You are here

Any advice out there for guitarists?

For all things relating to guitars, basses, amps, pedals & accessories.

Any advice out there for guitarists?

Postby Waterboy84 » Tue Nov 21, 2017 12:40 pm

Being a total newcomer to home studio/recording (and joined SOS about an hour ago!) I could really use some help. I have some gear and I need some more. First off I will probably only use Audacity for now (and move up to paid version of Reaper later) so I can't really see that I need an audio interface just to get the bundled software etc. I want to record my Fender Tele and Taylor 414ce Electro Acoustic and a vocal (although not necessarily together)
unless this can be done on a reasonable budget.
I bought a s/h Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 but plan to return it as I am using Windows 10 and the tweaks they say need to be done each time I record/mix are beyond most people's patience I would say. When I tried to install the drivers the error message "No Hardware Detected" came up. After reading further I don't intend to go that route.
I have a Rode NTA-1 Condenser mic and this will obviously need phantom power so I need a piece of kit to provide that.
I have a Yamaha Stagepass 300 p.a. system which I play through but there is no phantom power and only has rca out to a recording device (not owned yet) and no headphones socket.
So my questions really are:

1. Is anyone using the Scarlett 2i2 with Windows 10 and no issues?
2. Am I missing a trick here with the p.a. system (i.e. could use the rca twin jacks to usb
and route the input sounds to my laptop software?
3. Can this be done using a Behringer PS400?
4. As the PS400 has no headphones socket could I use my laptop or maybe the output
sockets to the p.a. speakers?

I want to get started soon but don't want to lay out too much too fast and really avoid getting gear I will have to replace soon.

Thanks in anticipation.
Waterboy84
New here
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Nov 21, 2017 10:02 am

Re: Any advice out there for guitarists?

Postby Wonks » Tue Nov 21, 2017 4:30 pm

Hi and welcome to the forum.

Audacity is fine for simple recordings but I'd try and move to Reaper as quickly as you can, just because there is an initial steep learning curve with Reaper, so the sooner you get stuck in and start learning, the better.

But for that you need an interface. Yes, the Scarlett (a Firewire device) isn't supported by Focusrite for working on Win 10, so you do need an interface that will work well with what you have got.

What PC will you be running it on? You mentioned a laptop, but I presume it's probably a few years old as I assume it has a Firewire port, which is rare now. Has it also USB2 or USB3 ports? How much RAM etc?

How much is your maximum budget for an interface - assuming you can return the Focusrite?

What will you be monitoring on - speakers or headphones?

To answer your questions:-

1. No.
2. No. I'd really leave the PA out of it.
3. It will give you a 48v phantom supply, but you still need to run the mic signal into a mic level preamp. You could get a stand-alone mic preamp unit which will provide 48v power as well as a line level signal, but you are better just going for a decent 2-in 2-out interface. If you can afford a cheap new one, then you normally get bundled cut-down DAW software with it, which is normally fine for getting started and making basic recordings. It's easy to get wrapped up in the software and keep adding new plug-ins, but it can get in the way of just making music and recording it.
4. I think every interface I've seen has a headphone socket on it - but you should be able to use the laptop's headphone socket as well (though the one on the interface is probably better). You can use the interface's outputs to feed your PA speakers, but you should be looking towards getting some proper monitor speakers that will give you a more accurate idea of what you're recording. PA speakers never have a particularly flat response so any EQ adjustments you make to a recording may then sound wrong on other playback systems.

Your mic's fine. It's a bit bright sounding compared to a lot of mics but it is very quiet, Great for vocals and the acoustic, maybe a bit less suited to miking up an amp than a dynamic mic, but it will still work, though it may need a bit more EQ to tame the top end.
User avatar
Wonks
Jedi Poster
Posts: 5250
Joined: Wed May 28, 2003 11:00 pm
Location: Reading, UK
Now even grumpier than Ivan in his heyday.

Re: Any advice out there for guitarists?

Postby The Elf » Tue Nov 21, 2017 4:45 pm

Wonks has covered it. Get a good start.

You're going to need an audio interface, no matter how much you squirm, and the sooner you get going with a decent DAW then the sooner you will be getting results. Rustle up a good pair of headphones, or a couple of powered monitors (leave the PA for live performances) and you have everything you need to begin producing finished mixes of which you can be proud.
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: Any advice out there for guitarists?

Postby blinddrew » Tue Nov 21, 2017 5:00 pm

Surely the 2i2 is USB not firewire?
I'm using a (first generation) 8i6 on W10 with no major* issues. Surprised you're having issues with such a common interface - and slightly surprised focusrite haven't been good on the response, they've always been pretty good with me.



