I. The First Steps // JAN 11th

Welcome fellow tonebase academists! 🎧

This is the place where we will talk about the first lesson of our recording course. Please use this thread if you have any questions concerning the workbook or general questions concerning the first steps!

 

Click here to access Session 1: The First Steps // Jan 11th (Live!)

Find the other sessions here: Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5


Make sure to download our DAW of choice using the link below:

http://reaper.fm/

The DAW is free to use for 60 days. After that, you can still always prolong the evaluation period. Though a little bit daunting at first, the routing is pretty straight forward once we get accustomed to follow the signal flow!

 

Download the first workbook here


I will post the answers to the questionnaire on Jan 17th! 

After the livestream, submit your assignments by replying to this thread!

 


Answers to the questionnaire:

 

What is a DAW?

  • digital audio workstation like Reaper, a place where you can record, listen, and edit audio that is either being recorded or imported. Items in the arranger window reference files on your hard drive, so working within the DAW is (generally) non-destructive. 

What is the difference between a USB-Microphone compared to a microphone that is connected to an audio interface?

  • An audio interface converts analog voltage into discrete digital values for recording and vice versa for monitoring and playback. While an audio interface requires a microphone to record changes in air pressure, an USB-Mic usually comes already equippmed with some kind of AD/DA converter (aka audio interface). Since a computer usually can handle only one interface at a time, professionals use audio interfaces that have a multitude of digital and analog input and output channels.

What describes the Polar Pattern of a Microphone?

  • A microphone's polar pattern describes its sensitivity for sounds arriving from different angles. The most popular polar patterns for music are cardioid, omnidirectional and figure of eight, though every polar pattern or directionality is being heavily used in professional productions in order to to achieve either spaciousness and enveleopment or speration and directivity.

 

See you tomorrow for "The Edit"! 🧙‍♂️

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  • I'm really bummed I won't be able to make this as I'll be at work.  I'm actually struggling with a recording issue right now.  I'm running a yeti x microphone in my MacBook Pro and trying to use an iPhone 11 as a camera using the epiccam application for video.  It works through OBS but for some reason the recording quality is very poor.  I'm not sure if it's the settings or the app.  When I try to select the camera in iMovie or Final Cut Pro x I am getting the spinning wheel of death.  Super frustrating.  Anyway looking forward to watching the video and perhaps joining in for future classes

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      • MirceaTeam
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      • Mircea
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      David Chidsey Hi David! Just wanted to point out something (that you probably already know 😁 but here goes): although being there for the livestreams in real time is certainly a lot of fun, you don't necessarily have to watch them right then and there.

      It's perfectly possible to watch them at some other time during the week and still fully participate in the Recording Course, by sending in the assignments and taking part in forum discussion.

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  • Hi

    I've got Cakewalk and Audacity that I've used (just beginner stuff). Should I install Reaper? 

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      • MartinTeam
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      Mehmet Hi! I'd recommend trying Reaper, since it's the main software we'll be using for the workshop, it's free to use for 60 days and it's lightweight! We will covering general concepts as well, so the principles will apply for any DAW, but especially when we're talking about the editing workflow, it might be quite Reaper-specific.

      I've worked with almost every DAW there is, if you know one very well, chances are that other DAWs work similar. But as I said, we will be using Reaper for this workshop, so I'd recommend installing it!

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    • martin thanks. I'll have it installed.

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  • Hey Martin, looking forward to the course, not sure how I will go, have gone out to buy a mic and down loaded the Reaper / DAW, will probably have an abundance of questions as this is totally new for me, as well as being technically challenged!

    none the less I will endeavour , ciao 

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      Deb Covell That's awesome, of course I will try to cover all the questions from the live chat and those here in the forum. Just make sure that you install the latest drivers for your microphone (btw., what mic is it?), because it might be quite impossible for me to find a solution for every individual computer and driver issue, haha. But jokes aside, I'll try my very best to get you started 💪

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  • I am running Reaper on a Linux machine. In setting up preferences I don't have ASIO as an option for Audio System. I've selected ALSA as that show my USB mic (Tascam D-05X). I also have JACK as an option though I don't really understand what JACK is. Perhaps you could explain. I also have Impro-Visor as Linux equivalent to Band in a Box (I'm dabbling in jazz guitar) but don't really use it as the synth is so rubbish. I believe I may be able to use Jack to interface to Reaper to use its synth options but don't know how. Is this possible?

