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Too good to be true? Any good?

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Noodler    1

Hi all,

I am after a setup to start recording like a lot of members here.

I saw this mic (with a stand, which is a bonus), and the price is cheap. Peavey is a good brand generally, so it this any good?

Peavey Microphone with Stand - Microphone

The price is dirt cheap eg less than the price of a Boss DS-1 pedal.

Would you buy this or wait for something better? And what is better?

I saw an SM57 for $160 which is a good price for Australia, so that is another option.

Any advice gratefully received.

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carol m    64

I don't know Dave but here is a thread Doug made comparing a few microphones. The take home message for me was that it made little difference at my level of recording. That said, I know that Shure 57 is popular - as is the Shure 58, and Scotty B and Kirk have Rode mics among others - I think Rode mics may be Australian.

Remember that a Condenser mic requires a pre-amp with Phantom Power to power the mic, but a dynamic mic doesn't need Phantom Power.

Let us know what you choose and give us a demo soon as. :)

http://www.guitarforbeginners.com/forum/home-studio/22143-microphone-test-number-1-a/

Doug made a second thread too - you can find it from his profile and 'Threads Started by Doug'.

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Noodler    1

Hi Carol,

Yeah I've read through threads, and the kinds of mics that are cheap and universally recommended aren't available here. I keep reading, "I got this great deal from Musicians Friend..." and seeing exactly what I am after, but that's not Australian:brickwall: (no credit card). eg The one with a condenser and a dynamic in a box (two mics) with clips, sound great, cheap.

I've ended up so confused that I thought I might start looking the other old fashioned way ie what can I walk in and buy from a shop that they actually stock which is cheap?

eg on internet forums, people will discuss how great Barber overdrive pedals are and that's great. But I can't buy one here. I'm looking for the Boss DS-1 of the recording world. ie cheap, good, not too hard to use, hardy, universally known and you can get it anywhere.

I was just hoping someone could take the work out of it for me. The Peavey is cheap, comes with a stand. Ticks a lot of boxes. So I could esily get that one if it's any good. Or I could get the SM 57 or Sm 58. Just go to the shop and buy it. So are you saying as a beginner it doesn't really matter, just grab a cheap one? So the Peavey is OK?

My interest in this is purely utilitarian. I'm not excited by reading thread after thread and listening to samples. I just want to go to the shop, buy what I need (mic + interface +/- software) and go for it. That or some hand-held thing. Learning what to do when I get home with it will be enough for me.

Maybe I should just trust the store to recommend something?

Edit: It's like Dennis Leary joking that when he went to Starbucks for a coffee, it was really hard to just get a regular coffee flavoured coffee. Too much choice between frappa-this, mocha that, etc. I'm after the "flat white" setup of the home recording world.

Cheers.

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carol m    64

"So are you saying as a beginner it doesn't really matter, just grab a cheap one? So the Peavey is OK?"

Not really, I was referring to my level of guitar playing skills! Your skills are way ahead of me, but what I would say is:

if you think the difference in sound in Doug's examples are big enough to be important to the recorded sound you want to be able to produce, do lots of research and buy the one that suits your ears. Otherwise get a halfway decent mic of almost any sort and go with that because I think the playing ability, the tone of the player, and the soundcard you record with is more important than which mic you use.

But, if you were going for a demo or studio quality recording you might benefit from a particular mic that you like.

Others may disagree, but that's the conclusion I came to when thinking about getting a better mic than the $50 one I got as a birthday present. I didn't upgrade the mic, but I do have a bought PCI interface to bipass the onboard sound card - that made a huge improvement compared to Line in and Mic in direct into the PC computer.

Interestingly, the onboard mic on my Mac laptop (no separate mic, just play infront of it) is amazingly good compared with a separate mic plugged into the Mic-in onboard Realtek that came with my PC.

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Noodler    1
"So are you saying as a beginner it doesn't really matter, just grab a cheap one? So the Peavey is OK?"

Not really, I was referring to my level of guitar playing skills! Your skills are way ahead of me, but what I would say is:

if you think the difference in sound in Doug's examples are big enough to be important to the recorded sound you want to be able to produce, do lots of research and buy the one that suits your ears. Otherwise get a halfway decent mic of almost any sort and go with that because I think the playing ability, the tone of the player, and the soundcard you record with is more important than which mic you use.

But, if you were going for a demo or studio quality recording you might benefit from a particular mic that you like.

Oh, I thought you meant beginner at recording, not at guitar. As in just buy something cheap so you get started, then you'll know what you want from something more expensive...which makes sense.

