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hattio
Oct-23-2015, 11:14pm
Folks,
My wife and I are looking at getting a new computer. I am a complete newbie to recording music on the computer. I've done a few quick demos in garageband to show tunes to friends, but i'm kind of a technological idiot. I have been interested in getting into doing recordings for a while though. So, for $200 extra dollars our computer could come pre-loaded with Apple Logic Pro-X. Worth it?

Bertram Henze
Oct-24-2015, 12:57am
I have looked into what Logic Pro can do - the user interface looks much like GarageBand plus a lot of MIDI synth stuff. We have to distinguish between recording music and making up music. If you have acoustic instruments and just want to make a multi-track recording (http://www.hologence.de/mp3/CastleKellyManoftheHouse.mp3) of those, GarageBand will suffice. If you want to compose music out of managed samples (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=06H_6oI4EK4) without ever touching an instrument, then Logic Pro is probably the way to go.

As for that "technological idiot": I suppose you don't find it easy to find out how to do things in GarageBand, because the user interface claims to be intuitive, but for the intuition of a completely differently wired person. Two things...
1 - everybody has that. I use GarageBand for years now, and even I have to use the Help feature every now and then (good luck figuring how to make a tempo change on the metronome track in the middle of a song - but it is possible)
2 - if GarageBand is at the bottom of Logic Pro, Logic Pro won't be easier to use. Who has difficulties driving a Chevy pickup should not try to fly a Phantom F4. ;)

almeriastrings
Oct-24-2015, 1:26am
If you have acoustic instruments and just want to make a multi-track recording (http://www.hologence.de/mp3/CastleKellyManoftheHouse.mp3) of those, GarageBand will suffice.

Maybe... it depends exactly what you want to do, and what other gear you need to use with it. It is certainly adequate for basic tasks - but lacks quite a bit when it comes to 'serious' editing. Its ability to interface with control surfaces is limited, for example. There are quite a few other limitations in addition.

However, it is certainly capable enough to do what many users need.

Logic Pro X is (as Bertram says) quite a leap up in complexity, and much of its functionality is never going to be used by people recording audio only. It has a very strong emphasis on looping and midi composition. Some love it. Some hate it. I used to use its predecessor, but found the increased 'bloat' was getting in the way, and the workflow was not as intuitive as I'd have liked. It really does have quite a steep learning curve.

If you are completely new to this, I'd save my $200. You could put the $$ towards a good interface. See how you get on with Garageband first. You can then 'shop around' and take some free trials of more sophisticated DAW's at leisure if you outgrow it. There are quite a lot of very good programs out there these days for Mac. I use Presonus Studio One V3 (http://studioone.presonus.com/) myself, but Reaper (http://www.reaper.fm/) is another one worth a close look. Trial versions of both are available.

Bertram Henze
Oct-24-2015, 3:59am
'serious' editing

It has always be my goal to be as good live as on recordings. So editing out instrumental flubs or vocal intonation would mean cheating to me (a bit like photoshopping magazine cover models). The result would be no longer that acoustic instrument or that player it is supposed to represent. YMMV.

Lord of the Badgers
Oct-24-2015, 5:37am
My friend who, like me, has a Mac uses this, http://www.reaper.fm/

JL277z
Oct-25-2015, 1:51am
... editing out instrumental flubs or vocal intonation would mean cheating to me (a bit like photoshopping magazine cover models). The result would be no longer that acoustic instrument or that player it is supposed to represent. YMMV.

I didn't even know that type of detailed editing was possible with normal non-MIDI recordings... guess that would explain the eerily too-perfect sound of some of the more slick commercial recordings? And here I thought I was being modern by putting a fade-in/fade-out at start/end of my tunes :whistling: so they don't make that popping noise in people's speakers.

Bertram Henze
Oct-25-2015, 2:00am
... guess that would explain the eerily too-perfect sound of some of the more slick commercial recordings?

