August 04, 2009

Is music in your mix?

Ask most sound engineers how they learned the tricks of the recording trade, and the answer will probably be "trial and error."

Cheaper, more user-friendly technology has made it easier than ever to set up a recording studio in your home, but the learning curve is still fairly steep, local recording artists said.

"It's like the old joke that walking into a McDonald's doesn't make you a hamburger. Just because you can afford to buy the gear to record doesn't make you a recording engineer," said Dan Landrum, a local hammer dulcimer player who has been recording projects out of his home since 1991.

"There's a lot of experience that goes into producing a great recording."

Assuming the right balance can be met between a good acoustic recording space and the right equipment, there are a wealth of benefits to being able to work from home, said Butch Ross, a local musician who recorded his newest album entirely from home.

"I never had to worry how long I had spent on something," he said. "If I spent all day on something and decided at the end of a day that something was not working after chasing down an idea, ... all I had lost was the day, not $300-$400 in studio fees."

The basic components of any recording setup are a microphone, a recording interface between the mike and computer and a playback system (speakers or headphones).

A bare-bones setup can cost $500-$600. Even with a bigger budget, however, it's better to upgrade these basic elements than complicate things with additional hardware, said Charles Allison, a local musician and home recorder.

"A mistake would be spending a lot of money on something you don't need ... or that is out of your league and does a lot of stuff you don't need it to do," he said. "It's like, What you want to do is simple, but you've got this super collider recorder that's way more complicated than what you need, and you're not getting anything done with it.”

Read the full article here.

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