Please help a newby

dwoverdrive

Silver Supporting Member
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4,086
With the need to record parts at home, and since I just got a new stock iMac, Ive purchased an Apogee One and a Sennheiser e609 which i prefer slightly to an Sm57. I will record guitar parts with a Bogner XTC 101b. Can some of you recommend how I should prioritize my next move.
I have a basement to record in that would need to sound better so I have no idea how to treat it.
I am out of funds for a nice preamp like a Golden Age or something but Ive heard good recordings with the Apogee pres and I will be using that. I have used Apogee in the past and was thrilled with the results so I have carefully chosen the "One"

Im sure there are some nuggets of wisdom when first starting out with stuff like this. What are your non negotiable needs when recording at home? Do you have a "Do" and "Do Not" list that helps? What are the most important things the focus on to get the best sound given my limitations? Thanks for your help
 

Scott Whigham

Member
Messages
3,528
First off, let's get the terms right so we can figure out what you need. Tracking is where you record the tracks. Mixing involves listening back, adjusting levels, making a track sit right via use of various techniques (may or may not involve things like EQ, compression, etc). I'm not trying to be pedantic or rude - I'm just making sure we're all on the same page.

Obviously you are tracking but are you also mixing? The room treatment/"stuff you need to do" is different for each one (hence my question). You might need nothing for tracking but $1000 worth of acoustic treatment to mix (I'm making up numbers just to show you how different the two "phases" of recording are).

For tracking, it also helps to know whether you've dealt with flutter echo sufficiently. That's a killer.
 

dwoverdrive

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,086
Thanks for the input. Tracking and Mixing would be happening in the same space which is a little bit of a nightmare. The emphasis will definitely be on tracking. I will not be mixing very many tracks at a time and any large projects that the tracks would contribute to would be mixed elsewhere.
I have recorded in studios but dont have much experience doing it on my own. i am not familiar with flutter echo.
 

Scott Whigham

Member
Messages
3,528
My "dos and don'ts" are loosely like this:

  • Fix flutter echo issues
  • Put in absorption so that I am creating as close to a reflection-free zone as I am able to/comfortable with
  • Get my reference CDs out
  • Position my monitors + listening position
  • Listen to my reference CDs and get the monitors + my position correct
After that, it's recording/engineer dependent.

If you are focusing mostly on tracking, then flutter echo is probably the first hurtle to overcome. Read up on it - it's fairly easy/inexpensive to resolve: http://recordinghacks.com/2011/06/04/flutter-echo/. It's one of the two areas where "foam" can be useful in a studio environment (decoupling monitors would be the other I can think of).

Here's the thing though: A tracking environment, to a certain degree, is tied to a listening environment. After all, you have to be able to trust that "What you are hearing when you play back the track" is really the same sound that someone else would hear if they played back the same track in another listening environment. That's HUGE. It can't be overstated. Right now, if I had to guess, when you burn a track to CD/MP3 and listen back on another system, it sounds very different (too much/little bass, mids have a blanket over them, it sounds brittle, pick 1 or 3). That's because your listening environment isn't set up properly. Look up how to create a reflection free zone - that's the ideal. You don't need to be "ideal" - you just need to improve a bit right now. This is done with materials like Owens-Corning OC703, or Roxul (rockwool), and such (not foam).

So you have two options: (a) spend a lot of time researching acoustic treatments and follow through, and/or (b) buy a pair of monitors that have "room correction" built in. Regardless of which you do, you're still going to spend a lot of time burning your mixes, listening to them in multiple environments, and learning how to auto-correct your mixes (a.k.a. learning your room/monitors). Room correction isn't perfect though - it's not going to stop reflections, for example, but it will help make their impact somewhat less.
 
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kludge

The droid you're looking for
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7,104
Don't overthink or overspend until you've actually tried some actual recording and mixing. You might not "need" things you think you need now, and you might need things you don't realize you need now.

The preamp in the Apogee One is excellent and should serve you well.
 

mep

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
872
For tracking your guitar, close mic your amp. If you are getting room sound in the recording, put some pillows or blankets around the amp and mic, then record again. For vocals, track in a closet with clothes in it to dampen room noise. The Apogee's preamp is good and can give you quality sound.

For mixing, then work on your room treatment using a good set of monitors.
 
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dwoverdrive

Silver Supporting Member
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4,086
This is great information thanks! I do plan on close miking my speaker cab which is one reason for my choosing the e609 as a go to guitar mic. The closet trick might be a good one. Sounds like some decent monitors could be in my future so I can get a good flat sound. Anyone can feel fee to chime in this is very helpful:phones
 

ldizzle

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,390
For tracking your guitar, close mic your amp. If you are getting room sound in the recording, put some pillows or blankets around the amp and mic then record again. For vocals track in a closet with clothes in it to dampen room noise. The Apogee's preamp are good and can give you quality sound.

