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Old 04-29-2009, 06:09 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Basic recording

What is the absolute minimum equipment required to record a four piece standard rock band? I have $300ish dollars and my friends have probably have 300 between them as well. Provided we have the right instruments what more do we need? Two microphones and a mixer is all, right?
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Old 04-29-2009, 10:03 PM   #2 (permalink)
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No.
Given your 600 dollar budget, your best minimum setup is the following:

- Computer
$0 (since you obviously already have one)

- Music recording program
$0 (Audacity is free, but extremely limiting)

- Audio interface
$199 for this M-audio Fast Track Pro
This interface will plug into your computer via USB and allow you to record directly into Audacity. It features two mic/line inputs with pre-amps and phantom power. This will allow you to record two mics simultaneously, which will come in handy when recording L/R channel for drums, assuming you're not going to mic every drum piece (in which case, you'd need a mixer and a lot more mics).

- 3 microphones
One dynamic and two condensers.

Dynamic: Shure SM57
$99 - Use this to mic your guitar amp, bass amp, and if you have a screamer, don't ever let him have a condenser. If you don't have a screamer and you're not planning on miking your amps and you'd rather go direct... You don't need this microphone.

Condensers (times two):
[These are going to need phantom power from your interface.]
You should go for quality over price with this. You're going to need two condensers for L/R overheads on the drums. I'd get two nice condensers because you're going to use one of them when tracking your vocals. So you're making a better investment. It's never a good investment, however, if you buy crap gear. ESPECIALLY with microphones.
$79x2 - MXL Dual Capsule condenser

- Three microphone cables, and beer.

And that, my friend, will do the job.

With that setup, you can record in two different ways.
-You can go for the live feel and set both condensers up in the room and record the jam, OR, you can record each instrument separately, and have control over each individual instrument when it's recorded in your program.

The latter option, however, will require that you have a pair of sealed headphones. Reason being, is that when person A records his parts, person B needs to hear them while recording his, so on and so forth. I probably didn't need to add that, but you never know.

So..
The choice is yours. That's a pretty flexible setup. You can always upgrade in the future with a better recording program (Cakewalk Sonar ftw.) and you'll most likely upgrade to an audio interface with more inputs in the future, but that's all fine and do-able. What I've suggested is a low budget, bare minimum to get any kind of good quality recording.
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Old 04-30-2009, 12:22 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Veridical Fiction View Post
No.

- Music recording program
$0 (Audacity is free, but extremely limiting)
Get Acoustica Mixcraft. For 30 days you can do whatever you want with abosolutely no limitations. After that the program is like $50..

and I'll be as subtle as I can when I give you this piece of advice:

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Old 04-30-2009, 01:31 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks so much! seriously.

Verdical, the condensers you showed me, are those considered good?
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Old 04-30-2009, 06:40 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Double X View Post
Thanks so much! seriously.

Verdical, the condensers you showed me, are those considered good?
They're considered good. It's not top of the line, but it's more than adequate.
I own one, and for the price, you get damn good quality and versatility without paying hundreds of dollars for a single microphone.
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Old 04-30-2009, 09:15 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Cool, thanks.

Is it even worth glancing at Craigslist?
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Old 04-30-2009, 10:17 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Double X View Post
Cool, thanks.

Is it even worth glancing at Craigslist?
If you can find what you're looking for and you're confident that the gear you're buying is operable, then yes.
I'd personally buy new, but that's just me. If you're on a budget, you may be better off seeing what used gear you can find.
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Old 05-02-2009, 05:55 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Cheers, that's it for questions from me.
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Old 06-02-2009, 08:03 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Sorry for the bump but I just have one other question. With the set up there, would it be possible to do.

Vocals - 1 condenser
Guitar/Bass - 1 dynamic
Drums - 1 condenser

at the same time? Would that sound like shit or could that be a compromise (sort of) between the two options you said in your first post?
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Old 06-02-2009, 10:25 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Double X View Post
Sorry for the bump but I just have one other question. With the set up there, would it be possible to do.

Vocals - 1 condenser
Guitar/Bass - 1 dynamic
Drums - 1 condenser

at the same time? Would that sound like shit or could that be a compromise (sort of) between the two options you said in your first post?
The thing about using a condenser for vocals while in the same room as the drums, regardless of what's being used to record the drums, is that the vocal condenser microphone is going to pick up A LOT of the drums and you're not going to get any separation and will probably end up with some anti-phasing on your drum channel when mixing in the vocal channel. It will degrade things a good bit and you won't have any clarity on your vocal channel.

But, if you absolutely need to record all elements at once, you're going to need to have separate rooms to do it in... otherwise the bleed-over is going to be impossible to avoid.

I'm not sure if you understood what I meant when I said the three microphones don't have to be used at the same time, but just to be sure, I mean that each element; the drums, the guitar, bass, and vocals will NOT be recorded at the same time. It's a process called "tracking" and it's done in practically every major studio these days.
The guitarist, to a metronome, plays and records his parts for the whole song. The bassist can come afterward and record his parts onto a different track while listening to the guitarist's already recorded parts in headphones. The drummer can come after and record his parts into another track while listening to the guitar & bass that's already been recorded (in headphones, obviously).
Then the singer can record his parts in the same fashion.

If you do it like that, you will only need the microphones I listed. The only requirement is that in between instrument takes, you re-position the microphones as necessary.

Let me know if you understand what I mean, or, if I'm not understanding what you mean.
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