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#545589 - 01/12/02 10:10 AM Recording to computer
Lindsay Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/10/02
Posts: 58
Loc: Massachusetts
Many, MANY years ago I did a lot of arranging and recording with a small MIDI set-up I had. I'd like to get back into it, but it will require that I purchase another computer, sequencing software and hardware interfaces.

I'm looking for a lot of information because I know that technology has changed so much since I was last involved with this kind of thing. I'm looking for the following:

- Good, basic, easy-to-learn sequencing software
- The proper hardware interfaces
- How to lay down accoustic tracks (vocal and piano)and record them to the computer, as well.

I already have all the mixing equipment, mics, etc. I just need help with the new-fangled way of doing things. Thanks a bunch!

[ January 12, 2002: Message edited by: Lindsay ]

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#545590 - 01/12/02 04:09 PM Re: Recording to computer
jazzyd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/01
Posts: 1861
Loc: United Kingdom
Hi Lindsay,

I'm not sure which of the following would be the easiest to get into, but six of the best applications at the moment would be:

Steinberg Cubase VST
Steinberg Nuendo
Emagic Logic
Cakewalk
Sonar
Sibelius

Hope that helps a bit. I have a rather elderly version of Cubase VST that I have felt no need to upgrade from because the basic MIDI side of things hasn't changed for several years and that's the only part of the software that I use.

Were you looking to record and mix audio with a computer or simply use it for MIDI and drive an outboard multitrack machine instead?

Regarding hardware interfaces, if you don't already have one, you'll almost certainly be needing a MIDI interface and possibly a multichannel audio card as well?

As for miking up pianos... Now that is another thread in itself!

What kind of room is the piano in? What kind of piano do you have? What kind of microphones do you have? How much patience do you have? ;\)

Dave

[ January 12, 2002: Message edited by: jazzyd ]
_________________________
"After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music." - Aldous Huxley

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#545591 - 01/12/02 04:21 PM Re: Recording to computer
SteveY Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/01
Posts: 1820
Loc: NJ
Hi Lindsay,
Two things:
1. At what level of investment are you looking to get in? (what's your budget?) The good news is that there are lots of options at just about any price point. Also, I wouldn't buy anything for at least a couple weeks. The NAMM show is this coming week. This is where all the new software/hardware will be introduced.

2. In addition to the list that JazzyD recommended, I'd add Digital Performer (my personal fav) and Pro Tools LE.
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PianoWorld disclaimer: musician, producer, arranger, author, clinician, consultant, PS2 aficionado, secret agent...

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#545592 - 01/12/02 05:00 PM Re: Recording to computer
Diarmuid Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/27/01
Posts: 219
Hi Lindsay,

Rather than have it badly explained by me, have a look at:

Sound on Sound Website

Go to the "Articles" page and in the left hand frame click "100+ useful SOS articles". There are lots of instruction articles on home recording including detailed and specific advice on the type of setup you've asked about.

Good luck \:\)

[ January 12, 2002: Message edited by: Diarmuid ]

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#545593 - 01/12/02 05:22 PM Re: Recording to computer
Lindsay Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/10/02
Posts: 58
Loc: Massachusetts
Thanks for all the advice so far, folks. Regarding my current setup, I have my Petrof Model III in a regular living room (soft furniture, carpeting, the usual) and have loads of patience. I had my own audio engineering business for a number of years, so I'm aware of miking techniques and will be using the computer for mixing. I'll record the mixed tracks onto a DAT recorder.

I wanted the ability to lay down accoustic piano and vocal tracks, too, and wondered if it was a simple matter to record them along with the MIDI tracks, or if it's better to lay them down when mixing down to tape.

As far as an audio card goes, I'm not familiar enough with the options to know what I would need in the computer. Can you expound a bit on what's required?

My budget is up to a couple of hundred dollars (not including the computer, obviously), but I'm hoping to spend as little as possible. I just don't know what software packages and hardware interfaces cost nowadays.

Thanks again.

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#545594 - 01/12/02 05:43 PM Re: Recording to computer
SteveY Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/01
Posts: 1820
Loc: NJ
I'd be happy to give you a post-NAMM report as to hardware/software options. But given you've had pro engineering experience, I'd think you're not likely to be happy with what you can get in the $200 range. But then again, you never know what's being debuted at NAMM. . .

Regarding your other question, it's actually very easy to track audio (piano in your case) along with your MIDI tracks. You can even edit the audio just like MIDI.
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PianoWorld disclaimer: musician, producer, arranger, author, clinician, consultant, PS2 aficionado, secret agent...

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#545595 - 01/12/02 07:25 PM Re: Recording to computer
jazzyd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/01
Posts: 1861
Loc: United Kingdom
Originally posted by Lindsay:

"I wanted the ability to lay down accoustic piano and vocal tracks, too, and wondered if it was a simple matter to record them along with the MIDI tracks, or if it's better to lay them down when mixing down to tape."

Well, it's simple when you've familiarised yourself with whatever software you're using. I think the best way would be to record the audio tracks into the computer alongside the MIDI tracks first and worry about mixing later, when you're ready to commit to tape/disc - although that's just the way I prefer to work.

"As far as an audio card goes, I'm not familiar enough with the options to know what I would need in the computer. Can you expound a bit on what's required?"

