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Recording Question


blackbass

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My band is recording at a legitimate studio in two weeks, that is owned by a gentleman who has ran sound at many gigs we've played. I use a 5 string with distortion pedals, and, at the discretion of this person, have used a DI or the line out on my Ampeg while on stage. I understand a sound-man doing this in a live situation, but does anyone think he will want to do the same in the studio? I've never recorded in a studio environment, and I really want the sound coming from my cabinet. Can mic-ing the cab work??
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No reason other than limitations in track numbers or room size or mic quality should prevent micing the amp. Personally, I prefer to take a DI from the bass itself, then if there are pedals involved and you want that sound too, I'd take it. But if my room supported the bass cabinet, I'd mic that, too.

 

I want to say that usually, if he knows his stuff, you would be wise to take his advice about how to record. That is his business, and he really should know what he is talking about. But there are a lot of strange guys out there with 'studios' these days, who only seem to be able to do things by rote.

 

You really really should have a producer...a single voice who understands the artistic vision of the band and can communicate that to the engineer. Someone who is experienced in recording and knows what is up. Four, five, or six different guys in a studio trying to figure out what is going on is a recipe for a disaster, or at the very least an unsatisfying experience for most everyone involved.

 

And pre-production is key to any successful recording project. Then everyone goes into the actual sessions knowing what to expect and what is expected of them.

 

 

"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."

 

Steve Martin

 

Show business: we're all here because we're not all there.

 

 

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Why don't you ask him what to expect so you are not surprised when you show up?

 

I always take a DI of the uneffected bass. If you are using pedals, I would take that as well on a separate track. Amplifiers used for live sound do not always sound great on tape. Reamping is where it is at.

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Cool, thanks for the advice. We have elected our lead singer/songwriter as our "producer". He's had studio time before, and really knows the sound we want. I think that will help a bit. Also, I actually have spoke with the gentleman who will be recording, and he informed me, we'll decide what arrangement to use, when I get in the studio. So, that's what the original post has stemmed from. I'm a bit nervous, and definitely don't want to waste any time whilst recording! I'll keep everyone informed of my escapades. I've never seen the studio, I just pray it's not a garden shed.....
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Ask questions but don't be a pain in the a**.

 

Direct can be a much easier way to go for most. Also, as the Rev says it's always wise to get a recording of the uneffected bass via a DI, a lot can be done with it afterwords. Some old studio hounds are very against an effect other than compression on bass.

 

Good luck and have fun. Be prepared to play the same thing over and over again, the same way.

If you think my playing is bad, you should hear me sing!
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One of the questions that will have a huge effect on how you record the instruments is how many tracks the recording equipment has. If it's a digital studio with Pro Tools or another application, you probably will have unlimited tracks. If it's an analog studio, you may run into limitations.

 

Because a healthy human ear works so much better than pretty much all recording equipment, strategies are employed to get more linear, or at least better sounding recordings. Recording the same performance on multiple tracks from different sources is one strategy. Recording a track from a D.I. box, a icrophone, and even a separate, isolated amp or D.I.box with various effects running, all at the same time, can give you a lot of options in terms of the finished product.

 

I echo what's been said already. Go with the advice of the engineer as to how to get the best recording possible with the equipment, as he is used to and aware of that it will and won't do. And what Bill said is right on; a a good recording. I would advise you to get someone who isn't in the band to produce, and they should be very experienced in producing recordings. The more experienced a producer is, the more likely he/she/it is to be able to pull great performances out of bands. Additionally, being an "outsider" gives a perspective that can make some decisions easier, what to leave in or out, improvements in arrangements, etc. And, if the final results aren't exactly what everybody thought they would be, the band member/producer doesn't have to live with the resentment of the disappointed band members. Bands have broken up over less...

 

Budgetary constraints may preclude the ability to hire a good producer, but the idea should be floated with the band.

Always remember that you�re unique. Just like everyone else.

 

 

 

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One question that will have a huge effect on how you record the instruments is how many tracks the recording equipment has. If it's a digital studio with Pro Tools or another application, you probably will have unlimited tracks. If it's an analog studio, you may run into limitations.

 

Because a healthy human ear works so much better than pretty much all recording equipment, strategies are employed to get more linear, or at least better sounding recordings. Recording the same performance on multiple tracks from different sources is one strategy. Recording a track from a D.I. box, a microphone in front of an amp, and even a separate, isolated amp or D.I.box with various effects running, all at the same time, can give you a lot of options in terms of the finished product.

 

I echo what's been said already. Go with the advice of the engineer as to how to get the best recording possible with the equipment, as he is used to it and aware of what it will and won't do. And what Bill said is right on; a good producer makes it more likely you will wind up with a good recording. I'd advise you to get someone who isn't in the band to produce, and they should be very experienced in producing recordings. The more experienced a producer is, the more likely he/she/it is to be able to pull great performances out of bands. Additionally, being an "outsider" gives a perspective that can make some decisions easier, i.e. what to leave in or out, improvements in arrangements, etc. And, if the final results aren't exactly what everybody thought they would be, the band member/producer doesn't have to live with the resentment of the disappointed band members. Bands have broken up over less...

