FREE MP3'sFREE Recording Handbook

Now accepting online credit card payments
for these fine JeepJazz Project CDs!

ASK the Doctor


81.Kelly: Recording my electric guitar and drums? 12/3/00 
82.Brett: How do I record my band with a Portastudio 4-track? 12/21/00 
83.Rshib: Edit between my ADAT and computer? 12/12/00 
84.JeffW: How do patchbays work? 12/12/00 
85.Rich: What is ADT(Automatic Double Tracking)? 9/21/01 
86.Jeff: What's a Lexicon 1200? 10/1/01 
87.Cindy: Using Roland 1880 FX with my Mackie SR24 mixer? 10/16/01 
88.Derek: How do I get rid of this buzz? 10/22/01 
89.SicSic: 8 or 16-track to record my metal band demos? 12/15/01 
90.Art: How do I get my cassettes on my CD-r? 12/15/01

81. Kelly: Recording my electric guitar and drums?

I have a Tascam 424MKIII four track recorder. I am running a line directly from my guitar amp into the recorder. This works fine for recording "clean" but when I use the distortion channel on the amp it comes out way distorted on tape. I'm thinking maybe the hiss is too much for the recorder because it does the same thing when I use a mic. Any ideas?

the doctor's Rx:

Dear Kelly,

The distorted signal from the amp is too hot for the recorder input. If there is an output control for the "line directly from my guitar amp..." (I'm assuming you're referring to a lineout on the back of your amp that is intended to send signal to another device), and sometimes there is on guitar amps, turn it back a bit. Otherwise, turn down the master volume so the amp is sending less signal out that lineout plug.

If there is any trim left on the recorder input pad, try that first. If it has an input pad, its probably a knob at the top of each channel strip. It adjusts the sensitivity of the input, hence the name, "input pad". If its still too distorted, then you'll just have to turn down the amp master volume when you're recording distorted guitars. "hiss" has nothing to do with it. The recorder input is simply being overloaded.

Kelly responds:

Thanks for the info. I was using the "effect send" line from the amp to the recorder. I looked at the back and found a "pre-amp out" and used that with much better results but still very distorted. I took your advice in your handbook and hung a mic over the top and that worked fantastic. A couple tweaks of the eq knobs and it sounded great.

I have another question for you and then I'll quit bugging you. For micing drums, you say to put a mic on each drum and overheads for cymbals. I have access to six mic's and only one is a good one (SM-57 the rest are Samson R-11). Anyway, do I route all those to the same recording track and do I set all the mic's at the same trim or input level? I don't have a separate mixer or whatever people use to mix drums with. I have to go straight to the recorder. I can route all six channels to one track or to all four or anything in between if I already have a couple of tracks used. Again thanks for your help.

the doctor responds:

For drums, your 6 mics will be fine. As for tracks, how many do you have for drums? If only 2, then route all 6 mics to a stereo pair of tracks and use the panning knobs to send the "stereo field", i.e. if its buss 1/2, then press buss 1/2 on all the input channels and for kick and snare, pan up the middle, for hat, pan 3 o'clock or 9 o'clock depending on what side you want hats, for toms if there are 3, pan one rack tom at 9 o'clock, one rack tom at 1 o'clock and the floor tom at 8 o'clock... you get the idea.

I would start all drum mics at max padding and then add fader level as needed. If that's not enough, then start dialing up the pad/trim. Drums are very transient, much faster than most meters can show, so be conservative BUT you'll have to experiment and listen to what's coming back off tape to figure out what works best for your setup. If you have to record drums first and overdub everything, generally I've found you need to have the snare hotter than you think so it'll still cut through when the song is done.

As far as tracks go, if you've got 4 for drums, use one for kick, one for snare, and a stereo pair for the whole kit. You might not need overheads at all, or just one mic for an overhead, you'll have to experiment. If there aren't many fills, you might want to record the whole song without fills or even cymbal crashes and overdub them last. As a matter of fact, you could record the drums onto 1 track first as your time master and do all the overdubs and vocals to that AND then at the very end, set up the drums again and re-record the keeper drum track last. There's lots of ways to get the job done. Have fun.

