Hi Tim. I use a DAW called ProTools, and decided to invest in the hardware and a good set of microphones when I wanted to record a full-length album. Two years and a lot of experiences later, I've recorded two other artists (http://myspace.com/ovedanielsen and http://www.katiebeckermusic.com), two Christmas albums (http://www.pageantmusic.com) and have just finished my first full-length album. It has definitely been worth it for the quality of recordings I've been able to get, but it all depends on what you plan on using the equipment for.
I used to record onto my computer's microphone to MP3 format - a little program called 'HD Ogg' that was free - you can probably still find it on the internet. It captured the songs pretty well and I could give them to people so they could learn them. What I discovered was that if people liked the song recorded at that level, it generally meant it was a good song. If they didn't like it, improving the audio quality wouldn't help.
I LOVE my Korg M3 I use Tingly Breath Electric Piano patches modified a little layered with several string sounds .. it is very ethereal sounding depending on how u play . Soft more strings harder gets more percussive sounds
for the second video I posted I used a cannon GL1 with a mixer attached that allows me to substitute the embedded mic on the camera with up to 2 xlr style microphones so you saw the one I used for my vocals and I had a lapel clip on mic inside the piano. I needed to tweek the audio input settings just a bit but in my next few video's you'[ll see that.I hope that helps ton how to have a simple good section of audio on a video recording. also just having a clean recording environment helps a bunch.
If you're not overwhelmed already, Tim, here is what I'm using: Yamaha N8 Digital Mixing Studio connected to a quad-core computer, using the Cubase AI4 software that came with it. If you listen to my songs, you'll hear what it can do under my still-learning efforts. I've had it since January. You spend a couple thousand dollars getting set up, but for finished product, it's pretty nice.
And as mentioned before, good mics make a lot of difference.
I use a recording engineer with a nice studio. He charges 300 dollars per song but he'll do all of the instruments if you can't play anything. So if all you can do its sing the song you wrote, he'll do the rest at no extra cost.
That's great to know! That's essentially what I'm doing for a local artist now, but for free (my first time producing). I don't think I could charge what your guy is, but it's nice to know a baseline for reference.
Good questions... There are a heap of experienced folks on WTR that can guide and advise. I am not one of them .. never the less...
I personally had zero technical knowledge of recording, mix/mastering ... just a heart try a capture the music for worship and ministry use. A couple of years ago I invested in a home recording studio that included the MUST Haves;
a 16 track hard disc recorder made by Zoom
the best near field monitors I could afford
a great vocal condenser mic w/stand & screen
a great pair of headphones.
I knew I didn't have the patience for PC based systems (and no Mac setup avail) .. so the Zoom got me a pretty decent practice studio set up for about $1600-1800 total back then. Though not technically portable... I do take it with me to record tracks with other musicians locally.
It's just so simple. I was up and running in 20 minutes... Great basic effects and processing...
Since then learned a ton more -- mostly that I'll trust the final recording and fine tuning to studio pro's when it comes down to a finished product. My system just helps me get a decent quality demo to share and rehearse... and to sort of self-produce and distribute if needed.
Other's may disagree... but this really worked well for me.
I use a MacbookPro cause it is portable and a no brainer to record audio on. I got sick of building PC's too many variables and a pain in the butt with drivers this just seems to be alot less hassle. I run the latest Logic Express which is cheap but excellent software (you could use Garage Band which alot of people do as it comes free and is getting better and better all the time) and I use a MOTU interface hooked through Firewire. Works great and is hassle free and easy software to use. I dont like the hardware and recording process to get in the way and found this a simple no fuss powerful setup.