sonic color with limited equipment

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

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Post by eeldip » Mon Feb 14, 2011 9:04 am

just listened to that first track, very nice stuff. you certainly aren't hurting yourself in your recording. its indeed a tad vanilla in the mixing, but thats not true of the arrangement.

so yea, if you want to push the textures a bit (and i can see this going both ways), i would lean to space/time effects. do you mind things sounding a bit.. uh, computery?

i have two quick recommendations:

a lil more delay here and there, or heck DRENCHED in delay could work. here is an odd delay that i really love.

if you don't mind things sounding a lil bit computery, i could see a lot of spectral things working for you. like so: ... index.html

my SECRET WEAPON, is not using reverb at all, just spectral averaging. especially on vocals. also, my double secret weapon is duplicating the vocal track, moving it ahead of the vocals by a bit (1/8 note) and spectralating that.

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Post by dsw » Mon Feb 14, 2011 11:29 am

Here's a few things you can do to color the sound without spending any money on gear or at least very little.

cup your hands around your mouth as you sing
sing flat on your back on the floor
put the guitar amp in the: garbage can, oven, closet full of clothes, car back seat, etc
put a fan in front of the (insert instrument or voice here)
wear a foil hat
go to goodwill and buy kids toy instruments, especially xylophones from fisher price
record outside
put cheap weird mics in weird places, mix in with the regular track
have someone beat on your back or chest (not painful hard, just like vigorous massage) while singing
use rolled up newspaper for drumsticks
use dead fish for drumsticks (sorry I know there's a big long string about this)
use llve fish for drumsticks
use a box of old junk for a drum
put junk on the drum
hang stuff from the cymbals like chains and stuff
play the refrigerator

mess with phase
mess with side chain
mess with extreme EQ

get things all messed up and then go back to not messed up
"Analog smells like thrift stores. Digital smells like tiny hands from far away." - O-it-hz

musicians are fuckers, but even worse are people who like musicians, they're total fuckers.

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Post by Nick Sevilla » Mon Feb 14, 2011 1:42 pm

Mess with the sound source. A lot.

Other than that use plug ins.

Howling at the neighbors. Hoping they have more mic cables.

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Post by jhharvest » Mon Feb 14, 2011 10:20 pm

WesleyRegis wrote:I just tracked vocals for a friends band last week, and we experimented with backing vocals being sung through an actual vacuum tube, no pun intended, and we got some interesting results.
Aha, this reminds me of a ghetto flanger I made as a kid. It consisted of a cardboard tube with a headphone speaker element at one end and a microphone dangled inside the tube. Moving the mic up and down made an interesting effect. Pretty rubbish as I recall. A lot of unwanted noise from the mic rubbing against the inside of the tube.

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Post by lee » Tue Feb 15, 2011 5:49 pm

Thanks a lot everyone. All great ideas.
i've written the song that god has longed for. the lack of the song invoked him to create a universe where one man would discover inspiration in a place that god, himself, never thought to look.

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Post by Stablenet » Wed Feb 16, 2011 7:09 am

I'm all for plug ins, but cheap stuff around the house works well too. Here are a few things you can do for almost no money:

Send a signal to a guitar amp - you can futz with gain, reverb and tremolo if the amp has these options. Then mic that amp.

Any sound coming out of a speaker can be messed with. Move the mic while you record. Put a box fan between it and the mic. I've been chipping away at a Lilys interview for years now. Kurt used that as a tremolo effect on the first record. He hooked up a rheostat to the fan so he could adjust the speed.

Suspend a mic in one of those big, empty water cooler bottles and move it around the room until you find a good spot. I've used a 57 and an EV 635a and liked both. These are both cheap mics.

Bounce a track down to disc. Take that disc and some sort of playback device to a huge room, stairwell, elevator shaft, grain silo - whatever - play the track and have mic(s) around the space so you can record THAT. Reimport the file.
I haven't done this but plan to at a friend's house. He has a really long, narrow, one lane swimming pool in a glass and cement room.

Copy a track. Leave one dry. Pan the other one and screw with it to within an inch of it's life. Make this track wet signal only.

DAW's make us lazy. Remember how people did things in the past, especially when they didn't have a Beatles budget. Distort a piano, physically drag a piece of tape back and forth along a cheap tape head, and send it through a delay, play guitars with anything but a pick. Creativity is what made early psych records what they were. Have fun and invent. Don't be afraid to dump the stuff that fails.

And go nuts with the plug ins as well! Use everything. Solid advice about not being "weird for weird's sake" though. Remember that.

Alex Maiolo
Carrboro/Chapel Hill, NC
My studio is Seriously Adequate

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Post by ott0bot » Wed Feb 16, 2011 1:07 pm

some subtle things to try.

do some field recording or ambient recording around the house and add them into your recordings here and there for added feel. Time stretch them, reverse them, do automated eq sweeps fro some natural comb filtering. have fun.

Also....try doubling track, reversing it, then use an audio sweet plug to add verb or delay, the once it's permanetly altered, revese it back to the corrected direction....then you get little sweeps and wierd echos' and it adds a little interest.

like was mentioned...reamping....even the entire mix, is great.

other great ideas on here for sure.

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Post by Brett Siler » Wed Feb 16, 2011 5:47 pm

dfuruta wrote:I've found the destroy fx free plugins to be of use for that sort of thing..
I love these plug ins! Great for mangling audio.

DAW doesn't make you lazy. Being lazy makes you lazy... :wink:

Lots of great suggestions, you imagination with get you wilder sounds than technology wil if you know what I mean.

Put a mic behind a running fan.
Put a mic in a metal trash can, or flower pot.
Put a condom on a mic and put it in a cup of water (be careful).
Put a mic into a distorted amp.
Record the song on a shit tape recorder and re-record the song on you DAW and blend the two.

I could go on and on. Use your imagination, go wild!

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Post by Brian » Thu Feb 17, 2011 12:26 pm

build a wooden box as big as you kick drum and put a crappy cheap 3 way speaker inside it with a decent condenser mic, reamp through the speaker and re-record the snare with the mic and re-time align it. do the same with the bass gtr, or a cello, or vox, heck whatever.

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