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Did a quick video for an electronic music FB group, thought I'd share it here. It's just a quick rundown of my laptop-based setup which includes a DW8000 synth/keyboard controller, WX7 wind controller, Yamaha MU50, audio interface, MIDI interface and my saxes/microphones/etc. (I didn't include the saxes in this one). The audio interface is a Tascam US-122 which I've used for a few years now, sounds great. Has XLR inputs and phantom power so you can plug directly into it.

The XP laptop is running Cantabile Lite as a synth/VST effect host, and I have a bunch of virtual synths and effects. Some of the free effects out there are quite good like the Valhalla reverb and the Bionic Supa Delay.

Just thought I would share as an example of how you can put together a pretty nice setup on a pretty modest budget. I'm primarily using it for real-time applications. With the older laptop, you can't run too many instruments at the same time, but one synth voice at a time plus audio effects works fine.

https://youtu.be/25_d8A8Ai4Q

I was experimenting a little with pitch to MIDI conversion using my sax before I got my WX7. You can hear a bit of the sax with the envelope filter (and triggering the Evol virtual synth) in this crude demo I did.
https://youtu.be/me9rYTAVNXI
 

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Can you back and reedit the first video? Your voice over need to be louder and cut the background music. Can't hear what you are saying.
 

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Discussion Starter #3

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I'm looking for some guidance to set up a home recording station using a PC and a Presonus recording package (contents listed below). This seems a bit complicated and am wondering if I should just scrap this all for now and simply use an iPad. Any suggestions would be appreciated as I'm wanting to do a weekly recording of my improvisation attempts so that I can review and hopefully hear progress. Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

PreSonus AudioBox 96 Studio Complete Hardware/Software Recording Kit
AudioBox 96 USB 2.0 Audio Recording Interface
Studio One Artist 3 - Audio and MIDI Recording/Editing Software (Activation Card)
M7 Large-Diaphragm Microphone
HD7 Professional On-Ear Monitoring Headphones
Microphone Cable
Mic-Stand Adapter
Microphone Cloth Carry Bag
1/8" to 1/4" Adapter
Studio Magic Plug-In Suite
Limited 1-Year Warranty
 

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Hi Mike,

If you already have an iPad (or similar) then I'd say give it a go and see whether it's good enough for what you need.

The next step up from that might be a USB microphone, Blue make several (www.bluedesigns.com) and Røde has their NT-USB model. Going this route should give you a better sound than the built in mic on an iPad(*), but still keep the 'physical' complexity low - just one extra thing to plug in.

If what you want to do is record and listen back to your lines to check for improvements in note choice then either of these should have you well covered and are not hugely expensive.

* If you're one day hoping to develop the recording aspect further it might make sense to invest in more flexible gear, but I'll just say that it's a slippery slope and even with the USB mics the sound you record will be more coloured by your own ability and the room you're in more than the kit.

Either way, I think recording oneself for critical analysis is a great way to grow, even if it can sting a bit 🙂
 

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I have multiple setups that can do a lot of the same tasks, which is great for backup. I can run audio and effects on iPhone/iPad, plus I have two laptops running nearly identical setups (I recently setup a Windows 7 64 bit machine i thought had died due to a coffee spill a while back).

When I'm audio recording, I generally use the laptop and Audacity for the basic recording. I'm mostly using the laptop setups for basic recording and real time synth/effects host. That being said, I love Moog Filtatron which you can use for delay and all sorts of cool effects which is iPad/iPhone only. I also picked up Yonac ToneStack recently when it was on sale and you can setup some pretty good effect chains using that too.

The only thing, running multiple machines at the same time requires multiple audio interfaces. I have an older Tascam US-122 paired with the XP laptop and have been sharing my Behringer UMC204HD between the iPhone and newer laptop. The laptop systems are my go-to machines, because there is such a vast number of great plug-ins many are free. Topaz dynafilter, Bionic Supa Delay, TAL chorus, and a whole host of great synths. Plus, the large screen is very helpful when you have multiple things open.
 

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I know all of you young guys will be laughing at the idea of what Tascam calls a "Portastudio", but I fear that some of the teens or twenty-somethings who think that the world started about 2005 and that nothing from then can possibly be relevant, are not really aware. Somewhat larger and thicker than my laptop, two mics (or mic and electric guitar), can layer eight tracks, or bounce some and do more. Mic preamps, phantom power, mixer, EQ, reverb, and untold dozens of effects, editing, on and on. For practice I plug in a drumtrack from an old Yamaha keyboard, lay down the chords on my Gibson, with both in my headphones, and then get out my bari. I use a Tascam DP-02, and if I lay down a sweet SATB quartet, I slip in a CD-R and hit "go", or there is a version that saves to SD card. Very, very simple, all in one small self contained box, except for the Shure SM58s ($110ish new, $60-80 nice used), DP-02s, $125-150 used on Ebay (uses a hard drive and CD burner), much less and far more available in the DP-02SD version. Older, newer, and new versions exist, including 24 and 32 track versions. Many brands, Yamaha, Zoom, and 6-8 others also made these.

