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bumblebeeboy2
> Teenager of the Year <

United Kingdom
2638 Posts

Posted - 12/03/2003 :  04:34:26  Show Profile  Click to see bumblebeeboy2's MSN Messenger address
Hey all! I'm sure this has been brought up before, but anyway, I'm wanting to extend my home studio, as it's a bit naff at the moment. I've just got a tape four-track (that I just use as an interface now into my PC), a cheap mic, guitars, bass, amps and a pc (obviously) with cool edit.

now can anyone recommend or point me to a web site that could help me find what I need to get my mini studio up and running? i mean do i need a compressor do get better vocals? and can anyone recommend a decent (but cheap enough) mic for home recording guitars/vocals?

tia!

--
The universe is shaped exactly like the earth, if you go straight along enough, you'll end up where you were.

Bryan Shepherd
- FB Fan -

USA
126 Posts

Posted - 12/03/2003 :  05:31:48  Show Profile  Visit Bryan Shepherd's Homepage
Hey! I've had excellent results with an AudioTechnica AT3035 microphone. There are many large condenser microphones available for around $200(US) that would work well for the amateur recordist. BUT-make sure that you use a microphone preamp. This boosts the signal from the mic to a usable level and gives it a full sound. It's the "secret ingredient" of recording. I've often been able to bypass compression using one; your results may vary. Hope this helps!

BTW, what does "naff" mean? Is it short for something?

I'm the guy from wonderland...& you will never understand...
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bumblebeeboy2
> Teenager of the Year <

United Kingdom
2638 Posts

Posted - 12/03/2003 :  06:23:24  Show Profile  Click to see bumblebeeboy2's MSN Messenger address
thanks, will look into that... naff, erm, well it's probably english slang... erm, means not very good, or crap... yeah, that's the one, it's a nicer way of saying something is crap or shit.

--
The universe is shaped exactly like the earth, if you go straight along enough, you'll end up where you were.
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mdisanto
* Dog in the Sand *

USA
1140 Posts

Posted - 12/03/2003 :  06:31:30  Show Profile  Visit mdisanto's Homepage
i was just looking up cheap mics for a friend and the Rode NT1 seems to get great reviews, only 200$ which is a steal for condenser mics. Get a Behringer mx602a for phantom power and preamp (not the most amazing vocal preamp, but certainly good enough id say) which you can find you for around 50-60$ on ebay. you probably should invest in a decent mic stand also. with those few ingredients and some experience working with cooledit, you can get some pretty decent sounding recordings.

-miked
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bumblebeeboy2
> Teenager of the Year <

United Kingdom
2638 Posts

Posted - 12/03/2003 :  06:48:40  Show Profile  Click to see bumblebeeboy2's MSN Messenger address
thanks, will look into those too! thank god christmas is soon!

(listening to a modest mouse 'best of' at the moment that i've just put together, really getting into them a lot)

--
The universe is shaped exactly like the earth, if you go straight along enough, you'll end up where you were.
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Kirk
= Cult of Ray =

USA
633 Posts

Posted - 12/03/2003 :  09:01:29  Show Profile
Replace your recorder with a BOSS BR-8 Digital Recording Studio BR8.
-It records many, many tracks.
-It has 50 guitar/bass sound effects
-It has 50 additional voice sound effects (compressions, etc)
-& it sounds very clean.

I got one several years ago and still use it today because it has everything I need, plus more. I've recorded about 100 self-written songs using it already.

You can find them on ebay for around 300 bucks.



-Kirk
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mdisanto
* Dog in the Sand *

USA
1140 Posts

Posted - 12/03/2003 :  09:35:08  Show Profile  Visit mdisanto's Homepage
well if youre really tight on money itd be better, i think, to spend it on a good mic/preamp and use a software program that you can illegally get for free. but if you can afford another 300, then that would be nice for the portability alone

-miked
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Cult_Of_Frank
= Black Noise Maker =

Canada
11523 Posts

Posted - 12/03/2003 :  09:41:37  Show Profile  Visit Cult_Of_Frank's Homepage
I'm so ready to move to digital. Or at least something more than 4 track. You put a stereo drum track on there and where do you go? If I were using strictly 4 track, I could record one more track and then bounce it onto one side of the stereo drum track or bounce all 3 into a single mono track. I guess if you record everything mono then it's not so bad.

