Author Topic: handbook for recording at home  (Read 648 times)

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Offline skinnyT

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handbook for recording at home
« on: May 14, 2018, 05:26:43 pm »
Found this in Guitarist magazine and thought it might be useful for those wanting to record at home. Its a free pdf and is available till 1 July 2018

http://cover.musicradar.com/HomeStudioHandbookPart1.pdf

I have not read too much of it yet so cannot comment on exactly how useful/good it is, plus I am clueless on the subject at present.

Offline DavidP

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Re: handbook for recording at home
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2018, 06:25:51 am »
Thanks Skinny

Had a quick flip through and I think it looks quite useful, lots of info in a single convenient source and written in an easy-to-understand way ... though I have been digging into home recording for a while now, so don't look with a raw beginners eyes anymore, so perhaps not the best judge.


Offline CT

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Re: handbook for recording at home
« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2018, 03:12:26 pm »
Good primer to keep around for reference. My initial nit is that it assumes that you will always record with a microphone, DI or iRig, and therefore misses the easiest config of all for a guitarist -- direct from a modeling amp to a DAW. This is easy-peasy and allows you to do multi-track recording, scratchpad ideas and gauge your practice/progress without much effort.

Food for thought: The Focusrite Scarlett Studio looks like a winner as a DI entry point.
 
 

Offline DavidP

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Re: handbook for recording at home
« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2018, 03:29:57 pm »
Food for thought: The Focusrite Scarlett Studio looks like a winner as a DI entry point.
I have the FocusRite Scarlett 2i2.  Has served me well, no complaints. 

My biggest challenge has been getting a single track recording with me playing acoustic and singing at the same time, on which the vocal is loud enough relative to the guitar.  And even better would like the guitar to be faint.  Not sure to what extent the Focusrite condensor mic plays a part ... or just I play to loud and sing too soft :)

Once going multi-track and singing separately to playing, all works really well.

Offline Rossco01

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Re: handbook for recording at home
« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2018, 06:58:20 pm »
DavidP the going slightly OT you are going to get that challenge with the Focusrite condensor mic. It captures a lovely sound but picks up everything and can be quite difficult for you to balance the sound through positioning. A dynamic might be slightly easier to balance as it's more directional so you'll definitely be able to get a louder vocal and a quieter guitar and adjust it slightly more depending on height and angle of the mic. It doesn't sound as atmospheric but works better. With practice both in terms of mic positioning and playing you'll be able to get closer to the sound you want.

As a package it's hard to beat the Scarlett Studio but there are other competitors out there now.
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Offline CT

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Re: handbook for recording at home
« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2018, 07:08:34 pm »
I was also thinking of getting a USB microphone for laying down single vocal tracks directly into the DAW. Lay down the individual music tracks and then the vocals track(s) separately. Seems super easy that way and super cheap. Not sure that the referenced primer covered that method.

Offline Rossco01

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Re: handbook for recording at home
« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2018, 08:19:25 pm »
CT the advantage you've got going into a DI like the Focusrite is that it's got great pre-amps built for processing the audio. Going straight into the PC via USB port you're just using the onboard soundcard which is a world of difference. Nothing wrong with it as a start approach but longer term you're probably better investinging in a DI or small mixer of some sort.
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Offline DavidP

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Re: handbook for recording at home
« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2018, 09:33:47 pm »
DavidP the going slightly OT you are going to get that challenge with the Focusrite condensor mic. It captures a lovely sound but picks up everything and can be quite difficult for you to balance the sound through positioning. A dynamic might be slightly easier to balance as it's more directional so you'll definitely be able to get a louder vocal and a quieter guitar and adjust it slightly more depending on height and angle of the mic. It doesn't sound as atmospheric but works better. With practice both in terms of mic positioning and playing you'll be able to get closer to the sound you want.

As a package it's hard to beat the Scarlett Studio but there are other competitors out there now.
Thanks Rossco, appreciate the tip ...

Offline CT

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Re: handbook for recording at home
« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2018, 10:13:44 pm »
I'm reading about latency issues on USB mics. A DI might be necessary from the outset for recording vocals.

Offline Rossco01

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Re: handbook for recording at home
« Reply #9 on: May 15, 2018, 10:45:43 pm »
CT one of the advantages of most DI boxes is that you can directly monitor. The focusrite ( and I’m sure others ) is that the USB interface is auto two way so once you’ve recorded a track on your DAW you can hit play (or record )  and hear it through the interface whilst you play over it or record the next track. Not all do this.
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Offline oldhead49

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Re: handbook for recording at home
« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2018, 02:09:22 am »
I'm reading about latency issues on USB mics. A DI might be necessary from the outset for recording vocals.

