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Old 02.14.08, 6:18 AM
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andreas_m is an unknown quantity at this point
I'm new to all this. Help?

Hi, for awhile now I've wanted to start a home recording project. Two problems: I don't really play any instruments, and, I have no idea how to do any of this stuff. Since I have no instrumental experience, I guess I'd just be an experimenter with different sounds...can I get any help as to where to start? What I should buy/do? I guess I'd wanna experiment with guitar and different drum sounds...I own a drum set/guitar (they were my brother's) so I'd use those. I guess I'd need a cheap recorder/synth/sampler/whatever...like I said, no experience, but I think I know enough about music composition to start something. I'd have to say my favorite bands/composers would be....

Liars (last album was awesome)
Gui Boratto (Chromophobia)
Kevin Drumm
The Field
Ricardo Villalobos (amazing)
Panda Bear/Animal Collective (probably my favorite)
No Age
Joy Division
Steve Reich

They would be my key influences.

I'm not asking for much.... just anything in terms of producing/recording a sound. Thanks in advance!
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Old 02.14.08, 9:57 AM
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Join Date: May 2005
Location: London
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guitarose is an unknown quantity at this point
I'd say forget about a sampler and get an audio interface and a mic to use with your computer. that can be your sampler, with way more flexibility. many interfaces also allow midi; which from the sounds of things you'd want to get into at some point..

give us a budget to help us be more specific.
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Old 02.14.08, 11:36 AM
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Location: Calgary, Alberta
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Johnny the Boy is an unknown quantity at this point
I would suggest downloading Audacity, first of all. It's not the ideal program, but it is ridiculously free and relatively intuitive.

From there, I would download a free trial of AudioMulch and start using Audacity to cut drum samples, then program drum patterns and basslines into Audacity. AudioMulch was free until about two years ago, now i think it's about $30 or so for a full version. That's totally reasonable, considering it has a great interface once you get used to it (there are some really good tutorials included in the download), and the program is super powerful. It's also a great noisemaking program - it's what Kieran Hebden used for the first couple of Four Tet albums. Maybe he's still using it, actually. I have no idea.

Anyhow, get your 'rhythm section' downpat, then what you can do is simply record one chord, or even one note, at a time on the guitar and cut and paste them into the song using Audacity. I heard a story about this guy who couldn't play any instruments at all, so he wrote and arranged all his songs by playing one note, one drum, or one chord at a time into a video camera, and then edited everything together using a video editing program. Awesome.

So far, we're at zero dollars, so it may be worth looking into a microphone. I used a $10 microphone for two years and it worked great, so if you have any old microphones around the house, give them a shot. If that's not cutting it for you, it may be worth making a trip down to your local music store to look at some nicer mics. The Shure SM-57 is generally held in high regard, and they're priced fairly for how good they sound (they usually go for around $100, but you should be able to get one used for really cheap).

Your computer should have a microphone input, which will work splendidly for your purposes, but you will probably need the right adaptor to get the mic to plug into the computer.

After that, go nuts and send us the results!
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