Best way to record in garage/bedroom?

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by bass element, Feb 4, 2005.

  1. Best way to record in a garage/bedroom Inexpensively?
  2. Best way for the money I would say one of two things. If you have an amp that you really like the tone of, use the line out of that directly into your inputs. If not, get a decent DI box, plug the bass into that, and then record direct like that. Easiest way to do it cheap and still sound good.
  3. It really depends on the kind of quality you want. If you want something that you could possibly sell I'd recommend using a pc setup. We'll need more information to really help though. Do you want to record more than one track at once? Do you plan on mixing and mastering everything yourself? Is volume a concern?
  4. i just wanted to record 2 or 3 songs that all have guitar, bass and drums in them. i would want to record them one at a time and just be able to get decent quality out of the recordings. in the past we've just used a tape recorder and of course that sucked. but, no we dont plan on selling them, we'd just like to be able to have some decent recording of us playing.
  5. DemoEtc


    Aug 18, 2004
    What sort of tape recorder do you have?
  6. we had just used a piece of crap recorder. it sounded terrible, but it was just for fun.
  7. DemoEtc


    Aug 18, 2004
    Sorry, I wasn't able to find any online pdf manuals for that model ;)

    What do you have? Mics? Mixer? Amps? Computer that you could use? Any software for recording? "Inexpensively" meaning what? No cost? $20 tops? $100?
  8. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Really, Man -- C'mon. You can see there are people here who are checking the thread and trying to help you. I have, but I've been waiting for enough information to even begin - (low-budget killer recordings are my specialty).

    If you really want some valuable help here (the wealth of knowledge and experience here - and time that TBers are willing to take to help - IS valuable), would you get your thoughts together, and compose (this isn't a chatroom)a couple complete paragraphs that offer a more concise and complete set of clues as to your requirements, resources and capabilities?

    What all do you have (including money - and don't say 'none', because anyone who cares can come up with $50 or $90 or $200 - especially if you 'pass the hat' around to band members and supporters) to work with. Think of evrything you can ("Oh - and I have this crappy little old Radio Schlock dynamic mic laying around..." "Perfect! You can use that for your snare drum.").

    Y'know what's one of the best mics for on-the-cheap recording? Those Radio Shack PZMs - but you put in this other kind of battery (two of'em); it comes up to something like 16V instead of 1.5, and it makes those things sound great!

    We know about a thousand other things too, but help us narrow-down the number to twenty or thirty, will ya?

    Pff (..?).

  9. jesus man, dont bust a nut. i really dont know anything about recording, so sorry if my post isnt the best ever.
    i can scrape about $200 or so myself if it is needed. i really dont have any materials to begin recording with. like i said before, we just recorded on a tape recorder. we're not looking to make a serious recording, just something that is decent where you can hear everything pretty clearly. but thats why i posted the thread, to find ways to record inexpensively.

    i have nothing to record with.
    wut are all the materials needed to record a decent recording of 2 or 3 songs with bass, guitars and drums all included?
    how many mics, what kind of computer software if any, amp connections, batteries, etc. Also, how much money can i expect to be spending on a total if this question is possible to ask with the amount of info i have given you? i basically know nothing about recording, so im really just goin from scratch.

    anyways, thanx for the help so far.
  10. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Ahhh - now we're getting somewhere!

    OK, guys - help me out here. Now we have enough info to get him going: Drums, bass and guitar; he'd like to track them all seperately - $200 to start with.

    Whew, that's a tough one - what do we do? What's on my mind to start with is that for-sure, good recordings can be made on a decent home-stereo casset deck if you DON'T have to multitrack, and you have a mixer and enough mics! ..and you can easily RENT, or even borrow a mixer. Otherwise, with a four-track you can go drums to two, and have one left for guitar and one for bass - that way you only really need two mics (the drums almost HAVE to be in stereo - and you CAN make good drumset recordings with two mics, especially if they're being played alone to two tracks, so there's no mic bleed).

    Will there be no vocals? If there's a vocal, and you can come up with four tracks (Im thinking maybe borrow one, or have a friend who has one bring it over), then I've had success with drums and bass together to two tracks, then guitar and vocal on their own tracks.

    Now Element: you're saying you have no mics at all?

    Dude - once you get this thing going, I have one of those all-distance phone plans; I could talk you through the whole session for free! Hang on to that dough; if you can find a mixer with channel inserts - like to borrow or rent-for-cheap - then I might suggest that $99 of it goes to one of those 4-channel Behringer compressors; that's a LOT of processing power. Here's like a for-instance: Rented board with inserts, bought compressor, some borrowed or rented mics and cables, guitar amp in a closet (so you can crank it up for good tone, and still have good isolation), bass and drums in the same room (the bigger the better - can you use like a dining room + foyer or something?) - hmm...

    Oh, Man - I goota crash for work, here. I'll get back on this tomorrow.

    Seeya -

  11. Hey Bass Elements, do you have a computer? If so can you get around on one half decently?

    With a computer you have access to a bunch of free software which usually gives you more than 20 tracks and you can burn a CD after you mix it.

    The money starts when you're trying to get the sound into the computer but something like the Presonus Firebox ( is easy to use, comes with Cubase LE software, has two mic preamps, has two more inputs for additional preamps (4 mics on the drums) and costs something like $300.

    There are other similar boxes that are cheaper and can plug into the USB port of any computer.

