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David Bereuther

Where to start out with serious recording?

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So over the last 2 years I have been at studios a few times, recording my first EP etc. , but this is not really a do-it-yourself-experience I need, at the studio you just tunte your guitar, play it and the engineer does all the rest.


So what would be a good playce to start? Is it nessacary to buy expensive homerecording equipment? At the time for my home recording I just have a Boss Micro BR-80, a little 8-Track Recorder, which is cool for recording small ideas.

Also, is there good literature I could/should read as a start out?

Any advice would be great. :)

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It doesn't have to be too expensive...

 

If you have a decent computer, you could just get a simple audio interface (Presonus Audiobox, M-Audio fast track, or other USB interface in the $150 range), some headphones, a mic or two (an SM57 and a large diaphram condenser could take you far), and some monitors.

 

You could get by with basic stuff for

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You can get one of those package specials that includes a lite version of the DAW software.

Lexicon is selling a two channel interface with Cubase I believe for around $50. Theres others out there too.

 

You can also just buy a batter interface for more money and use something like Reaper or Audacity which

can be downloaded free.

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It's the engineers ears and knowledge over the gear. If you're capable, your recordings won't be limited to the quality of your gear.

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First, you need to define 2 things:

 

1. What, in your mind, is serious recording.

 

2. What do you want to record? Yourself? A full band?

 

Everything flows from the answers to these 2 questions.

 

MG

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Like the MG said,what is serious to you? The sound of demo? vinyl? CD? Broadcast? Varying technologies, and different formats have enormous differences in how

material is represented. {Listened to}. Me, I'd start out with a 24 bit 96khz interface,{or a standalone recorder capable of same} a powerful computer, A really good drum machine/+ midi keyboard, A 1x12 tube amp, a favorite guitar and bass, and go from there. Real instruments are used to make real music: everything else is just programming and gridsnapping. If you sing, a really good preamp, a high end dynamic mic and some autotune/fx/reverb would be indispensible as well. If you are trying to get to a really modern radio ready produced kinda sound that would get instant recognition and airplay you need to go and talk to some real producers at a pro studio and pick their brains as to what is really involved in recording a hit record. The answers will {financially }shock you. I know people who have spent thouisands on just one song in a studio. It can take months to come up with a truly radio ready professional product.

But DIY is more fun, more educational and more rewarding in terms of artistic freedom and creative expression.

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It's not necessary to start out with a load of top notch gear (though it helps), but no matter what gear you have, the best thing you can do is search around on Google and soak up as much recording/miking/mixing info you can. Print pages out, highlight anything that's useful and put all the sheets in a ring binder - worked for me anyway ;)

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I wouldnt under estimate the difficulty of getting a good recording even with ideal gear, great acoustics, great source of

music and a good performance. I think many who get into recording think they can learn the gear in a few weeks and make

a hit album right out of the box. That positive attitude is needed. Its got to be there for every recording you make or you wont improve.

 

Its also not so much the technical part, but that is a big factor too.

 

The way you should see it is recording/mixing is an art that takes time to learn by doing, reflecting on what you've done, and improving on what you've done.

 

Think of a painter. He has his tools too. A canvas, 6 or 7 colors of paint, and some brushes. Could any of us paint like rembrant right out of the box?

Unlikely. We need to learn all the things involving proper perspectives, shaddows, order of applying colors, and yes mixing. (combining basic colors to get all the other hues)

 

Audio is simular. We have our basic tools, mics, interface, computer, Programs, plugins, and good room to record in.

Buying the tools doesnt bless us with the knowlege or experience to use them. We cant stick a plug into our brains and

upload that knowlege and experience we need to use those simple tools. We have to battle that out the hard way.

 

There are classes that can be taken, and books that can be read, and sites to visit that can help. I wish I had those

tools when I first started recording. I had to discover all of those things on my own through trial and error.

I could have saved myself a good 10 years or more hard work reinventing the wheel.

 

Main thing is you have to have fun doing it. I been recording myself and others for 45 years. I still get a kick out

of hearing myself play, and I still get psyched up to record. I may not always get a good recording and I may not have

the energy I did as a young kid, but I do know more so I can apply things to the music in ways I've refined that give it

my own style. I can also go back and listen to something I recorded 30 years ago and redo it to make it contemporary

sounding.

 

 

Digital does have the benifit of being able to reproduce a good quality copy of what you're recording. its not like audio gear

that had all different shades of quality based on price. A cheap cassette recorder would sound worse than a tin can telephone

for example. it didnt matter if you had the best mics and preamps, if the deck was cheap crap so was your audio quality.

 

In comparison, you can buy the cheapest hand held digital recorder with built in mics and get some amazingly good live recordings.

Its like night and day. If anything, its not the gear or software that will be the obstical. its going to be in developing good audio perspective

training the ears to hear each part properly, using the tools to shape and manipulate the sound, and having a good source of music to record.

If you have the chance to record others, you will learn more, quicker. You arent going to be batteling with critiquing your own playing, you arent

going to be emotionally involved or biased by the music which is good. You'll have tracks to mix and apply whats needed, not whats wanted to make it

sound right.

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