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carol m

Need some advice Audacity or Kristal?

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carol m    64

I want to fix my computer so I can record. I've been reading threads for a couple of hours and would like some guidelines before I take the plunge.

I have already tried using the soundcard that came with the computer with a headset + mic in a USB port, and a relatively cheap mic into the 'mic in' port, but both methods result in 'gale force wind' effects so you can hardly hear the guitar, and nomatter how I try I cannot get the recorder to record for more than 60secs (I'm not taking it personally).

I don't have a pre-mixer or pre-amp but would buy one if I needed it.

I downloaded Audacity version1:2:4 about a year ago and haven't used it yet. When I go to Audacity site there is a version 1:2:6 available.

I can see it's going to take a good deal of effort to learn about a software program, so I should decide before I start if I should go with Audacity or Kristal. I see there's a sticky for Audacity (Hi Kenny), and a lesson on Kristal (Hi Tekker) and now would be the time to make a good choice rather than later. It needs to be as simple as possible as I know zero about levels, clipping, mixing etc. Also I found a Yamaha keyboard in the attic that was used about twice by the kids a few years ago so it would be good if I could tie that in later too.

I have my CD player and speakers linked to my computer already (for listening). I also have an audio tape deck (remember them?) hooked up to the CD player and computer so they are all linked.

My questions are,

1.should I go with Audacity or Kristal?

2.which is 'easier' for a beginner?

3.and if I go with Audacity should I ditch the older version and download the latest version before I start?

Any info and opinion would be appreciated :)

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skinnybloke    4

I want to fix my computer so I can record. I've been reading threads for a couple of hours and would like some guidelines before I take the plunge.

Jump in, at a basic level it's not that hard.

I have already tried using the soundcard that came with the computer with a headset + mic in a USB port, and a relatively cheap mic into the 'mic in' port, but both methods result in 'gale force wind' effects so you can hardly hear the guitar, and nomatter how I try I cannot get the recorder to record for more than 60secs (I'm not taking it personally).

It sounds like your using "Windows Recorder", it defaults to 60 second recordings.

I don't have a pre-mixer or pre-amp but would buy one if I needed it.

Not necessary to begin with.

I downloaded Audacity version1:2:4 about a year ago and haven't used it yet. When I go to Audacity site there is a version 1:2:6 available.

Download the new version if you want to. If you can't be bothered...give it a miss.

I can see it's going to take a good deal of effort to learn about a software program, so I should decide before I start if I should go with Audacity or Kristal. I see there's a sticky for Audacity (Hi Kenny), and a lesson on Kristal (Hi Tekker) and now would be the time to make a good choice rather than later. It needs to be as simple as possible as I know zero about levels, clipping, mixing etc.

Both are free, easy and have heaps of support from forum members....toss a coin:yes:

Also I found a Yamaha keyboard in the attic that was used about twice by the kids a few years ago so it would be good if I could tie that in later too.

You will need a MIDI adapter (plug) to go from the keyboard to the sound card.

I have my CD player and speakers linked to my computer already (for listening). I also have an audio tape deck (remember them?) hooked up to the CD player and computer so they are all linked.

My questions are,

1.should I go with Audacity or Kristal?

2.which is 'easier' for a beginner?

3.and if I go with Audacity should I ditch the older version and download the latest version before I start?

See above.

Any info and opinion would be appreciated :)

Have fun Carol:smilinguitar: :smilinguitar: :smilinguitar:

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mattz196    15

Carol for whats its worth having had no prior experience with recording software , I installed both and not that I can quantify why I found Audacity to be the easier of the two .The recordings created where not great but I did manage to make them and create a mp3 fairly easily.

Good luck , look forward to hearing you.

Matt

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knight46    2

Carol,

Not to throw a fly into the ointment, but after using Audacity and Krystal I have found that Reaper is twice as good as either one. Tekker also has a lesson on Reaper, you might want to check it out.

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namiguShin    0

I'm using Audacity for recording... I find it easier, and with it's Normalization and Noise Removal effects my recordings sound ok... As far as they can sound ok, because I'm using a cheap (2 euros or so) PC mic, so the quality cannot be good anyway... I use it just to "inspect" my playing, you can judge much better when you're just listening, a bit harder while you're playing because you concentrate on how to play something, and not to hear if it's played well... I use Kristal if I want to lay a backing track and record something over it... Because Kristal is a sequencer, not just a recording program like Audacity...

