Hybrid studio/home recording

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standup
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Hybrid studio/home recording

Post by standup » Sun May 03, 2009 11:17 am

Was titled "Bedroom recordings and studios closing"

If you're in the studio business, are y'all seeing a lot of projects with basic tracks in a studio/overdubs at home/mix in a studio kinda trajectory?

TapeOp'ers are in the close-to-the-ground part of the business, not the Big Studio part, and it sounds like small studios are still pretty viable.

Equipment has gotten better and cheaper, right... And anyone with a computer can be lured into buying an interface and recording themselves instead of booking studio time.

I keep thinking people who learn more about recording OR need to put out an actual record, say, on an actual label, will start to realize what's missing. Rooms that are bigger than a garage, acoustic treatment, accurate monitoring, high-quality mics and the front end in general.

Not to mention professional engineers.

I'm thinking there has to be a new business model brewing. Doing overdubs or something outside of a studio is possible now, or at least easier than when your tracks were on 2" tape.

This is pretty random and disconnected, sorry.

Any thoughts?
Last edited by standup on Mon May 04, 2009 4:26 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by rwc » Sun May 03, 2009 10:18 pm

The loss of networking among others who do what you do at a professional level is the real price of the downfall of commercial facilities.

I don't think equipment has gotten better. It has gotten cheaper, for sure, but not better.

The biggest "regret" is that instead of people trying to copy proven techniques, the wrong thing gets copied over and over again.

the cheap chinese condensers that sound like junk that people use because it "looks" like a vocal mic and "you have to have a condenser". the cheap, smeared active "monitors" with terrible impulse response boasting "flat frequency response" that everyone puts 5" from their ears 6" apart from each other because that's how they saw someone else set them up who wonders why his mix doesn't sound right after 18 hours. The guy who he based his setup on is calling himself an engineer so he must be right, yet he's calling himself an engineer just like anyone now can. The people who think everything has to go through a tube because it's "warm" because they read it on recording.org even if it's the biggest piece of junk there is.

Without the commercial studio there's no one to slap the shit out of people for their idiocy. We all start as idiots, but without the mentoring system larger studios provided, we stay idiots. There's only so much one can learn in a vaccum, and while I'll go "god bless home recording" as much as the next tape-opper, I know there's just as many people out there who put $2K into some setup that frustrated them to the point where they either abandoned their ideas or just said fuck it, cut their losses, and spent their day at a real studio.

There are a billion people out there who know just enough to be dangerous, but so few who have a clue why it might be a bad idea to power a gefell mic off a USB powered mic preamp.
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Post by standup » Mon May 04, 2009 4:35 am

I tried to clean up the original post a little so it makes sense.

The better/cheaper (maybe should have been cheaper/portable) part of the equation I was thinking about is 24 bit audio on a computer vs needing a Studer 827 to do professional work. I know 2" sounds great, that's what I used to go to studios to get access to, but I read/hear less these days about people HAVING to record to tape. Some friends of mine just did a record with two API pres in a lunchbox, a few mics, a Macbook/002 and some 8" Event monitors.

Microphones are a little less clear. Ever since, say, the TLM 103 era there have been some pretty useable condensors (Soundelux, I dunno, Peluso, what have you) that cost a lot less than a u87. I kinda missed the boat on cheap Chinese condensers, never really used them, though the first "serious" mic I owned was a Rode NT1, a cheap Australian condensor and I moved on to other stuff (Blue, Soundelux etc). I do have a Tape Op cheap-ass ribbon that I use with no reservations.

I'm in the middle swath -- I've recorded in real studios here and there and learned from watching pros, but haven't taken the title "engineer" because I'm really not one. I record stuff, I know some stuff, but I'm definitely self-taught, and I'm not making money at it since my day job takes a lot of my time.

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Post by decocco » Mon May 04, 2009 10:22 am

Recording with an "engineer" who has never worked in a professional studio environment is usually a horrible idea. Hell, I get tracks from local pro-level studios that sound messed up (phase problems, pops & clicks, inhuman amounts of compression, DIGITAL CLIPPING).

I learned how to do things the right way by working with people who made records that I think sound freakin' awesome. I got lucky by being at the right place in the right time and by having the right attitude. If I didn't understand something, I asked questions. After a few months I was making recordings that I was damn proud of. Some of it involved vintage high-end consoles, and some of it meager Mackie mixers. Simply having that learning experience gave me the knowledge and confidence to record on even the shittiest gear and make it sound totally decent. There is no substitute for knowledge and experience.
I'm in the middle swath -- I've recorded in real studios here and there and learned from watching pros...
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Post by decocco » Mon May 04, 2009 10:28 am

Without the commercial studio there's no one to slap the shit out of people for their idiocy. We all start as idiots, but without the mentoring system larger studios provided, we stay idiots. There's only so much one can learn in a vaccum...
Truth!
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So true. A little bit of knowledge can be very dangerous.
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Post by junkstar » Tue May 05, 2009 9:21 am

The trend I see is established bands cutting basics in a proper studio, then doing all their overdubs at 'home,' keeping only the drum tracks from the original sessions. Note seeing it a lot, but enough to take notice.

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Post by ott0bot » Tue May 05, 2009 11:15 am

junkstar wrote:The trend I see is established bands cutting basics in a proper studio, then doing all their overdubs at 'home,' keeping only the drum tracks from the original sessions. Note seeing it a lot, but enough to take notice.
thats what I did with the ep i'm working on for a band now. and even some of the drums were re-tracked at my house.

