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#1983290 - 11/06/12 03:28 AM How to do self recording?
michelleyh Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/13/08
Posts: 58
Loc: Malaysia
Hello,

I write my own songs too.. But I want to learn how to self record with a better quality like those singer songwriters.. Can someone help me and let me know how and where to start?


What device and software do i need to buy apart from my laptop?


Thank you
_________________________
Michelle YH Toe, LLCM
Piano Technician, CSPT
Piano Teacher
Accompanist
www.facebook.com/MichelleYHToe

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#1983348 - 11/06/12 08:51 AM Re: How to do self recording? [Re: michelleyh]
Bane Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/03/12
Posts: 91
Loc: USA
Either way you need a DAW, check this one out: http://www.steinberg.net/en/products/cubase/cubase_elements_6.html

From there you need to decide if you want to record your piano or use a sampled piano controlled by your MIDI keyboard. It depends on your budget, and what is right for you.

If you want to record a real piano you need:
-A soundcard
-Microphones
-Mic Cables
-Decent Piano

If you want to do it with a keyboard:
-Virtual Piano or good sounds on your DP
-Maybe a MIDI interface to connect your keyboard to the computer
-A soundcard would be a good idea for better latency
-Versatile scoring application would help (like Sibelius)

I've done both. But it depends on your budget and the materials you have on hand.


Edited by Bane (11/06/12 08:53 AM)
_________________________
www.soundcloud.com/btrailblazer

Cable-Nelson upright piano, Casio WK-200, Mackie MR5MK2 monitors, Cubase Artist 7, Steinberg's The Grand 3, Focusrite Scarlett 8i6 interface, Asus R500a-RS52 Windows 8, i5-3230M 2.6 gHz, 6GB RAM, 750GB HD (5400RPM)

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#1983494 - 11/06/12 04:30 PM Re: How to do self recording? [Re: michelleyh]
LoPresti Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: michelleyh
I want to learn how to self record with a better quality like those singer songwriters.. Can someone help me and let me know how and where to start?

Michelle,

It is refreshing to hear that someone is interested in the QUALITY of recording - hopefully the quality of SOUND, and not just the mechanics.

Before you embark on a spree of purchasing gizmos, may we ask: What will be the purpose of your recordings? Will they be for learning purposes, self-improvement in performing, or for publication? How will your recordings be played back?

Ed
_________________________
In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.

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#1984360 - 11/08/12 08:51 PM Re: How to do self recording? [Re: michelleyh]
michelleyh Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/13/08
Posts: 58
Loc: Malaysia
My purpose of recording is to eventually self record an album.. I compose songs when i was studying in Chicago.. And yeah... the album will be "A student technician in chicago"

Oh!! I am so excited... none of my friends know anything about it.. And microphones.. what type, brand is decent? I dont even know what is sound card.. and what software do i need to buy? Can please recommend some?

I will playing the piano and then i wanna sing over it.. How do i do that?
_________________________
Michelle YH Toe, LLCM
Piano Technician, CSPT
Piano Teacher
Accompanist
www.facebook.com/MichelleYHToe

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#1984369 - 11/08/12 09:07 PM Re: How to do self recording? [Re: michelleyh]
Bane Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/03/12
Posts: 91
Loc: USA
If you're on a budget, check out the Samson mics.

-Audio-Technica
-Shure
-Rode
-and Neumann

...are all good microphone brands you can depend on. I've heard really good piano recordings with the Shure SM57/SM58. Great mics that have stood the test of time. If you could get anything (your budget isn't a restraint) check out the Neumanns, which get up to $2000.

For software, check out my link above to Cubase Elements 6. It's $100 and should do all you could want, for now...

A soundcard is what you hook your mics into. You'll probably need a USB interface. Check out Steinberg, Tascam, M-Audio interfaces; they're extremely reliable. If you have a good mixer, you obviously won't need a soundcard.
_________________________
www.soundcloud.com/btrailblazer

Cable-Nelson upright piano, Casio WK-200, Mackie MR5MK2 monitors, Cubase Artist 7, Steinberg's The Grand 3, Focusrite Scarlett 8i6 interface, Asus R500a-RS52 Windows 8, i5-3230M 2.6 gHz, 6GB RAM, 750GB HD (5400RPM)

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#1984698 - 11/09/12 03:43 PM Re: How to do self recording? [Re: michelleyh]
EO3 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/01/11
Posts: 142
As I'm in a process of figuring out solo album recording process, I can give some tips.

