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Author Topic: New to audio recording, could use some advice.  (Read 2158 times)

Omega

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New to audio recording, could use some advice.
« on: March 04, 2012, 07:02:17 PM »

  Hello there everyone.  :)

 As my title states, I'm new to the whole real audio recording thing.
 
 So I'll give you guys a little back story. My brother and his room mates are all musicians. And, quite honestly, they're not bad at all. However, these guys never seem to record any spontaneous jam sessions that I've witnessed where they've made some really awesome music. Now I go out and check out live shows quite a bit, and I can say that these guys are better than probably 90-95% of the acts I've seen.
 
 Regardless, I've decided to kind of take charge in that department and start recording them.

 Anyway, since I'm new, I'm somewhat clueless about what is entailed in recording. I used to build custom car audio components and am fairly good at tuning sound output whether through an EQ or even tuning enclosures to achieve a desired sound or frequency. 
 What are some good sources of information that I could read to educate myself in the realm of professional audio recording? I'm a very technical person and understand a lot of different concepts so feel free to link even things that may be difficult.

 And one last thing, since I've decided to start recording these guys, I was thinking that a computer would probably the easiest medium on which to record them. What are the best sound cards available for professional audio recording?

 Thanks in advance for your time.
 -Pete.

PS: I'm a total newb to audio recording/engineering.
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Fletcher

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Re: New to audio recording, could use some advice.
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2012, 08:21:55 AM »

What you're looking to record isn't going to be "product", its going to be a set of "writing" and "idea" demos.  If they need "product" recorded [as in they have sifted through their ideas, formed songs, have a solid arrangement] then they want to book some time in a local studio and start to build some product.

So - with writing demos -- you want the machines to stay out of the way as much as possible!!  The idea is that the musical ideas get captured for later exploration.  All you need is a couple of microphones - Shure SM-57's should do, a computer and an interface.  There are a whole lot of interfaces in the "writing demo" price range [couple hundred dollars] - they're not "album quality" kind of tools, but they'll certainly be up to the task of accomplishing writing demos.

I would suggest you first devise a budget for the project then find someone who can help you achieve the goal.  There are a bunch of mail order houses that can configure something like this -- or if you're near a reasonable sized city there will probably be a shop that has some of these kinds of tools... do your homework, then scour ebay and craigslist for used units as they'll be significantly less expense than buying "new" [these kinds of tools don't hold their value all that well - best to find them from someone who is about to take "the next step].

I hope this is of some assistance - sorry I don't know that much about specific "entry level" tools.

Peace
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CN Fletcher

mwagener wrote on Sat, 11 September 2004 14:33
We are selling emotions, there are no emotions in a grid


"Recording engineers are an arrogant bunch
If you've spent most of your life with a few thousand dollars worth of musicians in the studio, making a decision every second and a half... and you and  they are going to have to live with it for the rest of your lives, you'll get pretty arrogant too.  It takes a certain amount of balls to do that... something around three"
Malcolm Chisholm

Omega

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Re: New to audio recording, could use some advice.
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2012, 05:12:43 PM »

Hey thanks Fletch!  :)

 We actually have a mock studio set up. We have a mixer, several Sennheiser mic's (not sure on the model), analog to digital interface and so on. While at the moment it's to get idea's down, we eventually want to do something more with it. Basically, I'm trying to get them become a real band and not just a bunch of guys that simply play together.

 At any rate, are there any articles or good places for information about sound recording? Like what equipment is good to use, theories and concepts of audio recording, etc.

 Also, I build custom computers for different purposes. Recently I had a client ask me about building a computer for audio recording. So I'm in the process of making a totally silent computer, however, now I'm stumped on the sound card(s).
  In most other builds I typically use X-Fi cards which normally range ~$100-200.
 Their specs aren't bad:
 (these are the specs for my personal sound card Creative X-Fi Xtreme music)
24-bit Analog-to-Digital conversion of analog inputs at 96kHz sample rate
24-bit Digital-to-Analog conversion of digital sources at 96kHz to analog 7.1 speaker output
24-bit Digital-to-Analog conversion of stereo digital sources at 192kHz to stereo output
16-bit to 24-bit recording sampling rates: 8, 11.025, 16, 22.05, 24, 32, 44.1, 48 and 96kHz
ASIO 2.0 support with direct monitoring at 16 and 24-bit at sample rates of 44.1/48/88.22 and 96kHz
Enhanced SoundFont support at up to 24-bit resolution

With this sound card I can record at some pretty ridiculous rates. Last night I ripped a song from a disk at 4608kbps. (24-bit, 96khz).

 From what I gather, this sound card is a "consumer" card and not really aimed at the sound recording professional. Is that correct?

 Where can I find information about professional sound cards?
 
 What are some good brands to use?
 
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Fletcher

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Re: New to audio recording, could use some advice.
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2012, 09:39:58 PM »

Lynx makes some excellent soundcards - I would highly suggest you investigate them.  They're what we've always used in the rigs we had built at my last gig.  Where the whole "digital configuration" thing isn't really one of my more expert places - I generally rely on the kids around me who are adept at those sorts of things [and they know I will bitch them out if it doesn't sound right to me when they get done doing whatever the hell it is they do].

Peace
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CN Fletcher

mwagener wrote on Sat, 11 September 2004 14:33
We are selling emotions, there are no emotions in a grid


"Recording engineers are an arrogant bunch
If you've spent most of your life with a few thousand dollars worth of musicians in the studio, making a decision every second and a half... and you and  they are going to have to live with it for the rest of your lives, you'll get pretty arrogant too.  It takes a certain amount of balls to do that... something around three"
Malcolm Chisholm

Gareth Hunt

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Re: New to audio recording, could use some advice.
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2012, 03:55:35 AM »

we have the Lynx Aurora 16 Mastering grade A-D/D-A and the Lynx AES 16e PCIe card.

Value for money I recommend it! We monitor on the Focal sm6 range and the difference was night and day...
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Fletcher

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Re: New to audio recording, could use some advice.
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2012, 10:46:57 AM »

"Mastering grade" might be a bit of a stretch with the Lynx stuff... but it is very solid product that can deliver many years of faithful service.  As with most things - when you want to get better results you'll have to spend a fair bit more.  In their price range, I can't think of anything that comes close to the Lynx stuff... and in the quality range, I would say they are definitely units that will deal "professional" results [mastering being a whole other higher end level of hardware - where $7500 for a two channel converter is actually quite commonplace].

Peace
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CN Fletcher

mwagener wrote on Sat, 11 September 2004 14:33
We are selling emotions, there are no emotions in a grid


"Recording engineers are an arrogant bunch
If you've spent most of your life with a few thousand dollars worth of musicians in the studio, making a decision every second and a half... and you and  they are going to have to live with it for the rest of your lives, you'll get pretty arrogant too.  It takes a certain amount of balls to do that... something around three"
Malcolm Chisholm

rocksure

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Re: New to audio recording, could use some advice.
« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2012, 08:34:44 PM »

Fletcher's advice as always is very good. Lynx Aurora converters are very nice. They are not entry level price though if you know what I mean. There are many good books and sources to help with the concepts of recording and mixing. Rather than adding more info to the technical aspect of what gear you need, which other's here can do, but more on the setting of levels for recording, signal types and other tips that you may find useful, the following two tutorials I wrote may give you some help in your learning:

http://rocksuresoundz.com/2012/03/07/audio-gain-staging/

http://rocksuresoundz.com/2012/01/02/audio-signals-basic-guide-to-levels-signal-types-and-uses/
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