For mixing then work on your room treatment using a good set of monitors.
I was going to suggest this. You can get acoustic paneling, acoustic blankets, etc for reasonable prices. Close mic and either cover the cab completely or redirect efficiently to eliminate the majority of the room- you can add some dimension back in with post effects if need be.

Good luck!
 

dwoverdrive

Silver Supporting Member
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4,086
I am going to get some blankets to use for sure. Do many of you find yourselves dialing in a little reverb on the track after you get that really isolated close mic sound?
Another thing I thought of is that a like to make really spacious delays with my TC Nova through the XTC. Is there a secret to capturing a good delay sound when miking a cab?
 

mixwiz

Member
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2,383
I am going to get some blankets to use for sure. Do many of you find yourselves dialing in a little reverb on the track after you get that really isolated close mic sound?
Another thing I thought of is that a like to make really spacious delays with my TC Nova through the XTC. Is there a secret to capturing a good delay sound when miking a cab?
Generally you don't want to record with effects that you can add later when your mixing. It's too hard to get the amount right.
 

Scott Whigham

Member
Messages
3,528
Do many of you find yourselves dialing in a little reverb on the track after you get that really isolated close mic sound?
Is there a secret to capturing a good delay sound when miking a cab?
Yes, I always prefer the use of "reverb in the mix" instead of "reverb from the amp". As for getting a good delay sound, just experiment. Is there something you are not happy with now? A lot of the reverb/delay sounds will get messed up by flutter echo, or will get absorbed by carpet so you definitely don't want those two things.

Generally you don't want to record with effects that you can add later when your mixing. It's too hard to get the amount right.
I'd agree with that about reverb/compression but for things like difficult or timed delays, I think if the guitar player has "his sound" that he likes w/ his delay, try it both ways and see what ultimately works. You may find that the amount of time dialing in the mix delay just wasn't worth the extra effort. I'd be interested to hear others' thoughts on this too.
 

dwoverdrive

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,086
It is kind of problematic because the Nova has that sound that I like. I will have some time to try different ways. How would you add delay after the fact? Using a plugin within the software?
 

kludge

The droid you're looking for
Messages
7,104
When mixing, don't get too worried about "flat" monitors. Instead, focus on really, really learning the monitors you have. Spend a lot of time in your mixing position listening to reference recordings - songs in the style you're targeting that you know intimately. I suggest taking regular breaks when mixing to refer back to the reference recordings. Otherwise, it's very easy to lose track of where you are relative to, oh, reality.

As for the delay, if using it really affects your performance, then by all means use it. Just be aware that you might find yourself with more or less delay in the final mix than you wanted. Or add it in afterwards, which gives you more control in the mix, but at the cost of performance immediacy. As I've gotten farther with mixing, I've gone farther toward committing sounds to tape right away and living with the results, rather than trying to delay decisions until later for a "better" mix. Fewer choices, not more.
 

dwoverdrive

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,086
So for the guys who add effects after they record the track dry with their best sound. Are you using reverbs and delays that are plugins in the software you use? Assuming you don't have any really good outboard reverbs etc. For example it's safe to assume the Strymon reverbs or TC delays I use are better sounding than whatever is in GarageBand or Reaper. At what point do post effects sound as good as the floor stuff? I've never ben able to figure that out
 

Ferg Deluxe

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
2,407
With the need to record parts at home, and since I just got a new stock iMac, Ive purchased an Apogee One and a Sennheiser e609 which i prefer slightly to an Sm57. I will record guitar parts with a Bogner XTC 101b. Can some of you recommend how I should prioritize my next move.
I have a basement to record in that would need to sound better so I have no idea how to treat it.
I am out of funds for a nice preamp like a Golden Age or something but Ive heard good recordings with the Apogee pres and I will be using that. I have used Apogee in the past and was thrilled with the results so I have carefully chosen the "One"

Im sure there are some nuggets of wisdom when first starting out with stuff like this. What are your non negotiable needs when recording at home? Do you have a "Do" and "Do Not" list that helps? What are the most important things the focus on to get the best sound given my limitations? Thanks for your help

Hello, as a fellow newb, I found lots of good insight here:
http://forum.cockos.com/showthread.php?t=29283

Click that link. NOW! :) Seriously though, it's been a useful place for me to get started. The thread is extremely long, and starts to ramble after 15-20 pages, but it's worth reading and probably worth printing out for reference.

PS: alternately, you can google "why do my recordings sound like ass" and google will get you to the same link.
 




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