 

Budgetary constraints may preclude hiring a good producer, but the idea should be floated with the band.

Always remember that you�re unique. Just like everyone else.

 

 

 

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Direct can be a much easier way to go for most. Also, as the Rev says it's always wise to get a recording of the uneffected bass via a DI, a lot can be done with it afterwords. Some old studio hounds are very against an effect other than compression on bass.

...

 

If I went into a studio that wanted me to fundimentally change my sound, and there was no technical reason for it (like, buzz or something) I would find another studio.

 

The way that DI got started with basses in the old 'real' studios was a function of crappy bass amps and bass players who didn't know or care. Bass has come a long way since then, and so have bass players and their awareness of the technical end of things.

 

The reason that we try to take a direct feed from a bass is that most (good) basses sound really really decent. It is further down the chain that the crap may (or may not) enter the signal. So if I have a direct feed from the bass, I then have preserved your original performance and we can approach a fix without having to re-record your parts. Since the bass and drums are fundamental to the whole structure, we want to be able to create that solid foundation for the music. A wanky foundation can take all the life out of the material, kill the snap or groove. So there are situations where I might need to feed some direct bass into the mix along with your affected sound, just to return some of the life to the music, or perhaps make some other mix choice.

 

I also want to point out that whatever bass players in particular hear on stage, it is not often the same as what the audience hears. And where one places a mic to capture that sound is not the same place as where the ear is that hears the sound. If you want to know the tone that a mic will pick up, you need to put your ear where the mic will be. Just assuming that you like the sound of your bass amp from six feet away, so we can stuff a mic six inches in front of the amp and get that sound is a fallacy.

"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."

 

Steve Martin

 

Show business: we're all here because we're not all there.

 

 

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Now, I'm interested in trying to find the difference in analog/digital recording. Do hard rock/metal bands typically choose a certain style? I've heard different opinions about them, but I've never payed attention, or known, if I'm listening to one or the other. Anyone know of a band, who might have used both types, in which I can hear? I hate to sound like a total noob, but I've never had this opportunity, and I want to be prepared. Thanks again for all the know how!
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I think I've heard of metal guys using either way, and/or a combination of the two(tracking to tape but mixing in digital, etc). Unless money is no object, I'd go with whatever you can get for the lowest cost. If it's done right, it's gonna sound good enough that folks will hear what you're doing, either way.

Always remember that you�re unique. Just like everyone else.

 

 

 

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Watch out for overuse of pro-tools on the drums (and bass?). My friend recently had all the life ripped out of his band's tracks by an engineer who quantized all the drums and bass. By all means use it to drag the odd stray beat back, but not EVERY note.

Feel the groove internally within your own creativity. - fingertalkin

 

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Now, I'm interested in trying to find the difference in analog/digital recording. ...

 

There are so many more important things to worry about...

 

but in a nutshell, there is a great snob appeal to 'recording in analog'. Now does this mean that you are going into a top notch studio with top of the line mics and electronics, a world class tape machine that has been regularly maintained and your using all brand new tape stock (which, for a 2 inch machine would be about $300 a reel per 15 minutes of recording time, limited to a max of 24 tracks...); or does this mean that some yahoo has found a used 16 track 1/2" machine with 3,000 hours on the heads, and has never had the breaks, heads, tensioning springs checked nor the machine calibrated since about 1987?

 

The actual technical difference between analog and digital recording is that analog is less accurate. This is not a bad thing, it is just a provable fact.

 

Cheap digital sounds bad, in a particular set of ways. Cheap analog is equally crappy, in a different set of ways but crappy is still crappy.

"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."

 

Steve Martin

 

Show business: we're all here because we're not all there.

 

 

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Now, I'm interested in trying to find the difference in analog/digital recording.

 

Honestly, don't worry about it.

 

Agreed. If this is your first time in the studio, this really isn't something you should focus on.

 

What I would focus on as mentioned earlier in the thread is your band's preproduction. And that means being well prepared to go into the studio. Being well rehearsed enough that you're able to get going within a couple of takes. So that may mean making some rough demos of band practice, taking notes on those recordings and making some constructive criticism of those recordings.

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"My concern is, and I have to, uh, check with my accountant, that this might bump me into a higher, uh, tax..."

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Plus consider your own rig... no buzz, rattles, or loose stuff, all the cords work, fresh batteries where needed, intonation properly setup, new strings....

 

and the biggest thing that gets people when they hit the studio is that the environment is unfamiliar and they get nervous. So the idea of recording yourselves as described above... just live, rough stuff, ... will help you to understand what you will be hearing in the studio and maybe take away some of the strangeness.

