Recording Beginner needs advice

Hi all,I am a complete novice and want to start recording. I have recently purchased a Tascam DR-40 portable digital recorder. This is to record live sessions I perform in and those of my friends. I have been advised to purchase Steinberg’s Cu-base & Wave-lab Element suite to start out. Do you think this appropriate and can I build/add to this suite as I progress. Also, I would like to ask anyone what equipment they would advise I purchase to set up a small personal studio at home. I would need nothing bigger than 16-18 track. Look forward to your advice. Thank you.

Don’t know about Wavelab Elements? It’s a nice accessory but you don’t really need it to start out with because Cubase already has basic wave edit functions that are sufficient for basic users most of the time.
But besides that you really need a decent ASIO Audio interface like the UR22 (2 ch. in/2 ch. out) or unit with more if you have like more mics/guitars/synths you need to connect and record at the same time. It all depends on what you are planning to record and how? And what you’re willing to spend. Interfaces with 8 or more channels have a lot steeper price range.
In your case I would probably start out with Cubase Elements and start finding your way and maybe upgrade along the way if you need/want more functionality.

  1. Cubase Elements to start off
  2. Any 2 channel audio interface, UR22 etc. If you plan on recording more than 2 channels at a time youll need an interface with more inputs
  3. You dont really need WaveLab to master stuff but it is cool
  4. You need a good set of monitors, Yamaha HS7/HS8, JBL305/308 depending on room size
  5. Most importantly you need to treat the room with sound absorption

I started mixing using headphones because the room I have available for mixing is far from ideal. Mixing with headphones is usually not adviced by the experts but if the room is bad enough I think it is better than using speakers. If you end up mixing with headphones, get a pair which is comfortable to wear longish periods and which has decent sound quality.

Use professionally produced reference tracks (i.e. any commercial songs which sound the way you think your tracks should resemble). When you compare the tracks you are working with to the reference material, it might be useful to concentrate on some specific issue at a time, e.g. how the bass/low end sounds. Don’t give up if your tracks do not sound the same as the reference tracks, it takes time to find your way to the sound you are after. It will be hard to match the quality of the commercial tracks (at least this is my exoerience) but I think it is still possible obtain results one can accept.

I just recently got ARC 2 room correction software and I am happy how this software deals with my troublesome room.

Happy mixing.

Thank you very much guys. Very helpful. Am going to purchase Elements as suggested. However I can’t stretch to €400 for monitors just yet. I have already have a pair of active Alesis near-field monitors. My Tascam DR-40 is an audio interface so I will begin with that.

If you guys have any suggestions on a good entry level vocal mic, would like to know. Have only used dynamics like shure sm58 (workhorse) and Zennheissers. I have been looking at the rode starter kit.

Again thank you for your advice, much appreciated.

There’s whole communities out there discussing their personal preferences for certain and types of mics so I won’t be pushing you into a certain direction :wink: but I’ve always had more than acceptable results with the SM58 myself. It’s not fancy it’s not sophisticated and you probably won’t see them in high end studio’s but it works most of the time.

Good idea to start out with the Tascam for now, but it doesn’t support Asio so you will most likely be bugged by more than average latency. As a second workaround you could install the ASIO4ALL driver that works with most common audio interface (maybe even you Tascam). Usually it sqeezes a litte bit more performance out a of device because you have more options to tweak. You could say set buffer sizes to low when recording, taking a few artifacts for granted (as long as they are not recorded of course!) and later use large sizes when mixing. Because then it doesn’t matter if you get more latency.

Good luck!

Rode NT1 would be a good starter https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/NT1AAnniv

If you have the scratch I would get a Roswell Audio Mini K47 http://www.zenproaudio.com/roswell-pro-audio-mini-k47