The Cheapest Way To Get Into A Pro Tools Recording Setup

An extremely affordable way to set up a home recording studio based around the powerful Digidesign Pro Tools 8 LE.

Digidesign Mbox-2 Mini Recording Bundle
Digidesign Mbox-2 Mini Recording Bundle

    Not only do I play professionally in a live band but I’ve also been a home recording enthusiast for many years. My first piece of recording equipment was my good old Tascam Portastudio 4-track which came with microphone, mic cord and a box of good cassettes. I made a lot of great recordings on that old Tascam and eventually wore the recording heads out. After the Tascam died I moved to a Fostex hard disk based recording setup that I built up to create a 24-track studio. But to get in line with the rest of the recording industry I had to build a Digidesign Pro Tools based recording studio.

   I now have a Digi 003 rack system running Pro Tools LE in my home studio. It has been a great system to work with and I’ve become really good with computer based audio editing. It would be really difficult to go back to editing tracks without the ease of being able to edit audio on the computer. Pro Tools is a very powerful program that is fairly easy to learn but can be a challenge to master. If you’re going to get into home recording, I recommend starting with an entry level Pro Tools LE system.    Continue reading “The Cheapest Way To Get Into A Pro Tools Recording Setup”

Creating Sonic Space Between Instruments Before Mixdown

Create sonic space between instruments while working out parts and you will save a lot of trouble during mixdown.

Bill and Frank work out parts in the practice room.
Bill and Frank work out parts in the practice room.

  How many times have you spent a lot of time recording your new masterpiece only to come to the mixdown and finding that there are way too many low frequencies? It sucks when you get to mixdown and you have to filter out frequencies on the bass guitar just so it will have some presence in the mix. Having too many low frequencies in the mix is something that you will struggle with at your live shows as well. The biggest cause of too many low frequencies that I have found over the course of my live and recording career is the simple fact that the players in the band are playing in the same frequency range as each other at the same time. I’m not talking about lovely unison lines but when two or more instruments are playing different parts at the same time in the same frequency range.

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Set Delays On The Beat With The Delay Effect Formula

Use these formulas to calculate delay times to match the Beats Per Minute (BPM) of your music.

Yamaha SPX2000
Yamaha SPX2000 Digital Effects Processor

   One of the tricks of the trade when it comes to mixing down recordings is synchronizing the delay settings with the beat of the song. It gives your recorded tracks a very smooth and even feel when the delays are hitting on the beat or on divisions of the beat. These days, so many live bands are using sequenced tracks or recorded backing tracks that it’s an essential skill as a live musician to be able to set your delay effects to hit with the beat of the song that you’re playing. With all of the excellent digital delays and digitally controlled analog delays it’s easier than ever to get your delay effect units set to the beat of the song you’re playing.

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Master Sony Acid Pro 6 With Power!: The Official Guide

Acid Pro 6 Power! The Official Guide

   If you’ve been reading Live Musician Central for very long I’m sure you know I absolutely love Sony Acid Pro 6 Professional Music Workstation software. It’s extremely powerful and can be the heart of your own home recording studio. Sony Acid Pro 6 is a very capable and deep program which is easy to learn but can be a challenge to master. Today I want to turn you on to an excellent guide written by D. Erik Franks called “ACID Pro 6 Power!: The Official Guide“.

   Acid Pro 6 Power is a deep, detailed look at the capabilities of Sony Acid Pro 6. The users manual that comes with Sony Acid Pro 6 will tell you the basic features of Acid but it doesn’t take you very deep into how to get the full benefit of those features. That’s where “Acid Pro 6 Power!” comes in handy to fill all those missing details. There is something for every skill level in “Acid Pro 6 Power!” and it can take your music productions to the very highest quality possible with Sony Acid. Continue reading “Master Sony Acid Pro 6 With Power!: The Official Guide”

Getting Proper Equalization With EQ Frequencies

Proper equalization is one of the most important things you can do to improve your bands live sound as well as your recordings.

Mackie Quad EQ

One of the most important aspects of mixing music in a live venue or in the studio is the use of equalization. The other day I wrote about how to tweak your guitar amplifier EQ settings. Today I’m going to write about the effect of equalization on other parts of the mix.

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Which Songs To Put On Your Demo Recording

Billy Joel Demo Tape

   One of the most important pieces of marketing material you will produce for your band is your demo recording. I’ve already discussed using a live recording in your marketing kit as opposed to a studio produced recording. Today I would like to discuss your song selection that you will be including on your demo. The songs you choose for your demo can sell your band in many different ways.