"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."

 

Steve Martin

 

Show business: we're all here because we're not all there.

 

 

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Think about this: Regardless of what sound you want from your amp, if you are recorded direct, that signal can be routed through any amp or plugin after the fact. ANYTHING. You may want to use your amp for monitoring so it sounds right, but why limit yourself by recording that directly. If they record direct and play it back through your amp it'll sound just like it did the first time, except it gives you the opportunity to tweak things after the fact to fit the mix.

 

Record direct!

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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What I would focus on as mentioned earlier in the thread is your band's preproduction. And that means being well prepared to go into the studio. Being well rehearsed enough that you're able to get going within a couple of takes.

 

the other benefit of being well-rehearsed is that when you go "off script" in the studio when inspiration strikes, you're more likely to know every little detail of the song that changes are not such a big deal.

 

when i saw an ebow on the table and tried it on one track in my band's EP recording a year ago, it wasn't a big deal to change my part fundamentally.

 

actually, most of my parts were re-written in the studio to fit with what the guitars had added beyond what we played live. none of them took more than a few takes. i knocked down a song a day recording for a few hours after work in the evenings.

 

robb.

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We actually do have some rough (we're talking sandpaper) recordings, which we've relied on so far, to practice at home, and build on our music. Those we recorded on a Korg 12 track digital recorder. We played everything separately, and mixed it later with Audacity. So hopefully that's not a far cry from what we'll be doing at the studio.
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You are relying on one person as producer. As Bill said, one is best. But does that person ever notice or comment about your sound? If not, you might want to have a word with them before hand - maybe show them some examples of what you want to sound like.

 

The engineer may play back your music and set the tone as they see fit, but that isn't the last word (so don't panic). What counts most is that your sound was recorded well.

 

I have limited experience in the studio, but the three engineers I've worked with have made me sound good. I found it's better to focus on being prepared (as above - knowing your parts and having your equipment in shape), asking questions to be comfortable, and concentrating.

 

One thing that I didn't see mentioned was how the recording will be conducted. Are you playing all together? All together first and then re-recording parts? All separate? That's what I'd want to know - it's a lot easier when you are playing together (for me anyway).

 

Best of luck!

Tom

www.stoneflyrocks.com

Acoustic Color

 

Be practical as well as generous in your ideals. Keep your eyes on the stars and keep your feet on the ground. - Theodore Roosevelt

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We actually do have some rough (we're talking sandpaper) recordings, which we've relied on so far, to practice at home, and build on our music. Those we recorded on a Korg 12 track digital recorder. We played everything separately, and mixed it later with Audacity. So hopefully that's not a far cry from what we'll be doing at the studio.

 

This is good to hear. When you listen to these recordings try to listen with a critical ear. Is the tempo right? Do the parts complement each other? There's a lot that can change in order to bring a song from it's rough beginnings to a final mix of a record. And one of the best things to keep in mind? Is what you're playing the best thing for the song?

 

Beyond that, I've got to agree with Tom on one of his points. In order for there to be a live or band feel to the recording, try recording your part with the rest of the band for an initial take. This is the way I normally try to get basic tracks recorded. Ultimately you're going for a good take on the drums, first. And if you get good takes on the other instruments then too, that's just gravy. I try to look at recording like building a house. You lay down the foundation first: drums and bass. And then you build everything on top of that.

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"My concern is, and I have to, uh, check with my accountant, that this might bump me into a higher, uh, tax..."

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use DI with no effects

use your miced amp with distortion or other pedals

record both

this leaves you with enough options while mixing afterwards

 

put your cab in a booth or cover it with thick cloth (but leave enough space inside so that it doesn't sound too muffled)

otherwise there will be too much of what you play in the other microphones (of the drums, the guitar, ...)

 

 

oh and watch out for phasing between those 2 channels

 

as always, a recording is good when you feel relaxed and have fun while recording. if that is missing one cannot put that in there in the mix ...

 

cheers!

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Yes, there is a ton of wisdom here, and I put it to good use this past weekend. In about ten hours we managed to complete two songs, and start a third, which we will finish tonight. Everything went very smoothly, and of course, we ran my bass direct. I had my amplifier, but I ended up using the engineers house rig, which was an SVT-4. I spoke with him about the distortion, and we sampled several different effects, but for now, because of time constraints (we needed a demo yesterday) we are running clean in the recording.

The studio actually was in a junk filled garage, which scared the hell outta me at first, until I was walked into the sectioned off recording area. Dressed with carpet, sound insulation, huge 40+ track mixer and racks of goodies, I was really impressed by the sight of it. So my first recording experience was a great one, but the engineer warned me that it usually doesn't happen as quickly as it did for us!

Though, I went prepared and with the wisdom of the Lowdown, managed to crank out some good material. I'll let everyone know when the music is available online. Thanks for the help guys!

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