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Vocal chain into recorder

Discussion in 'Home Recording Studio' started by rocknrollrich, Jan 16, 2019.

  1. rocknrollrich

    rocknrollrich Senior Stratmaster

    Jan 8, 2016
    I am using a digital (stand alone) multi track recorder.
    No daw, plugins etc.
    I have a rode nt1 condenser, i have a cheap, but ok sounding, stand alone mic pre amp(I mainly use it for phantom power).

    I also have a dbx compressor (not the best, but it is within my budget).
    And finally, I have a mixer with effects, insert path, and effects send/return.

    So what is the best way to get a good vocal down?

    My mixers preamps are terrible. The only reason I even use it at all is for reverb (which i have to print to the take).
    I have to print with effects because of my recorder's limitations (no way to buss the tracks after the fact).

    Should I go : mic, preamp, compressor, mixer, to recorder?

    Should I insert the compressor in/out of the mixer, or use the compressor as a stand alone part of the chain? Does it make any difference?

    I just acquired some of this stuff and I haven't a clue lol.

    I would like a fairly polished vocal sound above all else.

    Any tips?
  2. Dadocaster

    Dadocaster Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

    The recorder has effects that can be applied after tracking?

    I would go Mic > preamp > recorder and apply the other stuff after tracking. The complex signal chain will likely sound worse.

    Describe the gear in more detail. Recorder, what dbx unit and so on.
    fezz parka and rocknrollrich like this.
  3. rocknrollrich

    rocknrollrich Senior Stratmaster

    Jan 8, 2016
    The recorder has no effects.
    Once the track is recorded , there is no (practical) way to add reverb.

    I know optimally you would add reverb/effects at mix down.

    But my recorder doesn't have send/return. Or any other individual track out.

    So what is recorded is on the track is what I'm stuck with for mix down.

    So if i want compression, i have to print with it. Reverb, effects etc.

    I can export the tracks into a daw, and eventually I will get a daw, but I don't have one now.
  4. CigBurn

    CigBurn Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jun 22, 2014
    Same Shed Different Day
    Honestly, just go download Reaper and give it a shot. All the limitations you're currently facing evaporate immediately. Any good DAW is going to have a learning curve and working out processes on one you picked up for free will serve you regardless of which you land upon as a permanent solution. IMHO anyway.
  5. rocknrollrich

    rocknrollrich Senior Stratmaster

    Jan 8, 2016
    The dbx 266. It was about 150 bucks.
    The mic pre is an art tube pre.
    I need that for phantom power, and it gives me enough gain to record straight to the tascam.

    The only reason the mixer is part of the equation is for reverb/effects that are built into it.
    I don't have a dedicated effects unit.
  6. Dadocaster

    Dadocaster Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

    Even the free versions of various DAWs will have a small suite of effects. I talk about Studio One because that is what I use and so am familiar with it. The free version of Studio One has a nice set of basic plugins. I would highly recommend a very simple signal chain and get thee to a DAW with great haste!!
  7. Dadocaster

    Dadocaster Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

    You are aware that recording interfaces sell for peanuts these days? Provided that you are not trying to record a whole band on the fly...
  8. rocknrollrich

    rocknrollrich Senior Stratmaster

    Jan 8, 2016
    I realize that.
    I don't have the interface, and i don't have a dedicated computer for it.
    I don't want to put it on my laptop or work laptop.
    I already have the tascam, and I'm comfortable with it for my needs (which are pretty basic).

    I actually do have a version of cubase that I got when I bought something from sweetwater. Lol. I just never bothered to download it yet.
  9. Dadocaster

    Dadocaster Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

    Yeah, yeah, yeah and yeah. Gotcha.

    Depending on what you are trying to do, pretty much anything will work. :D Back when I used a cassette portastudio, everything was hi Z and I recorded using my stomp boxes and used my Boss stomp box delay for vocal effects. Do what you can to get what you want. If it gives you the ability to do some stuff, I would use the mixer and leave out that mic pre. Don't worry about compression. Just in to the mixer and on to the recorder.
    rocknrollrich likes this.
  10. fezz parka

    fezz parka Do you Reach? Strat-Talk Supporter

    Apr 21, 2011
    Going to Eden...Hey Brother...
    With a stand alone recorder with no side buss capability, then this is the best route.

    FWIW, I'd invest in an older used Mac, Logic, and a decent interface.
    gofmusic and rocknrollrich like this.
  11. pazman6

    pazman6 Senior Stratmaster

    I would use my home laptop and clone the hard disk to a solid state usb drive. Boot from the USB drive instance, clean off all of the stuff you don't need and install a free DAW. You can run into the line in on the computer if you don't want to buy an interface. You will have full features including plugins and you don't need to change a thing on your laptop.

    If you are hell bent to use what you have - I would go mic -> tube pre -> dbx (tame the levels) ->mixer with effects
    rocknrollrich likes this.
  12. WireLine

    WireLine Strat-Talker

    Apr 20, 2014
    Midland TX
    If you have the inputs, a splitter might do you well...out of preamp, to splitter. Then one leg thru compressor to recorder, another leg thru a Reverb to recorder, and another straight in...Each leg to its own track

    Then blend to taste come mix time, or bounce them, or whatever. One huge benefit this way is compression is parallel, a very good way to go with most things, Vox included
    rocknrollrich likes this.
  13. gofmusic

    gofmusic Senior Stratmaster

    Sep 24, 2013
    To get a decent recorded sound, you will deff need at least EQs (at least a couple) and compressors. In a DAW you have unlimited of those and also reverbs, delays, etc. There is really no question here if you want to record something you are proud of, you need more than just a recorder. Id install your Cubase in your personal laptop if I were you, record instruments separately and load the tracks into cubase. Then learn how to mix... which depending on your current knowledge can be a lot of work but deff worth it.
    rocknrollrich likes this.