Yep, that explains a lot. One thing possible even with GarageBand is time editing of acoustic signals - your mandolin pickstrokes, for instance, would then automatically be moved to the nearest metronome click position respectively (roughly put). Tried it once and was underwhelmed with the result, though.

almeriastrings
Oct-25-2015, 2:27am
guess that would explain the eerily too-perfect sound of some of the more slick commercial recordings?

Err.. yes. In fact, even Bill Monroe took advantage of the (then) fairly primitive digital editing possible on his later recordings. Southern Flavor, for example, with 30-40 edits per song according to the producer (Emory Gordy).

Now...you can do all kinds of stuff. Much more easily. Not just replacing notes, but changing their duration, pitch, timing and even 'expression'. Melodyne is one of the most sophisticated tools for this.

http://www.celemony.com/en/melodyne/what-is-melodyne

Most vocal takes are 'comps', in addition.

http://www.uaudio.com/blog/studio-basics-vocal-comping/

All basic, standard stuff these days.

DavidKOS
Oct-25-2015, 3:11am
My friend who, like me, has a Mac uses this, http://www.reaper.fm/

Quite a good DAWS for the money - 60 bucks!

Logic Pro comes bundled with more VST instruments, but if you want simple recording with editing Reaper will do well. It does have a lot of MIDI functionality but that doesn't seem applicable in this case.

JL277z
Oct-25-2015, 5:36am
... One thing possible even with GarageBand is time editing of acoustic signals - your mandolin pickstrokes, for instance, would then automatically be moved to the nearest metronome click position respectively (roughly put). ...


... even Bill Monroe took advantage of the (then) fairly primitive digital editing possible on his later recordings. Southern Flavor, for example, with 30-40 edits per song according to the producer (Emory Gordy).

Now...you can do all kinds of stuff. Much more easily. Not just replacing notes, but changing their duration, pitch, timing and even 'expression'. Melodyne is one of the most sophisticated tools for this.

http://www.celemony.com/en/melodyne/what-is-melodyne

Most vocal takes are 'comps', in addition.

http://www.uaudio.com/blog/studio-basics-vocal-comping/

All basic, standard stuff these days.

Thanks for that info. I had no idea. It's one of those things I almost wish I didn't know about, it makes me feel slightly nauseated. I've known since the 1960s to not trust commercially-recorded music as being representative of real human playing (that's one of the reasons I seldom listen to commercial music unless it's unavoidable like in a store or something), but I didn't know they'd went that far with it.

I'm not opposed to new artforms or new tools, that's cool, just don't like feeling conned. Such recordings should have a full-disclosure label on them, ;) "Don't bother trying to play/sing this good, because it's not humanly possible" or something.

Anyway, thanks again for the enlightenment.

Bertram Henze
Oct-25-2015, 5:46am
Such recordings should have a full-disclosure label on them, ;) "Don't bother trying to play/sing this good, because it's not humanly possible" or something.

...or, the other way round, recordings without editing could have an ANOR label (All Natural Organic Recording). However, if that becomes a major market, editing software will catch up with features to create random minor flubs in a perfect recording.
Meanwhile, you can listen to all of my recordings and rest assured that nothing was doctered. :)

Francis J
Oct-25-2015, 6:52am
The thing about recording, and "doctoring" is that when you record anything, you want it to be the best you can do, after all, once it's out there it's out of your control. So, in the case of a pro musician, they know that their work is going to be analysed and parsed by "experts" (the paying public ..you and me). Why would they leave flubs and off pitch notes in place when they can easily be fixed? Most people know this is the norm, so it's not dishonesty, just nice packaging!
If you x-ray any of the classic works of art, you will see multiple layers on lots of them, where corrections were made.
I'm all for it, and use any crutch I can lay my hands on. When I listen back to a recording I've done, knowing I've done a little bit of comping, I strive to achieve the same standards in real time. It's a great way to improve my playing.

mandowilli
Oct-25-2015, 9:55am
Back to the original question.

Logic X is a professional DAW recording program that is not suited for a self avowed "technological idiot". It took me the better part of a year and two different books to become proficient on it and I have been working with computers from the start.