From what I can gather the SM57 is the mic for instruments, even though it is cheap, so I'll spring the extra for that or the SM58. It seems to be "standard issue."

I was trying to avoid, "buy cheap, buy twice."

I didn't really want recording to be it's own hobby (I've got pedals and amps for that!:) ), just like cut and paste certain drum patterns into bars, lay down some chords over that. Layer leads and vocals as extra tracks and ta-da! Even better would be one of those things that turns you guitar into a trumpet or piano....and you can do all that...for about A$3000. But I am sure there are people here who can do all that for very little money.

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carol m    64

I'm sure the SM57 would do fine but I wouldn't call it cheap - my mic is a $50 special (that's cheap in Australia) bought by someone who knew nothing about recording, but it is only about 10th in the line of 'things I should do to improve my recordings' and number one is 'learn to play guitar better'.

I believe the SM58 is designed for vocal recordings, while the SM57 is more for instrument recording, but whether my ears could tell the difference is debateable - please note that my musical ear is still in kindergarten. Also remember that others may disagree.

Have you bought a soundcard/PCI/pre-amp that will bipass your computer's onboard soundcard? That is important for getting a clear recording without hiss and without the tinny sound quality of the average onboard sound recorders in PCs.

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Noodler    1

No, no interface yet. I thought I might be the whole thing as a bundle if I could and save some $. Something like a "Bargain, budget beginners recording pack" kind of affair.

By the way, what does DAW stand for/ mean? Is that the software you use?

If I buy an off-board device like the Boss or Zoom H2 kind of things, I won't need one. That appeals because I want to record amps, etc and don't want to be tied to my PC.

Still looking via shops (ie stuff I can actually get).

Liking:

JTS NX7S ($139) or JTS CX07S ($80), or the Rode M1 ($149, but comes in a can- how cool is that!:) )

but it is only about 10th in the line of 'things I should do to improve my recordings' and number one is 'learn to play guitar better'.
Reading between the lines here, there's not much difference between mics in the big scheme of things. Interface is more important.

Instrument vs vocal I think will be important for me. I want to record all these amps and pedals that I love, and they are loud. If I try to record on a digital camera, my voice is too soft to be heard, but the guitar amp clips the camera mic. So I need something capable of recording loud to soft.

The $80 one above comes with a cable, so that might be the go-er.

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carol m    64

It seems like I'm the only punter here, and I'm no expert at all. But I'll give it a shot:

A DAW is a Digital Audio Workstation - here's a llinkDigital audio workstation - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

and what that means = software recording interfaces with multiple tracks where you record, edit, add effects, and mix before compressing the final result into an mp3 format or similar for posting here, or onto your ipod etc. Have you read Tekker's lessons on recording? They give a good basic knowledge. Examples of free downloadable ones are Reaper, and Audacity. There are also many commercial (purchased) DAWs like Protools or Adobe Audition or Cubase etc etc.

My own set up line goes:

mic or line in>MAudio soundcard>PC or Mac via USB>Reaper or Audacity or GarageBand on my Mac. Really basic, and my MAudio has 2 mic-in channels, and 2 line in channels, all with a volume in control plus earphone jack with it's own vol out knob.

I don't know anything about the separate portable recording units you are considering, but I know that Cyan uses a Zoom H2 for recording on the road. I read a review and it said

Let's move over to recording from line inputs and then we hit a snag, and a big one. There is no way to set recording levels. Oh, there is a level control in the GUI, but that one, can you imagine?, operates in the digital domain, after the ADC. That means that the analogue input signal has to occupy just the right range: too loud and the ADC clips with horrendous distortion, too low and resolution / signal-to-noise-ratio suffer.

Here is that review link Zoom H2 portable solid state recorder - [English]

I didn't read the whole article and don't really know enough to explain exactly what that means - maybe some other members would know, but if there really isn't a volume knob to control the level of sound going in to the unit I expect that would be a real problem, especially if you were recording either really soft or really loud sounds.

I don't know about the other unit you're considering. I would recommend you go to a big store and tell someone there who knows about recordings to advise you what is best for what you want to do.

If you want to record loud instruments and vocals together (at the same time) you will probably need 2 mics so you can control the different volumes going into your unit and record each mic (assuming the instruments are recorded via a mic and not line in) on a different Mic-in port onto 2 separate tracks so you can edit and mix the vocals separately to the instruments.

