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Saturday, June 13, 2009

Home Recording

This from Zimmy:

what kind of computer & programs do you think are good for self-recording? i listened to 'catastrophe' just now (the version you put back up). it sounds really good!! it always did. what did you use to record it? can you easily self-produce stuff with drums/electric guitar/bass as well? or is that too difficult for getting a proper sound? (sorry that the question is so technical!)

I use Protools and an MBox Mini to do all my demos. It only has a few inputs, which is all I need for laying down an idea. There are lots of similar programs, I know Mac computers come with Garageband and lots of people use software such as Reason etc.

When I'm doing stuff with a full band (like the new Billy and the Lost Boys album) I have access to a studio with a great live room that has drums and amps and stuff when I'm in L.A. but I know from experience (and 4 albums) that not everyone has this luxury. There are lots of ways to build your track with or without studio access.

Stuff like guitar and bass you can do "in the box", meaning that if you live in an apartment or place where you can't make a ton of noise, you just plug your instrument into your MBox/Digi002 etc and that goes in to your computer. Easy. There are a lot of programs to make beats with (or, just borrow beats until you can get yourself a real drummer) and I see a lot of people doing it this way when they're in the demo stage. It's great for playing along to, getting ideas and doing pre-production. Then you can email the track to a drummer who has access to a studio or book yourself a room for a few days.

If you're doing the home recording thing (a lot of bands book studio time for drums and bass and then do things like guitars and vocals in the comfort of their home in order to save money and be able to take their time) then I would recommend one thing: invest in a good condensor mic. When I was researching what to buy I found a great used mic that was the same cost of a new one and I think that's helped me get half decent vocal and acoustic guitar sounds in my crappy little concrete apartment.

Does that help at all?

Random Billy Fact of the Day Number 19: Two years ago I had never recorded anything on my own in my life. Now I'm working on an album where I'm producing, engineering and playing everything on my own except drums. How did this happen? I bought a couple books and spent hours trying to figure out how!

8 View / Post Comments:

jesse said...

I remember you going crazy trying to figure out protools

billythekid said...

haha I still do!!!!!!!!!!! I barely know what I'm doing. But slowly I've learned enough to (kind of) function...kind of.

Zimmy said...

yes!! that helped a lot. you pretty much telepathically guessed all my sub-questions & follow-up questions! that is very specific information & i think i can use it. i was thinking of doing all the tracks for an album in the studio but i might as well try doing it at home for the guitar & bass.
-- thank you for the detailed information!

Zimmy said...

some more questions!

how many songs have you written for acoustic guitar that you perform?

do you usually play by yourself, just with a guitar & singing? how often are you play with a back-up band, with drums & bass etc.?

Anonymous said...

Great advice for those starting out.

There are many awesome USB interfaces for <$300 that come bundled with lite versions of all the software you need to lay down very professional sounding tracks. Make sure you get one with PHANTOM POWER on it's mic input, which you'll need for your condenser mic. The E-MU 0404 USB is around $250.

Like Billy said, a nice large diaphragm condenser for vocals is going to be your key to great sound. The CAD GXL2400 is ridiculous bang-for-buck at around $120 with a shock mount. Lots of great used deals on higher end condensers too.

With only these two, 'free' bundled software and any computer you can record amazing sounding acoustic guitars (and instruments), the 'pro' studio sounding vocals you're looking for and electric guitar direct line in using VST for amp sim (Guitar Rig, Amplitube). Pro Tools/Mbox packs are little pricier but work just as well.

billythekid said...

Whoah! Thanks "Anonymous"! Wish you put your name so I knew who you were...that is a lot of good information!

Zimmy said...

that truly is ... i can actually hear myself getting smarter!

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