Tag: recording

Behringer UMC404HD and Audacity Multitrack recording

Audacity is a free DAW, a program for audio recording and mixing, and it’s popular for some very good reasons besides being free. It’s easy to use, stable and is the perfect little DAW for anyone who wants to get his feet wet in home recording. It is also perfect for recording things like voice overs or a demo for a (small) band. Record, for example, the basic tracks an mix them later on in a more professional DAW or let someone else mix them. Some even record full albums with it. So, it is popular for many reasons.

Audacity the Free DAW for Windows, Linux and MacOS

Some time ago, in 2018, I made a video about mixing and recording with Audacity and the Behringer UMC404HD. The UMC404HD allows for four inputs to be recorded at the same time (4 tracks) so you can record 4 musicians, or instruments/vocals, at the same time. The Behringer UMC404HD is amazing and it’s availble for only a fraction of the costs of several competitors. For example (at this moment) at Thomann. It is out of stock a lot, it seems to be very popular and rightfully so. I am still considering to buy a second one, as a spare, in case mine will stop working or will have mechanical problems one day.

Recording with the Behringer audio interface works perfect with Ardour or Mixbus. Especially since they don’t need any additional drivers. On Windows it also worked perfect on, for example, Mixcraft. I showed this in various videos as well as other people. Many of the viewers however seemed to be having issues with Audacity and the Behringer UMC404HD.

DRIVERS

One of the biggest issues most have is the drivers for the UMC404HD. Behringer has been changing their websites a few times recently and people were complaining they can’t find the drivers. They’re not included on a CD with the interface. Now, there is a good reason for this: production costs. Including a driver CD costs money and Behringer tries to cut the costs so you will have a product that is as cheap as possible. Besides that: most computers and laptops these days don’t even have a CD(r) station. Even if they would include a driver CD it would, in most cases, be useless. Including a CD would only lead to more trash (environmental issue!). You can download it. No environmental damage and cheaper. I’d say that’s a win-win.

However, as noted: the drivers have been hard to find. And, for some reason some complain the new drivers don’t work well. So here’s an older version that does work. Download and use on your own risk, I am not responsible for it.

DO NOT USE ASIO4ALL

Asio4All has been a pretty popular hardware driver for Windows. Do NOT use it. Remove it completely from your system (uninstall) if you wan tot use the Behringer UMC series. They have their own drivers (official site). You won’t get Audacity or any other DAW running on Windows working with the UMC404HD when using Asio4All.

AUDACITY LACKS SUPPORT?

Some noted that the version of Audacity they have doesn’t record 4 tracks. It only shows 2 tracks. There might be two reasons for this, I’m not certain what the reason is in certain situations:

  1. it is showing you 2 stereo tracks (meaning 4 mono tracks!).
  2. You don’t use the correct settings for recording 4 tracks. Set the ‘preferences’ to Windows Audio Session API (WASAPI) as I do in the Video!

Some claim it isn’t available on their Audacity version. On the Audacity website, however, it is still mentioned and what’s more: it’s been a standard in Windows ever since Windows Vista. In fact it is one of the “unique selling points” in Audacity! So I do have a hard time believing it isn’t available and my best guess is you’re not using the corect settings.

 

Prefereces Audacity

I am having the Dutch version but you should be able to see where this setting can be found (under preferences). In case you cannot get it working with the current version of Audacity – and I really do advice to use that one since it has hundreds of fixed bugs! – there are still older versions available. Like over here. Please note, this versions dates back to 2015 and this link (from Google Drive, it’s my “old” Windows version, works on Windows8.1) is to be used solely at your own risk.

VIDEO DEMONSTRATION

So this is the video I’ve been talking about, hope it helps or is at least entertaining 🙂 As I said in the video I don’t prefer Audacity for recording. These days I use Mixbus5 (and Ardour) running on Linux Mint. I’ve never looked back at Windows recording since I started using that even though I still have Mixbus on my Windows laptop (Windows 8.1). That doesn’t mean recording using Windows is less good. I simply prefer Linux (Linux Mint).

 

 

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Acoustic Studio Sessions – In God’s Country

In God’s Country from the album The Joshua Tree is one of the best U2 songs, from one of their best albums ever. Since I’ve been a staunch U2 fan, ever since I heard them on the radio when I was around 12 years old, I love to play their songs. I hardly ever record them. This is an exception on this ‘rule’. It’s a perfect song for an acoustic version.

