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Most basic gadgets we beginners need?

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atbaei
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Posted Fri May 16, 2008 4:45PM
Please help us poor amateur beginners how to get into the Audio business!

What hardware? Which software?   Thanks


 
onfilm
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Posted Fri May 16, 2008 5:30PM

If you made this post in the photo forum you would probably get some strong replies that this is a business not a college. Nothing personal, but I hope the same standards apply to audio, and that people should learn their craft before getting involved here.


To answer your question it depends entirely on what you want to do. If you want to record a baby crying you need a decent mic and a good soundcard and pretty well any software (and a sharp stick to make the baby cry on cue). If you want to record an orchestra then invest a million or so in proper equipment. And everything in between.
JKristoffersson
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Posted Fri May 16, 2008 5:49PM
Business or not. Off course we do want to help each other out in the forums! You will need a descent soundcard - but do check your local music store - they do have the right ones (for professional work) and not to expensive. A good mic and finally some sort of studio software - which is the most expensive part. Then it depends on what your want to do. When i bought my mic and mixer and that professional soundboard my "sounds" did start to sound rather good. Before that with the computers built-in soundboard and a lousy mic it sounded like crap. So you can go a long way without investing to much money. I payed about 400 dollars but that was five years ago and in Sweden so say - about 300 dollars and you are ready...
toddmedia
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Posted Fri May 16, 2008 5:57PM

Actually ... in the Camera Forum ... this is asked often. And there are innumerable people adding to the multitude of threads telling them what gear/software to get and how to get started. We'll see the same here. There are always those who see themselves as Mentors, and don't worry about competition.


.
onfilm
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Posted Fri May 16, 2008 6:23PM

^Perhaps I sounded a bit harsh, sorry didn't mean to. But in the photo forums the requests are usually about upgrading or comparing equipment. Here I have seen a few questions which seem to be what is the cheapest way I can get into this, which is not quite the same.


If you are starting in audio, then the best thing to remember is that the sound will only be as good as the weakest piece of equipment. A great mic through a cheap desk won't sound good, and vice versa. So if you are in this for the long run (ie not just hoping to make a quick buck here), then you might spend a lot of money on a good valve mic knowing that you will be buying a comparably good desk, mic pre-amp, monitors etc in the future. Otherwise it's a waste of money to buy just one very good item and use it with cheaper gear, so it would be better to buy everything of a similar quality.


Again though, without knowing what the OP wants to record it is hard to give advice.
atbaei
Member is a Silver contributor and has 2,500 - 9,999 Photo downloadsExclusive
Posted Fri May 16, 2008 6:26PM
Posted By onfilm:

If you made this post in the photo forum you would probably get some strong replies that this is a business not a college. Nothing personal, but I hope the same standards apply to audio, and that people should learn their craft before getting involved here.


To answer your question it depends entirely on what you want to do. If you want to record a baby crying you need a decent mic and a good soundcard and pretty well any software (and a sharp stick to make the baby cry on cue). If you want to record an orchestra then invest a million or so in proper equipment. And everything in between.


With all my respects and appreciation for your effort replying to my post:


Babies can cry with or without a sharp stick, but to learn how to shoot or record they’re gonna need to start somewhere and not necessarily in a college! I don't think all istockers are graduates of prestigious ART schools!? Please correct me if I am wrong.


I have learned many basics of photography in istock forums thanks to all patient istockers, why can’t I do the same in audio BUSINESS?


Just a reply! No hard feelingsJ


 
PJ Hudson
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Posted Fri May 16, 2008 7:23PM
do a google search for "audio engineering for beginners" and you'll probably find everything you need to know on how to get started -- books, tutorials, online lessons, articles etc.
atbaei
Member is a Silver contributor and has 2,500 - 9,999 Photo downloadsExclusive
Posted Sat May 17, 2008 3:31AM
Now the question comes up whether one needs to master audio engineering or be musical creativite? What shall a musician do whom has no background in engineering yet interested in audiostock?
JamersonG
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Posted Sat May 17, 2008 3:43AM

So what sort of audio are you hoping to record, atbei?  Sound effects?  Music?  Because that will heavily influence the gear you need


Cheers,
-Jamie
atbaei
Member is a Silver contributor and has 2,500 - 9,999 Photo downloadsExclusive
Posted Sat May 17, 2008 4:16AM
Posted By denwO:

So what sort of audio are you hoping to record, atbei? Sound effects? Music? Because that will heavily influence the gear you need smile


Cheers,
-Jamie

Well I am planning to make a portfolio on recordingsof  folkloric and ethnic instruments, real ethnic  people singing, with special intrest in fluits!
JamersonG
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Posted Sat May 17, 2008 4:53AM

Cool


In that case I'd suggest reading some reviews on large diaphragm condenser mics and going for the best you can afford.  A mic with a valve/tube in it will give you a 'better' (warmer) sound for vocals.  There is certainly a mic out there that will do very well for your particular needs, so it's worth researching..  Flutes and high frequency instruments may benefit from a small diaphragm condenser though as they have a much brighter sound.  Google for an article on large/small diaphragm condensers.


Also leave room in your budget for a preamp.  If you're only going to be recording one track at a time then you can go for a single channel preamp.  Again a tube preamp is a good choice, especially for vocals.  I'd recommend the ART TUBE M3 (V3) which is great value for money and super portable - it also has some very good presets which you can flick through to quickly get a sound you like.


