You are here

Making the Jump to Computers!

All about the tools and techniques involved in capturing sound, in the studio or on location.

Making the Jump to Computers!

Postby matt222 » Sat Jan 06, 2018 3:56 pm

I'm utterly and completely new to computers but feel I can't hold back any longer and accept that for a decent recording this is the way to go. I was for a short period and against the advice of some very patient and kind guys on here, using a Tascam DP 32 digital portastudio. I didn't get on with it and sold it on.

I have all my 32 channels of my Mackie SR32.4 VLZ desk filled up with hardware synths. I like having everything all connected and accessible immediately. I also have all 4 Aux send/returns filled up with hardware outboard.

So that's about it. Where do I send my mixer output to now to make a decent audio recording?

I vaguely understand I need a new computer and a 2 track interface?
matt222
Regular
Posts: 258
Joined: Sat Oct 24, 2015 11:00 pm

Re: Making the Jump to Computers!

Postby The Elf » Sat Jan 06, 2018 4:32 pm

There are a few options for you.

Personally, I want as little as possible between my synths and my DAW, so that I get the cleanest recording possible. To this end I would go for a minimum 4-input interface. I would then connect the mixer to two AI inputs, so I can monitor all your synths as I compose, but then patch each synth into the other two AI inputs (assuming stereo) to get a clean recording, i.e. bypassing the mixer.

The output of the AI would go to amp/speakers - in my world. Essentially I would be using the mixer to provide monitoring for all that hardware, but keeping the recording and monitoring chain simple and clean.

However, you do have other options...

Your mixer has 4 stereo sub-group outputs, so you could assign one of these as your 'recording output' and attach these to a pair of AI inputs. Anything you route to that group would be recorded in your DAW. In fact, you could use all of your sub-group outputs with an AI with sufficient inputs to handle them all - that would give you a great deal of flexibility. Probably overkill, though.

You could also bring the AI's outputs back to the mixer, if you want to monitor from there. Again, I would want as little hardware as possible in the monitoring chain, so I would connect my amp/speakers directly from the AI, but you may prefer the familiarity of your mixer.

I'm sure you can see that you could have a hybrid of the above options. Choices, choices...

But I would aim for a little more than a 2-in/2-out interface. 4-in/4-out will give you much more flexibility with what you have right now.

Oh, and if you do prefer to use the mixer for monitoring, be sure to use the mixer's Control Room outputs for your monitors.
User avatar
The Elf
Jedi Poster
Posts: 11132
Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2001 11:00 pm
Location: Sheffield, UK
An Eagle for an Emperor, A Kestrel for a Knave.

Re: Making the Jump to Computers!

Postby ef37a » Sat Jan 06, 2018 4:37 pm

All the Top Men seem to still be down the pub Matt so this old valve jockey will start the ball rolling..

If all you REALLY think all you need is two inputs to record the output of the Mackie then you really don't need a new computer! Well, unless it is 10 years old and 98se? So, assuming a fairly recent machine* and Win 7, all you need is a decent interface. Even for 2 in 2 out you can spend a fortune. My personal recommendation would be the Native Instruments KA6.
That would give you 4 inputs in fact and 4 outs. You have hardware synths? The KA6 has MIDI ports.

Your biggest hill to climb is going to be the recording software (called a DAW) and the KA6 comes with Cubase, a cut down but nonetheless very useful version of the big job. Cubase is not an easy starter DAW but then none really are. You can download a 30day trial of most of the common DAWs. Cubase, Reaper, Samplitude.

*Just an hour ago I ran 8 tracks (SoS freebies) on this HP i3 2.4G laptop with a few plugins. Even using the internal sound card, no glitching.

Dave.
ef37a
Jedi Poster
Posts: 8840
Joined: Sun May 28, 2006 11:00 pm
Location: northampton uk

Re: Making the Jump to Computers!

Postby matt222 » Sat Jan 06, 2018 5:32 pm

I have no idea how old my PC is, other than it says 'hp' intel Pentium windows 7. But I don't understand or touch hardly anything inside it and I don't particularly like it.

