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Recording on a Shoestring Budget!

Recording Equipment

   1.Computer - pentium works best
   2.Sound card with wavetable synthesis
   3.Software sequencer
   4.Microphone and pre-amp
   5.Amp with reverb (or a seperate reverb unit)
   6.Four track recorder (this can be substituted with a wave/midi sequencer)
   7.Various cables including --- RCA cable, 1/8 inch to female RCA, 1/4 to female RCA, 1/4 to 1/4
     cables, 1/8 to 1/8 cables (usually they are stereo--consult your soundcard manual)
   8.Wav. recorder software
   9.Standard cassette deck
  10.Jammer Songmaker software --- optional
  11.Samplitude Software---optional

 

How do I use all this stuff?

 

Recording a midi file to your 4 track recorder

Use 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch cable to connect computer sound card (line out) to line in on 4 track
tape recorder (You probably will have to use the directions below to adapt a cable from 1/8 to
1/4 inch)

   1.1/8 inch to female RCA ---- Connect the 1/8 inch plug to the "line out" or "speaker out" jack on
     your sound card.
   2.Connect a standard RCA cable to the female jacks on the 1/8 inch plug.
   3.1/4 inch to female RCA ---- Connect the standard RCA plugs to the female RCA to 1/4 inch
     plug.
   4.Insert the1/4 inch plug into the "line in" jack on your 4 track recorder.
   5.Record your piece into the computer sequencer with a keyboard, guitar synth, or compositional
     software.--- You will need a midi connection from your keyboard to the midi jack on your sound
     card.
   6.Now you can record the music from your sequencer (computer midi program) onto track one of
     your 4 track recorder.
   7.Disconnect the cables from the computer to the four track recorder.

Recording thru your Amplifier to a Four Track!

   1.Run your microphone cable to the amplifier -- then run a 1/4 inch cable (guitar cord) from the
     "line out"---preamp (If you don't have a line out jack on your amp then you might want to get a
     small preamp unit) to the "line in" on your four track recorder.
   2.I just found the best keep pre-amp secret out there. Use a FX40B Graphic equalizer -- it's a
     combination EQ and pre-amp. It works great for running a plain mic directly into a computer
     soundcard.
   3.Record your vocals on track two.
   4.Record any other non-midi instruments on track three.
   5.Record harmony vocals on track four.
   6.You can mix down directly to a standard tape deck or proceed to: "Recording your master piece
     from the four track to your computer"
   7.Disconnect all cables

Recording your Masterpiece from the Four Track to your Computer!

   1.Now connect a standard RCA cable to the "line out" of your 4 track recorder ---- Connect the
     other end to the female RCA jacks of the 1/8 inch plug.
   2.Plug the 1/8 inch plug into the "line in" jack of your computer sound card.
   3.Open up your wav. recorder
   4.Try to keep your audio peak level below "0" DB (sometimes -3db is best). Digital easily distorts
     above "0" DB! If you must adjust your computer input levels then go to
     Start/programs/accessories/multimedia/volumn control/options/properties/. Click on recording and
     adjust your line-in level.
   5.Hit the record button on your wav. recorder/player then start your four track recorder.
   6.Mix your four track (analog) recording into the wav. recorder
   7.If you are using a good wav. player/recorder then you will have reverb, echo, flange, amplitude
     (fade in - fade out), etc..........
   8.Add whatever you like from the above
   9.Save file ---- This will be a very large file so you must have a big hard drive!
  10.There are a few advantages to feeding the tracks back into the computer!
  11.First -- You will be saving your recording digitally so it won't degrade like tape. You must have a
     very large hard drive--wav. files are very big. I use a zip drive to store them. ---Second -- For
     some reason (I have an idea but I won't get into that) the sound becomes richer! ---Third -- You
     can add reverb and such to the finished product (Go light) ---Fourth-- It is easy to make tapes
     for submission to publishers or whomever!

     Making Tapes from your Computer to a Standard Cassette Deck!

        1.To make tapes--- Start with steps 1 and 2 of "Recording a Midi File to your Four Track
          Recorder"
        2.Connect the RCA cable to the "line in" jack on your standard cassette deck.
        3.Load your beloved song into the wav. player.
        4.Start your cassette deck recording--- Hit the play button on your wav. player
        5.Bingo!--- You've got your tape when the song is done playing!
        6.Cables may vary with different electronic equipment ---- I would'nt bet my check on it!
        7.If you burn or break something -- I'm not responsible buddy!--- (Don't crank the levels up
          to fast---Do a sound check--Start low with the trim until you get to "0" db)
        8.It is amazing how good your tapes will be if you just add one vocal and say a guitar solo to
          the #1 midi track
        9.You've got to play with the stuff----So get serious! -- Check out the compositional
          software section! ----- I can make a demo (work tape) from start to finish in an hour with
          it!-----If your a serious songwriter you can knock out lots of tunes per week ----cheap!!!
       10.Also, midi guitar stinks! ----- I usually add an analog guitar track (A real guitar) and turn
          the midi guitar track way down----- This gives the total product a more realistic sound!
 
