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Home Studio Advice

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

Home Studio Advice

Postby dnmwales » Thu Oct 03, 2019 2:21 pm

Hello! I'm in the process of setting up a home studio. At present I have a Rode NT1A mic connected to a Behringer 1002fx mixer which then connects via line in to my PC. Everything works fine and I've been using Audacity just to find my feet and record a few basic tracks but have now taken the step into Studio One Prime. It's obviously taking a bit of time to get my head around everything but so far I'm enjoying the learning experience of it. My question is, when recording should I be isolating my vocals from the backing track in order to mix later and if so how do I go around this? I have headphones connected to the mixer and can hear both the backing track and my voice and at the moment when I'm recording it's creating a track which contains both the music and my vocals. Do I need to be isolating the vocals at all or is my current setup adequate? Any advice and help would be really appreciated. Thank you!
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Re: Home Studio Advice

Postby CS70 » Thu Oct 03, 2019 2:57 pm

You will need to use headphones (with good isolation), yes.

In the DAW, you set up two tracks, one with the base (which you'll import), the other empty for the VOX. You set up your mic, and set the VOX track's input to whatever interface channel your microphone is connected to.

Then you arm recording only on the empty one.

You turn off the monitors so that the sound in the room is only your voice.

When you push "record", you'll hear the base in your headphones (and your voice if the interface supports direct monitoring) but you will be recording (on the VOX track) only what the microphone picks up - i.e. your voice.

Note that the headphone should be reasonably isolating, since your head (and them) will be fairly near to the microphone.
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Re: Home Studio Advice

Postby Mike Stranks » Thu Oct 03, 2019 3:02 pm

(CS70: I don't think he has an interface... just the mixer)

OP: Tell us a little more...

Are you using the 2-Track IN/OUT s to connect to the computer?

Are you using the 3.5mm ins and outs on the computer?

I'll assume the answer to both is 'Yes'! :)

Ideally to get the best quality audio (the 3.5mm ins/outs are often noisy and unreliable) you should be connecting to a USB input on the computer using an Audio Interface In fact, many of the people here don't use a mixer at all, but record everything through the interface into the computer and playback via the same route.

There are dozens of interfaces available at a huge price-range. I'm not suggesting that you buy it here, but this will give you an idea of what's available: https://www.thomann.de/gb/usb_audio_interfaces.html?oa=pra The Behringer UPhoria range are considered generally to be good value for money.

Others may have some bright ideas, but I don't know of any simple way that using your existing set-up you can hear an existing track and record a new one without including the original track in the new recording.
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Re: Home Studio Advice

Postby dnmwales » Thu Oct 03, 2019 3:14 pm

Thanks for the information CS70. This is sort of how I thought it would work but not sure my setup will allow it or I'm missing something.

My PC is connected to the mixer via line out and I then have monitor speaker attached to the mixer so that when I play music on the PC I can hear it on the speakers. This also allows me to listen to the track being played on the headphones which are also attached to the mixer. Then in order to record I have another cable going from the mixer back into the line in on my PC. The mic is also attached to the mixer.

The problem therefore is how do I isolate just the mic and my vocals coming back in from the mixer without it also bringing in the music?

Sorry if this is not making much sense or I'm missing something completely obvious - I really appreciate the help!
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Re: Home Studio Advice

Postby dnmwales » Thu Oct 03, 2019 3:22 pm

Thanks Mike. Yes I'm using the 2-track in/out with 3.5mm on the PC. On the whole the sound is great and I'm getting no noise and they seem reliable.

Yeah I wasn't sure if it would be possible with my current setup to isolate vocals and this is why I was hoping someone would be able to give me some advice here. I'd purchased a mixer before getting into the recording (it's a pet project which has grown quickly) so ideally don't want to add anymore hardware to the mix if I can help it but that may mean I can't do what I want which was to isolate the vocals and be able to hear the track through the headphones.
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Re: Home Studio Advice

Postby dnmwales » Thu Oct 03, 2019 3:37 pm

Actually I may have just realised where I'm going wrong...my monitor speakers are connected to my main out not to the 'control room' which is probably why my soundcard output it routing back in. Will have a look at it again this evening....every day is a school day! :crazy: :D
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Re: Home Studio Advice

Postby CS70 » Thu Oct 03, 2019 4:13 pm

Yes, iwith just the mixer you need a way - on the mixer - to route things so that the line signal that you bring to the computer (the main outs, I guess) contains only the voice, while your headphone mix contains both the base and your voice. It’s possible, depending on the mixer.. for example, take the line signal from the pc into a channel, route that channel to a ctrl room bus (and set the headphones to have ctrl room in the mix) but then use the main outs as a stereo line output into the pc and thus the DAW. Since you will have to align the Cox with the base manually after the fact, it’s a good idea to have a few hits on the base that you’ll also tap on the mic.

