My New Home Studio :-) Feb 22, 2010 14:19:54 GMT -5
Post by "The Freq" on Feb 22, 2010 14:19:54 GMT -5
Above is the main area for my studio and drum section 1. To the left is a huge double bass drumkit (not shown) which is one of the 2 drum areas I have. 2 different style kits for different sounds. I will break the big kit down once in a while and set up near the computer like in the second photo. This method is easier when I have to record a fast single song project.
This is the second drum area with my small custom built kit. With 2 drum areas and kits set up, I can achieve a wide variety of drum sounds by simply plugging in the mic cables.
On the left in this photo is my guitar amp section. Lots of room to place mikes in front, low ceilings for great sound and a work area for repairing cables and what not. All the amps I use for recording are easily reached and plugged into.
Some of the guitar amps in my studio.
Over the past few decades I have recorded numerous projects in other peoples home studios or in pro studios but I was never happy with the drum sounds I got. This simple quest got me hooked on doing my own home recording. I originally started with reel to reel machines and loved the drum sounds I was getting but the problem was the limit of how many tracks I had. Computers have opened up the home recording studio market so I decided to spend a lot of time researching gear, techniques and costs. I'm a huge fan of the old school sounds achieved by bands, Led Zepplin, The Who, Rush, etc, and what they used to get their sounds. I am NOT a fan of editing every single note until it's in the perfect spot. That too me kills the sound of music and that way of recording has killed the music industry. It's boring to listen to and most of all, uninspiring to hear everyone sound perfect. I want to hear what a band truly sounds like.
So my quest was for a simple set up that gave me as much sound editing possibilities for drums as possible. I wanted the easiest most efficient interface to take my drum signals and send it to the computer on as many tracks as I needed. I achieved that with a MOTU 24 channel interface. I also purchased a new computer that is based on the 64 bit Windows 7 platform. My choice of recording software is Sonar 8 with tons of plugins. I also have external effects units including a Yamaha SPX990 and others.
My board of choice is the Mackie 1604VLZ. I have 2 of those. Most of this hardware is used with my front house P.A. with my band but I find the Mackie great for recording. I am currently looking into buying a used Mackie 32.8x8 board strictly for recording. Why this board? It's easy. I listen to the band Porcupine Tree and have talked a lot with their drummer Gavin Harrison on the Drummerworld forum about what he uses and I'll tell you right now, he has the best drum sound I've ever heard using basic style gear like mine and his soundboard of choice is the Mackie 32.8.8.
On his recordings I can hear every piece of his kit clearly and it's got a tight punchy sound. It's not over produced, it's not compressed to shit like most of the music crap that's on the market and most of all, it shows how dynamic a player he is. I decided that my recording rig had to capture clarity of my drums. I want my drums to sound like ....MY DRUMS and not some mutated studio crap. I swear, I've recorded 8 album projects for local artists in my area and tons of single songs and radio jingles and in each case, my drum sound gets mutilated by an engineer that doesn't understand drums. Now that I have my own studio, guess what? I have in one recording session achieved sounds and clarity so pleasing to my ears that I may never leave my studio again. |O| To put it as simply as possible.. Studios in my area do not understand clarity with drums. I recently did 2 albums for the bands Wishbone and Huckster and what was so disappointing to me is that I cannot hear some of the drum stuff I played. Either the cymbals are buried or the ghost strokes are gated out or whatever. It's very disappointing and it's not how I perceived the final albums to be. People can quote their asses off about what the norm is for recording or that this is how drums are these days but I'm sorry, if you spend all that time recording the drums, you should have clarity to hear what ever part of the kit is being played. I think it's stupid for me to listen to a CD I've recorded and sit there and try and fight to hear what I played. This has happened so many times to me I was at the point I was going to scream. Clarity is not a trick. Clarity is what a recording should be about right from the start. This constant burying of sounds under noise gates or effects drives me bonkers.
So now I'm in the ball park to get songs I've written recorded on my new gear. I did some tests using a cheap yet well maintained set of "Tempo" drums made in Japan in the 60's. I used no muffling what so ever and just created a simple 2 minute test song which was eventually layered with guitars, bass and vocal. The end result was so pleasing that I almost cried. FINALLY with a limited budget and gear I have a result that I can live with. I don't care what anyone else thinks as most have no clue on recording anyways but my drums sound like.... my drums, my guitars sound like my guitars and so on. I have killer guitars, drums and bass guitars and when I go into someone elses studio, I expect to hear my sound. It just never ever happened with local sound studios.
