Re: [Harp-L] home recording

"brian.irving" wrote:
<Can anyone recommend a reasonably priced set up to record on to a home pc,
<playing along to backing tracks?  I'm working with the Jimi Lee tracks and
<would like to hear what my efforts at different grooves sound like.  I have
<audacity but I'm not sure how to record on top of a backing track.

First, did you read the user's manual for Audacity?  If not, you should.  Get it here:

You need:
- a computer audio interface so you can get your real-world sounds into the computer.  A simple stereo-in-stereo-out USB interface sells for about $125-150. (If you own a Digitech RP155/255/355/etc., you already own a very nice USB interface.)   Microphones that connect to the computer via USB and include a headphone output sell for around $100.  either will work, but I'd spend for the stereo interface.  Get something that records at 24-bit 44.1.kHz or 48 kHz.    

- a microphone (if you didn't opt for the USB mic).
- a pair of headphones so you can monitor while you play.

The procedure for recording on top of another track in audacity is:
- set up your audio interface, i.e. install the drivers on your computer, following manufacturer instructions.
- start Audacity and use Audacity's menus to designate the audio interface as the input/output device. 
- import the track you want to use for backing into Audacity.  
- set up another (blank) track in audacity for your harmonica part.
- Arm the new track for recording and record your part.

Regarding the art of recording, Computer Music magazine is a very useful resource for a novice recording engineer.  It's published in the UK, so for you a subscription will be relatively inexpensive.  I advise you at least to get their latest guide to home recording, and also to buy a copy of their monthly magazine, which will arm you with a pile of software that you can use to enhance your recordings.  Reading Computer Music will get you a lot farther, a lot faster, than trial and error (or asking simple questions with potentially complicated answers on this list) will get you.  You can find it at

Good luck, Richard Hunter

author, "Jazz Harp" (Oak Publications, NYC)
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