The Technical (and NOT so technical) Part: Novice Home Studio Recording

So a new fan wrote me on our Soundcloud profile (see below).

His name is Sean, and he asked about what kind of guitar and equipment I use for recording.  He is doing some home recording himself this weekend and looking for tips.  What follows is my reply…and I hope both the pro recorders along with newbies (like me) will be able to appreciate.  (And hopefully better explain the idea in a comment!). *** Any home recording tricks or tips as comments would also be greatly appreciated!!!

Anyway, here goes:

Hey Sean-

Nothing fancy on this end. No understanding of the technical side of anything, so I’m using the simplest studio program I could find (Mixcraft 5)..and up until a few months back…the free version that let you make the music but not mix down!

I’ve JUST bought a nice Ibanez elec./acoustic (the fat-bodied AEL20EVV).

It has yet to make it into anything recorded on our Soundcloud page…though I just laid the bones for a new song with the same upbeat feel as “Eventually”..and it has proven an excellent new friend (both the guitar AND song actually!).

Outside of that…I’ve got the entry level M-Audio midi keyboard I add all virtual instruments with…and a $100 M-Audio Usb Condenser mic which I record everything layer by layer. No pre-amps…no filters…don’t even know how to use this stuff.

In all honesty…I’m finding a knack for melody…hearing many different things and forming them into a composition…but only by following my ear…and I have yet to get things mixed in a way that captures the interior version of what I hear. There are some areas in each track where there’s some ambient noise (created by an effect or who knows what)..that I’m unable to make disappear no matter what I do. And the string squelches!!!!Aaaahhh!!!  Been told to use a spray-on lubricant to minimize this…but have yet to give it a shot. Sooner or later, we’ll get enough songs together to justify buying studio time…(but I’ve been secretly hoping some up and coming producer will hear potential and offer mixing/mastering services for credit…yeah right! 😉

What I’ve noticed with the condenser mic is that it seems to pick up sound primarily from the front (my mic stand broke..and I just lay it on my computer desk…position it on a book or something to get it by the guitar hole)…and variations in the intensity of the sound apparently effect the level of it’s reception. For example…in my new piece…I’m strumming and tapping the guitar body in rhythm. Once I get the mic adjusted to the “sweet spot” of my guitar…there is still a major difference between the overall loudness of the recording…totally dependent on how hard I tap the body.

I think the overall loudness of the sound recorded creates the parameters of the track..and so if I hit the body too hard….the range of the sound intensity goes way up..and my gentle strumming grows more quiet. Inversely, if I remain mindful to keep the tapping controlled (which is hard when you start getting pulled into the flow ;))../the strumming is recorded with a much better quality…much louder and crisper.

So basically…if you had whisper lyrics recording…they would sound loud and clear…unless somewhere while recording there was a loud sound (like maybe you coughing)..and then it seems the entire track parameters change and in comparison..the whisper vocals would damn near disappear. Why this happens I don’t know..but it does.

Is this making sense? I hope so. I’m trying to convey what I’ve noticed…as a logical and aware man…but without any particular expertise or known jargon.

Anyway…I’ll listen through your stuff once I’m done. Thanks for the positive feedback Sean…and it may be that we can get together and form something larger than anything we could manifest alone. For the stage…or just for our souls to play!

Take care brother,


(Thanks for reading..and feel free to add your ideas or become a follower for updates to all new blogs)



1 Comment

  1. March 14, 2012 at 12:37 am

    […] The Technical (and NOT so technical) Part: Novice Home Studio Recording […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: