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tascam vs behringer pre's, classical guitar recording

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Anonymous
October 4, 2004 11:03:56 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

I recently purchased a tascam us122 to record classical guitar on my
laptop (yes, same guy who was asking how to do that last week). Well,
it all works fine. However, not really any better, and perhaps
slightly worse than my previous setup which was, Behringer mixer into
soundblaster live card (PC). Don't get me wrong, i'm very happy with
the convenience and portability of the us122 and that's a major reason
i bought it.
My question is, why do i have to crank up the levels on the 122 to
almost full in order to get a decent signal. Whereas with the
behringer i have the gain less than half and the level at half, and
it's fine. Does this mean the behringer has better pre's? It's only a
Eurorack (about $50). Also, can i output the behringer into the us122,
or is that a dumb thing to do? Somehow could not get it to work. Maybe
i should get better mics (i have marshall MXL's).
Anonymous
October 4, 2004 6:56:55 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

In article <e1aab564.0410040603.1208504e@posting.google.com> cruth@hologic.com writes:

> My question is, why do i have to crank up the levels on the 122 to
> almost full in order to get a decent signal. Whereas with the
> behringer i have the gain less than half and the level at half, and
> it's fine. Does this mean the behringer has better pre's?

No, it only means that they have a different gain structure. When I
had the US122 in for review, I found that the preamps weren't all that
great - adequate but not great. It's impossible to define gain in a
traditional sense since the input is analog and the output is digital,
but I found that in order to reach full scale, even with the input
gain wide open, I had to bellow pretty loud into a medium sensitivty
dynamic mic about a foot away.

With the Behringer mixer into the Soundblaster, you really have a
greater sensitivity than with the US-122, but you may be getting more
noise or distortion along with it. But if it works for you, by all
means try using the Behringer mixer as a preamp into the line input of
the US-122. Set the gain on the mixer so that its meters peak just
about 0 VU on the loudest parts, then set the gain on the US-122 so
that the red clipping light never comes on.


--
I'm really Mike Rivers (mrivers@d-and-d.com)
However, until the spam goes away or Hell freezes over,
lots of IP addresses are blocked from this system. If
you e-mail me and it bounces, use your secret decoder ring
and reach me here: double-m-eleven-double-zero at yahoo
Anonymous
October 4, 2004 8:06:37 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

"caveplayer" <cruth@hologic.com> wrote in message
news:e1aab564.0410040603.1208504e@posting.google.com...
> I recently purchased a tascam us122 to record classical guitar on my
> laptop (yes, same guy who was asking how to do that last week). Well,
> it all works fine. However, not really any better, and perhaps
> slightly worse than my previous setup which was, Behringer mixer into
> soundblaster live card (PC). Don't get me wrong, i'm very happy with
> the convenience and portability of the us122 and that's a major reason
> i bought it.
> My question is, why do i have to crank up the levels on the 122 to
> almost full in order to get a decent signal. Whereas with the
> behringer i have the gain less than half and the level at half, and
> it's fine. Does this mean the behringer has better pre's? It's only a
> Eurorack (about $50). Also, can i output the behringer into the us122,
> or is that a dumb thing to do? Somehow could not get it to work. Maybe
> i should get better mics (i have marshall MXL's).

It just means that the combination of Behringer and Soundblaster has more
total gain going into the analog-to-digital converter than the Tascam does.
If the result on the Tascam isn't excessively noisy, don't worry about it.

If the US122 has a line input, then you can go from the Behringer's line
output into that. You may get more gain that way, but probably the sound
quality won't improve. If you're getting adequate levels from the Tascam by
itself, and not getting too much noise, I'd say leave it.

As for better microphones, that probably wouldn't be a bad idea, but not for
gain reasons. Look at a matched pair of Oktava MC012s from the Sound Room
(www.oktava.com)

Peace,
Paul
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Anonymous
October 4, 2004 10:02:18 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

mrivers@d-and-d.com (Mike Rivers) wrote in message news:<znr1096903078k@trad>...
> In article <e1aab564.0410040603.1208504e@posting.google.com> cruth@hologic.com writes:
>
> > My question is, why do i have to crank up the levels on the 122 to
> > almost full in order to get a decent signal. Whereas with the
> > behringer i have the gain less than half and the level at half, and
> > it's fine. Does this mean the behringer has better pre's?
>
> No, it only means that they have a different gain structure. When I
> had the US122 in for review, I found that the preamps weren't all that
> great - adequate but not great. It's impossible to define gain in a
> traditional sense since the input is analog and the output is digital,
> but I found that in order to reach full scale, even with the input
> gain wide open, I had to bellow pretty loud into a medium sensitivty
> dynamic mic about a foot away.
>
> With the Behringer mixer into the Soundblaster, you really have a
> greater sensitivity than with the US-122, but you may be getting more
> noise or distortion along with it. But if it works for you, by all
> means try using the Behringer mixer as a preamp into the line input of
> the US-122. Set the gain on the mixer so that its meters peak just
> about 0 VU on the loudest parts, then set the gain on the US-122 so
> that the red clipping light never comes on.