82. Brett: How do I record my band with a Portastudio 4-track?

i am a drummer in west Texas in a band that recently recorded a demo. i am satisfied, but i think it would be neat to get into the recording shizzat. so... i was looking around, but the local music store sucks, and i found a portastudio by the name of a TASCAM 564, is this a good thing to start out with, just recording and overlaying at home? what does it matter how many tracks it has? i would like to record my band, maybe just drums and guitar, then add bass, then vocals... i think i could do it. anywho's let me hear from ya.

the doctor's Rx:

Dear Brett,

You are clearly starting from zero here. Download the recording handbook from my site and read it. It explains what multi-track recording and overdubbing are all about. Whether you have 4 tracks or 48 tracks to play with, the basic concepts are the same.

Having said that, in general, having more tracks gives you more flexibility in the tracking phase of the recording process. For instance, if its a band with a 4-track recorder, you might record:
1. the drums and bass playing together in stereo onto tracks 1 and 2 on the first pass.
2. Then a guitar track on track 3 on the next pass.
3. Then your vocals on track 4 on the third pass, then mix.

1. the drums on track 1 on the first pass
2. bass on track 2 on the 2nd pass
3. arm track 4, assign tracks 1 and 2 to track 4(thereby "bouncing" 1 and 2 to track 4)and play a guitar part, also asigned to track 4 all at the same time.
4. after checking that track 4 sounds the way you want, erase tracks 1, 2 and 3.
5. record keys on track 1
6. backing vocals on track 2
7. lead vocal on track 1, then MIX.

1. drums, bass and guitar playing together in stereo onto tracks 1 and 2 on the first pass
2. backing vocals on track 3
3. double backing vocals on track 4
4. MIX to DAT, cd-recorder, etc.
5. record the MIX back onto new piece of tape on 4-track recorder, tracks 1 & 2
6. record lead vocal on track 3
7. record keyboards on track 4, then MIX.

As you can see, having only 4 tracks to play with forces you to plan carefully and record creatively. I learned to make records on an 8-track machine. In many ways, learning to do more with less will come in handy when you do get a machine with more tracks.

83. Rshib: Edit between my ADAT and computer?

I currently have an Alesis 8 track ADAT with a Mackie 1604 mixer. I would like to record on the computer. I need a program that will allow me to record directly in the computer and interface with the Alesis 8 track ADAT. Also it would be nice if the program could have mastering capabilities. Are there any such programs that can handle all three? Would you please provide any suggestions.

the doctor's Rx:

Dear Rshib,

Get the PCedit program/PCI card from Alesis($300). It's designed to interface directly with the ADAT(black face and XT 16-bit) and will allow you to move tracks back and forth between the computer and ADAT. It also has ADAT sync capabilities which means you can set up the computer to chase and lock to the ADAT just as though you had (2) ADAT's.

If you buy the Alesis AI-3($400) or the Fostex VC8($260)lightpipe conversion boxes(which provide 8 analog ins/outs and ADAT lightpipe connections), you'll essentially have another ADAT in the computer which you'll be able to sync to your external ADAT.

It doesn't do mastering though. You should get a seperate program for that. These prices are from, recent catalogue.

84. JeffW: How do patchbays work?

My question is about patchbays. I know they are boring and all, but I gotta know how to use em properly. I use 2 DBX 1/4" 48 point bays and am gettin all confused. I don't see how to chain things together. Say I got a mic hooked up to a mic pre. I then wanna take that and route it to a compressor and then to the MOTU 2408 I got into the PC. How do I do it? The bays are half normalled and can be switched to de normalled. I got tons of other questions, but I'd be happy to understand just that for now.

the doctor's Rx:

Dear JeffW,

Patchbays can be a big help. Most recording situations start small and then the wiring mess escalates into a real rats nest. Putting all those INS and OUTS in one place tidies up everything considerably. Now, the important thing is configuring the patchbay as to whether connections are to be "normal-ed" or "half-normaled" "NOT-normaled". The proper way to wire a patchbay is OUTS on the top row and INS on the bottom row.