You'd be surprised how many guys on recording forums have given up their computer screens and gone back to twisting knobs on a console. a more hands-on feel and no tangle of connected boxes. And, if I want a bit of high tech and complexity, I switch on my Korg D3200 (it is modified to use a monitor), with 8 xlr inputs, 12 1/4" inputs, 32 tracks, an internal drum machine, about 8 million menus, screens, sub-menus, and more capabilities than most of the famous groups of my youth recorded their records with in a big studio. And, a 189 page manual.

What would you expect from someone with 50-year old (+) saxes he bought new?! Just be aware these exist, and don't laugh too much, you might be surprised what you can do with $250.
 

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Moxie: This is awesome! You should do a separate post with some pictures or a video of your setup. I'm seeing some of those Tascam and even the Roland digital recorders on the used market now. Often under $200. I've seen some of the 4 tracks ones even less.

I'm mostly using my setup to run virtual synths and effects in real-time, although when I record it's usually on one of my two laptop setups. I hear you about the chords. That's one reason I like the laptop setup...my audio interface provides phantom power and the mic preimps. I have a ton of virtual instruments and audio effects available to use and all of this goes to a single stereo output. And you can save all the effects and synth settings and levels.

Back in the day, I remember when we recorded our first demo on the old cassette based Tascam Portastudio. You see those on the used market as well, although I'm not sure how reliable they are. Some guys are using them just for the effect of tape saturation. I still have a good stereo cassette deck, although I hardly use it anymore.
 

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(Tap or touch to blow up)(Takes a few secs to load)

Studio above left.jpg Studio from above.jpg Studio main.jpg

Sorry, I don't come to this section of SOTW often, in fact my post above was my first stumble into it. I certainly wasn't flag waving about my setup, I truly wanted the teenagers who frequent here to know these exist! And, with the title on this thread, this is perfect enough for my photos, which I think I can load. And, I never expected the word awesome to in any way apply to me, I'm just a sixty-nine year-old Grampa of 16 that is a hobbyist, back but four years after 45 of not touching a sax.

I say what I said about teenagers (and the twenty-somethings) after a talented 13-year old with enough "moxie" to show up at our Junior College level jazz ensemble, almost fell off his chair when I mentioned that I had graduated from college before calculators came in to general usage, with only scientists using them in the previous few years. Then the nest week I burnt his brain by bringing in a slide rule, which he had never heard or dreamed of, and did three continuously connecting calculations faster than he could do them on his----phone. Then I showed him what a "tabbed G#" (often confused and lumped in with an "articulated G#") could do for him, now he thinks I'm pretty smart, not just ---OLD. (he does some bari work at Jr. High and I asked him if he had quarter notes of G# and B1 alternating and quickening to eighth notes in a concert band crescendo----what... would... he... do???)(bari players need to be able to dance on those bell keys because they WILL be asked to!!!)

Same with recording, or anything, for that matter----if you don't understand/appreciate how it was done before your era, you may be amazed that it worked. And, the subject here is "low budget"---it may have been cheaper, and now, considered passe. And more portable. Now, if I can only muster the tech to load pictures.............. Also might as well include one of the the whole family.

BTW, the old stereo system-holding TV stand (with middle shelf out) I garbage picked off the street on garbage collection day---FREE! Also note the two blue Samson mic preamps with a tube each for warmth, I guess, even though both decks have preamps for each input. One, $40 at a pawn shop, the other $45 off of Ebay. Buget, budget budget. I also claim kingship of truly budget, sleeper, little known, undervalued...but fabulous saxes. Do the names Beaugnier and Grassi come to mind??

The whole Famm Damily.jpg

And thanks for making an old guy feel even a little bit relevant. Jay, Spring Grove, Il. (Disregard pic below, its a dup I can't delete)
 

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Well, since we're showing off our studio set ups, I guess I'll post mine. It may not look "low budget", but trust me, for what I paid for everything it is low budget. It's based on a remote production truck, which I literally got for a steal, and everything else I bought used except for my laptop and the Focusrite Red 8Pre, which I also got deals on. I have a Yamaha DM2000 which will replace the old Soundtracs Quartz console, once I can find a buyer for it and get it out of my truck.

I'm currently working on a recording of Shostakovich's 7th Symphony by the Tulsa Symphony from last weekend.
 

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Very, very nice. And I considered taking a course at the neighboring county's JC in Audio tech after getting my Korg unit, but being a cheap ol' Polack I'll just get a book. Maybe you wrote that book! Seriously, I thought my $450ish (Two Shure SM58s mics, 2 preamps (not really needed, 2 used stands) if using the Tascam, or $675 (already had the old monitor in a drawer) if using the Korg, qualified as "low Budget". Heck, I don't even have monitors, I stole my wife noise-canceling headphones she bought for airplane travel, but I am hooked up to my stereo system, just out of the pic to the left. If I was doing any "showing off" it was to include a picture of my instruments, and even then, my total expenditures for those saxes pictured wouldn't even buy a Mark VI Bari!!!!
 
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