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#1October 29th, 2010 · 11:37 PM
38 threads / 11 songs
278 posts
Canada
Being content with what you have
Disclaimer:  This is a totally pointless rambling post, but I'm trying to make a point that using what you have, no matter how bad or good the equipment is, is still good enough to make a good song/record

I've been thinking about what sort of cool gear I can buy a lot recently, until a couple days ago when I realized that I didn't really need anything more as far as gear goes!

I have 4 different microphones in my possession at the moment, and all of them are cheap dynamic mics.  They're all Apex mics, and I've grown to enjoy using them, because I don't really have to worry about them, because I got them for so cheap, and they were built quite well for such a cheap mic (metal and everything).  I don't think I'll be buying any mics any time soon, except for maybe a kick drum mic, because quite honestly, what I have is enough, and with EQing, they can sound pretty darn good!

I also have a mixer that only does two channel output.  Now, I wish I had one of those 24 track audio interfaces with fancy external preamps, but they are really expensive.  I've been thinking a lot about getting one of those new audio interfaces and a bunch of fancy mics, but to be honest, I'd like to see what I can create with what I have at the moment!

There is a lot that I can still do with what I have, and if you think back to how stuff was produced in the 60s, it was fascinating how they made do with what they had on their hands.  They sometimes had to mix the wierdest combinations of instruments in the same track, as they were only working with four track recorders, whereas you can dub as many times as you'd like using a digital system.

I think that although some people might say that having a more limited home studio could reduce your creative output, I think that it challenges you to think more about what you are creating.

Anyways what are your opinions guys?

I believe that the money that I would spend on gear could go towards new instruments, like cymbals, and maybe a violin or something!

blah blah blah 
#2October 30th, 2010 · 02:47 PM
371 threads / 187 songs
3,348 posts
United Kingdom
It all depends what you want to achieve, if you want to be successful in your music or more to the point want to produce the best music of your ability, then IMO you need to have the best of everything, and not settle for anything less.
One  thing you don't need money for is to perform to your best ability, other than perhaps have pro lessons in playing your instrument, performing and production techniques, but that depends on the person. I'm lucky in that I actually enjoy teaching myself, it may not be the best, but I work very hard at it, I try to improve all the time.

I think unless you can try out the expensive stuff, you just don't know how it will change your music, but I would still aim in getting it.

It's best to stick to a main instrument, practice as much as you can, learn new things, set yourself a plan and work to it.

If I had the money I'd buy the best of everything, money money money eh. I'm a great believer if you want something bad enough, hook or by crook, you'll get there.

One thing I think you should buy is a condenser Mic, in fact in a typical pro studio they will have many mics, because they all have their own character and suit different sounds, but starting with a condenser is a good start. You don't have to go mental and spend a fortune. The Rode NT1a is a good starting point, or something in that price range, you can always get a good second hand one.
#3October 30th, 2010 · 02:55 PM
38 threads / 11 songs
278 posts
Canada
I'm just saying that having ridiculously good gear is not as critical as say, really good songwriting skills.

I should get at least one condenser mic though, especially for acoustic guitars or vocals.
TASCAM does make cheap multitrack interfaces.  I love the possiblities that multitrack recording opens up.

aarghhh what should i spend my cashola on?  I could get a new computer...
#4October 30th, 2010 · 04:42 PM
371 threads / 187 songs
3,348 posts
United Kingdom
Yeah I hear ya, I'm in the same delema, what do I spend my money on next. I too am considering getting a new PC, mine does not work well with Midi.  With technology moving at such a rapid pace, I'.m considering getting a new duel core PC and Cubase 5.

Up and till now most of my music is using live instruments, I would like to incorporate them with modern stuff.  This would also be a new learning curve for me.

I've taken a look at Cubase 5, it looks absolutely amazing, the creaive possibilities are endless.

BTW a condenser mic is very versatile, great for vox and overheads. Generally they have a better dynamic range, I certainly noticed the difference when I got one. I've got a basic one, the AKG 1000c, it can also work with a battery, if you don't have phantom power, superb for acoustic guitar, get better recording for vox than a standard dynamic mic.

Decisions Decisions  
#5October 30th, 2010 · 11:50 PM
38 threads / 11 songs
278 posts
Canada
Yeah, I probably need a condenser to capture a low-end sound like a bass amp or highs like cymbals.

