Audio interface: Steinberg UR22 mk2
Microphone: Audio Technica AT4047
Cable 1: XLR audio cable
Cable 2: 1/4″ TRS mono audio cable
Headphone: AIAIAI 75003 TMA-2 Modular Headphone
Mic stand: K&M Mic stand with boom arm
Electric Violin: Vivo 2
Hey everybody and welcome to consordini.com.
Part 1: Necessary Equipment
You’ve been practicing your instrument for quite a while now, and spent countless hours playing, so now the time has finally come to make your recording and share it with the world.
Let’s take a look at everything that you’ll need to have to make this happen.
First of all, we’ll need a computer with a DAW installed. So a DAW is a Digital Audio Workstation. It’s a piece of software that allows you to record, edit and process your audio. We will be using Reaper.
Next up, we’ll need an audio interface. I will be using the Steinberg UR22mkII, But you can choose something cheaper. For example, the UR12 model is a good-quality audio interface for around $100, that is also beginner-friendly.
So what an audio interface does, it takes your audio signal, turns it into digital data and then communicates it to your computer. You can find many different types fitting any budget.
Depending on what kind of instrument we’ll be recording, electric or acoustic, we we’ll record both and look at every scenario.
You will need other microphone. So this a large diaphragm condenser microphone and a XLR cable, which we will use to connect the microphone to our audio interface.
Now, if we’re recording an electric instrument, which has an instrument output, we will need a jack-jack cable which will connect our audio interface high-z input with the instrument.
And the last but not least, is the monitoring. We’ll need headphones to listen back to what we’re playing because this could make or break a performance.
Good monitoring is really essential. If you’re interested in any of the gear that I am using here, you can see all the links in the comment section.
And of course, we’ll need space for the recording. Space is essential when recording acoustic instruments.
An overly treated room will make a violin sound dull and uninteresting, so we’ll need to find nice reflective room such as concert hall in your music school.
If you’re recording an electric instrument, the room doesn’t really matter that much because you can add reverb later in post production.
Part 2: The Basic Functions of Reaper (DAW)
Okay, so let’s take a look on how to install it and use the basic features.
To download Reaper, please go to reaper.fm or follow the link under the video. And go to download Reaper and select the version that you need.
So for me, I’m going with Mac OS X 64 bits, so let’s download that. So now that we’ve installed Reaper, let’s open it up and see what’s inside.
Now, let’s make sure that Reaper sees our audio interface.
To do that, let’s go to Reaper, Preferences, or we can use a key command which is Command + Comma, or for PC, it’s Ctrl + Comma. Go to Audio Device.
And here where it says Audio Device, we need to find the name of our audio interface. So for me, that’s Steinberg UR22MkII.
Okay, so let’s talk about latency for a bit. So latency is the delay between the initial signal that you’re making and the signal you’re hearing back from your headphones or monitors.
NOTE: If you still don’t have the necessary recording equipment and you are working on a tight budget, then you should check out our list of best budget studio headphones as well as our in-depth review of good cheap studio monitors.
Most of the modern audio interfaces, they allow direct monitoring. So, that means you’ll be hearing yourself without any delay and it’s great.
But if you wanna use reverbal compression during recording, that means that you’ll have to use software monitoring from your DAW.
Let’s take a look at the buffer. The smaller the buffer size, the less delay you will hear, but it also means that the computer will need more processing power.
And it’s okay if the session is brand new and you’ve just started but if you have a lot of tracks with a lot of plug-ins on, your computer might fail to perform properly.
And that means you’ll have to increase the buffer size. As you do, the latency will increase as well.
So in my opinion, everything between 512 samples is pretty tolerable but you’ll have to see for yourself and find the compromise in the particular session that you’re in.
But this is a new session and we don’t have any tracks or plug-ins yet, so the processing power is all ours. So we’ll select 64 and click apply and okay.
Right, we’ll need to make a new track. We go to Track, Insert New Track, or press Command + T or Ctrl + T for PC. So now we have a new and clean track.
All we have to do is make sure that it knows where the audio will be coming from.
So here it says, “UR mark two input one,” and this is exactly when I’m gonna plug in the microphone. Let’s select that. You might have something different written here.
Now we need to record the track so it knows that the signal will be coming here.
And last but not least is the monitoring. We need to click it on. Okay, record monitoring on.
If you’re using direct monitoring from your audio interface, you might wanna switch software monitoring off to avoid any latency at all.
Part3: Electric and Acoustic Violin Recording
So, now it’s finally time to start the recording.
First of all, let’s connect the headphones so we can monitor ourselves. So, connect them to the phone output and set a comfortable level here.
Now, let’s use our jack jack cable to connect the electric violin. We’ll use input 2 and we’ll use a high Z option for that.
The other end will go directly into the violin’s instrument output.
Okay, so we’re finally ready to make the first recording. Here with me, I have Inta, the recording artist today. And let’s begin.
We’re all ready and I’m pressing Cmd+R to start the recording. And here we go.
Okay, great take. Pressing Space to stop the recording and here Save All.
Now, let’s talk about comp takes. Comp takes is a very useful tool for a recording artist, making the recording all by himself with no one to press Stop or Record.
So, essentially, what that means is we’re gonna make a selection, like so, first 18 bars and the selection is gonna go in a loop.
And once first take is done, the second take is gonna start, okay, until we switch it off. So, first of all, I’m gonna make a new track.
Make sure that the input is right, input 2. I’m gonna press Record Monitoring On and I’m gonna mute the previous recording we have.
Okay. So, now when I press record, everything is gonna go in a loop. Are you ready? Okay, let’s begin. So Cmd+R to start the recording.
