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I would like to record my playing at some point and have a few question re mic, interface and recording program. I know very little to nothing about electronics. From what info I've gathered, I need a mic( Shure SM57 recommended), an interface(recommendation?) and a recording program(Audacity?). I would like decent quality w/o paying through the nose if at all possible.Thanks in advance. I have friends who are knowledgeable but not for saxophone recording.
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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SM57 is good and is useful in that you can also use it on gigs.

But for studio work condensers are usually preferred. They are not so good for gigs as they can be a bit delicate, plus they need to be supplied with 48v phantom power, which is usually integrated with many mic preamps (and mixing desks).

The interface you need can do two functions (and most/many do these days), ie they are a mic preamp (all mics need those) and analogue to digital converter (ie turns the analogue signal to something your computer can use). Analogue/Digital (A/D) interfaces usually connect via USB or Firewire.

The Apogee One is a good interface if all you need is one microphone, as that is a mic and interface all in one USB device. Easy and good quality

But if you need to record a stereo source, or several mics at once, then you would need an interface that can deal with more than one channel of input.


Audacity will get you going. No problem there.

My recommendation for anyone getting into computer recording is to get a Mac. Garageband (included free) is a great starter application, then it's big bro Logic can take you deeper into realms of great production.
 

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The Apogee One is a good interface if all you need is one microphone, as that is a mic and interface all in one USB device. Easy and good quality
Since the OP is asking about Audacity, I assume he is PC only. If he was on mac, I'd assume he'd want to use garage band. So the Apogee stuff won't work. It's MAC only. +1 for getting a mac though. garageband is a great app and included. Audacity is very basic. Also +1 on the condenser mic. What is your budget. portable? record just sax? or record along to backing tracks? recording a band?
 

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Thanks for your input. Yes, I have a pc. I do want to record with backing tracks. I would just be recording at home. Maybe 200 bucks as a budget. I do have access to Music Studio 7 by Sony.
 

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PG Music has a cheap and powerful recording software called PowerTracks that might work. If you are just going to record sax, you might want to look into getting a USB microphone. Blue makes one or two that sound really good.
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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Since the OP is asking about Audacity, I assume he is PC only. If he was on mac, I'd assume he'd want to use garage band. So the Apogee stuff won't work. It's MAC only. +1 for getting a mac though. garageband is a great app and included.
I assumed we may well be talking PC (though audacity is Mac also). I hadn't realise Apogee One was mac only, that is sad.

Still, I think it's always worth mentioning macs when discussing audio recording, in case people are thinking of making that change. I did and i am so glad.
 

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I'm MAC all the way in my studio these days, but I used PC for digital audio for a few years with no real issues. PC's have come a long ways. Sony software for recording is good. Better than Audacity IMO. Nothing wrong with audacity but everything seems to take a while....
 

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A stand alone recorder is a great option. There are a bunch of neat multi track digital recorders on the market that are both portable and powerful. Tascam stuff is fine for what you want to do. Then all you need is a mic. The 57 is a good bet because it's cheap and (as Pete said) can be used live. They're great studio tools for micing some drums and guitar cabs too if you ever decide to get more into it and want to upgrade.
 

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My obligatory standard reply-for-newbies that I keep in Wordpad so this is just a paste (I don't want to re-type this all the time):

First off, immediately get a good beginner recording book (spend $20 before spending hundred$/thousand$) that shows you what you need to get started and how to hook everything up in your studio:
Home Recording for Musicians by Jeff Strong - $16
http://www.amazon.com/Home-Recordin...=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1273169612&sr=1-1

PC Recording Studios for Dummies - $16
http://www.amazon.com/Recording-Stu...=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1273169612&sr=1-2
(Wish I'd had those when I started; would have saved me lots of money and time and grief)
You can also pick up this book in most any Borders or Barnes&Noble in the Music Books section!

Recording Guitar and Bass by Huw Price
http://www.amazon.com/Recording-Gui...=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1215734124&sr=1-1
(I got my copy at a place called Half-Price Books for $6!!)

