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Experience with a fun "virtual" recording project

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by BeSharp, May 30, 2012.


  1. BeSharp

    BeSharp

    May 17, 2011
    Annapolis, MD
    I just finished recording the sound track for my cover band's new promotional video. We are an 11 piece dance band with horns and multiple singers. In the past we've gone into a professional recording studio together and spent thousands of dollars with great results. But this time I decided to try something different since I've been getting more serious experience lately using a DAW (Ableton) on my Macbook. I'm just sharing this as an illustration and because I think it was a really interesting and fun project.

    I first laid down a sketch of each arrangement to a click track and recorded my final bass parts at home into Ableton through my Focusrite Pro 24 Firewire interface.

    Went to the pro studio with the drummer to do his drums. I don't have the skills or mics to do a good drum recording. We spent a total of 3 hours on all the drums takes. The studio where we are working has different rooms at different rates depending upon what you're doing and the equipment you need. Tracking drums was inexpensive -- cost me about $135.

    I then sent the guide tracks with my bass and drums via email to my guitar player who recorded all his parts into Digital Performer. He sent his back to me and I dropped them into Ableton again.

    Next I brought my computer and interface over to my keyboard player's house and we did his parts.

    Sent everything over to my Trombone player next. He wrote the arrangements for the 3 horn parts and then they all got together over my trumpet player's house where he tracked everything and sent it back to me to go into Ableton.

    We did vocals over my male singer's house. He is a professional voice-over guy and has a closet in his house with good mics and sound proofing. We did all the leads and then laid in harmony vocals into my Ableton sessions.

    Finally, brought all the tracks back to the pro studio for final mixing. This was a little more expensive because we used a lot of fun plug-ins after importing all my wav files into Pro-tools. I think we spent about 6 hours mixing, etc. and the engineer had spent some time on his own importing my project files from Ableton into Pro-tools for his use.

    I just found it interesting that we were able to record a complete 11 piece band without being in the same room together at the same time, using different DAWs, etc. and still I think we got great results at a much lower expenditure than doing it the "old fashioned" way.

    What do you think? Here's a sample of one of the tracks (we did a total of 16 for the demo):

    Video Demo Sample Track
     
  2. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    Good work - the finished track sounds very professional. Nice.

    For future projects you might want to thnk about tracking the drums yourselves and then using some samples to get the tracks sounding good, maybe? This could save you a few more $$$ and obviously mixing the project yourself is also an option. This sort of material is often easier to get sounding good in a mix than some other genres.
     
  3. BeSharp

    BeSharp

    May 17, 2011
    Annapolis, MD
    Thanks @bassybill. I appreciate the feedback. Glad you liked the track. For this project I was less concerned about saving money. I'm sure my post read that way. Really I found a creative workaround to the problem I was having getting 11 people together at the same days and times to record. I have played with some drum samples and they certainly can sound great. I've been learning to mix using some of my board recordings from my band's Presonus StudioLive 24 and I can do an "acceptable" job. Really I'm a bass player with 30+ years of experience and a studio engineer with <1 years experience using a DAW (cassette four track is another story). For now on my primary projects I think I'll leave the mixing to someone who's good at it. I'll sit in on the mix sessions and try to soak in a few nuggets of his experience that I can take home to practice for the next time.
     
  4. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    Wow - I just noticed you did 16 tunes, don't know how I missed that bit first time. In that case, you've done outstandingly well, especially to get final mixes done in just 6 hours! :eek:

    It's obvious from the fact that you actually got stuff FINISHED that this was a very well managed project. Finished is always better than "perfect" as you'll never get there if you aim for the latter. Again, congrats on some very sound work. I'm going to tell my band about this thread as we play similar material and need to update our demos some time soon - we haven't recorded in a while.

    I enjoy reading this sort of thread. It's very motivational and although it is to some extent gear-related, it's still a refreshing change from some of the usual GAS-powered material we all get sucked into on here, myself included. :D
     

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