Thanks,
No, there is no noticeable noise when i turn the level up, i was just
wondering why i had to turn it up so much.
Now the more difficult question, since i have the expert here. My
current set up for recording (mostly classical guitar) is a pair of
MXL603S, into the tascam, into my computer, and using cakewalk. I
don't do too much multitracking but occasionally i do. If i wanted to
take the next step up for BETTER SOUND QUALITY, where would i put my
money? Soundcard, mics, software??
I know this is a loaded question for this NG but what the hell. BY
BETTER SOUND QUALITY, I BASICALLY WANT IT TO SOUND LIKE IT DOES TO ME
WHEN I'M PLAYING IT. AND I'M TOTALLY SATISFIED WITH THE ROOM
ACOUSTICS.
Anonymous
October 5, 2004 1:28:58 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

caveplayer wrote:


> No, there is no noticeable noise when i turn the level up, i was just
> wondering why i had to turn it up so much.

There is only about 38 dB of gain re 1V RMS which is digital
full scale for US122 mic in at minimum gain. IOW, a signal
of -38 dBV will give you full digital scale at max gain.

To get a full scale signal from your MXL603s (10 mV/Pa
sensitivity) at 38 dB gain would require about 96 dB SPL.
For every dB SPL your guitar is below that, you will lose 1
dB full digital scale at the max gain setting.

Anybody know the SPL level of a classical guitar from a
typical mic placement?

For that mic and your guitar I'd guess you need about
another 20 dB (10X) gain to give you the kind of signal you
want into your US122 mic in. The Berhinger is not a bad way
to get that.

> I know this is a loaded question for this NG but what the hell. BY
> BETTER SOUND QUALITY, I BASICALLY WANT IT TO SOUND LIKE IT DOES TO ME
> WHEN I'M PLAYING IT. AND I'M TOTALLY SATISFIED WITH THE ROOM
> ACOUSTICS.

Close one ear, move the other one around until you like what
you hear, record it from there and see how similar that
recording is played back to the same ear. I know that's
hard to do while you're playing but it should give you an
idea what the problem is.

You may want to be using a stereo mic or a pair of 603s in
an XY configuration. I very much like small diaphragm XY
stereo on acoustic guitar. If the stero image you get is
too broad you can vary that from a little all the way to
mono as well as pan it using M/S techniques.


Bob
--

"Things should be described as simply as possible, but no
simpler."

A. Einstein
Anonymous
October 5, 2004 8:47:39 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

<< cruth@hologic.com (caveplayer) >>
<< No, there is no noticeable noise when i turn the level up, i was just
wondering why i had to turn it up so much. >>

If it sounds good on "10", turn it up! (If not back it off.)

<< My
current set up for recording (mostly classical guitar) is a pair of
MXL603S, into the tascam, into my computer, and using cakewalk. I
don't do too much multitracking but occasionally i do. If i wanted to
take the next step up for BETTER SOUND QUALITY, where would i put my
money? Soundcard, mics, software??
I know this is a loaded question for this NG but what the hell. BY
BETTER SOUND QUALITY, I BASICALLY WANT IT TO SOUND LIKE IT DOES TO ME
WHEN I'M PLAYING IT. AND I'M TOTALLY SATISFIED WITH THE ROOM
ACOUSTICS. >>

Depends on your budget, really.

Will Miho
NY Music & TV Audio Guy
Off the Morning Show! & sleepin' In... / Fox News
"The large print giveth and the small print taketh away..." Tom Waits
Anonymous
October 5, 2004 10:51:48 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Bob Cain <arcane@arcanemethods.com> wrote in message news:<cjt7u901nau@enews1.newsguy.com>...
> Close one ear, move the other one around until you like what
> you hear, record it from there and see how similar that
> recording is played back to the same ear. I know that's
> hard to do while you're playing but it should give you an
> idea what the problem is.
>
> You may want to be using a stereo mic or a pair of 603s in
> an XY configuration. I very much like small diaphragm XY
> stereo on acoustic guitar. If the stero image you get is
> too broad you can vary that from a little all the way to
> mono as well as pan it using M/S techniques.
>
>
> Bob
i should also mention that the mics (in the current configuration that
i found gives decent sound) are about 3 feet from the guitar.
One in front and one above my left shoulder and a bit in front of me
pointing down at the guitar.
Anonymous
October 5, 2004 2:09:52 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

In article <e1aab564.0410041702.4dbd4f9a@posting.google.com> cruth@hologic.com writes:

> No, there is no noticeable noise when i turn the level up, i was just
> wondering why i had to turn it up so much.

Because instead of going up to eleven, it only goes up to eight. <g>

> current set up for recording (mostly classical guitar) is a pair of
> MXL603S, into the tascam, into my computer, and using cakewalk. I
> don't do too much multitracking but occasionally i do. If i wanted to
> take the next step up for BETTER SOUND QUALITY, where would i put my
> money? Soundcard, mics, software??
> I know this is a loaded question for this NG but what the hell. BY
> BETTER SOUND QUALITY, I BASICALLY WANT IT TO SOUND LIKE IT DOES TO ME
> WHEN I'M PLAYING IT. AND I'M TOTALLY SATISFIED WITH THE ROOM
> ACOUSTICS.

