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n00b looking to start recording for the first time. 
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Ok, I'm coming to you guys because I'm completely new to all this stuff and I have no idea how to start. I'm looking to start recording tracks so I can start recording ideas/demos/compose songs/etc. Mainly to record ideas and send riffs/tracks to band members. I'm going to most likely be using my fiancee's iMac (she only uses it for picture storage. No editing or anything). Core-i5 processor, 8 gigs Ram, not sure of overall processing speed. If I don't use that I'll be using my pc which has a similar processor and memory. Looking at USB devices but trying to keep it cheap as I'm poor and trying to save money for a wedding this year. Trying to keep the cost of the interface under $200 if possible. If it's closer to $100 that would be better. I'm looking at the Focusrite solo, 2i2 and 2i4 (all 2nd gen) the Audient iD4, Mackie Blackjack and possibly a Line 6 UX1 or UX2 (Pod farm seems appealing).

My goal for myself is to be able to record my amp via mic (which I'll probably just snag a Shure SM-57 to start) and maybe some direct in recording via plug ins. I've read great things about the Audient, and that seems top of the line for the price range, but I was wondering if you guys had any feedback on any of the others. I've got a good set of headphones that I can use for monitoring/mixing for the time being and can always add monitors later. Like I said, I'm trying to stay at $200 or less, so if there's anything worth mentioning that I haven't listed, please feel free to enlighten me.

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Murdoch wrote:
Play a scale, he hears, "GOD I BET MY DICK TASTES AMAZING, I WISH I COULD FIND OUT!!"




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Mon Jan 09, 2017 12:26 pm
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Good news: Mac comes with Garage Band recording software.... you already have your DAW.

Focusrite comes with Ableton in case you don't like Garageband.

You can't go wrong with an SM57.

Learning to make good recordings is a journey... have fun!

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Walt wrote:
But when the hour is nigh, and the lights are low, and I got a little toothpick of a shwag joint in my teeth, and my friends want to hear me play "Into the Void", or "TNT", "or "Cemetery Gates"...I plug my 600 dollar guitar into my 150 dollar amp, and I am a Rawk gawd. :rawk:


Last edited by ajaxlepinski on Mon Jan 09, 2017 12:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Mon Jan 09, 2017 12:36 pm
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Which works out well, because my drummer uses it also.

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Murdoch wrote:
Play a scale, he hears, "GOD I BET MY DICK TASTES AMAZING, I WISH I COULD FIND OUT!!"




Charvels, Jackons, Fenders, Gibsons, Heritages and a Peavey
Metropoulos Metro-Plex
Egnater Seminar Boutikit 50 Watt Head
Avatar Vintage 2x12 w/ Creamback H75s
Marshall JCM 2000 DSL 100
Marshall 1960A w/ G12T75s


Mon Jan 09, 2017 12:39 pm
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1. People are going to come in and dog the focusrites, but I use a Scarlett 18i20, and LOVE it. The 2i2 is too small. get something with more ins/outs.

2. I HIGHLY recommend Reaper for your DAW. It's a 1 time fee of $60, and it's outstanding. They offer infinite updates for it, and the support comes from other users. It's amazing.

3. The best information is watching youtube videos. That's how I learned to use Reaper.

4. a good set of bookshelf speakers with a good receiver beats mixing with headphones. See if your dad has some 80's boston acoustics and an onkyo in the attic.

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Mon Jan 09, 2017 12:40 pm
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BroSlinger wrote:
1. People are going to come in and dog the focusrites, but I use a Scarlett 18i20, and LOVE it. The 2i2 is too small. get something with more ins/outs.

2. I HIGHLY recommend Reaper for your DAW. It's a 1 time fee of $60, and it's outstanding. They offer infinite updates for it, and the support comes from other users. It's amazing.

3. The best information is watching youtube videos. That's how I learned to use Reaper.

4. a good set of bookshelf speakers with a good receiver beats mixing with headphones. See if your dad has some 80's boston acoustics and an onkyo in the attic.


Pretty sure there's a working receiver at my parents house that is not in use. Probably some speakers too. I've actually got some decent speakers for my PC also so I could use them as a reference too.

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Murdoch wrote:
Play a scale, he hears, "GOD I BET MY DICK TASTES AMAZING, I WISH I COULD FIND OUT!!"




Charvels, Jackons, Fenders, Gibsons, Heritages and a Peavey
Metropoulos Metro-Plex
Egnater Seminar Boutikit 50 Watt Head
Avatar Vintage 2x12 w/ Creamback H75s
Marshall JCM 2000 DSL 100
Marshall 1960A w/ G12T75s


Mon Jan 09, 2017 1:10 pm
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If you're running on Mac the Blackjack is really excellent. With a PC it gets a little tricky but ASIO4ALL is free and solves a lot of those issues.

