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Thread: I don't know what I'm doing

  1. #1
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    Oct 2017
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    I don't know what I'm doing

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    Hi people.
    Completely new to home recording so please go easy - and don't use big words!

    I'm an amateur musician who would like to make some good quality home recordings. I have dabbled before, but only at a very basic level, and never really achieving the kind of sound that I wanted to.

    I would like to record a variety of instruments & vocals, and at present will probably rarely want to record more than one instrument at a time (though it would be nice to have that option for the future).

    I would like to get some decent quality gear that, as I grow a little more experienced, I won't just want/need to replace immediately. However, I'm also acutely aware that I am new to this - so neither do I want to waste hard earned money on gear that is unnecessary/beyond me.

    I have a MacBook Pro that I was hoping to use, and planned to purchase Logic Pro X, which I will shortly start a short course on as well.
    My real question was: what other gear should I purchase? What microphones and audio interface would you recommend? What midi keyboard?

    Please excuse my very open questioning and lack of knowledge. I'm out of my depth.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
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    Welcome! There is never a dumb question and your intro was just fine. The first thing we need to do is pump you for information. I know you already gave some but much more is needed.

    1. What is your budget?
    2. What is your recording environment like? (Bedroom, basement, condos, etc)
    3. What are your future plans as far as expanding your audio gear? Will there be a time when you may want to record duets or 5 member groups?
    4. Will you ever need to record on a location other than your home or office?
    5. What is the year, make and model of your mac book as well as the installed memory/ram/hard drive space?

    This will help others including myself help you without sending you down the rabbit hole where your money will surely magically vanish.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Lowell Street Studio, New England
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    What instruments will you be recording with microphones? Voices too?
    Do you have closed-back headphones for tracking when using a mic?
    Mike B My new album on CD Baby: Fact and Fiction
    My Bandcamp site:

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Nicer than Gary
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    Welcome to Home Recording!

    There's a lot to learn, so I'd start off with getting a book or two on home recording.

    Read the stickies on this site, there's a lot of good info there and google and you tube is your friend.

    The biggest mistake I made purchase wise was getting an interface that didn't have midi. Then going for more channels than I need. And not putting acoustic treatment in to my budget.

    Get some decent monitors. Yamaha and Mackie are good ones. But personal preference prevails. Mixing on headphones is generally not a good idea, though you will want some for tracking, I use Vic Firth isolating cans.

    Shure SM 57 is the best all around mic you can get. If I could only have one, that would be it. But you'll want more depending on what your recording.

    And the only way to get a good recording is to capture a GREAT performance, it all starts there. No equipment or editing or pitch correction is going to fix a bad performance.

    Happy recording.
    Wow, now I feel really stupid. Thanks.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Texas USA
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    With the Mac's, the current version of GarageBand is a good place to start if you plan to use Logic Pro in the future. The projects are upgradeable and the workflow you develop will translate very well into Logic. (GB to Logic user myself.)

    Budget will certainly be one of the factors you have to work within, unless it's not an issue.

    The other thing that will impact your recordings will be place/room where the recording is done. Aside from the performance itself, the recording environment can be significant. I'd start thinking about that and figure out what you can do, and get the room planning started and budgeted before you buy anything. You may not be able to do much for reasons beyond your control, but knowing what you can do, and what it will be like, can help your choice in where to focus on other parts of the puzzle.

    There are many books, websites, blogs and videos that can help you get started. I like because the guy spends a lot of time on just sticking with the fundamentals - a mic, basic interface, free DAW and its plugins, etc. Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio is a book that I believe is still relevant, and prioritizes things in a way that I wish I'd paid more attention to when I first started down this rabbit hole!

    Good luck.
    "... I know in the mornin' that it's gonna be good
    when I stick out my elbows and they don't bump wood." - Bill Kirchen

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