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Thread studio help for a solo acoustic artist?

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1 studio help for a solo acoustic artist?
weee my first post! anyways, i have a solo acoustic/singing thing i do. i've been recording songs over a year now up in my attic. the quality definately is not as nice as i think it could be though. so i'm hoping there's someone that can help me with this. i play a fender acoustic electric and have 2 shure mics. i usually record the guitar using its pickup through the mackie 6 channel PA i have and record the vocals on one of the mics through the same PA. i connect the RCA outputs to an old tape recorder and record the songs this way. the PA has different effects like reverb, delay, chorus, etc. i also mic the guitar sometimes instead of using the pickup. the PA has a 9 slider EQ for the main out and then each channel has low, mid, and high. so im wondering what the best "settings" would be to get the "warmest" sound. i want to use reverb, but i want to still sound really close and upfront and not like im in a large empty room. i also have a program called "MAGIX music maker" which is more for making techno songs and such. I know i can run the PA mix into my computer. I was wondering if it is possible for me to record the guitar track onto my computer and then go back and record the vocal track. ive tried to before, but the vocals are always just a millisecond off and impossible to match up exactly right. what can i do to fix all this? well thanks. sorry there are so many questions. if you need any additional information just ask :)
2
I use software called Cool Edit Pro. It is multitrack recording s/w. It’s graphic interface is similar to a 64 channel oscilloscope. It is pricey to buy and there may be lower priced s/w available. It’s output files are “WAV” files.

You will have limits to how much signal you can put into your soundcard before you damage it or blow out you ears, so be careful using the PA output as your signal out. If I record from my amp, I use a patch cord from the headphone jack or a mic.

Normally, I use a Behringer mixer to connect my mics and guitars to the soundcard. (Sound Blaster Live) The drawback to using this soundcard is I can only record two separate tracks at a time. (R&L stereo) Sound Blaster Live is a low-end soundcard. It works for what I am trying to do. If I am to upgrade something in my system, a better soundcard will be my next purchase. However, once recorded, each side of the stereo waveform can be transferred into a mono waveform and inserted into a “session” file with 62 other blank waveforms. Now you can listen with headphones and record track after track of guitar, bass, drum, piano or vocal tracks, up to a total of 64. (I have never used more than 20 tracks in a session) I always record “dry” and add reverb or other effects before I begin the “mix down” process. Reverb and many other effects are included in the software and countless adjustments to those effects can be made to create other sound effects, which you can save under your own “effect name” and use later.

Recording vocals should also be done dry, add no effects to the waveform before it goes into your computer or it will sound “muddy”. Some sort of buffer between you and the mic should be used to stop the "s's" and “p’s” from ruining your tracks, I use a piece of foam but an old stocking stretched on a clothes hanger will also work. Once you record the first vocal track add a second track, singing exactly the same octave and basic inflections. When you playback these tracks you hear both combined and the result will have a “full sound”.

At this point if you want to add chorus or background harmonies, change the octave up or down and record the sections you want. Changing the distance from the mic (mics) and varying the volume of your vocals can give you the sound of a group of different singers standing in the background or standing in different positions in the room. Or you can “chorus” the vocal tracks with the s/w. The warmth you are speaking about should be added as a small amount of reverb, this can be undone and readjusted if you add too much. This should always be done as the last step before mix down.

When recording vocals use more than one track for the vocals of each person you want to be part of your session, this gives it that full sound. You can always “mute” tracks you don’t like, so go ahead and sing your heart out, make as many vocal tracks as you want.

Always save (good) raw vocals into separate files before adding the effects, then you can always start over if something goes wrong. Experiment until you find your sound.

I hope this helps.
3
Hi jimmyeatdeathcab,

What are the mics you use to record your voice&guitar?

I will shortly answere your question because Jim and fenderbender already gave you many inputs. You'd better go for a completly integreted solution for recording. Computer based studio is the cheapest solution, the more flexible, and the more evolutive ;-)