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Recording in my man-cave/studio: The process start to finish

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by EricF, Nov 5, 2012.

  1. EricF

    EricF Habitual User Gold Supporting Member

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    My band is preparing to start recording a new original song. I'm going to attempt to document the process in this thread, and will include pics along the way and indicate the gear used in the process.

    Here's my space...
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    This setup takes up a 10' x 14' area of my garage.

    In addition to the acoustic treament panels hanging on the walls, I also have some movable panels on stands that can be placed as necessary for controlling reflections. When I record vocals, for example, I build a partial booth around the vocal mic to minimize the sound of the room.

    Part of my challenge in recording is that I live in a suburban neighborhood that is not particualrly fund of a rock band banging away at all hours of the night. Our plan is to record guitar and bass tracks via DI (rather than miked amps) during the evenings. Vox and drums will be recorded on weekend afternoons when the neighbors are a little more tolerant of the noise.

    My gear...
    Mixer: Ramsa WR-S4416S
    Outboard gear: Universal Audio LA610 channel strip, FMR Audio RNP preamp, FMR Audio RNC compressor, Art VLA Pro compressor.
    Mics: Shure SM7b, Shure SM57, Shure SM58, Groove Tubes GT66, Sterling Audio ST77, Audio Technica AT4040, Oktava MK12 (modded), Cascade Fathead, Cascade X-15
    DAW: Cubase Studio 4
    Interface: Echo Audiofire 12 (repalced the M-Audio 1010s in the pics)
    Monitors: KRK VXT4

    In preparation, I have set up a new project in Cubase with a simple programmed drum beat (BFD is my drum software) to use as a tempo track until we get live drums recorded. I've found a simple drum beat is much more friendly than a click track.

    Tonight, we get the ball rolling with scratch guitar tracks.
  2. goldenglory18

    goldenglory18 Supporting Member

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    Good luck, I'm looking forward to the updates.
  3. mjac28

    mjac28 50th Anniversary Ed Sullivan February 9, 1964 Gold Supporting Member

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    Nice gear good luck
  4. nick98338

    nick98338

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    I agree that a simple drum track works better (for me) than a simple tick-track. I suggest that your "tempo track" also contain some indicators of music changes. Maybe a simple piano track, or simple guitar track. I normally use a piano track, myself. Just something to hint changes. Another thing... very percussive sounds, (drums and tick-tracks) tend to bleed through headphones and into microphones more than "chord tracks". More likely to hear that bleed in your vocal tracks, if any.
  5. Emibass

    Emibass

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    If you use a drum truck instead of a click, be sure the drum beat is the same as the real drum playing or you are going to have to re-record the bass part.

    Nice place you have there. I also have the LA-610 and love it for vocals and bass.
  6. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

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    Couple thoughts on your monitoring:

    It's hard to tell from the pictures, but the monitor placement might be a little low. Are the high frequency drivers in line with your ears?

    Also, the shelf where you've located them doesn't look very robust. You could be causing coloration by having then on a surface that isn't solid. Any chance you could get them on dedicated monitor stands? There are great DIY plans online that'll cost you about $30 and have considerable mass (about 25lbs of sand per stand).

    Great project studio. Have fun recording the album!
  7. EricF

    EricF Habitual User Gold Supporting Member

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    We will be tracking scratch rhythm guitars first (DI, so bleed isn't an issue), which will become the template for additional tracks. The programmed drum track will be modified with whatever cues we feel necessary as the process continues.

    The programmed drum track is a stripped down verson of what the live drums will be.

    Thanks! The LA610 is a lovely piece.

    The KRK monitors are positioned with the tweeters at ear level, and the shelf they sit on has supports almost directly under the monitors. They're plenty solid.

    I debated about making seperate monitor stands, but for this space, I decided things work better with the monitors on the shelf. Monitor placement was the primary constraint in the shelf design.

    Thanks for the input.
  8. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

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    Good deal. Glad you put some thought into it. I can't tell you how many times I've see guys with monitors on their desk at the same level as their mouse and keyboard.
  9. EricF

    EricF Habitual User Gold Supporting Member

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    Agreed. I educated myself long ago about proper monitor placement and acoustic treatment. My space has a lot of compromises, but I've tried to approach the compromises intelligently and do the best I can with what I'm working with.
  10. EricF

    EricF Habitual User Gold Supporting Member

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    Day 1: Scratch Tracks
    This is just to establish the structure and arrangement of the song. Perfection isn't critical at this point, but gives us some good ideas about the road ahead. Although this is a fairly new song for all of us, everyone played their parts pretty well after a couple of run-throughs.