I have no experience of recording sound produced through guitar amps, boxes etc so you need to speak to someone who knows more about that than me! I'm hoping I get marks for trying here. :laughingg:

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Noodler    1

Dear Carol,

Thanks! Yes, that answers a lot of my questions.

I have looked at Tekker's lessons, but it's info overload. If I was around when they were put up one at a time, I'd be fine, but there is a lot of detailed information there like tutorials on each DAW (See, I know what that means now!). I feel like I'm looking at a great big thick textbook when I look at the lessons. Why can't anything just be intuitive anymore?

I'm going to drop off the radar for a while. I think I'm going to have to buy some stuff and just learn how to use it.

I do a technical job, where I am learning to use new programs and equipment all the time, so I don't want to spend a moment more than I have to learning technical stuff in my spare time. Put it like this, I get my wife to record onto our TV recorder. I learned how to use a VCR and then they changed the world on me! Wasn't that enough?:laughingg:

I don't know about the other unit you're considering. I would recommend you go to a big store and tell someone there who knows about recordings to advise you what is best for what you want to do.
I did this. They recommended the Boss BR900CD (and an extra mic) which is about A$1000 (plus the cost of the mic). That's do-able, but it'll take some saving. That'll give me all I want, away from the PC.

Bless you Carol, yes, you've been a help. It seems recording is it's own hobby, just like GAS is. But it doesn't excite me like a new amp or pedal. I haven't wanted to commit the time and effort, but it looks like it's the nature of the beast.

This looks like me:

BOSS U.S. - BR-900CD: Digital Recorder

PS- I wish I liked the Zoom recorders (price is right, portable, tick lots of boxes), but they sound muffled to me and pick up background noise. I have tried one with a friend before, in real life.

Edit (again)- Found a Boss Micro BR advertised cheap.

Noticed your setup is quite cheap Carol, maybe I want too much? I at least want to be able to have a drum track, & register different tracks (ie record different tracks and lay them on top of each other). But maybe any DAW can do that?

I'll spend more time just trying stuff out with a mic into my PC soundcard and try the DAWs I have, and see if I can use Audacity to put in a drum loop and record tracks and vocals over that.......and then try for quality later on.

Sorry to bother you so much. I'll post something roughshod when it's going.

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Tekker    1
I have looked at Tekker's lessons, but it's info overload. If I was around when they were put up one at a time, I'd be fine, but there is a lot of detailed information there like tutorials on each DAW (See, I know what that means now!). I feel like I'm looking at a great big thick textbook when I look at the lessons. Why can't anything just be intuitive anymore?

Hey Noodler, have you seen the lesson index? I tried to make it intuitive, by putting specific tutorials in the order that they should be read (the ones that have numbers by them). The asterisks are tutorials that don't need to necessarily be read in any order.

http://www.guitarforbeginners.com/forum/tekkers-lessons/13004-lesson-index-start-here/

It seems recording is it's own hobby, just like GAS is. But it doesn't excite me like a new amp or pedal. I haven't wanted to commit the time and effort, but it looks like it's the nature of the beast.

Yes, that is absolutely the case. In addition, each element of recording could be it's own hobby (or job profession), such as the actual recording process, editing, mixing, mastering, etc... So there is a lot to the whole recording process.

If you're not interested in the technical details of recording, you could try going with some studio gear that you're comfortable with (like the Zoom you mentioned) and get all of your songs structured and organized and then go into a local studio and record them and let someone else deal with all the other stuff. ;)

-tkr

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Noodler    1

Hi Tekker,

Yeah I was looking at the Zooms again today. I notice that one of them (or all?) has a one touch record, "point and shoot" kind of mode, so that's great- and makes it easy for a guy like me.

The H4n looks good (though $), because it comes with Cubase LE, which I think means I can later on hook up a MIDI keyboard and play my own drums or trigger a cello/ cor anglais or whatever with.

It also accepts external mics including phantom power, so if the little ones in it seem muffled or noisy, I can upgrade later. Accepts guitar-input (1/4").

Please don't take what I said as a criticism. You've always helped me out, and put a lot of work into your lessons. Just understand that the Boss RC-2 loop station took me two years to learn how to use (seriously)...and I'm not a ludite, I have a degree in Applied Science in a Technology field. Just last thing I want to do after work is sit and read (more) technical stuff, or operate machines that involve doing things in just the right order, exactly, first time. Eight hours a day is enough of that!:hammers: (I feel like the guy under the hammer after work!)

