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Author Topic: Finally got my recording set up sorted.  (Read 275 times)

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rnolan

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So my home studio recording capability has been in limbo since my old WinXP desk top died. Unfortunately, XP running Pro tolls 6.4 was the last to support my Digi001 I/O.  I did get the XP PC rebuilt and was going down the road to getting it all functional again.  Unfortunately, after moving 5 years ago I can't find (easily) the original Pro Tools (5.1 IIRC) disk to get the driver.  The digi001 has a PCI card and dedicated cable, now old school.  Along the way I bought a Preonus Studio 18/24 USB I/O which I've ben using just for play back of songs. 

So yesterday, I finally used it to record  :whoohoo!: .  I bought myself a new (high end) laptop for xmas (MSI Creator Z17H A13VGT), 64GB ram, 2 TB SSD, 17" touch screen so I could modernise my recording set up.  Expensive but nice.  The Presonus I/O came with Studio One S/W.  When I ran that up on my previous old Win7 laptop and tried to play a demo song, the laptop basically shat itself as the demo song had lots and lots of stuff in it (as you'd expect with a demo song).  It purrs on the MSI, doesn't even raise a sweat.  I use a Behringer XENYX 2442 FX desk rack mounted in my studio setup which has direct outs for the first 8 channels.  FWIW, these are one of the best appointed desks you can buy (and they aren't expensive) for both live and studio.  So I ran the 8 direct outs into the Presonus I/O (which is 8 in/out AD/DA), Ran up studio One, picked the 8 chan record template (which, go figure, doesn't have chan 7 & 8 I/O mapped  :crazy: , chan 1 - 6 are) and tested it, and it's all working really nicely  :thumb-up: .  Now I just have to learn Studio One.  While it does much the same as Pro Tools, they have come at the interface a bit differently (as I expect they all do e.g. Reaper, Cuebase etc etc).  What I liked about Pro Tools (and it was a big learning journey way back (Win98 days)) was it seemed to be designed for old school sound engineers (like me).  I pretty much used it as a digital tape machine replacing a 2" 24track.  When I started looking to upgrade my old PT 6.4, they (Avid) basically didn't want to know.  Moreover, they then went to a subscription model (like most shit these days) which I have no interest in, I just don't use it enough to justify that "on going" expense.  They have recently (Sept 2023) started offering perpetual licences again, though they are not easy to get to  :facepalm: .  So I went to buy it from the local reseller.  Alas, the Australian PT distributor got hacked just before xmas, so while he could sell it to me ($900 AUD), he said I wouldn't get it until they sorted themselves out AND came back from xmas holidays etc.... 

The other compelling reason I wanted to stay with PT (apart from that I kind of know how to drive it) is because I have a whole bunch of songs which are very close to being finalised that I wanted to run up and finish.  The files are all burnt to CD as I kept running out of disk space back when I recorded them, and, obviously, disk space isn't such a problem these days.  So who knows, I may still shell out for PT.  I can import the audio files into Studio One and start from scratch with the mix (I didn't do any fancy editing to them and the tracks all start at the same time etc.), but I put a lot of time into the mixing with PTs which I'll loose and have to do again  :(

But moving forward, I can now do a 8 chan recoding of my band so we can create a few songs for prospective venues to listen to.  And also write and record some new songs.
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Dante

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Re: Finally got my recording set up sorted.
« Reply #1 on: Time Format »

Check your local eBay or Craigslist alternative. I saw a Mac G5 (older unit) loaded with Logic 8, which I needed. It was way less than buying the app.

Just look around, people are throwing away old machines, some of which still have working software that doesn't require a subscription.

Harley Hexxe

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Re: Finally got my recording set up sorted.
« Reply #2 on: Time Format »

Windows XP?!?
I still have my old tower that I built in 2000, that has a very stripped down version of Windows 98 on it to run the Lexicon Core 2 system. on it. The Core 2 is a board that replaces the sound card in those old desktops and has a breakout box with 8 I/O connections. The only reason that isn't used is because the video card in that tower gave up the ghost about 14 years ago. (Nvidia, what a bunch of junk.)

I bought a reconditioned Dell desktop three years ago and I have Cubase Artist 11 on it now, and it's paid for. It's just as expensive as Pro Tools, but I've been having a time of it trying to figure all the things  you have to do to record, edit, and master recordings on it. Most of the tutorials about it are all about making loops and adding virtual instruments and all the things that have nothing to do with recording actual instruments and getting everything lined up in time with each other. That's where most of my time gets wasted with those tutorials.

I do need a new laptop for networking and that's on my shopping list this year, as this one is an old Windows 8.1 which has not been supported for two years now. I'm kind of on the fence about whether to go with another Windows PC, or make the leap to a Mac, which means I'll have to learn how to use a PC from the ground up. I'm pretty sure I can transfer my Cubase over to it, but I'll need to get another interface since I don't believe my Focusrite 18i20 will work with Mac.

@ Dante, ( I may have to pick your brains a bit if I make that switch! Just a heads up).

Harley 8)
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rnolan

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Re: Finally got my recording set up sorted.
« Reply #3 on: Time Format »

Hey Harley, unfortunately Win 8.1 was a bit of a band aid version of Vista (arguably the worst Win release ever, though some liked it).  I spent hours with my friend trying to get his M-Audio interface working with Pro Tools on his Vista machine. It was supposed to work, cost quite a bit, eventually we gave up  :facepalm: .  Now this was still when Pro Tools would only work with their own hardware (as M-Audio is).  Like my Digi001, the S/W was free but only worked with their hardware.  Now every thing (AD/DA I/O devices) is USB and you pay for the S/W and/or they come with a trial version etc.  So IIRC your Focusrite 18i20 should have included a trial version of Pro Tools ??  It probably would work with a Mac but that's an expensive (and to me frustrating (they take away all my options e.g. one button mouse, no scrolly wheel, hey I'm sure it's what you are used to).  But you own Cubase, you spent the $s, so learn it (makes sense). 