I clearly understand your preference Elf for as few components in the chain as possible to keep it clean. I just like all the gear connected at once and I work and create tracks by building them up on my very powerful and quick Akai ASQ10 sequencer that I love. So really, the mix is pretty much complete when it leaves the desk.

Up to now, all I can do is send the desk master output into a mini stereo jack socket on the back of the PC. By the time it gets to Soundcloud it sounds awful!

It would however be nice to lay down a mix and then have the ability to overdub etc within the computer. So could this be an option?

I've rang a few dealers/experts today and they recommend an iMac and an interface. What does an interface actually do?

I am seriously considering, once I've purchased what I need, hiring someone to come and show me the basics and get me on my way. Life's way too busy and short to waste trying to figure it all out from scratch.
matt222
Regular
Posts: 258
Joined: Sat Oct 24, 2015 11:00 pm

Re: Making the Jump to Computers!

Postby BJG145 » Sat Jan 06, 2018 5:48 pm

matt222 wrote:I have no idea how old my PC is, other than it says 'hp' intel Pentium windows 7. But I don't understand or touch hardly anything inside it and I don't particularly like it.

Now look, if you're going to master the DAW world (and it's now the only game in town) you're going to need to get down and dirty with specs.

So left-click on the Start button, right-click on "Computer", left-click on "Properties", and it will tell you what the CPU is and how much RAM you've got. You'll also want to know if it says "32-bit" or "64-bit".
User avatar
BJG145
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 3304
Joined: Fri Aug 05, 2005 11:00 pm

Re: Making the Jump to Computers!

Postby The Elf » Sat Jan 06, 2018 6:34 pm

I seriously doubt that you need a new computer at this stage. But you do need a proper audio interface - that's probably why your recordings sound so bad at present.

Sounds like the subgroup approach would suit you. Now choose your interface and DAW. I'd second the KA6 and Cubase.

All you then need to do is let down the barriers you've built and be open to the learning process.
User avatar
The Elf
Jedi Poster
Posts: 11132
Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2001 11:00 pm
Location: Sheffield, UK
An Eagle for an Emperor, A Kestrel for a Knave.

Re: Making the Jump to Computers!

Postby blinddrew » Sat Jan 06, 2018 7:05 pm

matt222 wrote:It would however be nice to lay down a mix and then have the ability to overdub etc within the computer. So could this be an option?
Yes indeed :)
matt222 wrote:I've rang a few dealers/experts today and they recommend an I Mac and an interface. What does an interface actually do?
Basically, it takes an audio signal(s) and converts it into a digital signal that can be read by the computer and fed to the DAW of your choice, and vice versa. Generally it will have a 1-8 mic pre-amps as well and your headphone and monitor output sockets. It is, in essence, the interface between your music creation hardware and the computer (and vice versa).
matt222 wrote:I am seriously considering, once I've purchased what I need, hiring someone to come and show me the basics and get me on my way. Life's way too busy and short to waste trying to figure it all out from scratch.
Probably not a bad idea at all. Will likely save you much frustration and you'll pick up a host of useful tips as well.

Begging the question, where are you based?
User avatar
blinddrew
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 3934
Joined: Sat Jul 04, 2015 11:00 pm
Location: York
Ignore the post count, I have no idea what I'm doing...

Re: Making the Jump to Computers!

Postby ef37a » Sat Jan 06, 2018 7:38 pm

"Up to now, all I can do is send the desk master output into a mini stereo jack socket on the back of the PC. By the time it gets to Soundcloud it sounds awful!"

Matt, mate, you are already doing it! But 'king badly. You are already USING an 'interface' the 'Realtek' tat in the PC . You are already using some sort of DAW and Win must be setup to route the crap jack signal into the built in soundcard.

You can make a vast improvement in your recorded quality for just £25ish and, I swear, an evening of not very intense work. You buy a Behringer UCA 202 (my apologies for bringing that to SoS forum but this is just an example!). Also pickup, if you don't have one, a stereo RCA to RCA cable.

Now go to http://www.ninite.com and download Audacity and install it. If you haven't got that recording out of your mixer in 2 hours PM me.