I agree that since you're starting from scratch just start out on reaper and learn from online tutorials and from asking us here for help. I got some good advice from GAB on how to configure things in reaper. EJ in particular is always willing to give solid helpful advice.

If you can swing the $15 a month I highly highly recommend the Slate bundle. It includes amp simulation plugin and I cannot underemphasize how good and useful the Slate production plugins are. It's kinda ridiculous how good and user friendly they are. From the EQ's, to the tape emulation, to the analog console emulation, delays, reverbs... so god damn good. I'm not even that great at producing and the Slate stuff absolutely takes me up several notches.

But Reaper has good stock plugins and can get you going as is for sure. With a Scarlett or blackjack, reaper, and a SM57 you can absolutely get this going at your price point. But I do advise getting a drum plugin soon because even though you have a drummer you will want to be able to drop some decent loops and get some ideas hammered out without waiting for a drummer to send you files.

Anyway, really fun and rewarding journey once you start getting comfortable working in the DAW. It takes time and a lot of trial and error but once you have the habit and familiarity you're gonna be really happy that you started doing this.

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Mon Jan 09, 2017 2:11 pm
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M.Mike LX-R wrote:
If you're running on Mac the Blackjack is really excellent. With a PC it gets a little tricky but ASIO4ALL is free and solves a lot of those issues.

I agree that since you're starting from scratch just start out on reaper and learn from online tutorials and from asking us here for help. I got some good advice from GAB on how to configure things in reaper. EJ in particular is always willing to give solid helpful advice.

If you can swing the $15 a month I highly highly recommend the Slate bundle. It includes amp simulation plugin and I cannot underemphasize how good and useful the Slate production plugins are. It's kinda ridiculous how good and user friendly they are. From the EQ's, to the tape emulation, to the analog console emulation, delays, reverbs... so god damn good. I'm not even that great at producing and the Slate stuff absolutely takes me up several notches.

But Reaper has good stock plugins and can get you going as is for sure. With a Scarlett or blackjack, reaper, and a SM57 you can absolutely get this going at your price point. But I do advise getting a drum plugin soon because even though you have a drummer you will want to be able to drop some decent loops and get some ideas hammered out without waiting for a drummer to send you files.

Anyway, really fun and rewarding journey once you start getting comfortable working in the DAW. It takes time and a lot of trial and error but once you have the habit and familiarity you're gonna be really happy that you started doing this.


Think I'm going to go with the Blackjack. The bang for buck factor really seems big with that little unit. I can score that and a new SM57 for around $200 total. I'll probably play around with Reaper on my PC for a bit (I don't move in with my fiancee until March. She has the Mac). I'm no stranger to having to troubleshoot hardware so that's no big deal. I've got good phones and multiple speakers to test on so I should be good there. I can always add stuff later down the line too. This is just mainly to get me started and working on some things. Thank you all for your suggestions, I really appreciate your help here guys.

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Murdoch wrote:
Play a scale, he hears, "GOD I BET MY DICK TASTES AMAZING, I WISH I COULD FIND OUT!!"




Charvels, Jackons, Fenders, Gibsons, Heritages and a Peavey
Metropoulos Metro-Plex
Egnater Seminar Boutikit 50 Watt Head
Avatar Vintage 2x12 w/ Creamback H75s
Marshall JCM 2000 DSL 100
Marshall 1960A w/ G12T75s


Wed Jan 11, 2017 7:47 am
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Here is one of the best instructional books you will find for Reaper.
I have their ProTools book and it is beyond excellent and is way better than the books published by ProTools/Avid.
More importantly, it comes with a training session on CD that loads a fully tracked session into Reaper for practice.
I can't recommend getting this enough: https://www.amazon.com/REAPER-Power-Com ... ction+book

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1980's Randall RG80 SS - I have two!!!
2013 Hi-Tone HT103-DG (Winner Best Rig 2014)
2015 Mortatone 12/15 Cab w/EV SROs
2017 Jubilee

Walt wrote:
But when the hour is nigh, and the lights are low, and I got a little toothpick of a shwag joint in my teeth, and my friends want to hear me play "Into the Void", or "TNT", "or "Cemetery Gates"...I plug my 600 dollar guitar into my 150 dollar amp, and I am a Rawk gawd. :rawk:


Wed Jan 11, 2017 10:48 am
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Broken record here. Watch 5 minutes to a better mix series on youtube, and after each video try the technique out in a mix. 93 episodes.

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Wed Jan 11, 2017 11:40 am
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Awesome! Thank you guys for the tips! GAB really is the coolest musicians forum on the net!

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Murdoch wrote:
Play a scale, he hears, "GOD I BET MY DICK TASTES AMAZING, I WISH I COULD FIND OUT!!"