I was under the impression that the BR-8 was not a very solid machine? You've enjoyed working with it?


"Join the Cult of Frank / And you'll be enlightened"
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misleadtheworld
* Dog in the Sand *

United Kingdom
1222 Posts

Posted - 12/03/2003 :  10:01:25  Show Profile  Visit misleadtheworld's Homepage
www.studiospares.com you can get loads of stuff from there for pretty alright prices.



"Joan my Clerk of Trompe / And You'll be chick-a-be enlightened"
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TheCroutonFuton
- Mr. Setlists -

USA
1728 Posts

Posted - 12/03/2003 :  11:20:22  Show Profile  Visit TheCroutonFuton's Homepage
I've just got the Boss BR532, which is just a digital 4-track. But with my computer I can record as many tracks as I want and put them together. This is my first recording device, so, yeah, not sure if I can give any advice, haha. You definitely need a sm57. For the track I submitted...all I used was my one guitar, a drum loop I made on Fruityloops, my 4 track, and my sm57 to record amped guitar as well as vocals. I've been told that the track is a decent first try with recording....so, who knows. Mainly the BR532 is just used for some nice digital demos.
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Dave Noisy
Minister of Chaos

Canada
4496 Posts

Posted - 12/03/2003 :  12:53:32  Show Profile  Visit Dave Noisy's Homepage
I'd agree, a decent mic (the AKG is prolly great, i've got a 4033, which is a bit more) and a mixer (Behringer, or Mackie if you can afford it) are essential.

Compressor is nice (RNC by FMR Audio, best deal on the planet), and a decent, 24bit sound card also help.

Also make sure you can hear what you're doing well, decent sound system, etc..

It's not cheap. =(
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Kirk
= Cult of Ray =

USA
633 Posts

Posted - 12/03/2003 :  13:49:44  Show Profile
The BR8 works for me.

I'm just in search of some drum machines, possibly for the computer. I need something else to my music.


-Kirk
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ProverbialCereal
- FB TabMaster -

USA
2945 Posts

Posted - 12/03/2003 :  15:14:06  Show Profile  Visit ProverbialCereal's Homepage
I have a Boss BR8. I like it and got it because it was affordable to me at the time. Only like 500 bucks brand new. The only drawback is it runs off zip disks instead of an internal hard drive, and Best Buy doesn't even sell them in store anymore. I think they're fading out a little because of how cheap CD-Rs are. Though I found a 10 back at Office Depot for 50 bucks.

Otherwise, it's very very simple to operate. It has built in tremolo, delay, reverb, phaser, flange, doubling, chorus, and pitch shifter. (The only thing is the phaser on it sounds different from a REAL boss phaser pedal and I like the pedal sound much better. oh well)


"Join the Cult of Mr. Potato Head / And You'll Have Buckets of Fun"
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Kirk
= Cult of Ray =

USA
633 Posts

Posted - 12/03/2003 :  15:41:53  Show Profile
I didn't know so many people had BR8s... That would be nice if several people all around the world can work on one song, downloading and uploading tracks they've created...

I've replaced my 100Mb zip drive to a 250Mb. Less worries of running out of room.


-Kirk
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ProverbialCereal
- FB TabMaster -

USA
2945 Posts

Posted - 12/03/2003 :  18:09:59  Show Profile  Visit ProverbialCereal's Homepage
How much did it cost to upgrade it to a 250 MB?

And can you still use 100 MB disks on the 250 MB drive?

Was it easy to take out the 100 and install the 250? I guess it is probably just a matter of operating a screw driver. If it's no hassle to switch and you can use 100 MB disks on the 250 MB drive then I'm going to switch.