Home Recording for Beginners by Geoffrey Francis
http://www.amazon.com/Home-Recording-Beginners-Geoffrey-Francis/dp/1598638815

When you get a bit into it, I highly recomend The Art of Mixing by David Gibson
http://www.amazon.com/Art-Mixing-Recording-Engineering-Production/dp/1931140456

A MUST READ: Kim Lajoie's "Lifesigns from studio" - FREE - http://www.errepici.it/web/download/KLBD.asp

And you can get a FREE subscription to TapeOp magazine at www.tapeop.com

Barnes&Noble or Borders are great places to start --- they have recording books and you can go get a snack or coffee and read them for FREE! Don't pass by a good recording book --- this is a VERY technical hobby and you REALLY want to start a reference library!!!

Good Newbie guides that also explains all the basics and have good tips:
http://www.tweakheadz.com/guide.htm
http://www.computermusic.co.uk/page/computermusic?entry=free_beginner_pdfs
http://www.harmony-central.com/articles/
http://www.gearslutz.com/board/tips-techniques/168409-tips-techniques.html

Guitar Amp Recording: http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/aug07/articles/guitaramprecording.htm

21 Ways To Assemble a Recording Rig: http://www.tweakheadz.com/rigs.htm

Other recording books: http://musicbooksplus.com/home-recording-c-31.html

Still using a built-in soundcard?? Unfortunately, those are made with less than $1 worth of chips for beeps, boops and light gaming (not to mention cheapness for the manufacturer) and NOT quality music production.
#1 Rule of Recording: You MUST replace the built-in soundcard.
Here's a good guide and user-tested suggestions that work: http://www.tweakheadz.com/soundcards_for_the_home_studio.htm
(you'll want to bookmark and read through all of Tweak's Guide while you're there...)

Plenty of software around to record for FREE to start out on:
Sony ACID Xpress 10-track sequencer: http://www.acidplanet.com/downloads/xpress/
Audacity: http://audacity.sourceforge.net (multi-track with VST support)
Wavosaur: http://www.wavosaur.com/ (a stereo audio file editor with VST support)\
Kristal: http://www.kreatives.org/kristal/
Other freebies and shareware: www.hitsquad.com/smm

Another great option is REAPER at http://www.cockos.com/reaper/
(It's $50 but runs for free until you get guilty enough to pay for it...)
I use Reaper and highly reccomend it...

Music Notation and MIDI recording: Melody Assistant ($25) and Harmony Assistant ($80) have the power of $600 notation packages...
http://myriad-online.com
Demo you can try on the website.

Great booklet on mic'ing techniques from Shure:
http://www.shure.com/idc/groups/public/documents/webcontent/us_pro_micsmusicstudio_ea.pdf

And you can go out to any Barnes&Noble or Borders and pick up "Computer Music" magazine - they have a full FREE studio suite in every issue's DVD, including sequencers, plugins and tons of audio samples. (November 2006 they gave away a full copy of SamplitudeV8SE worth $150, November 2007-on the racks Dec in the US- they gave away SamplitudeV9SE and July 2009 issue they put out Samplitude10SE, December 2010 they gave away Samplitude11LE. FREE. It pays to watch 'em for giveaways...)

'Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.'
 

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My obligatory standard reply-for-newbies that I keep in Wordpad so this is just a paste (I don't want to re-type this all the time):

First off, immediately get a good beginner recording book (spend $20 before spending hundred$/thousand$) that shows you what you need to get started and how to hook everything up in your studio:
Home Recording for Musicians by Jeff Strong - $16
http://www.amazon.com/Home-Recordin...=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1273169612&sr=1-1

PC Recording Studios for Dummies - $16
http://www.amazon.com/Recording-Stu...=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1273169612&sr=1-2
(Wish I'd had those when I started; would have saved me lots of money and time and grief)
You can also pick up this book in most any Borders or Barnes&Noble in the Music Books section!

Recording Guitar and Bass by Huw Price
http://www.amazon.com/Recording-Gui...=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1215734124&sr=1-1
(I got my copy at a place called Half-Price Books for $6!!)

Home Recording for Beginners by Geoffrey Francis
http://www.amazon.com/Home-Recording-Beginners-Geoffrey-Francis/dp/1598638815

When you get a bit into it, I highly recomend The Art of Mixing by David Gibson
http://www.amazon.com/Art-Mixing-Recording-Engineering-Production/dp/1931140456

A MUST READ: Kim Lajoie's "Lifesigns from studio" - FREE - http://www.errepici.it/web/download/KLBD.asp

And you can get a FREE subscription to TapeOp magazine at www.tapeop.com

Barnes&Noble or Borders are great places to start --- they have recording books and you can go get a snack or coffee and read them for FREE! Don't pass by a good recording book --- this is a VERY technical hobby and you REALLY want to start a reference library!!!

