recording yourself by yourself

Recording Techniques, People Skills, Gear, Recording Spaces, Computers, and DIY

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vvv
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Post by vvv » Sun Dec 04, 2005 9:13 pm

I almost never "fix" anything in the mix.

It usually still sucks. :oops:
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kayagum
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Post by kayagum » Mon Dec 05, 2005 7:14 am

lee wrote:im wondering if there is some secret that i am missing.
ill do a take and think it sounds fine (from the headphones) then ill spend an hour getting the take just right. then i go to the monitors and the giutar is thumpy, the saxaphones honky, the cymbals are peircing... i was wondering if anyone has found a way around this. will expensive headphones solve my problem? should i use live monitors while recording?
If you tweak each track individually so that it sounds great individually, it will add up to an unholy mess when you put it all together. Carving out a section of EQ for each track helps sort it out. Panning is also your friend too. So is subtractive EQ.

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Post by John Jeffers » Mon Dec 05, 2005 7:36 am

Subtractive EQ was a revelation for me. I'd heard the term all the time without getting what it meant, then I saw it demonstrated in a video (wish I could remember where). Now I use it all the time to notch out the nasty frequencies.

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bannerj
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Post by bannerj » Mon Dec 05, 2005 7:40 am

the primary problem for recording myself is that it is really hard to sink into the frame of mind and emotion of a preformer while I am also trying to be objective like an engineer and listen to the big picture of things.

plus when I record to 1/2 inch I have to hit record, close the door and walk over to the other room sit down, settle into the emotional space of the performance and then ofcourse play. It is crazy how each track has multiple takes of door closing, foot steps, sit down, throat clear..etc.

Anyway, it is frustrating to have to allow this whole process to take longer because you are used to getting quicker results when recording other people. I think of it this way: the bulk of my recording is practiced techniques, finding the right mic, comp and EQ, mic placement et al. I listen down to takes that might not be keepers just to get a sense of the sound. THen I close up shop and come back another day trying to replicate the sounds I liked, but this time I trust my techniques, stop thinking so much like the engineer and become the performer.

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joeysimms
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Post by joeysimms » Mon Dec 05, 2005 9:12 am

bannerj wrote:the primary problem for recording myself is that it is really hard to sink into the frame of mind and emotion of a preformer while I am also trying to be objective like an engineer and listen to the big picture of things.

plus when I record to 1/2 inch I have to hit record, close the door and walk over to the other room sit down, settle into the emotional space of the performance and then ofcourse play. It is crazy how each track has multiple takes of door closing, foot steps, sit down, throat clear..etc.

Anyway, it is frustrating to have to allow this whole process to take longer because you are used to getting quicker results when recording other people. I think of it this way: the bulk of my recording is practiced techniques, finding the right mic, comp and EQ, mic placement et al. I listen down to takes that might not be keepers just to get a sense of the sound. THen I close up shop and come back another day trying to replicate the sounds I liked, but this time I trust my techniques, stop thinking so much like the engineer and become the performer.
Super post. This is my experience 100%. Couldn't agree more.
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logey
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Post by logey » Mon Dec 05, 2005 4:45 pm

bannerj wrote: plus when I record to 1/2 inch I have to hit record, close the door and walk over to the other room sit down, settle into the emotional space of the performance and then ofcourse play. It is crazy how each track has multiple takes of door closing, foot steps, sit down, throat clear..etc.
I have the same issue...I have to use such long count-ins that my takes all begin with me walking to the mic, messing w/phones, what not...all while counting measures out loud so I might be able to remember where to come in.

I've been thinking about getting a Frontier Design Tranzport so I can just sit in one place and work. I don't have any actual expreience with one, but I have heard they work up to 30 ft., which is plenty for me.

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Post by John Jeffers » Mon Dec 05, 2005 6:12 pm

I have the TranzPort. While I haven't put it to the test distance-wise, I can tell you for sure that it's a bad-ass little control surface. A great way to spend $200.

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Post by logey » Mon Dec 05, 2005 6:27 pm

Coll...thanks for the feedback John. I'm now fantasizing about all the places in my house (yard?) that I could record if I didn't have to run there and back every coupla minutes!

