Recording advice


New member
I need some advice on how to make my productions sound more professional, given the equipment I have.
I have:
Tascam Mixer (Analog)
SoundBalster Live Sound card
Yamaha MU5 tone generator
2 shure4 condenser mics
2 cheapo dynamic mics
Sound Forge 4.0
Cakewalk Pro 6

Basically, as of now, I am running everything into my mixer and recording track by track into my SB Live using Cakewalk (very tedious and time-consuming). After recording, I almost always add effects and then normalize the tracks. Then I mixdown, using the "combine tracks" feature in Cakewalk. Then I load the mixed file into Sound Forge and do a final normalize or Compress. Basically that's it. As you can see, I don't have a lot of control of the effects and recording(because everything is software based), without spending hours on one track.

What can you suggest that I do to get more professional sounding mixes? Or do I just need better equipment?

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!!

-- Amit Apte
It sounds like you may be rushing things. Most homerecordists do spend 'hours on each track' - if not days sometimes.

I think the first thing may be to address why you find the recording process longwinded. You described how you mixdown, but the routing of the sounds could be a little clearer.

You say you don't have a lot of control over the effects and recording, but with a software based system you should have loads of control.

Hmm, what I'd do with your gear is:

First get all the MIDI into Cakewalk (if you have songs on the MU5), use that as a sequencer - Cake 6.0 is very good at this - lovely editor. You should be able to adjust panning, track volume, individual notes..

Use Cake to MIDI-trigger the MU5 and SoundFonts on the Live (loadsa free SFs on the 'net, checkout )

Put the outputs of the MU5 and the Live through the mixer (2 stereo channels so far).

The track can now be played back, looped, tinkered with etc, without ever having recorded any digital audio (yet).

For starters, try to get by with the effects on the two synths, the MU5 is General MIDI compatible so you can probably control them from Cake.

Record live stuff as digital audio, keeping the synths triggering via MIDI. Some channels may never need to be recorded solo. I won't go into connecting up mics here.

If any of the synth stuff really needs a dose of DirectX plugin (EQ, compression, flange), solo it and record that in as digital audio, from then on mute the MIDI version.

You will be able to apply DX effects to Audio tracks non-destructively. ie: you stick the EQ on the track and it works out the results as you playback the track. It doesn't change the wave. (if you are applying effects to the audio destructively, I can understand your frustration)

Twiddle for ages, get it sounding nice - this is meant to be the fun bit.

For a mixdown, record the output of the desk back into Cake. Take that Wav and SoundForge it as you have been doing.

Hope that helps a bit!