    Just a thought to go the computer route.
  12. spidersbass


    Nov 29, 2004
    Downtown L.A.
    there's a free program called Audacity. its pretty good. you can recording one instrument at a time. i recorded my bass through the "line out" behind the amp and plugged it into the "line it" on the computer. came out pretty clean. for drums i guess you need a couple mics and a mixer with a "line out" and plug that into the computer. im' sure you can borrow a mixer and some mics somewhere, if not, go buy some. and the quality ain't that bad from what i was able to tweak around with.

    i'm new to this recording shindig too. i learned how to record using this forum :)
  13. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    See: Where my thinking is leading is toward being able to use compression on individual tracks. In all my experience (mostly low-budget), that's what gives an amateur rock-music recording the 'wow-factor' - more than studio mics or multitracking everything.

    Here: this clip is done on five tracks (only THREE drum mics - yes, they could sound better for sure, but...), all live-on-the-fly in the same rehearsal room. Every channel is compressed at the channel insert with one of those $99 behringer quad-compressor channels. The overhead mics were $300/pair at GC, the kick mic was one of those $200 AKGs, and the guitar amp was miked with a '58. The room is acoustically treated, but quite (too-) small. This could have just as well been recorded direct to two tracks - it's just a regular live rehearsal. It wouldn't have sounded THAT much worse with cheaper mics...
    Mole patrol plays with soul


    (edit) Oh - should add that the board is one of those super-inexpensive Behringers too! ...And the bass is just direct to a compressed board channel, with a little stereo chorus added in mixdown.
  14. I agree with that and personally that's why I love the computer. I run Cubase and have access to individual compressors and EQ on each indivual track. I compress almost every track,... bass a lot, guitar not so much and vocals depending on the siger.

    It still blows me away that with an average computer now a days you have all the tools of a pro recording studio. Now I'll be the first to admit that the Cubase compressors isn't going to sound like a $2000 all tube rack compressor, but they can still make a weak vocal track sound strong and punchy,... take a low budget garage band recording and turn it into a proper CD Demo at the very least.
  15. Joe, i gotta thank u so much for taking the time to help me thru this process. i understand a lot better how to record, and i think with all the money scrounged up from all the members, we could make some nice recordings. i really appreciate the offer for the phone call instructions but i think me and my band can get it all figured out. i cant thank u enough for your help. i definately learned a lot. :D
  16. Sorry to sound ignorant but how would you go about compressing everything? Do the compressors have an automatic setting or do you have to set them yourself?
  17. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    These little quads have auto attack and release. The user-settings that are left are: gate threshold, compress threshold, compression ratio, makeup gain, and limit threshold. There are also some selector switches for some more subtle parameters.

    Here's how you set them (generally-speaking). This is assuming the channels are in the board channel inserts:
    - Gate thresh. = way-down, so only complete silence in the room will trigger the light (choose the 'expander' option, rather than 'gate').
    - Compress thresh. = set so that when something is playing as loud as is to be expected, you get about 6dB on the gain-reduction meter for light compression, up to even like 15 or 20dB or more for heavy compression of a very dynamic, unruly signal.
    - Compress ratio = 4:1 for lighter, more transparent, sloppy level control (still leaves some of the natural dynamics), to 10:1 or 20:1 for harder compression. 'The Carpenters' would probably like 3 or 4:1; Metallica would like 10 or 20:1. All the way up to infinity isn't terrible, but a cheaper compressor may not be able to handle it as well.
    - Makeup gain = this 'Makes-up' for the gain you loose by the gain-reduction.
    - Limit thresh. = this should sort of be set according to your recorder. The indicator should really only blink on when your recorder is about to distort, but it should never go on under normal performing; it's set from the factory with a long release time, so it 'pumps', and is really noticeable when it kicks in (doesn't sound as bad as recorder-clipping, though). It can be kind of tricky to get both it and the regular comp-thresh. to work together - you don't have to use it at all, especially if you're already using a higher ratio on the main compressor.

    Remember these things also: the channel input gain on your board interacts with the threshold, so it's usually best to set your channel gain without the compressor in the loop. Set it so the peak light only blinks at the loudest signal to be expected on the channel, and then leave it there; use the comp-threshold and makeup gain after that. If your channel peak light blinks with the compressor IN, but not bypassed, then you probably used too much makeup gain (or you boosted a channel EQ since you last set it - in that case bring the channel gain down, but you'll have to reset the thresholds on the compressor channel).

    Gotta go... Any questions - let me know!

    40YearOldBassVirgin likes this.
  18. Thats amazing! Thank you very much :D I found that very useful
  19. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    No problem, Man.

    ...Uhh - unless my BOSS asks me what I did for the last hour!

  20. De Teng

    De Teng

    Oct 27, 2003
    Utrecht, Holland
    This is a very usefull thread imho!! Within short time I am going to try some 'cheap-ass' recordings too. So I'll be mingling in with this discussion. ;)

    My girlfriend just bought an iBook G4, I almost managed to install Cubase VS 3.0 on it. (It's quite a job when one wants to find a crack, based on osx) Together with an Edirol EA 25, which we hopefully can buy if I manage to persuade the rest of the band to buy it, I should be having two tracks at once.

    We have a good mic for vocals (Shure SM 5.1) and DI-out for bass. With cables of the guys of the rehearsal rooms, we'll be doin' a nice job I think. To the knowlegded peoples: what's the best setting for two mics (straight into the Edirol) for drums. For guitar we'll be using the Shure mic and want to record everything seperately.

    Do I have enough for a decent recording. Note that the Edirol is a firewire-device, which has a compressor/limiter built-in.


    Instrument/ Drums L > Edirol >
    .......................................| ---- Firewire > iBook > Cubase
    Instrument/ Drums R > Edirol >