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Thread: Recording assistance requested

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    Recording assistance requested

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    First post on this forum. Looking for some guidance/advice.

    My wife has been after me for a couple of years now to "record your songs". I guess she wants to have something to pass along to the grandchildren, play at a memorial service, keep the mice away - I don't know, but I've decided to work on her request.

    I'm having some issues, however, and am turning here for possible answers.

    This is my setup:

    • Multiple guitars, both acoustic and electric, all with pickups
    • Floureon BM-800 condenser mic
    • TC-Helicon harmony G-XT (used only for harmonies, no guitar effects)
    • M-Audio Fast Track Pro audio interface
    • Acoustic AG60 amp (which I would not use, if everything worked as I envision it) - normally used only for voice when jamming with others
    • Peavey Vypyr VIP-3 amp - used for all guitars and required for input to Audicity because of the modeling output I desire (twelve string, acoustic, etc.)
    • Audicity audio recording software
    • PC running Windows 10


    Ideally, I would like to do the following - run guitar and voice into G-XT (G-XT does have power for the mic), run G-XT guitar output to Peavey then Peavey output (via 3.5 mm headphone jack) to M-Audio 1/4" input, run G-XT XLR voice output to M-Audio XLR input, run M-Audio USB output to PC for recording.

    When I have everything connected as above, I get - a. extreme distortion (both guitar and/or voice) or b. no guitar modeling or c. no voice harmonies. I have tried all the setting variations I can think of, to no avail. That includes not powering the mic with the G-XT, using the M-Audio power instead; using the M-Audio PAD option on one or both inputs; using Line or Inst options for one or both M-Audio inputs; modifying M-Audio Gain settings from Hi to Lo and everywhere in between; adjusting combinations of Peavey and G-XT gain settings, etc.

    I am new to the M-Audio and condenser mic setup. My son loaned them to me to accomplish the recording I want to do. His use was just guitar in and mic in then out to a PC, so he really isn't sure what my problem might be.

    At this time, I am reduced to using both amps, placing the condenser mic in front of them and connecting my Shure SM58 mic as voice input to the G-XT - not what I want to do because of possible background noise from one or both mics.

    Any thoughts?

    Ken in Kansas

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    It might take someone familiar with the G-XT to solve the problems with that device. I don't know it well enough. Maybe for now it would be good to start out simple and add complexity one step at a time. But you might need to change the way the hardware is connected for different things, like don't run the vocal through the Peavey amp even if you do use the G-XT.

    If I were you I would try some basic recording with a vocal mic and guitar connected directly to your interface. Once you've got that down try adding the G-XT between the mic and interface.

    One basic thing you'll need to know right away is proper level setting. When recording in digital the target level is about -18dBFS. The digital scale has the 0 at the very top (FS = full scale). Never exceed 0dBFS when recording. Make the average level of a source cross -18dBFS pretty regularly. That will generally leave plenty of space above -18dBFS for peaks.

    Audacity is a pretty good audio editor, but it isn't ideal for studio style multitrack recording. I'd suggest moving to Reaper or trying out some other DAW (digital audio workstation) software demo.

    The Peavey amp has a USB connection. Maybe there's a way to use it to record the amp.

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    I believe your main issue is running "g-XT XLR output to M Audio XLR input." The TC output is probably too hot for that purpose but you need to check the spec. As BSG says-run the mic straight into the m audio and see if that is the right gain
    Win 7 Ult Dell i7 4core 6700ghz 32 GB, 1,2x2, 4 Tb Barracuda HD's running Pro tools 2019 through Allen&Heath Qu-32

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    Also, that mic is one of those super cheap condenser "studio" mics that have a very high defect rate. I would think about replacing it with an SM58 or something, or at least borrowing a known good mic to test things.

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    I can only support what those above have suggested.

    Start off as simply as you can to get the basics sorted, then add in the complexity incrementally.

    I would also recommend Reaper. It is cheap. powerful and versatile.