But as Mike says, it’s all much easier (and better quality) using an interface.

Best of luck!
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Re: Home Studio Advice

Postby blinddrew » Thu Oct 03, 2019 4:20 pm

As Mike suggests, I'd get a budget interface, it will make things easier in the long run.
In the short term, have 2Tr to mix up and 2-TR to control room in and that should give you what you need.
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Re: Home Studio Advice

Postby Mike Stranks » Thu Oct 03, 2019 4:34 pm

blinddrew wrote:As Mike suggests, I'd get a budget interface, it will make things easier in the long run.
In the short term, have 2Tr to mix up and 2-TR to control room in and that should give you what you need.

My first thoughts too... I actually typed it before I had second thoughts. From my memories of these little Behringer mixers when you activate that button, you only hear what's coming 'down the line' and can't hear the sound of any other mixer channels that may be open. So the OP would hear the music-track but not the vocals he's currently singing.

Of course I could be wrong, but that's how I recall it...

I shall just go and check the manual. :)...

... Later...

Manual duly checked and it's unclear on this point. OP: Section 3.1 of the manual gives advice about recording... is that any good for you?
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Re: Home Studio Advice

Postby blinddrew » Thu Oct 03, 2019 4:36 pm

Hmm. Now I'm wondering. Mine's in the garage at the moment though and I've not used it for a while.
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Re: Home Studio Advice

Postby dnmwales » Thu Oct 03, 2019 4:37 pm

Thanks guys, great advice, really helpful - will have a go on that tonight and see what happens! In terms of an audio interface I presume I can have one of these in between my mixer and PC too right? Something like the Behringer UCA222? I understand I can use the DAW instead of a manual mixer but I'm old fashioned that way haha! At least that would mean getting rid of the line in/out on 3.5mm and improving the sound quality through an interface.
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Re: Home Studio Advice

Postby dnmwales » Thu Oct 03, 2019 4:42 pm

I think you may be right on that Mike...I had trouble getting both music and microphone to play through the headphones so I emailed Behringer and their response was as follows -

"Unfortunately on this mixer you cannot monitor both the RCA input signal as well as the direct input signal (channel 1 mic input) simultaneously. If you press the 'CD/Tape to CTRL' then you will monitor the RCA inputs, if this is unpressed then you will monitor the direct inputs (channel 1 input etc)."

However saying that I played about with the buttons and somehow managed to get both playing through the headphones....however this might change tonight when I move my speakers across to control room etc. We shall see!
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Re: Home Studio Advice

Postby The Elf » Thu Oct 03, 2019 4:46 pm

I'm with the others. Get an interface and ditch the mixer. While that mixer is in the way it will add confusion and compromise.

You don't need to monitor through the DAW (and I would never suggest monitoring through the DAW anyway) if the interface you choose has a mixer app - and most do.
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Re: Home Studio Advice

Postby CS70 » Thu Oct 03, 2019 5:45 pm

dnmwales wrote:Thanks guys, great advice, really helpful - will have a go on that tonight and see what happens! In terms of an audio interface I presume I can have one of these in between my mixer and PC too right? Something like the Behringer UCA222? I understand I can use the DAW instead of a manual mixer but I'm old fashioned that way haha! At least that would mean getting rid of the line in/out on 3.5mm and improving the sound quality through an interface.

Not sure about that specific model but low end Behringer stuff isn't usually that great (could be wrong on this one of course).

A classic starting point, cheap and cheerful, is a two-channels Focusrite Scarlett. There's no need in going down in quality these days. Check out recent threads on the subject and you'll find there's a lot of great little inexpensive interface which can record with far better quality than a proper studio had not so many years ago.
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Re: Home Studio Advice

Postby Sam Spoons » Thu Oct 03, 2019 5:54 pm

If the budget is there I would also recommend a low end Focusrite but if not, but if not and you get yourself off the bottom level Behringer interfaces they are, I believe, pretty decent, and little more than half the price of even the cheapest Focusrite.

https://www.thomann.de/gb/behringer_u_phoria_umc202hd.htm
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Re: Home Studio Advice

Postby James Perrett » Thu Oct 03, 2019 8:14 pm

dnmwales wrote:Something like the Behringer UCA222?

I have one and I would say don't waste your money. Go a little further up the range to one of the UMC's which have microphone inputs and are intended for creative recording. The UCA's are intended to be connected to hifi gear rather than studio gear and, even then, they're too sensitive and mine adds very quiet tones to the music.
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