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Home recording setup

PostPosted: Sun Nov 28, 2010 12:54 pm
by George Beasley
I just purchased a new iMac computer (27" screen, i7 quad core, 16G ram), which should arrive this week. With the new computer on the way, I am thinking about upgrading my recording capabilities. Currently, on my laptop, I have an older version of Ableton Live, and use a Line 6 UX2 through the USB as my interface. Ableton is ok, but seems kind of clumsy for me. The Line 6 unit is adequate, but nothing special.

I am looking for something that will let me build nice drum tracks, be fairly easy to use and edit, and has a good sound.

I am thinking about getting Apple Logic Studio, and getting a better interface....perhaps a MOTU 896mk3.

What kind of recording software do you folks use?

Re: Home recording setup

PostPosted: Sun Nov 28, 2010 3:14 pm
by thenorm
I use Audacity for my small needs
Online and Free

Re: Home recording setup

PostPosted: Sun Nov 28, 2010 3:52 pm
by John Knowles

My son and I both use iMacs for our studios. Jay uses Logic Studio and I use ProTools. They both sound good but they operate very differently. Jay creates tracks with drums, etc. Logic seems to be designed for that whereas in ProTools, it's more of an afterthought. I use ProTools to record the CD for my FingerStyle Quarterly. I am recording myself live so there are no overdubs, etc. I have found it straightforward to edit and export the finished tracks to Toast for burning CDs.

Jay and I invested in several mics, a Great River preamp and a Mytec analog to digital converter. I use the mBox Pro 2 as an interface. My son goes straight in to the optical digital input of his iMac. Neither of us is recording more than one instrument at a time.

We have tried to keep our setups simple but high-quality. We both know the projects we are working on and every now and then we take a project to a local studio for certain things.

If I were in the market for a new computer, I would go for the iMac you have chosen. Becky has the 22" iMac from that generation and it's mighty nice. Beautiful screen. As a movie fan, you will love it. Check out for all the cables and connectors you will need. Great prices.


Re: Home recording setup

PostPosted: Sun Nov 28, 2010 4:01 pm
by John Knowles
George, If you go with Logic, compare Studio to Express. It's the same core program either way. More add-ons, with Studio. John

Re: Home recording setup

PostPosted: Sun Nov 28, 2010 5:16 pm
by George Beasley
Thanks John.

What mics do you use, and where do you position them in relation to your guitar? I will need to invest in a few nice ones....the ones I have now are pretty cheap. I am looking for a good mic for acoustics, and one for an amp. You always get a great sound.

Yes..I am looking forward to the iMac arriving. A friend of mine has one, and the screen is fantastic. I decided to go with the i7 quad core to make things go a little quicker when working with photoshop...I want to start fooling around with creating high dynamic range composite photos.

Hope you had a great Thanksgiving.

Re: Home recording setup

PostPosted: Thu Dec 02, 2010 9:19 pm
by Roger Hardin
I would go with Reaper. Best bang for the buck out there. They have versions for both PC and Mac. They have a fully functional demo that you can try for 30 days and it may not expire but just warns you to register. I think the minumum license is $40. I am a Sonar registered user but only keep it for the effects that I can also use in reaper. Reaper has the smallest footprint of any package out there and you can run it from a thumb drive.

Re: Home recording setup

PostPosted: Fri Dec 03, 2010 12:00 am
by thumbslinger
I've used Logic Xpress, Reaper, GarageBand and Reason for good instrumentation and altering of instrument sounds.

Currently, as I'm now on a Windows PC, I'm using MixCraft but when I get another Mac box, it will probably go to Reaper and Logic Xpress.

Also, for what it's worth, the Yeti by Blue microphone is an incredible deal for $99 at Amazon. Normally around $150 at Guitar Center and the like. It's the first USB microphone THX certified. Of course, it's not going to replace some $500 or more mic, but if you sound-proof the mic (surround the mic first) and then have a good room, it's definitely going to be about your playing and not equipment!

Always pay for more RAM when you can. Mac's are better at memory handling for things like recording so thought processor is important, these days you can't buy a brand new Mac that isn't fast enough...but you can still have too little RAM, especially with HDR images.

Some tips that I've implemented in my recording that are probably bigger things than in the MACOSX are:
    -Wireless card is turned off. No freq hum chance at all.
    -Index caching on the hard drive is turned off. (Last time I checked, I had over 23,000 files on my machine...if I can remember and find what I need, so can you! Besides, you can always turn it back on. As you record, depending on what program you go with, the processor will be busy saving the file in a cache or in a project folder. Guess what can happen? Right as you're on that second take, there's a small blip in the continuum due to caching and those three notes in Jerry's Breakdown that you finally nailed are lost to oblivion due to the machine...'just trying to be nice"
    -Turn your sound card off (disable) if you're using your interface as a playback device.

Yikes, it's time for me to shut-up :)

Have fun!

Re: Home recording setup

PostPosted: Fri Dec 03, 2010 10:31 am
by RonBloor
For those Windows PC users who are not into costly professional software, there is a "free" "give away of the day" today (Dec. 3rd) that works quite well for doing quick recording/editing jobs of your audio files. It is called "CyberPower Audio Editing Lab" ... Yes, I know about "audacity" and a few other freebees. Call me cheap... the price is right !! :)

Re: Home recording setup

PostPosted: Fri Dec 03, 2010 6:54 pm
by George Beasley
I ended up going with the Logic Studio package, and the MOTU interface. Everything arrived, additional ram from Crucial, software, and interface. I am now assembling, and loading software.

Now, I just need to decide on a few nice mics, and then get busy trying to create something I won't be embarrassed to share!

Re: Home recording setup

PostPosted: Fri Dec 03, 2010 7:22 pm
by BillB
I did a bunch of reading up a while back on mics for recording. You are probably not at the low budget that I'm on, but I eventually settled on an AKG Perception 220 condenser mic after reading various online reviews. According to the what I read, it is supposed to work well for recording acoustic instruments and vocals, as well as miking an amplifier. I was able to purchase the mic for less than $120 brand new on eBay, even though most are priced at $179 and up. It's a very nice mic at that price.

Another one that really interested me after reading the reviews was the Shure SM7b. However, it was more in the $350 price range, and I decided to maybe look at that one at a later date. Anyway, I'd certainly encourage you to check both of those out as you shop mics, and do your homework on any others that interest you. Some of the ones that I thought would probably be good mics didn't actually get very good reviews. On the other hand, I was a bit surprised at the reviews that the Shure mic received.

Have fun!

Bill B.