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DIY recording a demo

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by Casey C., Feb 15, 2004.

  1. Casey C.

    Casey C.

    Sep 16, 2000
    Butler, PA, USA
    Hi guys,

    My question this week is what is the best way to record a basic first demo for my band?

    I was considering just renting a mixer, a bunch of mics, and using my computer (w/ sound forge or guitar tracks pro) for the equipment. For a setup I was looking at isolating the sounds the best I can and just have everyone jam out and record the track until we have our favorite.

    Any other ideas?
  2. that would work, but never use a playschool recorder/mic and hope it works out well. im accually not trying to be funny. im serious.

    but ur idea might work. most likely will work.
  3. Casey C.

    Casey C.

    Sep 16, 2000
    Butler, PA, USA
    what kind of mics should I look into getting? I have 2 guitarist, a singer, a drummer (with a big set), me, and we may be doing backups.

    The drummer, the guitarist and I tried this before and it worked pretty good, but the cymbals were distoring the mics I believe. Either that or they were too much for the tape. We had mics hanging EVERYWHERE... lol
  4. I would keep things fairly simple and use tried and true methods. For drums the standard setup would be: a pair of small diaphragm condensers (Shure SM81, AKG C451 etc.) for overheads, a dedicated kick drum mic (AKG D112, Shure Beta 52) and a snare mic (Shure SM57 is the standard, but you can try just about anything). Depending on genre and the style of the drummer you might get enough tom-toms in your overheads, but usually you need to mic them (sennheiser MD421 is popular, but most dynamics will do) - one mic per two toms might suffice though. Hi-hat usually bleeds into other mics more than enough, but you can use a small condenser for it if necessary.

    I would record bass direct to minimize bleed - you can always re-amp it later if necessary. Shure SM57 is the standard for guitar amps, but you could experiment here a bit to make the two guitars sound a bit different. I wouldn´t worry too much about the bleed, some amount of crosstalk between mics can actually benefit the recording, making you sound more like a real band in a real space. If (and when) the guitarists want to crank their amps, you may need the put them in separate rooms. Otherwise I wouldn´t build too complicated isolation scenarios...

    Then you need just one large condenser of reasonable quality to record vocals and you are set to go!

    Mixers and recording interfaces are a whole other ballgame though... how many tracks will you be able to record simultaneously?
  5. Casey C.

    Casey C.

    Sep 16, 2000
    Butler, PA, USA
    well the method I'm looking at, one at a time, unless I get a better sound card. I was thinking that we would do a trial and error thing to get the perfect mix. Of course, we can always add more tracks to it.
  6. In that case simplicity is even more crucial. Drums with four mics max, perhaps you can get by even without snare mic (again depending on drumming style). Try to nail the drum sounds first, nothing fancy, just natural sounds and good balance, maybe a splash of reverb. Then bring in others and try to find a nice balance. Again nothing fancy, just so that you can hear everything and nothing stands out. Be careful with the guitars, err on the quieter side - you can always ovedub more guitar tracks, but you can´t take them out from your original live mix. Also avoid drastic use of channel EQs (other than low cut on guitars and overheads) while recording. If something doesn´t sound right, try to find other remedies (move the mic, tweak amp settings, change instrument etc.).

    And vocals should be overdubbed anyway, that goes without saying .

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