Recording Tips – My Setup

Chances are if you’re here you’ve heard some of my music. Here I’ll break down how I actually record it. None of the equipment is horribly expensive, or ultra-high end, but it works well enough for me. That said, I’m no recording guru, just a guy that knows what he likes. If you just so happen to like the same thing, read on.

Boss BR864

Using the Mic
On the last few things I’ve recorded there as been very little direct recording of the instruments. The BR-864 has great onboard COSM effects, for both instruments and vocals, but I personally like to mic my equipment whenever possible. There are at least a billion theories as to how one should mic any given piece of equipment, I myself just set a mic somewhere and move it untill I like the sound through the monitor (headphones in my case.)

First thing first, if you’re going to mic anything you need a microphone! Now of course that’s a hair past obvious, but there are a LOT of different kinds of microphones at about an equal variety of prices. The BR-864 has an onboard condenser mic that is quite sensitive, and not too horrible for recording in a room. For “studio” work however, it’s a bit too noisy for my liking, even with a compressor. Below are the two mics I have, neither are quite studio mics but they both work.

generic Radio Shack unidirectional cardioid, and an Audio-Technica ATM-41a unidirectional cardioid vocal/instrumet mic

Now there is a lot of “technical” mojo that goes with mic placement, in fact there are enormously thick books on the subject. You can, and if you’re trying to be a sound engineer probably should, read thousands of technical pages dealing with everything down to the wavelengths and frequencies of your sound source, resonant frequencies of the materials in your sound stage, and the acoustic properties of…. well you get the picture. For the person just wanting a decent sound on a home/live recording, it’s all about trial and error. I’ve read some of the books, and understand a fair deal of the theory, but in the end I go with my ear. The pictures above are the result of my personal trial/error, and are meant to be a sort of starting point for anyone interested.

Recording Sequences
This part is highly subjective, as far as I can tell. You can record your tracks in any order you want, and there is no real set way to do it. However, one thing seems to remain consant in most suggestions I see: Record your drum tracks first. I personally have had limited success with that. I’m not a percussionist, and I loathe drum machines. I can hold a beat, but I do it much better with a guitar. Usually, I record my rhythm guitar track first, followed by the drum tracks, and then any vocal tracks, and finally any lead guitar tracks I may have.

A helpful tip I ran across for vocals, which for the record is my least favorite part of recording/performing. Record it in layers. If you’re not comfortable with your voice, or feel like you’re lacking tone or whatever, record a few tracks of your vocals. Doing so allows you to harmonize with yourself, and can help lose some tonal inbalances in the mix. If you have a multitrack station like the BR-864, you can cut pretty much as many virtual tracks of your vocals as you’d like, and mix and match the final tracks that will be active, moving pan in various directions, and adding loop effects (like chorus) as you please. I’ve only done this a few times, but it made a notable difference, and is a much cheaper solution than hiring a vocalist!

I may edit this to add more content, or make a whole new entry. This is it for now.

geek-fu

Technical stuff will go here. Before too long I’ll put together a page on using the Debian Installer to install Sarge on a Soekris net4801. Also expect a quick and dirty how-to for installing Ubuntu Hoary on the Intel Pentium-M based Fujitsu P-Series Lifebooks (the short version is: boot, and hit enter a few times.) More to follow.

Let it Roll!

After R&R I should have a new set of wheels – namely the Suzuki SV650. Hopefully there’s a Z71 in my future as well. I don’t have a car anymore, but there are plenty of stories revolving around a certain set of 3 third gen F-Bodies, and a pair of Corvettes – if I get bored enough they’ll probably surface here. A bike and a truck should provide plenty of room for fun on the weekends, and given the fact that I have a GPS, marathon laptop, digital still and video cameras – I’m sure I can come up with plenty of content on the travel front as well.

Two Thumbs Up?

The original plan when I started My Slice of the Web included a movie section, where I could post reviews with some of my fellow movie-going friends of new movies, and classics. Now seems like just as good a time as any to run with it so stay tuned.

First Cut

There are a lot of things I’d like to accomplish with my music, and I’ll write about them here. My guitar lessons, recording tips, and my original recordings will wind up here eventually.

Mission Statement

Look for things like range reports, pistol, rifle, holster, ammunition, and accessory reviews, and my general thoughts on a few firearm related topics. More content will follow as I import my old entries into WordPress.

Making Changes

Still trying to figure out exactly how I want to lay all this out. I’m going to begin bringing over most of the content from the old site (think noblingblog). A slip of the hand over the horrid lag that is my connection, ssh, and wanton use of rm -r resulted in all of my Blogger.com content going the way of the dodo.

New Blog – again

WordPress – at last. Needs tweaking. More to follow.

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