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recording remotely

Discussion in 'Recording' started by gousterman, Jan 12, 2016.

  1. gousterman

    gousterman Active Member

    This is a new way of recording at least for me so I’m just putting this question out there and hope someone can give me feedback, point me in the right direction or has experience doing this.

    I am interested in working with a music producer-engineer that can record songs by remote, ie in a different geographical location. I have a DAW and can record my acoustic guitar and vocals separately or mixed on pro tools 11. Since studio recording is a team effort, I'm curious if others have recorded using this process?

    I would like to work with someone who can produce and add instrumental tracks both digitally and/or live instruments (fiddle, electric guitar etc) and mix and master the song. We could work together to arrange the songs. I can send the files via dropbox.

    I'm hoping to be able to record via the internet with someone who would be interested in the folk Americana songs I write. I hope I'm on the right track -no pun intended ! Thank you...
  2. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    It's done all the time. I've done it many, many times myself; half my clients don't even live in the same state that I do. I'm sure there are many other guys here on RO who have and do commonly work this way as well.

    A solid internet connection ( preferably a fast one) and a dropbox account - or an FTP server/site - is really all you need to transfer audio files. There are ways to zip these files to make transferring easier, but I've done plenty of projects without having to.

    You should start by uploading an MP3 sample of what it is that you do.

    You can do this easily - and without linking to another outside site ( we prefer that you post your music here, to insure the best MP3 quality... RO's player is free from any upload-encoded artifacts and lossy issues that other audio streaming sites - like SoundCloud - commonly suffer from ).

    Here's How You Do It:
    On the bottom right-hand side of your post window is an "Upload a File" button, just to the right of the "Post Reply" button. Click on that, select browse, and then upload whatever MP3 you have, from whatever location it resides on your computer. After choosing, do not close or cancel the window - It may take a few minutes to upload the file. You'll know it's complete when your chosen MP3 appears as an attachment at the bottom of your post.

    This upload function supports MP3's up to 320Kpbs ( stereo). High resolution isn't necessarily a deal breaker if you're just presenting musical style demos, but if you feel that you are getting good quality recordings, it would help to show possible engineer/producer candidates what level of fidelity you are currently achieving ... and using the highest resolution MP3 as possible will help with that.

    The above initial step would be to spark possible interest from someone here who feels as though they could help you, and make you sound as good as possible, through their own technical engineering knowledge and skill, along with their own production and arrangement style and abilities. You need to make sure you get the right person! You need to insure, to the best that you can without meeting them face to face, that whomever you speak with as a possible choice will be able to fulfill your vision artistically, commensurate with your own specialized style.

    In short, you probably don't want a producer who is well-known as a producer of thrash metal or punk to produce your project of Folk Americana. Organic recording is going to be paramount with this style; the ability to capture real instruments with the best fidelity possible, using natural spaces ( or great emulations thereof) and to also be able to mix them as such, and present you in the best light possible for what you do.

    From there, giving details of what your system is made of; PC/Mac, what your current DAW ( audio recording platform) is; ( sorry, I see you've already mentioned that as being PT 11) your ADDA interface model, your mic(s), external preamps, or any other gear you think would be pertinent to mention, will help whomever you choose - to best determine what they'll need to have on their end.

    You and your engineer/producer can then share details as to project sampling rates, templates, OEM files, recording methods, project cost, payment methods, etc. From there it's all just a matter of partnered talent and communication.

    Start with the above, see what happens.

    Oh, and welcome to RO. :)

  3. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    To add to Donny's point about getting the right person, don't be afraid to ask them for a sample of their work. They should be able to provide a few audio examples of projects they've worked on in your genre, or at least near your genre. Make sure they clearly define what their role was in each of the project(s) they present.

    If their sample tracks don't match your vision of what you want to sound like, don't waste your time. Sometimes an artist will give me a few CDs of the music that inspires them, or with sonic qualities they like, etc. It's often helpful, sometimes delusional, but at least you both know what you're getting yourselves into (or backing out of) early on.

    Lots of open communication on the front-end can save you a lot of grief later on. Beware of "my way, or the highway" guys, unless their finished product warrants that kind of attitude. You'll give the best performance if you're comfortable with the surroundings, the process, and the person you entrust with the next step.

    Good luck, hopefully you'll find somebody here that you like.
    DonnyThompson likes this.
  4. gousterman

    gousterman Active Member

    Wow, Thank you for such informative responses ! What I've uploaded is a sample (Dancin' Girl) of a a song I had recorded professionally even though it was a studio in their home. I've just recently learned how to use the DAW and Pro Tools software to record a decent guitar vocal. This will give another musician/producer/engineer an idea of my work. Thanks again and I look forward to following through on this new process with someone that may be interested.

    I should add that I'm using a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 DAW, Shure M58 mic, Pro Tools 11 with all the necessary accessories ( mic stands , pop screen etc )
    If after hearing my sample song and you may be interested in working with me, I'd be pleased to hear from you. The best way is my email and then take if from there. gousters@yahoo.com Thank you!