Last in your chain will be an audio interface to your PC.  Some come with preamps built in, but I'd recommend bypassing these and going for something like I mentioned above.  Have a scout around for USB audio interfaces and note the specs - the difference will be in sample rate and data resolution (bits): 96kHz is a fairly common sample rate and some interfaces will be 24bit instead of 16.  If your plan is to record raw content like folk instruments and vocals and then upload them solely to iStock, these specs needn't be high.. these numbers matter most if you're mixing several audio sources in software and applying effects.


Speaking of software.. Audacity is the popular free audio recording/editing application, but a new audio interface will probably have a commercial suite bundled with it, such as Cubase 'Light Edition' or something.  Either way you needn't spend much/any money on this for simple recordings.


I reckon you could get very good results for as little as £250 ($500).  It's definitely worth spending more if you can though.. maybe double that for a gorgeous sound


Hope that helps!
-Jamie
SerenDigital
Member is a Bronze contributor and has 250 - 2,499 Photo downloads
Posted Sat May 17, 2008 5:28AM

Plus factor in the PLACE you are going to record.


If you are doing it in your bedroom and it's next to a road, no such luck.  It's just not going to be worth the extra hours spent to edit the sounds up.


Take it from me, I spent two years recording pianists, flautists, choirs, orchestras etc in a large hall next to a fairly main road with thin windows...  It's not a nice experience getting those sounds up to standard!  HOWEVER, large velvet drapes just about everywhere you can manage will make a difference in the sound insulation stakes.  But then you lose the beautiful reverb some rooms can give.  All a trade off.
PJ Hudson
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Posted Sat May 17, 2008 5:58AM
Posted By atbaei:
Now the question comes up whether one needs to master audio engineering or be musical creativite? What shall a musician do whom has no background in engineering yet interested in audiostock?



It's definitely worth while to understand the basics of audio engineering -- it's the same thing as understanding how to use all of the settings on your camera and how to manipulate the lighting to capture your subject in the best way possible.  I think photographers (or those who understand photography well) have an advantage when it comes to sound engineering because light/color composition and sound composition operate in very similar ways.  learning about audio engineering is actually what helped me understand composition in photography better. 


are there any synesthetes here? 


 
holgs
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Posted Sun May 18, 2008 5:54PM
Any thoughts about the equipment needed to do spoken word recordings?
cdwheatley
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Posted Sun May 18, 2008 6:39PM
Posted By holgs:
Any thoughts about the equipment needed to do spoken word recordings?


A good warm sounding condenser mic


quality cables


high quality mic pre/low noise


good A/D converters


software


and most importantly a dead sound booth, because that mic is going to pick up anything and everything.


hope that helps.


Be prepared to spend heeps of dough if you want a professional setup. Your setup will only be as good as your weekest link.
inhauscreative
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Posted Mon May 19, 2008 12:03AM
and years of experience!
JamersonG
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Posted Mon May 19, 2008 2:35AM
Posted By inhauscreative:
and years of experience!



Hmm yes but remember that the best way to learn about something like this is to dive right in.  Don't let the technical jargon or the arrogant 'pros' put you off, because essentially it's not that hard and you may just have a talent for it which puts you pegs above the rest anyway.  Many experienced audio engineers will (perhaps subconsciously) defend their skills to the point that you'd believe capturing good audio or recording an awesome track is actually impossible.


P.S. I'm not calling inhaus arrogant.. Just realised it may come across that way
Zuki
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Posted Mon May 19, 2008 4:55AM

Experience will come but good gear is essential for pristine audio.  Condenser mics are incredibly sensitive to ambient noise so if you are recording anywhere near traffic, computer fans, refrigerator etc. it will pick it up.  There are a couple of options as follows:


1. If your room if fairly quiet, you can isolate your equipment noise through an isolation box.  I built my own but it was quite a bit of work and I have a pretty extensive workshop.  You can also purchase a computer built to be very quiet but that too will cost you. With this setup you can also use a noise gate to isolate the remaining background noise which will almost certainly be there.


2. Build a sound booth.  If you have a fairly large closet then you have your booth, the clothes can give you a dead sound.  You can also build your own like I did, just remember that sound proofing is basically mass + isolation.  In other words, you need either heavy mass (concrete wall being the best example) and/or space, air being the best insulator.  This can also be achieved by a double wall or a single wall with staggered studs creating isolation between the two pieces of sheet rock. 


If you are doing speaking only you might be better off with a dynamic microphone as they have a tighter pickup pattern and better off-axis rejection, but you have to speak closer than condenser microphones.
procreatemultimedia
Posted Mon May 19, 2008 9:04AM
a great pair of ears and YEARS of experience.
onfilm
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Posted Mon May 19, 2008 10:19AM
Posted By denwO:

Hmm yes but remember that the best way to learn about something like this is to dive right in.


Maybe, but don't expect anything of saleable quality until you actually know what you are listening for. If you don't have great monitors and trained ears then you won't appreciate why you need those great monitors. If you don't understand the basics of compression then you are unlikely to get it right for a long time. If you don't have years of experience mixing sound, then you may be wondering why your mix doesn't sound like that CD you bought last week. etc, etc...
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