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Music, Audio, and Podcasting Do you use your Mac to create music? This is the place for discussions on creating and editing music on the Mac!

New to producing music. Need advice on basic music!


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ropehnd

 
Member Since: Jun 25, 2007
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Hey guys and gals. I'm writting today to ask for some advice on basic music composition/producing. My friend and I have always been into music and I play a few instruments and he is a writer so we are thinking about putting out a cd. I'm very new to the scene so I was wondering what will be needed to record (bass, guitar, and drums one at a time of course.
LONG STORY SHORT-What is needed to record instruments/vocals on a macbook?
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audiomedia808

 
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first thing you would have to get is a decent sound interface like m-audio, edirol, motu, are just a few examples. you should really start off just messing around and recording in garageband. once you master that you can always upgrade to something like logic.
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Cosmic

 
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Assuming you don't want to spend too much money, I would buy a USB interface (try to get a firewire if you can). The M-Audio firewire 410 is pretty good. Then you need a condenser mic to record the vocals, and a pop filter.

It depends on what instruments you want to record. You can record acoustic guitar with your condenser. If you're going to record electric guitar and bass, then you'll need a dynamic mic, I heard the sm-57 is pretty decent for this. Here's the hard part, if you want to record drums and want good quality, then you'll need many drum mics. I would personally just program the drums with Propellerhead. That's actually what my band plans to do.

Last but not least, if you're going to record a keyboard you can just plug it in to the interface and get studio quality most of the time (unless it's a very dirty sound).

You should post your budget and your quality expectations. It's not cheap. I first had to buy my interface, waited a few months and bought the mic, etc. Take note that I was 16 when I was buying all this I'm sure you can afford it easier if you have a decent job.
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ropehnd

 
Member Since: Jun 25, 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cosmic View Post
Assuming you don't want to spend too much money, I would buy a USB interface (try to get a firewire if you can). The M-Audio firewire 410 is pretty good. Then you need a condenser mic to record the vocals, and a pop filter.

It depends on what instruments you want to record. You can record acoustic guitar with your condenser. If you're going to record electric guitar and bass, then you'll need a dynamic mic, I heard the sm-57 is pretty decent for this. Here's the hard part, if you want to record drums and want good quality, then you'll need many drum mics. I would personally just program the drums with Propellerhead. That's actually what my band plans to do.

Last but not least, if you're going to record a keyboard you can just plug it in to the interface and get studio quality most of the time (unless it's a very dirty sound).

You should post your budget and your quality expectations. It's not cheap. I first had to buy my interface, waited a few months and bought the mic, etc. Take note that I was 16 when I was buying all this I'm sure you can afford it easier if you have a decent job.
Wow I can't thank you enough for that information right there. I don't have a mac yet but i'm getting one in june. I find all that info. extremly helpful thank you so much. Haha funny you mentioned the age thing. I'm getting my mac for my 16th birthday. Oh and on the budget subject. I was hoping to stay under 500 bucks at least but would prefer to spend $300 or so if at all possible
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ropehnd

 
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Originally Posted by audiomedia808 View Post
first thing you would have to get is a decent sound interface like m-audio, edirol, motu, are just a few examples. you should really start off just messing around and recording in garageband. once you master that you can always upgrade to something like logic.
Many many thanks. You guys are so helpful.
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Cosmic

 
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Well $500 isn't a lot. Maybe you can buy a decent usb condenser mic and you won't need an interface.. just plug and record the vocals. If you have patience you can program all the instruments with Reason/Propellerhead. If you really need to record electric guitar then buy the usb interface and the Shure SM-57.

What style of music do you play? That way I can stop assuming you'll need drums/electric guitar. xD
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Thedspeth

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cosmic View Post
Well $500 isn't a lot. Maybe you can buy a decent usb condenser mic and you won't need an interface.. just plug and record the vocals. If you have patience you can program all the instruments with Reason/Propellerhead. If you really need to record electric guitar then buy the usb interface and the Shure SM-57.