Download a program like Audacity which is free or use Garage Band. If they begin to present limitations in what you are trying to accomplish then get trial versions of a few different DAW's and see which one you find the most intuitive before purchasing.

You can download Logic X from the Apple website for $199 anytime that you want, so it is not a bargain to have it preloaded on your new computer.

pointpergame
Oct-25-2015, 11:22am
Download a program like Audacity which is free or use Garage Band. If they begin to present limitations in what you are trying to accomplish then get trial versions of a few different DAW's and see which one you find the most intuitive before purchasing.



Excellent advice.

hattio
Oct-25-2015, 12:41pm
Thanks folks. Looks like the consensus is Logic Pro X is not the way to go for a "technological idiot" which I definitely am. So, I've been reading random other threads on interfaces. Is focusrite a good way to go for a technological idiot?

mandowilli
Oct-25-2015, 1:51pm
Yes, it is just plug in and go on a Mac.

DavidKOS
Oct-25-2015, 2:29pm
Download a program like Audacity which is free or use Garage Band. If they begin to present limitations in what you are trying to accomplish then get trial versions of a few different DAW's and see which one you find the most intuitive before purchasing.
.


Thanks folks. Looks like the consensus is Logic Pro X is not the way to go ..... Is focusrite a good way to go for a technological idiot?

This is good advice.

Use GB or Audacity (which has its own features and can even be a poor man's mastering tool) until you NEED a better system.

Focusrite is quite good, easy to install. The preamps on the Scarlet series are a bit finicky in terms of signal input level adjustment, though.

JeffD
Oct-25-2015, 2:40pm
Thanks for that info. I had no idea. It's one of those things I almost wish I didn't know about, it makes me feel slightly nauseated. I've known since the 1960s to not trust commercially-recorded music as being representative of real human playing (that's one of the reasons I seldom listen to commercial music unless it's unavoidable like in a store or something), but I didn't know they'd went that far with it.

I'm not opposed to new artforms or new tools, that's cool, just don't like feeling conned. Such recordings should have a full-disclosure label on them, ;) "Don't bother trying to play/sing this good, because it's not humanly possible" or something.


I know what you mean. But a year or so ago I had an epiphany. Or well, maybe not an epiphany but I all of a sudden thought about it in a different way.

A recording is not a record of the performance, it is the performance. It is the art product itself, not a recording of an art product.

This POV came in handy recently when trying to record a duet. We play a slow tune and then one beat later jump into playing it fast. Its really a fun dramatic effect, but I kept screwing it up. We couldn't seem to nail the fast part together in sync. Finally the recording engineer explained how we could record the slow part and the fast part separately, and he would glue them together seamlessly. Wow, what a lot of effort and frustration was eliminated.

Its a matter of how do you want the recording to sound, and what is the easiest way to make it sound that way.

But I do know what you mean. And it took me a while to get past it.

Same things BTW with a stage performance. What is coming out of the speakers is the performance, not an amplified version of an acoustic performance. As soon as you have individual volume controls for each instrument, the audience experiences an arrangement of performers, a sound stage, that does not exist anywhere physically. There is nowhere you could sit or stand to hear that balance of instruments acoustically.

J.Albert
Oct-25-2015, 6:12pm
hattio -

If you're shopping for a new Mac, a bit of advice:
DO NOT buy ANY Mac these days UNLESS it has either an SSD or a "fusion" drive (which is actually -2- drives inside, a small SSD and a 1tb HDD).
Platter-based drives can run the latest versions of the OS, but it will feel more like "walkin'" rather than "runnin'" ...

Do you currently have an audio interface?
If you don't need MIDI, the Focusrite "2i2" may be enough.
You want AT LEAST TWO channels with XLR inputs on any interface.

But... I would recommend that you also check Steinberg's USB-based interfaces:
UR22:
http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/UR22
or the UR44:
http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/UR44

The UR22 has 2 XLR inputs, the UR44 has 4.
If you think at any point in the future you'll be recording with more than one person, buying those two extra inputs "up front" will really make the difference.

