Some advice needed for total beginner

No really, I dont have a clue


I am just starting with ntrack and am not too hot on computers in general. So the first thing I need is some sort of set up so I can start recording, then Ill worry about all the techniques and pro equipment Ill need. I have an Soundblaster Audigy Advanced card, a couple of mics, ntrack 4.1 build, and from what I gather I need a preamp. I can get a cheap Behringer ADA8000, but I dont know if that will be useful (I dont even really know what all that stuff does). Im going to be recording live instruments almost exclusively. So:

Do I need a new soundcard?
Should I take the ADA8000?
Will I be able to start recording at that point?

Sorry if this has all been explained before, I went through the topics but Im still fuzzy.


Go to HERE for good tips on getting started.


Do I need a new soundcard?

Depends. What cha’ got now? ???

Should I take the ADA8000?

If your soundcard has ADAT lightpipe input capability the ADA8000 will give eight decent (not great) mic preamps over ADAT lightpipe.

Will I be able to start recording at that point?

Well, you’ll need mics, somebody or something to record… but yeah, you’ll probably have the necessities to get a signal in your PC. Don’t forget cables… lots and lots of cables… :D



Topic: Some advice needed for total beginner, No really, I dont have a clue

Just, don’t get involved, at all. :(

It takes up all your spare time, and it eats into your drinking time.

It consumes money like you’d never believe! OK, you start off with a PC and a few freebies, but before you know it, you’re re-mortgaging your house to buy a new mike plus pre-amp.

Your partner wanders about muttering “PC widow” and “If I hear that damm track one more time, someone is gonna die!”.

You wake up at 4AM, finally having figured out the right ending for your latest piece, and you have to get up and start recording it now!

So, all in all, just don’t go there! :D

But, if you are determined on it, then this forum is a pretty good place to start. :)

My obligatory standard reply that I keep in Wordpad:

Immediately get a good beginner recording book (spend $20 before spending thousand$) that shows you what you need to get started and how to hook everything up in your studio:…=glance

Another really good Newbie guide:

Other recording books:

Hey thanks for the replies. I dunno what sound card I have, I thought it was the audigy. I wasn’t kidding, I dont have clue. On the plus side, Im much more confident about this now. Thanks!

I have been researching the ada8000 and plan to buy one. Everyplace I have looked (muscian’s friend, zzounds etc) now is sold out of them through about 1-15 -06 for the next delivery.

I do have an ADAT HD24 to connect to it via toslink lightpipe, but a cheap toslink cable will connect the ins to the digital outs and let the unit function as an 8 channel analog pre (with extra step of ad-da conversion) for about $200 street price, which is a pretty good deal for 8 pres!

Right, the audigy is your soundcard and you can do good recording with it.

You don’t need the ADA8000 – the Audigy doesn’t have an ADAT input. You will need mikes and either a mixer or some mike preamps. (Of course, if you get a new soundcard with ADAT support, and if you plan on multitrack recording, the ADA8000 could be useful.)

What do you plan to do? Record one-track-at-a-time (the way most of us work most of the time), or record lots of tracks at once? You generally want multiple tracks to do the following:

- record the whole rhythm section at once
- do live recordings
- record a drum kit

Your Audigy will record two mono tracks at once, or one stereo track. Interestingly, that’s enough for what we do most of the time, which is building up songs one track at a time.

What instruments do you play?
What instruments will you be recording?
Vocals too?


Ill be recording my band - thats guitar, double bass, drums, violin and vocals. I imagine Ill be recording one track at a time, will that be grand for the drums? (Two mikes recording mono?)

Thanks again!

Phoo is our resident expert on recording drums.

Lots of classic recordings of drums have been carried out with just a pair of overheads.

But these days close miking with gazillions of mikes seems to be more common.

But, search back through the forum. Lots of good people with lots of good things to say have contributed on this very subject.

PS, an Audigy2 ZS and some other Audigy’s can record 6 tracks at once, and if you’re really clever, 8 at once.

But unless you’ve a Platinum pro or similar, you’ll have to carry out some friggery-pokery with drivers and hardware.

Lotso mikes for drums is more important for rock than most other styles, IMHO.

What I’d do for starters – while you’re building up your supply of mikes, mike preamps, and multichannel soundcard – is get a mixer and use 3 or 4 mikes, and record drums in stereo.

In the process of doing this you’ll learn whether you really more channels. That said, it sure is handy to have a separate track for snare and bass, and then stereo for the rest, because snare and bass are so critical to the overall groove. Hihat would be the next most important item, but being a cymbal it’s going to leak into all the mikes no matter what! Anyway, this is a big subject you’ll have HOURS and HOURS of joy learning about. :D

Bottom line: use what ya got, and figure out whether it does what ya need. Add on when you understand why you’re adding on!

Meanwhile, if it’s a really good deal on that ADA8000, you might just nab it and put it in a closet for later. Most multichannel soundcards have 8 channels plus ADAT, so with the ADA, that gives you 16 channels, not to mention the ADA’s 8 mike preamps. Looks like they’re going for around US$200 on ebay (though I haven’t watched any auctions end to say for sure.)

The cheapest way to add channels to most 8-channel cards is to get a “blackface” ADAT tape unit, which you can find as cheap as $100 on ebay, and use it just as a line-to-ADAT converter. But you don’t get 8 mike preamps with it, and it’s bigger than an ADA.


Recording the entire band is a bit ambitious at this stage of the game for you… Start by just playing with it and recording yourself playing guitar and singing, then go back and overdub a lead or two and some harmonies, etc… by yourself!

Once you’ve got the hang of how eveything works and the process flow is second-nature, go ahead a bring some people in… but while you are still learning, all of those people will only frustrate the process exponentially. (plus, they will be more impressed if you know what you’re doing, or can at least fake it!)

Just don’t be in a hurry, and most of all - have fun!

Best of luck!

Boy…this newbie is really stoopid. Hehhehe. :laugh:

John’s advice is really good and reminds me that I forgot my standard advice to folks just getting started at recording.

Do NOT start with your magnum opus or that tune you’ve been dying to record. Start with simple tunes & arrangments and stuff you have down cold, maybe a couple covers. In your first couple projects you’ll learn a whole lot, and in the process you’ll probably burn yourself out on whatever it is you’re recording. Save the important ones until later (just as saving recording others until after you’ve got your feet wet).

…and PLEASE ignore Dewey Simpleton…


Thanks guys, great advice. Ill probably be on again real soon with another few questions… Honestly appreciate the help.


When I started using n-track I went to the website, clicked the Download button on the left and downloaded the manual. I found the first 3 chapters very helpful to start with. You can get the same information by opening n-track studio and going to the Help Files: Contents and Tutorial.
I experimented with some simple 2 to 3 track test songs that I decided I wouldn’t care about messing up. I still have those songs and they sound good! Have fun! N-track is great software and this is a great forum!