Basic setup for recording a lo fi band at home? Please help :)

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Member Since: Sep 10, 2006

Hi guys and gals, my first time here, so please be gentle ;) I'd really really appreciate it if someone could help me out :)

I'm the singer/guitarist in a lo fi duo called le Chat Noir, I guess you could say we're a Black Keys/White Stripes-type band with a dash of good old-fashioned 50's rock'n'roll spirit. We've been knocking our some very basic demos of our stuff just using a really old, cheap mic stuck in the middle of the room (!) and it's been okay for our purposes because I've managed to make the recordings quite vibey and raw. You can see what i've been up to so far at www.myspace.com/chatnoirband

However, we've been getting some interest from labels as well as a lot of positive feedback from fans, and I'd really like to take our recordings up a notch. I want to achieve a much better initial recording, though of course we still want to keep a fairly lo-fi vibe overall (it's just our sound!). I've just ordered an AT2020 for vocals after reading some positive feedback, I think it'll suit my fairly trebly vocal, but I'd really like to now invest in some drum mics and a mixer of some sort.

We're on a really tight budget, say 200-300 ($600?) for the whole setup. I have a good PC with a Creative Audigy 2 sound card and Adobe Audition 2.0, so I'm not too bothered about upgrading that area - my plan was to get drum mics and run these (along with the AT2020 on my amp?) into a mini mixer for a basic mix, then into the sound card's line in. I was thinking perhaps to keep things simple two overheards and a kick mic would be the best setup, as perhaps for the budget 3 okay-ish mics would be better than a 7-piece set of rubbish.

Obviously I'm not expecting miraculous results from this setup, but remember it's a lo fi vibe anyway so I'm not after the unreasonable idea of a perfect sound for that kind of money!

Please, please, please, I'd be most appreciative if somebody could give me some advice! :)

-x-

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Czar of Midi
Administrator
Since: Apr 04, 2002


Sep 10, 2006 08:08 pm

Well your good to go with the AT2020. And I guess on a tight budget this is the route I would take in your case. I think you should be able to find a small Behringer like the XENYX 1202 which would give you 4 input channels with XLR inputs and pre amps. I believe it also has 48v phantom power for the condenser mic's as well.

I have done this 3 mic set up for drums in a pinch as well. You would need a pair of something like the Samson C02, which are generally sold in a pair for around $100.00 US.

Using them as your overheads you can then set up the AT2020 out front of the kit about 2 to 3 feet and about the height of the top of the kick drum. Youcan experiment with placement a little to get a fuller sound, either closer or farther away. But I have used it even on a rock type kit and it will work as long as you set up the overheads and the LDC out front proper. It will take some experimenting but you will get it.

Something like that should work out nice and still give you the ability to keep the lo fi sound.

Noize

I am not a crook's head
Member
Since: Mar 14, 2003


Sep 10, 2006 08:14 pm

I'd suggest getting an SM57 and a kick mic. You can use the SM57 on your guitar cab along with your AT2020. Then you can use one on the snare and the AT2020 as a drum overhead on drum tracks. You'll need a kick mic for the kick drum, and you could also use it on your guitar cab since you don't have a bass player and need to fill out those low frequencies. The kick mics I have my eye on cost about $200 or so.

Also I'd really suggest pairing a small 4-channel mixer with a 4-in/4-out sound card such as the M-Audio Delta 44. It'd cost you about $250 for a small Yamaha, Peavey, or Behringer mixer and a Delta 44. That'd give you the ability to input up to 4 seperate tracks at a time. Trust me its so nice to have everything on its own track come mixdown time.

Anyways that's what I think. I'm sure that everybody will have differing opinions on what you need, but a good sound card is kind of the foundation of a good home recording setup. That Creative card will limit you to 2 channels of input at a time, which will be very frustrating at mixdown. 4 channels will give you lots more flexibility with input options.

I am not a crook's head
Member
Since: Mar 14, 2003


Sep 10, 2006 08:15 pm

Simul-post there Noize. I didn't even think of the USB mixers. That'd be a great way to get 4 channels into the computer without buying another sound card.

Member
Since: Sep 10, 2006


Sep 11, 2006 03:19 am

Thanks for the responses guys!

I decided to plump for a pair of Red5 RV85 Overhead Mics, which were 55GBP (about 100 bucks) - you guys in the States might not know the name, they're a company based up in Scotland who have been getting rave reviews for their Far East-made mics, apparently great value for money.

Still deciding on a kick mic - ideally I'd like to record the guitar and drums simultaneously, as I find it easier to get a good feel and vibe that way. I've been to plenty of studios in my time and find a 'live' recording with vocal overdub will suit this particular enterprise the best. Will perhaps take Noize2u's advice and use the AT2020 in front of the kick and buy a SM57 for the cab... so then we have the question of a mixer!

A lot of people have said the Alesis Multimix is the best budget USB mini-mixer, I don't really need the 8 channels but it would at least not be obsolete if I decided to bring in more musicians. The firewire one also sounds very interesting, but twice the price! People have really been giving me mixed feedback on Behringer... value for money or not? I'm not sure!

Thanks again!