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      Mark Edwards Jack is quite a powerful internal routing matrix in Linux as far as I know, but I have NEVER worked either with Linux and thus Jack (only heard in a couple of workshops where we talked about immersive 3d audio, that was complicated enough, haha).
      I am quite optimistic that you can get Reaper to work with Jack and send the inputs of your microphone into reaper and then send them back out to the output of your interface to monitor everything, but since I have never worked either with Linux or Jack, I cannot give you any details about that. I know that Jack is specifically made to be a component in a pro-audio/music creation environment, so it will work ... somehow 🧙‍♂️
       

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  • Greetings everyone. Do you think it would suitable to use Shure SM58 mic? It's a dynamic mic and I understand it's more suitable for vocals, where you can put it really close to your mouth if necessary. It looks I got it picking the level from acoustic guitar more or less OK, and I'm routing it through Line 6 POD HD 500X (do not anything else able to work as audio interface), but wondering how crucial it's whether you have a dynamic or condenser mic to pick an acoustic sound?

    Another question - I have a classical-style acoustic-electric guitar (wide neck, nylon strings), so it can be plugged and recorded in line. Is it reasonable to record it that way for this course, or using a mic and following "acoustic" setup is essential?

    Thanks in advance.

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      • MartinTeam
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      Slavik Lavryk Dynamic Mics are typically used for louder sound sources (the sound pressure phyiscally moves a piece of magnet which then induces a voltages. A piece of magnet is waaaay heavier than the membrane of a condenser membrane, thus the difference in use cases). You could something like a tritone fethead, an inline mic pre amp to boost your signal coming out of your dynamic mic: https://www.thomann.de/de/tritonaudio_fethead.htm?gclid=CjwKCAiAi_D_BRApEiwASslbJ9Zpq4nySCUpyNGSHIbF319RJbY93UJDS4nXTXZf-VGjNAFDYe_tqBoCHhUQAvD_BwE

       

      The sound coming from the resonating body will be hugely different from the DI-sound created by the piezo pickups. But nothing stops you to record both signals and mix them in post production! Typically, piezo pickups are more for amplification purposes as they are quite feedback resistant!

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  • Hi, Martin. I won´t be able to join today -since I´m still at work-, but I´m really interested in the course. I´m new to (and a bit scared by) this recording world , and this is my question at this point: can I use my Zoom H4 as a microphone? Thank you!

    By the way, I¨m not sure I´ll be able to keep pace with the course. We shall see..

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      • MartinTeam
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      Igor You can watch the recording of the livestream, it will be available like every other livestream we did, so it's no problem at all if you cannot make it today!

       

      The Zoom H4 is an excellent choice, you can use it either as a mobile recorder or as an audio interface to directly record into your computer! I believe Mircea is using a H4 for his live streams as well!

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  • Oh, thank you for answering so fast!

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  • Hi. I have a Samson Meteor USB mic. It’s active as input device on my laptop. Reaper says: no ASIO drivers found!

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      • MartinTeam
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      joosje look for Roberts answer in the General Rules Thread:
      https://guitar-community.tonebase.co/t/y4htrnx/read-me-first-rules-faq-for-the-recording-course

      Here we are talking about using a USB-Mic without dedicated ASIO drivers! You probably will need a piece of software called www.asio4all.com!

      But maybe - as you plug in your USB-Mic - it got automatically selected as new default sound card, you can try to select DirectSound or WaveOut, then it's possible that your Mic will show up under input devices!

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    • martin thanks Martin. I fixed it myself during yesterday’s lesson ;-)) I made the first soundtrack. 

      i did miss some info though. About suggested equipment. RE the workbook: The focusrite comes in a price range 130- 3000 euro. You suggest the 2i2 does the  job, correct? (It seems to have a USB  connection.)

      You mention a XLR cable for the connection. What kind of cable do you mean? (Too much choice at Thomann website.) Is it to connect the mics? Or the focusrite to the PC.?

      C,  it’s not so simple, if you have no technical experience or knowledge at all....

