View Full Version : Music studio/mixer programs?

Wild Dingo
04-25-2007, 08:53 PM
I think awhile back MMike posted something about the program he was using but Im buggared if I can find it now... so Im posting this to get or guage an idea of what program I should buy
It will be running on both the Laptop and main computer... so Im wondering what programs you blokes use when mixing recording your music on the computer?
Needs to be relatively easy to learn and use but be able to produce pretty much studio quality sound... mics to both me and instruments
So ideas please!!

04-25-2007, 09:02 PM
Audacity is free. I've used to to edit and mix music files.


04-25-2007, 09:15 PM
Kristal is free too.
I used this program to record my last CD, for Mall use and I've even sold a few copies.
I didnt go gold or platinum,,,, but I think it DID go "TIN",,,,,,

04-25-2007, 09:40 PM
Audacity here too.
Do you have an audio interface?
How many mics at one time?

Vince Brennan
04-25-2007, 09:43 PM
Kristal is free too.
I used this program to record my last CD, for Mall use and I've even sold a few copies.
I didnt go gold or platinum,,,, but I think it DID go "TIN",,,,,,

Mine went "lead"... and sank. Wanna swapo-like?

Wild Dingo
04-25-2007, 10:04 PM
Im looking for a program that I can record as in like a studio... some will be just me talking like a story cd... others will be singing and yet others music then combined... if possible with ability to combine with video

Sorta like a video clip thing but with quality sound and vision?

mmmm so I will have the video recording as I play and sing thus the visual the sound then will go into the program as I sing and play then combined will output a video clip with quality rather than crappy visuals or just sound... mmm am I being clear here?

mmm okay presently I can video with sound sure but the sound is crap... so Im getting a good mic over the next few days... but before I do that I want to get hold of a good program for the computer so I can have the sound input from a mic direct to the mixer on the computer the sound then will have quality instead of crap as is the present case... then combine the two to get a video with good sound that can be burnt together onto a cd with no loss of quality or distortion between the sound and video... or is this unavailable

I downloaded the kyristal thing but wasnt impressed... I dont mind paying if I have to for a quality program

I guess Im trying for the studio video hits type thing without having to go to a studio or hiring a film crew to do it...


Bruce Hooke
04-25-2007, 10:23 PM
I used something called Cakewalk Home Studio to do audio tracks for a web-based training course. Based on my experience, a lot of getting good quality audio comes down to the hardware that gets the sound into the computer (mic, pre-amp, sound card, etc.) as opposed to the software.

Memphis Mike
04-25-2007, 11:15 PM
Dingo, I use Audacity. It's great for recording multiple track MP3's and wave files.

You can record your tracks one at a time just like they do in professional studios.

As a matter of fact, my teacher tells me that Audacity is very close to Pro Tools. The program that most studios use.

Todd Bradshaw
04-25-2007, 11:54 PM
I do my recording on a Korg 12-track laptop and then just download the finished stuff into the computer, so I can't help you with software for direct-to-PC recording, but Bruce has a very good point. Selecting the proper Microphone(s) may have a lot more effect on the quality of the finished product than whether you use one software package or another. Digital recording is incredibly clean, but you can hear anything that's not quite right as plain as day. I anticipate that if you're shooting for studio-like sound, learning how to mic things will be much more of a challenge than learning to use the software program.

Once the recording part is done, the next major problem is mixing and trying to figure out what is "normal" sound. I'd mix a track, using headphones or my computer speakers and it would sound fine. Plug the same CD into the car stereo and it would sound awful. Maybe the bass would be lost, or too boomy, maybe the vocal sounded bad (all my vocals ARE bad, but this was worse). The same CD in the home stereo would be a completely different blend. I hadn't anticipated having to run out and buy a pair of real studio monitor speakers for mixing, but in the end, there wasn't really another good option if I wanted to be hearing accurate sound and generating CD's that would sound decent on any system.

The good news - the process of recording your own stuff is really fun (in a kind of extremely tedious fashion) - but be patient because studio-quality sound doesn't come easy and it doesn't come overnight.

Memphis Mike
04-26-2007, 12:06 AM
One of the great things about Audacity is that it can "normalize" your recording.

Todd Bradshaw
04-26-2007, 12:59 AM
That would be a valuable asset if it's accurate.