"Join the Cult of Mr. Potato Head / And You'll Have Buckets of Fun"
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ProverbialCereal
- FB TabMaster -

USA
2945 Posts

Posted - 12/03/2003 :  18:28:15  Show Profile  Visit ProverbialCereal's Homepage
Man, if it's possible I might upgrade to a 750 MB zip drive. I wonder if you can do that... they are about 180 on bestbuy.com plus I work there so I'd probably get a decent amount off. I could buy a 10-pack of 750MB zip disks and that would last me for years.


"Join the Cult of Mr. Potato Head / And You'll Have Buckets of Fun"
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Kirk
= Cult of Ray =

USA
633 Posts

Posted - 12/03/2003 :  18:28:27  Show Profile
The price to upgrade is the cost of the internal 250MB zip drive. ($69.99 at www.zipzoomfly.com)

You can still use 100 MB disks in the 250 MB drive. I bet you can also replace the zip drive with the new 750MB drive ($149.99 at www.iomega.com), also. Now, that's a lot of recording time!

It's easy to install, and the best thing is the BR-8 recorder will automatically recognize the new drive without the hassle of reprogramming.
I followed the instructions found at
www.blamepro.com/mwn/br8-250.htm" target="_blank">http://www.blamepro.com/mwn/br8-250.htm




-Kirk
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Kirk
= Cult of Ray =

USA
633 Posts

Posted - 12/03/2003 :  18:33:16  Show Profile
Oh by the way, my machine decided to f*ck with me a few nights ago. I had most of my cover song "Wave of Mutilation" recorded, then the next day..when I started up the BR-8, my song was all distorted with digital noise.

I'm not sure what exactly happened, but I think my zip disk is bad... you know how you can't save all information because part of the zip disk is damaged and ruined. I believe what I saved that night was over the damaged disk.


-Kirk
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El Barto
= Song DB Master =

USA
4020 Posts

Posted - 12/03/2003 :  20:40:38  Show Profile  Visit El Barto's Homepage
quote:
i was just looking up cheap mics for a friend and the Rode NT1 seems to get great reviews, only 200$ which is a steal for condenser mics.


I own the Rode NT1, so if you like the quality of my vocal tracks on my FB tribute cover and my soon-to-be-heard Pixies cover, check it out. You also have to realize the preamps on the mixer affect the sound as well, but for the price, you probably can't find a better mic. I was able to get mine for something like $169. zzounds.com had em cheaper and Guitar Center price matched.

I also recommend the RNC compressor, also above mentioned. Compressors are the most confusing fucking devices in the world, but again, this is one of the best compressors available. As far as a mixer goes, you can't go wrong with Mackie.

I do all my recording to 8-track cassette and I wouldn't trade this mother for the world. Digital can suck a fat one, cause this baby sounds sweeeeeeet.

Oh, and no home studio is complete without at least one Shure SM57.


"I joined the Cult of Clops / If I were you, I'd sleep with one eye open."
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Cult_Of_Frank
= Black Noise Maker =

Canada
11523 Posts

Posted - 12/04/2003 :  06:23:45  Show Profile  Visit Cult_Of_Frank's Homepage
Well, so far we're completely analog with out 424 4-track, a bunch of SM-57s, and a Mackie mixer with it's oh-so-beautiful pre-amps. An 8-track would allow us to stay in the analog world, but since we invariably move it to my computer anyway for mixing etc, I'd rather just record digital right off the bat. But it'd be nice to have something large enough that I don't have to use compression techniques right away on raw tracks.


"Join the Cult of Frank / And you'll be enlightened"
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bumblebeeboy2
> Teenager of the Year <

United Kingdom
2638 Posts

Posted - 12/05/2003 :  12:55:03  Show Profile  Click to see bumblebeeboy2's MSN Messenger address
okay, been looking into some of the recommondations, but still a little lost, found the following...

http://www.dawsonsonline.com/acatalog/dm_00050484.htm

When I said I was on a budget, I really did mean budget - we're talking skint student here! So would the above do a decent enough job?