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      joosje Wow, awesome, I am glad to hear that! Did you use the Asio4All driver? Because a couple of users are experiencing similar issues with USB-Mics, if this driver seems to help I will edit my FAQs for the workshop!

      I have been using the Focusrite 2i2 since 10 years and am very happy with it, however you cannot use the Samsong USB-Mic with it, you would need a condenser mic (or a dynamic, though I would recommend a condenser mic) like a AKG 451 (https://www.thomann.de/de/akg_c451b.htm?glp=1&gclid=Cj0KCQiArvX_BRCyARIsAKsnTxMxNJlyUVQZ12SCIOSdMtJ5RNYZhKpcMMGnbVXPw9aTWy5x9oqBizgaAqkmEALw_wcB) or a Line Audio CM4, the one i have been talking about in yesterday's live stream (http://www.lineaudio.se/CM4.html). This would add to the 139€ (?) that you're spending on the interface.
      Yes, there is an abundance of different cables out there, I like the cables by "Sommer" a lot, since they are very easy to coil and flexible (https://www.thomann.de/de/sommer_cable_stage_22_sg0q_10m.htm)

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    • martin  tanks a lot Martin. You’re a great help. Yes , the Asio4all works. I had to activate in the settings: the mic as input device and pc’s altek as output device. 
       

      I am searching for the mics: the AKG is quite expensive, you need 2! Would this be a good alternative. https://www.thomann.de/de/rode_nt_5.htm?
       

      the lineaudio c4, €139 https://www.nohypeaudio.com/lineaudioproducts.htm

      Is it worthwhile to pay double price for AKG ? 

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      joosje The Rode NT-5 are nice and an excellent start! I actually sneaked those into an orchestral recording as well, because I just needed all the mics I could get for my 32-channel recording 🤯

      If you could get the lineaudio somehow, they would be definitely worth their price! (If you're based in Germany, you can get them through https://www.ths-studio.de/cm4-nieren-kondensator-mikrofon.html).

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    • martin ok, &  lineaudio is affordable. They’re very small? 77mm x 20mm. I can get them from Belgian site. I live in 2 places: Prague and Belgium.  So I’ll order them when I’m back in BE. In the meantime work with the USB mic

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      joosje Awesome, these are great mics! My Sennheisers are about the same size, small mics are very good if you do commercial work with a professional video crew (because they HATE seeing microphones, haha). Furthermore, you can try different stereo setups, sometimes microphones are just too big to use i.e. the ORTF stereo setup.

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  • What is the best position for microphones to record in stereo? I have an pair of AKG P170. Thanks

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      Joao Franco If you have stereo bar, you can try the ORTF-Setup: The capsules are supposed to be spaced 17,5cm apart with a 110° angle. I'd go for something around 1m away from your guitar, slightly off axis pointing towards your bridge.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ORTF_stereo_technique

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  • Hi Mircea,

    Please provide me the link of the video tutorials regarding the "Rercording for Guitarists Course".

    Thanks,

    Ricardo Paz

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      • MirceaTeam
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      Ricardo hi Ricardo! Here are all the links to all 5 livestreams:

      All links will also be provided in the respective dedicated threads for each livestream.

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    • Mircea Thanks Mircea!

      Ricardo Paz

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  • Hello Martin,

    thank you for offering this workshop.

     

    I tried to set up iRig Acoustic Stage (a pickup microphone) with Reaper, but couldn't get it to work with the ASIO4All driver - the microphone is recognized as an USB audio interface but the ASIO configuration looks like this: 

    I tried to deactivate all other input devices, but the iRig is always displayed like this, so I guess it simply won't work with ASIO.

    What is the "second best" audio setting for recording in Reaper? :)

    These are my options:

     

    Thank you.

    Best regards

    Susanne 

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      Susanne Hi Susanne, I have never used asio4all since my soundcards always came with their dedicated drivers. I found this step by step guide for setting up iRig with Asio4All in Reaper, please try to follow these along, I hope that helps!
      https://guitargearfinder.com/guides/record-guitar-in-reaper/

      Seeing that your iRig is marked as "unavailable" maybe it got connected as standard device, then you can try to go to the windows sound preferences and try to disable them there, maybe it will be freed up to be used with the asio4all drivers. But to be honest, I am speculation.