The best reason for looking at Steinberg is that they also bundle in Cubase along with it.
And... Cubase automatically "hooks into" the Steinberg interfaces to make the recording experience easier.

Aside:
You can use any of these with any other DAW app you wish.

I wouldn't bother with Logic -- I've been an Apple user since 1986, and I saw nothing I liked with Logic.

I've posted this here before, but I recommend Cubase as having the best "blend" between power and "usability". That is, it's easy to get up to speed on it, but it has as much power as anything else out there. And it has the best editing capabilities of any DAW I've seen, others don't even come close.

Pick the right Mac, then the right interface, and experiment with different DAW's until you find one you like.
Almost all of them are available as demos (Audacity is free, I believe)...

DavidKOS
Oct-25-2015, 8:28pm
If you don't need MIDI, the Focusrite "2i2" may be enough.
You want AT LEAST TWO channels with XLR inputs on any interface.

But... I would recommend that you also check Steinberg's USB-based interfaces:


The best reason for looking at Steinberg is that they also bundle in Cubase along with it.
And... Cubase automatically "hooks into" the Steinberg interfaces to make the recording experience easier.

Aside:
You can use any of these with any other DAW app you wish.

I wouldn't bother with Logic -- I've been an Apple user since 1986, and I saw nothing I liked with Logic.

I've posted this here before, but I recommend Cubase as having the best "blend" between power and "usability".

Interesting.

I have used Focusrite, not bad at all, but more to the point the Steinberg stuff is where it's at.

Before I go on, for all the good things in Logic and me being a Mac user, I haven't seen the need to use it. I even helped a friend set up her system, so I know how to use Garage Band Pro...Uh, Logic. (or is Garage Band "Logic Lite"?)

Anyway, I recently moved from Pro Tools to Cubase 8 Pro, for a number of reasons, and as I learn Cubase am pleased and amazed at the depth of the DAWS itself and quality of the bundled plug-ins.

"Cubase as having the best "blend" between power and "usability"

So far I'd agree.

Bill Stokes
Oct-25-2015, 9:09pm
If you're shopping for a new Mac, a bit of advice:
DO NOT buy ANY Mac these days UNLESS it has either an SSD or a "fusion" drive (which is actually -2- drives inside, a small SSD and a 1tb HDD).
Platter-based drives can run the latest versions of the OS, but it will feel more like "walkin'" rather than "runnin'" ...

Respectfully disagree. Depends on your budget and what you need the computer to do.

I recently bought a refurbished macbook pro. It's the 13" which came out in 2012; has a 5400 rpm hard disc and a super drive. Not the fastest machine on the street, but with an external drive it handles 20-track Logic projects with no dropouts.
When the warranty expires next summer I plan to replace the super drive with a SSD and add memory. Should keep up with traffic for a while, for my simple needs. (But, I have a quad-core iMac if I need speed.)

I got hooked on Logic over the past summer. I like many of the virtual instruments. (Not loops: yuck.) It's a real kick, at the age of 61, to have so many sounds at my fingertips. (Plus, I just learned how to slice an audio track to midi; crazy fun possibilities there. Especially with so many political speeches available to rip up and remix. But I digress...)

Garageband might be a good choice for basic audio recording for a beginner.
Also, a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 worked well for me at my former teaching job.

almeriastrings
Oct-25-2015, 11:42pm
Concerning interfaces, the Focusrites have always been excellent. However.. I would take a serious look at the new AUDIENT ID14. (https://audient.com/products/id14) It is superb. Big pluses are the quality of the preamps, the monitor control, desktop format and ADAT input. I used one recently for a mobile job with my ASP880 (http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/ASP880) providing the ADAT source.. and I would put the ID14 up there with the RME Babyface and the Apogee offerings in terms of quality. Preamps. Conversion. Amazing.

Bertram Henze
Oct-26-2015, 1:53am
A recording is not a record of the performance, it is the performance. It is the art product itself, not a recording of an art product.