What style of music do you play? That way I can stop assuming you'll need drums/electric guitar. xD
I would advise agains the USB mics... Try to get a firewire interface... buy and SM57 and record everything with it to see if you like the sound...

I know people who record vocals with the 57 and are extremely happy.
I've spent thousands on mics and for some people's voices, a simple 57 gives very nice quality.

As with recording any music... if you don't spend money on the right stuff now, you will later.... then you will have wasted money to start with. If you make a good investment, you will be happy with it.
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ropehnd

 
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Originally Posted by Thedspeth View Post
I would advise agains the USB mics... Try to get a firewire interface... buy and SM57 and record everything with it to see if you like the sound...

I know people who record vocals with the 57 and are extremely happy.
I've spent thousands on mics and for some people's voices, a simple 57 gives very nice quality.

As with recording any music... if you don't spend money on the right stuff now, you will later.... then you will have wasted money to start with. If you make a good investment, you will be happy with it.
I play christian praise music. Mostly an acoustic sound and a little rock sound. Idk if that helps at all.
Please keep the advice comming, I am a totally noob.
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Cosmic

 
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You're right Thedspeth, the SM57 is pretty much a standard for many people. I forgot that you could record vocals with it too. I recorded vocals with an SM58 once which is a very similar mic and it sounded pretty good. I think your best bet right now is to buy a firewire interface and the SM57. Everything else just program it.
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Thedspeth

 
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ropehnd.... I'm in professional worship ministry, myself. Sounds like the advice on here has gotten you started. If you are anything like me, in five years you are going to have 10 mics to choose from for every possible purpose!
Keep praisin' bro!
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sleepy_monkey

 
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To get up and running quick, just get an adapter...1/4" to 1/8" adapter, you will plug your guitar cable into the big end and put the small end in your Macbook.

Open Garageband, create new, when you add a track, just make sure you put "REAL INSTRUMENT" and also make sure you have the input turned on, etc...

I recorded a song like this last week and while it might not be 'radio' quality, for myspace it works just fine...and it is EASY...and cheap. Might cost you $3 for that adapter.
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ebay

 
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If you really want to go cheap, you could just get an Audio-Technica Pro 24. They go for 70-80 new online. It has a stereo 1/4" and doesn't require a preamp. You can plug it directly into your computer's line in. It's a battery powered condenser mic that's fairly accurate. That solves your first microphone problem.

Next, comes the hard part. Recording is an art. It takes time to learn. I've been doing it for years and still it comes down to how creative you are with the equipment. First and foremost, the most important thing is a good idea. A song, riff, music, percussion idea will take you where you need to go.

Since guitars were mentioned above, I'll just make one suggestion, look into Axe-FX. It's the next generation of modelers and it's creating a huge stir over at my favorite guitar site, thegearpage.net. Up until now, modelers were considered inferior for getting state-of-the-art guitar tone. This product is changing that. POD's, Tonelab's, and the others are not enough.

While you're over at TGP, start reading their recording forum. There's some heavy hitters over there and your ears will get fried by how awesome the clips are. It's a starting point on the journey (did I mention that this will take a lifetime to get it right?).

Since the original question was about vocals, I could go into a big discussion about matching a mic to your voice. For example, the sm-58 is a little grainy and can help put some grit into your vocal sound. The condensers are very accurate and pristine. If you are Charlotte Church, you'll want this but they can work with down and dirty singers too. EV has that barrel shaped thing (can't remember the model) that all the radio guys use because it positively sounds, like there's a layer of sand in your throat. But it's really a cliche sound to my ears now. The Beyer M160-N ribbon always freaked out every singer I used them on. They are so silky and yet have this earthy thing. But you're talking bucks with any of these because you'll need preamps and extras to work with them.

Since I'm blabbing on and on... it's likely that when you record, you'll have way too much presence in your voice and it will not sink into the track you're working with. Oh, the heck with it... this stuff is really hard to explain... I'll leave it for another day.

disclaimer: I am not affiliated with any of the above companies or forums other than a consumer of their products/services.
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