Normal-ed means that with no wires into the front of the patchbay, the vertical row of two jacks is connected anyway AND when a wire is inserted into either of the jacks, that connection is broken.

Half-normaled means that with no wires into the front of the patchbay, the vertical row of two jacks is connected anyway AND when a wire is inserted into the top jack(the OUT) that connection is not broken so you'll be able to send the OUT signal somewhere else while it's still going to the IN jack under it.

NOT-normaled means both jacks in the vertical row are not connected at all. Anything that you need to have an isolated input so you can choose what to put into it, hook to the NOT-normaled jacks.

"Say I got a mic hooked up to a mic pre. I then wanna take that and route it to a compressor and then to the MOTU 2408 I got into the PC. How do I do it?"
The mic pre and compressor INS and OUTS could be on NON-normaled vertical rows. This would make them all independent and patchable however you want. If you always use the same mic pre into the same compressor, you could hook it up with mic pre OUT on top and compressor IN on the bottom of a half-normaled pair. This way, the mic pre is always hooked up to the compressor, ready to go and if you want to route the mic pre somewhere else, just plug into the top OUT and patch it.

You NEVER want to normal INS and OUTS from the same box. This is very bad and can kill the device as well as blow up your speakers when the hideous sound it makes is emitted! In fact, get in the habit of turning the speakers off or the volume down when you're patching. The MOTU2408 analog INS and OUTS should be on NON-normaled jacks. This way you can patch whatever you want in and out of whatever channel you want.

85. Rich: What is ADT(Automatic Double Tracking)?

Many of the Beatles recordings made use of this technique to produce a second voice on vocal leads. How was this done? What specific devices are available today that you can recommend to recreate this effect. Thanks.

the doctor's Rx:

Dear Rich,

The Beatles used a second reel to reel recorder with a separate playback head for this effect. You can use a 3 head cassette machine if you don't have a reel to reel. Send signal to the external recorder, while its rolling in record and monitoring off the playback head (the length of the delay is a product of the distance between the record and playback heads and the speed of the tape... think about it) and feed its output back into another channel to blend as you want. wa-la, that's how ADT was done in the old days.

You could also do it with a delay effect. Set the delay time, adjust the volume of the delayed signal to taste, and maybe put a very slow LFO on the delayed signal so its a little off here and there. With a digital recording program, you could copy the vocal track you want the effect on and simply place it where you want.

86. Jeff: What's a Lexicon 1200?

I was thinking of getting a Lexicon 1200. It is hard to find info on. You say u use it as a harmonizer. HOw does that work? Is it a useful device to have?

the doctor's Rx:

Dear Jeff,

It is a real time analog hardware pitch conversion device. It was originally designed for radio stations that needed to make a :36 second commercial into a :30 second commercial and that sort of thing. Lexicon also made a stereo version called the 2400 which does the same thing in stereo. It's designed to handle program material as opposed to one instrument, so it really has headroom and can be tweaked quite a bit. I once retuned a finished stereo instrumental mix up a half step and you couldn't hear the difference.

I use it to dust up samples and retune things. For instance if I have a drum loop at 116 bpm and I slow it down in the sampler to 96 bpm, but then the lower pitch sounds too screwed up. I send it to the 1200 to pitch it back up some. and vice versa. It also has a lowpass and highpass filter to help tweak the sounds. In 1995, I paid $250 for the one I found in mint condition... it was $5000 in 1985.

87. Cindy: Using Roland 1880 FX with my Mackie SR24 mixer?

I was wondering how I can hook up my Roland 1880 V studio to my Mackie SR24/32 4 buss mixer. I would like to be able to use some effects from the 1880 why we play in my studio and also use both the mixer and the 1880 for recording.