I shot the video during the recording. After I shot the video I noticed it could have been a little better but it’s the recording that matters the most of course.

RECORDING ACOUSTIC SONGS

Now many ‘singer songwriters’ whome record at home, record in one take. This is of course possible. The video suggests I did the same. And yes — I recorded vocals and guitar at the same time; the guitar trough a DI (Direct Input) and guitar and vocals on separate tracks. After that, I re-recorded the vocals on an additional track (as you can see in the video). The reason for this is simple: if you record vocals and guitars at the same time, the guitar sound will ‘bleed’ into the vocal track. It makes mixing it very difficult. So if you ever record acoustic guitar and vocals for a simple demo or album: make sure you can split them.

If you record an acoustic guitar that isn’t an electro-acoustic, don’t sing along! Your vocal will ‘bleed’ into the guitar track and if that happens, you can’t do overdubs on your vocal unless you re-record the guitar as well.

ABOUT THE RECORDING

About this recording:

– DAW Software: Mixbus5
– Guitar: Samick Greg Bennett GD-101
– Vocal Mic: MXL770
– DI (Guitar): Behringer
– Audio Interface: Behringer UMC404

Video:

– recorded with Sony Cybershot DSC-HX350
– Edited with OpenShot

The audio might (ormight not) become available in the future, for now I’m only publishing the acoustic series on Youtube.

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New Studio! Videotour of the new Home Recording Studio

The ZolderStudio (LoftStudio) has moved! As you might have noticed we were moving to a new location because we’ve bought a new house. Well, that is.. to us it’s new. But it was build around 1880. So it’s got a long history already. Anyway — we’ve started moving into the new house and rebuilding the studio.

After putting in the stuff we already had we’ve added a carpet, some new cables, additional acoustic treatment like DIY Acoustic Panels (see this video about the making and installation of the panels) and finally, yesterday, put in the foam acoustic panels on the walls.

The acoustic panels, btw, were very cheap to create. We paid less than 20 euro’s for them (hint: pre-made painters canvas). The acoustic foam was ordered online from Geek.

 DIY Budget Home Recording Studio

In essence, my home recording setup is a computer with a (Linux) DAW (Ardour, Mixbus5).

Recording at home shouldn’t have to be very expensive. Hook up a mic, trough an audio interface or use an USB condenser mic, and you’re ready to go. But once you get started with recording, there’s no turning back. So I bought a lot of addtional stuff over the years. Lot’s was also given to me as a gift, like the SoundTech ST162 16-channel mixer.

This really still is a budget home studio. Even though some people who visit me think it has cost a fortune to collect all this gear and to create it. There’s a lot of “DIY” stuff in the studio and, as written above, lot’s of stuff comes from very cheap, online, shops and stores in the Netherlands like the Action (there are many of them now all over Europe).

PICTURES & VIDEO

 

YouTube video (open in new window)

So, we’re “ready to rock” again!

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New EP Released: Morning Ritual (free single download)

A brand new EP by the Solid Rock Blues Band has been released today on ReverbNation, BandCamp and SoundCloud.

We’re moving! Moving to a new house and this also means: a new studio! To mark this big change here’s the last production ever made in the old “Loft Studio” – our brand new EP “Morning Ritual”. The album includes four blues, country and rock inspired original songs.

The Title Track, “Morning Ritual” can be downloaded for free at SoundCloud. But if you’re willing to support independent music, please consider downloading the full album (EP) from BandCamp for only $2!

The album is available exclusively as a download, for now, trough BandCamp.

TRACKS
All songs are recorded at the LoftStudio. The song “Summertime” has been mixed and produced by Jay H., writer of the VocalKing plugin (click here to check his website).

01 – Wine
A song telling the story of a lady, addicted to Wine.. up-beat, guitar driven, track!

02 – Morning Ritual
The Title Track. Well, .. a song about drinking coffee and the End of the World. But it seems as long there’s coffee, we do not need to worry about the End of the World, right?

03 – Stone Hearted Mandy
Previously recorded and released on the Barking Aunts’ album “Yesterday’s Coffee“. This was a concept album, a story in a handful of songs, about family life and how it got torn apart. We thought this track could be improved so we re-recorded it.

