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Home audio recording setups

Full Trucker

Frikkin newb!!!
Feb 26, 2003
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Who in here does any home audio recording? With or without instruments, whatever? What's your setup look like? Feel free to just share what you have, and how you use it. Would like to see just anything.

But I also have something in mind, so if anyone has any advice for my needs that would be great as well. I play guitar, and I have an acoustic with a slimline bridge pickup built in to it. I also have a couple of electrics, and a variety of stomp boxes. I don't have an amp at the moment, and I don't have any of them there fancy rack-mount style effects processors like a Line 6 or anything. I also have a mid-2010 MacBook Pro, which has a lot of inputs on it. Firewire, USB, and I also believe it has a 1/8" line in which newer models don't have.

Ultimately what I'd like to do is be able to do is just some simple home recordings of songs and stuff. I can't sing for shit, but the ladyfriend has a nice voice. I think it'd be neat to do some duets or something, for fun. So ideally I'd need to be able to plug a mic into the computer, to capture either vocals or live instruments that don't have pickups. But I'd ALSO like to be able to plug in the electrics or the acoustic directly, and even run that shit through the stomp boxes if I want.

Most likely I will not invest in any "pro" level software, probably just use GarageBand or something equally as free. Nor am I likely to buy any of this hardware new... thinking eBay and/or CL is the way to go to get it done on the cheap since I'm not likely to make this hobby a focus of my life or anything. I just wanna dick around with it some.

Here are some things I've come up with from literally one Google search and a Reddit thread:
  1. Shitty old 4- or 8-channel mixer with RCA outputs, that I can use an RCA>1/8" cable to plug into the MacBook. Can plug a mic or an instrument directly in there, results might vary?
  2. Line 6 Sonic Port -- this looks neat except it only works with older 13-pin iOS devices? Maybe? There's a new version Sonic Port VX but I didn't see anything used on FleeBay or CL.
  3. Behringer apparently makes several different sorts of USB audio interfaces but I have no idea where to start with this brand... Maybe the UM2 is acceptable for my needs, wonder if I could find a used one?
  4. The Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 looks rad, maybe overkill? I think they're on to a 2nd gen now so maybe the 1st gen could be had on the cheap.
  5. PreSonus Audiobox is discontinued but will also work, and typing that into Google results in a "vs Scarlett 2i2" autocomplete so I guess this is an option on par with that one. Again, overkill? eBay seems to have them in the $100 range... is that how much I want to spend? I guess I should determine a budget for this project as well.
  6. Apogee Jam looks to be dead simple, but older versions only work with iOS devices and I'd rather plug into my MacBook. Also doesn't have the capability of a mic, just guitar. Maybe Apogee has something else that would work?
CC: @Nick @StiHacka @jonKranked @mtg and anyone else who plays guitar, tag them kthxbai. Ooh, I almost forgot that @Toshi plays an instrument and is a giant fucking nerd, maybe he has some experience recording at home.
 

StiHacka

Compensating for something
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@mandown is a serious music producer here. Don't use the line-in jack, that's shit, you want some competent A/D interface. I don't record to PC directly and use a Tascam DR-40 instead. I record each track independently and then post process and mix them in Reaper. You don't need a mixing board unless you plan to perform live.

I am also very good at inventing fantastic otherwordly music and then forgetting it 5 minutes later so I don't really record much shit anymore, I just like to make looots of noise and feed my brain with patterns that make it go high.
 

Full Trucker

Frikkin newb!!!
Feb 26, 2003
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Right on, I actually just remembered @mandown does a lot of recording and stuff. I wonder if I can summon the dude who used to post here, and is the drummer in Neurosis? He might have some ideas. What was his screen name? @H8R right?

Kinda watching this right now...

Still very interested to see/hear what y'all use. @Kevin and @StiHacka you should post a pic of your respective setups. Just for ideas and shit.
 

