Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

Newbie Home Studio Setup

Last response: in Home Audio
Share
May 18, 2005 1:16:23 PM

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

After some research I am about to invest in the following (unless
warned otherwise) to set up my home studio (having previously only
messed around with a cassette portastudio):

M-Audio 2496 Audiophile Sound Card
Behringer UB1204FX Pro Mixer

My PC is an AMD 64 3000+ with 512Mb, on-board sound etc.

I'm waiting to receive a second hand Boss DR-5 that I've just obtained
to link up with this and I already have a (really old) Yamaha YS200
Synth, which I hope I can just use as a MIDI controller keyboard. Some
of the sounds may be still worth playing with, I don't know.
Suggestions? I hope to MIDI all this up and sequence it using Cakewalk
Home Studio 2002 - should it all work together OK?

I also want to put a mike and an electric guitar through the mixer, and
I need some advice on how this will pan out. Do I run the guitar
through my amp (via headphone/line out socket) before going into the
mixer, or do I plug it straight in? The amp is a Roland VGA-3.

I expect to be able to run the outputs from the mixer to the 2496, and
also my domestic amp for monitoring. Do I run to the amp from the
mixer, or the sound card outputs? Or both?

Does all this sound reasonable? Is there anything else I need? Am I
falling into any noobie traps or pitfalls that I should avoid? Mainly
I just want to record myself with guitar and backing from the DR-5, and
maybe the YS200 and some stuff from the computer in reasonable quality.

Someone has suggested that I should buy a Delta 1010 sound card
instead, as it has many more inputs, but would this just achieve the
same result using the mouse instead of the mixer?

While I'm at it - can anyone explain if/when/why I would need a powered
mixer rather than a passive one such as the 1204FX? I expect that is a
pretty stupid question but bear with me I'm a quick learner.

I think that about covers it. Any comments or suggestions gratefully
received.

Thanks.

P.S. I accidentally posted this on rec.audio.tech as well so apologies
if you've seen it before.
Anonymous
May 18, 2005 2:58:41 PM

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

MrD wrote:

> M-Audio 2496 Audiophile Sound Card

Thats a decent enough sound card for what you are proposing but
if your going to be into MIDI I would suggest getting a sound card
that has more than one MIDI port on it. Preferably even a separate
dedicated MIDI interface with multiple ports. I rely a lot on SYSEX
commands to and from my synths and it just makes life a whole lot
easier to have each instrument on its own MIDI port. This also cuts
down on delay.
Anonymous
May 18, 2005 7:28:09 PM

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

"MrD" <Myster_dee@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:1116432983.892009.198060@g14g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
> After some research I am about to invest in the following (unless
> warned otherwise) to set up my home studio (having previously only
> messed around with a cassette portastudio):
>
> M-Audio 2496 Audiophile Sound Card

A good card.

> Behringer UB1204FX Pro Mixer
>

Do you have any microphones?

> My PC is an AMD 64 3000+ with 512Mb, on-board sound etc.
>
> I'm waiting to receive a second hand Boss DR-5 that I've just obtained
> to link up with this and I already have a (really old) Yamaha YS200
> Synth, which I hope I can just use as a MIDI controller keyboard.

You can.

> Some
> of the sounds may be still worth playing with, I don't know.

You might like some of them, especially if you learn to edit. FM synthesis
is still very much worthwhile.

> Suggestions? I hope to MIDI all this up and sequence it using Cakewalk
> Home Studio 2002 - should it all work together OK?
>

Yes.

> I also want to put a mike and an electric guitar through the mixer, and
> I need some advice on how this will pan out. Do I run the guitar
> through my amp (via headphone/line out socket) before going into the
> mixer, or do I plug it straight in? The amp is a Roland VGA-3.
>

Running it through the amp first will sound OK, pluging it straight into the
mixer will not sound good without a 'direct box'. Your best bet is to go
ahead and mic the amp, your second best bet is to run the amp to the mixer,
listen to the guitar amp as you play, and process the 'dry' signal with an
amp sim later.

> I expect to be able to run the outputs from the mixer to the 2496, and
> also my domestic amp for monitoring. Do I run to the amp from the
> mixer, or the sound card outputs? Or both?