Good Newbie guides that also explains all the basics and have good tips:
http://www.tweakheadz.com/guide.htm
http://www.computermusic.co.uk/page/computermusic?entry=free_beginner_pdfs
http://www.harmony-central.com/articles/
http://www.gearslutz.com/board/tips-techniques/168409-tips-techniques.html

Guitar Amp Recording: http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/aug07/articles/guitaramprecording.htm

21 Ways To Assemble a Recording Rig: http://www.tweakheadz.com/rigs.htm

Other recording books: http://musicbooksplus.com/home-recording-c-31.html

Still using a built-in soundcard?? Unfortunately, those are made with less than $1 worth of chips for beeps, boops and light gaming (not to mention cheapness for the manufacturer) and NOT quality music production.
#1 Rule of Recording: You MUST replace the built-in soundcard.
Here's a good guide and user-tested suggestions that work: http://www.tweakheadz.com/soundcards_for_the_home_studio.htm
(you'll want to bookmark and read through all of Tweak's Guide while you're there...)

Plenty of software around to record for FREE to start out on:
Sony ACID Xpress 10-track sequencer: http://www.acidplanet.com/downloads/xpress/
Audacity: http://audacity.sourceforge.net (multi-track with VST support)
Wavosaur: http://www.wavosaur.com/ (a stereo audio file editor with VST support)\
Kristal: http://www.kreatives.org/kristal/
Other freebies and shareware: www.hitsquad.com/smm

Another great option is REAPER at http://www.cockos.com/reaper/
(It's $50 but runs for free until you get guilty enough to pay for it...)
I use Reaper and highly reccomend it...

Music Notation and MIDI recording: Melody Assistant ($25) and Harmony Assistant ($80) have the power of $600 notation packages...
http://myriad-online.com
Demo you can try on the website.

Great booklet on mic'ing techniques from Shure:
http://www.shure.com/idc/groups/public/documents/webcontent/us_pro_micsmusicstudio_ea.pdf

And you can go out to any Barnes&Noble or Borders and pick up "Computer Music" magazine - they have a full FREE studio suite in every issue's DVD, including sequencers, plugins and tons of audio samples. (November 2006 they gave away a full copy of SamplitudeV8SE worth $150, November 2007-on the racks Dec in the US- they gave away SamplitudeV9SE and July 2009 issue they put out Samplitude10SE, December 2010 they gave away Samplitude11LE. FREE. It pays to watch 'em for giveaways...)

'Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.'
This is all great stuff and highly recommended however, if you want to be up and running quickly at a great sounding but simple level - The studio in a box recorders are a great bet. I cut my first aired commercial on a tascam 4 track cassette porta-studio. IT was far from the best sound quality and I bought an 8 track reel to reel with the proceeds, but it worked well enough for a novice to use and sound good. ONe day you may well have to expand your efforts and go with a computer / software solution, but todays portable, multi track "studios" can put out CD quality sound complete with FX, and be had for well under $500. There is virtually no learning curve here - just plug and play. Either way you go -- good luck. PS. You will need a mic :)
 

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I recommend this:

Steinberg Cubase Artist 6, $249 (or $149 educational) at musiciansfriend.com

If that is too high, get Reaper. They want $50 for non-commercial use. You will also need an audio card. It must have ASIO. If you don't have ASIO, download ASIO4ALL.
 

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I'm doing exactly what you want to do, (I think !!), namely have some fun at home recording your own music, and maybe getting some mates in from time to time to have a bit of a jam session and capture it on your PC, or maybe burn it to a CD. All the expert advice above is absolutely on the button and and I can add little to it, but I've been home recording for a couple of years now and recently got confident enought to produce a demo CD of my sax quartet which we give to organizers of events who might want to hire us.