First of all, in my opinion, if you don't have a ton of resources and people who can set up a studio, in home environment it's digital recording that will work, not acoustic. I mean, when recording acoustic piano you need to get right so many things just from technical point of view - piano tuning, piano placement, mic placement, mic quality, outside noise, room noise, etc.

So, in "my book" it leaves 2 options - record acoustically in a studio or recording via digital/software and midi.

Studio is worth a try , if You have access to that, just to see how it goes and feels.

But for digital recording you need: weighted keyboard (I have roland FP7F), MIDI cable, soundcard with MIDI connections (i Have Focusrite Scarlett 8i6 USB), software for sounds (haven't decided what exactly to get, or maybe combine with different softwares for each piece of music), and a software-workstation (I have Ableton Live lite).

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#1984959 - 11/10/12 09:01 AM Re: How to do self recording? [Re: EO3]
Exalted Wombat Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 1194
Loc: London UK
Don't spend money until you have seen some "home studio" setups being used. You must have a friend, neighbour or collegue who does this sort of thing? No matter if their music is a completely different style to yours, the basics are the same.

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#1985326 - 11/11/12 11:27 AM Re: How to do self recording? [Re: michelleyh]
Steve Chandler Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/18/05
Posts: 2695
Loc: Urbandale, Iowa
Originally Posted By: michelleyh
My purpose of recording is to eventually self record an album.. I compose songs when i was studying in Chicago.. And yeah... the album will be "A student technician in chicago"

Oh!! I am so excited... none of my friends know anything about it.. And microphones.. what type, brand is decent? I dont even know what is sound card.. and what software do i need to buy? Can please recommend some?

I will playing the piano and then i wanna sing over it.. How do i do that?

Hope you don't mind a few more questions. Mac or PC? It's makes a big difference. If Mac your best options are Logic, ProTools, Mark of the Unicorn or CuBase. If PC then Cakewalk or ProTools, but there's also open source software, Audacity being the best known (and probably your best place to start).

I agree that virtual instruments is the best way to start recording piano. A quality virtual instrument, such as Ivory, is worth the investment and can work within one of the above programs as a plug in). Be sure to double check compatibility before buying. The biggest advantage of working with virtual piano is the ability to correct mistakes and adjust the performance after recording because you don't turn the performance into audio data until the last possible moment.

Finally, there's how do you record your vocal. You need to find a microphone compatible with your voice. A large diaphragm condenser is optimal and doesn't that spendy. I've gotten a lot of use out of a Studio Projects C1 (about $239) because it sounds similar to much more expensive mics. When I bought it one review said that a mic of this price had no business sounding this good and they compared it to a Neumann U87. I've never sung into a Neuman U87 so can't comment on the comparison, but an AKG (normally very good brand) Perception 120 ($99) sounds pitifully canned and boxy by comparison. You'll also need a mic preamp with phantom power and analog/digital converter to get the audio into your computer (they can be integrated or separate components). The analog/digital converter is what's meant by sound card and usually includes the conversion back to analog for listening purposes.

Finally, there are varying levels of quality for all of these components, but with the exception of microphones the quality generally available is far superior to all but the best professional quality of the 1980s. That means you can make a superb sounding CD without spending tons of cash. Your biggest investment will be the time necessary to learn how to use your recording gear.

One last note: the Shure SM57/58 are great mics for live onstage use and can have specific purposes in the studio (snare drum and guitar amps), but I don't like their sound for piano or main vocal track. They have a specific identifiable sound that may not complement your voice.


Edited by Steve Chandler (11/11/12 11:32 AM)
Edit Reason: add SM57/58 comments

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#2085140 - 05/19/13 10:36 AM Re: How to do self recording? [Re: michelleyh]
michelleyh Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/13/08
Posts: 58
Loc: Malaysia
can i bu a midi-usb cable to directly connect the keyboard to my computer without an interphase?
_________________________
Michelle YH Toe, LLCM
Piano Technician, CSPT
Piano Teacher
Accompanist
www.facebook.com/MichelleYHToe

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#2085176 - 05/19/13 11:54 AM Re: How to do self recording? [Re: michelleyh]
Schubertslieder Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/02/13
Posts: 373
Loc: Michigan, USA
Hi Michelle and welcome back.

