DAW is Reaper. EVO4 is Audio interface - What more do I need?

Went to the local guitar shop and used the last money I had for this month. The guy who was in the shop today, was the one who also sold me the guitar. He himself play in a band and also use Reaper to make own production, said it was the best choice I could make. They are very kind at the shop and he also said, if I think I got the wrong gear, we will figure it out. So no problem in that regard, even if unpacked and used for some days. - ( Which will be 10 days until I get my next paycheck).

He didn’t know Guitar Pro enough to answer much, but we did had a quick glance if Guitar Pro and Reaper could “talk” together and it seems like. Also looked at the export options from Guitar Pro and it can do FLAC, MP3, Wav, ogg so plenty options there, even if it should not be able to “talk” directly with Reaper. - We also had a quick talk about the Reaper plugins, that there are options there.

I have build a pretty powerful PC with i7 intel and 32GB RAM, windows 11 a year ago. I have headset from Sennheizer and a pretty decent webcam with mic. - 5.1 Creative speaker set for the PC. - I have all the stuff needed to connect headset to the Audio Interface.

Software:
Reaper is the DAW. It is paid for.
Guitar Pro 8 also is paid for.
(Foobar2000, VLC Media Player, Audacity - all free open source).

Hardware:
Takemine Acoustic with no electronics at all.

Today I got:
EVO4 Audio Interface.
Record DM-72 vocal microphone - Range 50Hz - 16kHz - Sensitivity -56dB - ±3dB - Output impedance 19 Ohm ± 20% at 1kHz

Where I live and in those hours I will be able to record due to neighbours, there are some ambient background noise. So it is for sure something to take into consideration, as I want one more mic.

First question:
Would it be a good choice to get the Rode NT-USB condenser-microphone? (It will be within my budget and should not be much more expensive).
Also, will it be too sensitive, so it pick up all the ambient background noise?

Second question:
I want a keyboard of some sort. No question about it at all. But money not big and choices not that many.
Guy at the shop said that all the funny tricks, I can do in reaper, so instead of using money on such thing on the keyboard itself, I should go for a bigger one where the fingers get more space and there will be many more keys. In my mind, that sounded like the option to go for. Do you agree on that?

So instead of a midi keyboard, I was thinking of an actual keyboard.
The Casio CT-S1000V keyboard is about the price range I can use.
Could that be a good choice?
The max I can spend is a Yamaha PSR-EW425 keyboard
or would I get more than enough with a Yamaha NP-12 B Piaggero?

I want the keyboard to be able to connect directly to the Audio Interface/PC via cable and have plenty of keys, that are my two requirements really. Connection via cable and plenty of keys.

Suggestions and thoughts about it very much appreciated. I have 10 days to figure out a good choice, and you guys/girls know what you are talking about, so very much rely on your expertise here.

Would there be any other hardware, that I forgot or didn’t think about?
Any hardware I should consider?

Same goes with software that are not open source, as I have to get that into the budget in case needed or make it harder for me without. Am I totally covered in regard of software?

You have experience on these matters. That is obvious from not only your writings, but especially also from what I have seen of your productions. Really cool stuff being produced!!!

Anything you can think about?

What would you suggest I put some extra time and effort into study in this regard.?
How much should I dig into the Audio Interface, would it be enough to just know the basics?
Should I dig more into Reaper than Guitar Pro?
Can Reaper and Guitar Pro “Talk” together easy, or is it not worth the time and effort, and instead just export the file from Guitar Pro and import into Reaper?

I see many of you having an account on Soundcloud. Would it be a good idea to get an account there or not really needed, in order to share stuff?
Any thoughts in that regard?

Sorry if there are too many questions and thoughts, but that’s how it is to be me. But if I can get all or most answered, getting hints etc. I will be totally good to go, and wouldn’t have to spend more time and effort into this. - I would be able to 100% concentrate on the composing and production.