Good point.  I tried a Blue Yeti Pro, supposedly one of the best USB mics on the market.  While not always,
I did experience latency issues.  I'd record a music track, then vocal, and sometimes the vocal would lag
behind the music just enough that you couldn't use the track, and I wouldn't hear it through the cans while doing the recording, just on playback.  Talked to some computer gurus who said they didn't know how to fix the issue.  Just food for thought.

Offline CT

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Re: handbook for recording at home
« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2018, 04:07:58 am »
@oldhead49, I would find that to be pretty frustrating as well. Thanks for sharing that info!

I'm no longer on the fence regarding the need for a DI. It's between the PreSonus and Focusrite for me at this point, and then it's just a matter of time. Two inputs would make the most sense.   

Offline Majik

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Re: handbook for recording at home
« Reply #12 on: May 17, 2018, 08:34:46 am »
Most DAWs provide "latency compensation" to adjust for the latency that exists on every audio interface. There's no real reason a USB mic should have significantly more latency than an analogue mic plugged into a USB audio interface (fundamentally they are the same thing) so I can only guess that the latency compensation wasn't working properly for some reason.

Latency compensation works by knowing what the latency is for the given interface so it can adjust for it. It may be that the USB mic driver didn't provide enough info (or correct info) to the DAW.

Here's some information on latency compensation from the Ardour manual.

http://manual.ardour.org/synchronization/latency-and-latency-compensation/

Note the section on jack_delay and calibration. I don't know if the drivers can be accurately calibrated in some way like they can when using Jack.

The alternative is to manually tweak the tracks in the DAW to align them.

Cheers,

Keith


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Offline oldhead49

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Re: handbook for recording at home
« Reply #13 on: May 17, 2018, 05:25:59 pm »
Most DAWs provide "latency compensation" to adjust for the latency that exists on every audio interface. There's no real reason a USB mic should have significantly more latency than an analogue mic plugged into a USB audio interface (fundamentally they are the same thing) so I can only guess that the latency compensation wasn't working properly for some reason.

Latency compensation works by knowing what the latency is for the given interface so it can adjust for it. It may be that the USB mic driver didn't provide enough info (or correct info) to the DAW.

Here's some information on latency compensation from the Ardour manual.

http://manual.ardour.org/synchronization/latency-and-latency-compensation/

Note the section on jack_delay and calibration. I don't know if the drivers can be accurately calibrated in some way like they can when using Jack.

The alternative is to manually tweak the tracks in the DAW to align them.

Cheers,

Keith


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Keith, my first thought was that an interface being USB should have latency issues also.  I don’t understand why it wouldn’t happen all the time with the USB mic if it happened at all, but it didn’t, it was kind of random and sporadic - and very time consuming when it happened. 



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Offline Majik

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Re: handbook for recording at home
« Reply #14 on: May 17, 2018, 10:56:29 pm »
You're correct:

All audio interfaces have latency without exception.

Latency is a fundamental characteristic of the technology. Some have less than others, but all have some.

USB interfaces tend to have higher latency than PCI and Firewire interface because of the way USB works.

But, if you are recording track at a time, latency should not matter. Latency really only should matter if you are doing live performances, or doing live monitoring with audio going via the PC (for example, using Amplitube or similar for FX).

In fact, configuring your system for low-latency work unnecessarily can be a bad thing, as it puts more strain on the processor and bus. This can result in audio dropouts.

Anyway, all this is by the by. At the end of the day, if you are recording track at a time, latency really shouldn't matter. But this assumes everything is working properly, including the DAW latency compensation.

Many audio driver frameworks, including ASIO, support the ability of the driver to inform the DAW of the interface latency. However, it can only do this to a degree. Typically it's a calculated latency based on assumptions about PC hardware and, knowing how USB works, your buffer settings. Vendor-supplied drivers may adjust this with additional latency specific to the hardware.

If the latency is significantly more than what the driver reports, for any reason, latency compensation stops working properly.

One issue with a lot of cheaper devices is they use generic drivers which don't report the additional latency of the device.

In this case the only effective way to deal with it is to perform tests and manually set the latency. The JACK system does this with supporting tools which do the measurements for you (you have to wire up a feedback loop). Similarly Audacity has a manual setting for this as well as tools to help measure it: https://manual.audacityteam.org/man/latency_test.html

In general, even if your system appears to be working well, I would always recommend trying to do a latency measurement on your setup for best results. It normally only needs to be done once for a given hardware configuration.

Cheers,

Keith
« Last Edit: May 17, 2018, 11:52:54 pm by Majik »
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