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Newb here really looking for some advice

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Drumminelsewhere, Apr 16, 2009.

  1. hey guys, I know this is my first post on these boards but my band is kind of in a jam and it seems like there is a wealth of knowledge here, so if someone could answer my question it would be greatly appreciated.

    In a nutshell my band Red Sea Affair was in the studio with a guy since sept, we offered to pay him over and over but he refused to accept money (BIG red flag, I know), now here we are almost 8 months later and we finally have everything tracked, but it hasn't been worked on in about a month, so we're at a stand still.

    We have some big shows coming up so we decided to record ourselves quickly, in demo form now, and then over the summer get some higher end gear and really record. All of us have been and still are highly interested in recording, and all of us have recorded multiple times. I've sat in some professional studios and been a spectator but to be honest I just don't know enough to really know what to get.

    We decided right now to record on garage band due to our timeframe and money constrictions, what we really need are mic's for right now (vocal, amp, drum, etc).

    So I have just a couple questions maybe you guys could help me with.

    1. In all honesty what kind of quality can I expect with using garage to record a full band?

    2. I planned for a long time now on getting logic pro and an interface, is this a wise decision or are there better programs for my money?

    3. Any recording tricks, tips or hints, that I can use for the recording process.

    Sorry for such a long post, any help would be greatly appreciated!

    Oh if you want to hear the quality we're currently at here you go


    that was recorded with pro tools LE and a digi-o pro interface over a span of the past 8 months.

    Thank you![/url]
  2. BobRogers

    BobRogers Distinguished Member

    Apr 4, 2006
    Blacksburg, VA
    We're talking about gigs on April 19 and May 5? Pretty tight time frame to learn how to record. If you have a real tight live act you can go into a pro studio and cut a nice, raw, live-in-the-studio set in one day. But if you are learning to do this yourself, I'd be impressed if you can get one song sounding reasonable by Sunday. Learning to record is comparable to learning how to play an instrument. About as hard and takes about as long. Garage band isn't really the issue, it's knowing how to use the tools that are available.

    My basic advice for fast DIY is to go as low-fi as possible and give the recording away. (Assuming there are no copyright issues - no covers.) Record yourself live direct to two tracks and distribute in low-fi MP3. Mix together a stereo feed from the PA and a stereo pair for mics at a sweet spot in the room. Make sure there is crowd noise. I've you don't want to do this at a gig, throw a party. Give it a "found sound" vibe so that no one thinks it should sound like a "professional recording."

    Good luck.
  3. ahavill

    ahavill Guest

    So, what's on your myspace is from the guy who "refused to accept money?" What's the problem, since he's working for free he isn't getting it done very quickly?
    You said you "finally have everything tracked" from that. Can't you get ahold of those recordings? If they are usable, I say save yourselves time & $, & just mix what you've got. Either hire a pro (recommended!) or at the very least, I think you'll have more luck mixing those tracks than trying to buy the gear, learn how to record, re-track, THEN mix, all in a few days...
    Maybe there's some reason you can't get at tracking recordings, in which case I'd go with Bob's idea. Make something that sounds like a live show or a rehearsal space practice tape. A little exra effort, finding a sweet spot, getting some crowd noise, you'd have a demo with a little character.
  4. Sorry guys I probably wasn't clear enough, I didn't want to bog you guys down with the details.

    We're not hoping to have an album done by sunday, or by those two shows, we're planning on hitting a major festival in illinois at the end of June so we're hoping to have something done for that, something like you said we can just hand out.

    As far as the producer situation goes. The tracks are all in pro tools, with which we don't have, also our second guitarist still hasn't tracked his stuff yet. The issue is that we all agreed on a date (February first), and then out of nowhere we lost contact with him, and when I asked him about when we can finish up I got a not very nice message basically telling me that when he finds the time we will finish. Like I said we're two months behind schedule with no effort being put out, on average we only recorded once a week because that's all the time he had. Obviously that wasn't the impression we got when we met with him the first couple of times.
    I'm assuming by putting "Refused to accept money" in quotations you're being sarcastic, and I can assure you that I even the guy that we should pay him that way he has an incentive, and we should pay him for his time. He simply answered over and over with we'll cross that bridge when we got there. We were his first full band that he recorded as a producer so he also said that he needed the experience and that's why he would do it for free.

    Anyway so we have about two months, and I forgot to mention that a couple of us have recorded other bands and ourselves before, but not at this level so to speak, I was just wondering what suggestions you professionals and much more experienced producers and engineers could offer.
  5. jg49

    jg49 Distinguished Member

    Oct 16, 2008
    Frozen Tundra of CT
    Well one quick piece of advice you get what you pay for, and free equals nothing. Seems to be what you got.