* It occasionally resets itself to 48kHz from my usual 44.1 with neither rhyme nor reason.
User avatar
blinddrew
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 3933
Joined: Sat Jul 04, 2015 11:00 pm
Location: York
Ignore the post count, I have no idea what I'm doing...

Re: Any advice out there for guitarists?

Postby Waterboy84 » Tue Nov 21, 2017 5:26 pm

The Elf wrote:Wonks has covered it. Get a good start.

You're going to need an audio interface, no matter how much you squirm, and the sooner you get going with a decent DAW then the sooner you will be getting results. Rustle up a good pair of headphones, or a couple of powered monitors (leave the PA for live performances) and you have everything you need to begin producing finished mixes of which you can be proud.

Thank you Wonks, Elf and blinddrew - I was reading posts from you three before I dived in with my own. So right! I was squirming.

I am using an HP laptop with USB 3.0 and I have 3.5Gb of spare memory. I think I'm going to look for a Steinberg UR242 (£149). Does this mean I would have to use Cubase rather than Reaper? Any Windows 10 issues with this make do we know?
Waterboy84
New here
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Nov 21, 2017 10:02 am

Re: Any advice out there for guitarists?

Postby The Elf » Tue Nov 21, 2017 5:50 pm

According to what I can see on the Focusrite web site your (USB) 2i2 is Win 10 compatible. It will come with ASIO drivers, so you can use it with just about any DAW out there. Install the drivers, plug it in and you're set.

I don't understand what trouble you could be having, other than not having set yourself up correctly. Run your DAW of choice, set it to use the 2i2's native ASIO driver and you should be up and running.

What 'tweaks' are you being told to do each time you run?
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: Any advice out there for guitarists?

Postby Sam Spoons » Tue Nov 21, 2017 6:06 pm

The 'no hardware detected' nag could be something as simple as a dodgy USB lead (the Scarlett series are indeed USB, it's the Saffires that are FW) but it could, of course, have a fault (which would be pretty unusual). Focusrite are usually pretty solid, I have a Saffire Pro14 and it wouldn't run on my very old office MacPro but is fine on both the Studio MacPro and the MacBook which are running Mavericks.
User avatar
Sam Spoons
Jedi Poster
Posts: 6175
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Manchester UK
Finally taking this recording lark seriously (and recording my Gypsy Jazz CD)........

Re: Any advice out there for guitarists?

Postby Wonks » Tue Nov 21, 2017 6:15 pm

D'oh! Not wearing glasses and confused the USB symbol on the back of the unit with the FW one when looking at a picture of it. Yes it is USB. And USB2, so should work with USB 2 and 3 ports.

So as The Elf says, it should work fine with your laptop and and Windows DAW using ASIO drivers.

You will have to tell your recording software what inputs to use, so make sure the latest ASIO driver is loaded from the Focusrite web site, then tell the software to use the ASIO driver (as opposed to any other WIndows drivers that may appear in the list).

The only issues with the current Focusrite interfaces is that a lot still have very low headroom when recording through an instrument input (guitar plugged directly in to the interface) and it's easy to clip the signal when strumming hard. They may have improved this since their earlier interfaces, but I believe it's still not great.

FYI, the UR242 is a Steinberg branded interface that's actually made for them by Yamaha (who now own Steinberg). So it comes with a cut-down Cubase (my preferred DAW) but will work with any other DAW. But unless you want to record 3 or 4 channels at once (two inputs are line-inputs only), then the two-input UR22MkII would be a cheaper option. Remember that the number of input channels doesn't affect how many channels you can have running in your projects, and two output channels are all you really need for monitoring.
User avatar
Wonks
Jedi Poster
Posts: 5250
Joined: Wed May 28, 2003 11:00 pm
Location: Reading, UK
Now even grumpier than Ivan in his heyday.

Re: Any advice out there for guitarists?

Postby Waterboy84 » Wed Nov 22, 2017 12:39 pm

OK. I decided to give the s/h Scarlett 2i2 a second chance. I downloaded Reaper to see what's what. The ASIO drivers are downloaded and I guess they are installed as my default record and playback devices are now set to the Scarlett. The Reaper User Guide directs me to the Audio button where I select "Device" to insert my settings so I have set ASIO for Audio system; next In the "ASIO drivers" menu the only option is Focusrite USB ASIO and I guess this must be right. Next I ticked "Enable Inputs but when the menu box drops down it remains blank even when I untick that box - the same with "Enable Outputs." The only thing to do then is click "OK" but the message is "Error Initializing ASIO Driver"!

