Music

Frustrations With Recording

I have been trying to record on and off now for a while in Logic Pro.  I get pretty frustrated with it easily as I’m not able to produce what I hear in my head.  Know what I mean?

I have decided to simplify things a little and shoot for near acoustic versions of the songs to start with and release though.  Hopefully I will be able then to build upon those tracks by adding other instruments at a later date.

Some of the songs I will record were written back as far as 1994 and I was tweaking some of the lyrics/melodies this week to one of them!  I don’t think the tweaking ever stops.

A number of you have much more experience with recording projects, so what are the first steps you recommend to recording to avoid getting tied up in the details too early?

  1. Decide on a tempo and use metronome.
  2. Decide on best key for song.
  3. Decide on the intro, outro and transitions.
  4. Record scratch track by recording vocals and guitar together (separate inputs).

I was actually wondering whether to use a metronome or not – but if I wish to build on these tracks later, it’s probably better that I do.

Brian once told me I should record the guitar using two inputs (direct and SM58) to give it a little lift.  After initial trial runs with using only one input, I think Brian is probably right.  However this would mean recording the acoustic first and then adding the vocals.

My recording equipment includes iMac, Logic Pro, SM58, and Focusrite Scarlett.

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7 thoughts on “Frustrations With Recording

  1. AlastairVance says:

     Brian Wahl John Wahba Darrell Queen Justin Warren Teseniar  I’d love to hear what you guys recommend.

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  2. Hey Al,
     
    Yeah – I’d definitely record to a click track, and then record the guitar both direct and mic’d. These days when I do just an acoustic version of something, I typically only record the direct signal.
     
    The next step for me (after an initial mix) would be proper EQ and compression, and there are lots and lots of people who can explain that better than I can. I’d start with http://therecordingrevolution.com/. If you get the levels, EQ, and compression right, everything should fall into place and sound clean.
     
    I’ve also found that if I can put just a basic midi (or other type) of drum loop and use that as a click, I play to it a lot better. Just feels more natural. You’ll want to make sure, though, that the click/drum track is only coming through your headphones, and the headphones you use don’t bleed sound. The in-ear canal plugs are best.

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    • AlastairVance says:

       @brianwahl I agree totally on using a drum track instead of just a click.  Much easier to play to.

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    • AlastairVance says:

       @Brandon Christian Yeah, I actually watched a video that suggested panning the guitars to either side of the middle and I think that really helps to have multiple layers to work with.

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  3. wahbaman says:

    lots of thoughts….
     
    -definitely use the click – this’ll make you a better musician overall
    -play around with mic placement on the acoustic (aimed at where neck meets body, over your shoulder aimed down at your strumming hand)
    -consider a small diaphragm condenser mic for acoustic. I use an AKG c451b and it sounds like butta. there are less expensive ones out there. you’ll need phantom power for it.
    -try these EQ settings on acoustic: high pass filter at 250Hz; cut 2db some where between 1k-6k (experiment by sliding the ‘dip’ up and down until it notches out the most annoying/harsh/nasal sound); add about 1db of high shelf filter at 10k
    -try these compressor settings: 4:1 ratio, attack & release at about 9:00. then slowly lower threshold (turn ‘knob’ right to left) until you’re getting a max of 5db gain reduction on the loudest guitar parts.

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