There’s lots of recording information out there but in this series I want to not only provide some basic understanding of terms and approaches but also, and more importantly, to make it usable for you in the real world. I’ll also get into more advanced stuff, especially from a producers point of view.
There are a lot of musicians/bands without the funds to book session time with a “studio”. Their only hope of recording a musical idea is to use their own computer and limited equipment in their own space. If your making EDM music this is not such a daunting idea because most sounds are not “recorded”, rather found and programmed with those sounds altered via computer plug-ins. But even in EDM you are limited by how many plug-in you have, how many programs (such as Reason, Kontact, etc), associated libraries of sounds, your recording program (Pro Tools Bandcamp, Cubase, Ableton etc), and your knowledge about all of them. It might take a while to feel like a musician rather than a programmer. It’s a steep learning curve and it takes time to learn and to boost the quality of your work. Many get lost or give up or are content with the work not being as good as it could be. It’ll take time and it’ll take better tools as you go. But you can also hear things back pretty quickly.
For live instruments, such as recording a band, there’s even more to learn on how things are recorded. What mics to use and where. How to record them, how to “treat” them, what outboard equipment you’ll need and how to make your recording space more fitting to your needs and ideas. Again, you can get going quickly but from there to a pro sounding recording is a great distance and not for the faint of heart.
It’s all do-able. But I need to tell you that I record a lot of musicians who tried it at home first with disappointing results. So when going down this road have reasonable expectations, get ready for the long haul, and get ready to geek out on gear and programs to get it better.
One final thing I’ll mention is about working with a producer. A producer is much like a director of movies. A producers job is to understand what the artist is going for, sometimes better than they do themselves, and to be a Sherpa on that journey. They are the artists uncolored reflection of opinion, the John Q Public’s take on your work. There are reasons most records were made with producers. Clarity and also getting to musical places few can achieve in their own vacuum. Producers allow the artist to focus solely on music and the performance of it. It’s a producers job to know the artists intent and how to realize that to a listening audience. After working with a producer every artists should walk out not only having exceeded their hopes for the project but also be a better musician, writer, and also more informed on their own industry.
With that said, I’m going to go over basic terms and uses of EQ, Compression, Mic’s, Micing techniques for many different instruments, studio and recording space ideas, production techniques, and some ideas to get you thinking to find the method you can call your own. Your sound , your unique take on things.
One of the most important things to do is also the simplest. Listen to the instrument that is about to be recorded. Get out of your frickin’ chair and walk around the instrument or amp as it’s being played. As much as there are some very good rules to start, there is nothing better than finding the sweet spot of that individual instrument and sticking a mic right there. Sometimes that’s not where the rule book would have told you it would be.
So knowing that every rule is meant to be broken, which is a part of why we are attracted to music and creating it, let’s begin. And thanks for checking us out.