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Mutes the Meat
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10,236 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I hate everything about recording. I hate fiddling with software. I hate sitting at a computer. I hate getting my recorded tone as good as the live tone with no fucking digital noise or fizz on top. I fucking hate recording.

But I want to be productive. So, from the ground up what are the simplest, easiest, and most natural feeling ways to record guitars and program drums. I am not a recording engineer, and I never intend to be one so I don't need fancy shit, just good listenable results primarily for my own listening.

If anybody else on here hates recording as much as I do, chime in. I'd like to hear what you guys are using.
 

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Thread Killer
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You going direct or mic? I would grab a lil presonus or something similar 2xlr input deal.

Run it into reaper into some good headphones or decent neutral pc speakers.
 

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Thread Killer
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You going direct or mic? I would grab a lil presonus or something similar 2xlr input deal.

Run it into reaper into some good headphones or decent neutral pc speakers.
 

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18,790 Posts
As far as software goes, Garageband is relatively idiot-proof. The sounds aren't amazing, but it's reasonably plug-and-play, just pick a preset and set the levels. I'd recommend a small MIDI keyboard or something for drum programming, though. Makes it way easier to tap them in instead of trying to click it into the grid.
 

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Knives!
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427 Posts
It sounds like you shouldn't even be recording at all. If you aren't willing to persevere with anything to get results then there's no point. You should focus writing your shit and get somebody who is trained or experienced to do it for you. As for guitars go, you could record direct in guitars and get somebody to re-amp them for you properly through their selected set-up. There isn't a quick fix to getting good recordings. There isn't a 'template' but there are good tools which require minimum competency that will help you on your way. Apologies if that offends you.
 

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Mutes the Meat
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10,236 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
You going direct or mic? I would grab a lil presonus or something similar 2xlr input deal.

Run it into reaper into some good headphones or decent neutral pc speakers.
Direct.

As far as software goes, Garageband is relatively idiot-proof. The sounds aren't amazing, but it's reasonably plug-and-play, just pick a preset and set the levels. I'd recommend a small MIDI keyboard or something for drum programming, though. Makes it way easier to tap them in instead of trying to click it into the grid.
What kind of interface would you recommend? I have an Inspire 1394 thing but I get noise with it, and I can't set it to monitor through the iMacs built in speakers. I also think it's mixer software sucks.

It sounds like you shouldn't even be recording at all. If you aren't willing to persevere with anything to get results then there's no point. You should focus writing your shit and get somebody who is trained or experienced to do it for you. As for guitars go, you could record direct in guitars and get somebody to re-amp them for you properly through their selected set-up. There isn't a quick fix to getting good recordings. There isn't a 'template' but there are good tools which require minimum competency that will help you on your way. Apologies if that offends you.
I'm willing to invest time into recording if the tools available weren't so infuriating. :)

Instead of going directly from point A (Plugging in the guitar or preamp to the interface) to point B (hitting the record button) I have to go A, B, C, fix this, tinker with this, troubleshoot some stupid software issue, D.
 

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What kind of interface would you recommend? I have an Inspire 1394 thing but I get noise with it, and I can't set it to monitor through the iMacs built in speakers. I also think it's mixer software sucks.
Yeah, Garageband's mixer is kind of shitty, but it's really decent for quick songwriting demos, since it doesn't let you get caught up in tweaking :lol: As far as interfaces, I'm out of the loop with anything that's not Digidesign, and since they're now Avid, I'm out of the loop on that too :lol: Nothing is likely to let you monitor through the built-in speakers though, unfortunately.
 

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Read Only
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I'm willing to invest time into recording if the tools available weren't so infuriating. :)

Instead of going directly from point A (Plugging in the guitar or preamp to the interface) to point B (hitting the record button) I have to go A, B, C, fix this, tinker with this, troubleshoot some stupid software issue, D.
I am so with you on this. It's why I've been revamping my entire rig lately.

I've tried everything from pods to GNX's to GB to you fuckin' name it. I'll get great tone one day, change or forget one setting, the moon will be in a different phase, and I'll end up with two tracks that sound nothing alike from a mix standpoint.