Nicholas Carey
04-26-2007, 02:53 PM
Selecting the proper Microphone(s) may have a lot more effect on the quality of the finished product than whether you use one software package or another. The Shure SM-58 is one of the "standard" vocal mikes out there -- arguably the most popular all-purpose vocal mike in the world.

For making radio and similar endeavours, Transom.org (http://www.transom.org/)
Transom.org is an experiment in channeling new work and voices to public radio through the Internet, and for discussing that work, and encouraging more. We've designed Transom.org as a performance space, an open editorial session, an audition stage, a library, and a hangout. Our purpose is to create a worthy Internet site and make public radio better.
is a great resource. Here's a couple of microphone "shootouts" they've done:
http://www.transom.org/tools/recording_interviewing/200608_handheld_mic_shootout/Here's an article: What Microphone Do I Get? (http://www.transom.org/tools/recording_interviewing/200106.microphones.jtowne.html).

And here's their review of Audacity: http://www.transom.org/tools/editing_mixing/200404.audacity.html

Along with their Gear Guide, which covers a lot of Recording/Mixdown apps: http://www.transom.org/tools/faq/gear.php3

Brahm Thexton
04-26-2007, 03:36 PM
Lets make a wooden boat forum musical CD...

Todd Bradshaw
04-26-2007, 05:23 PM
Nick, I was thinking an SM58 might be one of the better all-round choices. We used to use them on stage and they're pretty durable as well as having good sound. I record with an SM57 for acoustic guitars or when I mic an amp (the 57 is directional and picks up less noise from outside sources) but they don't make very good vocal mics unless you can stand pretty still and not move your head much. The wider pattern of the 58 would make it a better choice if it has to do everything. I finally bought a phantom-powered CAD condenser mic for vocals and realy like the sound, but they're pretty fragile and hear everything. If you were trying to sing and play at the same time - like live folk-singer-style acoustic stuff, it would also be excellent, but before I record with it, I have to go around the house and turn everything off. Then you just hope a truck doesn't go down the street right in the middle of your best take.

Bruce Hooke
04-26-2007, 05:52 PM
I think I was using an SM57 for my recordings. I was sitting down speaking right into it, so the fact that it was fairly directional was good because it meant that outside noises were less of an issue. I was amazed one time when someone opened the door to the room we were making the recording in -- to us it sounded very loud, but it was barely picked up by the microphone. However, this directionality would obviously be problematic for some types of recording.

The big point I wanted to make is that it is not just the microphone. You've got to make sure that everything in the chain that gets the sound into the computer is up to the task. I never really got the sound I wanted, but I was fairly sure the problem was my sound card. I did some research and realized that most sound cards simply are not designed for high-quality audio input. This is understandable since most computers are not used to high-quality audio recording. One solution is an external sound card. We also used a pre-amp in between the mic and the computer.

This was a couple of years ago, so I don't know what may have changed, but I'd guess that things haven't changed that much.

Finally, once you have everything else worked out, you have to start thinking about the acoustics of the space in which you are making the recordings.

P.I. Stazzer-Newt
04-27-2007, 03:47 AM
The classic amateur approach to PC recording is to use a recording chain that goes:

Mic -> [pre-amp/mixer] -> Line in on the sound card.

The SM57/58 are truly great mics, and absent any other info would be my default first choice - the proximity effect on the 58 is particulary useful.
Very very often, mic placement is king - give or take 6" and 15 is chalk and cheese, I've lost count of the number of times I've seen someone mic the wrong end of a flute.

Pre-Amp/Mixer this thing has the job of bringing the low-level mic signal up to about 2V without adding too much noise or distortion. For a thing with a simple job there is an immense amount of twaddle talked.
Idiots rave about valves - frankly if you can't draw the circuit from memory, just ignore them - anything with a 12AX7 (ECC83) can safely be dismissed as suitable only for distorting strats and the like.

The marketplace is awash with incredibly effective, cheap, small mixers which will do a far better job than you have any right to expect - behringer is one of the better known names.

There is a huge range of good free (or cheap) software - I've used Logic/AV, Pro-Tools lite - and have no reason to doubt that Audacity will do the job.
Goldwave and Multiquence are pretty staggering and some of the stuff you can now do easily is jaw dropping - "Pacemaker+Winamp"....stunned.

04-27-2007, 01:17 PM
I've been trying some MSH mics from Naiant. They are remarkably inexpensive and sound pretty darn good. The one's I have are omni's but I think I'll pick up some of the cardoids he's building now too.