Let’s say you just got your first USB audio interface. You’ve set up your home studio, installed everything, and you’re ready to hit that big red Record button and go to town.
What happens next can be both surprising and frustrating – latency. USB 1.1 isn’t the fastest protocol on the planet, and what can happen is that it takes the computer a little time to process the audio. Translation: you play or sing a note, then you hear it in your headphones several milliseconds later. This is latency.
The cure? Most manufacturers include a mix knob on their USB interfaces. This mix knob allows you to blend the direct signal (of the microphone plugged into the interface) with the playback signal (the tracks you’re playing back in Pro Tools).
In this video I’ll explain it a bit further and show you how to get around this latency issue.
* There’s a slight hum in the audio during the screencast portion. My apologies. I had to rewire things a little differently to demonstrate what the latency sounds like.
Delay is a fairly simple effect, but it can have a huge impact on your music. Sometimes a delay can be the defining sound of a song or an artist. (Think: Edge from U2, with his dotted eighth note delays.)
If you’ve spent much time with delays, then you know that digital delays (like the delay plugins that are included with Pro Tools) can be very precise and accurate, but they sometimes lack the character of their analog counterparts.
Can a basic, run-of-the-mill delay plug-in sound anything like some of the fancy Moog delays out there?
The answer is yes, and Matt Fordham at RecordReady.com has a great video explaining this called “Better Delay Feedback.” Read more »
Right now I’m sitting in my studio listening to a recording from a show I played a few weeks ago. How was it recorded? Directly from my Fishman SoloAmp into my Mbox 2 Mini. (And yes, I have an audio sample for you.)
If you are a singer-songwriter or a solo musician of any kind, you really should do yourself a favor and check this thing out – the Fishman SoloAmp.
Need a PA?
Ever since I moved away from the Nashville area, I’ve been at a bit of a loss for places to play. As a singer-songwriter, you can usually get away with not having your own PA system. You can just show up to a writers night and use the house PA. Or if you’re opening for another band, you can just use their system.
When you’re getting started with Pro Tools, or any DAW for that matter, the whole idea of inserts and sends can be a bit confusing. If you’re a bit hazy on what these do (and the differences between them), this video should help.
Thanks to Jon, one of my readers, for asking me to cover this!
What are some tricks you’ve come up with with your inserts or sends? Leave a comment for the rest of us!
I’ve been involved with a discussion over at the Harmony Central Forums yesterday and today. The thread started with a question about the advantages of getting a higher-end audio interface. The original poster owns an M-Audio ProFire 2626, and wants to know if he should get something with better converters.
While you should be careful not to get sucked into the “buying new gear will solve all my problems and bring about world peace” cycle, it’s still important to think about the sound quality of the equipment you own. Like I wrote many times in the 12 Home Studio Necessities series, a lot of times you get what you pay for.
But not all the time.
Dinner and Gear
At some point you can spend more money and not be able to tell a difference. For example, last night my wife and I celebrated our three-year wedding anniversary. We went out to a nice restaurant for a fancy dinner. We spent a good amount of money, but it was well worth it.
What if we doubled the amount we spent? Would it be twice as good? Possibly. What if we doubled it a few more times? Then would it be worth it? Eh… At some point the more money we would spend on the meal, the less food we would get. We’d get those tiny little “fancy” portions you see on the cooking channel. Sure it would be tasty (I hope), but I know I’d still be hungry afterwards, and I’d probably feel like I wasted my money.
Here’s the second edition of “Ask Joe.” If you’re new to Home Studio Corner, “Ask Joe” is basically a question-and-answer portion of the blog where I address questions submitted by readers via the Ask Joe form. (I tried to post this last night, but YouTube wasn’t playing nicely.)
I mention at the beginning of the video how the previous video was a bit on the long side (10 minutes!)…but this one ended up being 8 minutes. However, I’m only dealing with four questions today.
0:25 – A good all-around virtual instrument package?
1:44 – Hard drive chipset for Cubase?
3:13 – Good audio interface for a band?
5:57 – Using a Yamaha PSR keyboard as a MIDI controller?