And the last few sessions i sat in, the artists only tracked drums and scratch tracks, then went home and recorded guitars and bass. Then they came back and tracked vocals. They said they didn't want to waste time cause they were writing some of the parts as they recorded. makes sense to me.

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Post by Jeff White » Tue May 05, 2009 11:25 am

decocco wrote:Recording with an "engineer" who has never worked in a professional studio environment is usually a horrible idea. Hell, I get tracks from local pro-level studios that sound messed up (phase problems, pops & clicks, inhuman amounts of compression, DIGITAL CLIPPING).
I'm not picking this line out to pick on you, so PLEASE don't take it that way. I just find this line to be in the opposite spirit of what TapeOp/home recording is all about.

I personally went to recording school (liberal arts music/recording degree) in the 1990s and feel like I didn't learn shit... I mean anything... until I was out working on my own making records, reading and experimenting, picking people's brains, etc. I spent three years in college as a broadcast engineer for our teleconference facilities, a year tracking voice talent professionally (out of college), two years doing live sound/AV work, and years doing sales-related pro audio work. I interned for a big studio in Philly for three days and felt that it was a waste of my time (I was 29 at the time and out of work, so I got a job doing live sound instead) due to studio politics, seeing where folks were who had been there for over 5 years, etc. I simply decided to record for fun and extra cash and make the best records I can with what I had at the time, chose a place with low rent, and bought a shitload of good gear. And I've been totally working hard and really enjoying recording for the past six years, which is about the time that I stepped up to a more professional setup, better mics, monitoring, etc. And feverishly reading TapeOp and the TOMB.

I guess to sum this last statement up about my background, if you take all of my experience prior to 2002, my only real "professional studio experience" was making message/music on-hold productions with an SM7, an Otari 1/4" deck, a Soundcraft board, music bed library, Sound Forge / Cool Edit, and professional voice talent for 14 months. No guitars, no drums, you get the picture.

Anyway, I have met (even recently) folks who write/perform/record their own stuff and some of it sounds amazing. Really great sounds on half-decent gear. Recorded in bedrooms, closets, bathrooms, etc. Sure, there is a lot of shit out here, but it seems that some of my favorite records in the past few years have been made by artists, not engineers, and have been home-brewed. No pro engineering experience at all, just trial and error.

Jeff
I record, mix, and master in my Philly-based home studio, the Spacement. https://linktr.ee/ipressrecord

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Post by curtiswyant » Tue May 05, 2009 11:59 am

What exactly defines a "pro" studio or engineer? If you're making money doesn't that make you a professional? I think if you know your room, know your gear, practice and work hard you can make excellent records in any space.

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Post by @?,*???&? » Wed May 06, 2009 8:04 am

decocco wrote:Recording with an "engineer" who has never worked in a professional studio environment is usually a horrible idea. Hell, I get tracks from local pro-level studios that sound messed up (phase problems, pops & clicks, inhuman amounts of compression, DIGITAL CLIPPING).
But yet seems to happen all the time. Stems from bands not being serious about they want to do. There's an awful lot of non-barcoded, non-serious, illegitimate releases flying around.

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Post by MoreSpaceEcho » Wed May 06, 2009 8:28 am

AND THAT SHIT NEEDS TO BE STOPPED ASAP!

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Post by Gentleman Jim » Wed May 06, 2009 9:29 am

@?,*???&? wrote:
Stems from bands not being serious about they want to do. There's an awful lot of non-barcoded, non-serious, illegitimate releases flying around.
Jeff, how exactly do you think the 'serious, legitimate' artists got that way? I would imagine most - at least in the blues/jazz derived world that dominates the music represented on this board - spent some time doing things that you would consider unworthy. Maybe they even spent some time as amateurs.

The subject has been battered about for a couple of years at least; most recently in the gloriously muddled and meandering Creative Commons thread over at the People Skills section of the board. But don't you think that amateur anything is good? The only alternative I know of is the Soviet/Chinese system where children are picked from a young age to be athletes or musicians and their entire lives are based around that singular pursuit. I know you're close enough to the border to breathe some Canadian air when the wind shifts, but surely you aren't THAT big of a socialist. :wink:

Is the only valid way to play a sport to be a professional athlete? Should community orchestras be banned because the participants aren't as 'serious' as the New York Philharmonic? How about theater? Should schools stop putting on plays and musicals because almost none of the participants will ever get a part in a Broadway production?

Were you never a less-than-fully-competent engineer trying to sneak a little On the Job Training? I know you've done second/assistant engineering, but there had to be those first few recording sessions where you were in charge but weren't as good as you are now. Please don't tell me that you haven't grown professionally in over 10 years, that would be sad.

I'll sit over here holding my breath, waiting for your reply. Thanks.

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Post by standup » Wed May 06, 2009 9:53 am

Oh no's.

I was really really NOT trying to kickstart this discussion.

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Post by chris harris » Wed May 06, 2009 10:27 am

you can't stop it now.

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Post by chris harris » Wed May 06, 2009 10:31 am

I mean... It could be stopped... but, the powers that be seem to view Jeff's provocations as harmless. It's best to just not take offense to anything he says and recognize statements like this for the nonsense that they are. Seriously, there's no need to present a counter argument, or prove that these statements are misguided.

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