Also found...

http://www.dawsonsonline.com/acatalog/dm_00050359.htm

???????

--
The universe is shaped exactly like the earth, if you go straight along enough, you'll end up where you were.
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El Barto
= Song DB Master =

USA
4020 Posts

Posted - 12/05/2003 :  20:37:54  Show Profile  Visit El Barto's Homepage
I'll tell you right off the bat that a home recording studio is an expensive endevor. Any home project studio worth a shit is going to cost some money. Expect to spend around $1000 by the end of it all. I found this out all too quickly.


"I joined the Cult of Clops / If I were you, I'd sleep with one eye open."
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ProverbialCereal
- FB TabMaster -

USA
2945 Posts

Posted - 12/05/2003 :  22:48:36  Show Profile  Visit ProverbialCereal's Homepage
yeah no kidding. I try to save money but it's hard

8track plus its accessories: $650
Headphones: $60
SM57: $65 on sale
Mic cable: $25
CD burner: $325

I guess CD burner counts as part of it.


"Join the Cult of Gunn / And you'll get an eighties Monster Ballad CD just for joining"
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mdisanto
* Dog in the Sand *

USA
1140 Posts

Posted - 12/05/2003 :  22:59:45  Show Profile  Visit mdisanto's Homepage
a cd burner shouldnt be that expensive, unless were talking about a standalone one

-miked
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Dave Noisy
Minister of Chaos

Canada
4496 Posts

Posted - 12/05/2003 :  23:08:17  Show Profile  Visit Dave Noisy's Homepage
Nice Modest Mouse quote there BBB2. =)

$1000? That's all? I spent more than that on my sound card alone..hahahah

If i add up my recording gear (leave out the computer) i'm prolly floating around $8k.

But back to gear..please please please don't buy a cheap compressor...you'll regret it in the end. Just use a plugin' and record 'gently' until you can afford at least an RNC. ($200US i believe..?) Next step from that would be something like a DBX 160..single channel..~$800US i think. But if you have the RNC, you may as well get something really good next..heh..

That Behringer thing looks pretty good tho..handy having a limiter.
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gr1bbly
- FB Fan -

USA
16 Posts

Posted - 12/06/2003 :  01:31:50  Show Profile
I just want to jump in and agree with those who are recommending a decent condensor mic and pre-amp combo for vocals. I use a cheapish MXR condensor and one of the old Art TubeMP pre-amps. I only "saw the light" recently - I had been trying all sorts of compression, plug ins, etc. trying to get a decent vocal sound, and in the end all it took was a halfway decent mike! And the MXR isn't even that good.

In case anyone is interested, I record to an ageing Gateway laptop (PIII-600) with a USB sound card (Egosys WaveTerminal U2A) and mini interface. I have a large external hard drive that runs via USB2 that stores all the data, and an internal burner.

I use Propellerheads Reason for sequencing, and mainly Sonic Foundry Acid for recording, even for straight multi-tracking... I find Acid better than Vegas, and at 3.0 they migrated a bunch of the cool Vegas features (e.g., setting levels "per clip") to Acid. I also use Sound Forge and T-Racks (for mastering).

Finally, I use the Digitech GNX-1 for guitar and bass.

Speaking from my own experience, I think there's a tendency to over-use compression in amateur recording. I've certainly been guilty of it, and it can end up sounding pretty nasty. I've found the best approach is to compress individual tracks only when necessary (either as a correctional thing to smooth out a track with spikes or soft bits, or to get a certain sound - for example I often use it on clean guitar and bass guitar to "solidify" the sound). Then, get a nice mix without worrying about overall volume. Just get everything sounding right in relation to each other. Then as a final pass apply compression to the whole mix. I find that this way the final "mastering" compression can add a lot of depth and personality to the mix, as well as bring the volume of the track up to a more "professional" level. But again, you don't want to over do it. The dynamic range of your track is precious! Don't squeeze too much.