Ooops! You need TWO RCA cables, RockBottom stuff is plenty good enough.

Dave.
ef37a
Jedi Poster
Posts: 8840
Joined: Sun May 28, 2006 11:00 pm
Location: northampton uk

Re: Making the Jump to Computers!

Postby matt222 » Sat Jan 06, 2018 7:51 pm

Great stuff!

All I can gather is the following data:

Pentium ( R ) Dual core CPC
E5500 @ 2.80GHZi
Installed Ram 4.00 GB
64 bit operating system x64 based.

I'm based in Derby.
matt222
Regular
Posts: 258
Joined: Sat Oct 24, 2015 11:00 pm

Re: Making the Jump to Computers!

Postby The Elf » Sat Jan 06, 2018 8:44 pm

I do 1-2-1 tutoring/mentoring, and you're not far from me. I can do you a discounted starter session, if you like.

PM me if you're interested. :thumbup:
User avatar
The Elf
Jedi Poster
Posts: 11132
Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2001 11:00 pm
Location: Sheffield, UK
An Eagle for an Emperor, A Kestrel for a Knave.

Re: Making the Jump to Computers!

Postby BJG145 » Sat Jan 06, 2018 8:51 pm

matt222 wrote:Pentium ( R ) Dual core CPC
E5500 @ 2.80GHZi
Installed Ram 4.00 GB
64 bit operating system x64 based.

That should get you started with recording just fine. (Probably worth upgrading the RAM to 8GB which shouldn't cost much.) You could try Audacity next, it's definitely a useful program to have around, though ultimately something like Cubase or Reaper will get you a lot further.

You can make a vast improvement in your recorded quality for just £25ish and, I swear, an evening of not very intense work.

(Perfectly true, you could get a long way with just something like a 2496 soundcard and some free software.)
User avatar
BJG145
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 3304
Joined: Fri Aug 05, 2005 11:00 pm

Re: Making the Jump to Computers!

Postby James Perrett » Sat Jan 06, 2018 10:36 pm

ef37a wrote:
You can make a vast improvement in your recorded quality for just £25ish and, I swear, an evening of not very intense work. You buy a Behringer UCA 202 (my apologies for bringing that to SoS forum but this is just an example!).

While that Behringer is good for hooking up to a home hifi, I find that it is too sensitive for professional level gear like the Mackie mixer the OP is using and there is no way of adjusting these levels without an external attenuator. It would probably be better to go for something a little more up market - even the Behringer UMC range would probably be better.

I'd also put in a plug for Reaper - it is coded very efficiently so it will make the most of any computer you run it on.
User avatar
James Perrett
Moderator
Posts: 7024
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2001 11:00 pm
Location: The wilds of Hampshire
JRP Music - Audio Mastering and Restoration. JRP Music Facebook Page

Re: Making the Jump to Computers!

Postby BJG145 » Sun Jan 07, 2018 10:09 am

Another quick point re: the PC is that you'll probably need to spend a little time optimising it for audio work. You'll find plenty of info available on this, but the main points are:

1) Reduce background processes; other unnecessary tasks going on in the background that could get int the way. This is often done via the command "msconfig".

2) Optimise drive efficiency. People often prefer to record to a second physical drive rather than the main system drive. Either way, you'll want to defragment it. (Defraggler is good for this).

3) There are also certain other tweaks that are usually recommended. Eg if you go into Control Panel...System...Advanced...Settings, I'd suggest choosing "Adjust for best performance" under "Visual Effects", and "Background Services" under "Advanced".

You could flip through something like this PreSonus guide for more info.

https://support.presonus.com/hc/en-us/a ... -Windows-7
User avatar
BJG145
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 3304
Joined: Fri Aug 05, 2005 11:00 pm

Re: Making the Jump to Computers!

Postby matt222 » Sun Jan 07, 2018 10:53 am

Brilliant advice as always everyone!

Considering I don't need a new computer at this stage, and with £500 to get started, what should I get now
matt222
Regular
Posts: 258
Joined: Sat Oct 24, 2015 11:00 pm

Re: Making the Jump to Computers!