 

     Recording with a Combination Midi/Wav
     Sequencer only!
 

        1.Record your instrument tracks to a sequencer via the midi connection on your sound card!
        2.Connect your microphone via the 1/8 inch "microphone" or "input jack" on your sound
          card! ------You will probably need a 1/4 inch to 1/8 inch plug adapter.
        3.You may need a power mic to boost the signal if it's too low.
        4.Record your vocal track.
        5.Some of the combination sequencers will let you export your wav. file. to a wav.
          recorder/player----- You can then add reverb and import it back to the original file!
        6.I don't like recording vocals in a wav. file ----They have a hard sound to them! ------Using
          a four track recorder for the vocals seems to soften them up!
 
 

     Converting Midi files to Wav. files
 

        1.This is very simple! (Check with your soundcard manufacturer before doing this)
        2.You need a fast computer---I used a Pentium 66M and that's close to the minumum.
        3.If you have a "line out" and "line in" jack on your sound card then you can get a 1/8 inch
          plug to 1/8 inch plug cable and connect (loop) the two jacks together. (Try it without the
          looped cable first - some soundcards may have the card wired internally. If you can't hear
          a soundfile on replay then you'll need to get the cable and loop)
        4.I use an Ensoniq soundcard - cheap but very workable for the poor folks(I've read the
          soundblaster cards won't let you do this)
        5.Open up your sequencer and your wav. recorder at the same time
        6.Load the midi file that you want to convert to wav.
        7.Start your wav. recorder---then start your midi sequencer
        8.When the tune is finished playing then your done--stop both players!
        9.Disconnect cables
       10.Certain wav. recorder/players will let you mix wav. files---You can make a whole demo
          in this manner if you have a big enough hard drive. -----One wav. file at 44k, mono, 16 bit
          equals about 5meg/minute of recording!
 

     Hard Disk Recording at a Great Price!!!
 

        1.The "Samplitude" Hard Disk Recorder and editor is AMAZING!!!
        2.If you follow their "Quick Start" help catagory you will be using the software in about two
          hours!
        3.The software allows you to line up wav. files in seconds
        4.The editing functions are as fast as a runner on steriods!!!
        5.Use the "Converting Midi Files to Wav. Files" proceedor above or record your
          instrumentation directly into the wav. player.
        6.You can also use the sequencer/wav. recorder that comes with Samplitude to record your
          vocal or instrumental tracks.(Hit the record button and set it up in media)
        7.You may want to run your mic into a pre-amp and out to the "line in" jack on your sound
          card--This should give you a cleaner signal (most sound cards will let you run the mic
          directly to the input without a pre-amp!)
        8.I use a "Zoom 3030" run directly into the computer for my analog guitar tracks (no amp)
        9.Send your mixed wav. tracks out to a cassette deck and walla!!!--You get one great
          tape--Cheap!!---With a good soundcard (Full Duplex) and mic you can get a recording
          good enough to put on a "CD"
       10."Samplitude Pro" is about 150.00 and "Samplitude Studio" is about 300.00----This software
          is worth thousands!!
       11.I just bought the "Studio" version--- Amazing!!!---Download the Demo--You won't be
          sorry!!!
       12.P.S.-- I've been playing with the program converting midi files to wav. ---Here is how
          I've found works best---(For half duplex cards--soundcards that can't record and play at
          the same time)--Use samplitude as a sequencer and wav. recorder at the same time---
          Hit the record button--This opens the record window--click on media-- click on the
          question mark--load the midi file you want to transfer--loop the output to the input on your
          sound card(do this with your computer turned off)-- set up the levels for your record
          input(windows 95--accessories-multimedia-volume control-properties-record-line in or
          mic) --Hit record in the samplitude record window--You won't hear it recording but you'll
          see the meter moving--This gives you a very good sync'd wav file-- I have a Pentium 66
          and this is just enough processor--Record at 22k unless you have a Pentium.
       13.If you turn off "Graphic file while recording" in the recording window then you shouldn't
          have a problem syncing at 44k with a pentium!!
 

     Midi to Wav without a wavetable
     soundcard by Tom Campbell
 
 

     I've recently had good success recording midi to .wav by going from sound card midi
     out to midi in on external synth module, then phono plug out from the synth module to
     line in on the sound card. This worked better for me because I have a cheesy
     (non-wavetable FM) sound card.