Kevin

Turbo Monkey
Hey @Kevin is this Logic X what you're talking about? And how do you actually connect your shit to the computer?
Thats the one... I use MIDI cables to plug everything in. You can record different tracks and mix them super easy.
I mostly try to play and record Radiohead songs or something just for fun :D

Id post a photo of my set up but its just a desk with a laptop and an old synth and some cables.
 

mandown

Poopdeck Repost
Jun 1, 2004
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Yo!
I’ve gone through several phases.
I started with Garage Band and Logic. I ended up diving into Native Instruments Maschine, which is more of a sampler and beat maker than a DAW. I finally ended up in Ableton Live for recording and live performances.

I’m finding that I like recording and arranging in Ableton and then bouncing and mixing in Logic. I’m not 100% sold on this yet, but it’s worked for me a few times. Mixing and mastering are different headspaces from recording and arranging. The workflow is different. Having a change of software helps as a reminder. Though it’s a bit clunky to keep doing things this way.

I do lots of in-the-box work with soft synths and samples. I’ve got a few hardware synths, and a few guitars and basses. I rarely mic anything and just go DI with cabinet simulation. I have a great hardware sim by DSM Noisemaker called the OmniCab Sim Deluxe. Really worth it to buy one, particularly if you play with distortion going direct.

I’ve got a Mackie Mix 8 that doesn’t usually get in the recording chain.

I’ve got a Native Instruments interface. It has two mic pre inputs. It’s got multiple outs, including MIDI.

I’ve got a 2015 MacBook Pro dedicated to music production. I went 2015 because of the USB ports that don’t require adapters.

I recently added Adam A7X monitors to my rig. Not cheap, but sound excellent. I also have my hifi stereo and PA speakers for monitors and playback.

I do use headphones too. Sennheiser 280 closed backs and Grado 125 open backs.

Almost forgot... I’ve got a Zoom H5 recorder. I got it for field recording but also use it to record direct from my mixer, and then load onto a DAW for editing.

This thread should get interesting.
 
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mandown

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My SoundCloud account that’s non-band/project specific. I occasionally post things that are just testing gear.

My current project.

This is all stuff I’ve done at home.
 

mandown

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Jun 1, 2004
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My buddy and his band mates came up with this app for iPhones (no android due to software/hardware issues). It lets you DaisyChain up to 4 phones to create a multi mic setup for recording. It’s got some built in production tools. I haven’t used it much but always thought it was a clever idea.
Daisychain Music Recorder by Daisychain Recorder LLC
https://apps.apple.com/us/app/daisychain-music-recorder/id1170933042

BCA9F51C-BA6E-4E82-A3BD-5757301F52A6.jpeg
 

Toshi

Harbinger of Doom
Oct 23, 2001
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I just perform. Don’t record myself. Others do that at my concerts—their problem!
 

Full Trucker

Frikkin newb!!!
Feb 26, 2003
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My buddy and his band mates came up with this app for iPhones (no android due to software/hardware issues). It lets you DaisyChain up to 4 phones to create a multi mic setup for recording. It’s got some built in production tools. I haven’t used it much but always thought it was a clever idea.
Daisychain Music Recorder by Daisychain Recorder LLC
https://apps.apple.com/us/app/daisychain-music-recorder/id1170933042

View attachment 144545
Woah! That’s an intredasting idea for shiz...
 

Full Trucker

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Feb 26, 2003
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Okay, I haven't watched that video about room issues but I will. After watching a few videos about this stuff, thinking about inputs I might want to use (I have a buddy with some MIDI keyboards for instance), and considering how much this experiment is worth to me... I went with the PreSonus AudioBox 22VSL for a little starter interface. It's maybe more than I was hoping to spend, but it's got nicer preamps than other options, MIDI capability, and I was able to find a used one in "excellent" condition on eBay.



Alright, off to troll CL for some kind of mics... and maybe headphones and/or monitors? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
 

mandown

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Jun 1, 2004
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Okay, I haven't watched that video about room issues but I will. After watching a few videos about this stuff, thinking about inputs I might want to use (I have a buddy with some MIDI keyboards for instance), and considering how much this experiment is worth to me... I went with the PreSonus AudioBox 22VSL for a little starter interface. It's maybe more than I was hoping to spend, but it's got nicer preamps than other options, MIDI capability, and I was able to find a used one in "excellent" condition on eBay.