I also own the Mackie SR1530 loud speakers and I am looking for a bit more power. Can I hook up another amp even though they are active speakers? Maybe I only need something like the BBE sonic maximizer so I can fine tune my sound.

the doctor's Rx:

Dear Cindy,

I'm assuming the SR24 is your PA mixer when you rehearse? To use the 1880 for a reverb, for instance:

Plug in the mikes to the SR24 and get it the way you want. THEN, patch SR24 Effects Send 1 OUT --> 1880 channels 1 and 2 line INputs. Set the 1880 effects 1 to reverb and PRE-FADER, turn the effects 1 knobs up on 1880 channels 1 and 2. Keep the faders down on 1880 channels 1 and 2. Send the 1880 MIX OUT --> SR24 Effects Send 1 RETURN.

Whatever you send out SR24 Effects send1 gets sent to the 1880. Because the 1880 channels 1 and 2 effects send is set to PRE-FADER and the faders are down, the original source doesn't get sent back out the MIX OUT, only the reverb. Make sure the effects 1 output on the 1880 is sent to the MIX OUT as well or you won't hear squat.

For recording, use the SR24 to get into the 1880 inputs. Use the outputs of the 1880 for playback monitoring of what you record and you'll have much less chance of feedback loops.

The Mackie SR1530 loudspeakers use built in amps that are maximized for their components. Even if its possible I wouldn't use another amp with them. If you want to be louder, get more speakers and more amps.

Cindy replies:

Thanks so much for replying to my question's!!! I'T sounds like I would be better off not using the SR24 for recording at all. I guess I should only use the SR24 for my live playing and the 1880 for recording ? I just didn't want to change the wiring back and forth and I heard that the SR24 would give ma a fatter sound for my recordings.

I guess I should buy reverbs processors just for my live playing with the SR24? Do you think this would be the best way to go? if you were using my equipment what would you do if you wanted to record and play live for fun in your studio. I can afford about $1.000 dollars for processor equipment so I could have some reverb for my singers when I'M using the SR24. Please help me! I hope IT"ok to ask you again these questions I really thank you a lot!

The doctor replies:

$1000 is way more than you'll need to spend. Check out the Alesis MidiVerb4($250), MicroVerb4($200), NanoVerb($125),LexiconMPX100($200),LexiconMPX500($400). Try these prices from and These will all work fine for live work with the SR24 and you'll still be able to use them for recording if you want or just leave them plugged into the SR24.

88. Derek: How do I get rid of this buzz?

I am having some trouble with a very high pitched noise when i record. I am using cakewalk pro audio 6.0 on my computer. Everything (guitars, key, voc) is sent thru a ross 12 channel mixing board and into the sound card. Each audio track that I record will have a high pitched noise ever so slightly in the background but after a few overdubs and everything is mixed the dogs come running from miles around.

I solved part of the problem by muting the cd rom volume in the volume control panel(I use a pc with windows 98 by the way) and by turning off the monitor during recording and mixing but that is a pain and it still doesnt solve the problem completely. I didn't have this problem until I moved into a new house, could it be the place meant of the mixer to the computer (the computer is in a large wooden computer cabinet) or the wiring of the new house or what?

the doctor's Rx:

Dear Derek,

"...could it be the placement of the mixer to the computer?" BINGO, baby. The monitor and the computer will induce all kinds of noise into audio cables. Get extension cables for the mouse and keyboard and put the PC under the table. Keep your audio cables away from the PC and monitor as much as possible. Keep your speakers away from the monitor as well.

To get things as quiet as possible, start with the PC off. Turn all faders down, turn on the mixer. Turn on your amp. With nothing connected to the mixer, push up the mixer master volume to "0". Now turn up all the channel faders to "0". Listen to how the noise adds up. This is as quiet as its going to be. If there are any buzzes, try using a ground lifter on that device or plug it into a different circuit. Everything you add from this point can introduce a bit of noise. Learn to hear what's noisy and what isn't. Some types of gear are noisy and others aren't.