Now here's a funny story. I did a lot of research on monitor speakers for my home studio. I asked a lot of people and heard what they were using. Then, after researching, I heard about these industry standard speakers, NS10M by Yamaha. It is said that if you get a good mix on these speakers, the mix will sound great on anything. Some people I know have spent fortunes on gear and monitors but I kept thinking about these Yamaha's and what made them so special. Some people I know were buying specially made monitors strictly for this purpose. Well, in my opinion, for home recording, all this over teched, over geared crap is horseshit. I've heard the final products from a lot of my local area studios and you know what? It's average at best. So I read more about these Yamaha speakers. It turns out that these speakers were not designed for studios at all. They were designed to be a simple shelf speaker for a home stereo. Some guy in England decided to try them for a studio and the rest in history. With that in mind I said to myself that I am not going to buy Yamahas or any other made for recording type speaker. I simply went for a small, well designed speaker that didn't cost me a fortune and that fit my studio size wise and volume wise. I ended up with a very solid JBL speaker, with re-coned speakers and ya know what.. they're used, but mint, and I love them. They are perfect for my needs. I did some test recordings then burned a few CD's and played the CD's on different media players aka car stereo, home stereo, ghetto blaster and guess what.. I am happy with the mix and most of all, the clarity.
True, sound is an individuals taste but clarity should be a universal rule. :-) So as I experiment with my new gear I am getting use to getting sounds that I have missed in other peoples recordings that I have done. I'm not sure what others are listening to or maybe it's just that they don't understand drums but I just couldn't stand having my drumming buried in a final mix anymore on a CD. No, I don't mean a volume thing as being louder.. It's just clarity.
My studio is for me and the projects I'm involved with. People have been asking me for the past month for me to record them and the answer is no. I did this studio venture for me only. There are plenty of studios around and I am in no means interested in doing this as a business. I want to love recording and I want to learn something new every day about it but the bottom line is that it's just for my own use.
You say I don't have enough quality gear to do the job? That's absolute horseshit. There's a band called "The Black Keys" with 2 players only, who have recorded great sounding albums with such minimal gear, you'd shake your head on the awesome results. It's up to you the individual to experiment. If the Beatles could record masterpieces on 4 and 8 track recorders, we home studio bums can at least achieve satisfaction on home recordings for CD's for our own home towns to buy and listen. You're basically wanting a good sounding demo. That's what it's about. You're not going to beat pro recording studios so bite your lip and just concentrate on the best product with what you have. ;-)
Why not Protools software? It's easy.. Most home recording studios will only have Protools LE which is a limited product. Good, but limited. I found Sonar 8 superior. I have both and Sonar is better. Protools LE and Protools HD are NOT the same. You can brag all you want that you have Protools but unless you have the HD version that's like 10 grand and up for the various packages, you aren't any better than Sonar.
Why not a Mac?.. it's easy. I wanted a 64 bit computer system that didn't dry up my bank account. I own a Mac for my graphics but hardware and software for a PC are cheaper. Always have been.
You can achieve great results on both formats so it's not a question of what is better. It's a question of cost and what is best for you.
Macs now use Intel chips so soon I'm sure, Microsoft will own Apple computers and then that'll be the end of the debates.. |O|
Why not build a pretty studio with all the fixin's? Are you nuts? I'm not out to spend a gazillion dollars to record my music. The idea is to make it work with what I have. I have a basement with a low roof that gives me great sound. I'm not doing anything to the walls or floors or ceilings. I'm not building separate rooms for drums, guitars vocals etc. This has to work with what I have. Old school. Kripes, in some of the best recordings of the past, the band was in the same room and just divided by little sound baffles similar to ones you'll see in a bank office.. The idea is simplicity and I want to achieve the best results with what I have.
When I finish some of my projects, I will post them for everyone to hear. If you don't like what you hear, I don't care |O| If you like what you hear that's great, but I still won't care. :-)
The photos about show my layout. So my basement has 2 drum areas for 2 styles of drumkit. It has an amp area for my guitar and bass gear and it has the recording area where the heart of my rig is. No dividing walls. Simple lay out with no wall snakes or special power supplies. I don't want any of that. Read about some of the Led Zepplin recordings were made. You'll be amazed. ;-)
You can even hear noises from outside their studio.. dogs barking..cars going by.. It all adds a unique vibe to a recording.