Friday, January 08, 2010

bone slide

Got my bone slide this week. Watch out for piccies and a review soon.

recording my cigar box guitar stuff

I seem to have opened a can of worms by wanting to do some recording. A while ago I bought Cakewalk 4 recording software but haven't done anything with it. When I recently bought the Akai headrush looping pedal, I got excited enough to want to try my hand at recording. Well that led me to wanting/needing a small mixer so I can mix guitar and mic into the Headrush. So far so good. I also spotted a handy new piece of kit - the Line 6 Back Track. This'll plug into a guitar and keep track of anything you play. Great for keeping a copy of any good stuff you might knock out which you can save to PC and load into recording software. Still doing good. So I got everything set up, got a nice little groove going, saved on the Back Track.

So now comes the bummer. My laptop only has a mic input. First problem - The signal level from the Headrush is too high and distorts. I could use the mixer to drop it but then I can't use it with the guitar and looping pedal at the same time. Second problem is once you get one track down on the software and try playing another piece to it, you get a half second delay on the live signal out of the monitor headphones, so impossible to get your timing in synch. Feeling frustrated I decided to listen to my one and only decent track on the Back Track only to find that it's stopped working! Only had it a week or so. So I can't play with that either. Double bummer.

The good news - which I want to pass on to anyone thinking of recording with their PC, who might know little or nothing about it (like me) . I did some research and discovered my two problems can be sorted without having to buy a new PC. The delay is an effect called "latency" and you're gonna get this with most standard PC soundcards. The answer is a USB standalone soundcard. This will also solve my input level problem at the same time. It has direct monitoring of your live signal and you usually get two inputs which can be mixed to the correct signal level for your PC. There are several around - Line 6 pod studio; M-Audio Fast Track and Novation Nio all look good. The cheapest is the Line 6. You get amp modelling and recording software included and this one is the cheapest. M-Audio is more expensive but probably better quality but no amp modelling but the one that seems to offer the most, even though more expensive again, is the Novation Nio. Has amp effects modelling, two stereo inputs and recording software. I think that's the one I'll go for.

So don't hold your breath waiting to hear anything musical from Smojo for a while yet. More pennies needed to get the sound card and a steep learning curve getting to grips with all these new toys.