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PC based recording


Dr Rob

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Am in the process of setting up a PC-based recording studio and would appreciate any guidance on the bewildering array of software packages that seem to be available. I aim to build a PC from scratch so would be keen on any tips re: specs/memory requirements/USB or Firewire etc. I'm also looking for an effects package (Amplitube, Guitar Rig?) and would love to hear from anyone who uses these. In addition, advice on some sort of production software that will allow drum loops, bass, synth etc. would be much appreciated. I keep hearing a lot about Cubase and Tracktion. Any hints? Finally, auido/digital converters and active monitors would seem to be a requirement. Anybody got any ideas?
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Get the best audio/digital converters, mics, and mic preamps you can afford. The signal going into the computer is still the most important part. After that, just about any of the major programs are good for mixing and effects. Your ear and your performance of course are still whats going to determine how good the final product sounds, everything else is just a tool.
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I've always been a huge fan of Cakewalk (Sonar). It has built in effects and is has a fairly small learning curve.

 

As for the computer. The important parts are the sound card, the CPU, the hard drive and the ram. Get a half decent sound card to get you started. The CPU and hard drive should be the fastest that you can afford. The ram should also be, as much as you can afford.

 

The way it works is, you can record with almost any, modern PC set up. However, the faster the PC, the more tracks you can record and the more, in-line effects, you can add to the tracks.

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You'll get the same advice from everyone here. Buy the biggest best fastest cpu, ram, hdd, audio card.

I hate computer software. I have a degree in programming from a business college but I still hate it all. I won't be any help with the software part because although I've played with some including Cakewalk, I have not taken the time to learn any thoroughly. Like Gruupi says, most of the major editing software will suit you fine.

I prefer the stand alone digital recorders with actual physical slide controls, but mostly, I just want to hit the record button and let her fly. I gotta leave the mixing to someone else. I have no patience for it.

Let us know how your project comes along and post some sound files.

bbach

 

Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder.

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One of the best DAW audio engines is found in Samplitude...but, it's not for everyone, as it is primarily a multitrack recording program, and not one of those loop/synth soup-to-nuts apps (though with each new version they keep adding more and more of those kinds of features.

It's a serious tracking/editing package.

 

If you check out the last page of the current EQ magazine...you will see the "Room with a VU" page...and this month they are showing Paul Reed Smith's studio...and he specifically states that they checked out a lot of DAW apps before picking Samplitude for it's high quality audio engine.

 

I've been using Sam for a few years now and it sounds excellent! :thu:

miroslav - miroslavmusic.com

 

"Just because it happened to you, it doesn't mean it's important."

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Reaper http://www.cockos.com/reaper/ is an app that seems able to hold it's own with any of the pricier commercial products like Sonar or Cubase. I've been messing with it for a week or so and haven't run into any limitations yet. It's a shareware application which you should license ($40) if you are going to keep it. The developer is the same guy that wrote the original Winamp program.
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I use Magix Music Studio, it's an affordable software package. It's fairly easy to use and has a lot of features.

 

I also use an Edirol UAFX4 audio interface.

 

The most importantant thing is to have a PC with atleast 512MD of RAM or higher. Get the fastest processor you. Most standard sound cards are fine for recording.

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Originally posted by Dr Rob:

Am in the process of setting up a PC-based recording studio and would appreciate any guidance on the bewildering array of software packages that seem to be available. I aim to build a PC from scratch so would be keen on any tips re: specs/memory requirements/USB or Firewire etc. I'm also looking for an effects package (Amplitube, Guitar Rig?) and would love to hear from anyone who uses these. In addition, advice on some sort of production software that will allow drum loops, bass, synth etc. would be much appreciated. I keep hearing a lot about Cubase and Tracktion. Any hints? Finally, auido/digital converters and active monitors would seem to be a requirement. Anybody got any ideas?

http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/ultimatebb.php?/ubb/forum/f/29.html

Great forum...part of the family here...give it a go...

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Originally posted by Dr Rob:

Am in the process of setting up a PC-based recording studio ...bewildering array of software packages .... I aim to build a PC from scratch ... I'm also looking for an effects package (Amplitube, Guitar Rig?) ...drum loops, bass, synth etc. ... auido/digital converters and active monitors would seem to be a requirement. ...

Budget?

 

Your requirements are all over the place, and if you don't already have experience in many of these tasks, you are in for a staggering learning curve that would tax the brain of Stephen Hawkings.

 

What are your actual NEEDS for TODAY?

 

Quite honestly, you have asked a question of which the answer could be anywhere from a few hundred to several hundred thousands of dollars. I spent about $72,000 just adapting the space for my last studio, including things like moving plumbing, new HVAC, and acoustical treatments. But when I originally purchased the space, I set up a working room (the physical space, air handling, power, and acoustics) for about $5,000 and a lot of sweat equity.

 

And that was just the space, not the gear.

 

You can buy a mic that looks like an ELam 251 for under a hundred dollars. You can buy a Korby, Telefunken USA, Lawson or similar boutique copy of a 251 for somewhere around $10,000. You can buy an original 1950s/60s ELam 251 for somewhere around $20,000.

 

You can buy a budget sound card with 8 DACs, 8 ADCs, and MIDI for a couple of hundred dollars. You can buy an RME or MOTU interface with converters for something around or just over a grand. You can buy an interface and buy outboard converters.... I bought the Mytek 8x96 DACs and ADCs, at $3200 for 8 channels in one direction. Others bought Larvy or Prism, or one of the other very high end converters for significantly more money.

 

So you really need to figure out what your goal is, and what your budget is, to get any useful answer.

 

A few months ago Toms Hardware ran a 45 page article about buolding an overclocked D805. This looks like the best performance for the least money, in a DIY computer.

 

I use Sequoia, which is the big brother to Sampitude, and Samp is quite well respected. I also use SAWStudio. But none of these programs is the answer for you if you need to do all of the things that you listed. Were I looking for an all-in-one program with such capabilities, I'd be looking at Sonar. For my money, this is the best All In One program available, though I do not use it myself. (I don't need to do all of those things, as I record real musicians playing real music in real time. Just my own paradigm, but I spend a lot of years writing and composing with little boxes instead of musicians, and I prefer working with real musicians.)

 

There are a lot of software choices, and I usually describe the differences among them as being like tennis shoes... I like Reboks, you like New Balance, the next guy likes Keds, but they all get us all down the road. Each has it's own 'fit', and the one that fits me might not feel as good to you, yet all are perfectly good products. So after you make a feature list of things that you have to have in your software, THEN you go shopping. It will be a lot harder as you have no experience with these things, I mean, how can you be expected to pick out the best tools for you when you don't yet know how to use the tools?

 

Were I in your shoes I might consider the interim step of buying something like the tascam 122 or inspire, or something similar.. an inexpensive interface that comes with just about everything that you need to get your feet wet in the process, at a price that makes it disposable. After you have learned a thing or two about the work, then you'll be better abke to make a cogent decision when it comes to spending some real money and doing it right.

 

Bill

"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."

 

Steve Martin

 

Show business: we're all here because we're not all there.

 

 

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