Alright, off to troll CL for some kind of mics... and maybe headphones and/or monitors? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Mic types are gonna vary and be better suited for various purposes.
I’d go headphones over monitors for the budget and convenience. The Sennheiser HD280 are a solid deal under $100 new ($80 ish). Ear pads are replaceable too. My set has been thrown in my backpack and not treated kindly for years now, but still going strong. I just put new pads on it.

Sennheiser e835 Mic is also around $100 new. Been pretty happy with it for general vocal duty and close-mic application. If you want room-mic capture there’s better.

If you do go with monitors, my buddy has been satisfied with his cheap Mackie ones. I think he’s got the CR5.
 

Full Trucker

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Feb 26, 2003
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FKNA there’s a pair of those Sennheiser headphones you mentioned on CL for $40.

Any thoughts on the HD420? Seems like they’d be at least 140 better, right?
 
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mandown

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Jun 1, 2004
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FKNA there’s a pair of those Sennheiser headphones you mentioned on CL for $40.

Any thoughts on the HD420? Seems like they’d be at least 140 better, right?
I’d pass. I don’t know them but a quick google says they’re from back in the 80s. They have an on-ear design so they don’t give you any isolation. I like that for just listening to music but not recording and mixing. The foam pads can wear out and need replacement on the 420 which might be tricky to source on such old hardware. The reviews I found on hifi pages didn’t seem glowing.

I’d pop the extra for the 280 if you can afford it.

I like open back on-ear headphones. I haven’t tried half-closed designs, but I’m curious.


Any AKG models on the CL?
 

Full Trucker

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I’d pass. I don’t know them but a quick google says they’re from back in the 80s. They have an on-ear design so they don’t give you any isolation. I like that for just listening to music but not recording and mixing. The foam pads can wear out and need replacement on the 420 which might be tricky to source on such old hardware. The reviews I found on hifi pages didn’t seem glowing.

I’d pop the extra for the 280 if you can afford it.

I like open back on-ear headphones. I haven’t tried half-closed designs, but I’m curious.


Any AKG models on the CL?
Homeskillet only wants $40 for the HD280 on CL... I pinged him and offered $30 because Craig's List. Looks like a few AKG mics, but no headphones. This dude right here has a bunch of... just, well... crap laying around. But the thing that caught my eye is the Blue Designs Spark microphone.I had no idea what it was, but love the aesthetic... did some Google image stalking and figured out what model it (probably) is and read a review, which indicated it wouldn't be a bad mic to have around for vocals and close-in recording. Not the greatest, but decent enough and if I ever do anything that gets video'ed the looks are ON POINT.

 

Full Trucker

Frikkin newb!!!
Feb 26, 2003
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My SoundCloud account that’s non-band/project specific. I occasionally post things that are just testing gear.

My current project.

This is all stuff I’ve done at home.
So it looks like you already found it, but my Soundcloud is fulltrucker (big surprise)... nothing on there except a 1:30am recording of Long Black Veil with me and my friend Larry on acoustic guitars, and our friend Yvonne singing and playing ukulele. Recording was on Larry's iPhone 8 using GarageBand, and he texted me the file and I uploaded it. Pretty fucking rotten sounding... planning to re-do with them properly.


Oh yeah... I'm listening to this again and wow. Just... wow. Also, me poorly attempting "background" vocals.
 

mandown

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Jun 1, 2004
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I liked the track. It’s rough but there’s a good feel to it. Cleaning up the production can help but can also sterilize. You’ll figure it out. You just need to get in and start working. You’ll develop an ear and a workflow.
 

mandown

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Jun 1, 2004
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Just wait until you’re far enough in that you’re listening to compression and wondering if you should use an optical or not, if you want a 2A or 1176 style plugin.
8537FC9B-952F-4D09-AEAB-58B4AFBD9EC9.jpeg
 

Full Trucker

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I liked the track. It’s rough but there’s a good feel to it. Cleaning up the production can help but can also sterilize. You’ll figure it out. You just need to get in and start working. You’ll develop an ear and a workflow.
Rough is an understatement. You're too kind.

