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Do I have what I need to record live music, and burn a CD

Posted on 12/13/2006 10:58:45 AM PST by rudy45

I have an Inspiron 5100, running XP Home SP2. I have Audacity and Roxio CD burner on it. The Inspiron, of course, has a microphone input jack and a CD burner. I also have a microphone, and adapter jacks that can convert to 1/8" minijack format.

I would like to record a live music performance, and then burn a CD of it afterwards. Do I have everything I need, or is there more? How do I handle the situation of wanting two microphones for recording, given that I have only one microphone jack? Would I use two micrphones, then attach them to some sort of two-into-one "reverse splitter" then attach the reverse splitter to the PC jack?


TOPICS: Computers/Internet; Hobbies; Music/Entertainment
KEYWORDS: cd; music; record

1 posted on 12/13/2006 10:58:56 AM PST by rudy45
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To: rudy45

I just found a splitter. It has two female 1/8" minijack ports on one end, and a single male 1/8" minijack at the other end. I'm assuming, therefore, that if I have two microphones, each with a male 1/8" minijack, that I plug each into the splitter and I'm good to go as far as stereo recording? Thanks.

2 posted on 12/13/2006 11:03:28 AM PST by rudy45
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To: rudy45
In my experience, the default PC hardware is totally inadequate for what you want to do. You need a couple of things to make this work well:

> A USB audio interface (to support the two microphones).

> Digital Audio Workstation software. There is a little bit of a learning curve, but it's worth taking the time.

Browse around at Sweetwater - there are a lot of good entry level packages for sale.

Apple's GarageBand makes this type of live recording much easier. I've yet to see an entry-level PC system with anything comparable.

3 posted on 12/13/2006 11:03:49 AM PST by Mr. Jeeves ("When the government is invasive, the people are wanting." -- Tao Te Ching)
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To: rudy45

If the performer is one guy and his guitar you might want two microphones. Not those little PC microphones, but real ones. If it is a group that sings you will want a microphone for each singer and several microphones for their instruments or splitters if they are electronic instruments and a mixer.

4 posted on 12/13/2006 11:04:44 AM PST by RightWhale (RTRA DLQS GSCW)
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To: rudy45

Is the mic jack stereo?

5 posted on 12/13/2006 11:04:57 AM PST by freedomlover (Sorry, a tagline occurred. The tagline has been logged.)
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To: rudy45
Give me a MAC and a microphone and I'll record muzic all day long....HAPPY HOLLERDAZE! HEHEEE Image and video hosting by TinyPic
6 posted on 12/13/2006 11:05:30 AM PST by 007girl
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To: Mr. Jeeves
In my experience, the default PC hardware is totally inadequate for what you want to do.

That depends on your standards. In many ways, the default PC hardware is better than anything available at any price prior to 1960 or so. It's certainly better than any cassette recorder.

The result will mostly depend on whether you set the recording levels correctly and whether the mics overload the preamp. Some experimentation is required.

Obviously, if you have thousands of dollars, you can get some pro equipment.

7 posted on 12/13/2006 11:11:45 AM PST by js1138 (The absolute seriousness of someone who is terminally deluded.)
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To: rudy45
Most microphones are mono, or one channel sound, your mini-input on your computer is, depending upon the chipset, stereo, so you would use a stereo splitter on the larger plug to hook up two microphones.

Second issue is your computer - the inspiron has a loud fan - spend a little bit of time and design a quiet box to go around the computer - it saves cleaning up that noise in post recording.

I highly recommend Adobe Audition for the recording and post processing, but Cool Edit is a shareware package that works just fine as well. Your recording quality would be greatly improved with the addition of a nice Creative Soundblaster Audigy 2 Platinum eX Sound Card or the like with a powered input, but that depends upon your microphone setup.

Good luck!
8 posted on 12/13/2006 11:13:00 AM PST by kingu (No, I don't use sarcasm tags - it confuses people.)
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To: rudy45; Mr. Jeeves

It is an easy answer: Buy a PowerMac with the garage band set up...but if you're a PC guy you will never think this is an option.

Of course, if you purchase the Macs, particularly the Power Mac, you'll use it everyday for the next 10 years without any need for serious upgrades VERSUS buying at least 5-7 PCs with constant needs to be bandaged and upgraded.

9 posted on 12/13/2006 11:15:47 AM PST by sully777 (You have flies in your eyes--Catch-22)
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To: rudy45

There's a simple answer to your question. If you have a decent stereo system or TV with good sound try to record the music its playing through your microphones and into your Inspiron.

Burn what you've recorded onto a CD and play it on whatever system you plan to listen to your music. If it sounds like crap, you need to make some purchases, if it sounds fine to you you're all set.

This scenario also lets you experiment with sound levels and microphone placement. I would suggest doing a dummy recording of approximately the same length as your live event to make sure your software doesn't crap out half way thru. (Remember to delete it if disk space is at a premium).

10 posted on 12/13/2006 11:55:00 AM PST by parcel_of_rogues
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To: rudy45; kingu
I agree with kingu on the Adobe Audition recommendation. Depending what you want to accomplish you study the options further. There are a number of 'home' recording sites that have excellent advice. Among my favorites:
and especially

Like anything else once you start buying gear and software, you always need just one more goodie...

11 posted on 12/13/2006 11:55:10 AM PST by steveo (ADVERTISEMENT)
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To: rudy45
The basic answer to your question is, yes, you have everything you need. However, you may not be pleased with the results.
Unfortunately, you ask a very open ended question for which there are any number of valid responses that may or may not help you and unless you already know a bit about recording are quite likely to be confusing and conflicting.

An informed response to your question would require some additional information.

1. what are you going to be recording i.e Church group, rock band, solo guitar/vocal performer.
2. in what type of environment? i.e. living room, small auditorium, outside
3. Is a stereo recording desired?
4. Do you intend to process the recording prior to burning to CD? i.e. noise reduction, eq
5. Are you willing to spend any money? How much?
6. Do you have any previous experience.

I do have a suggestion for you.
Forget about using the PC.
Find or buy a decent mini-disk player/recorder with a powered microphone input (must have input level adjust),
and a Sony ECM-DS70P Stereo Recording Microphone.
The whole rig will fit in your pocket.
Mini-disk recorders are typically 24 bit depth/48k sample rate.
The Sony mic is a good (not great) general purpose condenser with a good range and can tollerate fairly high sound pressure levels.
You should do better than this but plan on 1 battery change per hour of recording.
After recording dump the minidisk to your pc via the line level input of your sound card. Loss from the D/A then A/D conversion will be minimal.
Process or not as desired.
Burn the CD.
12 posted on 12/13/2006 12:26:18 PM PST by MagnumRancid
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To: rudy45
That will do it. If the male end of the splitter has three conductors separated by two black rings, you have stereo...both channels share a common ground.

Audacity should be easily up to the task. Just keep in mind that Audacity records in .wav format so the resulting file could be very large depending how long your live performance is.

Just remember to export the file into mp3 format before exiting Audacity.

13 posted on 12/13/2006 12:31:59 PM PST by Bloody Sam Roberts (This is my tagline. There are many like it but this one is mine.)
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To: rudy45
You'd get better results if you rented a 4-track from a local music store, recorded your stuff, and then dumped the output into your PC through the 4-track's OUT line. Or you could try renting yourself a mixing board, running your mics into that, and running the line OUT from the mixer into your PC.

But if your hard drive speed isn't quick, you're going to get crappy results recording directly to PC anyways . . .

14 posted on 12/13/2006 12:44:38 PM PST by Hemingway's Ghost (Spirit of '75)
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