Here I describe some different approaches to recording, and how to get the best possible results for your budget.
What recording services do I provide?
If you wish to hire me to record you and/or your band, there are a few different approaches we can take:
- STUDIO HIRE: If you want the best quality recordings possible, I can hire a local studio room at a mutually convenient location;
- MOBILE RECORDING: For those on a budget, I offer a mobile recording service: I can bring my top-spec portable recording gear to YOU and help you record in the comfort of your own home.
- REMOTE RECORDING is also technically feasible. Seriously! If you’re curious as to how this could work, I’ve written a separate blog about this here.
What about on-site recording?
At present Twelve Tone Studio is purely a mixing and mastering suite. A dedicated recording facility is planned, however.
What about the DIY recording option?
I’m a huge advocate of learning how to record yourself, if you haven’t already done so. Certainly as far as recording vocals, guitars, bass and keys/ synths are concerned, it really is possible to get great results with only a modest investment of time and money in the short term. The long term savings are priceless!
If you’re interested in pursuing this route, I can offer advice and assistance in setting up your home studio, to suit your budget. At a minimum, regardless of the instrument you are planning to record, you will need (assuming you already have a computer):
- A Digital Audio Workstation (DAW), such as Logic Pro X (for Mac), Cubase, Pro Tools, Studio One, Reaper etc. All essentially do the same thing.
- At least one good microphone for recording acoustic sources such as vocals, acoustic guitars, or amplifiers (though you may even get better results using amp simulation software if you’re not confident mic’ing up an amp/ don’t have the opportunity to record at volume). NB: different microphones have different applications – I can advise on this if necessary;
- An audio interface to connect your microphone(s) to your computer via an XLR cable, or electric guitar/ bass via a jack-to-jack cable. There are many decent affordable options here.
- Mainly for singers, a basic level of sound absorption can help to prevent picking up unwanted reflections from the room. This could take the form of a portable vocal booth.
The pros and cons of DIY recording:
If you can learn how to record yourself properly, gone is the sense of time pressure (time = money) and judgment that some people experience in a studio environment, that may negatively affect one’s performance and creative decision-making ability. You’re free to take all the time you need to capture the perfect take, or experiment with different ideas.
But no objectivity?
Arguably there are some drawbacks: some people aren’t confident in the quality of their recordings, or benefit from having an objective ear discern which takes are better than others; having to press the record button yourself can be a distraction (and means you need to be near your computer keyboard when recording); perfectionists given too much control over their recordings NEVER finish! etc.
In any case, we’re dealing more with the psychological aspect of recording here. From a practical point of view, home recording offers many clear benefits….
What about recording loud music?
This is no problem if you’re a guitarist willing to embrace the ever-improving amp simulators on offer. If you’re a drummer, however, or a band wanting to record in a live setting, home recording can understandably be a challenge.
This isn’t just about the issue of upsetting the neighbours.
A good room can help a lot (but you can get by without one).
In recording, the quality of the ‘room ambience’ can be important too. Sometimes this is hard to find in the home studio setting. Now, you totally CAN record live drums/ a full band in a living room/ garden shed etc. If the direct signals and isolation are good enough, you can even get a reasonable mix out of it (especially, perhaps surprisingly, if you’re a metal band, since the drums in a metal mix are invariably augmented/ replaced with samples). The key is to capture as ‘dry’ a recording as possible, so that pleasing ambiences can be added artificially in the mix.
But if you’re going for something more organic or raw, or simply want to retain as much of the natural character of your drums etc., recording in a specially treated room with pleasing reflections (i.e. a STUDIO!) is going to make a huge difference.
Put simply, if the raw recordings have captured the best possible sounds of your instruments, the mixes will benefit hugely. There’s a lot that can be fixed in a mix by removing bad quality sounds, or partially replacing them. But if the raw recordings are lacking a certain level of sonic quality, it’s very difficult to add it in after the fact.
So, if you do choose the DIY route, there are a few key investments when it comes to making a great sounding record:
- hire a good drum room and engineer;
- setup a modest home studio;
- hire an experienced professional to mix and master your recordings!
Luckily for you, I can help you with each of these points! : -)
If you’d like to discuss recording options with me, just head over to my contact form here.