My computer is completely fine, but hey you can always do better :P

I should probably just save all the money.
#6October 31st, 2010 · 04:20 AM
371 threads / 187 songs
3,348 posts
United Kingdom
So what is your goal with your music, you guys are young, with your whole music life ahead of you.
Why not do some gigs, that would be great experience for you, do you have the gear? some venues will have their own PA.
#7February 3rd, 2011 · 09:11 PM
4 posts
United States of America
Honestly, I have nothing expensive, or fancy. I just use my 300 dollar digital recorder to record the songs I think of myself. I'm not interested in making a record anytime soon, or doing anything big, seeing as I'm still in school, so I just use what I got. It's my hobby, and something I love doing.  When I get time I mix them down to the best of my abilities in Audacity, and see what I can do with it. I think that once I get more experience, and maybe better software(not sure if that would really help) and a condenser mic (I need one so bad!) I could expand what I'm able to do. Right now, that's not really as much of a big deal. I play in 2 bands at the moment, and have in countless others in the past, so gigs, and shows are more interesting to us, than getting into a recording studio. What I'm able to get down in my free time, I can allow the groups I'm in to play what I've written.
I think that gigging a lot is the best for any group or musician to gain experience and confidence in their own music. There's no point to record stuff, if you're not prepared.  My last band played countless gigs before we even thought about going to record(and getting the money!). Playing live is much better than recording for a day. Trust me. But when you know the songs perfectly, it makes it much easier. I don't really think expensive gear is much of an issue, but it's technology. It's constantly moving forward, so having gear of today might not be the norm in 20 or 30 years. Musicians of today aren't accustomed to older recording gear, and in order to get "professional" style recordings, newer gear will make it possible, and even easier.
#8February 4th, 2011 · 06:37 AM
115 threads / 52 songs
3,046 posts
Netherlands
I just got a new toy myself a multitrack app on my ipod, aswell as a fully fledged sequencer app capable of creating complete midi arrangements. Ofcourse the merit of any app is measured by actual usage, and here the audio multitrack surely wins - i find myself using it in the morning when i delve up some inspiration, quickly sketching new song ideas. I tell you, if such a handy tool wouldve been available 15 years ago, it wouldve been all i had needed for a long time and i'd not have invested a small sportscar worth of equipment currently clogging my studio. It records via the inbuilt ipod mic btw, and does so surprisingly well. Anyways, thought i'd share this - seems an appropriate topic
#9February 4th, 2011 · 07:38 AM
38 threads / 11 songs
278 posts
Canada
PuppetXeno wrote…
I just got a new toy myself a multitrack app on my ipod, aswell as a fully fledged sequencer app capable of creating complete midi arrangements. Ofcourse the merit of any app is measured by actual usage, and here the audio multitrack surely wins - i find myself using it in the morning when i delve up some inspiration, quickly sketching new song ideas. I tell you, if such a handy tool wouldve been available 15 years ago, it wouldve been all i had needed for a long time and i'd not have invested a small sportscar worth of equipment currently clogging my studio. It records via the inbuilt ipod mic btw, and does so surprisingly well. Anyways, thought i'd share this - seems an appropriate topic :)

Cool!  That actually sounds pretty awesome.
#10February 4th, 2011 · 07:41 AM
38 threads / 11 songs
278 posts
Canada
thymurdock wrote…
Honestly, I have nothing expensive, or fancy. I just use my 300 dollar digital recorder to record the songs I think of myself. I'm not interested in making a record anytime soon, or doing anything big, seeing as I'm still in school, so I just use what I got. It's my hobby, and something I love doing.  When I get time I mix them down to the best of my abilities in Audacity, and see what I can do with it. I think that once I get more experience, and maybe better software(not sure if that would really help) and a condenser mic (I need one so bad!) I could expand what I'm able to do. Right now, that's not really as much of a big deal. I play in 2 bands at the moment, and have in countless others in the past, so gigs, and shows are more interesting to us, than getting into a recording studio. What I'm able to get down in my free time, I can allow the groups I'm in to play what I've written.
I think that gigging a lot is the best for any group or musician to gain experience and confidence in their own music. There's no point to record stuff, if you're not prepared.  My last band played countless gigs before we even thought about going to record(and getting the money!). Playing live is much better than recording for a day. Trust me. But when you know the songs perfectly, it makes it much easier. I don't really think expensive gear is much of an issue, but it's technology. It's constantly moving forward, so having gear of today might not be the norm in 20 or 30 years. Musicians of today aren't accustomed to older recording gear, and in order to get "professional" style recordings, newer gear will make it possible, and even easier.
I hear what you are saying about just using what you've got.  If you would like to try a more advanced piece of software than audacity, which doesn't even support live FX (the kind that you can turn on and off by clicking a button), or doesn't really support a Master BUS or any kind of routing, or even MIDI! ... you should try REAPER which is free!
#11February 4th, 2011 · 08:04 AM
117 threads / 27 songs
1,057 posts
Germany
PuppetXeno wrote…
i find myself using it in the morning when i delve up some inspiration, quickly sketching new song ideas. I tell you, if such a handy tool wouldve been available 15 years ago, it wouldve been all i had needed for a long time
Something like that.....................


