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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am just starting to think about getting some equipment to record myself on my Mac Pro. I'd mostly use the play-along CD's I have. I'm sure I can do a search on mic recommendations but is a mic and software all I really need to get started? Anyone have experience with Apple's Logic Express? I'd want to record a track from an existing play-along CD and then record myself in another track where I can add effects and stuff.
 

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Logic Express is great. I'm currently working on a CD and am using Logic Express to record on my iBook and am mixing with Logic Express on my MacMini. Sounds great, easy to use.

Have you tried to import your CD files in to GarageBand. GarageBand isn't bad but if you have the $ Logic Express is definitely better.

Good luck.
 

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You can use Audacity (free download).

I've been using Garageband (on the iLife cd, which includes iPhoto, iWeb, iDVD, and iMovie also)----lists at $79.

On garageband, you can do direct digital import of your cd tracks.

Oh, BTW, you might want to get a mixer/preamp with your mic or a USB mic to get the signal into your computer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the tips. I do have Garageband but I have the $$ for Logic Express and figured it might be better. Can you import CD tracks with that as well? How does it work with importing a stereo track where one channel turns off the guy playing?

I have a cheapo Logitech USB mic that I figure is probably no good for recording my sax. What is the purpose of a mixer/preamp?
 

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Mixer/preamp works if you have a regular (analog) mic. The mic inputs on computers are pretty nasty, IMHO.

I have a mackie mixer (Onyx 1220) that has a line level to firewire converter option installed. I just plug directly from the mixer to the firewire port in my TiBook. (I bought it before USB mics existed).

As far as the cd's. I think that the 'player' is recorded on one channel or the other. You would just import the cd, and mute one or the other of the channels.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Are analog mic's the best for recording live instruments?
 

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patseguin said:
Are analog mic's the best for recording live instruments?
The truth is that technically all mikes are analog. With USB mics, they are called digital because the A/D conversion is done within the mic, so that they can be attached directly to a port on the computer.

You can spend anywhere from $75 to $18k on a usb mic. I would imagine the $18k mic sounds pretty good.;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Haha, I bet the 18k one sounds good. The one I have is a fairly cheap Logitech I bought for using with Ventrilo (chat client) when I play World of Warcraft (when I should be practicing). Is there a particular mic I should look for, maybe at the Apple Store? I'd probably spend $100-$200 on one at this point.
 

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I'll probably be accused of being a shill, but I have dealt with Full Compass systems for over a decade. They have knowledgeable staff, and they have helped professionals out for several years. (That's where I saw the $18k USB mic--they have more reasonably priced ones).

http://www.fullcompass.com
 

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Blue makes some pretty nice microphones. It should work fine for you.
It looks kinda funny though;):D

(All mics made by Blue have unique shapes)
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
OK, I got the Blue Snowball mic and started messing around in Garage Band. I'll probably pick up Logic Express later. I thought the first time I recorded something it was OK, but now it always seems somewhat distorted. The input volume slider is greyed out in the track info section.

Also, I dragged a tune from a Snidero CD as it's own track. However, when I try to record myself with it I am getting a TON of distortion plus it is recording the tune from my speakers as well as me on my sax. Any tips? Do I need to use headphones so that the only sound on the mic is the sax?
 

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patseguin said:
OK, I got the Blue Snowball mic and started messing around in Garage Band. I'll probably pick up Logic Express later. I thought the first time I recorded something it was OK, but now it always seems somewhat distorted. The input volume slider is greyed out in the track info section.

Also, I dragged a tune from a Snidero CD as it's own track. However, when I try to record myself with it I am getting a TON of distortion plus it is recording the tune from my speakers as well as me on my sax. Any tips? Do I need to use headphones so that the only sound on the mic is the sax?
Wow, that was fast.

Yes, microphones can't distinguish between what you want and don't want to record. You need to listen to the tracks on headphones while you're recording.

On garageband, look at the track level and also the master level. You should always keep below the red.

Also, you might want to back off the mic. You can be much furthur away when recording as opposed to PA.

Another thing about garageband is that it doesn't default to hours:minutes:seconds:frames. I always change to that so that I can find points to overdub.

It's like I always say when asked how to run sound--I just twist the knobs until I like the way it sounds.:)

Hmm. Thanks Pete. Maybe I should get logic express. I'll be sure to check your tips.
 

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I sent a PM to with a recording I did in Garageband using a background downloaded free on the net. I have also done recordings with Aebersold tracks in GB and my playing. From there send to itunes and burn a CD.
Also, I could never get Audacity to work as well as Amadeus on my ibookG4.
Oops-I guess I can't add a mp3 on SOTW mail.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
jazzsax07 said:
I sent a PM to with a recording I did in Garageband using a background downloaded free on the net. I have also done recordings with Aebersold tracks in GB and my playing. From there send to itunes and burn a CD.
Also, I could never get Audacity to work as well as Amadeus on my ibookG4.
Oops-I guess I can't add a mp3 on SOTW mail.
To me? I didn't get a PM...
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
hakukani said:
Wow, that was fast.

Yes, microphones can't distinguish between what you want and don't want to record. You need to listen to the tracks on headphones while you're recording.
It's OK, you can call me a noob. ;)

This morning, I plugged in my headphones and set the audio output to Line Out. I imported the stereo track of "The Nearness of You" from a play along CD. I then created a "real instrument" track with the "solo sax" preset and set it to monitor. I started the recording and felt like I was in a studio! I had the full reverb and effects in the headphones and felt like I was playing with the band. What a good way to hear yourself and find tone problems, bad habits, etc. I'll try and upload it later. Keep in mind it was a first take. ;)

EDIT: Oh, and I installed the "low gain" firmware patch for the Snowball mic. They said it was appropriate for loud input, which I guess the sax qualifies as. I think what was happening yesterday was it had the high gain firmware plus while I was recording, it was also recording everything coming out of the computer speakers. Not sure how I could be so dumb...

EDIT#2: Is it possible to record sound from my WX5/VL70? How do I get the VL70 sounds into the computer? I know I can use the WX5 to control software instruments, but what if I want to use my VL70 sounds in a recording?
 

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hakukani said:
Yes, microphones can't distinguish between what you want and don't want to record. You need to listen to the tracks on headphones while you're recording.
Not necessarily.

If you send a mono track to a pair of speakers that are out of phase with each other, the mic will pick up your singing or playing, but the track coming from the speakers will be very much reduced due to phase cancellation.

This can work extremely well, ideally with a cardioid microphone which must be placed anywhere on an imaginary line equidistant from the two speakers.

You may need some trial and error to find the best position. I've tried this and have managed to lose about 95% of the track.
 

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Reversed polarity/180degrees out of phase gives me motion sickness when I listen to it--it's the tonmeister training. I have the same problem listening to an orchestra recording with the violins on the right.;)


Re: edit #2:

The line out of your VL70 to the line in of your sound card/computer should work.
 
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