Anyway, my suggestion, I think they're both easy to learn, or at least to start with... But I think you can safely start with Audacity if you just want to record yourself and hear how that sounds... On the other hand, if you want to overdub something you can use Kristal... And I just don't think that this is win or lose situation... You won't make a mistake if you start with either of them, and you'll be able to fairly easy switch to the other one...

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Stratrat    0

I find Audacity much easier (if not as capable or advanced). I've had latency issues with Kristal, and it also doesn't seem to like using my USB mixer for input. I tried Reaper and couldn't even get it to recognize my mixer or the USB Audio Codec.

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wjp01908    0

I`ve been working my way through Reaper for a month or two now - have found it to be excellent. I imagine it would be a steep learning curve for a complete beginner, but if you can get your head around the basics, it seems to be powerful enough to keep you going for a good few years.

Will

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dejankuki    0

It is no mather wich program you use it's a important to learn how is working then you will choose other big gamers in audio (if you advance in recordings). I hear pretty good songs made with Kristal, no menton other "bad" programs.

Midi adapter is you need only if Yamaha have MIDI in/out, otherwise you can't plug this synth in comp. (if your yamaha have MIDI in/out and you have game port on your computer, then you will be needed only MIDI-to-gameport cable)

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LeeB    0

I downloaded Kristal because Tekker recommended it and has a tutorial somewhere on this site. I have only used it a couple of times because it made me sweat ;) and cos it made me realize how much work I needed to do. I should go back and record something because that was prolly a year ago and I think I have improved since then..at least a little bit I hope ;)

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eddiez152    129

Carol,

Its great that you a gonna give it a go. Although I have numerous programs for this venture I have been using Garage Band.

As everyone said, Audacity is a good start, seems easy to use.

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starsailor    20

Yes it's great to see you having a go Carol, I've still got a few things to sort out but I'm getting better, I'm using Reaper at the moment I'm learning just by trying everything out, I have a funny feeling recording is addictive, it's good fun though. and I'm sure you'll enjoy it.

Cheers

Chris

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Lcjones    8

I've been using audacity for quite some time. I've checked out the others, Reaper, Kyrstal. I even have store bought packages. I keep returning to Audacity.

The interface is easy use and easy on the eyes. It comes stock with "some" tools like reverb (GVerb), compression, normalization and a number of others. There are a ton of plugins and VST's to add to it as well.

But regardless which audio editor you choose "all" of them require a learning curve. Some more than others.

It's not the software, it's the ear that hears the sound the software is making.

**

LC

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Hi Carol, glad to hear your taking the plunge. Its always nice to hear the style and knowledge of the different players in here.

First off, I'm no authority on any of this, but my line of thinking leans towards choosing "anything" is a great first step. Which program {to me} really doesn't make a difference when starting out, they all have learning curves. There is the "basic" curve for anything new, then theres the curve for "that" particular program, and finally the curve of overall recording in general. I'm sure most who have a reasonable amount of time in the recording world, will admit that they have tried more than one program.

The main thing I believe, is to stick with whatever you choose to start with, until you have the first two "curves" down pat. By then you will have acquired a good general understanding of what goes into creating a good recording. Then it will be time to decide if you want to start over with something more in the way of a professional set-up. Some people make great recordings with the very basic free apps available, and are content. Others want to reach the next level and thats where the fun of experimenting with other programs come in. Just like guitars and music, everyone has their favorite.

For what its worth, my yamaha keyboard originally went from headphone jack out to line in on my PC, worked fine enough until I bought my powered mixer/pa system. I have only used audacity of the three mentioned in this thread, I'm now using adobe auditions which I love, but again the learning curve can be steep. I had no problems getting decent recordings from audacity and I'm sure the same would go for the others...just take your time, play with the one you choose and don't give up too early on it, lots of knowledge in here on just about any program you can think of. Best of luck to you in this new adventure...your gonna luv it.;)

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carol m    64

Thanks for all your replies everyone. Here's the plan.........

I'll start with Audacity and persevere until I can get at least a guitar track recorded, then conquer the adding of vocals and then think about where to go next (OK, helpful suggestions on that subject not neccessary at this stage - before you start taking pot-shots, wait until you have some ammunition :eek: ) I can see that nomatter what speedbumps I might hit there is plenty of help available from everyone.

For what its worth (for other beginners thinking of starting), without trying any yet, from the impressions I get from the info I've checked out so far:

Audacity will probably be easier but there might be limits to the tweaking ability/effects later on;

Kristal looks more suitable for plugging the guitar into a separate soundcard/device or via 'line in' and not an acoustic with mic, is probably more for effects & multitracking, and Tekker's lesson on Kristal starts right off talking about things I haven't got a clue about (my ignorance, not Tekkers lesson).