      However, I will prepare .wav-files for the second workshop, so that everybody has enough material to work with, when we go into editing madness! 🧙‍♂️

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  • Hi Martin, thanks for the first session on the recording  course, it was great but way to fast for me, and just to let you know I am having trouble with my set up. On the windows computer I didn't seem to have any sound coming through, so couldn't hear you, was doing some stuff on recording on the windows, but listening and watching you on my I pad so as 

    I have a  Samson USB go mic, I have both Mac Air 10.5 and Windows 10 computers, so 1st  question, which computer would be the easier to use, 2nd question -is Reaper the DAW to use with this Samson product, is it possible to give me a quick run through on how to load the mic and Reaper,  step by step and is there any special order required, can I really be so dumb?? Hope you can help me, ciao Deb🙂 

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      Deb Covell I'd recommend using the asio4all drivers and set your usb-mic as an input within the asio4all interface . Since these mics usually don't come with an output, you probably need to sed your headphone jack or your internal speakers as an output, I believe that this is possible with the asio4all driver.
      It should look something like this, just wit hyour Samsung USB mic instead of the iRig: https://guitargearfinder.com/guides/record-guitar-in-reaper/

      However, it's probably easier to set it up with your mac, I think you can simply select your USB-Mic as your input and your headphone jack as our output (should be called "built-in output" or something like that).

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  • Hello martin ,

    Thanks again for the insightful session yesterday.

    For the first assignment, where multiple takes of certain musical piece are to be recorded, does it matter how they're organized in Reaper? On one track in different bars, or on different tracks? I've noticed Reaper even has a feature called "takes", when it's showing different takes of same piece in the same track, but that probably requires good learning to be correctly used.

    Thanks a lot.

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      Slavik Lavryk Already diving deep into Reaper functionality, I like it! 🧙‍♂️ However, the take lanes are a bit tricky to work with as this function typically only works when everything has the same rhythm. "Comping" is the workflow that is associated with different takes on different lanes within one track: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9zyld5BicWQ

      I would usually record all my takes on one track one after another, so it is easier to navigate between them! If you have them on separate tracks, you would always mute the other tracks in order to listen back to a take.

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    • martin Thanks for the session and looking forward to the rest of them This Q&A anticipated my first question. 2nd one relates to 1 track or 2 for stereo recording. I have Tascam mobile recorder with stereo mics. Should I capture L and R on separate channels as mono or is it sufficient to use 1 stereo channel. I'll try both anyway

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    • Mark Edwards Seems better on 2 tracks

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      Mark Edwards I like to have them on separate tracks, because I am more flexible down the road of post processing. But sometimes having them one track saves some time later on as well, especially when you want to edit both tracks with the same settings of a compressor or an equalizer. But I wouldn't say that one workflow is better than the other one. 

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  • Thanks Martin!

     

    Very interesting live session. I wont be joining the next live sessions as its 3am where I live but I'll definitely check the recordings!

     

    I use the Scarlett Solo interphase with a cardioid mic (AT2020) and Garage Band usually but I already installed Reaper. Excited to try and learn new stuff! Sadly, Stereo recording is out of the question with this interphase ( Should've gotten the 2i2🙉!!) but I'll still explore with different mic positions. 

     

    This might be a dumb question but if recording with 2 mics isn't available right now, would doubling the track be a workaround to try and create a similar effect?

     

    Thanks again!

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      Phil Meissner that is not a dumb question at all, this is a technique that is being heavily used in pop and rock music, because it creates a surreal wideness of your rhythm guitars! Actually, I did a cover with a student of mine (it was his idea, not mine, haha, but it got featured by a very popular German youtuber, which was nice exposure), I used this technique quite a lot in this track: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3DSgilXd5fc

      It will not sound like a stereo recording, as you cannot play exactly the same twice (they said something like that about Freddy Mercury, that he was able to sing two passages almost identical)! But the effect is very interesting, try it! (you won't hear this in classical recordings though)

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    • martin  Thanks for your quick answer!

       

      I didn't know that song. Fun cover😎, I get what you mean. I'll definitely try it !

       

      Never heard that about Freddie Mercury but he was an amazing singer and showman, that's for sure!