89. SicSic: 8 or 16-track to record my metal band demos?

I am thinking about purchasing a recorder, but i'm not too sure about what i need to do what i want to do. I play guitar in a band, we play rock/metal. I'd like a machine that would allow me to record drums, bass, guitar, vocals with decent quality to produce a short demo. I don't have the money for a studio, but I have been looking at the FOSTEX VF-16, 16 track recorder as a possible buy. If you have any knowledge or opinions of this recorder could you please tell me?

I understand that a 4-track is more like a sketchpad for ideas, but is 16 tracks going overkill, do i only need 8 tracks? Also, this product has "phantom power" on 2 of its inputs. I understand from your handbook what phantom power on a mic is, but how does it relate to the inputs? The VF-16 also has S/PDIF and ADAT I/Os, and SCSI. What are these? This is definitely the cheapest 16 track i have seen(799.99), which is why i'm so skeptical about buying it. Is it a good buy or too good to be true? Thanks a lot.

the doctor's Rx:

Dear SicSic,

In my opinion the Fostex VF-16 is an amazing value.There's also a new version out that includes a built-in CD burner.

..."I understand that a 4-track is more like a sketchpad for ideas, but is 16 tracks going overkill, do i only need 8 tracks? " More tracks is better if you can afford them. You have to have phantom power if you plan on using any mics that require it. Most of the mics that require phantom power don't come with a power supply. The phantom power has to come from the mixing board. Having that capability built in on 2 inputs means that you'll be able to use 2 mics that require phantom power.

S/PDIF: digital in/out
ADAT I/O's: Alesis lightpipe for direct digital connection between VF-16 and an Alesis ADAT
SCSI: it's an industry standard digital connection to SCSI-equipped CD burners or Hard Drives. You need this to backup your data on an external CD-r or other SCSI equipped device, for all the projects you'll be recording.

Fostex has been around a long time. It's cheap because there's a lot of competition and the technology just keeps making these tools more powerful all the time.

90. Art: How do I get my cassettes on my CD-r?

My project is to record from my stereo cassettes to the Roxio CD Creator 5 burner on the PC. I purchased an Analog to Digital Cable, plugged it into the stereo and sound card, as directed by the diagram. The 2 sound cards I found on my system were:
Sound Blaster 128 BIT PCI (0) 1 PnP (OEN)
Creative Labs Sound Blaster PC1128 - Sound Video - Game.

When I tried to select the source for recording from within CD Creator 5, it did not recognize the analog source. CD Creator 5 online help only said the sound card would need to convert analog to digital. Do I need another sound card? What else could be wrong?

the doctor's Rx:

Dear Art,

Your hookup should be:
stereo cassette deck analog outputs(RCA) --> Sound Blaster 128 BIT PCI analog inputs (1/8" mini plug or RCA jacks?)

The PC takes the analog audio in via the soundcard and converts it into a digital file format. The PC saves it as a .wav file and the Mac saves it as an .aiff file. Use the SoundBlaster recording software to record and edit your audio .wav files. Create a directory on your hard drive to keep your audio files in, and stay organized! In "settings/control panel/multimedia" you need to select the Sound Blaster 128 BIT PCI as your preferred recording AND playback device. This tells the PC to use that soundcard.

Once the .wav files are created, you use CD Creator 5 to select the .wav files, put them in the order you want and burn a CD. The id numbers on the CD come from how many selected .wav files there are. If you put a 50 minute .wav file of an album on the CD-r list, there will only be 1 id, so if you want individual song id's, edit the songs into individual .wav files and then put them in the order you want with CD Creator 5.
TOP                                                                                                                                  NEXT >     



JeepJazz Music
8 Graham Terrace
Montclair, NJ 07042


2013 JeepJazz Music