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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    • Brooke
    • Brooke
    • 3 yrs ago
    • Reported - view

    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?  

    Like 1
      • martinTeam
      • LIVE
      • martin.3
      • 3 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      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! 🧙‍♂️

      Like 1
  • 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

    Like 1
      • martinTeam
      • LIVE
      • martin.3
      • 3 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      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).

      Like 1
    • Olli
    • Mr. Pizza
    • Saitenzwirbler
    • 3 yrs ago
    • Reported - view

    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

    Like 1
      • martinTeam
      • LIVE
      • martin.3
      • 3 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      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! 🧙‍♂️🤓

      Like 2
      • Robert
      • amateur guitarist, guitar addicted
      • Robert
      • 3 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      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.

      Like 2
      • martinTeam
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      • martin.3
      • 3 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Robert 😁🧙‍♂️

      Like 1
    • Peternull
    • Peter.3
    • 3 yrs ago
    • Reported - view

    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 

    Like 1
      • martinTeam
      • LIVE
      • martin.3
      • 3 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      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

      Like 1
      • Peternull
      • Peter.3
      • 3 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      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. 

      Like 1
      • martinTeam
      • LIVE
      • martin.3
      • 3 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Peter Try the shortcut alt+d, maybe your docker option isn't activated! 

       

      Like 1
    • Peternull
    • Peter.5
    • 3 yrs ago
    • Reported - view

    Hi, I have Garage Band will that work?

    Like 1
      • martinTeam
      • LIVE
      • martin.3
      • 3 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      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 :)

      Like 1
  • 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

    Like 1
      • martinTeam
      • LIVE
      • martin.3
      • 3 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      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!

      Like 1
  • 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?

    Like 1
      • martinTeam
      • LIVE
      • martin.3
      • 3 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      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!

      Like 1
  • Hi  martin ,

     

    I've bought a H4N Pro for my first steps in recording (fairly budget friendly). Getting it available in Reaper was as simple as plugging in the USB-cable and selecting some options and it just simply works (I'm on Mac BTW). One thing I'm struggling with is the volume of the recording. I recall you saying it should range in the -6dB and -12dB range. If I try playing extremely loud it ends up somewhere in that range but that doesn't leave a whole lot of room for dynamics :) How far should I place the mic from my guitar (it's at 30cm or so ATM)? What other options are available?

    Like 1
      • martinTeam
      • LIVE
      • martin.3
      • 3 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Barry van de Graaf You probably need to boost the GAIN settings on your H4N.  I think you can adjust the mic settings on the right side of the unit, where it says "Rec Level". Then you want to adjust your settings that your peaks land between -6db to -12db.

      Like 1
    • martin Ah yes, hadn't found those buttons yet. Turned it up and it's way better now. Thanks!

      Like 1
      • martinTeam
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      • martin.3
      • 3 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Barry van de Graaf awesome!

      Like 1
    • Debbie
    • Debbie
    • 3 yrs ago
    • Reported - view

    Hello Martin, 

    I have two questions:

    1) how do you quickly delete a take? 
    2) What brand of microphone stand are you using? Specifically, the boom that holds the pair of microphones. I have one but it is too wide. The minimum span is 48 cm. I have a pair of Rode NT-5’s but I didn’t record because the distance between the mics would be too far away. Maybe I should just record anyway in order to do the assignment but I didn’t want to work with a crappy sound. Sad face.

    Thanks!

    Debbie

    Like 1
      • martinTeam
      • LIVE
      • martin.3
      • 3 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Debbie Hi Debbie! The "delete" key works for me (next to enter), but I'm assuming that you've already tried that, so I'll show you how to assign a keyboard shortcut for that:

      You go to "Action -> show Action List" and search for "Remove Items/tracks/envelope points (depending on focus)"

       On the right side of the window you can assign a new shortcut via the button "Add".

       

      2) I use exclusively "König & Meyer", they are great and reasonably priced. No bigger horror than a mic stand that doesn't properly tighten or unfold when you are on production! I actually own all the different stereo bars that they offer and just use what I would just need in that moment.

      Anyway, just record, you will only get better and train your ears for what you actually want to hear. If you don't have a sound ideal in your head, you cannot aim for that goal. But in order to shape that picture, you need to record, listen and repeat, over and over again 🧙‍♂️

      Like 2
      • Debbie
      • Debbie
      • 3 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      martin Thanks Martin! I just ordered a K&M Stereo bar online from Thomann.de

      hopefully it won’t take too long to ship to Bulgaria!

      Like 2
    • martinTeam
    • LIVE
    • martin.3
    • 3 yrs ago
    • Reported - view

    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"! 🧙‍♂️

    Like 1
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