       

      However, to get the most out of your course I borrowed a TASCAM DR 70 and another mic,  AT2035.  Not the same reference but that way I can record in stereo and just upload the files to Reaper. The main difference is that AT2035 comes equipped with a switchable 80 Hz high-pass filter and 10 dB pad, AT2020 doesn't. I'll just keep them off. 

       

      If you have any suggestions, please let me know.

       

      And thanks again!!!

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      Phil Meissner Yes, keeping the built in equalizer is generally a good idea if you don't use the mics for live amplification! And there is nothing wrong with recording yourself with an external recorder an then implement the audio files.

      I explained the process of dragging and dropping (and turning stereo files into mono files) right here!

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  • Hi Martin, I have an AKG p120 microphone and an Oktava MK-012-01, what configuration and distance do you recommend?🙂

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      Giuseppe Gasparini Try to space them roughly 20cm apart and point them towards your bridge a little bit from the side and higher than your soundhole at a distance of about 1-2m depending of the acoustic of your room! In Reaper, pan one mic to the left, the other one to right and see listen how it sounds :)

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  • Ciao Mark I've linear pcm recorder Tascam dr-100mkII but it seems to me thta I can't use s it as a microfone with Reaper, am I wrong?

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      ivan paolo It seems that the Tascam DR-100 MKII cannot be used as an audio interface. However, you can still record yourself on the Tascam and then simply import the files from the SD-Card onto your hard drive and then just drag&drop them onto your Reaper timeline!

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  • I am a user of the Cakewalk by Bandlab DAW. Is it necessary for this course to download reaper, or can I Use CW as well?

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  • Hi and thanks!

    You are very knowledgeable on this very detailed/technical subject.  A lot of great information and explanation.  Great job! 

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      Brooke thank you! :)

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  • Thanks your a wizard at all this!

     

    1. how do I tame some of the low boominess I get on certain notes in playback?

    (single usb mic, cardioid, 24 inches on axis, at the bridge, classical guitar) 

    2. can it all be eq'd out after, or should this be mostly fixed in the setup?

    3. suggestions for recording video to a track in parallel, separately?  

    4. Can I take a video recording and edit/fix the sound to it in reaper?  

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      Brooke 
      1) If only certain notes appear to be problematic (on headphones, if the probem is also on speakers, it could be a problem of the room), then you would probably use a dynamic EQ to work on specific frequencies. I will talk more about EQ in the third live stream when I talk about "All About Dynamics".

      2) The phenomena you're describing is quite common in untreated rooms, it is called "standing waves" or room modes and means, that certain low frequencies get accentuated in several spots of the room (these are very obvious in bathrooms). You can try to move your recording place 1-2m away, definitely away from the corners (and probably not directly in the middle of a square room). Fixing room modes in post is quite tricky.

      3) I'd record video simply onto your camera and then bring the files into your computer, since writing video and audio at a same time requires a pretty fast hard drive. 

      4) You could edit video in Reaper, though I have never done it. I will talk in the 5th live stream about "Audio & Video", where we will be using a free (until 4k recording) software Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve.

      I hope that helped! 🧙‍♂️

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  • Hi Martin

    I've imported a backing tracking into reaper and I have the output jack input to a guitar amp So I can play backing tracks and guitar through the amp into headphones. All good so far. I then thought I'd try to record the amp using my Tascam mobile recorder as audio interface into reaper to record the guitar onto its own track. Result: feedback so can only do at really low volume.Is there any way round this aside from using a different laptop as input to the amp for the backing track? My usb i/f also seems to drop out occasionally so I lose the mic - rubbish gear I suppose. Very annoying

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      Mark Edwards It seems to me that you are sending your backing track through the guitar amp, then you record everything again which gets monitored, send through your guitar amp again which gets recorded and monitored etc.: classic feedback loop! 

      Maybe you can send the backing track as an output to your tascam interface and not through your guitar amp. If your guitar amp as an output jack, you can send this as a line signal into the tascam. So you would have seperated the monitoring track and the recording track. That way, you can listen to the backing track while recording your guitar, I think (hard to tell without knowing the gear in detail and it's capabilites as an audio interface).

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  • Dear Martin, I searched the forum but found no answer to my question - how long should the piece durate that we have to record for the workshop ?

    ( a short etude like you did - or a whole Piece duration 3-5 Minutes. What do you prefer ? )

    Best regards.