   I guess it’s a no-brainer that you will want to put your best songs on the demo recording. What determines your best songs? A combination of different things. Obviously you want the songs that you actually play the best. These would be the songs that the band knows like the back of their hand. Songs that you play perfectly every time you play them. It’s very important that you give a great consistent performance of your demo songs so when you play them in another club you will sound like your demo.    Continue reading “Which Songs To Put On Your Demo Recording”

Preserving Your Musical Legacy

Archive Those Tapes With Mass Storage

   As a musician I’ve wondered what my legacy will be. Will anyone remember or care that I worked so hard at music for so many years after I’ve gone? I’m hoping that at least my kids will remember and care about my musical legacy after I’m gone. So what is something concrete that you can leave behind? I believe that the recordings that you should be making over the course of your career will be the biggest evidence that you really gave music your best shot. A good body of recorded work will document your life as a musician in a way that nothing else will. It will show your progression from beginner to being the best you could possibly be. A good body of recorded work will bring you a lot of enjoyment as you get older and want to take a trip down memory lane to see where you’ve come from as well. I know listening to my old recordings makes me feel really good about where I am now.

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Get A Good Music Recorder

Olympus LS-10 Linear PCM Recorder

   There are a lot of incredibly good audio recorders on the market right now. They are compact and handheld with built-in stereo microphones. Having one in your gear arsenal is very important for a number of reasons.

   I’ve written before about how important it is to record your live performances. You can learn so much from hearing your gigs back on a recording. Having a recorder like the
Olympus LS-10 Linear PCM Recorder
 can make recording your live shows as easy as setting the recorder up in the back of the room and letting it record. Since it’s all digital you can edit out dead spaces later. Making a back of the room recording is a good idea because it really lets you hear what the audience is hearing. You can also capture the audience reaction to your performance. If you get good at placing the recorder where it picks up well, you could end up with an excellent live recording that you could use as a demo in your bands marketing kit.      Continue reading “Get A Good Music Recorder”

Putting Together Your Band Demo CD

Make A Live Recording

One of the most important parts of your bands marketing strategy is your Demo CD. The Demo CD is going to be one of your biggest selling points in getting new gigs for your band. I’m going to give you a few tips for putting together a Demo CD that will help sell your band to club owners.

   I was listening to Demo CD’s one night with a club owner who was trying to sift through prospective band for his club. I remember he kept saying things like “Studio recording”, “Studio Effects”, and “Too Produced”. And he would toss those Demo CD’s in the trash. What the guy was looking for was a live representation of how the band would sound when they played in his club.

   So the most important aspect of putting together a successful Demo CD is to make a good live recording of your band. Preferably with a lot of crowd cheering mixed in. Club owners want an accurate snapshot of how you’ll sound playing in their club. They want to hear how you talk to the crowd and how the crowd is reacting to you. So a live CD is the must for getting into clubs.

   If you do want to mix a few studio tracks on your Demo CD that’s okay, but put them at the end. Club owners really don’t care what you sound like in the studio. The best thing to do is have the live demo for the club owners and a studio demo to give to fans at your shows. The studio demos should also have some live tracks at the end because you never know when one of your fans is going to put a Demo CD in the hands of someone who can line gigs up for you.

   There are a couple ways to capture a good live CD. One is to record your show at a club that you regularly play at and hopefully you’ll catch a good night. Another way is to control things a bit more and invite a rowdy crowd of friends to a more controlled environment for recording. I’ve done both and the demo’s we’ve recorded with a crowd of friends has usually turned out better just because the band was more relaxed and interacting easier with the crowd. Remember, the club owners want to hear some stage banter.

   Finally, put your best songs on the Demo CD. Make sure they’re the songs that everybody will know and recognize. If you want to really show off your skills with a highly technical song, only put one on. Also, unless you want to play weddings, only put one slow song on the Disc.

   It’s really excellent practice to record all your live shows because you never know when you’re going to have that perfect gig. You just may get the live recording of a lifetime. So be prepared by having a recorder at the gig recording your show.

Recording and Live Sound Gear at Music123



Preparing For A Studio Recording Session

Abby Road Recording Studio

   So you’ve finally got enough songs, enough time and enough cash to get yourself some studio time and record that album you’ve always dreamed about. So what else do you need to do to get ready to make every minute count?

   The number one most important thing is to have the songs fully written and learned before going into the studio. You don’t want to waste valuable studio time making changes to the songwriting in the studio. You should have all your instrument parts learned including solos. Your singer should have all the lyrics memorized and everyone should have their backup vocal parts learned and memorized. Continue reading “Preparing For A Studio Recording Session”