, the built in soundcards on most computers, Mac or Pc, aren't up to the job I'm afraid. the basic Mbox units that come with Pro tools lite are excellent and ,in fact, I use one as an interface/soundcard virtually all the time with this little laptop. It works fine with Logic and most other audio software and deals automatically with any Latency issues with these other softwares.


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Subject: RE: Home recording - bare essentials?
From: matt milton
Date: 24 Jun 10 - 11:21 AM

Listened to your recordings. Yes, I can hear your PC's fan in the background. You could EQ that out I reckon. Though if I was mixing your voice I'd add cut a bit of the (very) low frequencies - not so much that it affected the actual tone of your voice, I might add - and add a wee bit to the high and high-mid freqencies. And in the process that might emphasize the fan noise.

Can't hear any rumble, but I'm listening on quite basic headphones which might not be very revealing.

If you don't mind me risking a comment on your artistic practice, you do need to tighten up your pitching a tad.

anyway, when you do get your Zoom H thing or whatever solution you come to, it'd be worth your while getting to grips with Audacity's equalization. A useful trick with mixing recordings is to import a similar (professionally recorded) track. Find a contemporary recording of a male unaccompanied folk voice. You then have some sonic information to guide you as to how your voice ought to be tweaked.


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Subject: RE: Home recording - bare essentials?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 24 Jun 10 - 11:49 AM

Listened to your recordings. Yes, I can hear your PC's fan in the background.

You shouldn't be able to - the tracks on Myspace were recorded on professional audio kit, mike stand, spitcatcher & all.

If you don't mind me risking a comment on your artistic practice, you do need to tighten up your pitching a tad.

Hey, I've got a review! Hurrah!

Those tracks aren't anything to write home about - 2006 is a long time ago (before I'd heard most of the people I list as influences). Hopefully my pitching will be a bit more solid when I get some new stuff down.


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Subject: RE: Home recording - bare essentials?
From: matt milton
Date: 24 Jun 10 - 11:57 AM

ah, well it's not PC hum then, but there's definitely some kind of frequency in the background. A very slight mid-high pitched whine somewhere in the background. Unless my ears have finally gone on the blink, which i certainly wouldn't rule out...

Slightly wobbly pitching aside, you've got a nice voice - and one of the things about getting to grips with EQ and compression is they do properly coax out the richnesses of a vocal tone.


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Subject: RE: Home recording - bare essentials?
From: GUEST,alan bard
Date: 24 Jun 10 - 12:25 PM

if you want cheap..
teac used to make great little four track mixers to cassette tape, now dirt cheap when you find them, maybe even with good mics thrown in. Wait tape, well yes and no. there are those little line outputs that you can plug right into your computer.... lets you have a little premixer at a really cheap price... mine was $20us couple of years ago.


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Subject: RE: Home recording - bare essentials?
From: Howard Jones
Date: 24 Jun 10 - 02:44 PM

Steve Shaw, if you just want to record guitar and harmonica playing together you can just set up the H4 and play. However if you want to record one instrument after the other, or have better control over each, then you could mic each one. The H4 will accept jack or XLR mic inputs, so what you could do is have one mic for the guitar going to one channel and another mic for harmonica going to the other. What you can't do is mix mic inputs with the built in mics.

You wouldn't have to use multitracking to record only two instruments playing at the same time, but you'd end up with all the guitar on one stereo channel and all the harmonica on the other. You could download the soundfile to your PC and make a proper stereo mix with Audacity (you might also be able to do this on the H4, I haven't checked).

If you want to record one instrument followed by the other you'd have to use the multitrack function.   You could then use either the built in mics or a separate mic.


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Subject: RE: Home recording - bare essentials?
From: Maryrrf
Date: 24 Jun 10 - 03:23 PM

Howard Jones explained it perfectly.


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Subject: RE: Home recording - bare essentials?
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 24 Jun 10 - 03:55 PM

"You wouldn't have to use multitracking to record only two instruments playing at the same time, but you'd end up with all the guitar on one stereo channel and all the harmonica on the other."

Not necessarily completely true - there would be bleed between the channels caused by the 'guitar' mic hearing **some** gob-iron, and the 'harmonica' mic hearing **some** guitar, wouldn't there?? It gives a degree of control, but not as good as when multitracking.

Or am I missing something? (It's quite possible) :-)


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Subject: RE: Home recording - bare essentials?
From: Howard Jones
Date: 24 Jun 10 - 04:29 PM

The amount of bleed would depend on how far apart the players were. With long mic leads they could be in different rooms. You're right, of course, in practice there probably would be some. It's probably not a very good way of achieving a stereo mix, though.


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Subject: RE: Home recording - bare essentials?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 24 Jun 10 - 05:15 PM

Lots of good advice here.

The Edirol is certainly useful for workshops and rehearsals; it's really an amazingly compact machine.

Other things you might consider is investing in a set of high quality headphones so you can really hear what you are editing. We use AKG K271. Alternatively you could invest in a set of speakers instead of listening to whatever the MAC has; we use a pair of KRK VXT4 which sound pretty much like what was recorded without adding extra base, treble, or whatever your favorite set of stereo speakers might add. It's good to know what the recording sounds like before trying to edit it to sound different...

We also ending up investing in a set of studio mics such as the Audio-Technica 4033 for voice, and AKG C-534 EB for instruments.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Home recording - bare essentials?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 04 Jul 10 - 11:50 AM

I've recorded some songs using a Zoom H2, with subsequent processing using Audacity, & am starting to upload them to Myspace.