I have an interface, a couple of mics, and an amp now. I plan on finding the right volume to record at, the right settings for each channel, the right mic placement and that's it. Once I can just put the shit the same way every time and hit record on Reaper and get what I want to hear, I will be a happy camper. :yesway: It's easy to do with a simple setup, but once you start adding a billion presets and plugins into the mix (pardon the pun), it's so easy to fuck things up it's not even funny.

And I still hate programming drums. :lol:
 

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Mutes the Meat
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10,236 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Yeah, Garageband's mixer is kind of shitty, but it's really decent for quick songwriting demos, since it doesn't let you get caught up in tweaking :lol: As far as interfaces, I'm out of the loop with anything that's not Digidesign, and since they're now Avid, I'm out of the loop on that too :lol: Nothing is likely to let you monitor through the built-in speakers though, unfortunately.
I really don't want to have a set of studio monitors on my desk, I had that before and they took up too much space. Hmm....I may pick up the same set of Logitech speakers Nikki has, they sound great but I don't know how neutral they are. It's not really a big deal, but if I want to have a friend listen to something I put together I don't want it to sound like complete shit.

I wasn't talking about Garageband's mixer, I was talking about the Inspire one. It doesn't integrate with OS X at all, not even as a preference pane so I find it really clunky to have hooked up all the time.
 

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Mutes the Meat
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10,236 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I am so with you on this. It's why I've been revamping my entire rig lately.

I've tried everything from pods to GNX's to GB to you fuckin' name it. I'll get great tone one day, change or forget one setting, the moon will be in a different phase, and I'll end up with two tracks that sound nothing alike from a mix standpoint.

I have an interface, a couple of mics, and an amp now. I plan on finding the right volume to record at, the right settings for each channel, the right mic placement and that's it. Once I can just put the shit the same way every time and hit record on Reaper and get what I want to hear, I will be a happy camper. :yesway: It's easy to do with a simple setup, but once you start adding a billion presets and plugins into the mix (pardon the pun), it's so easy to fuck things up it's not even funny.

And I still hate programming drums. :lol:
I'm glad I'm not the only one :lol:
 

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Dream Crusher
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21,053 Posts
I totally feel your pain. There are a million variables and it's impossible to keep them all straight, plus each bit of recording software comes with twelve tons of literature that doesn't tell you the important things you need to know starting out.

And programming drums is a bitch.
 

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Hell, I've been recording for 7-ish years now (holy shit...) and only just recently have starting feeling like I'm getting consistent results, and like I really know what I'm doing :lol: And I went to school for that shit :lol: It's really an art just like playing an instrument. Anyone can pick it up and do something good enough to make the average person say "Hey neat, I couldn't do that." but it takes years to really feel comfortable with it and to start getting results where you'll make people say "Wow, that's really good".
 

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Knives!
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427 Posts
What tools are you finding infuriating? Most of the time I find it's my mixing that infuriates me and nothing to do with the software. You need to learn/experience what the variables do. Your first recording isn't going to be amazing, you will learn from each one. The prospect of programming drums might be a little daunting at first but here are some tips I used to start off:

a)I started programming in 16th's - everything. That means changing the quantize grid in the piano roll note editor to 16th's and changing the input note to 16th's
b)Changing my note velocity (the strength at which a note is hit) all to 127, it kills the dynamics a bit but most hard metal drums are hit hard so for now just try that.
c) I began programming my drums in guitar pro. I don't recommend this as guitar pro limits you a lot
d)I used to and still do, write some of my drum fills by randomly placing midi notes on the piano roll, i.e just having a click frenzy with my mouse, playing it back, and then deleting notes that would be impossible or sound out of place i.e having 3 hits on the snare,tom and crash at the same time.

Also, I would try not to use REAPER. It's piano roll is very very annoying to work with I find, espec for beginners. I think Cubase is the best starting point for anyone.

