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Recording Upgrade Complete!

May 5th, 2008

After saving and researching for a couple years, I’m finally done upgrading my recording “studio,” (i.e. all the music stuff I keep in my apartment that keeps me from having a real living room.) I started setting it all up about six months ago. I got the microphones, then the control surface, and I started recording on my laptop. I got a separate computer a few months ago, and the monitor finally arrived today:

DAW

While the new CD is very close to being completely tracked, the new computer and monitor are going to be a necessity for actually getting the tracks mixed. It’s so hard to keep track of everything on a little laptop screen. And now everything is set up permanently–no more unhooking everything if I decide to go to the coffee shop.

The list:
Tascam FW-1082 control surface/audio interface
Vision DAW mid-tower computer
Acer 22″ Monitor
Audio Technica AT-2020 large diaphragm condenser microphone
Pair of Samson C02 small diaphragm condenser microphones
Shure SM57 dynamic instrument microphone
Peavey KB2 keyboard amplifier (for monitoring and as a vocal amp)

I’ve been running everything, except bass guitar, into the Tascam without processing, using the onboard preamps. Supposedly they’re pretty close to the pre’s in my fourtrack, except balanced. I’ve never really minded them. In fact I bought a mic preamp last year, thinking I’d get a better sound, but the Tascam preamps were much better as long as you turned up the treble.

I run my bass through a cheap compressor, preamp/DI and EQ directly into the Tascam, and then I stick it in the background. My bass amp sucks and the only thing I use it for is writing bass lines. I don’t have a “proper” monitoring system. The Tascam’s outputs are hooked up to my stereo system, which have semi-decent, but by no means professional, speakers hooked up to it. So audio engineers are probably going to hear imperfections on my tracks. I think they’d hear them anyways. The other 95% of people aren’t going to notice when they listen to my stuff on their computers or cheap headphones (if they listen at all.)

All that said, I’m still very likely to entertain the notion that analogue recording sounds better. If I had money and space, I’d love to be working on reel-to-reel machines and an analogue console. For now, this is practical. And the learning curve is friendlier.