I would recommend Logic Express, a recording software that can be installed to your computer. Along with that, a microphone named "Snowball" will work well. You can also create CDs after recording. I purchased my microphone, Snowball, at a local Apple store. I believe Apple store has upgraded Logic Express to Logic Pro, which will be an improvement.

These are the devices I currently own on my MacBook Pro. I also have Finale but that is a notation software, which you won't need for recording.

Best
_________________________
Charles Peck (American)--Metropolitan
Debussy--various pieces
Grieg--various pieces

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#2085512 - 05/20/13 01:03 AM Re: How to do self recording? [Re: michelleyh]
Charles Peck Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/03/13
Posts: 50
Loc: Minneapolis, MN, USA
Hi michelleyh,

Glad to hear you're interested. I work as producer and audio engineer in addition to composition, so I can lend some valuable advice to you.

The biggest question here is what is your budget and what is the end goal of the music? Solid demos to get people interested? Professional quality? Just for fun? That will determine a lot of what kind of gear you should be looking at. Let me know and I'll give you some more detail and specific pieces of gear to look at.

Some things to note.

If you want professional quality you will need to do a good amount of research and get in a good amount practice before you can churn out high quality recordings. I'm afraid it is not quite as simple as pressing record on a $40,000 signal chain.

You will need a DAW as others have mentioned. I am going to recommend Logic or Pro Tools as these are both industry standards. Logic is Mac only and Pro Tools is mostly Mac only with the exception of a few PC brands.

In general Pro Tools is best for live audio and Logic is best for sequencing (using MIDI instruments). Though both programs have become more and more capable in both areas in recent years.

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#2085548 - 05/20/13 03:17 AM Re: How to do self recording? [Re: Charles Peck]
Nikolas Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5220
Loc: Europe
Originally Posted By: Charles Peck
You will need a DAW as others have mentioned. I am going to recommend Logic or Pro Tools as these are both industry standards. Logic is Mac only and Pro Tools is mostly Mac only with the exception of a few PC brands.
I will have to elaborate a little on this.

It's not that I disagree with what you're saying: Pro Tools (mainly) and Logic (used to be) are the industry standards. That's a fact for me.

But I would like to ad that there are many professionals, composers, orchestrators, etc, who do their job with other software and computers...

Both PC and Mac have Intel based motherboards now, and the one thing that makes (quite) a difference is the fact that Macs remain with a rather closed architecture, so flaws are much more difficult to be found, whereas PCs are open to anything, which means many more choices, cheaper material, but also more prone to errors in building!

As far as software goes, I, personally (along with other people I know, including Hans Zimmer grin) use Cubase. It's what I started with and what I'm used to.

Various experiments with the same audio files yield the same results, in terms of export (in the same computer), so I doubt there's an issue of quality here. It's rather an issue of what you're used at, what others use (thus the issue of "Industry Standard" is HUGELY important if you're a pro), and what your budget can allow.

Same goes for Finale and Sibelius. I find them almost equal in terms of practicality, albeit sibelius a bit better. I also find them almost equal in terms of results, albeit Finale a bit better. They are both great software, can do pretty much anything, but as far as my eyes are used, I prefer Finale (I started off with Finale, which also means that I'm used to that).

I will repeat, that is not to say that Pro Tools and Logic are not brilliant (And especially Logic dead cheap as well), or that they are not the industry standards. Just that they are not the only ones available... that's all! smile

Hope you don't mind Charles! smile
_________________________
http://www.musica-ferrum.com

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#2085562 - 05/20/13 04:09 AM Re: How to do self recording? [Re: Nikolas]
Charles Peck Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/03/13
Posts: 50
Loc: Minneapolis, MN, USA
Nikolas, I agree with all of that actually.

I haven't used Cubase necessarily, but I have used other programs like Digital Performer, which has a small, but faithful following and a handful of others. Many of these other programs are very capable and often more affordable.

