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Chat about the latest toys and innovations.

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#206459 by acoustic58
Sun Feb 24, 2013 9:48 pm
I am thinking about making the move from the Tascam stand alone machines to something like Pro Tools. Right now I have a Tascam DP-02. 8 tracks and it works great and does much of what I need but as musicians, we always want more toys and controls. I am completely new to computer based programs and I was hoping to get some ideas to at least point me in the right direction. I have an Imac which comes with garageband but from everything I have heard, that is basically a toy compared to what is out there on the market today.

There are a number of different companies that are making computer based recording programs and they all claim to be the best. Pro Tools being one of them. The first question, is Pro tools the best way to go and which version? The next question is, after I buy a computer based program, what other gear do I need to purchase to get the guitars, mics, drums, etc into the system ?

Just trying to get a realistic cost point before I begin this transition. I want to thank you in advance for any ideas you can send my way.

Bob

#206462 by Cajundaddy
Mon Feb 25, 2013 12:20 am
There is no silver bullet for project studios IMHO. Both stand alone and software based DAWs have their place. I own and use Roland VS2000 DAW, Mac w/Garageband, and Protools LE. More money than brains I guess. :oops:

Each has benefits and downsides:

VS2000
runs 24 bit so it sounds great. With optional mouse and monitor it works much like a software based DAW with a nice control surface. Very stable with few crashes, limitations on simultaneous effects processing so you need to plan ahead. Reasonably easy to setup, use and get good recordings quickly. I prefer to track live with this and transfer files to the Mac for mixing.

Mac /Garageband Sounds great, very easy to use, limited effects plugins, reasonably stable as long as you don't draw too many resources. Very intuitive and useful as a project studio/songwriting tool and you can get good demos easily. A good 1st DAW.

Mac/Protools
If you are doing feature film scores or cutting tracks for Sony, this is what you want. Period. Unlimited capability and mind-numbing complexity. Tons of effects plugins for everything you could imagine and very resource hungry. Compatible with every major recording studio in the US. Downside: Really long learning curve as it is not intuitive. Very heavy on computing power so you need a TON of RAM and fast processors or it will crash... a lot. I am pretty old-school and did a lot of recording on 8T 1/2" tape. I understand analog recording well. Protools is my most capable and least favorite DAW platform. YMMV

#206531 by GuitarMikeB
Mon Feb 25, 2013 3:46 pm
Like Johnny7 says, ProTools is a must if you are going to be bringing your projects to big pro studios for further mixing/tweaking/etc.
That's how PT got as big as it is - they got their feet into all these places first.

On the otherhand, if this is for your own use, or you are going to do all the mixing yourself and just send out stereo files for mastering, you do NOT need PT.
Download Reaper - its free to try out (as long as you want, there is just an annoying pop-up box reminding you to register after 30 days) and is truly full-featured. 200+ page PDF user manual, huge user forum.
http://www.reaper.fm/

#206804 by acoustic58
Thu Feb 28, 2013 5:23 am
Thank you for your opinions. Another question, what do you suggest as far as gear to get the mics and instruments into the computer. There seems to be a number of options.

Thank you

#206834 by GuitarMikeB
Thu Feb 28, 2013 2:13 pm
Mics and audio interfaces - a zillion choices.

The audio interface is the key part - its teh thing that converts your audio to digital.
When choosing an AI, you have to consider the maximum number of simultaneous and separate tracks you want to record at one time. For example, if you are recording a drum kit, you may want 4, 6 or more mic inputs - that means having that many preamps in the AI. If you're tracking a whole band live with each amp miced, drum mics, and vocals, you would need however many inputs and mic preamps that is.
If you're doing everything yourself (demos), you will need fewer simultaneous inputs obviously.
There are many good AIs with 2 mic preamps (Focusrite Scarlett 2i2, M-Audio Pro), and the choices keep going up along with the price.
The more you pay, typically, the better the preamps and the a-to-d converters.
Mics - use what you have to start. Shure SM58 for vocals, SM57 to mic amps, etc. The sky is the limit with mics.
Do some reading over at homerecording.com - tons of info there.

#206848 by Cajundaddy
Thu Feb 28, 2013 3:41 pm
acoustic58 wrote:Thank you for your opinions. Another question, what do you suggest as far as gear to get the mics and instruments into the computer. There seems to be a number of options.