I thought it might help if I jut list what I've ended up with after building up my home recording den over a couple of years, buying kit, binning kit, changing things and trying different combinations of kit. It's this:

Lexicon Lambda 4 + 2 + 2 interface bundled with Cubase LE - new £87
Red5 Audio RV6 cardioid Studio condenser microphone - new £57
Samson C03 multi-pattern studio condenser microphone new £65
Microphone boom stand with stereo bar - new £30
2 x 6m XLR cables - new £20
48v/12v Phanton Power supply - new £16
Pair used studio monitor speakers - £50
Pair used studio monitor headphones - £35
Wireless headphones - new £30
Used 15w x15w stereo amp - £15

And that's basically it. The essentials to begin with are the interface and the digital audio workstation (DAW), but if you already have a PC and buy an interface which comes bundled with recording software, which most do, then that's your DAW sorted. For the interface I would recommend one with at least two microphone inputs to give yoursself a stereo capability. On microphones I certainly agree with Pete Thomas that condensers are the preferred choice. I have the cardiod and the multi-pattern because I like to record everything mid/side, (you can Google that for details). With mid/side, even on a solo recording just a touch of the side channel makes a big difference and gives the solo body and depth. The speakers, headphones and setero amp, well you could do without them, but you'd soon get fed up trying to work with your crappy PC speakers and once you start using decent speakers properly driven you'll realize how important it is to have them, especially when mixing your tracks down. I use the wired headphones on the DAW, but for playing to backing tracks I use the wireless phones, no cable to get tangled round my sax !! Ok why the phantom power supply when the Lexicon interface provides phantom power, well, becasue the Lexicon phantom power struggles with two condenser mics connected. I checked it once and with both mics connected the Lexicon phantom power dropped to 39 volts which is out of spec for phantom power. I've got an ongoing issue with Lexicon on this but that''s another matter. So I power one of the condensers from its own PS.

So for what it's worth around £400, (I've never added it up before !!), got me set up and working and if you shopped around enough you could probably do it for less. It's a budget setup for sure, but it works pretty well for what I want to do and I suspect this is the kind of level you'll be aiming at too so I hope this is useful, and good luck setting yourself up, it's great fun.
 

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There are two basic kinds of wireless headphones, infrared and radio. The infrared type are line of sight which means you have to have unobstucted space between you and the IR sender which in turn means that you are in the same room as the IR sender. The radio type have a range of up to 100 metres and will work through walls and other obstructions. I chose the IR type because they are cheaper and I didn't need the range of radio phones. The IR sender plugs into your sound source, in my case the Lexicon interface headphones socket, and then transmits that via an IR beam to the phones.

The ones I've got are very good, certainly good enough to play along with backing tracks. I stand about 5 metres away from the sender in my recording den and provided I stay within around 45 degrees either side of the sender's centre line i don't get any noise in the phones. If I stray beyond 45 degrees either side then in comes the noise - and how !!! Would I sit down with something that chinks in the glass and chill out listening to my favourite Hi Fi CD with them? No I wouldn't to be honest. But as I say, for recording all I need is to hear is my backing track. I'm not really interested in Hi Fi in that situation.
 

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It might be a bit of an overkill for your needs, but I recently bought a Zoom R16 digital multi-track. It allows stand-alone recording of up to 8 tracks simultanously, but also works as an 8-track interface to either a Mac or a PC. I'm having great fun importing BiaB made backgrounds, and then adding 1 or more sax voices. Through an USB connection, it is very easy to transfer files back and forth between the Zoom and the computer. A stripped-down Cubase is included, for mixing and mastering purpose.
The HUGE advantage of a device like the Zoom: it works standalone. I have it on a music stand beside me, and it is ways easier to operate than a computer when you're playing your stuff. No glitches, no click on the wrong button. Just like any of those good old small cassette multitrackers. But with digital quality.
You can use any mike, as it also includes 2 phantom-power inputs.
Zoom also produces a smaller version: http://www.zoom.co.jp/products/r8
Amazing tools for the home studio.
 

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Yes - It looks like a great deal. At 24 bit / 48k, the sound quality will be good enough to churn out broadcast ready tracks all day. If stuff like this were available when I got started, my studio would be much smaller (and simpler) than it is today. This is easily upgradeable simply by adding a high-end mic and pre too. With a ton of DSP effects and on-board sounds it really seems to be a one-stop shop for the aspiring producer. These days - even the entry level stuff has one or two usable reverbs, delays, etc.
 
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