One thing that puzzles me slightly is the volume of the recordings. I adjusted the settings on the H2 (recording level & mic gain) so that the level didn't appear to be overloading while I was recording & it sounded OK in headphones. But when I looked at the WAV file with Audacity, the singing was very very quiet and the dynamic range was tiny; I had to tweak it quite a lot to get something decent. Is that normal?


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Subject: RE: Home recording - bare essentials?
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 04 Jul 10 - 12:10 PM

I don't have high quality headphones, but your new home-recording quality sounds as good as the two studio-recordings, to me, Pip.


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Subject: RE: Home recording - bare essentials?
From: Suegorgeous
Date: 04 Jul 10 - 12:58 PM

Matt (or anyone else)-

Any tips for tightening up one's pitch? or should one just practise by recording oneself, and working on the wonky bits? my pitch isn't bad on the whole, and it got a whole lot better once I really started using breath properly. But it's not perfect either, and I'd like to work further on this.

thanks, and sorry for slight thread drift!

Sue


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Subject: RE: Home recording - bare essentials?
From: treewind
Date: 04 Jul 10 - 01:22 PM

"I adjusted the settings on the H2 (recording level & mic gain) so that the level didn't appear to be overloading while I was recording & it sounded OK in headphones. But when I looked at the WAV file with Audacity, the singing was very very quiet and the dynamic range was tiny"

I would expect full scale on the H2 to correspond with full scale in Audacity, but there may be a difference mid-scale - Audacity shows levels on a linear scale by default, but your H2 may well have a logarithmic scale. That means a level at a perfectly usable 20dB below full scale shows as only 1/10 of full scale in Audacity unless you switch Audacity's display to "Waveform(dB)" instead of "Waveform".

If you aim for peaks around 10-12 dB below full scale when recording you'll have a decent overload margin for the odd extra loud peak. When you process it with Audacity you can use the volume control "effect" to boost it. You should aim for no peaks higher than -0.5 or -1dB below full scale (because the DAC on playback can overshoot), and if it requires something like 3-8 dB gain to achieve that you've got it about right.

If you are expecting to do a lot of processing, especially EQ and compression, you might find you can record at 24bits and import at that level into Audacity (I think Audacity uses 32bits internally) but quite honestly that level of perfection is wasted on something that started life as a home recording and certainly if it's going to end up degraded to MP3.


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Subject: RE: Home recording - bare essentials?
From: treewind
Date: 04 Jul 10 - 01:26 PM

PS your headphones don't tell you what level you are recording at - you need to use the visual level meter...


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Subject: RE: Home recording - bare essentials?
From: Amos
Date: 04 Jul 10 - 03:38 PM

AN excellent program called SoundSoap for the Mac can do wonders cleaning out that fuzz.

One cause of hiss is th einternal noise on the Mac, but it can often be filtered out just by recording at lower gain. Additionally, in AUdacity, you can impose a ten-section Equalizer (EQ) which enables you to increase or decrease the levels at various frequencies. By experimentation you can find the frequency band of the hiss and minimize it. Another source of his is using the wrong mic or mic cable--if it is high impedance it can cause a hiss. The high-impedance cable uses only two of the three available wires in the cable. As a result the sound may be imbalanced, causing the hissing sound. A decent condenser mike with a low-impedance cable (using all three conductors in the cable) will make it much cleaner.

I do not know if this is aproblem when using the internal mic (I mean unbalanced sound) but you could try dropping the input gain in AUdacity and then try perking it up afterw recording. Hope this helps.


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Subject: RE: Home recording - bare essentials?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 04 Jul 10 - 06:07 PM

I find that recordings made with my Zoom H4 need to have a touch of compression applied to give them more presence. I use Audio Cleaning Lab.


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Subject: RE: Home recording - bare essentials?
From: Tangledwood
Date: 04 Jul 10 - 11:14 PM

One thing that puzzles me slightly is the volume of the recordings. I adjusted the settings on the H2 (recording level & mic gain) so that the level didn't appear to be overloading while I was recording & it sounded OK in headphones. But when I looked at the WAV file with Audacity, the singing was very very quiet and the dynamic range was tiny; I had to tweak it quite a lot to get something decent. Is that normal?

That appears to be normal to me. My main use of the H2 is recording classes in which I'm participating so I can't monitor the recording. Because of this I use it's inbuilt AGC but it still produces the apparently low level. Treewind's explanation makes sense to me.

The bottom line is that I've never had reason to complain about the end result.


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Subject: RE: Home recording - bare essentials?
From: GUEST,Tradharp
Date: 13 Jul 10 - 06:16 PM

Hi Steve (Shaw)... re: The H4 recording query.
You can use your Zoom H4 to record your son's guitar and your harmonica playing in stereo mode by taking a signal from each instrument to create a stereo file.
Set the H4 to stereo mode. (H4 Manual Page 30)
Plug a 1/4" jackplug from the guitar into the INPUT(1) socket of the H4 (Left hand base of unit) and your Suzuki Mic-set MS-100 Finger condenser mic (I know youve got one !) 1/4" jack into the INPUT(2) socket of the H4 (Right hand base of unit).
Select the Input source to INPUT1/INPUT2 (H4 Manual Page 31) and adjust recording level (Page 32/33)
Set the Input1/Input 2 Gain to M (Switch to right hand side of H4)
Select your recording format (H4 Manual Page 34).
Record as normal.
The recording will produce ONE stereo file of the guitar and your harmonica.
Alternatively you can ofcourse just plug the guitar in Input 1 and use the built-in stereo Mic to record your harmonica and dispense with your finger Mic.
If you require or feel the need to make changes to the recording of the two individual instruments, you will need to go down the multi track route.
Hope this helps. Any queries, plz mail me.

Melv :) (Tradharp)


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