This made me wonder if there is a conflict of some kind or I have failed to do something with the drivers. (If I go into the Focusrite driver folder the application is called ASIO Control Panel but when clicked the message is "No Hardware Connected" (the interface is properly plugged in) The 2i2 normally comes with access to Ableton Lite but my second hand gear had no bundle codes and this DAW looks a bit pricey to me as does Pro Tools which is the other one I looked at.

Seems to me that you guys probably can't resolve this one - I do have access to laptop tech help and there's always the option of phoning Focusrite (although there's not much in it for them to assist me. I'm thinking my options are to buy the Focusrite NEW but really don't want to go through this again when I should be making music by now.
Waterboy84
New here
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Nov 21, 2017 10:02 am

Re: Any advice out there for guitarists?

Postby Wonks » Wed Nov 22, 2017 4:04 pm

Check the USB lead. If it came with the unit, it may not be the correct USB 2 lead but an older USB 1 or 1.1 lead. So use a USB lead that you know for certain is USB2. There should be a small '+' sign on the upper left of the USB symbol printed on the connector for USB 2. Even if it looks to be a USB 2 lead, try changing it for another. Bad or damaged cabling is the root of a lot of interface problems.

If you need to buy a new USB 2 lead, look out on the web for leads made by Lindy. These are about the best leads you can get and there's no real extra cost involved - but a lot more reliability.
User avatar
Wonks
Jedi Poster
Posts: 5250
Joined: Wed May 28, 2003 11:00 pm
Location: Reading, UK
Now even grumpier than Ivan in his heyday.

Re: Any advice out there for guitarists?

Postby Sam Spoons » Wed Nov 22, 2017 4:05 pm

A call or, probably better, an email to Focusrite should be your next step, my experience is that they will be happy to help.

edit :- Bloody Wabbit...... :tongue:
User avatar
Sam Spoons
Jedi Poster
Posts: 6175
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Manchester UK
Finally taking this recording lark seriously (and recording my Gypsy Jazz CD)........

Re: Any advice out there for guitarists?

Postby Waterboy84 » Wed Nov 22, 2017 6:15 pm

:D Eureka! I found a beta version of a driver for the 2i2 to replace the default in my version of Win10 (17.09) and I'm on track because those fantastic guys at Focusrite.com GAVE me an unlock code for all the goodies available when you buy the new interface!

Just have to decide now whether I should download Ableton, Pro Tools or keep Reaper.
Waterboy84
New here
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Nov 21, 2017 10:02 am

Re: Any advice out there for guitarists?

Postby Wonks » Wed Nov 22, 2017 6:56 pm

Good for you, and for Focusrite!

Reaper is much much cheaper compared to the full-fat versions of the other DAWs, and a lot less processor hungry in itself (though third-party plugs-ins will generally add a similar load per instance regardless of the DAW used) though I would say that it helps to keeps things simple to start with, until you get the general hang of using a DAW, and Reaper does give you a lot to play with all at once. Note that the versions of Ableton and Pro Tools you download will be very cut-down versions with limited track counts and features, and whilst there are intermediate versions up to the flagship programs, you can spend a fair bit more cash to upgrade, whereas with Reaper you do get it all at once and for a very low fee.

Ableton started out more as a live performance tool, and has migrated towards being a more mainstream DAW. I don't know how closely it now looks like a mainstream DAW, but its good for triggering loops etc. if that's your thing.

Pro Tools is something that most people use if they have to and it does have some very good features in it, but it's MIDI side is still not as good as others and there's nothing you can't do now in most other DAWs. The developer company has been struggling financially for some time, so the long-term prospects for it can't be guaranteed. From reading articles and comments, most people would generally prefer to use Logic or Cubase (or Reaper) though it's all very personal and many producers will just use pro tools (though normally on dedicated hardware platforms at pro-studio level).

MIDI may not interest you much at the moment, but becomes more important if you 1want to add drum and bass tracks (or even synth tracks) to your recordings. PT also needs its own type of plug-ins (AAX), whilst most other DAWs on a PC (and Macs) will happily use VST instruments and FX plugs. So if you start on PT and then buy extra plug-in software, then make sure you download a VST version as well as the AAX version (lots of black Friday deals on at the moment) for use on another DAW type..

In general, most DAWS are either moving to, or are already 64-bit only, so hopefully your laptop is set up as a 64-bit machine.
User avatar
Wonks
Jedi Poster
Posts: 5250
Joined: Wed May 28, 2003 11:00 pm
Location: Reading, UK
Now even grumpier than Ivan in his heyday.

Re: Any advice out there for guitarists?

