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Recording is such a PITA

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  • Recording is such a PITA

    But you need a decent demo of 5 min of so of your best stuff to ever get a gig. Its frustrating.

    I play in 2 little groups and both are in desparate need of a short demo to ever get out of the garage.

    You try to do it live, and the room sucks, you cant get the mix to sound right. You spend the whole rehearsal futzing with mic placement and gain staging and by the time you come upon a half decent mix, your're exausted and your playing sucks.

    You try to do it a track at a time and you loose all the energy and feel that makes you sound unique and special. 

    The professional studios around here usually charge $600 or so for a 3 song demo, which dosnt include mastering or hard printing to any media, and limit you to 3-4 hrs of recording time. But thats prob what were gonna have to suck up and do. One group has some commercial potential, its oldies 60s rock so if we got a few gigs we could make our money back pretty quick, plus the members are older and have some independant finacial means. THe other group is original music, kinda Americana, led by a 20 something singer/songwriter. Not much real commercial potential for that around here, other than getting in a showcase or something. Plus these guys are younger with less disposable income.

    Heres the line up for the 2 groups:

    The 60s band: 2 acoustic guitars, sharing voc and lead guitar duties. P bass. Good drummer with a small kit who can fit in with the scaled down acoustic vibe. This group has penty of mics, decent recording equipment at our disposal, but the rehearsal space is small and the live recorded sound just sucks.

    The Americana Band: Acoustic guitar singer-sonwrither, elec lead guitarist, myself on bass, upright or sometimes Pbass. No drummer yet. We would prob add a little simple percussion to the demo, in hopes of eventually finding a drummer. This group only has a very basic computer rec set up, audacity, and a 2 ch usb mic interface. I do have an old 4 track Tascam cassette we could use. The rehearsal space is a little bigger, but its a hard room and would prob need considerable treatment to get a decent live recording.

    One idea Im kicking around is when the weather warms up, set up outside(we got 1/2 decent PA eq) like it was a private garden party or something, invite a few friends and get someone to videotape us. But if we go to that trouble, we need to make sure the videographer has good sound on his camera and knows something about editing it down to demo length.

    I guess Im just venting, or asking for ideas. I hear some recordings posted on here done at home that sound really good. Maybe we just suck, I dunno. 

     


  • #2

    I've used a little Tascam DR-05 to capture my band live, it's the little jobby with the two condenser mic's on top.. And if you place it well, it does a great job for live sound. After slight EQ tweaking, it does a damn good job. I use Reaper to tweak it.... I've not got anything online I've recorded with it, though.. PM me and I can send a sample I've done at a gig..

     

    You can usually pick up a DR-05 for about  $100..

     

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    Comment


    • Rudolf von Hagenwil
      Editing a comment

      just look that your demo has the kind of energy people expect from your style music,

      and that it doesn't hurt in the ear when people turn up the volume knob,

      but kicks in the arse, that of course only when you don't do elegant ballads.


    • Pine Apple Slim
      Pine Apple Slim commented
      Editing a comment

       


      Guit-mangler wrote:

      I've used a little Tascam DR-05 to capture my band live, it's the little jobby with the two condenser mic's on top.. And if you place it well, it does a great job for live sound. After slight EQ tweaking, it does a damn good job. I use Reaper to tweak it.... I've not got anything online I've recorded with it, though.. PM me and I can send a sample I've done at a gig..

       

      You can usually pick up a DR-05 for about  $100..

       



      The guitarist in the 60s band has one of those. But its been real frustrating getting a good balanced sound with it in our tiny rehearsal space. The room is small and the acoustics just suck.

      If we do the set up outside thing, we'll try it again.

       

       


  • #3

    $600 is cheap.

    Look at it this way. With $600 may be able to purchase some recording gear good enough to make a demo. But its like someone whose never played an instrument buying a $600 guitar. That doesn't make them a rock star any more than handing a hammer to a person makes them a carpenter capable of building a house.

    Any musician knows that amateur has to spend at least 2 years wood shedding, learning how to play that instrument, then another year or two playing with other musicians in a band till they have something worth listening to others are willing to pay to hear.

    Lets say that amateur had the gift beyond all others and he spends 40 hours a week and gets up to speed performing in two years band and all. If he was to recoup his time invested at minimum wage, you're looking at $30,000.