You have no clue how much I appreciate the time and effort you spend to help me with this stuff. It’s beyond words. I simply can’t thank you enough, even for all the help I already got :heart: :pray:

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What are you trying to do? You’re quite early in your guitar journey and audio production is a separate discipline. Are you just recording guitar or mixing and producing songs?

As far as recording guitar, you need a way to record it. So a condenser mic. Not a USB one, you need one that works with your interface. Or a guitar with a decent pickup.

You’d also want to listen to it, so wired headphones that work with your interface. And maybe a pair of studio monitors.

You’d only need a midi keyboard either if you played piano or were using it to control the DAW (not my expertise).

You’re a pretty verbose writer Kim, so I’ll just cherry pick some bits to respond on.

You do you, of course. It’s just easy to get distracted and accumulate gear instead of learning. This is a guitar learning community - while some here are quite advanced on the DAW stuff, there are other sites & youtube channels that go deep into tutorials on DAWs, so you’d want to explore those.

A condenser mic picks up the noise in the room, yes. However it also picks up the natural sound of an acoustic guitar the way a dynamic mic won’t.

An OK condenser mic is much, much cheaper than an acoustic with a good pickup. Base level acoustic pickups don’t sound great, they don’t sound like acoustic guitars. The top end acoustic pickups sound good, An electric guitar of course will sound decent through its pickups, as that’s how they work, but I get the impression you’re interested in acoustic. I have both, a condenser mic & an acoustic with a top notch pickup (Maton AP5 Pro).

That’s the DAW midi integration stuff, you can make a MIDI keyboard do drum-beats for key presses in your DAW… not something I have experience with, but am aware people do it.

Justin has a guide on getting started with home recording in Grade 2, Module 14:

I am aware of that. The reason I got here, to learn play the guitar and I am doing great. Making big progress every day. But I have no real progress in popular songs as it doesn’t have my interest. :wink:
But I am learning the guitar in order to do what I have to do and will still be what I spend most of my time on.

Yes, saw that video with Justin, but doesn’t answer my questions I have provided here.
Also others have told me, to make a post here if I had any questions, so did exactly that.

I don’t get distracted and just accumulate gear. I am not a gear freak. I rather donate to JustinGuitar which I already have done plenty since I came. The reason I asked the question asked.
Maton AP5 Pro is out of my range.
Ok, so a new guitar is not really an option unless I want to spend a lot of money.
Thnx mate! :heart: :pray:

PS. Also I am already planning to get one monthly private guitar lesson with one of the approved teachers. Just in case you worry about my progress on the guitar. But really appreciate your concern about learning the guitar and not get distracted or get into GAS. :+1: :sunglasses:

In my opinion, yes. My preferred method for recording acoustic guitar is the use of condenser mics.

It will be sensitive (which is one reason it’s good for acoustic instruments), but I wouldn’t say too sensitive. It will pick up room noise, but you’ll have control over the gain.

If you intend to play the keyboard as an instrument, then yes, get one with as many key-related features as you can (e.g., full-sized keys, touch sensitivity, weighted keys). If you mainly want the keyboard as a controller for working with your DAW then those things are less important. When I say “as a controller” I mean things like entering things like notes for bass, drums, synth pads, etc. that you also intend to edit or adjust in the DAW.

I have two keyboards that I use with my DAW. One is a small, inexpensive Akai MPKmini. It’s just a MIDI controller, so it doesn’t have any built-in sounds or anything like that, but in addition to keys it has knobs and pads that can all be connected to software controls in the DAW. It’s used as a physical hardware interface for software instruments and software controls. My second keyboard is a Yamaha P-121 digital piano. That has full-sized, touch sensitive, weighted keys and feels close to being a real acoustic piano. It has some built in sounds (pianos, organs, harpsichords), and can also act as a MIDI controller for software instruments in the DAW.

I think of the Akai MPKmini as a tool for working with the DAW. I think of the Yamaha P-121 as an instrument.