Thank you


Your Tascam already has a USB port and S/pdif optical output so you may be able to use what you have as an A/D interface for the software of your choice. Protools is very finicky about approved A/D converters but Garageband and many others work with almost everything.

Connect it to your computer and see if it is recognized. If you only need to record 2 tracks at a time, you are good to go.

#206877 by GuitarMikeB
Thu Feb 28, 2013 8:00 pm
I'm not sure you can use the Tascam as a 'pass through' interface. Isn't the USB output only for sending files out to a computer (rather than direct audio signal)?

#206904 by Cajundaddy
Thu Feb 28, 2013 9:27 pm
GuitarMikeB wrote:I'm not sure you can use the Tascam as a 'pass through' interface. Isn't the USB output only for sending files out to a computer (rather than direct audio signal)?


One sure way to find out... plug it in and test it. All he needs is a nice digital 2 ch signal at 16/44.1 and he is in business. If the software will recognize it, he has a nice basic control surface for computer based DAW already.

#206907 by GuitarMikeB
Thu Feb 28, 2013 9:40 pm
Thejohnny7band wrote:
GuitarMikeB wrote:I'm not sure you can use the Tascam as a 'pass through' interface. Isn't the USB output only for sending files out to a computer (rather than direct audio signal)?


One sure way to find out... plug it in and test it. All he needs is a nice digital 2 ch signal at 16/44.1 and he is in business. If the software will recognize it, he has a nice basic control surface for computer based DAW already.


You made me go look for specs! Nope, you can only use USB or file input or output, not direct audio ouput.

#206910 by Cajundaddy
Thu Feb 28, 2013 10:28 pm
GuitarMikeB wrote:
Thejohnny7band wrote:
GuitarMikeB wrote:I'm not sure you can use the Tascam as a 'pass through' interface. Isn't the USB output only for sending files out to a computer (rather than direct audio signal)?


One sure way to find out... plug it in and test it. All he needs is a nice digital 2 ch signal at 16/44.1 and he is in business. If the software will recognize it, he has a nice basic control surface for computer based DAW already.


You made me go look for specs! Nope, you can only use USB or file input or output, not direct audio ouput.


Hmmmm, too bad. He could still use it to capture tracks and move them to his computer for mixing on a more feature-filled DAW. I often record raw tracks with the VS2000 and then transfer WAV files to the Mac for mixing, but the Roland also has a 2 ch digital audio I/O so it will record directly to a software based DAW. Different ways to skin a cat. :)

Oh but wait, this one has 2 ch digital audio out. The plot thickens:
http://www.musiciansfriend.com/pro-audi ... ortastudio

#206954 by acoustic58
Fri Mar 01, 2013 2:01 pm
You guys have been very helpful. Before I drop a few hundred dollars into a system like pro tools, I will take your advice and play around with Garageband. I know a few people that have home studios and a good friend that has a full blown recording studio and all they use is Pro-Tools. It seems the be the industry standard but it also the most expensive program out there. I always believe that you get what you pay for but sometime people pay for a name.

M-box seems to be a name that is kicked around the most and your right, the size of this beast depends on how many tracks and or inputs I need at one time. I have no plans right now to record a full band at once so the inputs I need could be 2 and it would work out just fine. Plus I can always change it up if I need more down the road.

As I mentioned before, I am using this for demos but the quality has to be right up there so I don't want to make any mistakes along the way buying the wrong gear.

Thanks again for your advice.

#206966 by GuitarMikeB
Fri Mar 01, 2013 4:07 pm
For the last time, I would recommend you check out Reaper (why not, its free to try?) Garageband is very limited in its features.

Even with Reaper, you can render (with or without FX and settings) each track to WAV separately and then those track files could be imported into ProTools.

#207053 by acoustic58
Sat Mar 02, 2013 4:05 am
Thanks Mike for all your suggestions. I will check out Reaper....
#210146 by bdholmes
Mon Mar 25, 2013 8:24 am
Great post/thread. Downloaded Reaper. Gonna check it out!

~ Johnny Rockit ~ Drummer - Project "X"
Orlando, FL
http://www.bandmix.com/bdholmes/

#210172 by GuitarMikeB
Mon Mar 25, 2013 2:33 pm
For more information about home recording, in general, go to homerecording.com - plenty of articles and a huge user forum.

The forums at the Reaper site are also good for finding things you didn't know. Of course the Reaper user manual is huge and takes some time to go through. I don't use 1/2 the features it has, like advanced routing, but what I do use I love!

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