Better monitors? Different mic position? It won't sound like you're
playing it because you're not hearing sound coming from the same
direction as the microphones are hearing. Maybe you're totally
satisfied with the room acoustics, but are your microphones? And can
you accurately hear the same thing they're hearing?

It's not a loaded question, but the answer is "everything." The most
important thing in improving recorded sound is to be able to hear
accurately. Then you'll be able to figure out what you need to
improve.

If you just want an off-the-shelf answer, on general principles,
replace your SoundBlaster card with one designed for recording music
rather than playing back game audio. That will help both going in and
coming out, but you still may not be able to hear an improvement if
your monitor system (which includes the room) isn't up to par. Or
maybe it will be a real ear-opener. There are many things about this
business that you just don't know about until you try.


--
I'm really Mike Rivers (mrivers@d-and-d.com)
However, until the spam goes away or Hell freezes over,
lots of IP addresses are blocked from this system. If
you e-mail me and it bounces, use your secret decoder ring
and reach me here: double-m-eleven-double-zero at yahoo
Anonymous
October 5, 2004 8:10:22 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

"caveplayer" <cruth@hologic.com> wrote in message
news:e1aab564.0410050551.4ef6877c@posting.google.com...

> i should also mention that the mics (in the current configuration that
> i found gives decent sound) are about 3 feet from the guitar.
> One in front and one above my left shoulder and a bit in front of me
> pointing down at the guitar.

There's the reason you need to crank the gain. Most gear these days is
designed with the assumption that you'll be close-miking everything. Farther
away > lower levels > need for gain.

If it's sounding good and not hissing, though, I wouldn't worry about it.
How are you panning the two microphones? Are you checking in mono mode for
weird comb-filtering effects?

Peace,
Paul
Anonymous
October 5, 2004 9:32:04 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

mrivers@d-and-d.com (Mike Rivers) wrote in message news:<znr1096974682k@trad>...
> In article <e1aab564.0410041702.4dbd4f9a@posting.google.com> cruth@hologic.com writes:
>
> > No, there is no noticeable noise when i turn the level up, i was just
> > wondering why i had to turn it up so much.
>
> Because instead of going up to eleven, it only goes up to eight. <g>
>
> > current set up for recording (mostly classical guitar) is a pair of
> > MXL603S, into the tascam, into my computer, and using cakewalk. I
> > don't do too much multitracking but occasionally i do. If i wanted to
> > take the next step up for BETTER SOUND QUALITY, where would i put my
> > money? Soundcard, mics, software??
> > I know this is a loaded question for this NG but what the hell. BY
> > BETTER SOUND QUALITY, I BASICALLY WANT IT TO SOUND LIKE IT DOES TO ME
> > WHEN I'M PLAYING IT. AND I'M TOTALLY SATISFIED WITH THE ROOM
> > ACOUSTICS.
>
> Better monitors? Different mic position? It won't sound like you're
> playing it because you're not hearing sound coming from the same
> direction as the microphones are hearing. Maybe you're totally
> satisfied with the room acoustics, but are your microphones? And can
> you accurately hear the same thing they're hearing?
>
> It's not a loaded question, but the answer is "everything." The most
> important thing in improving recorded sound is to be able to hear
> accurately. Then you'll be able to figure out what you need to
> improve.
>
> If you just want an off-the-shelf answer, on general principles,
> replace your SoundBlaster card with one designed for recording music
> rather than playing back game audio. That will help both going in and
> coming out, but you still may not be able to hear an improvement if
> your monitor system (which includes the room) isn't up to par. Or
> maybe it will be a real ear-opener. There are many things about this
> business that you just don't know about until you try.

Yes, and unfortunately 'trying' involves $$.
My definition of hearing it 'accurately' is hearing it played back the
way it sounded to me in the first place. Maybe i should just stick the
microphones in my ears.
Anonymous
October 6, 2004 10:48:41 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

In article <e1aab564.0410051632.5d91be65@posting.google.com> cruth@hologic.com writes:

> Yes, and unfortunately 'trying' involves $$.

It doesn't have to. Find a dealer who will let you evaluate things you
are thinking of buying in your own studio. It might involve $credit$
in that he might charge your credit card and refund the charge if you
decide you don't want it and return it.

> My definition of hearing it 'accurately' is hearing it played back the
> way it sounded to me in the first place. Maybe i should just stick the
> microphones in my ears.

Well, there are microphones that are designed to work exactly in that
manner. The Core Sound (and others) binaural mics can be worn on a
headband just like earphones and pick up a very good representation of
what your ears do.


--
I'm really Mike Rivers (mrivers@d-and-d.com)
However, until the spam goes away or Hell freezes over,
lots of IP addresses are blocked from this system. If
you e-mail me and it bounces, use your secret decoder ring
and reach me here: double-m-eleven-double-zero at yahoo
!