I recommended Pro Tools and Logic primarily for the industry standard reason. In all likelihood, the OP will at some point want or need help from some professionals. These programs are wide spread and will allow for an easy transition if that is the case, i.e. bringing some basic tracks into the studio for recording, sending them off to a mixing engineer etc.

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#2085571 - 05/20/13 05:07 AM Re: How to do self recording? [Re: michelleyh]
Michael Sayers Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/13
Posts: 872
Loc: Stockholms lšn, Sverige
I think the Zoom H2O recorders are fine for most things, with the advantage of portability. I think one can plug into it a higher quality mic than what it has, but this is an example of it as-is (and this is the sound of a Schimmel upright piano, not the sound of a grand piano being compressed . . . I could only push the Schimmel so far!)

http://michaelsayers.com/mp3/Michael_Sayers_LISZT_PRELUDIO_FUNEBRE_VASTERHANINGE_KYRKA_121202.mp3


Mvh,
Michael


Edited by Michael Sayers (05/20/13 05:08 AM)

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#2085577 - 05/20/13 05:31 AM Re: How to do self recording? [Re: Michael Sayers]
Charles Peck Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/03/13
Posts: 50
Loc: Minneapolis, MN, USA
The Zoom recorders are nice for some portable gigs. I have an H4n which I run some nice mics through for some simple classical or informal gigs.

However, it sounds like the OP is trying to upgrade from something simple like this and looking for more of a popular music/radio friendly aesthetic. These handheld guys won't cut it in that environment.

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#2085683 - 05/20/13 10:49 AM Re: How to do self recording? [Re: Michael Sayers]
R0B Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/03/08
Posts: 1438
Loc: Australia
Maybe I have missed it, but I have one question for the OP

Are you planning to record an acoustic or digital piano?

I was a long time user of Cubase, which was great, but I became no longer prepared to pay the price demanded for the latest versions.

I now use Reaper which does all I need, and more, as a home recordist.
It has a free, full, time unlimited demo, but is very worth the incredibly low price asked for a license.

'Industry Standard' software is all very well, but only really required if the user needs to take their recordings to a commercial studio, for enhancement/mastering, etc.
_________________________
Rob

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#2085805 - 05/20/13 02:46 PM Re: How to do self recording? [Re: R0B]
Charles Peck Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/03/13
Posts: 50
Loc: Minneapolis, MN, USA
Reaper seems like a solid program from their website, but it isn't really that much cheaper than some of these other programs - $225 for the full version.

And I think you are understating the value of knowing industry standard software. Learning how to operate in these programs would be valuable in a number of situations to a musician who wants to expand their skills beyond their home setup, collaborations being one of the biggest things to stick out to me.

Again, I'm not saying there is anything wrong with these other programs. I know that Cubase and Digital Performer have a strong reputation and I'm sure Reaper is the same way. However, as someone who works as an audio engineer and producer, getting comfortable in Pro Tools and Logic has been a required skill to allow me to work at many studios and with other artists. And if this is a skill that OP wants to be able to develop, I think these would be a great place to start. Particularly if the student discounts apply to the OP. I think both of these programs run in the $275 range with a student discount.

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#2085971 - 05/20/13 08:10 PM Re: How to do self recording? [Re: Charles Peck]
R0B Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/03/08
Posts: 1438
Loc: Australia
I just need to point out, that Reaper also has a discounted license, for the same full version, for users satisfying the following conditions:

(from their website)

"$60: discounted license.

You may use the discounted license if any of the following is true:

You are an individual, using REAPER only for personal use.
You are an individual or business, using REAPER for commercial use, and the yearly gross revenue does not exceed USD $20,000.
You are an educational or non-profit organization."
_________________________
Rob

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#2086046 - 05/20/13 10:41 PM Re: How to do self recording? [Re: R0B]
Charles Peck Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/03/13
Posts: 50
Loc: Minneapolis, MN, USA
I stand by my recommendation. But I did do a little research on Reaper. From the specs and features it seems like a strong program with a loyal following. And if the OP qualifies for the lower price point, it is definitely a good affordable option if they are looking to keep the price way down.

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