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After several years of deliberation, I've pulled the trigger and bought myself some mics, a preamp, and a DAW to start making decent-sounding recordings. I'm gonna be miking up a guitar amp and my voice mainly, and would love to hear some techniques that you all use when recording.
My recommendation is to use that stuff to write demos and then send those demos to your producer to make more professional recordings. However, if you have your heart set on learning how to do all that sound engineering jazz here are some recommendations. If the instrument can be played electronically that's going to save you a whole lot of time. these days electronic instruments sound pretty much just as good as the real thing and are a thousand times easier to polish up. All of the drums on my ep are played with an electric set, the bass was played on a keyboard along with all the strings and pads. the only real not midi instrument we played was guitar.
(05-13-2017, 06:34 PM)JaromEubanks Wrote: [ -> ]My recommendation is to use that stuff to write demos and then send those demos to your producer to make more professional recordings. However, if you have your heart set on learning how to do all that sound engineering jazz here are some recommendations. If the instrument can be played electronically that's going to save you a whole lot of time. these days electronic instruments sound pretty much just as good as the real thing and are a thousand times easier to polish up. All of the drums on my ep are played with an electric set, the bass was played on a keyboard along with all the strings and pads. the only real not midi instrument we played was guitar.

Thanks for your input...I think I might try programming some midi drums this summer...can something like Reaper do that? When the school year starts again I'll be able to record with my band, which includes bass, guitar, vocals, and an electronic drumkit, so that's something I'd like to at least like to have some preliminary knowledge on recording.
I agree with him; on my songs, all of the instruments are played on my keyboard, as that is actually the only instrument I can play. I just switch the voice to bass guitar, guitar, drums, violin, etc...
heres another tip, Everything is a scratch track until the drums are played.
Reaper is awesome for MIDI drums. You can do it by hand in a track. Or start a track and select the synthesizer plug (something "baby" I can't remember just now. Then, you can break that MIDI out into 8 separate tracks to separately pan each drum piece.

Yes, DAWs are good for demos but you can also make pro sounding recordings with it. Rob Zombie and Corey Taylor have both talked about the quality of computer mixed recordings sounding as good as CDs from years before.

The advantage of sending your recordings to another engineer is that he has a fresh set of ears. Hearing your own recordings is like hearing yourself sing. You are biased. It is rare that a person can produce himself well and step back and listen objectively. And don't forget to listen on other systems besides your headphones. You may undermix bass because it sounds loud in your headphones and then sounds weak in the car, for example.
(05-19-2017, 12:28 AM)ronws Wrote: [ -> ]Reaper is awesome for MIDI drums. You can do it by hand in a track. Or start a track and select the synthesizer plug (something "baby" I can't remember just now. Then, you can break that MIDI out into 8 separate tracks to separately pan each drum piece.

Yes, DAWs are good for demos but you can also make pro sounding recordings with it. Rob Zombie and Corey Taylor have both talked about the quality of computer mixed recordings sounding as good as CDs from years before.

The advantage of sending your recordings to another engineer is that he has a fresh set of ears. Hearing your own recordings is like hearing yourself sing. You are biased. It is rare that a person can produce himself well and step back and listen objectively. And don't forget to listen on other systems besides your headphones. You may undermix bass because it sounds loud in your headphones and then sounds weak in the car, for example.
Good advice, thank you.
I have a thread on Some aspects of Reaper, my redneck recording thread. I theoretically know how to program drums but often, I was playing drums with my LK-165 keyboard and now, with my Alesis Nitro drum kit.

Think ahead about what kind of sound you are going for. Studio sound, you can pan drum pieces around for a spacey effect. Live sound, like in a club? Don't pan so much because in a live environment, you are hearing drums everywhere, not specifically panned, unless you are standing right in front of an acoustic drum kit. Same with bass guitar, whether real or MIDI. Pan it center. Bass guitar in a room or club goes everywhere. Vocals should normally be panned center, and background vocals can move around a little.

