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Author Topic: Looking for recording advice

Posts: 84
Post Looking for recording advice
on: October 5, 2014, 00:23

I'd like to record a few songs. I'm trying to work out the best approach. I can do it myself or rent some time at a studio. At home I have been using Garage Band. Which works fine for guitars. Drums are a problem. Recording at home is also free.

I was thinking it might be possible to record the band live at the practice space, then over dub guitars and vocals later. Might it also be possible to later overdub drums again?

The other option is to hire a s studio. What does this cost? A friend suggested hiring a "sound guy" with some recording equipment. But, he doesn't have a studio so we'd need to find a place to record. I thought, if we hire someone, we should just hire a studio with equipment.


Posts: 170
Post Re: Looking for recording advice
on: October 12, 2014, 14:58

Are you intending to record a 'personal' album - your name, focusing on your tunes and playing/singing, or do you want to do a 'band' recording - the bands name, with everyone playing their part?

If it's a personal recording and you just want a fairly basic rhythm section behind you, then there are a lot of fairly cheap and surprisingly decent sounding drum synth/vst/machine packages. I haven't used any in awhile and don't recall all the names, but some google searches should give you the main list and audio samples. Most of the current generation sound quite realistic and are versatile enough to program a realistic and diverse track. There might be a small learning curve, but it would allow you to easily track drums and then focus on guitar/vox.

If you want to use the band members and live recording for the drums, then the investment becomes rather significant. It takes a minimum of 4 mics/channels to track drums and the space really needs to be treated if you plan on adding dry tracks from other spaces simply because the room sound and reflections will be hard to match. So if you've got the mics, enough channels, and the space is treated, then you can try doing it yourself. If you're just recording drums, then I suggest that you have a click track and scratch tracks already prepared and have the drummer play along to it. If you have a suitable space, good separation, and enough mic's/channels, you can dry doing a full 'live' recording, but if you want to re-track vox and guitar later, then you have to make sure that you have sufficient separation so that the discarded performances aren't bleeding through into the drum mics or whatever else you plan to keep.

If that's not an option, then you can consider going into a studio. Finding a big enough studio to live track a full band won't be cheap, but would probably be worth it. On the other hand, for about the same price, you can buy some mid-level mics and a multichannel interface and start developing your own recording skills. The reality is that given the current state of tech, you can build a pretty satisfactory studio for around $4k-10k if you know how to use it and have an adequate space.

For my own purposes, I have a pretty satisfactory setup at home for recording the instruments I play. When I need drums, I have a couple friends who have their own studios and play drums so I just send my tracks over, they add drums and send them back. You might be able to find a similar collaboration if you ask around. Maybe even just post to craigslist in your area for anyone with a recording space that has drums. That might be a cheap option.


Posts: 149
Post Re: Looking for recording advice
on: October 16, 2014, 05:16

I've used Acid software by Sony (formerly Sonic Foundry) to create rhythm tracks for my non-improvised music. There are several versions including a free one that are very capable. It is very easy to create very interesting rhythm tracks and very good replacement for a click track since it can have some feel to it with a more sophisticated rhythm. I have 3 close friends that are all pro-level drummers they come over and play drums at a later stage when there is enough done to clearly hear my intent. They use headphones to play against what I have built with Acid. I almost always use at least some of the original Acid drum loops in the final mix along with the recorded tracks. But this method allows me to work at my own pace and add the human drummer at a convenient time for them.
There are similar programs to Acid but few run with as little computer overhead as Acid does. You can also tweak everything in Acid down to off setting tracks by tiny micro fractions of a beat which can make them feel very human.

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