Run the sound card outs to the mixer, and the mixer outs to the monitor amp.

>
> Does all this sound reasonable? Is there anything else I need? Am I
> falling into any noobie traps or pitfalls that I should avoid? Mainly
> I just want to record myself with guitar and backing from the DR-5, and
> maybe the YS200 and some stuff from the computer in reasonable quality.
>

Sounds like a plan. If you ever want to upgrade, buy some more mics and some
better monitors.

> Someone has suggested that I should buy a Delta 1010 sound card
> instead, as it has many more inputs, but would this just achieve the
> same result using the mouse instead of the mixer?
>

If you only want to record by yourself, your plan will work fine. Learn how
to route signals with your mixer.

> While I'm at it - can anyone explain if/when/why I would need a powered
> mixer rather than a passive one such as the 1204FX? I expect that is a
> pretty stupid question but bear with me I'm a quick learner.
>

If you want to play live you might need one.

jb
Related resources
May 19, 2005 5:20:16 AM

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

So would the extra MIDI ports need to be on the soundcard, or could I
combine this card with a separate MIDI unit with multiple ports, USB I
guess?

I was under the impression that you can daisychain MIDI devices using
the IN and OUT connections and use different MIDI channels to control
each one. I'm only going to have the PC, keyboard and DR-5. Does this
arrangement result in a delay compared to each having it's own
connection to the PC?

I'm all theory here, I have very limited experience. I know there are
16 channels and omni mode but that's about my limit.

The keyboard has a MIDI THRU on it. I don't really understand how to
use this port. Can you help me on that one as well?

I'll also have to confess I don't know what SYSEX commands are, let
alone use them.

Many thanks.
Anonymous
May 19, 2005 1:01:03 PM

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

MrD wrote:
> So would the extra MIDI ports need to be on the soundcard, or could I
> combine this card with a separate MIDI unit with multiple ports, USB I
> guess?

Yes, the MIDI ports could be on any combination of sound cards in
addition to a separate MIDI interface be it USB or otherwise.
For instance, in my machine I have an Echo Audio Mia MIDI which has
a single MIDI port on it, a Frontier Design Wavecenter/PCI which has
two MIDI ports on it and an M-Audio Midisport USB for two more ports.

>
> I was under the impression that you can daisychain MIDI devices using
> the IN and OUT connections and use different MIDI channels to control
> each one. I'm only going to have the PC, keyboard and DR-5. Does this
> arrangement result in a delay compared to each having it's own
> connection to the PC?

Yes, you can daisy chain all your devices in a big loop and for smaller
setups this works just fine. Remember that MIDI is a serial interface
and can only send one midi note or command at a time so if you have
a complex MIDI song feeding several synths or samplers theres going
to be delays getting all that data across one wire (port).

For your initial setup of 2 or three devices, you could chain them
without too much trouble.

I find that for me its just hard trying to remember that my sampler is
on channel 2 , drum machine on channel 10 , Octopad, channel 11,
Sound canvas on channels 13 - 15 etc. It can kill the creative mood
real fast if your trying to sort all that out and are having drum notes
being played by a piano track etc.

I like to save the internal memory of my synths by doing SYSEX dumps
to the computer sequencer. This way when I fire up the studio the next
day I can send those dumps back to the devices and continue right
where I left off.

The catch is that some devices can send SYSEX dumps via a command
from the sequencer but some devices can only start a dump via a
button press on the MIDI device itself. To do this you need to use
the "MIDI OUT" ports not the "MIDI THRU" ports. So to really make
the SYSEX thing useful you need to have a dedicated MIDI input/output
port for each device.

>
> I'm all theory here, I have very limited experience. I know there are
> 16 channels and omni mode but that's about my limit.
>
> The keyboard has a MIDI THRU on it. I don't really understand how to
> use this port. Can you help me on that one as well?

Well, you could have two keyboards as input controllers to record into
your sequencer. Or, if your using the keyboard as a sound module you
could chain another sound module to it.

