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Home Recording with a Budget of €800-€900

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Donal, Apr 27, 2011.

  1. Donal

    Donal Guest

    I'm in an acoustic band and we've been saving up to record an album by paying for it in a Studio, the usual way. However, we recently decided to spend the money we've saved on some equipment to pump out some half-decent demos instead of focusing all our cash on a short period of professional recording. As such, I'd very much appreciate any feedback to these few questions:

    1. As I said we're an acoustic band, but we use a full drum kit. What is the cheapest, simplest way to record drums at home? I've heard of just using one mic for everything, but I would rather have some amount of control over the levels of the different drums.

    2. What software is a good balance between simplicity (since I'm no sound engineer) and overall robustness? We're not looking at radio-quality mastering here.

    3. The room we plan to use has excellent acoustics, one wall is completely covered by a thick curtain and it has a thick carpet. I've thought of simply putting up some thick duvets in the corners of the room to stop sound reflection off the walls, would that do any good?

    Thanks in advance!
  2. Boswell

    Boswell Distinguished Moderator Resource Member

    Apr 19, 2006
    Home Page:
    Hi Dónal, and welcome.

    This type of question comes up regularly in Recording.Org, so it's worth your going through the archives.

    "Half-decent" demos are not worth a great deal. Like it or not, people who judge your playing from a demo recording will also take into account whether you have deemed it worthwhile to record it properly to make it sound good. The budget you mentioned will not buy you enough quality equipment to record your whole band, nor will it buy you the knowledge and expertise needed to do the job.

    By spending money on getting a demo recording done at a real studio, you not only come away with something that you do not have to apologize for every time you hand out a copy, but you will have seen and experienced what is involved in getting a recording made. There is no cost that you can put on this knowledge. It will focus your thoughts on the crucial areas that would be necessary to start doing a similar thing at home.

    In terms of recording in your own home, there are others on this forum who specialize in acoustic treatment advice, but generally there's no easy or cheap way to record a drumkit in a home acoustic and get acceptable results. For example, you mention the curtain on one wall and carpet on the floor, but does the room have a ceiling?

    One thing you should work out is whether your band needs to play all at once or whether you can lay down the tracks one player at a time. It can make a big difference to the amount of gear needed and suitability of the acoustic environment if you can "track" a band, but it can also lead to a more mechanical performance with less life to it. This is an important factor in a demo.
  3. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff Resource Member

    Mar 20, 2000
    Prince George, BC
    Home Page:
    What great advice Boswell!
  4. BobRogers

    BobRogers Distinguished Member

    Apr 4, 2006
    Blacksburg, VA
    Me too. I agree with Boswell on almost everything he said here, but I have a little different spin on a few things, so I'll chime in on those.
    There are markets where this is true and markets where it is not. There are bar owners to whom a revealing YouTube video is a better sales tool than a well made studio album. A half-decent live recording can be used in a very different way than half-decent studio recording (which I would be very suspicious of if I were running a live venue).
    This I agree with completely.....except for the idea that you can't put a cost on knowledge of recording. I'm a college professor and we put a price on knowledge all the time. It takes a similar number of man hours to be proficient at recording that it takes to be proficient at a musical instrument. It's not just a matter of buying equipment any more than buying an expensive instrument. Time is money and recording takes a lot of time to learn to do properly. Saying that you will record your own album is like saying that you will play the violin part. If you want to learn to play violin, fine. But it's cheaper to hire a violin player.
  5. BrotherLove

    BrotherLove Active Member

    Aug 23, 2011
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Home Page:
    But wait....what about all this amazing modern technology where you push a few buttons while listening though iPod earphones and out pops a fully mixed and mastered No1 smash hit album? I thought you'd need most of that budget to buy sunglasses and bling for when the MTV awards start rolling in....

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