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Help with my home recording setup

Discussion in 'All About Tech' started by André Barranco, Dec 29, 2015.

  1. André Barranco

    André Barranco New Metal Member

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    Hi guys, my 1st post here! I just created my profile, but I use to read stuff here a lot.

    I need help to understand a few things about sound quality and guitar recording in general.
    But first, let me introduce myself... I play guitar (not much) for a few years already. Have no band (death metal scene here in Brazil isn't that great, and melodic dm is worse) and I always played alone and such, but now I'm going to record some demos and do stuff so I need some help with a few things.

    WHAT I GOT:
    • I have two guitars. A passive INF1 and 2 Ibanez and an active 81/85 EMG's Cort Viva Custom;
    • I also have a Peavey 6505MH 20W amp with both USB and XLR M.S.D.I outputs;
    • An M-Audio Fast Track Audio Interface;
    • An Amptweaker Tight Metal Pro distortion pedal;
    • A gaming computer with integrated audio chip.

    WHAT I'M CONSIDERING BUYING:
    • A better audio interface (maybe M-Track Plus);
    • A DI box to send a already balanced signal to my audio interface;

    QUESTIONS:
    • Is the said better audio interface required? Mine has no Lo-Z/Hi-Z switch in its inputs (as far as I know) and no outputs beside L/R monitors and USB;
    • If I do not trade my audio interface and stick with it, how do I know if I'm sending the right signal level to it? The Fast Track manual says if I'm using active pickups, I should use the Mic/Line input level in the interface and if using passive pickups, the Instrument level, but my product has no switch whatsover (maybe I have an old version as said manual was found on the internet, not with my product) - so I don't know if a DI box is needed;
    • Although maybe not needed, I know a DI box would help. So, considering I have guitars both active and passive, should I get only an active DI box and stick with it?
    • Should I plug the XLR out of my head to the Mic/Line (Lo-Z) input of my audio interface? Is its signal already Lo-Z too? I think it is, but I know little about these technical stuff.
    • Am I in need of anything else to get started?

    This post got a lot biggier than I thought it'd get. Sorry if I overloaded you guys with questions, but as I said, I have little tech knowledge (with audio at least) and I'd like to get the best quality possible with my home recording 'cause I suffer with some undesireble noises whenever I try to mess with PC and my guitar sound.

    Thanks
     
  2. Crank

    Crank Sound Engineer // Geek

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    1. Audio interface will depend on what you are recording. If its just for guitars and a DI single input. Stick with what you have, other wise instead of contiously upgrading and spending hundreds of dollars - just go buy a really good interface. I have a 18i20 Scarlet.

    2. You will only need a DI box if the signal is unbalanced. Otherwise going DI straight from your guitar is fine.
    As for signal level, it doesn't really matter. A guess a good way to make sure while you'rerecording and nothing clips is to play your guitar really loud and set the levels are high as you can until it clips,then back off a little. Normally chugging/palm muting creates a loud signal.

    3. Get one anyway JUST in case you have an artist who needs one when you record someone (Goal = BE PREPARED)

    4. No, if you're adding distortion it'll degrade the signal quality before it hits your interface and will come out really scratchy and bad quality.
    Instead, grab a mic and amp and mic the amp up.

    5. Always have spare everything. If something breaks and you don't have another. Well shit..
    I recommend you invest in an 18i20 Scarlet from Focusrite. Really good pre-amps and has 8 inputs,so recording live drums is possible.(You can also extend the inputs with other products they sell.)
    Get yourself some good mics.

    Start with SHURE Sm58/57s,
    Drum mics!!!
    RODE NT1A is a great condenser microphone.
    Then work your way up to something like a SHURE SM7B!

    Let me know how you go :)

    Good luck!
     
  3. André Barranco

    André Barranco New Metal Member

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    Hi dude, a happy new year!
    Thanks a lot, you sure helped!
     
  4. Crank

    Crank Sound Engineer // Geek

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    Happy New Year mate!
    Feel free to PM me here or on my Facebook page for anymore help.
     
  5. MaverickStang

    MaverickStang Member

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    Honestly if you are going cheap just get a DI box and Audacity. I tend to use Reaper. However, I do use Audacity sometimes. I first started using VSTs and you can find those on the internet. Also don't forget cab-impulses. Also there is cockos. http://www.vst4free.com/free_vst.php?id=478-It's the same one reaper has. It's quite powerful of an EQ. It's just an example. You need vstbridge.dll for the VSTs to work on Audacity. Audacity is free-btw.
     

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