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    Ok...so the TC-Helicon has two outputs right? I assume that one of them is stereo and the other is XLR? You say you're not using the TC-Helicon for for guitar effects.....so why are you running the guitar and voice thru the G-XT? Just run the guitar into the Peavey and then out to the M-Audio....and run the voice thru the G-XT and out to the other M-Audio input. Isn't the G-XT a stereo effect? You can monitor the output of all that using the M-Audio headphone out. If you have a problem you can fix it before it goes out of the M-Audio. If it sounds fine at the headphone out on the M-Audio then it should be ok going into the PC. I suspect your issue is with the Peavey headphone out as a line in.

    Ok....I've confused myself.....so it's ok if you don't get my question.
    Just A Song Writer..........

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    OK, as usual, just when I think Ive made the perfect post explaining my predicament clearly, succinctly and in its entirety, I receive responses showing once again that I am not as smart as I think I am.

    So-o-o-o ..

    Thanks for the quick replies and all the sage and useful suggestions/ideas/advice. I will pursue each of them over the next couple of days. Right now I am busy preparing my dockets for my two municipal courts. (Even judges need a hobby, you know.)

    A little additional information that may be helpful to those who have volunteered to help me:

    For BSG the voice doesnt run thru the Peavey, only the Acoustic, i.e. one amp for guitar, one amp for voice. The Acoustic amp would be eliminated if I can get the whole thing working the way I envision. Many thanks for the dB level info, I will follow it. I will also look at Reaper and other DAWs. I will check the functioning of the condenser mic and also try my SM58 to compare results. Yes, the Peavey has a USB output. However, using it would require 2 USB inputs to the PC one for Peavey & one for voice (via M-Audio) and I have not been successful finding an EASY way to have two USB inputs.

    For Gtoboy I will check the possibility of the TC output being too hot.

    For gecko Thanks for chiming in I will be looking at Reaper as well as other DAWs.

    For Mickster Its OK, confusion is a part of my normal routine. You get used to it after a while. All of the G-XT outputs are mono. The guitar has to go thru the G-XT to provide key/chord info for the voice harmony, when used. I will get a set of my headphones out to monitor the M-Audio. Peavey outputs are limited, as I mentioned above, only headphone and USB.

    All I will report back in a few days with results and, Im sure, a need for additional clarification. Thanks again.

    Ken in Kansas

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    It may be that in some cases you will want to record voice and guitar at separate times anyway, so you could switch which USB device is connected. Of course you'll still need the guitar connected to the G-XT to get the chord.

    There might be a way to get your harmonization done ITB (in the box, i.e. in the computer).

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    I guess I must be living right because, for whatever reason, everything is working (at least mostly) now. Started, as suggested, with just guitar and mic connected to the M-Audio and added devices after confirming acceptable operation at each step until I was back at the original setup. So I will proceed with my learning experience.

    As an update:

    I have installed Reaper and am beginning to learn what I need to accomplish my goals. There are many great videos on YouTube that provide exactly the kind of guidance I require. So thanks for the recommendation re: Reaper!

    At this time I am having no problems with either the less expensive condenser mic or my Shure SM58. The guitar output to Peavey then to audio interface from headphone jack is not distorted, thus no problem (currently) getting the modeling I want.

    I am getting some very small amount of distortion on vocals when using the harmony feature of the G-XT. However, following BSG's suggestion of doing harmony ITB, I am learning how to do the harmonies "post-production" using ReaPitch. Yes, I know there are VST harmony plug-ins available (Harmony Engine Evo, Quadravox Pitch Shifter, Vielklang 2, etc.) but they are somewhat pricey for the simple application I want.

    I just purchased a FocusRite Scarlett Solo 3rd Generation and will be using it instead of the M-Audio Fast Track Pro. The M-Audio is old enough that the drivers for it aren't really acceptable for Reaper.

    With the (soon-to-be) addition of the Solo, I will bypass the G-XT (not needed if I'm doing harmonies ITB) and go directly to the Solo with the mic input. Guitar will, however, still need input to the Solo via the headphone out from the Peavey for modeling. I can jack directly to the amp, though, without going thru th G-XT.

    Thanks to everyone for your thoughts and suggestions. I may need further guidance as I proceed with the Solo. If so, "I'll be back".

    Ken in Kansas

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    Awesome. Thanks for checking back in and letting us know it's all working out.

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