The thing that people don't realize with guitar tone is that:

LIVE TONE does NOT = RECORDING tone.

If you're using direct-in hardware like a POD or axe-fx the same goes especially, as the parameters will all effect each other differently.

The problem most people seem to have is bloating their mids out until they reach that nice saturated bloom and begin to rape the mix with mud. Or they scoop them so much that the tone gets buried behind bass and the other mix elements. Try to find a balance, Sweep through your mid-range knob until you get just enough clarity. It will be mostly determined by the cab and mic position though.
 

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ɹǝqɯǝɯ ɹɐln&#38
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5,486 Posts
I bought a GuitarPort XT used for $35 (yay free pod farm!). It goes in via USB for the Line6 program side, but it has a 1/4" cable that goes from it to my cheap $20 soundblaster card.

I plug in my guitar, launch PodFarm, launch N-Track, save a new file so it records onto my big drive, then press "0" to start recording. I hate programs where you have to assign buses and all that crap as well as having to do 20 steps just to get a mixdown.

I use sampled .wav files (that I exported from DFH) in a cheap drum program called LeafDrums. It's like looking at a small graph paper instead of a huge piano roll where you have to scroll all over the place no matter how big a monitor you have. I get results, and I get them quick, which is why I like my setup.
 

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Thread Killer
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I thought reaper wad very easy to use. :shrug:
What tools are you finding infuriating? Most of the time I find it's my mixing that infuriates me and nothing to do with the software. You need to learn/experience what the variables do. Your first recording isn't going to be amazing, you will learn from each one. The prospect of programming drums might be a little daunting at first but here are some tips I used to start off:

a)I started programming in 16th's - everything. That means changing the quantize grid in the piano roll note editor to 16th's and changing the input note to 16th's
b)Changing my note velocity (the strength at which a note is hit) all to 127, it kills the dynamics a bit but most hard metal drums are hit hard so for now just try that.
c) I began programming my drums in guitar pro. I don't recommend this as guitar pro limits you a lot
d)I used to and still do, write some of my drum fills by randomly placing midi notes on the piano roll, i.e just having a click frenzy with my mouse, playing it back, and then deleting notes that would be impossible or sound out of place i.e having 3 hits on the snare,tom and crash at the same time.

Also, I would try not to use REAPER. It's piano roll is very very annoying to work with I find, espec for beginners. I think Cubase is the best starting point for anyone.

The thing that people don't realize with guitar tone is that:

LIVE TONE does NOT = RECORDING tone.

If you're using direct-in hardware like a POD or axe-fx the same goes especially, as the parameters will all effect each other differently.

The problem most people seem to have is bloating their mids out until they reach that nice saturated bloom and begin to rape the mix with mud. Or they scoop them so much that the tone gets buried behind bass and the other mix elements. Try to find a balance, Sweep through your mid-range knob until you get just enough clarity. It will be mostly determined by the cab and mic position though.
 

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Knives!
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427 Posts
Maybe it was just me, Everything else bar the piano roll was fine. I'm glad it actually imports the tempo map properly when you import a MIDI file into the project unlike Cubase.
 

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Is Actually Recording
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32,765 Posts
Reaper shits on Cubase in a couple other areas, though, namely -

1.) audio recording workflow
2.) incredible routing flexibility (may not apply to Zepp here)
3.) It's a fraction of the price

FWIW, while I'm a huge Reaper fan myself, my dad (who looks at recording much the same as you, as a way to write songs, rather than the pursit of the most immaculate tones and mixes possible) recently switched from Reaper to Garageband because it's that much more idiot proof. Record a vocal, add a "vocal" plugin, record an acoustic guitar, add an "acoustic guitar" plug-in, set levels, and boom, suddenly you have a mix.

In a pinch, a large library of good drum loops might serve you better than some sort of sequencing program. The hardest part with programming is learning to "think" like a drummer, IMO - do you have a drummer who could sit you down and show you a few simple beats and fills on a kit? If not, start trying to "re-create" pretty simple beats. Something like "When the Levee Breaks" is a good place to start.
 
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