Alright producers, we know that you have the music process down. Let's review: 1. write music that is phenomenal, 2. record the music on a CD/Cassette (does anybody still use cassette tapes?) Tape/DVD, 3. copyright the songs, 4. register the songs with a P.R.O, 5. promote the songs and set up tours, 6. Gig and "merch" and eventually continue the process until you reach your goals.
We won't focus on all of the steps, let's look at step number 2. Recoding music has so many variables and different methods that it may be difficult to decide which one is best for you. Before we go any further, it is crucial to know that no matter how great your song is; a recording can make or break it! I went to a live recording (to support a friend of mine), to check out their songs. The band was awesome, the singers where on point, and the soloists were phenomenal. The night seemed like a great success. Then the CD came out, and I was very surprised! The songs were not well mixed and the CD came out sounding like a bunch of noise.
I felt bad for the artist, musicians, and the singers. They really had no control over the sound. Their only job was to make certain that they were on point, and they were. I was mad at the sound engineer, the production company, and the person doing the mixing. You really can't fault the mastering house, they only have control over the mixed down version (meaning left and right summation of all the sound) of the sound that was given to them. I can't imagine paying for a product that was lackluster in quality. Remember this one truth: "mastering houses cannot fix a poorly mixed album! If you give them trash, they'll only give the trash back to you, and what you'll have is loud trash." Don't get mad at me! I'm just trying to help you out. Most places that do distribution, won't care about your album quality! They get paid for reproducing what you gave them!
So let's look at the elements in recording. You generally have two options: recording live, where all the musicians, singers, and artists record at the same time. Recording in the studio is another option. This option can still foster the benefits of live recording, but allows flexibility to record individual parts by themselves. You can even blend the two options together, as many recording artists do. This option costs more money; however gives you a chance to capture the "atmosphere" of the live recording, while changing parts of the songs that didn't come out quite right.
Let's dive deeper into the recording methods. To record live common setups include: the instruments, microphones, monitors, PA system, power amps, mixing consoles, and a recording device. Most of the venues have the sound system in place, all you need is the instruments and the recording device. However, you want to do your homework and check out what the venue has to offer you. In cases where you're recording in a studio, they pretty much have everything you need right there (they just need you)! Again you must do your homework and see what instruments and recording equipment they have. You don't want to record your songs on an acoustic guitar when they were written for an electric guitar!
You might want to start your own studio, and there are some things you'll definitely need! One you'll need a strong computer (this will hold your recording programs, and more), some musical instruments (at least a MIDI controller for now), some microphones, a mixing board, studio monitors, a digital audio workstation setup (Ableton, Cakewalk, Pro-Tools, etc), some editing equipment or software, and a good set of headphones.
If you wanted to expand your business, I would recommend acquiring a digital recorder (Roland VS-2000 for example), and a carrying case for it. Most venues have the rest of the equipment, though you should look at upgrading your studio with live equipment as well. Now you can start to offer a blend to your clientele offering the ability to record live and in the studio.
Here's a tip for the studio production, use MIDI often. As discussed in earlier articles, MIDI offers the most control and the most flexibility. There are some great virtual instruments as well. These VI's are controlled by MIDI, but offer many, many, more samples than a single instrument could. Did I also mention that you can modify the sounds,coming up with custom and original sounds? Again, it's possible to do a lot in the studio! No one method is absolute, though it doesn't make sense to reinvent the wheel. Use what works for you, and discard what doesn't.
Again, remember that Low Key Music Entertainment is here to help people out. The equipment needed for live recordings, as well as equipment needed for your studio, can be found online in our Low Key Store. Not only do we offer the equipment that you need, we have the ability to price them where musicians on a shoe-string budget can afford!
Don't forget to subscribe to the Low Key Music Entertainment Newsletter! All we need is some basic info on the right side of this page. We won't sell it to anybody, anytime, for any reason! You'll not only get an inside look at the company, but you'll know ahead of time what to expect in the near future. Find out what new equipment we're expecting, what hot deals are coming out, and as a special "thank-you" deals that are exclusive to our subscribers (you can keep a secret can't you)! Oh, did I forget to mention that the subscription is FREE! Doesn't cost you a penny! Ever! Don't wait, and don't delay! Sign up today, check out the store and make your wish list. When you see a deal that works for you, take it!
As always family, we thank you for your support. We want to hear from you! Really!!! For example: "what is your favorite Virtual Instrument?" Which is better Pro-tools or Sonar? If you had a dream studio, what would be inside of it? Leave a comment, drop a line, tweet about it, then get back into the studio and do some work!
Until next time family,
Long live music, and rock on!
D. Grady Scott Jr