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Recording and mixing in the absence of money

In this post I will try to tell about how quickly, almost free of charge and relatively high quality to record and mix at least an entire album. In my case, we used the recorded material as a “demos” to express ourselves to the world, although if the skill I had been “pumped” stronger, I could make a full-fledged recording.

The process involved the following devices and software:
- Macbook Pro 13 "laptop, on which everything happened.
- sound card Lexicon Omega .
- Audio-Technica AT2020 microphone for recording vocals.
- AKG K240 MKII headphones for monitoring.
- Logic 9 + plugin package.

Recorded: electric guitar, bass guitar and vocals. So the answers about recording drums, I will not give.

Lyrical digression.

Before starting, I wanted to warn those that are going to record and reduce the material in the first. This is still a headache! Despite the seeming simplicity (and there’s really nothing complicated there), you’ll have to wear out a bunch of nerves, rewriting the same part many times (especially with a vocal, fussing a lot), and then, when mixing, you can correct the jambs that you missed when recording . And constantly making compromises is the most difficult thing in my opinion.

1. Action Plan.

First, I strongly recommend that you think out in advance what , where and how you will do it. For example, it is advisable to find a room for recording in advance and agree with the owner. And the room is needed not anyhow, but less acoustically prepared, which is especially important for recording vocals. Secondly, it is necessary at least in theory to know what and how to record, so that it does not turn out so that they have gathered, “stuck”, and what to do next is a mystery. Thirdly, the order of the recording - in our case, the bass was written at the beginning, over the rough drums, then the guitar, then it all came down more or less, and then the vocals. And finally, fourthly, you need to immediately decide what type of product you want to get at the exit - if you want to get a record of a commercial level, it is better to stop reading this, collect a lot of money and go to the studio. Otherwise, read on.

2. Preparation of the "minus".

In our case, everything was extremely simple - I just “drew” the desired rhythmic drum pattern and that's it. If you write drums live, then the exact same rhythm “sounded”, and then after all the other instruments, we recorded the final version, with all the knocks, etc.

3. Bass and electric guitars.

So we got to the most interesting. At the stage of recording guitars, we met with our first compromise - how to write, through the "kombiki" and microphones or directly to the "line"? The bass player and guitarist, naturally, unanimously declared that writing to the “line” is not “comme il faut”, that the sound is not tube or warm. My only argument was that none of us could write from the “kombar”, and there were no necessary effects. Thus, it was decided to write to the "line", which, in principle, we did not regret.

Since there was no need for additional equipment, we gathered at our guitarist's home and started recording. In technical terms, everything is very simple - the instrument in the “sound”, “sound” in the laptop and rushed. The only subtlety is that there is no “overload” during the recording and that's it.

There was nothing complicated in the “Logic” itself either. Simply select the desired segment in the sequencer (the size of the desired part), put some guitar processor on the track (I took the standard Amp Designer), and start writing. I don’t know how in the rest of DAW, but in Logic there is such a wonderful function - you select a “piece”, loop it, press a record, and record the same part many times - as a result we have several variations of the same part and You can choose (or collect) some of the best. Although if you are a “hardcore” player, then you can record all the games at once.

4. Vocals.

So, we have recorded guitars, the turn of the vocals has come. It's time to collect all the "iron" and go to the pre-planned premises. We were lucky in this regard, we wrote vocals at the rehearsal base, where we rehearsed. A room with good acoustics and sound insulation, so it did not have to bother too much. The only thing we have not foreseen is the absence of a pop filter for the microphone, which later led to some problems during mixing. The technology is simple again, we connect all the equipment, we put headphones on the vocalist, put it in front of the microphone and make a test recording. If what is recorded does not suit, turn up the settings and try again. Again, remember about the "overload", then you can not get rid of it. The vocal recording itself takes a very long time, keep this in mind. It took us 3 hours to record 5 songs, although we shot the base by only 2, we thought it was enough "with the head." Fortunately, the owner of the base went to the meeting and gave to back up. Another tip - do not step on the same “rake” as we do, do not record vocals for one song on different days! It is equally very difficult to adjust the sound twice, as a result, we have the first chorus in the same song and the couplets differ in sound from the second chorus.

5. Information

The most terrible stage, the quality of the final product will mainly depend on it. I will not tell you anything in detail, this is a topic for a separate article, but I will explain the main points regarding each tool.

1. Percussion - I strongly advise you to divide the batch of percussion into components. Barrel separately, working separately, "iron" separately. So it is easier to control them, and it is possible to arrange them more flexibly.

2. Bass - who is like, and first of all I cut off all the top and sub-bass frequencies with an equalizer so that the bass does not conflict with anyone. Next is usually the processing plug (Waves CLA Bass / Kramer Bass / Maserati B72 ) for “heat and lampiness”, and then the compressor.

3. Guitar - since we have music from the section “rock with all the consequences”, the sound of guitars was amplified with the help of Waves GTR Solo, and in front of it stood an equalizer that cut the bottoms and two narrow strips by about 6000 and 6500 to remove the resonant frequencies ( which are heard only at high volume, but still). By the way, to cut this noise or not is a big question. Guitars, though sound, have become softer, but somehow “not truly.” Installation of the compressor depends on the situation. Also in some of the tracks the guitars were “double track”, i.e. two very similar parties, with the same effects, divorced in panarame - one to the left, one to the right. The result is "fat" and "meat" with minimal effort;)

4. Vocals - here it is the worst. Any effects are applied very carefully, a bit of reversion in the message, a bit of compression + Waves Vocal Rider (great stuff!). Again, you can stir up the "double track", but you need to raise a bit around the panorama, especially if the guitars are also made in the same track.

5. Keyboards / Effects - here everything depends on the timbre, in different tracks everything is tuned differently, perhaps because I was “spinning” the sounds last, and they fit into the minus.

6. The overall picture - again, there is no advice and there can not be. All that can be done depends on the balance of volume and panorama, so strain your ears and twist until it sounds.

7. Master channel - conditionally in sound recordings of people can be divided into two groups - those who hang the compressor / limiter on the master and those who do not hang it. Therefore, I urge the "holivar" on this topic not to contrive. By the way, I “hung” :) But not from a good life, but because there was not enough intelligence to bring it down so that the master could be left “free”. In all cases, an equalizer was placed in front of the compressor, which again cut the resonant frequencies, but from all the tracks.

You can listen to the results of our attempts here - vkontakte.ru/club20152872

Source: https://habr.com/ru/post/105464/

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