Can you help make sure this is right?

Posted on

Member Since: Nov 05, 2008

So, I'm new at this. I'm overwhelmed by the amount of stuff there is to learn. Anyway, to my question. I want to get a home recording/producing setup as a hobby. I'd play guitar, bass, keys, and hopefully get fairly proficient with some beat software. The key here is that it's just a hobby. I've been reading through guides, wanting to build this from scratch, but I'd like to go over it with you guys before I purchase anything, because I want to make sure I do this right.

My main goal is to be able to do some dub reggae; play all my tracks simultaneously and adjust each track in real time on the mixer. Does this make sense? Please forgive my lack of terminology here.

Sound Card:
Reverb/Echo Processor:;CJPID=1457553

I know the computer is minimal, but I have enough extra RAM laying around to get it up to 2 gigs, and I also have a spare monitor. I also know that I'd need monitors and mics eventually, but given that most of what I want to do is instrumental (plus the amount of time it's going to take to get started learning how to use all this), I'm not too worried about getting those immediately. So, with all that being said, would this setup allow me to do what I want? Am I leaving anything out?

Thanks in advance.

[ Back to Top ]

Hold 'Em Czar
Since: Dec 30, 2004

Nov 05, 2008 01:58 am

for starters, you're going to need a better soundcard IF you really want to mix on your mixer (this is called mixing "out of the box") you'll need a soundcard that has multiple (discrete) outputs that you would be able to hook up to the line inputs on your board.

now there is a way around this, and this is mixing "in the box". all multi-track digital recorders have a 'mixer' of some sort and you can simply record your tracks into the computer (via the mixer's outputs into your soundcard's inputs) and play them back from the computer.

the second option is the way i'd recommend gooin'for now. spend time workin' with whatcha have, and figure out what you need before you go throwin' money at the problem.

take the time to fill out your profile so we don't gotta keep askin' what you're workin' with, there's plenty of good info here and friendly people can can steer ya in the right direction....we're like tech support that works. feel free to nose around in the tips area or do a search for a specific need.

on that note welcome to HRC!

i'm wyd, the late night guy around here. (local time that is)

Since: Nov 05, 2008

Nov 05, 2008 11:47 am

Cool. Thanks for the reply, I actually wasn't expecting one so quickly, so I went on to bed!

Since I want to do mostly dub, I really want a desktop mixer. The way I've seen, dub artists will (a lot of times) use a mixer like an instrument, playing each recorded track through the mixer in order to mute one, add echo/reverb to another, bring one track to the front while dropping another down, etc. So I'll really need (and prefer) knobs to turn, buttons to push, and sliders to slide.

[I don't know if you've heard dub before, but check out some King Tubby, Scientist, Augustus Pablo, Mad Professor, or Lee Scratch Perry to get an example of the kind of stuff I want to do.]

It's been recommended to me that I go the audio interface route instead of the sound card. This actually sounds a little more appealing to me, since an interface seems to be more portable.

So what if I went with this:



Audio Interface:

Echo/Reverb Processor:;CJPID=1457553

Would that allow me to do the real-time mixing that I want? Also, would those components be compatible (hook up together)? Sorry, I'm very new to recording hardware, so you have to get pretty basic with me...

A note on what I've got: electric & acoustic guitars, bass guitar, USB keyboard. I'll get a decent mic eventually to record those strange sounds you hear in dub sometimes, but it's not a priority. I don't play drums, so I'll hopefully be able to reproduce some acceptable drum beats on software. I'll record one track at a time (it's just me by myself), so I know the mixer isn't technically necessary. But, I do want the ability to mix in real-time... "play" my mixer, so to speak... over anything else, due to the nature of the type of music I make. I don't even know if this is possible, which is why I'm poking around this forum, asking newbie questions!

Thanks for the welcome, and I'll fill out my profile and dig around the forums after work. Nice to meet you.

Czar of Midi
Since: Apr 04, 2002

Nov 05, 2008 06:47 pm

razed, welcome to HRC first off.

Dub, indeed you have my attention! I must agree that many do that using a mixer live, and some in the studio. But there are those that do it in software as well with great results. Myself being one.

But yes, with a multi output interface you will be able to do that type of thing. The E-Mu interface you looked at is only 2 channels in and 2 out so that might not get you what you want. You may want to look at a true 4 in 4 out interface such as the M-Audio Delta 44 or Delta 66. Those will give you true multi channel 1/4" jacks in and out.

I myself use Cakewalks Project 5 software mostly for this type and various other DJ type sets. I have done it in Sonar PE as well but prefer the quickness for automating in P5.

On the strange sounds thing. If you have an idea of what you want let me know. I have a rather large library of that type of thing as I do a lot of sound design work as well.

Since: Nov 05, 2008

Nov 06, 2008 11:20 am

Thanks for the welcome! So, do you do dub as well? I might take you up on the sound library offer, after I get going on this. Very cool.

After a lot of reading around and talking to people more knowledgeable than I, I think I've decided on a setup:


Audio Interface:

DAW Controller:

Now, before I get this stuff, I want to make sure these do want I think they do.

Audio Interface: This is where I plug my guitars into to record into software like Audition or something.

DAW Controller: Allows me to control Audition's (or whatever software) EQ, volume levels, etc, instead of having to use the mouse & keyboard.

Am I right? If so, I think this is going to be the best option for me. Opinions and suggestions are highly welcome, though!

Since: Nov 05, 2008

Nov 06, 2008 11:26 am

Oh, about your interface suggestions. Is there any reason why I'd need those over the one I mentioned earlier, except to be able to record more than 2 tracks at a time?

Like I said, this is just a hobby of mine, and I almost never record more than 1 track at a time.

Czar of Midi
Since: Apr 04, 2002

Nov 06, 2008 09:46 pm

The PC will do fine. I would think about maybe boosting the ram to 1 gig though if you can swing it.

The interface, no need for what I recommended unless you want to do more. But the interface you have picked will do just fine.

And yes, that controller is going to work just fine for what you want to do. It will allow you to do the same things you talked about doing earlier with a mixer but in software.

As for doing Dub, yes. I'm not that practiced at it and its not my main genre. Have you ever heard any Victor Rice? I guess I drift toward chill with some of the pieces I have done.

Since: Nov 05, 2008

Nov 07, 2008 01:08 pm

Yeah, the memory that I'm getting will boost the RAM up to 2.5 gigs. Plus I have an external HDD that I'll use for storing completed projects.

Now, I have a USB Keyboard (MIDI Controller). Would it work best plugged directly into my computer, or should I get an adapter to go into the interface? Could you point me towards some good synth sets (or whatever you call them)?

I haven't heard any Victor Rice, but I've heard of him. He sounds interesting... ska dub. I'll have to check him out.

Czar of Midi
Since: Apr 04, 2002

Nov 07, 2008 05:12 pm

It is always recommended to plug any devices into the USB port directly without a hub of any sort. Hubs can cause issues to arise that will not be good.

I'll post back tomorrow on some freeware goodies I use for synths as well as some pay for ones that are killer for this genre.

Ya, he isn't for everybody but he does some interesting stuff.

And the external HD is the best idea for sure. Use it as the main recording drive for all the projects and their respective audio.

Related Forum Topics:

If you would like to participate in the forum discussions, feel free to register for your free membership.