    Attached Files:

  5. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    While I'm not the guy to produce your music - based on what I've heard, yours is not a style I feel I could shine at; I wouldn't be able to give you the talent that a client deserves when working with a producer... but I do have some suggestions for you that might prove helpful when you do eventually find someone to work with... because your engineer/producer won't actually be there with you face to face, you'll need to present the best possible quality to them with your tracks. Remember, great sounding records start with great sounding raw tracks, both in sound and performance. The higher the fidelity and quality that you can give your engineer to work with, the better the final product will sound.

    I think you need to start by determining what your expectations are.

    So, here's my opinion....

    As of now, You've got recording gear sufficient in caliber to produce very good sounding demos; the Focusrite 2i2 is a solid little preamp/interface, with quality that is better than the price it commands. It's not considered to be a "pro" caliber preamp/i-o, though. It will give good quality in sound and conversion, but it falls short of what true pro studios use.

    For the style of music you do, which as you mentioned is largely acoustic instrument based, you may want to look into one very nice preamp, and if it were me, I'd be looking for one that offered as much transparency as possible.

    Different preamps have different tonal characteristics, based on their intended build; tube preamps will give "fatter" and "warmer" sounds, more reminiscent of older classic pop/rock recordings. Preamps with transformers will provide their own tonal coloration as well, and depending on which transformer is used, the sound will vary. Transformers have been used in classic recording consoles over the years, and are part of what makes those older consoles so popular and sought after.
    Both of these types can add very pleasing harmonics and harmonic distortion to the signal... but for what you are doing, I would be looking at a preamp that had a nice "big" and "clear" sound, without any inherent coloration.
    These types are known as "transparent" preamps; and pro level models of this type would include models like the Millennia HV35 and Grace M101. There are others; the cost of which depends on what features they have, but either one of these preamps will give you a very clear, pristine "transparent" sound. They are also known for being super-quiet, and offering gain sufficient to use with lower-output Dynamic and Ribbon mics as well. IMO, they are great choices for acoustic instrument recording.

    There are other things that come into play when recording besides DAW platforms, mics, preamps and interfaces; the acoustical properties of the space in which you record is also very important, as a bad -sounding room will often "skew" the sound of the tracks you are recording, with the sound of the room being combined with the direct source you are recording, and if your space has properties that don't sound good, this can and will affect your recordings.

    Packing/Moving blankets, heavy drapes... these are materials that can help with attenuating some of the upper frequency reflections in a room. Known as "flutter echo"; if you are able to build a 3-sided "tent" around you using these blankets draped over speaker or mic stands, with you and the mic placed inside this space while you record, this will help a lot in "deadening" that small area in which you are recording. It has the added benefit of being temporary - you can set this "tent' up - or take it down - as needed in just a few minutes. This will not help with lower frequency issues, nor will it provide any form of decent isolation, either, so if you live on a busy road, or in a neighborhood where kids play, or snow-blowers, leaf blowers or lawnmowers are used, then your best bet is to record your acoustic guitar and vocal tracks in the early hours before the world around you wakes up and gets active.

    The SM58 is a good choice for a vocal mic when dealing with potential room reflection issues, as it's not as sensitive to its surroundings as a condenser mic is. But, because the 58 lacks the sensitivity that a good condenser mic does, you probably won't get the finer nuances out of acoustic instruments, so at some point, you may want to look at adding a good condenser mic to your rig.

    These are just a few suggestions; things you can do to improve the sound of your recordings. But as I mentioned at the top of this post, it's important to know what your expectations are.

    If you are okay with "decent" quality recordings, then the gear you have now will suffice... but if you are looking for "that" pro sound, then perhaps your best bet is to find a pro studio in your region, a facility with professional gear, and professional engineer(s) who have the knowledge and skill to capture your style in the highest fidelity possible.
    Remember - You don't have to have a studio mix your tracks. You can use that studio strictly for recording high quality tracks, and then have the engineer transfer your tracks to a flash drive as .wav files, at which point you can send them to your online engineer/producer of choice, who can then mix them on their end. This is common practice; it's done all the time. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. As long as your balance is paid in full for the time you have used, there should be absolutely no issues with you walking out of that studio with the raw tracks you've recorded.

    There are a few home studios out there that could be considered "professional" caliber studios; they are constructed in ways to limit noise bleed in both directions, they have rooms that have been professionally designed and treated for optimum acoustics, and they have pro caliber gear ( great mics, preamps, converters), and are staffed by pro engineers - the head of this forum, ( @audiokid ) has/had a home studio that was geared up with fantastic equipment, and his knowledge, skills and experience is also first rate, so his home studio could have rivaled that of many pro commercial studios - but... these pro home studios are not as prevalent as those which have gear that is really no better than your own, and which are owned and run by people who have very little engineering skill or experience ( if any) - so be careful if you decide to go looking for a pro facility in your area... make sure that it really is a pro facility.

    All of the above are just suggestions - and from only one guy, too - and RO has many members who are great engineers, so if any of them would happen to weigh in here, and make suggestions, or could perhaps fill in the blanks for things I may have left out, listen to them.

    When it comes to quality professional audio recording advice, you're in the right place. ;)

    Sean G likes this.
  6. gousterman

    gousterman Active Member

    Thank you Donny for your insightful and well thought out response and yes, I will be listening :) Your information is invaluable...

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