#12February 4th, 2011 · 02:14 PM
115 threads / 52 songs
3,046 posts
Netherlands
ULI wrote…
PuppetXeno wrote…
i find myself using it in the morning when i delve up some inspiration, quickly sketching new song ideas. I tell you, if such a handy tool wouldve been available 15 years ago, it wouldve been all i had needed for a long time
Something like that.....................


That is obviously going to be installed shortly However what is most useful to me is being able to record real audio tracks, played instruments, vocal lines etc. But this synth/sample studio is another really neat thing to have for sure!
#13February 4th, 2011 · 08:12 PM
4 posts
United States of America
thebigguyconnor wrote…
thymurdock wrote…
Honestly, I have nothing expensive, or fancy. I just use my 300 dollar digital recorder to record the songs I think of myself. I'm not interested in making a record anytime soon, or doing anything big, seeing as I'm still in school, so I just use what I got. It's my hobby, and something I love doing.  When I get time I mix them down to the best of my abilities in Audacity, and see what I can do with it. I think that once I get more experience, and maybe better software(not sure if that would really help) and a condenser mic (I need one so bad!) I could expand what I'm able to do. Right now, that's not really as much of a big deal. I play in 2 bands at the moment, and have in countless others in the past, so gigs, and shows are more interesting to us, than getting into a recording studio. What I'm able to get down in my free time, I can allow the groups I'm in to play what I've written.
I think that gigging a lot is the best for any group or musician to gain experience and confidence in their own music. There's no point to record stuff, if you're not prepared.  My last band played countless gigs before we even thought about going to record(and getting the money!). Playing live is much better than recording for a day. Trust me. But when you know the songs perfectly, it makes it much easier. I don't really think expensive gear is much of an issue, but it's technology. It's constantly moving forward, so having gear of today might not be the norm in 20 or 30 years. Musicians of today aren't accustomed to older recording gear, and in order to get "professional" style recordings, newer gear will make it possible, and even easier.
I hear what you are saying about just using what you've got.  If you would like to try a more advanced piece of software than audacity, which doesn't even support live FX (the kind that you can turn on and off by clicking a button), or doesn't really support a Master BUS or any kind of routing, or even MIDI! ... you should try REAPER which is free!

I'll definitely need to check that out, because audacity definitely doesn't cut it, and I can't really do that much of mastering, all I can really do is get the mix sounding good.
#14February 5th, 2011 · 02:26 AM
155 threads / 29 songs
1,936 posts
United States of America
It all depends on what you are trying to achieve.  Live music recordings laying down several tracks at once you would want to look at some kind of multi-track interface/mixer set up.  You can get some good consumer line gear, or go over the top with some high end gear, it all boils down to $$$, desire, and need. 

 If  I am trying to compete making some $$$ with a home studio. I am going to have to spend a little $$$ to make it attractive enough to bring people in.  There is a difference between a $ 75.00 mic and a $500.00 (although just because a mic cost $500.00 does not insure it is going to do the job you need, or give you the sounds you want.

 Same with boards/interfaces.  I cheap interface works and can produce some great stuff,  you can hear the difference though from let's say cheaper Mbox and  let's say an Apogee interface (even the Apogee duets sounds are cleaner and crisper than my motu stuff).

 There is a reason studios spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on mixing consoles, preamps, ect. If you want cleaner, crisper, punchier recordings, you'll need to invest a little money to achieve it. 

 All that being said.   It still boils down to the indian not the arrows.   You can spend all your money on gear, but if you don't know what you are doing, or don't have a decent ear. Someon with almost no gear/cheap gear is still going to turn out better stuff.

If you put someone like Eddie Kramer on an old 16 track tascam recorder, he is still probably going to produce better stuff than me, with the latest, and greatest gear.
#15June 9th, 2011 · 01:15 PM
38 threads / 11 songs
278 posts
Canada
thx for the comment, goat (only saw it now, unfortunately)

I am producing some pretty decent sounding recordings recently with my 2 channel mixer (abeit with a pretty high noise floor unfortunately).  I am just using what i've got, and when I get around to it, I'll upgrade, but for now I am producing some pretty good sounding stuff, and It all makes me so thankful for the technology that I have inside my computer!

DAWs, Envelopes and automation, VSTs and VSTIs, it's all magic!!!!

I am lovin it!
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