Monday, March 3, 2008

Turn your computer into a recording studio

It is amazing what we can do with a computer now days, gone are the days when you were doing your home recording on a 4 track machine. Don’t get me wrong you can produce a nice sounding demo on a 4 tracks machine, but now software sequencer are very powerful and very versatile. You have now the capacity to record as much as 60 tracks or more and create a full blown band sound by playing all the instruments yourself , doing all the vocals , lead and background, playing guitar rhythm , power chords, lead guitar solos , drums, base, piano and keyboard, recording your tracks one at the time. In order to get you going these are the items you must have.
You first need: -a powerful computer:
Anything equivalent to a Pentium 4- 2.0 GHz and up with a minimum of 1 GB to 2 GB of ddr memory, a 160 GB hard disk or larger, a nice monitor 17', 19’’ or 22' LCD if possible. A good and quiet CPU ventilator is a must to achieve a spotless recording without background noise. The more tracks you intend to create in your music projects, the more powerful your computer needs to be.
-A recording sound card:
A good choice of recording card would be audiophile 2496 pci card 24 bit by m-audio
- A basic mixing board:
A basic board of 2 channels mixing board, behringer eurorack UB502 by BehRinger connected to the sound card
-A basic preamp: (tube if possible) connected to the 2 channel mixing board
A nice choice is the Tube MP studio by ART
-A stereo receiver :(your home receiver is fine) connected to the sound card and the studio monitors connected to it.
-Studio monitors (speakers): Again this is up to you as far as the type and models, anything with a good quality sound with good woofers and tweeters.
-A music sequencer: ( like cakewalk,protools or samplitude)
-Good decent low price microphones:
A good choice for vocal recording at a low price of about $100.00 is the AKG perception 100, large-diaphragm condenser mic. The AKG Perception 100 is a rugged cardioid condenser microphone. The 1" diaphragm bring AKG-quality sound to recording, live sound and broadcasting applications.
For guitars and instruments you can use a sure SM57 dynamic microphone.
Of course you also need your instruments, if you have the basic it is fine, I have a nice epiphone (Gibson AJ) acoustic guitar witch retails for less than $200.00, I use a Fender Stratocaster and Kramer electric guitars for all the heavy stuff along with a small fender amp. , for the base and drums I use a Yamaha keyboard that I got for about $300.00 that gives me a satisfactory result.
Please bare in mind that recording sound is a skill that you can acquire with time and studies, just browse the internet and find some good articles about sound recording and mixing. There is one simple rule when you want to achieve a good sounding demo, (first it has to sound nice and right coming in to the microphones), no matter how much mixing you will do once you recorded all your tracks, you will never achieve a reasonable sounding demo if what goes in is crap like; buzzing instruments, bad positioning of your microphones, peak levels and so on.
Once the recording is done and comes the time to mix , bare in mind that it is always better to remove then to add , what I mean by that is simply use your common sense when listening to your tracks , if you notice that one of your guitar tracks a little low in volumes, don't raise that track's volume but rather lower the volumes of the other guitar tracks and instruments , you don't want to hear distortions but you are looking for a balance sound where you hear all the instruments and track well during the mixing. You can apply the same strategy for the EQs settings it is also better to remove then to add.
Keep in mind that A&R people are far more interested in the song's potential, and the artist's appeal than they are about the quality of the recording. Nearly every act signed to a major label will be recording their entire album over again with a professional engineer and producer. The demo is only a demo!
f you need more info on that topic and other computer related questions, you can always drop me a line or come and visit my site at : , my name is John Tahan a musician , webmaster and computer network engineer.

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