JR Productions
Member
Since: Mar 03, 2005


Sep 11, 2006 06:46 am

Im a little late in the thread here but as I'm listening to you guys (which sounds really good by the way)I think it would sound pretty cool to keep the drums in mono. Back in the 50's, there was no stereo so if you looking for that type of sound...But anyway I think it would suit your sound well.

Czar of Midi
Administrator
Since: Apr 04, 2002


Sep 11, 2006 05:21 pm

Alesis have really turned their game around. For awhile they were building some pretty rubish stuff. However they are now getting back a reputation of putting out some decent gear. Not top shelf by anymeans, but good budget gear. I have used Behringer gear for many years without any complaints at all. And nothing going bunk on me either. Even though it gets used every single day. But for the money in your case the Alesis will probably be more then adequit. And as you stated, it will be something that will give you more then you need at the moment and not leave you needing something else in a years time.

Noize

I KNOW NOTHING
Member
Since: Jun 08, 2006


Sep 11, 2006 07:01 pm

I'll post this as an example of a bare bones, low-fi recording with my old MR-8 set up. I've moved on but I really liked the MR-8 for it's portability, and it made a great practice recorder. (I still use a portable to track, but USB the files to Sonar for mixing)
It's mostly in response to Tadpui's suggestion of a kick mic and a 57, which is exactly what this recording is. The MR-8 limited me to two track simultaneous recording, so I pre-mixed my drums with a Yamaha MG-10 into one track, the guitar into the other. The drum kit is a standard Pearl Export series, the mic's were a Beta 52 in the kick, and a MS57 as an "overhead".
The guitar rig was also recorded with a '57. I overdubbed a scratch bass track later to fill it out.

This is by no means a "good" recording, just a bare bones, live practice recording while running through song ideas. But as far as a "low-fi" sound goes, I thought it came through pretty well.

www.soundclick.com/bands/...m?bandID=592708

The fat one always watches us.
Member
Since: Nov 08, 2002


Sep 11, 2006 08:32 pm

my set-up is around 350 usd- i get good results if i take my time. I use magix studio software- and i can only record one track at a time to the pc, (up to 6 inputs to that track with my mixer though)
I use a behrenger 602A mixer/SM57 Alesis SR-16 drum machine.

I KNOW NOTHING
Member
Since: Jun 08, 2006


Sep 11, 2006 09:27 pm

Ahah! Another Magix user!! It was the audio software that got me into recording in the first place! Great stuff for the money. In fact, the tune I linked above was *mixed* with Magix Studio 7.
Great interface, too. Unfortunately I was having stability issues with some of my plugs (most notably PSP and Waves), which is why I upgraded to Sonar.
Aaaahhhh. Good 'ol Magix. Kinda like my first girlfriend, in a wierd cyber geek kind of way.....

not the brightest spark...
Member
Since: Sep 13, 2005


Sep 12, 2006 03:51 am

Hey there,

As far as a kick mic goes I've used the Samson Q kick with good results. It ships for about 40 from Thomann Music Europe to the U.K. Well worth the money.

I really think that a soundcard like the 44 would be good just so you could have four seperate inputs. You could always record at a lower quality if you want that grainy sound.

Good luck

Flashy

Prince CZAR-ming
Member
Since: Apr 08, 2004


Sep 12, 2006 09:14 am

Yamaha offers the MW10 as well. It's a USB (i think) which gives you the preamps, mixer, and sound interface all in one. I think it only outputs 2 channels, so you'd have to make sure your sound is good before it leaves the mixer, but it sounds like it may fit the bill nicely.

This would bypass your sound blaster, which most here wouldn't recommend, if you can get something better. The MW10 converters would probably be much better than the SB ones.

I'm kinda agreeing here, a pair of overheads, the AT2020 in front of the kick, and you can do wonderous things =). Then the 57 on the guit, and you're good to go.

Member
Since: Sep 10, 2006


Sep 12, 2006 09:36 am

Thanks guys again for all the advice! That Samson QKick definitely looks like an interesting option, am about to buy one. I'm kepeing an eye on a few different USB mixers now, which should complete my setup :) Hopefully the Red5 OHs, Samson Kick, AT2020 on the guitar all inot a decent USB mixer should give me a more than decent enough sound to work with for our purposes.

Czar of Midi
Administrator
Since: Apr 04, 2002


Sep 12, 2006 05:26 pm

Thread Hijacking in Progress

Hey JF, nice mix for what you have done there. You got a nice distant drum sound, very cool. That might attribute to the brass being nicely controlled sounding. But the image that the toms give as well as the kick is very good. I must say you got it to sit very nicely in that mix.

End of thread Hijack

I KNOW NOTHING
Member
Since: Jun 08, 2006


Sep 12, 2006 09:23 pm

Wow, thanks for saying so, Noize. I'm really trying to learn to get the most out of minimal gear and a bad recording environment before I go crazy and upgrade to the stuff I *really* want. Small steps and all that. Biggest problem so far has been relearning how to play drums, which I had given up on for about five years. :)

To "Le Chat Noir", sounds like you've got a good plan there, and best of luck.
Also wanted to give a big thumbs up on some great songwriting and a cool sound. May your fortunes be good.




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