    Rhythm Guitar 1 (Cleanish w/ some breakup when pushed)
    Fender '72RI Thinline Telecaster -> Line 6 Spider Valve HD100 -> UA LA610 -> Interface
    [​IMG]
    This track might be usable in the final mix.


    Rhythm Guitar 2 (Dirty - a Van Halen-ish sound)
    Fender Strat (modded) -> Rocktron VooduValve -> UA LA610 -> Interface
    [​IMG]
    We aren't happy the sound we got with the Rocktron, and will be re-recording it using a mic on his live rig (Fender Hot Rod Deluxe + some tasty pedals)


    Bass
    Fender Tele/P parts bass -> Aguilar DB750 -> Mixer pre -> Interface
    [​IMG]
    The tone was what I was looking for, but I have a couple of minor stumbles that need to be fixed.


    Vocals
    Shure SM7B -> UA LA610 -> Interface
    (Sorry, no pic)
    I've used this combination with our singer before, and have been pleased with the results. I also plan to try a FET LDC mic (Sterling ST77) and see how it sounds on his voice. The clean and open sound of it might be a good fit...or not.


    Random computer pic...
    [​IMG]
    On the far right side of the desk, you can see my Track Log (and a glass of Stone Arrogant Bastard Ale!). I make notes about what gear and settings are used for each track. This makes duplication of that sound - or not repeating the same mistake - a LOT easier in the future.

    More to come this weekend!
  11. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

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    Nice work, although I can't say that I approve of the Arrogant Bastard Ale. Switch that out for a Bridgeport IPA and you'll have my full support!

    With the guitars going direct in through the 610, are you using an impulse response of a cabinet in post, or are you getting good results without?
  12. Emibass

    Emibass

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    You could re-amp the guitar after recording if the line only recording doesn´t do it for you. I did that and worked great.
  13. EricF

    EricF Habitual User Gold Supporting Member

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    I'll be happy to try your Bridgeport IPA...if you send me some. ;)

    At this point, I'm not using a cabinet impulse response for the DI guitars, but I may look into that later on in the process. I also want to look a little further into the capbilities of the Line 6 head. I suspect there's a lot more capability than we're tapping into currently.

    We recorded an effected signal, not a clean one. Reamping wouldn't help with the crappy tone on Guitar 2, in this case. I prefer to record as close to the final sound I want as I can (within my limitations). The less manipulation I need to do later is better, IMO. I know some people prefer to re-amp and add processing later, but that's not my usual philospohy.
  14. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

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    If you want to try IR's, go to redwirez.com and download their free Marshall 4x12 responses. Load them into any IR loader, or convulsion reverb plugin that will take third party IR's, set the wet/dry blend to 100% wet and see if it helps. The Red Wirez stuff is really good, and offers a lot of mics in a variety of positions.
  15. EricF

    EricF Habitual User Gold Supporting Member

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    Cool. Thanks!!
  16. EricF

    EricF Habitual User Gold Supporting Member

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    A couple more pics from Day 1...
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
  17. goldenglory18

    goldenglory18 Supporting Member

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    Great work.

    I also like to get everything recorded as you would want it finalized, as I HATE reprocessing and tweaking after the fact. I know my sound, I just need to get it through the board/interface/mic's.

    Also, do you have info on your outboard gear rack? I'm loving the DIY simplicity...
  18. EricF

    EricF Habitual User Gold Supporting Member

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    Thanks.

    The desk, shelf, and rack I built myself. The concept is based on a design frequently used in the hi-fi audio world. All-thread rod with washers and nuts are used as the vertical supports. The surfaces are 3/4" plywood. Both the desk and rack roll on 4" industrial casters.
  19. EricF

    EricF Habitual User Gold Supporting Member

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    Day 2: Re-recording bass.

    Bass:
    Fender Tele/P parts bass -> Aguilar DB750 -> Mixer pre -> Interface

    My tone on the scratch track was close, but not quite what I wanted, and there were a couple of minor changes I wanted to make to my line. With the help of my 8-year-old daughter operating the controls for punch-ins, I got what I wanted pretty quickly.

    [​IMG]
  20. EricF

    EricF Habitual User Gold Supporting Member

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    Day 3: Recording final guitar tracks.

    Lead Guitar:
    Fender Strat -> Barber LTD -> Boss SD-1 -> Fender Blues Jr.
    Mics:
    Shure SM57 (1" off grille, pointed 1/2 way between dustcap and edge of speaker) -> UA LA610 -> Interface
    Cascade Fathead (1" off grille, pointed 1/2 way between dustcap and edge of speaker) -> FMR Audio RNP -> Interface
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

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