Studio time - what gear and how to prepare?

For sure, and the drummer told me it would be totally fine to use these tracks - “You can post them to show others what you’ve done”, which was part of my motivation, in creating a “resume” of sorts, for bass playing. Organization issue for sure!

Sometimes I’ve so badly wanted to tell certain musicians - “The big egos can come after we’re rich and famous, k, not before!” :rofl:

Great question, and one of those gray areas, probably!

Thank you for that, Joe! No way I’m discouraged at all though. Just want to share the experience though, in case others are reading, they can learn something from it. And I’m not worried about any of it, yeah, it was a little lesson that I paid some “tuition” for, but learning is a big thing for me right now, and mission accomplished there. Plus, I still got to record, so I’m happy about that part of it :smile:

You said it first, Lanny! You even told me this many months ago, I remember :slight_smile: I must be a stubborn soul, gotta learn the hard way sometimes, but, all good, and no sour grapes with anyone - I always wish people the best!

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Not ‘stubborn’… Just “Alive”…
Not a ‘hard’ road… Just the “Curious” one…

Hey, nothing wrong with being “Alive” with “Curiosity”…

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Home studio equipment can take anyone into bankruptcy if they are not careful. I found this video today on building a studio for under 200.00 it is a really good video. So if anyone is interested in setting up a studio to record covers or any projects with check it out especially if you are on a budget like I am.

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if you’ve got your sound at the house bring it. I rolled into a studio in Yokohama and they had an awesome amp selection twins, marshall, hiwatt, etc. Amps that I had wanted forever and I couldn’t dial in a tone that I was happy with at all…not even close. It was embarrassing to say the least. Used the twin but I wasn’t happy about the results and I doubt I gave them what they wanted but I got invited back and this time took my 15 watt vox put a 57 in front of it and it sounded huge and I had it dialed in in less than 5 min saving a lot of time right there. Pls do yourself a favor and take what its going to take (within reason) for you to be comfortable and to be quick getting your tone…then you just play. thats my two cents…enjoy

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@Tokyo_Rat I agree I thought this might help some of those out here who want to set up at home I have a nice set up for myself now and I can dial in exactly what I want in my tone, recording etc. I have definitely enjoyed visiting studios in the past and recording albums but I always took my own equipment i.e. Guitars, amps etc.

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Excellent video!

I have another topic going for discussion and advice for VST/AU/etc plugins that fits in nicely with this. There’s a lot of good free ones and if you are smart with buying you can end up with a vast number of great ones for less than you think.

The vast majority of music software is in plugins you load in your DAW.

He gives a lot of good advice in there. Agree completely about the headphones - I haven’t owned a bass amp at all for over a year.

The M-Audio MIDI controller he suggest is good, but if you plan to do much playing of keyboards I would suggest maybe spending slightly more and getting a 49-key with full size keys, if you have the space. Mini keys drive me crazy and having more than two octaves will keep you from needing to shift all the time. M-Audio and Alesis make good and inexpensive ones with full keys.

I disagree with him about the microphone. You should just get a Shure SM-58 or PGA-58 right away. They are not really very expensive ($90/45 or so respectively) and you’ll regret it if you don’t just go with one or the equivalent Sennheisers from the start. I skimped on the mike at first and instantly regretted and returned it. I think the PGA-58 is fine and it costs about half what a SM-58 does.

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I’ve recorded 10 songs in a pro studio. Soooo

It is possible to record a whole song in a 6-8 hour period…but sometimes not. We have a 4 piece and do guitar solos.

Drums should get recorded first. Get used to playing to a click. Bass will go second, guitar third, then lead. Vocals last. It is nice to make a “scratch track” of the band to keep everyone on point, can speed things up, then just overdub/punch in with each part.

Bass recording…so I’d recommend just going DI. I did through a pedal (BDI-21) too get a little baked in tone I like. They can add whatever plugins you want later in mixing to get your tone, and you don’t have to mix a cab, haul an amp around etc. I say this from recording 9 songs with amp and cab mic’d with DI blend. Straight DI sounded just as good!

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Read the entire topic, but I don’t think @joergkutter ever reported his experiences recording in the studio… I guess the Covid crisis got in the way?

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That’s exactly the order I use too with the stuff I have been doing. Get the backbone down first and it’s a huge help to the other people working on the song.

+1. I’ve sold almost all of my pedalboard. Recording straight into the DAI is much more flexible. Plus the effects and amp/cap sims in the DAW actually sound better anyway, once you find ones you like.

I resisted that last bit for far too long. Well, two songs anyway. Now I regret it.

Unless you plan to play live, when it comes to actually recording music, you’re better served by spending the effects money on DAW plugins.

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You are absolutely right, @Mike_NL - we are still not done, and yes, it is mostly Covid to blame for that. But… not entirely, and there are some great lessons to learn.

I can see why more and more people go for home recording/home studio if they have the space, equipment, know-how etc to do that. Because, in the end, you have just so much more control of the entire process and the likelihood that you are pleased and satisfied with what you have in the end is just so much higher.

