WORKING WITH HOME STUDIOS

Due to the increased availability of recording software there has been a rise in recent years for musicians to complete as much of the recording process in home or basement studios as possible. It can save tremendously on the overall expense of recording and yield good results. I’ve heard interesting views both for and against this type of recording on both sides of the glass. I’m not going to list the pros and cons of each but instead I’ve compiled a list of ways to help your home studio recordings achieve much more professional results by working together with a professional Audio Engineer.

          1. Have your songs professionally edited- When working with session files that have been recorded in home studios, often one of the things I spend a lot of time fixing are simple editing mistakes. This is especially true of anything that deals with samples. There are a lot of subtle nuances that can come into play with editing like pops, clicks and what is known as artifacting with poor editing. Its also something that can take up a lot of time to complete if you’re not proficient at it. An average three minute song that has roughly 15-20 tracks may take you days to edit if you know what to listen for. I can usually knock out five three minute songs in something like an hour because its part of what I do on a daily basis. And at $50 an hour it works out to be $10 a song. This will yield better results for your songs and in the long run will probably save you hours in time and frustration.
          2. Re-amping- This is one of those things that not a whole lot of people know about. To put it simply, instead of tracking a guitar player in the studio, a dry electric guitar or bass signal is recorded at home and brought into the studio where we run it through an amp and re-record the amplified signal. We can also re-amp using software. If you don’t have a $2,000 Soldano, Marshall or Fender amp at home but still want the sound of one this is a great way to get it. Most studios have several amps that they have on hand and can easily set this up. It also allows you to blend amps together if you want. It yields excellent results and if done properly a song with 2-4 guitar tracks can be sent out and recorded in a matter of minutes. So instead of doing take after take in the studio and spending tons of money, the average cost of recording ten songs at the cost of $50 an hour now turns into $150 for 3 hours of studio time.
          3. Record your material to a click track- If at any time you plan on having your material edited or worked on by a professional Engineer, I highly suggest recording everything to a click track. It simplifies the editing process significantly and overall things tend to line up much better.
          4. Track drums in studio- Because of the often large spaces and the plethora of mics that are often involved in recording drums I suggest tracking drums in the studio. If there is a place you don’t want to skimp on its recording drums. It will give your recordings a much more polished feel than recording them at home will.
          5. Track drums while Re-amping- If you’ve recorded everything you possibly can at home and are planning to track drums in the studio and re-amp your guitars, often times you can do them simultaneously, effectively cutting studio time in half. This also applies to any other instrument or voice that you want recorded in studio as well.
          6. Have your material professionally mixed and mastered- Even if you are able to mix and master your material at home, I suggest sending it out and having it professionally mixed and mastered. Professional studios are acoustically treated and the speakers that Audio Engineers use are specially designed to play back with a flat frequency response. Most studios also have multiple sets of speakers to check discrepancies from one set of speakers to another.

-S. F. Shields

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Posted in Enigineer's Corner.

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