Learning to record on a PC

Discussion in 'In the Studio' started by mosiddiqi, Mar 24, 2011.

    Mar 24, 2011
  1. mosiddiqi The Curry Master

    I'm having a similiar learning curve to this as Phil I think :weebz:

    I've been using a Yamaha DAW (AW4416) for the last 10 years, but decided to move to PC based recording. I have been using my Pod XT and Reaper for quick clips..but that's about it.

    I wanted something really simple to start off with and picked up Guitar Rig Session cheap (it's actually discontinued) which comes with software and a compact but pretty sturdy looking USB interface. The interface also has an XLR input and phantom power for a microphone, so pretty easy to record vocals. It came with Cubase and some drum software too.

    After a little messing about, I decided I much prefer Reaper to Cubase, just seems much more intuitive to me..I actually bought the Reaper licence..I have been using the free version for a while, and I appreciate the fact that they don't handicap the free version at all, apart from a nag screen at startup. So, I thought of the $40 as a "thank you". :weebz:

    Although I'm happy enough with the Pod, I'm curious to see what some other modellers sound like, and first impressions of Guitar Rig are all good!...some seriously nice sims in there. Just 5 guitar amps, a bass amp and 25 or so effects. With the ASIO4ALL drivers, there is no latency issue at all. One criticism I'd have of the Pod, is that to my ears, after a while, every amp model..sounds like a Pod. :D

    However, to backtrack a bit, it took me AGES to get into my thick head..that the interface IS NOW MY SOUNDCARD! :facepalm:. This pretty key piece of info caused me hours of frustration wondering why I couldn't hear anything. :facepalm:

    Drum wise, I haven't yet tried the Core software that came with Guitar Rig, but I have been messing about with something called "Rhythm Rascal"..it's pretty cool. The basic kit is very Metal..:rawk:..but any .wav sample will work..and the net is full of good ones. :)

    It's easy to programme whole songs, lots of adjustable parameters for each sample and much easier to work with than my old Zoom drum machine..especially for odd meters.

    The next thing I need to look at is monitors. I do have reasonable quality PC monitors, complete with a woofer, but...any suggestions welcome! :)
  2. Mar 24, 2011
  3. Prages User Error

    I use Event TR8 monitors, but I think they are discontinued. I really like them a lot though.

    I started out recording on a Foxtex 4 track cassette recorder. From there I moved up to a Fostex digital 8 track.

    My first forray into computer recording came around 2002 when I got Guitar Trax Pro (I think) recording software. I upgraded my sound card to a Soundblaster Platinum 5.1 because it had an expansion bay that went into a floppy drive space, so I could plug my 1/4" cables right into the front of the computer.

    Latency was a bitch. No matter what I did, everything sounded off on playback. It really sucked.

    About a year later, I got a new computer and then got a Lexicon Omega when they first came out. Started using Cubase LE (which came with the Lexicon). This setup worked great, and I was hooked. About a year later, I got the first Firepod so I'd have more inputs (Omega had 2 mic pres and 2 1/4" inputs...Firepod has 8 xlr/1/4" combo inputs). Then a friend gave me all kinds of pirated recording software and plugins. Eventually I picked up a second Firepod so I could take the rig to gigs and have everything multi-tracked so I could mix it properly at home.

    I'll never, ever go back to standalone. I should be able to get ProTools9 in the next couple of months. Now that ProTools doesn't require a proprietary interface, I'm willing to make that leap.
  4. Mar 24, 2011
  5. mosiddiqi The Curry Master

    I should have said my recording experience started with a good old Tascam 4 track cassette :)....I've also had a Zoom SD recorder..neat, but for some reason I never really enjoyed using it..much prefered my old 4 track. I absolutely love my AW4416, but just felt the need to try something a bit more modern. :weebz:. I think I wil end up with some sort of Pro-Tools kit..but small, baby steps for me.

    For the forseeable future, any recording is just going to be Lisa and me..so seemed like a good time to change how I work and experiment a bit.

    Due to pretty serious family/life issues, I don't think we're going to be working with the other two guys for quite a while :(..which is a shame, but also an opportunity to try some new stuff :).
  6. Mar 24, 2011
  7. Johnny N. Kick Henry Jackassowski

    Sounds like you are on the right track. As long as the interface can take a mic, you are pretty good to go. To be honest, with all the debating about different modellers, I dont know that one is any different or better than another. I have a Line 6 interface with the old pod stuff, not the newer pod farm and it works pretty good. I just got a Digitech RP355 that I am in love with at the moment. To me, it is a lot easier to get a sound I like than the pod. There seemed to always be something about the sound that bugged me when I used the pod but so far, that isnt the case with the digitech. They make several models, some are really innexpensive. My best luck with the pod was to play with mics and mic placement as well as changing up cab sims. Otherwise, the new pod hd series gets a lot of talk these days. Some love it, some hate it but from what I can tell it has some serious capabilities.

    But really, if you have tones you like with the Guitar rig, I am not sure you are going to be necessarily happier with something else. Plus, with the mic option, you can always mic your amp and record guitar that way.

    I am a rank amateur when it comes to recording but I do enjoy it. I started with a Boss Micro BR. It was a great way to get started but the software route is far more flexible. Easier in some ways, harder in others. I think it ends up being like your old standalone though. Once you have it set up how you like it, the workflow becomes easy again. Good luck.
  8. Mar 24, 2011
  9. Prages User Error

    I agree. When I first switched over to PC recording, I was pretty overwhelmed with all the options. When I decided to just strip everything back and pretend I was still using the standalone with no plugins or anything like that, I got a feel for how the software worked and then started learning how to add auxilary and insert plugins as needed.

    I still don't do anything with all the software automation stuff, and I've never done ANYTHING with MIDI. I basically treat my computer recording system like it's a standalone with a ton of outboard processing gear. :D
  10. Mar 24, 2011
  11. Johnny N. Kick Henry Jackassowski

    I dont do much of anything complicated at all. I can record the tracks and add some plugins. There is a guy who sells a tutorial series for Reaper that I keep saying I am going to buy but havent gotten around to it yet. I think it is less than $30 but it may help just understand a normal workflow and maybe some features that would make things easier on me. Anything I have learned was from clicking around so it might be good to see how someone does it who actually knows what they are doing.

    My goal isnt to be the best recording engineer in the world but rather to know it well enough to feel more comfortable and to be able to have it set up so that the process is easier. That would make me more likely to record more. I think recording myself playing is one of the best teaching tools available but I dont do it enough. I am always looking for more time to do some recording.
  12. Mar 24, 2011
  13. Mark Wein :mad:

    I think this is a great way of looking at it when you are just getting started.
  14. Mar 26, 2011
  15. mosiddiqi The Curry Master

    I was experimenting with recording bass on my PC..and blew one of the speakers up! (fairly cheap Logitech) :lol: :rawk:...going to get these in the next week or so, the reviews seem positive:


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