Note that there are multiple ways to connect keyboards and to record audio using them. Broadly speaking, you can record MIDI information or you can record audio data. If you’re recording MIDI information you’re probably “playing” or “controlling” a software instrument in your DAW. If you’re recording a sound or patch generated by the keyboard, itself, you’ll be recording audio data. MIDI data almost always gets to the DAW via a USB connection on your computer (i.e., you don’t go through the audio interface). Audio data can sometimes go through a USB connection, but depending on the keyboard it might be output from line out or instrument-level 1/4" jacks that would need to go into your audio interface.

I’m assuming you have good headphones. I like using semi-open headphones when mixing, but I like closed-back headphones when recording while monitoring bass/drums, etc in my ears. At some point you might want a pair of monitor speakers (e.g., I use Yamaha HS-8 powered monitors, hooked directly to my audio interface), but you can get by with just headphones.

I suggest starting with a project like “I want to record a song with acoustic guitar and vocal, where each are recorded separately and then mixed together.” Then learn what you need to know in order to finish that project. Build on your knowledge by moving on to other projects. Maybe add software-based drums and/or bass to the next project. And so on.

I haven’t used Guitar Pro at all, but if you want to record/mix/produce you’ll definitely want to become proficient at using the DAW.

Soundcloud is useful for that. But there are plenty of other ways: Dropbox, Youtube, Google Drive, et cetera.

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That is some really valuable info and hints you are giving and very much inline with my thinking and ideas about the whole thingy. :+1:

Yes, I have intention using the keyboard as an instrument also. I see your point in having both and those you mention will still be within my price range. Also I could have both connected via USB to the PC.

I get you on this. I assume I can lower the gain when playing and then up it via software without distorting the sound. If so, then that would be the perfect way to go. I have to test it out!

Right. I understand this part. Very useful info you mention here. Digital vs Analog. I know about these things from old days. You can make Analog to Digital but not the other way around. Also when sample down (compress) that sound is lost and can’t come back again.

Yup, high quali Sennheiser semi-open. Actually headset I used for gaming. - But makes sense to have a closed version headphones also.

I just had a quick glance at those Yamaha HS-8. They are pretty cool and not overly expensive. Good range 38 Hz to 30 kHz. Some other cool stuff also. Will be thrown out of my apartment if I open up for those :wink: It will be party time for all the elderly here :partying_face: :joy: Yes, I see why they could be good idea in a couple of month or later on. -
Good headphones seem to be the choice to go for atm. :+1:

Makes total sense!

Right. :+1:

You pretty much nailed it on everything and very much inline with my own thinking and ideas about the whole thingy, while also providing many pearls. Really appreciate! Thnx a lot for your time and effort.! :+1: : :heart: :pray:

Guitar Pro is very useful for me atm, as I can very quickly plot in chords etc and have listen how the chords go together. Test different time signatures, bpm, etc - My sore fingertips are really loving that software. :wink:
It takes no time to plot chords in and have it going with strumming or fingerpicking or how ever I like. Super useful tool in this regard.
Later on when I learn how to print out the sheet, it can be shared together with the sound-file or videoclip. I will get account on Soundcloud, makes more sense when working with all this stuff.

@J.W.C has said pretty much all I had in mind as I read your first post here.

Just one other thing caught my eye …

You’d want the version of NT condensor that connects via an XLR cable to your AI.

And thinking about what @jkahn said, a third option to consider for recording your acoustic guitar could be to buy a pickup that can be fitted to the guitar. You may find that you can get a good quality pickup that sounds better than the typical piezo built-in pickup on a lower-end electro-acoustic. It may still not sound as good as using a condensor but you’ll not have to worry about details such as mic position, the sound of the room, and that ambient noise.

On the ambient noise, you can turn the mic gain down so it doesn’t pick it up. But the price you pay for this is that your recording will be soft. You may then find that as you turn up the signal in Reaper you hear a lot of hiss from the mic. This will happen if the signal:noise ratio gets small.

So you may be better served with an add-on pickup for the acoustic and using the DM-72 for vocal recording. Perhaps something to discuss at your store.