    Its the same thing for recording. Just because you have the gift at playing an instrument, tweaking an amp or PA to make it sound decent, it doesn't make you a seasoned audio engineer capable of recording even demo quality recording. Some of the experience as a player does transfer over. The ability to hear tones and know when a mix is half way decent. But the rest has to be learned. It takes time and a whole lot of patience.

    Once you get a couple of hundred recordings under your belt it gets easier, but you have to have a passion for it and do it all the time. It costs money or both gear and time invested. If you don't have the ability to sacrifice both, you may be better off just having it done. If your goal is to be a performer, having it done lets you stay focused on playing, not learning a new trade that can take years for you to become proficient at.

    If you like recording and see it as a path, and you have the patience and passion to learn, then by all means, go for it. The cost of decent gear never being so low, and with the aid of the internet, there are may short cuts to learning what you need to know.

    Poor schmucks like myself had to walk to school up hill both ways. I had to learn most of what I know decades before the PC and internet were around. Just getting your hands on a 4 channel multitrack back then was a major feat and still it cost a couple of grand. Its a good thing I got into electronics as a profession instead of continuing as a performer full time. Repairing the gear full time gave me access to all the latest gear, and when someone couldnt foot the cost of repair and wanted to sell, I was at the front of the line for purchasing it from them. I still had the cost of parts on top of that so it was still expensive.

    Comment


    • Pine Apple Slim
      Pine Apple Slim commented
      Editing a comment

      <<<Just because you have the gift at playing an instrument, tweaking an amp or PA to make it sound decent, it doesn't make you a seasoned audio engineer capable of recording even demo quality recording.>>>>

      See thread title

       

       


    • Jkater
      Jkater commented
      Editing a comment

      WRGKMC wrote:

      $600 is cheap.

      Look at it this way. With $600 may be able to purchase some recording gear good enough to make a demo. But its like someone whose never played an instrument buying a $600 guitar. That doesn't make them a rock star any more than handing a hammer to a person makes them a carpenter capable of building a house.

      Any musician knows that amateur has to spend at least 2 years wood shedding, learning how to play that instrument, then another year or two playing with other musicians in a band till they have something worth listening to others are willing to pay to hear.

      Lets say that amateur had the gift beyond all others and he spends 40 hours a week and gets up to speed performing in two years band and all. If he was to recoup his time invested at minimum wage, you're looking at $30,000.

      Its the same thing for recording. Just because you have the gift at playing an instrument, tweaking an amp or PA to make it sound decent, it doesn't make you a seasoned audio engineer capable of recording even demo quality recording. Some of the experience as a player does transfer over. The ability to hear tones and know when a mix is half way decent. But the rest has to be learned. It takes time and a whole lot of patience.

      Once you get a couple of hundred recordings under your belt it gets easier, but you have to have a passion for it and do it all the time. It costs money or both gear and time invested. If you don't have the ability to sacrifice both, you may be better off just having it done. If your goal is to be a performer, having it done lets you stay focused on playing, not learning a new trade that can take years for you to become proficient at.

      If you like recording and see it as a path, and you have the patience and passion to learn, then by all means, go for it. The cost of decent gear never being so low, and with the aid of the internet, there are may short cuts to learning what you need to know.

      Poor schmucks like myself had to walk to school up hill both ways. I had to learn most of what I know decades before the PC and internet were around. Just getting your hands on a 4 channel multitrack back then was a major feat and still it cost a couple of grand. Its a good thing I got into electronics as a profession instead of continuing as a performer full time. Repairing the gear full time gave me access to all the latest gear, and when someone couldnt foot the cost of repair and wanted to sell, I was at the front of the line for purchasing it from them. I still had the cost of parts on top of that so it was still expensive.


      WRGKMC, you really know your stuff and I appreciate how you share and help others. Thanks!


  • #4
    Demo is for local watering holes, coffee shops, booking agents for local
    podunk festivals and street fairs etc. Not looking to set the world on fire, just 5-6 min of "here this is what we do".

    Comment


    • #5
      And yea, I'd settle for a damn iPhone video if we had someone competent to do it so we could forget about it and just play.

      Comment


      • #6

        A) I sympathize with your plight.

        B) No mention of a DAW although you mention tracking.   If you need to go cheap i.e. free using your own DAW/mic could you play the song(s) more than once as a group to keep the vibe but record only one instrument per run through and combine the various instrument takes thereafter?

        C) Jealous. Would love to be in either band as you've described them. I moved recently and despite the size of the new city the music scene is disproportionately dead.

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