Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Useing your PC or mac in music Recording

OK, first, in the old days we used almost all hardware recording devices, many still do, anyone can get a multi track digital recorder for under 400.00 great stuff is out there , but the main tool in recording and mastering these days is by via the PC.

You do not need a lot to make a pro recording on any PC. I remember when I had a Dell PC pent 2 with 500MHZ and only 512K for memory, at the time I used Magix Music maker deluxe, and a whole new world opened to me, I produced several CD's just with Magix, see the cheap and great products they offer at
79.00 can get you there new Samplitude studio deluxe a 100% pro recording unit with amazing goodies for all. UPDATE they have discontinued the samplitude studio deluxe, why I do not know, it was great, they now sell for 100.00 the new magix music studio deluxe and it also is easy to use and sounds excellent. If you have 300.00 or so, I would but Acid Pro, many movies studio composers are now using acid pro as one can lay down tracks fast and the specs are great, also radio stations and T.V. stations music directors are using acid pro.Acid pro has many great Loop CD's for sale one of my favorites is Mike Fleet woods drum samples, it can not be beat for rock and pop.

I later upgraded to a dell pent 3 2.5 GHZ and 2 GB memory stick and wow what a difference. I purchased acid pro 6 and Samplitude pro 7 and all of waves plug ins. Samplitude was made and used in pro studios for mastering and audio recording. Waves need no introduction 4,000 bucks, but you can get the same stuff on OEM software sites and it is legal so check them out one good one I use is at. I no longer recommend this site or most OEM sites, all out of
Russia and many are frauds.
The prices are mind blowing and can save you up to 80% off the retail price and yes the courts said it is legal so hay, why not, do you have 4,000 lying around?

Magix has software downloaded for as low as 59.00 I think every budding musician should have that as well as samplitude studio and acid pro version 6 or version 4 all cheap see the price list.

Now the sound card, I have tried many, many sound cards over the years, you want one that has ASIO drivers as ASIO allows you to automate your mix and effects and is essential. You can get a sound card for around 100.00 a pro one like e-mu 4040 great card also many others look around and see. You will need a card with 2 INS and 2 outs and a midi in and out. Prices fall as I write this. They are easy to install.

Next get a midi controller, there are many .I use and you should have what is called a midi keyboard controller some start at 100.00 nothing fancy and many units are now USB powered as well as mics, mixers. You need a controller, the mouse way of recording sucks but can be done.

For 100.00 get a pair of Monitor speakers, called near field monitors these are placed near you at 45 degree angle. A decent set of headphones, my headset cost 40.00, also look on Craig’s List many, many good deals. My monitors called Truths were 40.00 my M-audio condenser mic was 40.00 lists 100.00 my pre amp 30.00 it list 150.00 so look and buy used or barter.

I got my 88 key controller Roland keyboard USB for 60.00 so look, now all together that is not a lot of money and as you learn how to use the stuff soon you will produce pro results just like a pro studio and save a bundle. The price for this stuff alone will pay for it's self in contrast to what a studio would charge.

Learning takes time and you will learn new things and every song will sound better than the last one.
The mastering process is a must and most programs have pre sets, so use them as a staring point.
Example Magix music maker deluxe and samplitude studio deluxe have mastering pre sets in the Multi band compression plug in, use them I still do at times and you can get that loud radio ready sound with ease.

Mastering considered the black art is not as hard as you think, esp. if you’re using all digital, synths drums, pads all digital. Did you know a Vsti and a synth do not require any EQ?
If you are recording guitar, bass, vocals it takes more learning, but use the pre sets and hear the dramatic difference.

Many Boss digital recorders have built in drum machines many amp simulators and some mastering tools built is. I used a Boss and got great results far above demo quality, but once the final mix is done use the sound cards 2 In's and load the wave form into your recording software and there you will master and get your CD and Mp3"s mastered and tweaked.

