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Old 05-24-2007, 12:08 AM   #1
ZBomber
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Question Question for musicians...

Has anyone here ever recorded an album? I've written so many songs (over 50 now) and I'm working with a few of my friends to turn them into complete songs. If it all turns out good, I wanna record them onto an album. Now, what I wanna know is how much would this set me back? I'm not looking for a record deal or anything, I just want to make a few copies just to have for the band and a few friends. I'm really proud of the lyrics I've written (one is gonna be an 18+ minute song with 8 parts within... rather Rush-esque) so I'm really serious about recording them. I've been fooling with the idea since about March. How much time would it take approxiametly to record about... 50 minutes of music? Do rates go by hour? By day? Any advice would be really appreciated... I dont have money now but as soon as I get a job I'm gonna start saving, and I dont wanna get screwed outta my money. Thanks guys.


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Old 05-24-2007, 06:15 AM   #2
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Rates? If you don't have much money, I'd say get the software to do it yourself. Pro Tools for example.


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Old 05-24-2007, 06:20 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZBomber
Has anyone here ever recorded an album? I've written so many songs (over 50 now) and I'm working with a few of my friends to turn them into complete songs.
You're better just use pro tools or adobe audition like Colostomy advised. They're much cheaper, and work just fine for the quality you'd be shooting for.

Also, please tell me that your 18min+ epic does not have only G-C-D for a chord progression...

Good luck, though.



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Old 05-24-2007, 08:36 AM   #4
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Yup. A pro studio can run into the hundreds, if not thousands of dollars an hour. If you don't have a huge recording contract then you had better have a rich daddy.

Better to head off to Guitar Center and pick up a decent software/ hardware recording package, and do things at your own pace.

If you already have a modern PC, then all you will need is an interface to get audio into the comp, the software to record and edit it, and a couple of halfway decent mics.

Shouldn't set you back more than a couple of hundred for a starter package (I personally recommend the M-Audio stuff...)

Once you get comfortable you can upgrade and/or expand on that until you have a OK personal studio.


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Old 05-24-2007, 03:16 PM   #5
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First of all, ed, love your av.

I thought about getting the equipment myself. However, it made me think that there might not be a large different after I buy the mics, the software, the equipment etc. Also, I wouldnt wanna spend all that money and the quality of the recordings was ****.

I also dont know how to mix, although I gotta admit mixing an album together sounds really appealing to me, I doubt I'd be able to do a decent job. While I'm not aiming for perfection because I know I couldnt achieve it, I wanna be able to invest into something that'd I'd enjoy listening to.

Thanks for your advice everyone.

And Ty, no :-p


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Old 05-24-2007, 05:26 PM   #6
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If you're talking about miking up an entire drum kit, expect a long process. Getting decent drum sounds takes quite a while, even in a pro studio, and when it comes to mixing, mastering, etc etc etc, it could be upwards of several months to even a year to get everything down to a finished product if you're picky (and everyone is). Just throwing up a few room mics in a basement is the cheap, easy way but you can easily stretch the process out as long as possible.

To give you an idea, my cousin cut a 30 minute CD on his Mac using a drum machine and doing all the instruments and vocal overdubs himself, and it took him about a year to get the whole thing done from finishing the songs to having the CDs in his hand.


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Old 05-25-2007, 07:25 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZBomber
First of all, ed, love your av.

I thought about getting the equipment myself. However, it made me think that there might not be a large different after I buy the mics, the software, the equipment etc. Also, I wouldnt wanna spend all that money and the quality of the recordings was ****.

I also dont know how to mix, although I gotta admit mixing an album together sounds really appealing to me, I doubt I'd be able to do a decent job. While I'm not aiming for perfection because I know I couldnt achieve it, I wanna be able to invest into something that'd I'd enjoy listening to.

Thanks for your advice everyone.
RE Avi:
Yeah... I've been in a Rush kind of mood lately.

Well, if you can find someone just starting out with a small project studio, you might be able to get it done cheap. Put some fliers up in local music shops or something.
Maybe you can even volunteer to be a guinea pig for someone who is trying to learn their gear better. Maybe you might even get free time that way... as long as you are willing to live with what you get. A buddy of mine recorded his first demo album that way.

I know at Berklee the production students are always looking for bands to produce and record. Hang around schools where they teach recording classes long enough, and someone is bound to grab you.

But a fully pro studio isn't going to be cheap.

I'm a sound engineer. I'm mostly doing live sound these days. I've kind of lost track of the studio scene... but it's really changed since I started 10 years ago.
Back then, to record a demo, you had to go into a studio for a couple of days or weeks, and get as much done before the money ran out.

Now, you take that same money, buy a Macbook, a Digidesign interface with ProTools LE, a handful of mics and DI boxes, and record at your own pace in bedrooms, cellars, and garages.

Remember, you can always rent more gear to compliment what you have, too.

My best advice to you is to still get the recording package, experiment with it for a while until you get sounds you like. Rent some mics for a few days, record all the "basics" (drum, bass, rhythm guitar tracks...) then record vocals and overdubs at your leisure after returning the rental mics,.. THEN worry about the mix. You can always take your tracks to someone who knows more about it than you do for mixdown after the fact.