If you're not interested in the technical details of recording,
I'm interested in the stories about Eddie Kramer bumping down tracks and the Beatles stretching tape in a way that can never be replicated, that flanging was done by touching the flange of the tape, how Purple Haze was recorded, etc. I love listening to the end product and appreciating it, especially the vocal overdubs on Kelly Clarkeson's "Behind These Hazel Eyes."

Learing to use another computer program is not so exciting *(to me)* If I could do it for Eight hours a day instead of my day job, that'd be different though! Then I'd be excited! :clap:

I think the Zoom H4n will be a cookin device (birthday soon). It can do the "point and shoot" record thing to get me hooked, and I can grow into it. Thanks. I think I've made a decision.:winkthumb:

Edit:

One more Q. I'm thinking that having a monitor speaker on the H4n is important. Is that true? I hate wearing headphones while playing guitar. It would be good to play back away from the PC, too.

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Noodler    1

Dear Tekker,

I forgot to answer. Yes, I have read a lot of your lessons, but my head collapsed (my fault) when I got up to the ones on how to use Audacity. I can appreciate the work you did to post screenshots and everything. The other stuff I find interesting and easy to read. Have also read your general music lessons. As I said, you've answered questions for me before about stuff (thanks).

Edit: SM57 mentioned in my OP is one of your recommendations.

Dave

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Tekker    1
I have a degree in Applied Science in a Technology field. Just last thing I want to do after work is sit and read (more) technical stuff, or operate machines that involve doing things in just the right order, exactly, first time. Eight hours a day is enough of that!:hammers: (I feel like the guy under the hammer after work!)

I totally understand that, I have an AAS degree in electronics and am now going for a BS degree in computer programming. But I think having a technical background gives us an advantage to be able to utilize these kinds of applications to their fullest. ;)

One more Q. I'm thinking that having a monitor speaker on the H4n is important. Is that true? I hate wearing headphones while playing guitar. It would be good to play back away from the PC, too.

For mixing, absolutely speakers are far better than headphones. But if you are recording with microphones, then headphones are great because the microphones won't pickup the sound coming out of the headphones like they would with speakers.

I forgot to answer. Yes, I have read a lot of your lessons, but my head collapsed (my fault) when I got up to the ones on how to use Audacity. I can appreciate the work you did to post screenshots and everything. The other stuff I find interesting and easy to read. Have also read your general music lessons. As I said, you've answered questions for me before about stuff (thanks).

Yeah, the Reaper/Kristal tutorials are pretty technical because they are step by step procedure guides and they are probably a lot to take in if you try to read them from start to finish. But if you work in Reaper/Kristal and do each step while reading the tutorials then hopefully they would be a lot easier to digest.

Edit: SM57 mentioned in my OP is one of your recommendations.

Yes, the SM57 is a great mic for guitar amps. But if you are going to be recording acoustic guitar and/or vocals then a condenser mic might serve you better in those areas and they work very well on electric also. The Studio Projects B1 is the same price as the SM57, so depending on what you are going to be recording you have some options to choose from in that price range.

-tkr

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Noodler    1
I totally understand that, I have an AAS degree in electronics and am now going for a BS degree in computer programming. But I think having a technical background gives us an advantage to be able to utilize these kinds of applications to their fullest. ;)
Man, if I had a degree in electronics, I'd be cashing in on the tone-hound guitar pedal modding craze. Heck, it's a passion anyway. In fact, I've thought of night school to learn the practical aspects of electronics (mainly soldering and how to get something to earth properly-ground vs chassis earth, tube biassing) for a cottage business doing amps and pedals. I love electronics. I'm jealous. I almost became a TV and VCR repairman, but luckily I didn't considering that people just throw that stuff out now!

The technical part of your brain doesn't get tired? I get fried!

Can't think straight, brain shuts down...so then I surf the web...hmmm..:laughingg:

For mixing, absolutely speakers are far better than headphones. But if you are recording with microphones, then headphones are great because the microphones won't pickup the sound coming out of the headphones like they would with speakers.
Good point. Won't rule out H2 (cheaper) then.

Yeah, the Reaper/Kristal tutorials are pretty technical because they are step by step procedure guides and they are probably a lot to take in if you try to read them from start to finish. But if you work in Reaper/Kristal and do each step while reading the tutorials then hopefully they would be a lot easier to digest.

Yes, quite true. Will try will Audacity and your lesson open in different windows. Audacity seems to get better reviews, although I have downloaded all the stuff you linked to before (about 6 months ago), so I have Kristal, Reaper and Audacity, VST's and plugins on my PC none of which I know how to use! Audacity seems the most universally liked, so I'll try that.