Postby The Elf » Wed Nov 22, 2017 7:44 pm

There you go - worth a bit of digging, eh?! ;)

I wouldn't touch Pro Tools with a bargepole. I don't see how you can go wrong with Reaper. The only thing between you and commercially viable music is your ability and application.
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: Any advice out there for guitarists?

Postby Sam Spoons » Wed Nov 22, 2017 8:01 pm

Think I've said this before :smirk: but I'm sold on Reaper. It does everything I need both multi tracking and stereo editing. If you want to find out which DAW sits best with your working practices download a few demos and try them but TBH you'll probably be most comfortable with the one you started with especially if you've spent a few weeks/months using it, anything else will seem 'unintuitive' and complex or just plain difficult.
User avatar
Sam Spoons
Jedi Poster
Posts: 6175
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Manchester UK
Finally taking this recording lark seriously (and recording my Gypsy Jazz CD)........

Re: Any advice out there for guitarists?

Postby blinddrew » Wed Nov 22, 2017 8:54 pm

Another vote for Reaper here (I moved across from cubase), as a dabbler in this (rather than some of the pros on here) one of real advantages of Reaper is the quality and range of the stock plugins. Don't underestimate how much value you're getting there.
Glad you got the interface sorted, I've always had good service from the focusrite folks as well. :)
User avatar
blinddrew
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 3933
Joined: Sat Jul 04, 2015 11:00 pm
Location: York
Ignore the post count, I have no idea what I'm doing...

Re: Any advice out there for guitarists?

Postby ef37a » Wed Nov 22, 2017 9:21 pm

I have always thought the 2i2 rather expensive for what it does, pretty lights but no MIDI* but I lurk a lot at HR forum and they are very common and I have not read of any W10 issues.

My usual reccy at the £100 point is the Steinberg U22, excellent mic amps, MIDI and Cubase and yes, you can use Reaper OR Cubase on alternate days and both on Sunday. (I have about 6 DAWs on this laptop that I can use, V badly, to help folks that are even more useless than I!) .

I would certainly look for a dynamic mic for recording the guitar amp. Does not HAVE to be the SM57, plenty of good dynamics about now for 1/3rd the price. 'Prodipe' is one to look for. Maplin have some quite decent mics around £20.

*As someone said, MIDI might be of no interest at the moment but IMHO an interface is not a 'proper' interface without it, you will speak bad words when you realize you need it.

Dave.
ef37a
Jedi Poster
Posts: 8838
Joined: Sun May 28, 2006 11:00 pm
Location: northampton uk

Re: Any advice out there for guitarists?

Postby Martin Walker » Fri Nov 24, 2017 3:58 pm

blinddrew wrote:Another vote for Reaper here (I moved across from cubase), as a dabbler in this (rather than some of the pros on here) one of real advantages of Reaper is the quality and range of the stock plugins. Don't underestimate how much value you're getting there.

I followed the same course, and totally agree with your points Drew.

In fact I have been amazed on several occasions when about to buy a new plug-in to do something specific that my Reaper already has one tucked into its bland-looking but jaw-droppingly-sounding plug-in bundle that does exactly what I wanted.

I haven't used anything else for my music-making for some years now.

Reaper for president! ;)


Martin
User avatar
Martin Walker
Moderator
Posts: 11999
Joined: Wed Jan 13, 2010 8:44 am
Location: Cornwall, UK

Re: Any advice out there for guitarists?

Postby The Bunk » Mon Nov 27, 2017 12:50 pm

Another Reaper fan here, and I also use a 2i2 (which incidentally also came with four really good plug-ins when I bought it). If I've understood you correctly and that you're largely doing guitar and vocal stuff, that's a perfect set up for now. I did have some issues when I went to Win10 but I heard so much negativity about Win10 at the time that I went back to Win7 within 24 hours. But I'm more than happy with Reaper/2i2 and the only thing that gets in the way of my recordings becoming top notch is, er, me.
The Bunk
Frequent Poster
Posts: 759
Joined: Sat Dec 29, 2007 12:00 am
Location: SW London
 

Re: Any advice out there for guitarists?

Postby John Egan » Sun Jan 21, 2018 10:20 pm

Although it doesn't seem to be a popular choice amongst the forum users here - and they certainly are more expert than me - I want to put in a vote for Propellerheads Reason.
I am principally a guitar player, I understand something about recording (though far less than the contributors here) and I find Reason very intuitive and comparitively simple to use. The bundled instruments and effects are pretty comprehensive, and my results from using it sound reasonable, I think.
It is more expensive than Reaper, though.
Regards, John
John Egan
Regular
Posts: 155
Joined: Wed Nov 27, 2002 12:00 am
Location: Staffordshire, England

Next

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users