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Recording Software


dama

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I'm looking for a free software program to start doing some multi-track recording. I have a PC laptop 8.1 and plan on using keys, guitar and vocal through my mixer into the laptop. I just want something to get started with at this point. Something fairly easy to use. I've read a bit about Reaper and that looks pretty.

Any suggestions?

Nord electro 3 73, Casio Px-5s, Yamaha SY-85, A&H ZED FX mixer, 2 QSC K8.2s
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I thought Reaper was free to try but $60 for a personal use license?

 

If you can afford < $100, there's Acoustic Mixcraft and various "lite" options from Ableton, Steinberg (Cubase Elements), Cakewalk, and Presonus... and there's Harrison Mixbus as well (on special for VERY cheap right now).

 

Otherwise, I'm not sure of anything good AND totally free that runs on Windows. I was going to say Ardour (which Mixbus is based off of) but it looks to be Linux/OS X only now.

 

-John

 

I make software noises.
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Reaper. If you need audio interface look and see what free DAW comes with what interfaces. Else checkout Reaper.

"It doesn't have to be difficult to be cool" - Mitch Towne

 

"A great musician can bring tears to your eyes!!!

So can a auto Mechanic." - Stokes Hunt

 

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What about Audacity? Free recorder/editor that works with Windows. Not sure if it supports multi-track recording though.

 

 

SSM

 

No. But it can do an OK job of putting down some live group recordings.

"It doesn't have to be difficult to be cool" - Mitch Towne

 

"A great musician can bring tears to your eyes!!!

So can a auto Mechanic." - Stokes Hunt

 

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What about Audacity? Free recorder/editor that works with Windows. Not sure if it supports multi-track recording though.

 

 

SSM

 

No. But it can do an OK job of putting down some live group recordings.

 

Far be it for me to argue with venerable forum members, but I just checked to make sure. Unless I am misunderstanding the definition of "multi-track", Audacity can record multiple tracks (monitoring while recording, etc.)

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I'm looking for a free software program to start doing some multi-track recording. I have a PC laptop 8.1 and plan on using keys, guitar and vocal through my mixer into the laptop.

 

Multitrack recording usually means recording all those instruments at the same time as in your whole band is set up in a studio and everybody is playing and being recorded live. It sounds like you're just doing this yourself so you're recording one track at a time, correct?

 

I just want something to get started with at this point. Something fairly easy to use. I've read a bit about Reaper and that looks pretty.

 

Forget about looking pretty. If all you're doing is recording one track at a time then start with Audacity. It's simple and basic. And understand if you've never done this before just getting everything configured in your PC so you can arm a track, record something and actually hear it with no latency will drive you crazy until you figure it all out.

 

Just in case you do have some experience in this I'm not going to go into a whole digital audio recording tutorial here but if you're brand new to this I'll try to help because trust me, you'll need it.

 

One point I will make is as far as recording any basic audio or midi is concerned, whatever program you use has zero effect on the sound quality. Software doesn't see the digital audio until after it's come into the PC from whatever outside source. That audio has already been converted to digital bits and at that point any DAW software will record those bits exactly the same.

 

The things people talk about comparing one DAW to another are concerning built in plugins that are used to manipulate the sound AFTER you've done the basic recording. Given the exact same sound source (which could be from different quality levels of interfaces) virtually any digital recording program will record that source exactly the same so don't buy into the hype that one SOUNDS better than another. That could be true but that's based on using various built-in plugs and other cool things AFTER you've recorded your basic tracks. That's what the different DAW's advertise. Audacity is fine to get you started.

 

Think of a DAW like a classic Studer studio tape deck. You can take that tape deck to 5 different studios and get a completely different sound from the exact same band doing the same material. Why? It's due to the recording console (think interface) that handles the INPUT and what the engineers use in POST production. This is all the compressors, limiters, reverbs etc that's applied AFTER the recording is done.

 

You can see how tricky this is to explain, I'm already rattling on here. All I'm trying to say is all the different DAW software will record exactly the same, what changes the sound quality is different input equipment and different mixing/mastering equipment or software.

 

Bob

 

Hammond SK1, Mojo 61, Kurzweil PC3, Korg Pa3x, Roland FA06, Band in a Box, Real Band, Studio One, too much stuff...
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Audacity will only allow you to record one device at a time. I don't think it does real time or editable effect. It is very limited unless it has changed a lot. Especially as a keyboard player if you need to send multiple device to separate tracks on one take. But the price is right. A blues band I played with record rehearsals with it but it was just a single track capturing a PA board mix.