>
> I'll also have to confess I don't know what SYSEX commands are, let
> alone use them.
>

There lots of good explanations of the whole MIDI spec on the web but
SYSEX (System Exclusive) commands are global commands that are not sent
on any channel (1-16) and are manufacturer specific for your devices.
Use SYSEX to store/recall setups for your MIDI devices.
Sonar and other sequencer programs have limited SYSEX capabilities but
you may also want to use a separate MIDI Editor/Librarian program in
addition to your favorite sequencer.
Anonymous
May 19, 2005 3:30:03 PM

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

In article <1116490816.453068.248350@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com> Myster_dee@hotmail.com writes:

> So would the extra MIDI ports need to be on the soundcard, or could I
> combine this card with a separate MIDI unit with multiple ports, USB I
> guess?

I have a Lynx L22 audio card (no MIDI interface) and use a USB MIDI
interface (I have an inexpensive single-port Edirol) when I need it.
Works fine.

> I was under the impression that you can daisychain MIDI devices using
> the IN and OUT connections and use different MIDI channels to control
> each one.

> The keyboard has a MIDI THRU on it. I don't really understand how to
> use this port. Can you help me on that one as well?

You can daisy chain using MIDI IN and MIDI THRU. THRU is a copy,
usually buffered or regenerated, of MIDI IN. Most devices won't pass
MIDI IN directly to their MIDI OUT unless they have a mode for this
that you can (or have to) select. Connect the computer's MIDI OUT to
the keyboard's MIDI IN, and the keyboard's MIDI THRU to the drum
machine's MIDI IN. It's conventional (and even part of the General
MIDI standard) for drums to be on MIDI Channel 10, so use that for
your drum programming and use other channels for your keyboard parts.

> I'm only going to have the PC, keyboard and DR-5. Does this
> arrangement result in a delay compared to each having it's own
> connection to the PC?

MIDI THRU should have negligable throughput delay, but if your parts
are very complex and your sequences use a lot of continuous controller
data (pitch bends, volume, or pan changes), you can start getting
bogged down with "MIDI clog" where the limited transfer rate of the
MIDI data path can't keep up with the volume of data. Unlike
conventional networking, they didn't come up with MIDI 2 like they
did with 100 Base T or Gigabit Ethernet when they needed more
"bandwidth." And before you ask, there's no way to tell when you're
about to reach this limite until it happens.

Presumably, you're going to play on the keyboard and use the computer
to record (as MIDI data) what you're playing, so for that, you'll need
to connect the keyboard's MIDI OUT to the computer's MIDI IN. Also, to
avoid MIDI feedback, if the keyboard has a MIDI OUT = MIDI THRU mode,
you'll need to turn that off. If you want to record MIDI data out of
your drum machine, you'll either need another MIDI input to the
computer (or unplug the keyboard's MIDI OUT from the computer and plug
in the drum machine's MIDI OUT), or a two-port MIDI interface from the
computer, or a MIDI Merge box.


--
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
May 20, 2005 6:08:15 AM

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

I have an Audio Technica ATR30 mic. Is this any good? I have a couple
of cheap plastic ones that probably aren't worth mentioning. Any mic
recommendations?

I expected to use the ATR30 for vocals and until very recently I
assumed that to record electric guitar I would plug the guitar in but
you suggest I mic the amp in a way that suggests this is really obvious
so I really feel like an amateur now. By "mic the amp" I presume you
mean just put the mic on a stand in front of the amp speaker. This
confuses me a bit - how come the electric guitar, which is designed to
put a signal out of the jack socket, sounds better if I put a mic in
front of the amp instead of plugging it in? Would a "direct box"
resolve this? OK I give in what's a direct box? Do you mean a mic
preamp like an M-Audio Audio Buddy? Would one of these be a good
upgrade for the money? Tooooo many questions.

I think I'm getting there with the mixer / sound card now. I run
everything into it, run 1 set of outputs to the sound card so that the
PC can record it all then run the outputs from the sound card back to
the mixer and run a second set of outputs from the mixer to the monitor
amp. Is that right? If so, what is the reason for putting the output
from the sound card back thru the mixer, rather than just taking it
straight to the monitor amp?

Last thing - the powered mixer thing. When using a mixer for live
performance, isn't it just a case of putting the output through a
bigger amp? Why would I need a powered mixer for this, if I don't need
one for home recording?

Many thanks for your help.
!