A multitrack recording is different from performing live in important aspects:
- you don't have that dynamic system of musicians hearing each other and allowing for/ compensating each other's variations and flubbs; instead, you play against a fixed metronome beat and/or tracks recorded earlier.
- you don't have visual clues as to what the other musician is about to do; it's like a telephone conference: a blindfolded fight (http://static.comicvine.com/uploads/original/11122/111220339/4624037-5865354922-tumbl.gif)
- your concentration is split; you have to have an eye on your recording system.
- a flub in a live performance exists only once and is quickly forgotten; a recording is played over and over, and the flub can bore a hole in the listener's head.

So, I am not against technical measures that make up for these difficulties - I have even been stitching together tunes of a set from single tune takes sometimes (aka comping). But I think that is not what Almeria called "serious editing". I'd not like to have to correct what would sink my live performance as well, such as not being able to play in time or to sing with poor intonation. If I have to make corrections, I'll make them sooner on myself than on the recording.

I like to use recording as a challenge to my own perfectionism, and every time I press the red button I know I will be brutally honest with myself. I suspect many of my recordings tell on me about this, but then I never take anybody's money for them.

almeriastrings
Oct-26-2015, 2:09am
I don't normally 'edit' any of my own stuff at all... I also like the 'organic' feel of a 'live' take. However, I do have to work with other people where edits are essential - from voiceovers to soundtracks, so I have those tools available: Melodyne, Izotope RX5 (https://www.izotope.com/en/products/audio-repair/rx/whats-new/), etc. I had some tracks in last week that were plagued by random clicks and excess reverb on spoken audio parts, and was able to make it usable with an hour or two of work - vs. the logistical complexities (and costs) of re-recording all the scenes again. So while I might have 'artistic' reservations about some of this stuff (I would think if it did not exist a good number of today's 'pop' stars would be nowhere in sight) I also appreciate such technologies in the sense they can make life a lot easier, and can 'rescue' situations that just a few yeas ago would have been beyond salvation.

DavidKOS
Oct-26-2015, 9:22am
I have looked into what Logic Pro can do - the user interface looks much like GarageBand plus a lot of MIDI synth stuff.)

The MIDI and VST/AU stuff is the big difference between GB and Logic.




I got hooked on Logic over the past summer. I like many of the virtual instruments. (Not loops: yuck.) It's a real kick, at the age of 61, to have so many sounds at my fingertips.

And this is why Logic has the extra features, for those that want them.

I do a lot of MIDI work in addition to audio recording. I need the extra features and found them in Cubase...but other DAWS will work, the key is learning which one has the features you need and then learning the program itself.

Tavy
Oct-26-2015, 12:09pm
The best reason for looking at Steinberg is that they also bundle in Cubase along with it.

The focusrite studio (and maybe other bundles too) comes with a free copy of Cubase as well. I hated it, and it crashed my PC non-stop. Now a happy Reaper user.

J.Albert
Oct-27-2015, 5:44pm
Tavy wrote:
"The focusrite studio (and maybe other bundles too) comes with a free copy of Cubase as well. I hated it, and it crashed my PC non-stop."

Altogether different world when running on a Mac...

MDMachiavelli
Nov-08-2015, 12:17am
I just bought a new Mac Mini within the last month and decided to get Logic Pro X to go with it. So far I have been very please and happy with it. I have used several others in the past including Pro Tools, Cubase, and even Garage Band. So far I like Logic Pro X better than any of them.

I tell you what I did do though and that was buy one of those keyboard covers that has all of the short cuts on them. That helped tremendously. Good luck, if you have any questions I will be more than happy to try and get you an answer.

GTison
Nov-16-2015, 11:26pm
When I got my first version of Garage Band, I couldn't do ANYTHING with it. I couldn't even record a track. Then the local music store put on a seminar on Garage Band. That got me started. Since then, Youtube how tos have been helpful. I can't imagine more complex software would be helpful. Try youtube first. An interface is good too if you want better mics and electric instruments. But you can get by acoustic with out them for learning especially.