04 – Summertime
We can’t wait for Summer to begin.. mixed and produced by Jay H. using his Vocal King plugin and giving it a good creative treatment. It brought the song to a level we would have never expected.

CREDITS
Special thanks to my friends who helped me out on this one!

  • James Zheutlin (a.k.a. Acid Cowboys) – Text contributions;
  • Jay H – mix & production on “Summertime”

(click on their names to find out more).

DOWNLOAD
Download the full album at BandCamp
https://barkingaunts.bandcamp.com/album/morning-ritual

STREAMING

Available for streaming at SoundCloud or Reverbnation

 

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Free Single Morning Ritual

Morning Ritual (free download)

So what’s next when you have a new guitar (Harley Benton TE-52), a new vocal condenser mic (MXL770) and installed a new DAW (Mixbus5)? Record a brand new song! So here’s “Morning Ritual” – a song about how we try to survive in this world of ours these days.

The song is available as a free download at SoundCloud and there’s a video!

I must say we’re very happy with the new gear as well as the new DAW! Even though there are some hardware issues to overcome it is clearly the best DAW I’ve ever layed hands on.

Recorded at the ZolderStudio
Drums & Bass – Digitech Trio
Guitars, Vocals, recording & mixing – Rudy

Equipment used:
DAW – Mixbus5
Mic – MXL770
Guitars: Harley Benton Telecaster, Washburn Acoustic

 

 

MORNING RITUAL (Lyrics)

Words & Music (c)2019, Solid Rock Blues Band

Well here’s your coffee dear,
it’s in a paper cup,
I know you do adhere
to the morning ritual..
without you can’t get up,
so here’s your coffee dear
here’s your coffee dear

Well here’s your paper dear,
it says the end is near,
you might not want to read,
or hear the news today
don’t worry anyhow
here’s your coffee dear,
here’s your coffee dear

Chorus:
You can Leave Your Make-up on the shelf,
‘cus time, time suits you well,
and here’s your coffee dear

Here’s Your Coffee Dear,
though the End is Near,
You know we can’t give up
on our morning ritual,
yeah though our life is short,
at least there’s coffee dear,
so here’s your coffee dear.

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Stepping up the game: Harrison Mixbus

A professional DAW for home recording doesn’t have to cost an arm and leg. First of all, there are many free solutions or nearly-free solutions. Like Ardour. It’s free (open source) software, if you’re using an older version that is. Like Ardour 4.x.

Last week Harrison Mixbus was offering Mixbus5 for a deep discount and I just couldn’t resists. Still use Ardour for older projects but Mixbus is just an awesome product!

Harrison Mixbus is a digital audio workstation (DAW) available for Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X and Linux operating systems. Mixbus provides a modern DAW model incorporating a “traditional” analog mixing workflow. It includes built in analog modeled processing, based on Harrison’s 32-series and MR-series analog music consoles. Mixbus is based on Ardour, the open source DAW, but is sold and marketed commercially by Harrison Audio Consoles (Wikipedia).

Installation took some time, you really do need to do this “step by step” following the (online) manual and I had some “problems” importing old projects from Ardour sessions (I thought it was compatible, but it isn’t 100% compatible with my Ardour 4.x version). But after about 30 minutes I was already doing my first (test)recording.

Mixbus5 looks a lot like Ardour (no surprise here!) but it’s more advanced. It’s also more demanding (CPU. Memory, Disk). Despite that, I got it workin smoothly on “light” ITX-computer using an Intel® Quad-Core Processor (J1900, 2 GHz) with 8GB RAM. On this machine I’m running Linux Mint as the OS.

FEATURES
Mixbus comes with a ton of features, plugins and the special offer included some additional plugins!

 

NEW STUDIO
We will be moving soon to another house and there I will be having a bigger (lof)studio. Apart from a bigger room, I most certainly will need bigger monitor screens for this.. in fact, I will need/want two screens 🙂 This is just too much vor only one (small) screen.

NOTE!
I installed Mixbus5 on my desktop computer first for testing but it didn’t run smoothly on my SATA HDD. The disk simply can’t keep up. Mind you, it’s a fast Seagate disk, but SATA just can’t handle it too well.