At the end of the day, they all (Cubase, Audacity (well not so much), Pro Tools, Studio One, Reaper etc.) do much the same thing, interface with a AD/DA I/O and let you make audio compositions. 

Back when this all started (from the PC S/W perspective) and prior to digital recording, there were midi sequencing programs (e.g. Creator, Noteater for Atari).  Cubase has it's origins there, it was a competitor with those MIDI sequencing programs and ran on Atari (Motorola 68000 CPU), and many thought it was better.  So to record a song, you could program (sequence) your drum machine (we had an early Alesis) and your keyboard (we had the infamous Korg M1), put a SMPTE time code on one track (we had a Tascam 688, 8 track + mixer cassette thingy), record all the analogue tracks (guitar, bass, vox) on the other 7 tracks, mix and, well listen to the attachment...That's how it was recorded, guitars are Rockman X100). 

Digital recoding came later, sure Cubase added that capability but still had/has a sequencing flavour.  Pro Tools stared life as a digital recording studio, so the layout and functions etc. seemed to be designed around what you would expect if you were in a analogue/tape studio (I found it quite intuitive).  Moreover, they made their HD hardware/S/W to replace everything in a studio and became the industry standard for digital studio recoding.  But they also added/included midi sequencing.  I expect, over time, Cubase has caught up (on the digital recording side), and these programs have all morphed a bit, so what we see these days, and PreSonus Studio One is probably a good example, is a melding, and something new(ish) for how musicians interact with the whole process these days. Basically you have to learn (well I have to) to interact with it in a slightly different way. 

I initially bought a Focusrite 8 in/out IO, I found it 1: a pain to connect (and be recognised) to my Win7 device, and 2: a bit clinical sounding, so I swapped it for a PreSonus Studio 18/24 USB, which 1: interfaced with Win7 much more easily and 2: sounded a little less stark and more "musical".  The sound difference is very subtle, and in some ways the Focusrite was more accurate??, but interfacing it was a bigger difference. 
IIRC you have been having issues getting Cubase and the Focusrite working consistently??  However, you have now spent quite a bit buying Cuebase and Focusrite.  My feeling is, if you get your OS and PC H/W upgraded, it should come together in a good way.  OK so I went with a hi end MSI laptop, and it's great (albeit not cheap $4.6k AUD).  Yeah you could go Mac, but, then you are locked into the apple ecosphere, you loose quite a bit of granularity (which not everyone wants, but I do...), they are very expensive, and they have naph all I/O (your lucky if you get a thunderbolt 4 connection), let alone monitor (screen) options and a big "un learn it/what you are use to" adaption (I'll have to learn how to use a PC from the ground up).  I suspect you'd be better off learning how to drive Cubase, just saying  :wave:

An example of the things I've found frustrating getting into Studio One  vs Pro Tools, so I recorded some vox and keys, I want to put some eq and fx on the vox, ok so I right click (can't do that with a Mac  :( ) in the "Inserts" screen, up pops a selection of effects inserts, they are all like grouped macros, e.g. Female Vox, Drums etc.  So I select Female Pop vox, it inserts a Compressor, Eq and Reverb. Ok, not bad (in some ways) but the inserts are all dialled in to what "whoever" thought was what you'd want.  I then dive into each Fx, not the interface I'm used to, and NOT the parameters I want to adjust (e.g. for compressor I'm used to  - knee, attack time release time, pre delay, reverb time etc. ahhhhh).  But unfortunately, it seems, that's how it is these days (I know grumpy old dude...).


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Harley Hexxe

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Re: Finally got my recording set up sorted.
« Reply #4 on: Time Format »

Richard,

I never tried to use Cubase or the Focusrite with the Win 8.1. This laptop uses old HDDs, as opposed to the desktop I bought, that has SSDs, plus 4 Gig RAM. That's a lot more work space than any previous PC I've had. That's why I pulled the trigger on Cubase, that and the fact that many of the members here also use Cubase. I figured if I needed help with it, this would be a good place to ask questions.

But just an example of some of the stupid difficulties I'm having with it: Last year, I bought the Nembrini Audio version of the MP-1 plug in. I have never been able to open it in Cubase. It's installed in there, I see it in the effects list, but nothing I do will open it. All licenses are active. That's one.

Another thing I'm not getting is why it keeps dropping audio with EZ Drummer. It's just stupid things like that that are getting in the way.
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rnolan

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Re: Finally got my recording set up sorted.
« Reply #5 on: Time Format »

Hey Harley, they are both very annoying issues, the Nembrini plug in should just work  :dunno: like all the other plug ins.  Have you tried Cubase support?

4GB ram is pretty light on these days, and given ram is not that expensive, upping it to 32GB (if your PC can address that much) or as much as your PC can use "may" help with the easy drummer audio.  Also, are you running 64 bit, as the world has moved off 32 bit to 64 bit there can be annoying discrepancies.  Newer S/W e.g. the Nembrini generally assumes you have moved to 64 bit.  Who knows, that may be part of the problem, as can be the Windows version.  My 64 bit Win7 laptop was having issues from being too old for updates to various things e.g. the Universal Control (which interfaces the PreSonus I/O) wouldn't update without at least Win10.

Obviously the more ram the better, that's why I optioned up the MSI I bought to 64GB.
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