Wednesday, November 12, 2008

New Toys

We all like new toys to play with, especially when they are some sort of techie gadget. Well, I got one such thing last week. The Zoom H4 is a handheld 96k 24bit digital recorder. I love it! So far, I've used the direct inputs to record our band's rehearsal straight off the board, and used the built-in stereo mics to record some toilet flushes, crickets, and basement noise. I'm excited to try out the 4-track mode to record some things in a surround fashion. Although I'm just getting to know the H4, I look forward to the possibilities it will provide for recording. I will post a few audio samples in the next blog.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Demo in a Day

Many artists and bands think they need to spend months recording a quality demo. This thought comes from hearing about how such and such band spent 6 months recording their latest masterpiece. Well, contrary to popular belief, this can be done in a single day. One day! No working on getting a good guitar sound for 3 days, no trying out hundreds of guitars and picks, finding just the right one. The idea is to get your music out to the public. No one will care what pick you used on what song. They will however be more likely to enjoy your music if it's available to them. Here are three simple steps to ensure a great demo, and have it done in a day.

  1. Book an entire day at the studio:

By recording an entire day, time is not wasted with multiple setups and take downs. This also helps keep the flow of the project without having to backtrack.

  1. Record one song at a time:

Instead of recording one instrument on multiple songs, record all the parts for one song, then move on to the next. This keeps the unity of the song alive and is especially important for vocalists who need to rest their voices.

  1. Prepare and know your songs:

Choose your 3 best songs and have them perfected, so when you arrive at the studio, you are not paying to practice. When everyone is prepared, it makes the most efficient use of studio time.

Follow these steps and you will have your music out and ready for people to hear in no time.....or at least in a day.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

AES San Francisco

This week I'm blogging from the windy city, no wait, the cold, no, errr. Nevermind. I'm in San Francisco for the Audio Engineering Society conference. It will be a fun-filled week, so I'll let you know how it goes in a few more days. 

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Dave Ensor Chronicles

This week has been an interesting one filled with a new project from Washington D.C. signer/songwriter Dave Ensor. Tracking for the first two songs is nearly complete. Starting with the usual foundation, drums and bass were recorded live here at the home studio. The next day, electric guitar was done. A few days later, acoustic guitar and vocals were done at Night Flight Studios.
For the drums, the overheads went through a PreSonus, kick was through a Behr T1953 tube preamp, and toms and snare went straight into the 002. Bass was done DI only. 
A nice little touch I like to put on drums is a triple parallel compression technique. One bus of drums is compressed hard, another is left uncompressed, and the other is reverbed then compresssed. Add these three together, and voila, a great drum sound. 
More will be coming on specific mix techniques as this project evolves. Stay tuned.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Keepin' Up With the Times

Well, some of us have been around in the recording industry for a little while, some a long while, and yet others were born before any of it was invented. In the last 10 years I have seen a lot of changes in recording technology. The biggest of these is the computer based DAW. (that's Digital Audio Workstation for the real newbies.) My first experience in recording was with DAT tapes. (That's Digital Audio Tape) tapes. Kinda redundant, like ATM (Automatic Teller Machine) machine, or PIN number. Many dat machines are still in use today. In fact I know one top classical engineer who swears by them for tracking.
Anyways, I am excited to see what the next 10 years brings to the world of audio recording. No more hard drives, songs that mix themselves, automatic loudness, gain, pitch, and timing, for everyone. Who knows? In ten years, what us pros are doing now, kids will be doing in 3rd grade music class. I am excited to see the next generation of audio engineers. I'm still young enough, that could include me too. 

Feel free to share any interesting stories of how things have changed in recording.


Monday, August 18, 2008

Welcome Back on the Wagon

Well, it's been a long time since the last post. So in order to make up for it, there is going to be a new blog post EVERY WEEK! "Every Week" you say? Yes, Every Week, a brand new blog posting. With that, let me tell you what's been happening here lately.

Things have been busy here at CHS. The new website is up and running, with a few more finishing touches to do. Link is on the right. The Podcasts are starting back up. You can subscribe to those here

A few new projects have been in the works, namely "Baby Beats". This is a production intended for young babies and toddlers that helps their mental development by introducing them to rhythmic ideas at an early age. The album is comprised of many different styles of music and a lot of different percussion instruments. Some of these are: bongos, congas, djembe, dumbek, cowbell, claves, shakers, shekere, rain stick, wood blocks, typewriter, traditional drumset, marching drums, household items that clunk, bang, thud, or smack, among others. In all, it's turning out to be quite fun. My 17 month old daughter and some nieces and nephews have been great test subjects.

As with the last post, we would like to have more questions to answer and discuss, so feel free to talk about anything audio recording related.
See ya next week.