"It doesn't have to be difficult to be cool" - Mitch Towne

 

"A great musician can bring tears to your eyes!!!

So can a auto Mechanic." - Stokes Hunt

 

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Thanks for the suggestions. I wasn't clear in my original post of my recording. I do want to be able to overdub tracks and not record the whole band at the same time, also have the ability to record a couple tracks at the same time. I would settle for just being able to overdub one track at a time though.

 

I guess Audacity can that. Maybe PreSonus "Studio One Free" can also?

Nord electro 3 73, Casio Px-5s, Yamaha SY-85, A&H ZED FX mixer, 2 QSC K8.2s
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I know it's not free, but I bought the Presonus Audiobox USB to use with my laptop, and it comes with Studio One Artist. I'm just a hobbyist so I can't attest to any extraordinary tech specs or anything, just the fact that it was easy enough for me to get good results, and I got what I was hoping for in the product. That has not always been the case for me with regard to PC based recording solutions :)

 

Also, I probably missed it at some point in the thread, but how will the OP go from his mixer to the PC? - The Audiobox, to me anyway, sounds as good as the E-Mu 1820M I had that I sold cheap after I bought the Presonus. FYI I was in way over my head with the E-Mu stuff, but I did finish 3 projects with it, but with a lot of struggle.

 

Sorry if I'm rambling just wanted to put in a plug for the Presonus hardware as well.

 

- Jim

I got a bunch of stuff, none of it the really cool stuff though. I am working on it; I want really cool stuff.
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WIW, Presonus Studio One Free gets the nod in my books.

 

dama,

 

Studio One Free is the ticket for you.

 

Greg

 

Thanks Greg!

 

:facepalm::hitt:

 

Sven,

 

Obviously you don't understand the distinction between the 'nod' and the 'ticket'.

 

dama likes the 'ticket' better. :boing:

 

Greg

Kurzweil Forte, Yamaha Motif ES7, Muse Receptor 2 Pro Max, Neo Ventilator
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What about Audacity? Free recorder/editor that works with Windows. Not sure if it supports multi-track recording though.

 

 

SSM

 

No. But it can do an OK job of putting down some live group recordings.

I agree. It's designed as a "wave editor", and all features added on to allow it to handle multiple tracks don't turn it into a digital audio workstation suitable for mixing and (most importantly) re-mixing. By re-mixing, I don't mean "remix" like they use it in house music these days. I mean, continuously making small adjustments to the mix until you're happy with it.

 

With Audacity, you generally "apply a process on a track" and the result replaces the track. Too much reverb? Oops.

 

No doubt they've added features to it to make it better; it's been many years since I've used it. But I'd be surprised if they made it suitable for tweaking a mix.

 

It's a great free wave editor, though, and one is handy to have. However, back when I gave it careful consideration, I found that free CoolEdit96 sounded better (even though I had to convert tracks to 16-bit to use CE96). This was for doing things like denoising and pitch shifting. But, that was 10 years ago. Their algorithms may have improved. And it is FREE!

 

Still, I'd start with a DAW. Pick one (like Reaper). Join the forum. Introduce yourself and ask "Where's the beginner circle?" or something, and I bet you'll find plenty of folks happy to walk you though the process.

 

When you start tracking, do NOT start with that magnum opus you've been dying to finally get in the can. Start with the simplest tune that you can nail in performance and that's just a couple of tracks. This is a scratch recording for learning purposes, and most likely you'll throw it away (and get sick of the tune) before it's really something you're proud of.

 

Once you've recorded the first one and done a quick mix and then added a little bit of FX, then consider installing another DAW and repeating the cycle.

 

Each time you try a new one, it's a bit of a PITA getting the details for how to do a given thing on a given DAW.

 

I like Reaper, but it overcomplicates some stuff. With n-Track, it was SO easy to do a number of things that I'm still befuddled how to attack with Reaper. Even basic stuff like "comping" (e.g., record the lead vocals 3 or 4 times. Then for each phrase, pick the best track, mute the others. Finally, render down to a single vocal track. IIRC, this is fine for analog tracks, but a nuisance with MIDI tracks, for reasons I don't recall.)

 

But Reaper is rock solid, whereas n-Track had hiccups, and the last time I loaded it, the GUI sucked. I'd been using it for years, but they changed the selection paradigm, and so when I did any action, I had to wait for visual feedback to see if I was doing what I thought I was doing. That's typical, but the feedback took up to a whole second to show up, even though I was using a very fast new computer. ARRRGH! I ditched it.

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