This is kinda getting off topic now, but I wanted to mention something I learned recently about mastering (something that I think is hard for many musicians, myself included). I've found that mastering through speakers *at lowish volume* is vastly preferable to mastering at high volumes or through headphones. At low volumes I can get a real sense for what is primary in the mix (usually you want it to be the vox and other key parts) and what is secondary (at low volumes it becomes texture, and you'll hear if it's overpowering the primary parts). You'll also find your ears stay fresh for a lot longer. You give up some of the visceral thrill of having the bass hitting you, but save that until you've got a final mix (or while you're actually tracking).

Once you're happy with the balance, crank the volume a little and check that everything is cool. In my experience getting it to sound good through speakers (especially different sets of speakers... that's a whole other story) is much harder than getting to sound good through headphones. So I don't bother mastering with headphones, except to check that there's nothing obviously weird going on.

I'm rambling now... sorry.

grib.

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El Barto
= Song DB Master =

USA
4020 Posts

Posted - 12/06/2003 :  09:49:42  Show Profile  Visit El Barto's Homepage
$1000 was a low estimate...he said he didn't want to spend a lot...$1000 is a start for something hobby like.


"I joined the Cult of Clops / If I were you, I'd sleep with one eye open."
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bumblebeeboy2
> Teenager of the Year <

United Kingdom
2638 Posts

Posted - 12/06/2003 :  10:09:42  Show Profile  Click to see bumblebeeboy2's MSN Messenger address
thanks for the advice everyone... $1000 would be out of this world... i'm not sure how well off students are in the US, but over here, no chance! i've got a student loan *and* a part-time job, and i'm still struggling to stay afloat! i think my pixies tribute track sounded okay considering, with my existing mic, soundcard, software and 4-track... So i'm just starting off really, adding bit by bit, cheaply, to my existing set-up... I just want to make decent sounding demos of my songs really, so we all have a good idea where we're going with each track before we record them somewhere proper... i live in an appartment so can't really record all the instruments here anyway in my home studio... might get that cheap limiter thingy-ma-bob though, some decent pc speakers... and think about the rest once i've graduated.

it was get recording stuff or another guitar for christmas really, and i haven't got space for another guitar! between me and the girlfriend we've got 3 electric guitars, 2 acoustics, a bass, a massive bass amp, and a guitar amp... and they're all in our living room! thanks for the mastering advice too, the low volume thing and stuff, will try that one the track we're doing at the moment!

~~~
I'm flat out, you're so beautiful to look at when you cry. Freeze, don't move, you've been chosen as an extra in the movie adaptation of the sequal to your life. Shady Lane, everybody wants one, Shady Lane, everybody needs one.
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gr1bbly
- FB Fan -

USA
16 Posts

Posted - 12/06/2003 :  12:42:35  Show Profile
bbb - it sounds like in your "limited budget" situation the thing that would make the biggest difference is a good condensor mic and pre-amp combo. If you're clever you'll be able to get that pretty cheap, and it'll make a world of difference to your demos - vocals especially. I really like my cheap condensor, vocals just sound "right" now, and any shortcomings are due to my own limitations as a vocalist, not because I'm using inappropriate equipment =]

You might want to try http://www.homerecording.com. They have forums, and there's some interesting info on there, although I'm not a regular there or anything, so this is not a 'heartfelt' recommendation.

grib.
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gr1bbly
- FB Fan -

USA
16 Posts

Posted - 12/06/2003 :  12:53:57  Show Profile
Oh and one last thing, while it's true to get anything that sounds "professional" you have to spend a fair bit of cash (there's some equipment you just *need*), you can make really cool recordings with incredibly cheap equipment. Some of my favourite tracks were done on a malfunctioning Fostex X-15 with a mic from I bought for $15 from Radio Shack. They're noisy, but the writing and performances are interesting (I won't say "good", necessarily =]) and I still send those tracks to people on mix CDs (usually as a change up in amongst my later, more pro sounding stuff).
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Kirk
= Cult of Ray =

USA
633 Posts

Posted - 12/06/2003 :  16:26:45  Show Profile
I wish there was a website of home-recording artists like me. Sure, there's IUMA but that's mostly band crap. Who cares about 4 guys that write songs, while there are soloists who put their whole soul into music.


-Kirk
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bumblebeeboy2
> Teenager of the Year <

United Kingdom
2638 Posts

Posted - 12/06/2003 :  17:13:23  Show Profile  Click to see bumblebeeboy2's MSN Messenger address
quote:
Originally posted by gr1bbly

Oh and one last thing, while it's true to get anything that sounds "professional" you have to spend a fair bit of cash (there's some equipment you just *need*), you can make really cool recordings with incredibly cheap equipment. Some of my favourite tracks were done on a malfunctioning Fostex X-15 with a mic from I bought for $15 from Radio Shack. They're noisy, but the writing and performances are interesting (I won't say "good", necessarily =]) and I still send those tracks to people on mix CDs (usually as a change up in amongst my later, more pro sounding stuff).



heh, thanks for that, i've got a fostrex x-24 myself... i'm just using it as an amplifier going into my soundcard though now, was great fun when i first got it though... came with a free mic too, still using it...