Okay, great, so, let’s save our work. All right and now we can see here all the recordings that we made. And if we press Cmd+L, we can toggle between comp mode and just the track mode.
Okay, so here we see take number one and take number two. And we’ll take a look, in the next video, at how to combine the best parts of every track.
Okay, so now it’s time to record the acoustic violin and this is the tricky part.
Right, so first of all, we will need a large diaphragm condenser microphone. And in order for that to work, I’m gonna switch on my Phantom power, in my case, it’s located on the back of the audio interface. I’m switching it on.
And the light saying +48 volts is also on. I’ve connected the microphone into input 1 of my audio interface with an XLR cable.
So, now everything is nice and ready to record. So, as soon as we start playing, I’m gonna adjust again so that the levels here will be between -18 and -12 dB on the scale here.
If you wanna have a more developed sound combined with the richness of the reflections coming off the walls, the ceiling, and the floors, you should try putting the microphone a little bit further away from the violin. Let’s try this approach now.
I’m raising the microphone as high as I can above the violin and let’s adjust it here. This way, I’m not only gonna get the direct sound from the violin, I’m also getting a reflected sound off the walls and ceiling.
Okay. So, as soon as we start playing, I’m gonna adjust again and let us do a take just to check it out. Okay? Let’s go.
Okay, great job. Now that we have a great performance, we need a backing track for it to sound more interesting.
In order to do that, we’re gonna keep this recording playing and we will make a new track and record another part on top of what we already recorded.
So, let’s do that again. Cmd+T to make a new track, record.
We won’t mute the previous track as we did before and now we’re ready to do that. Okay. So, let’s record. We’re gonna use a close miking technique to do that as well. All right. So, let us…
Part4: Adding Effects
Okay, so, so far we have recorded several tracks, one is our main track here, and we’ve also done a couple of takes of backing tracks, so if we press Command+L, we can see that there are several takes from which we can choose.
So, I think that the second track was okay, but there might be something in the end, that we might wanna keep from the first track.
So, how do I combine them together? First of all, I want to make a slice. I wanna switch the grid off by pressing option+G, putting the play head somewhere, let’s zoom in here, I’ll put a play head somewhere here and press S to make a slice.
Now, when I press on the I wanna keep, and I’ll press on the other one. Press Command+L and they will be glued together.
So now, I can use this fade tool that appears to make a cross phase between them, and move the slicing points as well. So, let’s hear what it sounds all together.
And let me move it a little bit to get more of the recording from the first one. We’ll just have the end from the last one.
Okay, so this sounds kind of dry, and I want it to sound more alive, so I’m gonna add some reverb to both of them.
I’ll start with the pizzicato track. We go to effects window and go to Cockos, and these plugins come with Reaper already, so they’re ready to go. Let’s choose reverberate, that’s okay. I have chosen a preset and it sounds amazing. A really big, wide room.
Okay, I’ll just bring down the wet signal a little bit, so it doesn’t reverberate that much, but it’s really pretty now.
Okay, I love that. Now, let’s put some reverb on the main track as well. We’ll press effects, Cockos as well, and we’ll use reverb plugin instead of reverberate, and see how that goes.
There are…a couple of presses here as well, let’s solo the track and see how it sounds. I’ll bring down the wet signal. Really nice. Let’s see how they sound all together.
That’s a beautiful reverb. Okay, so as we’re done with the arrangement, and choosing the takes, I think it is time to add some virtual drums now.
Let’s bring the grid back by pressing option+G, and now we need to make a new track.
We go to Track and choose ‘Insert virtual instrument on a new track.’
Now, we’ll just…in our instruments, we’ll find the instrument that we’re looking for, in this case, I’m going with a TX 16 freeware sampler, and choose that.
Now, essentially, this is a sampler that you can download for free, and, how you use it, you just drag a sample from your hard drive directly onto the notes of this instrument, and when you click on it, it sounds.
You can also use your computer keyboard as a MIDI controller, by clicking option+B. You got a MIDI…a virtual MIDI keyboard appears and as we click on the notes, the sound will be played. Okay, so let’s just squish that out for a while.
NOTE: If you don’t have a budget for a high end MIDI controller, you can check out this list of best budget MIDI keyboard controller under $100. Though they are cheap, they still offer great value for the money you spend.
I have already prepared a small preset for this particular recording, and go drums, and here I have a kick drum, snare drum and a hi hat, that’s all we need for a simple arrangement, and here we go.
So, I’ve made a selection and now I’m gonna go insert new MIDI item, double click that and here I have a new MIDI Region, in which I will find my sample sounds.
And now let me just put my instruments down. Okay, I have a simple pattern here, so let’s see how it sounds.
All right, I’m quite happy with that, so I can just copy it over to the whole arrangement. Here we go. Let’s listen to what we have.
Okay, great. I’m really happy with the mix and the arrangement that we’ve got here, and I’m ready to render the file creating a stereo file which we can then share with family and friends.
Okay, so to do that, we will make a selection from the start ’til the end. Go File, Render.
Choose a name for the file, choose the place where the file will be rendered to, and go render one file. And here we go, our first recording completed.
The last thing to do is saving the session in case we wanna come back to it and work and add to it later. We go File, Save Project As, select project name like “Violin recording.”
Select where it will be stored, hit Save, and all the media that was used in the project will be safely stored inside the folder. Hit Save and we’re done.
Thank you for watching. I hope those videos were very useful. Let’s recap. So we’ve looked at the gear that is used to make a first recording.
Looked at the DAW Reaper, which is used to capture the recording, and we also used other ways to add effects and virtual instruments to our arrangements.
Then we exported our file into a stereo that we can share with the world.
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