There are many different cards and they all do and need different things. The Digidesign (Protools) hardware and Mark of the Unicorn stuff is pretty high end, and the results are likewise, but you'd probably need a good Pentium - I think Protools stuff won't run on AMD computers. Midiman/M-Audio have a range models to suit people (and computers) on a budget.

I personally use an RME Hammerfall in my machine, this has digital I/O and a wordclock interface and works pretty flawlessly but doesn't break the bank. However, it is a card that I've chosen for quite a specific purpose and without having a firm idea of how you want to integrate your equipment and the computer, it's very difficult to suggest a card that would suit you.

"My budget is up to a couple of hundred dollars (not including the computer, obviously), but I'm hoping to spend as little as possible. I just don't know what software packages and hardware interfaces cost nowadays."

I should have read this first - sorry! Have a look at the Midiman/M-Audio cards - they're pretty good quality and would just about fit your budget. Prices for the software I mentioned unfortunately range from quite expensive to VERY expensive! \:\(

I agree with Steve's comments as well, BTW. \:\)

Dave

[ January 12, 2002: Message edited by: jazzyd ]
_________________________
"After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music." - Aldous Huxley

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#545596 - 01/12/02 08:28 PM Re: Recording to computer
SteveY Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/01
Posts: 1820
Loc: NJ
The best bang-for-the-buck that I know of at the moment is the Tascam US-428. It's got XLR as well as 1/4" inputs, digital I/0 as well (S/PDIF). The hardware itself is a little minimixer with 8 faders although it supports unlimited banks. The cool part is that for the list price of $625 it includes Cubase VST. Did I mention the converters are all 24-bit? I'm not crazy about USB audio. But for the price you can't beat it (yet).

There's an emagic piece that's a little less money, but it doesn't include software. Considering that Digital Performer is $995 for the software only, I think the Tascam piece is a good value.
My prediction for NAMM is that we'll see a lot of firewire-based hardware at lower prices than are currently available. That might be the way to go.
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PianoWorld disclaimer: musician, producer, arranger, author, clinician, consultant, PS2 aficionado, secret agent...

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#545597 - 01/12/02 08:33 PM Re: Recording to computer
SteveY Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/01
Posts: 1820
Loc: NJ
a couple more things:
Here's a link for the Tascam US-428 http://www.tascam.com/products/us428/index.php
Also, note that it has a MIDI interface built-in. Pretty cool.

Also, one correction regarding JazzyD's post: Digital Performer only runs on a Mac. BTW - the new iMac has got to be a serious contender for any home-based digital studio!!!
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PianoWorld disclaimer: musician, producer, arranger, author, clinician, consultant, PS2 aficionado, secret agent...

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#545598 - 01/12/02 09:26 PM Re: Recording to computer
jazzyd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/01
Posts: 1861
Loc: United Kingdom
I meant the MOTU hardware Steve - like the 2408 Mk II, which you can use for the PC and the MAC.

I don't know anything about Digital Performer, so it could run on unleaded and I'd be no wiser!

Dave
_________________________
"After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music." - Aldous Huxley

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#545599 - 01/12/02 10:51 PM Re: Recording to computer
SteveY Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/01
Posts: 1820
Loc: NJ
JazzyD - I just re-read your post. Sorry, I misunderstood. I have an original 2408. Great piece.
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PianoWorld disclaimer: musician, producer, arranger, author, clinician, consultant, PS2 aficionado, secret agent...

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#545600 - 01/13/02 05:41 AM Re: Recording to computer
Rodion Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/06/01
Posts: 296
Loc: Salt Lake City
to jazzyd:

i'm running an amd, and many of my friends run amd's, and i have never heard of or had any problems, software or hardware, that have come up because it...
_________________________
Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its pupils. - Hector Berlioz

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#545601 - 01/13/02 06:09 AM Re: Recording to computer
jazzyd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/01
Posts: 1861
Loc: United Kingdom
I'll re-read my posts, but I think I only made one remark about AMD chips - and that was that they won't run Protools. As buying an AMD would immediately stop you from running one of the best music applications money can buy, I think it's probably best to stick with Pentiums (or Macs).

If you know otherwise and can substantiate, I'd be very interested because I only have an AMD PC myself and would dearly love to run Protools! \:\)

Dave

[ January 13, 2002: Message edited by: jazzyd ]
_________________________
"After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music." - Aldous Huxley

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#545602 - 01/13/02 07:53 PM Re: Recording to computer
Lindsay Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/10/02
Posts: 58
Loc: Massachusetts
All this info is great. Thank you all very much. Steve, a post NAMM report would be much appreciated.

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#545603 - 01/14/02 02:56 PM Re: Recording to computer
Diarmuid Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/27/01
Posts: 219
Snap Dave! I just bought 2 x AT4033SE. I also got a digital hard disk recorder - Akai DPS16. For all the audiophiles out there here is a recording I made on Friday (it's of two friends who came over to my parents house for a rehersal).
www.diarmuid.dunne.btinternet.co.uk/BACH2.mp3

Piano - Jill Crossland
Violin - Victoria Grigoreva

Equipment: 2 x Audio Technica 4033SE, Akai DPS16, 1914 Steinway Model O.

I think the violin is a Paul Hell but I 'm not sure.

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