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My Bands Recording Dilema

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by Big Benner, Aug 3, 2005.

  1. My band went into a pro studio using Pro Tools last week and did all of the Bass & Drums and then ran out of time. The next week the studio informs us that they have a lot of high paying work coming in and can no longer finish our low budget stuff (fair enough, they were really nice about it). They've given us all of the Pro Tools audio files on CD, so now our search begins. We need to record keyboards, guitars and vocals.

    A few notes - I've been using Cubase for the last 2-3 years on my desk top PC with a ST 24/96 sound card. I've got a large diaphragm mic, access to SM 57s & 58s and a behringer stereo tube pre complete with stands, shock mount and large wind screen (vocal puff screen - I don't know what to call it). I've done a lot of research, experimenting and recorded lots of things with great results. I'm no pro but I can get some good sounds going.

    I've just moved into a new apartment and will begin night school so using my desktop PC and recording at my place is out of the question, but my singer has a new Dell PC laptop and a great basement for doing this. So:

    Option A - find another studio to take over and finish the project. Unfortunately this is going to cost us and we were paying next to nothing. I don't think the band has any money for this due to various reasons.

    Option B - buy a digital interface like the MBox (http://www.digidesign.com/products/mbox/) that comes with Pro Tools, load it up on my singers laptop and hit the basement with a large learning curve. Hopefully the Pro Tools that come with the MBox will be compatible with the one that the Studio used and work with the CDs the studio gave us.

    Option C - buy another digital interface (my personal favourite - http://www.m-audio.com/products/en_us/FireWire410-main.html), transfer everything into Cubase and start recording on the singers PC. I figure I could spend the initial time getting the band up and running and then leaving it up to them who generally have more free time then I do.

    What does everyone think? How hard is it to transfer audio files from one program to another? I have done it before,... loading a 4 track demo from (some program) into Cubase - all the wave forms started and stopped together so I just visually lined them up. Wait a minute, I just remembered that the band did not use a click! ****, I think this will be hard.

    Opinions anyone?
  2. Droog


    Aug 14, 2003
    Transfering between two programs probobly is not the big of a deal. Though it will definately require some savy. Eyeballing your waveforms is definately not advisable. The file managment of the Pro Tools guy at the studio is important as well as how he works in Pro Tools. You could most likely use the time stamp that Pro Tools puts into the meta data of each wav(or aiff) to make sure it ends up at the right place in the time line, provided the software you are using can read the time stamp. Steinburg should do this fine, but like I said its going to take some savy.

    However getting an M-box and going at it your self may prove to be simpler and really the learning curve is not that bad. If you had no experiance with DAW's then it would be a pain but if you are familiar with how to do audio with a computer you should be in good shape. Not to mention that there is countless Pro Tools resources available to you. Opening your Pro Tools sessions on a different system is a snap, don't worry about it, unless you recorded HD, which I am sure you did not, not for free anyway:) You will simply need to tell Pro Tools you are using a different interface and the file allocation is different, but its easy.

    That being said. I think you can probably finish relatively cheaply. It is your album so cutting lots of corners is not the best idea. The keys, you can easily get a good sound with just an M-box in somebody's apartment/basement. Plug and go, fancy pre-amps are not going to gain you alot in my opinion, if it was a piano or something "analog" then sure but not a synthesizer. Guitars are tougher because you need a space to crank an amp up in. A basement should be fine, and the two channels that the M-Box provides should be enough. Though I would recomend geting (somehow) as good of a mic pre as possible as well as a decent Condensor and definately that 57 of yours. Then is just mic placement and a good sounding amp. Vocals however I think you should save your pennies and take all of your ProTools sessions to a studio, the best you can afford and give yourself a liberal amount of time to track them, especially if you plan on doing any harmonies, back up, or double tracking. A vocalist who thinks they can turn out 12 songs in an 8 hour period is nuts, unless you like crap vocals on the last 8 songs of course. I mean it, spend time getting the best vocals you can. I have seen so many people cut them selves short on vocals and it really shows. I am not just talking about the technical side, I am talking about the performance too. A good engineer is going to get you squared away sonically, but that singer needs time to deliver. So that is where I think you should spend the most time, as far as tracking is concerned.

    When it comes time to mix, maybe that would be a good time to swap platforms, but like I said it may be a nightmare, it may be simple. Depends on operator compitency. What about the mix? Once again if you got the dough, hire a decent engineer and a decent studio and you will most likely come out a head the game. Failing that do it your self, but take your time and don't rush. Its harder than people give it credit, and a bad mix will scream "un-profesional"

    Ok I am done, thats my rant, sorry for the long post. I really don't see it being a problem to keep working with Pro Tools. I think the vocals and the mixing would be served best in the hands of a Pro, but if you can't you can't. Good luck.
  3. Great thoughts/advice. Thanks Droog, much appreciated.