My dedicated “DAW-computer” (the ITX) has an SSD disk and it runs smoothly. I did have time-outs sometimes, so I’ve installed a little utillity on my Linux ITX computer to prevent it from going in to “sleep” mode and have more performance (full cpu-usage). This fixed the time-outs.

FREE DEMO
You can download a free demo at Harrison’s website
https://harrisonconsoles.com/site/mixbus.html

____________

I was planning to have some fun with it this weekend and perhaps create a short video about it but.. i fell ill and on top of that the power supply one of the hosting-servers died on me.. So had to go the the data center and fix that. I will post an update later!

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MXL770 Studio Condenser – Unboxing, Review and Testrecording

The MXL770 Studio Condenser is a very budget friendly yet high quality studio condenser microphone made by Marshall. It is a perfect microphone for those recording at home – it’s suitable for recording acoustic instruments like an acoustic guitar, as well as electric instruments and vocals.

So – I turned 50 the other day and my wife gave me a few very nice presents! One of them is this MXL770 studio condenser microphone. My favorite studio condenser, a McCrypt condenser microphone, is having issues after having been in use for over 20 years. So – time to replace it. This is a great replacement. In fact, I think it’s a very good upgrade. While the McCrypt was most certainly a great mic, this one is even better.

 

 

 

In the video there’s a test recording using my acoustic Washburn guitar and some vocal. Both are ‘dry sound’, no processing done. In the end of the video there’s a mixdown of the track I recorded.

The microphone was ordered online at Thomann (Germany).

 

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Summertime – Free Download!

What happens if you let someone who’s got great mixing skills as well is the writer of a good vocal plugin mix your track “just for the fun of it”? Recently we were recording a new song and our friend Jay H. from JHudStudio created an alternative mix. We liked it so much that we have decided to publish this mix instead of our own!

Jay H. is the author of the Vocal King plugin, and some other (free) plugins for Windows DAW’s. He put some good time and effort in our song and (re)mixed and produced it based on the original, unedited, stem-exports from our Ardour DAW. This resulted in an original, creative, mix of our song and we were so very pleased with it!

The song is now available as a free download at SoundCloud. We hope you like it. Feel free to share!

The mood of the song, as well as the style, is probably a “60’s” or “70’s” feel, in the vain of Bob Dylan, The Byrds and so on. Drums were created using Ditigtech TRIO, Bass, guitars and vocals by Rudy. Recorded using Ardour (Linux). Mixed & produced by Jay H. from JayHudStudio.

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Lost Faith, Lost Hope – New original song!

A new, original, song has been released on AudioMack. And there’s more to come in the near future as we’re working on yet another new album.

An acoustic demo of the song was released earlier on Youtube (click for the video). Below you’ll find the finished studio version.

Vocals, guitars, recording & mixing by Rudy, Soldi Rock Blues Band.
Drums & Bass: Digitech TRIO Band Creator.

Recorded using Ardour/KXStudio (Linux Audio).

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How to Install Ardour with Jack Audio on Linux Mint and Ubuntu

Installing Ardour, the Digital Audio Workstation, on Linux Mint or Ubuntu isn’t too difficult if you follow the steps shown in these tutorial videos.

Before you jump right in and start installing Ardour, you will need to download and install Jack Audio Server. Search for qJack or Jacl on your installer and install it. After that, configure it as it is shown at the website. You can edit the configuration files using a text editor like NANO from the command line or a graphical text editor. Please do apply them as you are told over here:

http://jackaudio.org/faq/linux_rt_config.html

After that, take a look at this video:

 

It’s slightly outdated since they use an older version of Jack but you will find the settings in qJack when you go to Setup → Settings → Advanced.

There’s a good reason to follow these steps because it will help you to install and configure realtime audio (and you will need this!) in a correct manner. The Realtime Audio will even turn a system with an onboard sound card into a good mixing and editing machine. For recording, I use a dedicated machine with KXStudio/Ardour with a 4-channel USB interface (Behringer U-PHORIA UMC404HD). But you might even be able to use a standard soundcard for recording (I have not tested this!).

Now you can install Ardour. And that’s easy! Open your software installer, type in [ Ardour ] in the search field (no brackets) and install it!

In the video below I will show the above mentioned steps.

 

 

– Audio (voice over) recorded using Ardour 4.0
– Video recorded with “record my desktop” and edited with kdenlive.

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