Charvels, Jackons, Fenders, Gibsons, Heritages and a Peavey
Metropoulos Metro-Plex
Egnater Seminar Boutikit 50 Watt Head
Avatar Vintage 2x12 w/ Creamback H75s
Marshall JCM 2000 DSL 100
Marshall 1960A w/ G12T75s


Wed Jan 11, 2017 1:07 pm
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Download ASIO4ALL. It will allow you lower latency with smoother operation than the BS Mackie driver. It saved my life.

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Dave wrote:
the BL80... I can see exactly why you like em :cool:



http://www.formalblack.com


Wed Jan 11, 2017 1:51 pm
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M.Mike LX-R wrote:
Download ASIO4ALL. It will allow you lower latency with smoother operation than the BS Mackie driver. It saved my life.


Noted.

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Murdoch wrote:
Play a scale, he hears, "GOD I BET MY DICK TASTES AMAZING, I WISH I COULD FIND OUT!!"




Charvels, Jackons, Fenders, Gibsons, Heritages and a Peavey
Metropoulos Metro-Plex
Egnater Seminar Boutikit 50 Watt Head
Avatar Vintage 2x12 w/ Creamback H75s
Marshall JCM 2000 DSL 100
Marshall 1960A w/ G12T75s


Wed Jan 11, 2017 4:28 pm
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Btw, there are some free plugins with no strings attached that you must download.

VladG molot compressor
VladG limiterNo.6
Tokyo dawn slickeq
Tokyo dawn kotelnikov compressor
Tokyo dawn nova multiband eq/comp

Just download these immediately. There is no registration or anything.

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Thu Jan 12, 2017 12:23 am
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To add to the list of freebies that are awesome:

Klanghelm Mjuc Jr. (tube comp emulation)
Digitalfishphone fish plugs (compressor, de-esser)
GVST GGate (the best gate for drums I've used!)
Flux Bittersweet (transient designer)
TAL Dub-II (bucket brigade analog delay emulation, great for lead guitar)

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Thu Jan 12, 2017 12:36 am
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Excellent. I will get on those immediately!

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Murdoch wrote:
Play a scale, he hears, "GOD I BET MY DICK TASTES AMAZING, I WISH I COULD FIND OUT!!"




Charvels, Jackons, Fenders, Gibsons, Heritages and a Peavey
Metropoulos Metro-Plex
Egnater Seminar Boutikit 50 Watt Head
Avatar Vintage 2x12 w/ Creamback H75s
Marshall JCM 2000 DSL 100
Marshall 1960A w/ G12T75s


Thu Jan 12, 2017 8:38 am
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I like the 2i2. Focusrite has decent ASIO drivers too, i get super low latency. My DAW of choice is mixcraft, give that a look if you don't use garageband.

I agree about drums, its pricey but I use ezdrummer2 and amplitube 4 for amps.

If you plan to do vocals you may want to get a condensor mic and use that for both vocals and guitars. The AT2020/2035 is $99/$149 and will do you well as an all purpose mic.

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Thu Jan 12, 2017 1:16 pm
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BTW, don't be afraid to record vocals with a dynamic mic.

Michael Jackson used a Shure SM7 for Thriller.

I did a shootout with an Australian Rode LDC vs. a Shure SM7B.

The Shure smoked it for the way my voice currently sounds.

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Thu Jan 12, 2017 1:20 pm
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Got a Blackjack on the way. USPS says it'll be in my hands tomorrow. I'll be snagging a SM57 next check.

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Murdoch wrote:
Play a scale, he hears, "GOD I BET MY DICK TASTES AMAZING, I WISH I COULD FIND OUT!!"




Charvels, Jackons, Fenders, Gibsons, Heritages and a Peavey
Metropoulos Metro-Plex
Egnater Seminar Boutikit 50 Watt Head
Avatar Vintage 2x12 w/ Creamback H75s
Marshall JCM 2000 DSL 100
Marshall 1960A w/ G12T75s


Fri Jan 13, 2017 7:09 am
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greatmutah wrote:
I'll be snagging a SM57 next check.


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Fri Jan 13, 2017 7:30 am
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Guys, I did a thing. Just kind of a test recording using some LePou amp plugins and some free cab IRs. It needs some work, but I have two guitars tracked 30%L/30%R with a HeavyBrit amp and Lecto amp. Cabs are Mesa with SM57 sim and JCM900_Blue_Jubilee IRs. Melodies are just dead center, not panned with some delay. Used the Lecto. Just a test really but I think I'm getting this. https://soundcloud.com/user-800138079/guitar-riffing

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Murdoch wrote:
Play a scale, he hears, "GOD I BET MY DICK TASTES AMAZING, I WISH I COULD FIND OUT!!"




Charvels, Jackons, Fenders, Gibsons, Heritages and a Peavey
Metropoulos Metro-Plex
Egnater Seminar Boutikit 50 Watt Head
Avatar Vintage 2x12 w/ Creamback H75s
Marshall JCM 2000 DSL 100
Marshall 1960A w/ G12T75s


Sun Jan 15, 2017 6:04 pm
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