Started going down a deeeeeeeeeep YouTube rabbit hole last night... was watching stuff from the You Suck At Producing channel, and found this old tutorial on Chopping Samples together. I can dig the concept, but then play the guitar on top?


If I ever post here about compressors, punch me in the face.
 

mandown

Poopdeck Repost
Jun 1, 2004
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Rough is an understatement. You're too kind.

Started going down a deeeeeeeeeep YouTube rabbit hole last night... was watching stuff from the You Suck At Producing channel, and found this old tutorial on Chopping Samples together. I can dig the concept, but then play the guitar on top?


If I ever post here about compressors, punch me in the face.
Live is great for stuff like that.
Other software isn’t as easy to use but it can still do the job.

There’s plenty of loops and samples available online. You can buy packs of them. You can make your own. Chop chop chop.
 
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mtg

Green with Envy
Sep 21, 2009
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@fulltrucker I don’t have any advice that is modern, other than everything is way better now than when I was making demo tapes of 40lb Sledge in high school.
However, I do have an old Tascam 8 track portastudio
 
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mandown

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Jun 1, 2004
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@fulltrucker I don’t have any advice that is modern, other than everything is way better now than when I was making demo tapes of 40lb Sledge in high school.
However, I do have an old Tascam 8 track portastudio that you can have gratis.
What model? Some of the old tape models are worth their weight in gold to the right hipster.
 

mandown

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Jun 1, 2004
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Full Trucker

Frikkin newb!!!
Feb 26, 2003
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Took possession of a nice pair of these Sennheiser HD280 headphones today... handed a dude $30 for them. Then gave them a shakedown listen of Soul Coughing’s “Bus to Beelzebub” at many volumes and damn! they sound nice as. Super impressed.

965CB9D5-6E80-4287-9CF1-56DCB100D727.jpeg


436F010C-823F-4025-8D52-D3682ED2B71C.jpeg


Just need to find a decent mic or two, and then when my audio interface shows up next week start tinkering around with making some noise.
 

Full Trucker

Frikkin newb!!!
Feb 26, 2003
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Haha!
How so? You getting a bunch of promotion spam messages and comments?
Nah... just finding some features don’t work, the UX is wonky as shit, you can’t do certain things in the app, and generally it’s just not that well built of a site.
 

mandown

Poopdeck Repost
Jun 1, 2004
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Took possession of a nice pair of these Sennheiser HD280 headphones today... handed a dude $30 for them. Then gave them a shakedown listen of Soul Coughing’s “Bus to Beelzebub” at many volumes and damn! they sound nice as. Super impressed.

View attachment 144689

View attachment 144688

Just need to find a decent mic or two, and then when my audio interface shows up next week start tinkering around with making some noise.
Good score, and a solid test track!

If you need new pads, you can get them for $5 less than you just paid for the phones :D
 

mandown

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Jun 1, 2004
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Make sure you get then seated right on your ears. If you get them a little too rotated the bass will suffer. It isn't easy, but it is possible, particularly if you have glasses on. I've found myself adjusting them and realizing I changed the sound.
 

Full Trucker

Frikkin newb!!!
Feb 26, 2003
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Make sure you get then seated right on your ears. If you get them a little too rotated the bass will suffer. It isn't easy, but it is possible, particularly if you have glasses on. I've found myself adjusting them and realizing I changed the sound.
I watched the video about the room modes... I can totally believe rotating the headphones changes the sound.
 

mtg

Green with Envy
Sep 21, 2009
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Those headphones are awesome, I’ve had a pair since 2008. I’ll be following that link for new ear pads, mine are pretty rough.
 

mandown

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Jun 1, 2004
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Those headphones are awesome, I’ve had a pair since 2008. I’ll be following that link for new ear pads, mine are pretty rough.
There’s a bit of technique needed to get the new ones on. There are YouTube tutorials on it. It’s tricky to tuck the edges in. Simple concept but not as simple to execute.

Totally worth it though.