Reaper might be better but I'll start out learning the basics on Audacity and move on later if necessary once I know more about what I want/need.

The biggest hurdle is finding enough time to actually do it - some days there isn't time left over to even play the guitar.....at all :eek: although I usually manage to check out what's happening here on site most days.

Thanks again for all your suggestions, I'll let you know how I go. :guitardude:

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Tekker    1

I suggest starting with Reaper. :winkthumb:

While it does have a lot more stuff in it, doing basic recording is pretty much the same regardless of the program as all of the same steps need to be done in any recording program. It's just a matter of learning how that particular program does things.

If you plan on adding effects, you'll want Reaper. Audacity is very difficult for adding effects as you can't change them later (they are destructive). Kristal is better than Audacity as it uses real-time effects which can be changed at any time, but it only allows two effects per track, which is very limiting. Reaper allows an unlimited amount of real-time effects (as many as your computer can handle) and you can easily change the order, which Kristal can't do without removing the effects completely and adding them again in the new location.

We can help you get setup in Reaper, it's actually very user friendly. Reaper's built in effects are more difficult to use, but there are many free VST effects that you can use in their place that are very user friendly.

Kristal looks more suitable for plugging the guitar into a separate soundcard/device or via 'line in' and not an acoustic with mic, is probably more for effects & multitracking, and Tekker's lesson on Kristal starts right off talking about things I haven't got a clue about (my ignorance, not Tekkers lesson).

Kristal is just as suitable for plugging in an acoustic with a mic as any other program. My lesson is just on one of the things you can do with it, but it works just as well for acoustic. All the software does is record what you give it. From a basic "record and play" standpoint, they are all the same.

Reaper might be better but I'll start out learning the basics on Audacity and move on later if necessary once I know more about what I want/need.

IMO, you could probably learn the basics better on Reaper. As you won't be running into program limitations while trying to learn, you'll just be able to do it. ;)

-tkr

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carol m    64

Hi Tekker, what do you mean by 'effects'?

If you plan on adding effects, you'll want Reaper. Audacity is very difficult for adding effects as you can't change them later (they are destructive)

I will probably only want to clean up the sound, add a bit of echo (maybe) and make it sound as good as possible (no pedals, wah wahs or distortion etc). I would like to be able just record acoustic instrumental (one track), to add tracks on top of a basic strum/picking pattern, or add vocals separate to the guitar part and get them accurately synched. Maybe experiment with loops etc. Eventually I would like to use the Yamaha for 'Kenny type' additions but not for a while yet. I would also like to add guitar/voice over downloaded backing tracks too. Do you still think Reaper is a better choice than Audacity or Kristal for that?

Clearly its a good idea to start off on the 'right' one for me so I won't have to learn about different software programs later on, as it seems that the basics are pretty much the same on all.

By the way, thanks for your 'techy' lessons. They certainly give info to get a beginner started with some sort of a clue. ;)

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Tekker    1
Hi Tekker, what do you mean by 'effects'?

Effects can be any type of processing such as EQ, reverb, delay, chorus, distortion, pitch shift, wah, guitar amp simulator, acoustic guitar simulator (for electrics), etc... These all fall under the same category called "effects".

Do you still think Reaper is a better choice than Audacity or Kristal for that?

I think that Reaper is a better choice than Audacity or Kristal for pretty much anything that is related to music recording. ;) It is very simple, yet extremely powerful.

Clearly its a good idea to start off on the 'right' one for me so I won't have to learn about different software programs later on, as it seems that the basics are pretty much the same on all.

Absolutely. While it would probably be a little easier to switch over to a new program after learning another one, there will still be that awkward adjustment period while you learn the quirks of a different program. The functions may be similar, but they can be called different things and be in completely different areas (or under different menus) in the program. So even if you know what you have to do, you will still have to learn "how" to do it all over again.

The best method is to start out and stick with one for as long as you can, that way you get to know all the ins and outs of the program.

I started out on Cakewalk Pro Audio 9 (the manual that came with this thing was as thick as a novel! LOL) and I used that for about a year, then I found Samplitude and have been using that ever since (about 6 1/2 years). The more time you spend with one program the better and faster you'll get with it.

