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Using your PC for Recording !

Used to be PC's were slower, and the software that could turn your PC into a recording studio was pretty expensive and frankly pretty complicated. It was an investment that required a fairly steep learning curve to master to the fullest capabilities of the software and you were dealing with computers that were at best sluggish as more and more tracks were added and...


There is a host of new software coming out right now that tries to emulate a 4 track tape deck in the way that it's used, and the results can be very cool ! For example, Cakewalk company has a Guitar Tracks, Cakewalk itself, and now Sonar.

Although you can record fully all the tracks and add all the effects you should need directly into the PC, I have settled on kind of a hybrid way of recording music.

Using your PC gives you a great new outlook on your capabilities, and allows you do to things that are almost impossible with tape.

After much trial and error, and experimentation, I have found, that for ME, the following works well.

Using my Tascam Digital 8 Track, and it's various capabilities, I record the actual tracks.

From the guitar, through the effects I wish to use, and then into the deck, I can utilize the digital domain, and still be able to record using "tape" recorder controls. Hit "Record", and it does that...rewind, fast forward, etc...want to add a track, just assign the input I'm in to a different track, and hit record.

The quality of the Tascam is pretty good, and offers both 16 and 24 bit resolution and so for the serious stuff, 24 bit is the only way to go. It also has 99 levels of "undo", so I can record, and go over a track a few times until I get it right.

After I have the tracks recorded as well as they will be, I save them on my computer. Simply take the Stereo Out from my deck, and go into the Line In on the pc, and I load up a program that records, play the track on the Tape Deck, record it on the PC, and save it as a wav file.

I can do this for as many tracks as the PC can tolerate, and when they are into the computer, from that point, all editing, and mixing is done in there.

It's like the best of both worlds for me, as I don;t like recording directly into the computer. Being a one person operation a lot of the time, I can't seem to get the hang of clicking the mouse to get started :-)

Anyway, this all works for me.

When the song has all it's tracks in the PC, I can edit, copy, reverse, add a ton of effects that are built into the recording program software, and it's way to much fun :-)

Finally, when I get the mix just the way I want it, I save the song on the PC, dump it out to a CD burner and ... instant song.

The experimentation with the various effects, eq's , compressors, and everything else that is built in to an inexpensive computer recording package is as much fun as the actual recording, and you can do things on the computer so much easier then you can on the tape deck as far as editing goes.

In addition...to add a part from another person, what we do now is transfer the part(s) they recorded online, and in a few seconds, it's added to the song...from anywhere in the world !

There are hundreds of plug-ins that you can get that alter your sound ...everything from "Amplitube" which is for guitar players and allows you to emulate tons of classic Amp-Speaker combinations as well as add real-time effects , to Hammond sounding plug-in's for keyboard players, to echo and delay, chorus and even backwards guitar...it's really amazing.

There's a learning curve like with anything, but when you get past that, there's nothing in your way from stopping you having a totally complete recording studio right in your PC.

Hell, if I can do it, ANYONE can !

Rock on