~~~
I'm flat out, you're so beautiful to look at when you cry. Freeze, don't move, you've been chosen as an extra in the movie adaptation of the sequal to your life. Shady Lane, everybody wants one, Shady Lane, everybody needs one.
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ProverbialCereal
- FB TabMaster -

USA
2945 Posts

Posted - 12/06/2003 :  17:52:23  Show Profile  Visit ProverbialCereal's Homepage
quote:
Originally posted by mdisanto

a cd burner shouldnt be that expensive, unless were talking about a standalone one

-miked


We are. It's an external Yamaha CD burner which I got over a year ago. Back then I still had an old computer which didn't even have a CD burner so I just went ahead and bought a stand-alone CD burner for my music and also burning regular CDs and mix CDs and stuff.


"Join the Cult of Gunn / And you'll get an eighties Monster Ballad CD just for joining"
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El Barto
= Song DB Master =

USA
4020 Posts

Posted - 12/06/2003 :  20:43:52  Show Profile  Visit El Barto's Homepage
to put things into perspective, bbb2, I bought most of my recording equipment while in high school making about $150 a week...granted, I did get a few things for Christmas, but I just mostly built everything up over time. Buy what you can and piece it together starting with what you REALLY need. If you have something to record to, that's a start. Get some good headphones. Add an SM57 and a cable. Get a decent condensor and, if required, a phantom power adapter. You'll need mic stands also. In just those few things there, you already cover a number of bases. Then add in your compression, effects processor, etc.


"I joined the Cult of Clops / If I were you, I'd sleep with one eye open."
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Dave Noisy
Minister of Chaos

Canada
4496 Posts

Posted - 12/06/2003 :  23:55:32  Show Profile  Visit Dave Noisy's Homepage
If you don't mind singing into a dildo, get an AKG C1000..great starter condensor mic, and it has a slot for a 9v battery, so you don't need Phantom Power, and can actually plug straight into a soundcard...not great, but hey...

I bought a second one so i have a matching pair of condensors..can use them just about anywhere on any equipment.
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miguel
- FB Fan -

USA
213 Posts

Posted - 12/07/2003 :  03:17:11  Show Profile  Visit miguel's Homepage
I started out with a 2 GB gateway computer, the windows sound recorder and the stock mic! I used to record a track to the sound recorder and then play that track with another player while recording a new track with sound recorder again.. I didn't even know about sampling frequency or anything so a lot of them are like 22,050, 8 bit mono. I literally recorded around a hundred songs that way until I realized there were better prorams. Sad I know but, I never used a computer before then. You need lots of patience because it's easy to say screw this noise. I'm still struggling with mics, compression, preamps and recording bass is confusing me. How do you record fat ass bass, anyone?
Where can I get one of these "dildo" mics.. now there's a X-mas gift.

"... it's a pill, that gives worms... to exgirlfriends.. you just don't get it"
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