By the way, thanks for your 'techy' lessons. They certainly give info to get a beginner started with some sort of a clue. ;)

You're welcome. Glad you found them useful. :)

Also, if you'd like, I could do a more basic "how to" guide for Reaper.... With as minimal "tech talk" as I can get away with. :D

-tkr

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dejankuki    0

Let's put it this way...

Imagine some of programs (Kristal, Reaper, Cubase, Sonar,... whatever) as Simple virtual mixng console. You recorded some guitars on tape (a.k.a. tracks), then play tape and turn on and off effects (pluginns) you want.

Then you can record 2nd, and 3rd or 24th track and set on them some efects (so called plugins) and now you can mix all this 24 tracks together takeing care that they all have similar volumes and levels to all tracks be heard in one big song. Whole and completly song. In this way you have your own "studio" at your home with your computer.

In Audacity (Sound forge, or any other wav editor) you can record this same track and aply effects, but this effects will be "imprinted" in this wave and they cannot be removed.

I hope that you uderstand me what I try to tell you (since English is not my mother language)

Oh, yes... it is not matter what source you use as input to computer. It only count how you recorded this tracks.

Microphone is a little problem, but it can be solved. :)

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carol m    64

I've tried out Audacity (because I have it) and I'm having problems with volume. I've worked out that I have to increase the 'gain' in the window on the left, but this window doesn't appear until after I start Record so I can't increase it for Record. If I turn up 'gain' after I've recorded, the interference is magnified too. I'm also having trouble erasing the track to record over it. If I click undo it doesn't get rid of it, and if I click double arrow left it doesn't go back to the start. If I click the X in the small box on the left it gets rid of that track but I lose that box with 'gain' in it as well. Also, sometimes if I click in the window it goes blue which I can't get rid of except by exiting the program and starting again.

The waveform readout barely registers vertically, and the meter toolbars (top right) register about halfway along. I have the input and output sliders (left hand side under the Play/Stop buttons) on max. Any ideas?

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carol m    64

Thanks for the help Dejankuki (wow, that name is quite a tongue-twister). I aim to be a one-person orchestra within the decade, so any help is appreciated. Your English is fine, and I'm glad you found GFB&B - hope you enjoy your time here. :)

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namiguShin    0
I've tried out Audacity (because I have it) and I'm having problems with volume.

You have to tell us what you were recording (microphone, guitar directly plugged into soundcard, guitar => amp => soundcard...)... What was the combination?

Thanks for the help Dejankuki (wow, that name is quite a tongue-twister). I aim to be a one-person orchestra within the decade, so any help is appreciated. Your English is fine, and I'm glad you found GFB&B - hope you enjoy your time here. :)

Dejan is my man... :) And his nick doesn't twist like that in Serbian... :) And btw that's my dream, too... Good luck, Carol... :winkthumb:

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dejankuki    0
Thanks for the help Dejankuki (wow, that name is quite a tongue-twister). I aim to be a one-person orchestra within the decade, so any help is appreciated. Your English is fine, and I'm glad you found GFB&B - hope you enjoy your time here. :)

Glad to help you...and to be in this forum.

As for the name try "Deyan (it's my name) coockie" (it's my nickname) maybe it will help not twisted your tongue. :)

As for Audacity and similar programs concern those are WAV EDITORS. In theese you can record only one track per project, then save if you like. (Further procedure is to import this takes in multitrack programms and do the mixing. ) When you finish recording you take, you can save it or just simple close this verry window. Program don't save recordings that way.

You can increase volume in properties of your sound card, options for recording. When wavform is big and fat this is good take. But be carefull that peaks be about -0.5 Db. I can't provede pics in this momment, as soon I can I will show you.

You have topic " Members' Recordings - Let's hear you!". In this topic you can have songs that members recorded and posted. I don't mean to teach you how to use forum (since you are member quite longer than me), it's more like "here is what all you can do with programs like I mentioned (Cubase, Reaper, Kristal, Audition, Pro Tools, Ableton, Sonar, Guitar pro etc...etc...etc). Don't be cofused if you hear someone else call this programs diferent names. DAW (Digital Audio Workstation), Sequencers, Multitrack editor, Music software.... all this have same meaning. Software that you can record music with your computer.

P.S. http://www.guitarforbeginners.com/forum/members-recordings-lets-hear-you/15172-my-own-songs/

My homble works in the verry same way you will do.

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carol m    64

Those tracks sounded really good, dejan. I liked 'The Sun' best too.

namiGushin, I'm using a uni-directional mic into the computer and playback through speakers (or headphone in CD player).

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