Starting Out

Hi all, im new here an to n-track but looks like a great community here an i need some advice on some things as im totally new to recording on a computer an im not sure how it all works, i have had a look through the forum but haven’t found the exact answers an have read the n-track guide pdf.

For starters what i have to work with is creative audigy2 24 bit sound card. with a pentium 4ghz, 256mb ram, 200gb hd an a 40gb hd. A labtec 5 piece surround sound speakers set.
An for my guitar gear i have a choice between my marshall avt 150 combo amp or a behringer gmx212 combo 24bit stereo guitar amp an also a boss me-50 effects board. (not all this info may be relevant but trying to give ya an idea of what im working with)

So im wondering with this gear in mind should i be recording by directly connecting my amp into my sound cards line out or am i best off buying a mic an preamp? An if so could you recomend a brand as i have no idea about preamps or mic’s.

An as for the music im looking at recording mainly heavy metal style, lots of distortion an also some clean guitar but no acoustic at this stage.

Thanks for any help.

I don’t know muck about the audigy card. So linking wise I’m not sure.

There are some incredible amplifier modelers out there, Nomad Factory Rock Amp Legends is very very very good and would give you more versatility than your current selection of amps. It’s a Vst pluggin. Just need nice neautral monitors and you will get a very good representation of sounds of various amps. Waves has an amp modeller too forget the name of it (models three different amps). Several of the software multi effects units like Guitar Rig 2, ans Waves GTR are good also.

Don’t know much about the audigy, does it have enough headroom for you to record you guitar direct? If so I’d get an amp modelling pluggin and record direct through your soundcard.

You mentioned (i think) a multi-effects unit you have. Couldn’t you use this as an interface?

Line out on a guitar amp, from my experience, does not sound anything like the direct sound from amp speakers.

Welcome to a world of endless possibilities.

Just looked at the ME 50 it’s just an effects package.

Your best bet is picking up some amp modelling software IMO.

You certainly have the horsepower to run it. Run through your multi effects box out to your soundcard, using amp modelling software.

I’m pretty certain both your amps have line outputs you can use to connect to the line in jack on your Audigy card. While it is true the line-out may not have the sound of a microphone in front of a speaker, you can still get good sounding tracks this way, and with all the available freeby amp simulaters and distortion generators, you should be able to get a fine distorted sound for metal music. Plus you will be able to listen to what you are playing with your amp, so you won’t be tempted to use your monitor system for live tracking. While your labtech system might handle it okay, live instruments have a dynamic range which most computer speakers simply are not made to handle.
From the sound of it, you have enough gear to get started making good sounding recordings. Check out some of the how-tos over at Audiominds; these will repay you many times over.

Good luck!
tony w

Ya Tony makes some good points here. Great free pluggins out there. Register on this site
Shouldn’t have to spend a penny, try a demo of Rock Amp Legends when you get a chance, it’s mind blowing.

If the audigy doesn’t have the headroom, input to amp than output to soundcard. You do have enough to get started.

If you plan on expanding your effects line look into something with pre-amps, that can model amps, has effects and can interface with a puter. (Zoom G 9.2 tt)

Cheers Tony an Stuh your help is very much appreciated plenty of good food for thought there for me. Just a question about recording using rock amp legends for my amp sound you mentioned having neutral monitors, may be a silly question but do you mean the n-track signal monitor or do i need another program?

Thanks again guys.

The speakers you have connected to your computer. I think you mentioned you had surround speakers, if they have an eq settings that can be set on the puter set all your frequencies to 0 or to a default for audio recording if they have such a setting.

If you believe that you will want to make anything other than pure instrumental recordings of electric instruments I would recommend that you get a Shure SM57 and an inexpensive preamp. I usually recommend a small Behringer mixer for the cost-conscious but there are many choices. I have a an older version of the UBB1002 and it is useful for a variety of purposes besides recording so it can be a reasonably good investment even if you decide that recording is not something you want to do (I use it as an input expander at a coffeehouse gig I do occassionally, we need up to 8 inputs and they only have four, it is way easier to lug than my “real” board). The SM57 is an industry workhorse and can be used to record anything in a pinch, although it is particularly popular for recording guitar cabinets.

If you do decide on a small mixer, make sure it has at least 2 outputs that are independent of the stereo mix (inserts, FX sends, monitor outs, aux sends etc.) so that you can record 2 simultaneous tracks while monitoring playback and the signals you are currently recording. See my response to this thread for more comments.

While tracking (the process of creating new tracks as opposed to mixing which is done to already recorded tracks) it is customary to listen over headphones to avoid re-recording the playback of previously recorded tracks combined with your new track. It also can allow you to play your guitar amp louder to get the tone you want without having to match that level with your speakers.

Using a mixer will let you monitor both the playback of previously recorded tracks and the current input without the delay associated with monitoring using the “live” function in N-track. Delay in monitoring makes it difficult to play so you can avoid the complication and are likely to get better performances.

While software guitar cabinet emulators are great, they require that you use the “live” function if you want to hear what it sounds like while you are playing. This in turn creates the delay disadvantage. I would rather use either a real amp or external emulator (like the Line6 POD) during tracking to avoid the delays that software emulation creates. If you want maximum flexibiltiy in mixing you can record the guitar “dry” using a direct box in front of your amplifier and use the software emulators in mixdown only. By using real-time monitoring with an effect that is close to what you want you will get a better performance and you can still play with tone to your hearts-content at mixdown if you wish.

If you don’t get a microphone, you will not be recording vocals.

Anyway, this will get you started, there is no end to what you can spend if you get GAS (gear acquisition syndrome) but I feel it is better to start out with basic gear until you have enough experience to know what problems you need to solve. You may find out you don’t need any more.