Thursday, June 4, 2015

DIY recording at home on the cheap

aka Ways to get people to listen to your music without selling your soul to the music biz.

Want to do some recording but cant afford to go to a recording studio? 

Well, invest any money you do have in setting up a basic home studio. 

Don’t know where to start even? Well... its not that hard. Trust me. It just requires setting up some basic things. Some of which you may have already. 

For the money you would spend on recording an album, and most likely even much less, you can set yourself up at home to make perfectly decent recordings.

The brain

Get yourself an OK decent computer. It doesn’t need to be really expensive. 

A basic PC laptop will do or a Mac Book.

If you get a Mac Book pro you can still buy the version with a CD burner. Otherwise you gotta get an external CD drive if you want to make your own CDRs. 

Alrighty. Now we have to find ways to capture your sound.

The ear

That requires a microphone. So you have one but cant afford a USB interface.

Well, just get one of these.  An Icicle. It converts any 3 pin XLR mic into a USB mic. I usually just use a shure 58 which is a good all rounder. 

Or get a USB mic. These aren’t cheap and don’t sound great usually. But if you are really skint, your Singstar game has some shitty USB mics. 

You plug the mic into the computer with a fat USB out of the mic into a regular usb input into your computer.

The nervous system

If ya wanna be all fancy get a USB interface but really you don’t need one anymore. 

But really if you want to get a little serious (this is optional) you might as well get a USB mixer.

Its pretty sweet. Its got 6 lines in. So you can record and EQ (basically) a bunch of things. Its got 2 XLR inputs so you can plug mics straight in. Its also got 6 1/4 inch jack inputs (guitar lead plugs). So plug in your other instruments or contact mics, or whatever you use.

There’s set frequencies on the EQs of this mixer, but you you do have Low, Mid and High on it. Having the mid is good so you can try to get out those nasty ringy sounds you can get, like on tom drums. 

OK, so you want more effects and you only have a couple of pedals. Link them in after your instrument or mic, before you plug into the mixer.

The memory

Now we need something to record to.

There are a bunch of free things out there, or cheap. I am not going to bother to list them.  If you have a mac you have Garageband. I recommend a good starter though is Audacity.
There is a PC and Mac version.

You can make your own decisions with it more easily than Garageband. I find that fun but like a lolly shop.

The mouth

Now for listening back.
Well get some decent headphones.  You don’t have to spend a fortune. You can get away with just these and no monitors if you do this.

When you have done your mix, burn off a cd. (eg, you could make a playlist in iTunes and burn off an audio CD from there). Play it everywhere to see if it sounds ok. In your car, on a boom box, the stereo. Also, put it in your phone or ipod.. check it 

This way, you can go back and play with your sound (my next post) to get a better sound, or however you want it to sound (hee hee) by going back and changing it. 

If you cant afford decent monitor speakers but want something, just get some good computer speakers... big ones with box like speakers. 

Next post will be “how to make it sound better even though you don’t know how to master” 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Furchick (Claire Pannell) currently resides in Perth, Australia. She is a prolific DIY noise-art maker, who incorporates science into her creations. She takes her sounds from the natural vibrations created from everyday objects. In 2014 Claire created sound design for Jukstapoz Dance Company based in Athens, Greece. She also performed and ran workshops at the Audacious Festival in Christchurch, New Zealand. Some of her past projects include playing with the Laundry Room Squelchers (USA) at the International Noise Conference in Sydney and Melbourne, playing drums in Gerard Cosloy’s improv noise project Air Traffic Controllers in NYC and jam bands including Sexy Band with Chris Cobilis in Perth, The Armaround with Tom Greenwood and the Crawley Creeps with Josh Diamond of Gang Gang Dance in the USA. She has performed at Sound Summit in Newcastle and toured New Zealand in 2014, 2013 and 2012. She is included on several on-line album projects for New Weird Australia and the upcoming Ladyz in Noize CD.