    You should search through this forum and budgett gear because the how to get started thing gets beat to death every week or so. So getting a few ideas under your belt is probably a good idea. You will need to know your computers specs, probably need some sort of interface (they all come with software bundles probably better than garageband) mics, cables,MONITORS and like Bob said time and experience. $ for that very short list minimum 2k. You might be a duck to water, it might be a train wreck. If you want something good for certain by June book some pro time, rehearse the band real well and go cut it. Pay strict attention, don't be annoying but ask a lot of questions and you will up your learning curve mucho.
  6. Thank you very much! I figured I would need all of those, I already have a solid imac, I've been looking at interfaces and mics, and recommendations? I'll be searching the forum, thanks!
  7. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Distinguished Member

    Dec 11, 2007
    Scotland, UK
    "Solid iMac"
    Try hitting it with a hammer, see how solid it is!

    Agreed - you'll need an interface (preferably one with preamps) and some SM58s should do you nicely, rather than messing around with mic X and mic Y and mic Z to find something good. SM58's will give you >80% of the sound you want 99% of the time.
  8. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Distinguished Member

    Feb 21, 2009
    Going to a real studio and paying $60/hr or whatever it is will be much much easier to do. BUT it's not impossible to do it all yourself. You will need a bunch of SM57's few SM58's and an Audix D6 for kick drum. These aren't ideal for all situations, but they're very useful and on a tight budget/time restraint it will be much easier to learn one or two mics than a slew of them. A good interface I would recommend would be the PreSonus FP-10. It's got 8 inputs, firewire interface, and phantom power in case you get some condensers in the future.

    SM57 x 1 lead guitar
    SM57 x 1 rhythm guitar
    SM57 x 1 bass guitar
    SM57 x 1 Snare
    SM57 x 2 Drum overheads (place in XY pattern over toms)
    SM58 x Lead Vocals, more if you have backup vocals
    Audix D6 x 1 Kick drum

    OK, again this is a very basic setup, but with the proper technique you can get decent sound. As for what this is running you, about $12-1300 minus cables and stands, around $15-1600 with.


    If you want a condenser for vocals, I've heard good things about the Audio Technica 2020. If you want condensers for drum overheads, the Shure SM81's I hear are good as well. And to answer your previous question, Logic Pro is excellent. I use it and as long as you can use it (it's a little harder to learn than other DAW's) the possibilities are endless and the quality is great. I used to use GB like you and the plugs included with Logic are 10x better.
  9. jg49

    jg49 Distinguished Member

    Oct 16, 2008
    Frozen Tundra of CT
    One very important item!!!! Good monitors $500 a pr + or -.
  10. Well I think my 24 inch imac with 4 gigs of ram should suffice for now :) I also have a two terabyte hard drive for space.

    Ok all these ideas are wonderful thank you so much. I do have a question that I must ask, I notice that the JG59 recommended monitors. Now when we were mixing with the monitors in the studio the sound was totally different then when we brought the cd in to my car stereo. Can someone please explain to me what monitors do and why people mix on these things when half the time it comes out completely different.

    Maybe I've just had bad experiences, but 9 times out of 10 the monitor mix came out different then the cd mix. (not even with just this recording, but past ones i've been involved in). I'm guessing my bose speaker system won't be good to mix on?
  11. BuildaRecordingStudio

    BuildaRecordingStudio Active Member

    Apr 16, 2009
    Home Page:
    REPLY TO Re: Newb here really looking for some advice

    I am currently starting a new website that may help you....visit http://selfbuildnewhomes.com/Buildyourownstudio.aspx

    Regards Trev
  12. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Distinguished Member

    Feb 21, 2009
    Monitors always have bias, the trick is to use more than one system to reference. This ensures that the mix will sound good anywhere it is played. For a budget studio this can include, monitors, a car stereo to reference, and those iPod headphones you keep in your pocket. At your budget I wouldn't recommend monitors as much as a good set of headphones. Monitors aren't really worth it until you pay 500 or more for a pair whereas you can get studio headphones for $200. Here is a running thread of mine about headphones.


