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Help for a very beginner

Discussion in 'Studio Techniques' started by Josantos, Mar 10, 2013.

  1. Josantos

    Josantos New Member

    Hi there! I'm a professional classical musician that's trying to create a project about "sort of new age music..." My idea is to get ALL the necessary equipment for doing so. I'm still a pc user and all I have is the musical ideas. For the rest, I'm completely lost... I have heard about Logic and I think it could be the better option for making my creative ideas come real. Would anyone give me some advice to begin? The first this I have to do is getting a Mac, but, wich one? Mixing tables? Microphones?? Any books to read as a starting guide? Please help! Bassically, I would like to record a group of about 5-6 musicians (2 violins, viola, cello, bass, percussion, woodwinds...) and add some "atmospheric" sounds (virtual instruments and midis??).

    Thanks a lot!

  3. Pete Thomas

    Pete Thomas Administrator Staff Member

    First of all, welcome to the forum. I moved your post to the correct section.

    Congratulations on making the choice to consider Logic, and its inevitable requirement to jump over to the mac platform.

    The thing that jumps out at me form your list is "mixing tables". Yopu don't need one any more, as a mixer in the traditional sens of a piece of external equipment includes mostly functions which are done in the software these days, ie mixing.

    What the traditional mixer does include tha the software cannot, is the necessary microphone preamp which amplifies a microphone.

    So aort from microphones obviously and a computer, the big thing to think about is what we cal an interface to get one into the other.

    Most basic 9and pro level)interfacses do two things:

    They include a set of mic amps and they also include a set of converters which convert the amplified signals from analogue to digital so they can go nto the computer.

    Your next decision is whether you want to record in a traditional classical style, which would mean all musicians playing together and you capture an already balanced recording.this can be done with just one pair of microphones. Any issues with performance have to fixed by rercording and editing takes together as opposed to the other (pop/rock) method of recording musicians one at a time (overdubbing) which gives you the luxury of being able to fix e.g. just one wrong note or change parts radically later on, but possibly at the cost of the live ineteraction of a spontaneous performance.

    My recommendation is to be covered for both, and so for what you want a typical 8 input interface will be best, although if budget is tight then start of with a two input).

    If your recording space has a reasonable acoustic, you may well only ever need a stero pair of microphones for such an ensemble. I say that because when recording a group, the mics need to be far away enoough to capture a good balance, but this has the double edged swortd of also recording the room ambience. Once recorded along with the musicians you are more or less stuck with this ambience, warts and all.

    If you record instruments individually you can use a ic closer and so get a "drier" recording which you can make sound more natural by adding ambience (reverb) in the mixing stage, which gives you the luxury of experimenting with different rebverbs. The built in effects these days are way better than what most people can get in a home recording situation.

    As to the actual kit, I'll leave that for now for others to respond to, I have settled on a 27" imac, though if you want to be more mobile then a macbook pro is also ideal.

    I use an Apogee Ensble interface and a collection of mics. What I would say is that it's worth getting at least two of your mics identical so that they work well as a stereo pair. And as I said above, that may be all you ever need.
  4. Josantos

    Josantos New Member

    Thank you very much for your reply. I apologise for writing in the wrong section… Thank you for moving the post to the right one.

    I had my first contact with Mac and Logic long long long ago in an elective subject that I took when a was an undergraduate student at the Royal Academy of Music, London (I had a great teacher: Milton Mermikides). I didn’t have time to get very deep. Also, everything has changed A LOT since then (that was around 2004). That’s why I consider myself as a real very beginner. We had a lot of appliances there, (are they called bus??? modules???) I remember they were external “boxes” that added effects as reverb, delay, etc. I guess all of that are now inside Logic and you don’t need them any more, same with the “mixing tables” am I right?

    You could see that my knowledge is very poor… Would you recommend me some books for getting updated?

    I really appreciate your kind help.


  5. Pete Thomas

    Pete Thomas Administrator Staff Member

    Yes you are more or less right.

    Modules is a term usually used for external hardware sound modules, which are basically the guts of a conventional synth or sampler but without the keyboard. Before DAWs (digital audo workstations) these would be connected to a mixing desk via MIDI cables, and would be triggered ny a sequencer that could be synchronised to a multitrack tape recorder, and so mix in shnthesized or sampled sounds along with recorded performed audio.

    Also there are external effects units, e.g. for reverb, compression, etc.

    All of those are now part of the DAW, either built in or added on as 3rd part plugins.
    A DAW such as Logic has three main areas:

    An arrange page where you shuffle around blocks of audio to arrange along with vraious editors that help you manipulate both MIDI and digital audio, score writing (much better in Logic than many people give it credit for) and the mixer.

    You are correct in that apart from the mic amp with analogue to digital conversion, you don't really need any of the external boxes, although I keep a couple just to impress clients and make them thin it's a real studio as opposed to just a bloke with a computer. :)

    Having everything internal, ie "in the box" means any project is saved with the last used settings, and they are still the same hopefully when you open the project, whereas in the old days you had to reset all the knobs on the boxes to get back to where you were.

    The exception to this can be the gain settings on the interface, though with some units, e.g. the Apogee, then you can actually control those from within Logic
  6. Josantos

    Josantos New Member

    Thank you Pete! It's fantastic how easy it seems to be! I think I'm getting closer to have a general idea of it, thanks for your help. What could you tell me about mics? Some people spend a lot of money getting a really complex ones; other think it not worth it spending a lot... My studio is 25 square meters and reasonable dry. May be a couple of them would be enough for recording the ensemble... I don't know. I think I'd be more a "virtual instrument's user" that recording real audio... But I might get a good equipment just in case.

    Other thing I'd like to ask you is about portable digital recorders. Let's say I wanted to record the sound of a river in a remote area. Pretty difficult to take the iMac there... Do you know any device good enough for doing that? The idea is to work with that sound into Logic, edit it, etc.

    Thanks again!!


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