Recording gear - noob needs help!

I’m going to be picking up a Captor X for silent practice and I’d like to start composing and recording music. However, I am way behind the curve with regards to how to go about it - last time I recorded anything was on a Fostex 16 track recorder! Other than a PC with decent power and RAM, what is the minimum I need to start? I am looking to compose with virtual instruments via a midi keyboard for synth/orchestral stuff, guitars are likely to be through the captor vitual cab/IR route, but would like the option of reamping and recording vocals through a mic.
Due to finances, I’m having to start simple and build up the rig piece by piece, but didn’t want to make an error early on and have to replace hardware because of ignorance. With this in mind, my priority list is as follows:
Recording guitar/bass
Drum tracking
Virtual instruments

Any guidance is welcome, I’m a noob!

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I have a pretty reasonable home studio. I can certainly help a little anyways.

First off what kind of music are you trying to record? Rock, electronic, pop etc? Your set up may depend on that.

I don’t know much about the Captor X except that it’s a load box. Does it double as an audio interface? If not, you’ll probably need some kind of audio interface for your PC.

Generally speaking the focusrite boxes are a decent value. If you want to go simple, I’d go with the 2i2 or the 2i4. If you need more inputs you can certainly go bigger.

You should also select the DAW that you’re working in. I use Reaper - it’s inexpensive and pretty powerful.

For drums, it really depends on what you’re trying to do. I use Superior Drummer 3 - it’s an excellent VST that works well within most DAWs. It’s a little spendy. There are other drum sims that you can use too. EZ drummer is a barebones version of Superior Drummer. Someone may be able to chime in with other examples.

Aside from guitar amp sims, I don’t know much about virtual instruments as I’m mostly a rock/metal player.

But this should give you a very basic start.

In order to get sounds into your PC you need the interface. So either:

Mic -> interface -> PC -> DAW


Guitar -> interface -> PC -> DAW -> amp sim

Those are the most basic ways to get your guitar sound input.

Most interfaces have a midi port on them (but not all so double check).

I’d spend some time on YouTube learning the ins and outs of whatever DAW you chose and then mess around with it

Hope this helps. If there’s a specific question many of us do home recording and can help.

Virtual instruments, especially orchestral, require a lot of space and fast access. Basically for many commercial libraries SSD is a minimal requirement. Typical size of a library may vary from 20 to 200 Gb

Thanks for the reply,

Guitar instrumental, bit of prog, film soundtack, synthwave - anything really.

Not that I know of!

What sort of situation would require more than 4 inputs? I’m assuming that I wouldn’t need more than that.

Thats exactly what I need. My first step will be getting a guitar tone into the DAW and record against backing tracks

Thanks, thats really good to know.

The 2i4 is 2 inputs and 4 outputs I believe.

Situations where you’d need more inputs is if you’re mic’ing up drums or multiple inputs at once.

But generally for home recording 2 inputs is plenty.

The Cheapest recording rig for guitar would be

Any Pedal to convert Hi-Z to Lo-Z and use the 3.5mm microphone input - need a 1/4" lead to 3.5mm mic jack, Pedal needs to be turn on (damn that whole true bypass thing) for the Hi to Lo to work - so a non distortion pedal is best - say a EQ pedal (Distortion pedals have a pre/post eq stages that will mess with your signal even if the distortion is turned down).

Daw: Reaper

Some Cab/Mic/Echo/Reverb impulses - use reapers Cockos ReaVerb to use the impulses

Some Amp VST: Poulin - LePou ,Nick Crow e.t.c.

Virtual Instruments

a Soundfont 2 VST engine/player

and Some High quality sound fonts (usually around 300mb)

Timbres of Heaven, Studio Works 2007,Sonivox, Fireball v1.28

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Awesome, I have checked out any virtual instruments stuff yet - these will be my first port of call!

I love Superior Drummer 3, but another good drum sampler is Getgood Drums. A lot of metal people are using it. They have extremely well-tuned kicks, snares and toms. It’s great and it’s cheaper than Superior Drummer 3, too. The hi-hats are a bit soft, though (in the original Matt Halpern Signature Pack, that is). SD3 has clearer hat sounds and crisper articulations, if you wanna make some proggy hi-hat trickery!

I’m not sure that would save money / would give you a better DI quality compared to some of the cheaper interfaces out there. For example I had decent results with a Behringer UMC22 which I believe sells around £40 in the UK.

I fully agree with the other suggestions but would also point out that Pulse and NadIR are excellent IR loaders (designed specifically for guitar cab IRs), and they are both free!

Cheap pedal from CEX/Cash Generator = £10 :slight_smile:

Knock up a cheap 1/4" to 3.5mm lead with cables from pound-land £1.00

Of course it’s not gonna be Super high end studio quality :slight_smile:. Just putting the idea out there - because it’s often overlooked. But it’s enough to test it out without splashing out on a DI box. (I have 2 DI boxes Alesis Core 1, and a Yamaha MG10UX and a shabby cable/pedal affair - and I use the latter the most because its quick and simple on my laptop).

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For all guitar input needs, I’d recommend something like a Scarlett 2i4, or anything in around 150-200€ price range. Later down the road, a DI box can give you extra fidelity if you notice ground loop issues or things like that. But for starters a decent audio interface should be all you need for inputting guitar, bass, vocals, hand percussion etc.

For tones/reamping, check out NeuralDSP’s amp sims.

All great suggestions, many thanks!!

Same advice
2i4 (to get input PAD) is a good option

Free virtual amps/pedals
Ignite Amps

If later you want to record MORE tracks (like live drums with separate elements), you will need more mics, more stands … along with more inputs. And more skills.
Totally different. Major upgrade.
Not a consideration NOW :wink:

You can record drums NOW with a stereo mic set with 2 input soundcard

If you buy an all-round condenser stereo set, along with your dual input soundcard, you are set :wink:
Acoustic guitar, vocals, 2 mics drums,instrument bass guitar direct AND miked
And ANY ambient stereo take (choral, live band …).
I can’t tell you witch stereo condenser set. Try searching on this side.

For now, stick with VIRTUAL reamping. Because real amp reamping is another whole subject.
Good luck !