Panning on a drum kit from the audience perspective. Kick and snare are center pan. Hi hat and crash cymbal slightly right. Medium and floor tom slightly left, ride cymbal a little further left. And then have one or two tracks of all the drums summed, as if they were from overhead mics and label the track that way. It is how real drums are recorded.

Also, for little to no money, and you can find the info on Graham Cochrane's Home Recording Revolution site, there are places you can get drum samples in audio or MIDI format and then do whatever you want with them. In addition, you can get all kinds of drum voices and change as you see fit.
My recording tip is get room treatment and if you can't afford that buy some of the vocal booths from GIK acoustics.

Biggest problem you will have that you won't know about until you start mixing is that when you compress the shit out of your vocal the room echo comes up as well. This will make it near impossible to get a professional sounding vocal recording.


Also general mixing tip. Compress the shit out of your vocal. I'm talking 8:1 Ratio. Fast attack. Medium release. Then if the highs are coming out too harsh add a de-esser.

When it comes to EQing there are really three important regions on a vocal.

A: The fundamental frequency. For men this is around 200-300hz. If you have too much of this then your voice will sound muddy and too bassy. If you have too little of it then your voice will sound thin and weak.

B: 1.5k-3k region. This is where the vocal sits and lives in the mix. Depending on the mic it might be a good idea to boost a little bit in this range. Not too much or it will be harsh. But enough so that it pops out in the mix.

C: 6k region -12k region aka air. This is all the high end of the vocal. This is basically just to help the vocal pop out in the mix and sit on top of all the high end instruments like the hi-hats and overheads. Boosting this will increase sibilance so don't forget to de'ess right after.


Finally after you got things sitting don't forget to add a tiny bit of reverb. Do NOT overdo it with the reverb. Vocals need to be up front. Too much reverb will push a vocal behind in a mix. Get them to sound good dry first and then add some reverb. Maybe a hall or a plate. This is just basically to give the vocal a little bit of stereo width so that it lives better with the rest of the instruments.

There's also more advanced techniques like delay throws and vocal sidechaining but these are mostly just polish. If you can't get a vocal to sound good using just eqing, compression, deessing, reverb, and maybe some tuning. Then it won't sound good no matter what else you try to do to it.
I am going to partially disagree and then partially agree with Lydian. Watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat .... hey, Rocky!

You will need room treatment but not for recording, more for mixing and listening on monitors or speakers. In recording vocals you are usually close to the mic, which greatly decreases or negates the effect of the room. If you are live mic'ing a guitar or bass amp, you are often right aginst the grill cloth in the cabinet, which gets rid of room. The only time room is going to have an effect is when recording acoustic guitar.

As for compressor, I would offer easier settings. A quiet folk song, I would compress 2:1 and not have the threshold very low. Not only is not as much compression needed but it will reduce room noise, which is what he is talking about. When it comes to making the track quieter, especially when using higher compression values, which you can do on loud songs, there are a few different ways.

There are noise-reduction plug-ins. But my favorite is still old-school anal-retentive editing. I will take a vocal track and snip out all sections between lyric passages. It is the most surgically accurate noise reduction and this is based on knowing what a compressor does. A compressor does not raise lower volumes, it compresses or reduces higher peak volumes. The side effect is that the lowest volume noises now have more prominence in comparison. That is, your low volume sounds are not louder, they are just more apparent because the high volume sounds have been significantly reduced. An unedited track, the room sound is the lowest volume of sound and it will get boosted. It will not get boosted if it is not there to be boosted (see how I did that?).

That way, when using compressor, I am only asking it to reduce high volume in relation to the low volume in my voice, not in the room.

The biggest reason or need of room treatment is bass traps to handle what sounds like too much bass. I have read a dozen books more than once and the common theme is that bass sounds are the toughest to tame, where has high pitched sounds are fixed with a blanket.
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