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Post by space_ryerson » Mon Dec 05, 2005 7:24 pm

I have a wireless mouse for when I want to get away from the computer. I also saw a program for a bluetooth enabled cell phone which would allow you to use it as a remote for Logicpro, which seemed pretty neat to me.
Another thing which I think helps recording yourself is not looking at the computer screen while you record. It's too much visual stimulus for me while I'm trying to focus on sound.

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Post by thearnicasync » Tue Dec 06, 2005 7:48 am

The tranzport is the best thing that ever happenned to me, as far as recording drums myself. No more back and forth, ever. Once you know your gear...which pres for OH, snare, etc. and know a typically practical level for them based on your typical performance, recording yourself can be a pretty smooth thing...

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lee
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Post by lee » Tue Dec 06, 2005 9:08 am

the audiologists call them musicians plugs, expensive but so badass for what we do, everything is still there, it's just like turning the volume down
about how much did you pay for these? ive been thinking about picking up a pair one of these days. do they come in blue?
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lyman
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Post by lyman » Tue Dec 06, 2005 9:19 am

John Jeffers wrote:I have the TranzPort. While I haven't put it to the test distance-wise, I can tell you for sure that it's a bad-ass little control surface. A great way to spend $200.
i just hire an illegal immigrant to press record. much cheaper, and my laundry has never been so immaculate.

but seriously, the tranzport is a cool idea. and regarding an earlier post about having to go back and eq stuff to get it sounding decent, i can relate. it's tough because you're thinking about the song and about the take you're gonna do, not about the recording nuances. the only way around that is to practice recording stuff and to take notes of which mic/pre, mic location, etc and then try and make a connection with how those factors translated to the sound you hear on playback. It is rather tedious (i think at least) but look at it this way, you didn't learn how to play an instrument well without practice either...

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Post by abc » Tue Dec 06, 2005 3:01 pm

It seems to me that you're relying on the headphones in a way which I used to, but have subsequently decided to avoid.

** I think the key is to only use headphones when you have to for leakage purposes. **

[If you're a solo recordist, this is actually fairly rare. Seems to me there was a TapeOp article recently which mentioned how until the Beatles started using headphones while dubbing, everyone listened to playback through speakers in the live rooms...]

I have come to refrain from using headphones for anything more than a reference WHILE DUBBING...or if I'm recording someone else in my one-room home studio.

I have those Extreme Isolation headphones - bought a few pairs for myself and visitors - and I agree that the tone is MISERABLE on those things. BUT, they're useful for avoiding leakage on mic'ed takes. I have a pair of Sonys that I love - but anything I go so far as to mix on them ALWAYS sounds terrible through the monitors. So I learned not to mix through the headphones - for me it was a complete waste of time.

Sometimes I've thought it would be fun to "expand" to a two-room scenario, but after reading about everyone's hassles moving around, I'm kind of liking my setup...about six feet to the "throne"...that would be the drums, not the john...I can lean over the keyboard to hit "record"...I often track in my seat in front of the board...got a couple of those "broadcaster" mic arms that attach to the desk so I can have two mics always ready and easily positioned (by the way, found them for about $40 each from an eBayer as opposed to about $100 each from the "real" dealers).

Hope something above helps...

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Post by Brian » Tue Dec 06, 2005 6:35 pm

"long cables" and "really long cables",
Don't rush or get over excited,
have at least one good mic.
think of the pattern of the mic and the "proximity effect', try to visualize it when you place it.
Don't EQ anything, place the mic well,
record,
go listen and don't get married to a substandard track,
record again, if you're lucky it worked out, if not, repeat,
listen through your monitors, look at the edge surround on the monitor, if it is creasing even a little you have too much bass below 100 hz.
You can do this.
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Post by djdrake13 » Wed Dec 07, 2005 6:58 am

I guess I'm weird. I am pretty happy with the sounds I get when I record myself. Maybe cause I've done it so many damn times, I dont' know. I don't really get self conscious about it, but when I record/perform in front of someone else, that bugs me out. So I prefer to record alone, and then play it back for people after the fact.

I read how all these people get over critical of their recorded performance and wonder to myself, "what do they think of other people's playing?" Now maybe I'm wrong, but don't people generally think they are better than others?? So if they don't like what they do, they must really hate other musicians??
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