Samplitude has a great amp simulator, I use amplitude, buy OEM cheap and use a good pre amp your vocals will only sound as good as the preamp. I tried a good priced pre amp that I now use everyday and in my opinion it is the best with a price of 150.00 it is called M-Audio DMP3 2-Channel Mic Pre/Direct Box
a great cheap pre amp are these two- note they are under 40.00 the first one is one in and one out 29.00 the best ,the next is the same, just with 2 ins so the choice is yours
Behringer TUBE ULTRAGAIN MIC100 Preamp 29.00
Behringer MIC200 Tube ULTRAGAIN Preamp 39.00 both 5 star rating from many musicians.

So a good pre amp is a must the DMP is by far a mind blowing unit that produces a pro pre amp sound. Some small mixers have Xenyx pro mic pre amps and should not be over looked if your wanting a great little mixer with pro pre amps they are as follows and note most radio stations and T.V stations use these same mixers so why not you. I have one and use it everyday I have the USB one, but if your card has a 2 in 2 out your all set. And can get a cheaper mixer that is not USB, but standard Left-right inputs.

Behringer XENYX 802 Mixer this is the classic unit with highly up graded Pe amps 60.00 has 8 INS and 2 XLR's for mic line. If you need another mixer bigger get the top notch unit by the same CO.
Behringer XENYX 1202 79.00 gets you 4 XLR mic ins with 12 inputs and built in FX that are pretty darn good not a lot of money and big enough to record a combo or band the one I use and is out of this world is as follows.

Behringer XENYX 1204 129.00 4 XLR’s ins 12 channel 2 aux sends and is USB no effects but I have many effects, another one a Little more has the FX if you need that this board is great for a home studio, or a live gig and live recording of a full band for what this unit offers and its quiet sound you simply can not go wrong.

I mention Mac’s the best of the best is with no doubt the Audio tecnicka at 2020 the second best is the studio projects B1 an amazing mic and finally the M-audio Nova all 100.00 I am only listing the equipment that will get you pro results for little cash, remember I got an M-audio mic for 40.00 so look but the number one mic according to all the pro audio mags is by far the at2020 they even have a new one for 130.00 that is USB no 48 volt phantom power or pre amp needed. So that is a good starter list, now let’s look at how to keep your PC up and running after all the PC is your main brain and your recorder.

1. Disable all screen savers trust me this is a must.

2. Clean your PC inside and out, esp. the internal fan it collects a lot of dust and can cause your PC to run loud this is a must and an easy fix.

3. Make sure if you have an internal crap sound card and you do, all PC's have them, go to control panel double click the sound card like sound max and click disable and make sure your better sound card is enabled even a sound audigy is a great pro sound card so do that first.

4. Get a utility that will clean your unwanted stuff like the it is called the AFT cleaner it can free up over 1 GB of crap and will optimize your system go to this site and down load the unit and other good PC utilities at a needed site with many, many helps to keep your PC running smooth. Please visit this important site.

5. This site is a great place to learn everything from a-z and they offer a great book it is located at the top hit it and follow step by step also many articles and forums the best site bar none on recording esp. for the new record EST.

if that is the only site you go to visit daily and learn all the free stuff they offer a must so do so now and add to favorites.

6. Read all you can about PC's and Mack's there are to may to list do your home work.

7. If your PC freezes and they all do, start by rebooting the PC and 99% of the time that will do the job.

8. Have a good anti virus like Avast and mal ware (A squared free) a must also a great unit is (commando) INTERNET security and fire wall all free and these are all must

9. Save your work every 5 min I kid not, I lost hours of writing songs because I forgot to do a save , many recording software have an automatic save, so enable that.

10 A must a serge protector in case of an electric power surge. Get one with the on off switch.

11. Keep your HD formatted via accessories done once a week, run the anti virus and mal ware at least 3 times a week.

12. Add as much memory as your board can handle look up the board specs and see how much it can handle. Note my PC board says it takes 4 GB but it only reads and uses 3.2 GB so go figure, you should have a minimum of 1 GB and 2 is better if you are going to do video 4 GB is a must.

13 Clean your CD- DVD drive, many people do not and can cause problems any store has CD -DVD cleaners so use it and save un-needed hassle.

I am so glad I decided to learn the PC in and out, read all the A+ books, and the essential text book called Upgrading and repairing your PC by QUE publishing. These books and the many visits to Geeks to go will save you time, and keep your recording studio up and running.

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