    And your question about what monitors do. They are meant to show you EVERYTHING that is going on in the mix, good and bad. They are not meant to sound good (Your Bose system). Your bose system would be good as a reference but not to mix with.
  13. jg49

    jg49 Distinguished Member

    Oct 16, 2008
    Frozen Tundra of CT
    Any mix will translate differently when played on an Ipoo, or a $250.00 car stereo, or a $2k audiophiles stereo. Your mix sounded different on your CD player? I am not suprised, don't you think it would sound different played through your PA system? Monitors give you a flat response across the board (theoritcally) bass, midrange, treble equally allowing you to hear the EQ and effects that you are using. There is a definite learning curve to mixing on any set of monitors to bring about a mix that will work on earbuds, boom boxes, etc.

    I do mix in studios, each with a different set of monitors and it took me a good while to learn the differences between them, but once you do you can produce killer mixes on a regular basis.

    I do after mixing something listen to it in my car, at home on the stereo, and let friends listen to it on Ipoo, I hate mp3s. I sometimes do make small adjustments but the longer I mix on known monitors the less those changes have become. The other issue with monitors is how good is the mixing enviroment sonically? The same monitors in a church hall and a closet will sound different. But you absolutely require a benchmark to use to get better.

    I can somewhat appreciate GF opinion but I completely disagree, and no offense but I think it is a little crazy for someone who does not own a set of good monitors to be saying you don't need them especially after saying that you COULD NOT HEAR the differences in your own recordings when testing amp placement. I am quoting from your other thread {old-link-removed}
    "And yes I am trusting you guys because these different things all sound basically the same to me. It's either my ears or my monitor situation...which is I don't have them. So on my current speakers I have to make eq changes of 5-6dB before I can audibly hear the difference. The frequency range on my speakers and headphones is also so limited that I cannot detect the HF noise until I get the file to my iPod, and bass definition isn't good so I struggle with getting a balance between thumpy and thin. Someday I will get monitors but right now I will trust you guys for advice."

    I disagree with being able to generate quality mixes in headphones, not impossible just making something that is difficult to learn all that much harder. Ask any great mixing engineeer if they use headphones to do the majority of thieir mixing and the answer will be no. Though they are frequently used for a "second opinion" when I have a mix nearly complete.

    Sorry end of old timers rant.
  14. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Distinguished Member

    Feb 21, 2009
    I was exaggerating a bit when I said that. I have found that you get more helpful advice when you sound like you don't know a shitting thing. And as for my mixes, yeah I hear the difference, I just didn't have the time to sit down and really listen because I was on my way out the door. Later I sat down and listened, and thanked the people who helped me achieve a new sound later in that very thread. And I am resting my case that my car stereo is better for hearing how things really sound than my computer speakers. I often have to completely re EQ everything once I hear it played on my car stereo because my speakers LIE TO ME...omg :eek: Plus I did say that from a budget POV you get more for the money with headphones. I never said that you don't need monitors.
  15. Hey everyone just wanted to give you an update, thanks for the tips and tricks, here's what we ended up coming out with so far http://www.myspace.com/redseaaffair the track still has mixing and mastering to be done to it, and it's also through myspace so the quality isn't the best.

    We used a yamaha soundboard,
    Shure studio microphone
    I don't know the brand name of the drum mic's.
    Everything was recorded through amps via microphone.
    Inputs were all through the board in to a stereo headphone jack in my Imac and we tracked it all through garageband.

    I'm sure you guys can pick this thing apart and if you have tips feel free to suggest them. Thanks again!
  16. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Distinguished Member

    Dec 11, 2007
    Scotland, UK
    "Inputs were all through the board in to a stereo headphone jack in my Imac and we tracked it all through garageband."

    I called someone out for this a while ago.
    It's a 3.5mm or 1/8" stereo mini-jack that serves as a "line input" even though most of them will clip when you input anything above -20dBV.

    Before anyone moans about quality, I do this exact thing, through a soundboard. But it's 2 tracks and I don't add anything later. Anything added will only turn the noise floor into a noise wall.
  17. DrGonz

    DrGonz Active Member

    Jun 24, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    DIY or DIE!!!

    DIY projects are projected to fail. BUT.... I love when musicians start to take an interest in the recording world. It is usually a story just like this one here, and it's a tale of desperation. I say record one song at a time and really spend a lot of time on each track. Get all your favorite bands and play them out of your Monitors. Learn your monitors and how they sound foremost. Don't get carried away w/ production or special techniques. Just get the basic's down pat.
    It's not the equipment as much as it is the user of the equipment. But if your band is on a schedule then it would be wise to hire someone. Get an Intern type guy "like that guy in your story". but control the story better. Always branch out for other ppl to help.
  18. Well in your (and others) professional opinion how do you think that track came out recording wise?

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