With your AI you’d be able to make a two track recording with the guitar plugged in one channel (if you had that external pickup) and the DM-72 in the other. This would be a good solution to make ‘play and sing at the same time’ recordings.

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Right. I get the point here. I will write all these key points down and also from those from JWC and take with me to the shop.
I got the phone number to the guy there, so I can be sure he is at the shop when I go there. He is really a cool guy and very much inline with all these things also.

So presented with the points that come up here, his experience and what they have or can order for me, we sure will find a good solution and also that doesn’t have to cost several thousand dollars. Just have to work and be a solid solution.
Thnx a lot. Really appreciate. :+1: :heart: :pray:

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That’s a good catch; I agree that a mic with an XLR cable is the way to go (i.e., not a USB mic). Note that a condenser mic with an XLR connection will require 48V of phantom power from your audio interface. There’s probably a button or switch on the interface to turn on phantom power.

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You certainly wouldn’t need to go with 8" monitors. Something smaller would still sound good and might be more appropriate for your situation.

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Yes, there is and also can choose individual either 1 or 2. It’s noted. Thnx.

I’m attending a home studio intro course, so I’d say try to minimize noise as much as you can, whether resulting from your environment (e.g. dog barking outside, ambulance roaring past your house) or from the power supply / signal chain.

When selecting speakers / monitors, microphones and other equipment, be mindful of your budget and your eventual goals. No need to buy professional studio-level equipment if you don’t plan to open a recording studio :slight_smile: Also, if you plan on recording other instruments as well, it could be much more cost effective to take your recordings to a studio and have them mixed instead of investing in lots of gear that would (probably) never make a return on investment. Also, the more people hear your recordings, the more constructive criticism you will get.

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I totally agree on that, the reason I choose as I do. Just something that works and are solid. Nothing fancy.

Wonder how much that would cost.? Guess you could buy tons of equipment for a visit to a studio. PS:Edit just checked, it is USD 50 per hour at a cheap place, plus travel and what not. Not an option for me. - Lucky I don’t have to think about return on investment, but for others, yeah, it certainly could be an issue, if they want to get into the music business.

I have used some hours today, searching for a good place to upload stuff, but nothing really seem to be a good place. There was one person who had a list and mentioned all the usual places to upload stuff and the end comment he made was; Put it up on your own website, with your own domain. As I already have my own website and domain and had for almost 2 decades, I really consider to take it that way. - Then I can have it all there and share it for free for others to listen to or grab some samples etc. - Made a little drum sample earlier today and was really not happy with the places where I could upload it. - I got my old Soundcloud account activated again, so will maybe upload there for some time, until I decide on something else.

I made few short recordings today, just to test stuff out. Still need to get things adjusted and also rearrange my living room. I do have another room and thinking about moving the stuff in there, as the ambient background noise is slightly less there. Live in a small village with somehow heavy traffic through and railway next to me, ambulance station at the other end of the village. Apartment not that soundproof, so will be a challenge. - But it will get solved somehow. There is always a way :slight_smile:

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Well, that of course depends on the available options. A bigger city would probably have more of those studios available. And the fees may vary from place to place.

It would not make any sense at all, for me to go that way. I will max use 1500 - 2000 Euro on all the things I need for making my own productions. It’s seriously fun to play with and I can’t spend 14 - 16 hours a day on playing guitar and theory anyway. I don’t really spend time on anything else than this. 50 Euro per hour for a kind of ok studio is very cheap here in Denmark. Most places it’s from 70 Euro per hour and up. Per person involved!!! Work force is far from cheap here.

I can understand your thinking on this though, if it is a person who really want to do some serious pro stuff and pay others for doing the fun stuff. It is so fun and enjoyable to do this stuff.

But look at the others in this community, what cool stuff they have made. I can do it all just like they have done or similar or maybe very different. Who knows where this will go. I am just having some fun while I learn to play guitar and figure out how I would like the songs to be for my poems and enjoying life to the fullest while doing all this.

But thanks a lot for your suggestion. :pray:

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