Yes, the SM57 is a great mic for guitar amps. But if you are going to be recording acoustic guitar and/or vocals then a condenser mic might serve you better in those areas and they work very well on electric also. The Studio Projects B1 is the same price as the SM57, so depending on what you are going to be recording you have some options to choose from in that price range.

I'll start with one mic or the Zoom first, just to make a start. I can get more stuff later. I know I can source the SM57, the other one I haven't seen in shops, but I'll look. It's a great-looking mic, isn't it!:yes:

I'll hopefully post something in a month or two that I creatively want to share.

Thanks for your patience, Tekker and Carol.

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Tekker    1
Man, if I had a degree in electronics, I'd be cashing in on the tone-hound guitar pedal modding craze.

But the bad thing is I'm horrible at soldering. I was much better at the calculations and theory than I was at actually putting things together, which is why programming is a better fit for me... I'm much better at typing. ;)

Yes, quite true. Will try will Audacity and your lesson open in different windows. Audacity seems to get better reviews.

Audacity lacks a lot of the features that Reaper has and IMO it's actually harder to use when it comes to mixing and adding effects (because you can't change the effects after you add them, you are stuck with what you choose the first time).

I know I can source the SM57, the other one I haven't seen in shops, but I'll look. It's a great-looking mic, isn't it!:yes:

Yep, it is a great looking mic and from all of the reviews I've heard, great sounding too. :winkthumb:

-tkr

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Noodler    1
Audacity lacks a lot of the features that Reaper has and IMO it's actually harder to use when it comes to mixing and adding effects (because you can't change the effects after you add them, you are stuck with what you choose the first time).

Right-e-o. Thaaaankyou. That's what I was after exactly. You know them all, so your choice is informed. Reaper it is then. I feel like a weight has been lifted.

Downloading trial version as we speak. Cheers.

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Tekker    1
Right-e-o. Thaaaankyou. That's what I was after exactly. You know them all, so your choice is informed. Reaper it is then. I feel like a weight has been lifted.

You're welcome. Have fun with Reaper, it's a fantastic program!

-tkr

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carol m    64

And thanks from me Tekker - I was beginning to drown in my own ignorance.

As far as learning to record yourself Dave, the basics of getting down a track or two is not hard and you accumulate knowledge as you need it. Reaper has everything anyone could need (and more) but the full power of the program is way beyond what I have learned. You will probably struggle a bit in the beginning with any program but Reaper has endless possibility for delving deeper if you ever want to. And it's free.

The last time I looked, for the latest upgrade version they were saying you have to buy this after the trial period, and I didn't know if that was in fact true or not. I downloaded the previous version where they ask you to pay by donation after the trial period but you never really have to unless you want to. I don't use Reaper much because I usually record on my Mac with GarageBand which I like and know better, so I didn't want to have to pay for a DAW I don't use much. But any DAW will do the job in slightly different ways. I know Les uses Audacity and Knight and a few others use Reaper, so there are always members you can ask if you get stuck anywhere.

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Noodler    1

I know a site where you can download old versions of things, so that's good to know, Carol. Very handy, actually.

As a quick start, how do I find and import a drum track into Reaper? Just loop a 4/4 rock rhythm, or something else common?

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Tekker    1
Doesn't look simple.Is the trial like a 30 day thing?

The demo version never expires. So while you could continue using it indefinitely, the developer asks that you buy it if you like it. The price is $60 for a noncommercial license.

-tkr

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carol m    64

The Reaper site has the older version as well. I didn't try the latest upgrade which is only a couple of months old so maybe the new version is with the same deal as the previous one, I don't know.

Don't know about importing stuff into Reaper, forgotten it actually 'cos I haven't used Reaper for a while, but there are tutorials on Youtube and a Wiki page covering the basics, and done by one of our members, Pipelineaudio.....Aloha!

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Noodler    1
The Reaper site has the older version as well. I didn't try the latest upgrade which is only a couple of months old so maybe the new version is with the same deal as the previous one, I don't know.

Don't know about importing stuff into Reaper, forgotten it actually 'cos I haven't used Reaper for a while, but there are tutorials on Youtube and a Wiki page covering the basics, and done by one of our members, Pipelineaudio.....Aloha!

Cheers.

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OldG    3

To import into reaper... just obtain an audio file of your choice,drum loops,whole backing tracks,anything you fancy and drag and drop it onto Reapers track window (the open space in the middle will work fine).

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