Postby BJG145 » Sun Jan 07, 2018 12:32 pm

Haha, don't worry, you'll soon think of something. (In order to make decent mixes you'll also need suitable headphones, and/or monitors, ideally with some acoustic treatment.)
User avatar
BJG145
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 3304
Joined: Fri Aug 05, 2005 11:00 pm

Re: Making the Jump to Computers!

Postby Mike Stranks » Sun Jan 07, 2018 1:07 pm

The Elf wrote:I do 1-2-1 tutoring/mentoring, and you're not far from me. I can do you a discounted starter session, if you like.

PM me if you're interested. :thumbup:

Matt: in the nicest possible way, you'd be a fool not to! :)
User avatar
Mike Stranks
Jedi Poster
Posts: 5565
Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Cirencester, Gloucestershire, UK

Re: Making the Jump to Computers!

Postby Mike Stranks » Sun Jan 07, 2018 1:11 pm

matt222 wrote:Brilliant advice as always everyone!

Considering I don't need a new computer at this stage, and with £500 to get started, what should I get now

Assuming you've already got monitors and headphones then you really should get some acoustic treatment if you haven't already got some. That, in itself, will be the biggest single incremental improvement you can make.
User avatar
Mike Stranks
Jedi Poster
Posts: 5565
Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Cirencester, Gloucestershire, UK

Re: Making the Jump to Computers!

Postby ef37a » Mon Jan 08, 2018 9:45 am

James Perrett wrote:
ef37a wrote:
You can make a vast improvement in your recorded quality for just £25ish and, I swear, an evening of not very intense work. You buy a Behringer UCA 202 (my apologies for bringing that to SoS forum but this is just an example!).

While that Behringer is good for hooking up to a home hifi, I find that it is too sensitive for professional level gear like the Mackie mixer the OP is using and there is no way of adjusting these levels without an external attenuator. It would probably be better to go for something a little more up market - even the Behringer UMC range would probably be better.

I'd also put in a plug for Reaper - it is coded very efficiently so it will make the most of any computer you run it on.

James, I had assumed the Mackie had the almost ubiquitous RCA 'Tape/CD' ins and outs and these are usually set to -10dBV operation. If that is not the case with that particular mixer, I boobed! (did say "Get RCA cables")

I have yet to read anything bad about that UMC range and much that is good but as yet I have read nothing from the 'quality press', and by that I mean SoS about them and reserve my recommendation until I do. Budget AIs are also not known for healthy headroom levels!

Dave.
ef37a
Jedi Poster
Posts: 8840
Joined: Sun May 28, 2006 11:00 pm
Location: northampton uk

Re: Making the Jump to Computers!

Postby BikerDude » Tue Jan 09, 2018 12:51 pm

I'm a software engineer by profession and still a hold out when it comes to recording.
I started on the multi-track cassette recorders back in the day.
Today I use one of the Tascam digital multitracks. DP32.
But I fear that they are likely to become extinct.
Software has eaten most of the market from them.
As it is you can still get great results from these units. They have gotten more complicated but I still find them the easiest to use probably out of familiarity.
I do recommend the 32 or 24 tracks from tascam. And you can still export the tracks to a computer and tweak on any number of DAW programs. Reaper seems to be the most popular right now.
For now I'm remaining a hold out.
BikerDude
Poster
Posts: 24
Joined: Tue Jan 09, 2018 12:44 pm

Re: Making the Jump to Computers!

Postby ef37a » Tue Jan 09, 2018 1:38 pm

As a software guru BD I would assume you have an pretty rip snorting PC? That means, unless it is cluttered up with high demand games, you are in a much better position than most PC audio newbs who often have pretty basic 2 or 4 core 2.4G boxes?

Go on! Buy a modest AI such as the Steinberg UR22, better the NI KA6. Both come with Cubase so you are off to a flying start.

Dave.
ef37a
Jedi Poster
Posts: 8840
Joined: Sun May 28, 2006 11:00 pm
Location: northampton uk

Next

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users