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Author Topic: My incredibly crap recording setup  (Read 3667 times)

w00dw0rka

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My incredibly crap recording setup
« on: February 16, 2011, 02:10:02 am »

Hi all,

I'm new on this forum, joining largely because I want to learn a little bit more about recording techniques and technology. I have an incredibly cheap, basic recording setup, and I am an absolute noobie when it comes to recording as I'm really a musician, not an engineer. The problem I have is this:

I'm trying to make reasonable recordings of my acoustic guitar and voice into my laptop. More for songwriting and composing purposes than to release it, as the sound quality is just too crap. But I have quite a lot of background noise on the recordings I've made so far. I'm running a JTS TM-969 (p.o.s. dynamic mic) into my teeny tiny Phonic AM120 MKII mixer. I send the signal to the mic/line input of my laptop via the red/white AV style output plugs on the mixer, through the AV cable then to an AV to 3.5mm stereo converter plug. I've experimented with gain, output levels, etc. and nothing seems to get rid of the background noise. The best I can do is use the "noise reduction" effect in Audacity, which ends up just making the take sound "underwater" or "tinny". Basically that just replaces the first hissy background noise with another one.

Does anyone have any advice? I know I've got really bad equipment, but if there is any other way to get a better take without resorting to buying more stuff I'd appreciate the suggestion because I don't got no money. Basically, I want to know what you would do if you were stuck on a desert island with only my shit gear, and the option for someone to helicopter drop a cable or two, (or even a cheapo mic, or something, maybe in the $100 range) i.e. a cheap fix.

Thanks,
Nathan
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w00dw0rka

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Re: My incredibly crap recording setup
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2011, 06:12:28 pm »

Does no-one have any ideas?

26 views, but no replies  :-[
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Taylor Phillips

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Re: My incredibly crap recording setup
« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2011, 07:10:40 pm »

What you need, I believe, is an audio interface to connect mic and guitar to your computer.  I've been using this guy's big brother with decent results - certainly better than what you are describing.  The one linked to should work fine for you.  I'm afraid you aren't going to get any better results without purchasing better equipment.
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w00dw0rka

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Re: My incredibly crap recording setup
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2011, 08:06:24 pm »

Thanks. I was afraid of that! ...
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curtisfranklin

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Re: My incredibly crap recording setup
« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2011, 10:06:58 pm »

http://www.bluemic.com/snowball/

The BLUE Snowballs are pretty nice. They are really cheap, and they look nice. You can use any recording software that you like. I recommend Reaper.

http://reaper.fm/
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Mo Facta

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Re: My incredibly crap recording setup
« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2011, 02:04:53 am »

Are you using an ASIO driver?

First off, if you're using your on-board sound circuit (most likely AC97) I would suggest downloading and installing ASIO4ALL:

http://asio4all.com/

This will enable you to get relatively low latency and buffer settings with your standard on-board sound and enable you to run ASIO applications.

Barring any faults with your on-board sound, you should be able to get up to 24-bit 48kHz audio with it and it should be relatively clean, provided your gain staging is correct from your Phonic mixer.

What kind of noise are you experiencing?  Is it a hum?  Is it a loud hiss, like an old tape machine?  What I've noticed with laptops is that sometimes their power supplies create some sort of ground loop within the audio chain.  Try running the laptop on AC power and lifting the ground from the plug.  I have to do that with my home theater setup otherwise I get a terrible hum/buzz.

The next thing to do is to check your mic by plugging it into your mixer and listening with headphones.  Plug in the mic and turn the gain to a moderate level and listen if it puts out noise while speaking.  If it's clean, you know that the mic signal is getting to the mixer properly.  After that I would then attach the mixer to, say, your home theater system or a stereo system with RCA inputs to check whether the AV outs from the mixer are faulty or not.  If you get a clean signal once you plug the mic in, both the mixer and the mic are in the clear.  If you get noise, you know it's the AV outs that are faulty.

That's my best suggestion.  Hope that helps.

Cheers :)

     
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