Sunday, June 29, 2014

Getting It Right At The Source: Part 2

In this part, we will talk about a few more concepts and ideas to keep in mind while recording.

Record Multiple Takes (even if you don't think you need to)

The main advantage I find of recording multiple takes is that you can combine them to make one amazing "take." Doing this allows you to focus on each section, one at a time, so every section is recorded being played or sung at it's absolute best. This also allows you to have more options when mixing and adjusting the arrangement during post production.

Record More Then Is Needed

This will leave yourself with as much options as possible down the road. The statement "less is more" is still very true and I'm not trying to argue against it. But, lets say you use 12 mics to record you drums, who says you actually need to use all 12 of the tracks? Maybe the overheads pick up the toms just fine, or the room mics mixed with only the kick and snare gets you that drum sound you were looking for.

When recording guitar try using a cable splitter (Hosa has some great, inexpensive splitters) so you can record a clean direct input, the signal from after your pedals and effects (before the amp), and the mic(s) on your cabinet all at the same time, all on their own tracks. Why you ask? When you get half way through mixing and it's long after the guitarist (who happens lives hours away) went home for the night and the, you realize you want a different guitar sound. You can do it now by using your audio sends to send the DI of the guitar out to the guitar amp and re-record it. You get the same great take but a totally new guitar sound.

Label Your Files As You Go

When you are working with a bunch of files, recording dozens of takes and tracks, things get messy real quick. It's even messier when all your tracks are titled something like "audio_01_23" or "track1-1." Be sure to label as you go and label it in a way that is cohesive and simple. When exporting to get it mixed, you may even want to organize them in folders if there is a large number of files.

Record Drums To A Click

In a lot genres of music, the drums are the foundation. It's what holds the tempo and carries the beat. When you record your drums to a click (metronome) this will mean your drum tracks will stay on beat throughout your entire song. You can even take this a bit further and time stretch the recording to lock tightly to the grid. Doing this though will sort of kill the human element of live drums, but, that may be what you are going for. Once you start recording the rest of the instruments over your drum track, everything will now be consistent and still have a very natural feel to it. This technique is standard procedure in any serious recording situation. Another pro to having your track on beat is that delays and other tempo synced effects will mix better and easier.

Use your drum triggers!

If you are blessed to own a set of decent drum triggers, you have a powerful tool in your studio. Having your drum set miked, the triggers attached and a trigger-to-midi module like the Alesis Trigger|io you can track your acoustic drums as well as midi data that matches your takes perfectly. So.. why do this? Well, if your recording in your basement your drum tracks are not going to be the most professional sounding. So, using the drum triggers you can layer in high quality samples (that were recorded in a pro studio) or replace your kick, snare, toms and if you have really nice triggers, even cymbals and hats.

Thanks for reading!

This is just a few more things to think about when recording next. I hope these posts and future ones like these inspire you to make some great music. (we'd love to hear it!) If you liked this article, we ask you, please share it, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

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