    Olli

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      Saitenzwirbler Oh, that's totally up to you, whatever you feel comfortable enough to record! It's maybe quite hard to lay down 4-5 different takes of "Music for Memory" or the Chaconne, so keeping it simple for educational purposes might be a good idea, but in the end it's totally up to you! 🧙‍♂️🤓

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    • martin haha, what a pity, I had just finished all the takes of the Chaconne before reading your comment.
      No, just kidding... My fantasy was larger than my (guitaristic) reality. But it is good to have (achievable) goals.

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      Robert 😁🧙‍♂️

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  • Hello, first thank you for a great session this week. 
     

    I have two questions. 
     

    The first is easy.  My mixer is missing from my main screen in Reaper. It is available if I open it in a floating window, but I cannot work out how to display it fixed at bottom left of the screen. Can you help with that please. 
     

    second, as I explained during the meeting I currently use one small directional condenser mic ( mshurr sm81) and a larger condenser mic that allows me to shift from Omni directional to figure of 8 or cardioid. AKG p420 
     

    I like the sound of the shure as the main focus with the other mic picking up the sound at a little more distance, but I see you use 2 mics for the main near field recording.  Would you recommend me getting a second Shure mic? Or is that over the top. 
     

    many thanks Peter 

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      Peter Hi Peter!

       

      1) on the left lower corner of your floating window should be an "i" (like a symbol indication some information). If you left click that, you should be able to activate the option "Dock Mixer in Docker" (last option in the pop up menue). That should snap the mixer back in place.

       

      2) Having one dedicated cardoid and one switchable mic actually opens up more new possibilities for certain (or at least one) new stereo configuration: mid-side recording. Have your cardioid mic pointing towards the sound source and the figure of 8 recording the side signals while bringing the capsules as close together as possible. The routing is a little bit tricky because you need to duplicate the side signal and phase-invert it one side, but then it creates a very pleasant panorama stage with an adjustable (!) width.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microphone_practice#M/S_technique:_Mid/Side_stereophony

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    • martin thank you that’s very interesting. 
       

      I did the attach to docket option but the docker is still not attched to the main screen as before but is floating. Do you have any other ideas. 
       

      I will try the mid side recording and may need to get more clarification in the class on Tuesday. Many thanks for all of your hard work on this fascinating topic. 

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      • MartinTeam
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      • martin.3
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      Peter Try the shortcut alt+d, maybe your docker option isn't activated! 

       

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  • Hi, I have Garage Band will that work?

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      • MartinTeam
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      • martin.3
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      Peter I'd recommend getting Reaper since it's free to use for at least 60 days. Although we are talking about basic principles of post processing, I will demonstrate the various techniques and plugins in Reaper, since it's the most accessible for everyone!

      But getting better in one work station will ultimately help you with another one as well, so following along in Reaper will help you with Garage Band as well :)

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  • Hi Martin,

    I see that the audio I record in Imovie has a sample rate of 48 kHz and 24 Bits per sample when I export the file as a .wav file.  I could then import to Reaper to edit the file.  This way I can record the video and audio on my macbook with Imovie and not have to mess around with another camera.  Is there any problem with this workflow? Any benefit to recording with my Focusrite Scarlett directly into Reaper instead of in to Imovie?  thanks in advance, William

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      • MartinTeam
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      • martin.3
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      William that should work! I'd still prefer to save me the roundtrip from iMovie to Reaper and record directly into Reaper (because anyway, I will do some postproduction on the audio file), but since 48khz/24Bit is losless, you don't degrade your sonic quality by going back and forth between the two different pieces of software.
      However, I don't know any specifics about iMovie, so in the end, I don't know how comfortable it is to work with!

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  • Thanks for the quick reply Martin. I am starting to record some videos of myself playing and its just a lot easier to push start/stop on one device and have the audio and video already synced versus downloading the video from the camera to the laptop and then syncing the audio.  Any idea if you can hook up and video camera and record audio and video into Reaper  just as I do in Imovie?

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      • MartinTeam
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      William Capturing video from your camera directly onto your hard drive requires some special hardware like an HDMI capture card. If you are comfortable using your laptop camera you can just use that, however the quality of your camera will probably a lot better. I will talk about syncing audio and video in the 5th lesson!

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