Any PC musicians out there?

  algernonymous 07:09 19 Feb 13

Being a musician (of sorts) in my past I would now like to try 'laying down some tracks' using modern technology (i.e. PC). I want to keep it as cheap as possible initially so will use Audacity and I'd like to record vocals, guitar and keyboards (separately). Can anyone advise cheapest piece of hardware required to achieve this?


  algernonymous 18:39 19 Feb 13

When I say separately I mean individually

  csqwared 19:57 19 Feb 13

Back in the days of yore, before all this new fangled technology I used to use a 4 track reel to reel tape recorder, laying each track individually and then recording the output onto single track. Just looked on E-bay and there seems to be a few bits of similar, but now digital, kit for not a lot of money. depends on what you mean by cheap and what quality you want to achieve at the end.

  csqwared 20:01 19 Feb 13

e.g. here

recording stuff

  algernonymous 20:39 19 Feb 13

Yea, I used to have a TEAC 4 track Portastudio but I now want to record onto my laptop using Audacity. What I don't know is what (cheap) interface I can use that will allow me to connect a mike, a guitar and some keyboards?

  Chronos the 2nd 08:15 20 Feb 13

I posted your question elsewhere where I knew a guy that was in to similar stuff. So I have copied his answer as is.

Theres really 3 main pieces of equipment he will need to achieve all those things

1 - Audio Interface This is just an external soundcard... simple as

Takes sound signals in and out from a Digital audio workstation

This M-audio is pretty good, offers a Mic channel with 48v phantom power which just means you can hook up almost any condensor microphone to this and its going to power it fine

Has a guitar input aswell and comes with protools, only problem is keyboards

When recording you would be doing tracking it all seperately anyway, unless it was a live jamming session where you might hook everyone up to a mixer.

2 - Software As i said you need something to record to, all DAW software does the same thing just some does it better than others/offers better options

Few things you might want to consider

  • Popularity If you want to take your project somewhere else say for example a studio and you want to bring your work with you in project form and not audio Its likely to be a studio using either Pro Tools, Logic, Cubase or Ableton (from my expirience)

  • Cost Some software is super expensive but it really only requires a one time expense if your not big on constantly upgrading it, you might want to just stick to the light versions provided with the interface above to start with.

3 - Monitoring Not really required basically listening to whats been produced and make it sound the best for any system, Studio monitors are designed to give a completely flat response (hopefully) and so anything you add or take away within the software is what you're hearing happening.

You can just use a standard pair of speakers its just going to be more difficult to get used to mixing on them, you'll find your mixes are not at all what you originally expected because as soon as you take them out and put them in your car or other speaker system the bass might be crazy or it may mask any of your drums or something.

Its really hard to get completely right without the proper tools, its like cutting something with a blunt blade it will get the job done eventually but takes an unnecessary amount of work to do it.

As i said its not massively required but it makes life about 50x easier for you to get something that sounds good first instead of having to tweak it for weeks on a speaker system thats giving you an innaccurate image.

Hope it helps.

  Chronos the 2nd 08:19 20 Feb 13

The link did work, but from clicking the post button and it's appearance on the forum PCA doe it's best to mess it up. So here it is again.


  algernonymous 22:00 20 Feb 13

That's brilliant. Thanks for taking the time and trouble Chronos. I'll look into this. I'm not too concerned about quality, just want to do some composing, then if I'm happy with the results I'll look to improve quality (and spend more money) then.

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