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Thread I know What I do, What do I need?

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1 I know What I do, What do I need?
Thanks for the responses I got from Axeman and others to my 1st post.
I think I know what to ask now:
I need to record 24/96 quality pro CD's for sale on net and at concerts.
I will be recording with two to (maximum) four mics at a time, mostly building one track at a time. Voice, Folk (Irish) Harp, Guitar, Cello, Irish Drum (Bodhran), Voice and vocal harmonies. I intend to use some sampled drums & Bass and perhaps strings etc. with Good Reverb.
So I need to know what would best suit my needs, a mobile studio like laptop and M Box would be nice but I don't think I have enough money for that and would prefer to get more bang for my buck on the computer end.
So, if you could come up with a small studio for about $700.
I don't need the mics but the computer and whatever else I need for Pro quality CD's.
Please Help...I'm floundering in Teckyland...

I don't wanna squash your enthusiasm bro, but you are NOT gonna get "Pro Quality CDs to sell" out of an $800 setup using whatever mics you happen to have on hand.

Your idea is further complicated in that the style of music and instruments you are using are acoustic in nature, and are much more difficult to record well than just getting and electric guitar and a POD a plugging it in....

Like I said, I'm not trying to crush your enthusiasm, but you DO need to adjust your expectations some......

To accomplish your task, you need to do some reading and educate yourself. Recording a group as you have described will require some decent condensor mics (StudioProjects and Behringer seem to be getting good press on theirs), and a good sounding room acoustically. You will have to learn the best way to mic the instruments you are using, how to isolate them from each other so the mic's don't bleed excessively.

On top of that, you will need to learn how to do the computer recording stuff. An MAudio Delta 44 or 66 soundcard would work, along with a small mixer like a Behringer UB1202.

On the software side, I like Cakewalk stuff. Others like Cubase by Steinberg. Both have plenty of effect plugins for processing. Because of the acoustic nature of your music, you might want to invest in a good mic pre as well, and maybe a compressor.

With all of this, you will be able to turn out decent recordings AFTER you go through the learning curve and get some experience.

"Pro Quality" recordings are, by deifnition, done to the professional levels, and, while the technology exists to be able to make "Pro Quality" stuff at home, you must work your recording chops just like your musical chops to get there. 8)
The Axeman (##(===> Cuts From My New Blues CD
Thanks Axeman, I needed that!
I have been recording albums since 1968 when I was signed to Columbia Records "The Gentle Soul." I did an album with Ry Cooder and Pam Polland and several singles, one or two that made the charts. Since that time I have recorded around 7 or 8 others some of which sold quite well. I'm saying this to help you understand where I'm coming from. The last CD was done with Tim Britton, a master musician and total purist/audiofile when it comes to recording and he is the guy who built my mics which are Crowns that he soups up. They record exceptionally clear and are great for the instruments and the voice if I stick a little reverb on the voice...anyway, you could check out several of the CD's on my web site celticharps.com if you like.
I have already had my learning curve when it comes to mic placement, mics and the act of recording, including the ear it takes to do a good mix, what I will have a learning curve with, will be using software and the computer instead of cutting two inch tape with a razor.
I did a CD before the most recent one with another guy on Computer working with pro-tools, he had the usual 58's which sounded crappy so I borrowed a Neumann voice mic from a friend which I intend to do again, and it sounded good, but it didn't come close to the old two inch tape at Columbia and A&M studios where I also recorded a couple of albums with Joni Mitchell's producer. Enough of my trying to convince you that I have recorded before.
I thought if I bought a Delta 1010 or other M Audio 24/96 interface and a new Pentium 4 XL with CDRW, that I could mix and burn some studio quality CDs once I mastered tha art of working in the new medium with the help of guys like you. So, you say I would perhaps need a pre-amp and mixer as well? And if I got a 1010 which comes with some bundled software would I still need to get Cakewalk sonar 3? would it be compatable? I am planning to record one to two tracks at a time, not more.
Any more ideas that could get me in the ball park for Pro quality?
Thanks very much if you read this whole thing,

Alrighty then!!! Sounds like I should be asking you for tips.......

OK. So you DO know what you're getting into. I apologize if you felt I was insulting your intelligence. ;)

I like my Delta 1010 a lot. It is a good interface. A 1010 might be overkill if all you want to do is 2 tracks at a time. The Audiophile 2496 is also a good interface. Although both come bundled with their own control software, I am not aware that either comes bundled with recording software.

You will also need a mixer with some good mic pres. And phantom power.

Check this out though- it appears to be both- and it comes with the recording software. I just read about it for the first time this morning. It's a USB interface, so you could use it with a laptop if you wanted to.

It's the Lexicon Omega Studio, and it's $349!!! That's a pretty amazing price point for all this thing claims to feature. You can check it out here:

The Axeman (##(===> Cuts From My New Blues CD
Funny...I was looking at that one again and again for the last two days in Musician's Friend. Everything sounds perfect except for the 48KHz top sample rate, should I really be holding out for 96KHz? The 1010 and the 410 have 96 I think. I've read a lot of reviews that there is quite a difference in the final sound quality even when it all comes down to 48 on the CD. But I'm so tempted by the Lexicon Reverb plug in. I couldn't figure out if the plug in reverb unit comes with the Omega or if you have to buy it seperately? what a deal if it comes with it!!!
So please give me your opinion...should I be holding out for 24/96 or not? Have you or have you heard anything indicating the quality boost using 96?
Thanks so much for your input.

Don't tell anyone- I still record at 16/44.1

I can hear a slight difference in the bit depth (24 vice 16). 24 sounds more "open". I don't process at that rate because I had some problems on my machine between Cake and Sound Forge. Probably sumthin' stupid on my end.

Were there digitally mastered CD's out 5 years ago that you liked the sound of? They probably were 24/48 at best......... ;)
The Axeman (##(===> Cuts From My New Blues CD
Alrighty then....
I'm going for the Omega!
My wife just sunk her credit card in the depths of debt and bought two Toshiba laptops for a very good price, P4's with 40GB each and one has firewire as well as USB, so that kind of opens things up for me to be able to get some decent computer (studio) monitors...any suggestions?
Thanks Axeman, I'll let you know how it goes. I wonder if I could use the Omega to go through to a house sound system with our usual two mics and a pickup on the harp? I usually go through my little mixer and occasionally use my crappy reverb unit with it but the reverb on the Omega should be nice...what do you think?
Can't see why it wouldn't work.

A good deal on monitors right now, ones that are getting good reviews, are the MAudio BX5s. @$299 street.

Also, I think Behringer just put some monitors. I haven't heard them (or about them), but based on my previous experiences with Behringer, they are probably a good value...
The Axeman (##(===> Cuts From My New Blues CD