New to recording and need help

Neezduts89

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Hello everyone. I want to start recording my guitar parts at home, and upload the videos to YouTube at some point. What do I need to do this? I am very out of the loop as far as technology and recording techniques, but I want to learn. Can someone please give me some advice and information as to what I would need to buy and a basic understanding of how to use it? Thanks in advance for any help!
 

Go Nigel Go

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There are a lot of different ways of going about it, much of what you need will depend on the approach you want to take. If you are a solo artist who wants to play over backing tracks you create, you will want to look at multi-tracking in a digital audio workstation (DAW software). If you have a band, you can mix live and go straight to two tracks on the audio inputs on a camera, record the live audio with two microphones, or record it into the computer (again using a multitrack DAW) and add the synched audio to the video, or any number of other methods. What actual hardware and software you need depends totally on the approach you are comfortable with, and what sources you need to use separately and/or together.

A bit more information about what you have to work with currently, and what you eventually want to do will help narrow it down a bit. In many ways, there has never been a better time to try and record and produce music at home because of the wide variety of options available. The downside is that it is hard to sort through all the options when you don't have a clear picture of what you are trying to accomplish at the start. It is easy to spend a boatload of money and still not have what would actually work the best for what you are trying to do. There are a lot of people who will tell you you need stuff you don't actually need, or steer you into an approach that is either not capable of what you are trying to accomplish, or is overly complex for doing something that is really better served with a simpler setup.

Budget is of course also a consideration, but I always assume no one wants to spend more than they actually have to at the end of the day. :D
 

Neezduts89

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There are a lot of different ways of going about it, much of what you need will depend on the approach you want to take. If you are a solo artist who wants to play over backing tracks you create, you will want to look at multi-tracking in a digital audio workstation (DAW software). If you have a band, you can mix live and go straight to two tracks on the audio inputs on a camera, record the live audio with two microphones, or record it into the computer (again using a multitrack DAW) and add the synched audio to the video, or any number of other methods. What actual hardware and software you need depends totally on the approach you are comfortable with, and what sources you need to use separately and/or together.

A bit more information about what you have to work with currently, and what you eventually want to do will help narrow it down a bit. In many ways, there has never been a better time to try and record and produce music at home because of the wide variety of options available. The downside is that it is hard to sort through all the options when you don't have a clear picture of what you are trying to accomplish at the start. It is easy to spend a boatload of money and still not have what would actually work the best for what you are trying to do. There are a lot of people who will tell you you need stuff you don't actually need, or steer you into an approach that is either not capable of what you are trying to accomplish, or is overly complex for doing something that is really better served with a simpler setup.

Budget is of course also a consideration, but I always assume no one wants to spend more than they actually have to at the end of the day. :D

Hey there thanks for the info. I have a very basic setup. I want to record covers and eventually record my own music. I have an sg standard and use a Marshall dsl40cr, along with a few pedals including overdrive and the electrhoharmonix canyon delay. I’m getting a new laptop in a week or so but other than that, that is it as far as what I use to play
 

Neezduts89

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I will be recording solo too btw, no band or anyone else. Although it would be nice to record with other musicians occasionally
 

cerebral gasket

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DSL40CR has an emulated output.
Get a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 audio interface.

Connect emulated output of DSL40CR to input of Scarlett 2i2.
Connect Scarlett 2i2 to computer via USB cable.
Use any DAW of your choice to record.
If you have a Mac, use GarageBand, which is free.
 
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Go Nigel Go

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Yup, If you are going to record all the parts yourself you want a DAW for sure. Something like Garage Band or Audacity are free options that will get the job done nicely. There will be a bit of a learning curve if you have never used one before, but there are tons of Youtube videos to get you started, and I would recommend getting a book on digital recording basics as well. The next thing you will need is an interface (the Scarlett 212 is one of dozens of affordable and capable choices). Some are a single channel input, some are two, and the big boys usually have 8 or more. I would recommend two for a starter rig, as you will want more than one sooner or later anyway, plus it will give you the ability to record a stereo pair of microphones for live situations where you don't need all the performers on separate tracks.

You will also want a mic or two most likely. Stage mics will work just fine for a starter rig, and even the "pros" still often use good quality stage mics in a fair number of studio applications. A good mic is a good mic, they are just different. Don't get hung up on all the stuff you will see on the internet about "must have" or "golden" gear. There is a ton of great gear out there, but solid recordings are 98% operator skill and an experienced engineer with a 200 dollar setup (including mics) will get better results than a "gear head" with 30,000 dollar rig and less than a year of experience. Don't fear budget gear at the start. All you need is a couple of channels with mic or line inputs for all the sources you can play at the same time.

Getting the signal cleanly into the DAW opens up a world of possibilities for mixing multiple tracks recorded independently, panning mono signals into stereo positioning, plus post production effects and processing to get everything presented in it's best possible light.

If I was to give one single hint for good digital recording for the newbie, it would be: "NEVER exceed zero db on the recording inputs or in the mixing busses". You want to record at a "high levels", but zero db is the top of the green zone (or amber or yellow "warning zone" on some software), and exceeding that is going to give you digital clipping which literally sounds like garbage. Unlike analog distortion (which can sound very nice if used properly), digital clipping will turn the best signal into harsh unrecognizable hash immediately and irretrievably. Nothing you can do in post processing can rescue a take that peaks above zero even briefly. Any signal that peaks above zero db is truncated and the audio information above zero is not able to be recorded and that information will be lost forever. Your loudest sound should never peg you into the red at any stage inside the digital realm. No Clipping ever.
 
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Cooltouch

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Regarding free DAW software, if you have a Windows machine, be aware that Cakewalk by Bandlab is free. It is one of the most powerful, comprehensive DAWs available, regardless of price. It can also handle videos as well as audio, so it becomes possible for one to sync ones audio and video within a single piece of software. I've been using Cakewalk for over 20 years --back when it cost a ton of money, but I stayed with it because it allowed me to do what I wanted to do. And now that it's free, it's a no-brainer. There are lots of YouTube videos which discuss how to get up and running with Cakewalk,

The high points have already been discussed, but just to sum things up briefly in an organized manner, here's what you need:

An audio interface -- I like MOTU but there are many others that also do a good job. Get this first because your software will be looking for it when you go to set it up.
DAW software -- again, I recommend Cakewalk, not just because it's free, but because it is so complete and comprehensive.
A mic for vocals and/or for recording your amp. I prefer a condenser mic for this. You don't need to spend hundreds of bucks on a mic. I record with a $100 Shure condenser and it works very well.
Amplifier for guitar -- if your amp has a line-out, try this first before attempting to mic it. Room noises and acoustics are eliminated, as are any other noises associated with a mic and mixer.
VST Plug-ins for your DAW. There are thousands of free ones out there, many of which are quite good. Your DAW will usually come with some, and your audio interface may come with some also. Plug-ins can accomplish all sorts of tasks, like EQ, reverb, delay, chorus, and many other effects. VSTI's are instruments, which can come in very handy if you decide to use any sort of MIDI output with your DAW.
 


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