I think our experience in the studio was/is awesome, but I doubt any of us will feel 100% happy with the end result. For one thing, we were compromising during the recording, which is probably a wise thing to do given our limited studio experience and the limited technical skills as musicians. But, it means that the recorded stuff sounds more… stiff, stilted, lacking energy.

However, much more important is to come fully prepared to the studio, i.e., you have to know everything you want to record and have it down cold, or else you will be wasting valuable studio time; and it will be much more stressful than it should be (not least because of the time pressure). I think I will tell more detailed cautionary tales when we finally have everything wrapped up!

Now, to the sound issue that @kerushlow and @howard are discussing: yes, the first time in the studio (as it was for me), I doubt that I will be satisfied with “my sound” in the final product. Next time we do this, I already know much more and have learned my lessons and will be better prepared (as far as sound is concerned).

A lot of what we do here is learning… and @howard regrets not having made certain decisions earlier, but that is exactly what learning is. The difference now is that with home recording, you have a better chance to re-record, re-mix, re-engineer your tracks and improve the results, while that is much more complicated when you recorded in a big (busy) studio.

What I am tempted to try is to send some of the bass tracks I have (of my own stuff) to one of those Fivr drummers and get a real drum track added… could be an interesting experiment…

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Make sure you get the raw stems of everything you record in the studio, in addition to the mix and master.

I suspect that for the raw audio recording of vocals and acoustic instruments like drums, you simply cannot compare for audio environment at home compared to a studio. Well, unless you are Deadmau5 anyway* :slight_smile:

And the sound engineer has a lot of skill to draw upon.

But that doesn’t mean that you will be unable to come up with a mix you like better yourself, especially around tone and so on. And so it is probably worth giving it a shot, but you will need the raw tracks/stems.

*The Mau5Haus is pretty incredible. He has this perfect acoustically isolated room suspended from structural beams in his home that is just incredible. That said - he can do this because of the money he made before he could do this :slight_smile:

Some of my favorite stuff he has done has been stuff just streamed from there.

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Good advice, Howard! Let’s see what we can get…

Absolutely! He probably saved our asses there a couple of times :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

Haha, yeah, OK, once I retire and after having inherited from all my rich uncles and aunts who made it big in America… :wink:

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Hmmm…so I guess it is different if you are being donated studio time vs. paying for it. We found the guy we used knowledge and experience to be priceless and he worked with us every step of the way to get our final product what we wanted it as. It was way better and faster than the song we recorded at our home setup and even cheaper. We home studio and sent to a mixer (a good one) and he charged more for mixing and mastering than our studio guy charged for recording, mixing and mastering. Splitting the costs 4 ways helped…he charged $40 an hour for his time. Well worth it.

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Yes, perhaps… to some extent. But… it’s complicated… even I got a bit upset at some point and thought the guitar player was too much “well, I could play it this way… or I could play it that way…” and the studio is not the right time and place for that. As mentioned, I might get into more details once we are all done and I can wrap my whole studio experience story.

That is pretty much the same rate we had (for beyond what we had gotten “donated”), but still: the more you come prepared, the more you get out of the knowledge and experience of the “producer”/sound engineer.

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Preparation for sure. We had all our songs written and practiced before going to studio. We did, however, make last minute in studio alterations to songs on the spot and those decisions were awesome. Whether doing an alteration of a riff, adding background vocals, or layering a new riff over something we hadn’t done live, those things added flavor to songs and we were very happy. BUT, if we didn’t have anything to add we still had a fully constructed song we were ok with. Agree that preparation is important. Have a full song you could perform live together at a minimum.

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That for me is how I personally would always write/compose/arrange a song - if we can’t play it live, what is the point of having multiple overdubs and stuff? We had four songs, fully practiced, at least for the way we always played them for rehearsal. The problem is, we are only three (drums, bass, guitar) but the guitar players always dreams of having a singer and a keyboard player as well. And so, in his head, he has these ideas of layered keyboard sounds and wailing guitar notes on top of the basic track, and vocals as well. Thing is, we never practiced that - how could we?! So, he thought he could “just” add those in the studio… and that is what caused a lot of unnecessary frustration and friction.

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Oh, I might have misread your statement, @Mike_NL … I did report about at least the first few days in the studio, but we are indeed not finished yet.

Anyway, if you want to read a long-ish report about how it went so far, here it is:

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Great stuff, @joergkutter! That was exactly what I was looking for, and I would have missed it because it’s in a different topic. Thanks for the link; I really enjoyed reading about your experiences!

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Yeah, that would be frustrating. Adding a layer is one thing. When we added instruments we practiced before studio, even if they put down another instrument. But band drama…we’ve had our share!

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It’s kind of funny because I am pretty much the opposite. All I care about is the finished product; I could not care less if it is ever performed live as played on the instruments while recording.

I come from an electronic music background though, where so much is programmed ahead of time and the live performance is only of subsets of it anyway.

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