And once you watch them in action, then you will probably be able to do it yourself the next time.

As a matter of fact, if you own the gear, you can always pay a freelancer to come and work on the gear you have... and maybe compliment your stuff with what they have.

I don't get out of bed for anything less than $30 an hour, however. And that's my "white glove" rate... just for showing up and working on decent, well maintained gear.

If I have to cart gear, set everything up, rent equipment, or troubleshoot what you have, my rate goes up accordingly from there.


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Last edited by edlib; 05-25-2007 at 07:55 AM.
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Old 05-25-2007, 07:51 PM   #8
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^^The student thing's not a bad idea cash-wise, but the problem is that you've got students running the show, and who knows what they'll come up with. I highly doubt you'd get anything like 50 minutes of music recorded; more than likely a 3-song demo is about all you'd get out of that, and even then God only knows how long it'd take for anything finished-product quality to come through the pipes. That's if you get one at all. Who knows if they'll finish the assignment, get another band, drop out, etc etc etc.

But as edlib said, the same amount of money it'd cost for studio and engineer time to record a CD can just as easily be spent on the gear to do it yourself at your own pace.
And that way, you've got the stuff forever, don't have to worry about studio rates or student sound guys fubaring your songs and never finishing mixing, and whatever other myriad headaches you run into trying to record around everyone else's schedules.


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Old 05-26-2007, 01:51 PM   #9
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Pretty good advice, thanks. What equipment would you recommend I start off with if I deicde to do that?


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Let the truth of love be lighted
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Sensibility
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Old 05-26-2007, 02:06 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZBomber
Pretty good advice, thanks. What equipment would you recommend I start off with if I deicde to do that?
The recording software, a mic or two along with a preamp, and ideally since you're a guitarist something along the lines of a Line 6 Pod XT or a M-audio Black Box so that you have a wide selection of amps and effects without spending too much money.

For instance, M-audio's GuitarBox gives you Pro Tools to record, the Black Box for your guitar and mics, and then all you really need after that is microphones for vocals or other instruments. It's pricey, but it's about the amount you'd pay for an hour of studio time.



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Old 05-26-2007, 02:26 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZBomber
Pretty good advice, thanks. What equipment would you recommend I start off with if I deicde to do that?
Mix your drums last. You can use a garageband-esque drumkit until you want to mix real drum sounds in.
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Old 05-26-2007, 03:15 PM   #12
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Would I need a mixer too? Or is that included in the GuitarBox? 500 isnt that bad actually. Also, I have Soundforge 6.0 on my computer... but not sure if that'd help much?

BTW - I'm doing the bass. I have 2 really good guitarist friends and my drummer is going to Berklee for drumming. So getting a good drum sound is pretty important because its gonna play a big role in the songs. No vocalists yet, I'm really picky and cant find anyone who I think would be able to do a good job.


Last.FM - Ow, give up the funk
Let the truth of love be lighted
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Sensibility
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With the heart and mind united
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Old 05-26-2007, 05:47 PM   #13
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^^Oh, so you are going with a live drum kit. Hmm. Mic-wise, you might (just might) get away with miking the kick, snare and hihat and putting up a couple of overheads for the cymbals and toms. That's pretty much the minimum you'll get away with. And you will need to get your drum sounds decent before committing them to your hard drive; the bane of any recording session is the phrase "fix it in the mixing phase". Doing the drums, you'll probably want to DI your bass and play along with the drummer so he knows what's going on, and as a bass player myself I always mixed the DI track with a live mic from my amp to get the finished bass sound. Of course, I'm a graduate of the Lemmy Kilmister school of chords and distortion, so I always had to have the rawness of my big amp mixed with the clarity of a DI signal.

It's been 15 years since I did my recording school thing, so I have no idea what digital options are available these days for mixing. Capn Collostomy mentioned ProTools; that's one I do recognize, although it's probably unrecognizable from the first versions I'd be familiar with.

Tip: Always always always get the sound of anything the way you like before committing it to tape/HD. It's a long, tedious and frustrating process sometimes, but it's far less of a headache than trying to gussy up sounds later on. If your bass sounds like a flat tire and the guitar tone sounds like a bee buzzing around in a coffee can, fix it before hitting the record button.


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Old 05-26-2007, 06:38 PM   #14
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Soundforge is more of editing and mastering software for the finished mix.

If you can get your hands on a mixer to record the drums, so much the better. If you don't know anybody with one, rent one with the appropriate mics.

You will need a computer interface with at least 10 inputs to do that properly, especially if you are doing scratch vocal, bass, and guitar tracks at the same time.

It's sounding more like you might need something like this: http://www.m-audio.com/products/en_u...1814-main.html and a mixer to feed those 1/4 inch inputs. Someone you know must have a Mackie mixer, though. Again, you can always rent one if not.

If you drummer goes to Berklee, then he can always ask around for an engineering/ production student looking to expand thier chops. If you can get someone to record you guys for basics, then you can always go back and put on all the finishing touches later yourselves.


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