Saturday, November 4, 2017

What Do You Need To Record Music?

To record with Mixcraft, you'll need some of the following:

  1. Window's Computer (Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8 or 10) REQ'D
  2. Mixcraft REQ'D
  3. Audio Interface REQ'D
  4. (USB) MIDI Keyboard
  5. Microphones.
  6. Headphones
  7. Studio Monitors 
  8. Cables

Windows Computer

Most people already have the computer. Mixcraft works on Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, or 10.  It should be relatively recent.  If your computer is older than 6 years old, you might consider purchasing a new one.  Mixcraft works pretty well on slower equipment, depending on what features you decide to use. You'll need at least 8 GB of RAM and a fairly decent hard drive.  If you are using a laptop, make sure to keep it plugged in during recording as laptops tend to try and save energy and will sacrifice on performance to save energy.  

Mixcraft

Mixcraft - the champion of musicians in its native setting.
The current version of Mixcraft is version 8.  With Mixcraft, you can record multi-track compositions, add effects, do non-linear edits, record virtual musical instruments and publish directly to Youtube.  Mixcraft has a ton of built in synthesizers.  From old emulations of vintage analog synths to bass synthesizers and realistic analog modeled sounds, there is a lot there to keep most people satisfied for a very, very long time.  Check out all the included and bundled Mixcraft virtual synths and effects.  Download a two week trial of Mixcraft here.


Audio Interface

Shows a variety of audio interfaces (more high end)
Audio interfaces are the glue between the computer and your microphones and guitars.  Computers normally only have a few mini stereo plugs to connect audio equipment.  Usually, these are not adequate enough for recording.  Audio interfaces are also important for good audio overdubbing and recording.  If possible, use ASIO when recording with an audio device.  (Although, do not use ASIO4All - that is a hack to allow some programs that only support ASIO to use different audio devices.)  Make sure your audio interface has support for ASIO.  Mixcraft supports Core Audio (WaveRT) as well, which is pretty good but not as tight as ASIO.
Here are some links for audio interfaces.


 Audio interfaces will have microphone inputs, line inputs, phantom power and MIDI connections.  It just depends on how much $moola$ you want to plunk down.  Some are $50 and some are $1000.  Some audio interfaces look like the old mixers with tracks and automated faders that follow your track levels in Mixcraft.


(USB) MIDI Keyboard

MIDI is the way synthesizers or keyboards communicate to each other.  Think of it as the hi-tech equivalent to the player piano.  You'll need a MIDI keyboard or controller if you want to play music into Mixcraft.  The kind of keyboard depends on your needs.




If your audio interface (above) has a MIDI input, then you do not need a USB keyboard.  (You'd get a MIDI cable and connect the keyboard to the audio interface in that case.)  Other factors are - do you want a small desktop keyboard for quick noodling or do you want a full 88 key weighted keyboard for the right feel.   Some keyboards have more knobs, buttons and sliders which can be useful for controlling various track volumes.
Some MIDI keyboards to check out.

Microphones

There are two types of microphones that can be used with Mixcraft
  • USB Microphones
  • Traditional XLR dynamic or condenser mics.
If you are intending to be recording vocals with music, you probably should get traditional XLR mics to hook up to your audio interface.  The recommended method is to use ASIO with your audio interface.  Here is a whole blog on recording vocals in Mixcraft .  If you are recording pod casts or casual performances, a USB microphone will do just fine in CoreAudio (WaveRT) mode.  Links for microphones.

Headphones

All headphones are not created equally.  Some of the new ones emphasize the bass.  You'll need a
decent set of headphones if you are going to be recording and you don't want your old tracks to 'bleed' into the new tracks.  When recording, if your speakers are playing back your tracks, the microphone will pick this up and will be part of the new track.  You want quite and clean vocals, so you'll need headphones for this.  (They even use headphones in the high end studios.)

Studio Monitors

The speakers that came with your computer are most likely for gaming.  You'll need studio monitors that more accurately reflect the sound and do not eq or boost any frequencies.  Aka: Flat Response Speakers. Also, when testing out your mixes, you'll want to listen to your song at a variety of locations, such as in your car and on your phone.  Of course, you can just use headphones, but everyone says to not use headphones for mixing.  (If you insist on using headphones for mixing, check this article out.)

Cables

You'll need the following types of cables depending on what you are doing
  • Audio cables (1/4" to connect your line instruments like guitars)
  • XLR cables (If you are using an XLR mic)
  • USB cables (for your USB devices)

Want something easy to use to record music on a computer?
Watch the video.



Want to learn more?  Learn about the various types of recording setups that you might be thinking of doing from Eric Vanlandingham.

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