An Introduction To Home Recording – The Beginning
In this blog I will explore what you may need to turn your home space into a recording studio without having to break the bank to do it. In todays world you may not need all the stuff you find in the big commercial studios to make some really nice sounding recordings.
Before I get into the good stuff, let me tell you a bit about me and where I am coming from. I was always an audiophile and was always listening to many types of music. Growing up I started with a mono clock radio, my dad’s Sylvania home entertainment stereo console that he designed as an engineer at Sylvania, to building my own pre and power amps so that I could get the best sound possible. Did not matter where it was coming from, I was listening. And over the years I was always wondering how the music I was listening to was made and how I could make it sound better for me.
When I was in the Navy serving on-board a US Submarine I was worried that while out at sea I would not have the ability to enjoy my music. This is way before the portable music players, and in oder to hear tapes I would have to have access to a full size player, and that would be hard because there was not much room on a submarine for that. So while I was on the submarine in the shipyard, I worked very hard to get a multi-device audio system installed so that all on-board had many choices of audio to listen to while on patrol (including me). While in the shipyard, we requisitioned and had an airline type audio system installed, the very same system you had on an airplane back in those days. At your seat you have a selection of around 8 channels to listen to, and in the front of the airplane there was actually a chassis that had endless tape cartridges running with different types of music. Some were stereo and some were mono, but once they are playing, they would play over and over again.
In each bunk of the submarine the occupant had a little box that they could select from the different channels, and a headphone jack to plug in their headphones. Of course this was back in the days way before everyone had their own headphones, so we had to issue headphones to all the bunks so they could enjoy the music. We actually ordered some really nice light weight Sennheiser headphones that had a great sound. This system provided a good selection of music, but only a few channels from the tape machine. And as I mentioned, only 2 channels were stereo, and the rest were mono. Not a great choice when it comes to full stereo listening.
As we had several other channels in the system still open I decided to install some additional audio components that could fill out the rest of the channels. I used a reel-to-reel tape machine, and 2 cassette players to fill up the rest of the system. Now we had a total of 8 channels in the system, with four sources feeding it. This was a system unlike any other in the fleet at the time, and one that gave me, sorry I was being audio greedy, a lot of different choices to listen to my music round the clock.
One last note on this system. For the reel-to-reel tapes, I used to take blank tapes to a local radio station, WKTM in Charleston SC, and they would record their broadcasts for me. I would replay those broadcasts while under way so that you had the sense of listening to the radio when that was just not possible under the sea. It kind of made you feel like you were at home – sort of!!! I also had a bunch of Classical Recordings for our Executive Officer, but I can’t tell you where they came from.
OK Back to me and why I am writing this. The fact of the matter is that I LOVE MUSIC, and I LOVE LISTENING TO MUSIC, and now I LOVE MAKING MUSIC. This is how I got to where I am today, and was really the catylist for building my studio and the desire to record and produce music.
Today I have taken all of my love for music, and researched creating a space in your home to make and record music, as well as my experiences recording music, and am rolling all this up in this blog on Home Recording. But before you start asking yourself if I am qualified to convey this information to you, let be bring you up to speed on what I have done over the last 20 years.
About 20 years ago I joined a band named MidLife Crysis, and was in charge of doing sound for the band. Over time I began singing in this band, as well as playing percussion on stage, all while doing the sound. Believe me, this is a tall order to initially singing from the sound board at the back of the venue, to replacing all of the PA with equipment that allows me to run the entire show from my iPad and now being on-stage with the band. As my involvement in this band went on I decided to start recording our practices so that we could hear our takes and use this to improve our playing and singing. This grew from simple recording to building a practice space that also included a control room for recording purposes.
About 8 years ago I got together with my now good friend Julie Lavender to start recording and producing a live Eclectic Jazz radio show called DreamFarm Radio that is broadcast on over 30+ NPR radio stations across the US. This new level of recording project raised my abilities that I have since built on over the last 8 years from recording the radio shows in a beautiful barn in New England, to on-site recording at Scullers Jazz Club and the Lilly Pad in Boston. All shows are multi-track recorded and produced with the idea of mixing the best audio I can for a live environment. You can check out DreamFarmRadio.org and listen to all of our shows.
During this last 8 years, I have also recorded and mixed two commercial CD projects with Julie Lavender, as well as other bands, to continue to perfect my craft. (See my client section of the website for more information)
And that brings us to today. If your still reading, and I hope you are, I am at a place in my life where I have built a multi-chamber studio space right here in Nashua NH and after retiring in 2019 this will be my new and exciting day job.
Want More? Well, in the next post I will be breaking down the future posts into sections that you can sink your teeth into, and use to build your own space. Some of the topics I will explore, but in no particular order, will be as follows:
- Multi-Track Recording Made Simple
- Basic Recording Equipment Needed
- Recording Software
- Basic Room Design & Acoustic Treatments
- Recording Techniques
- Mixing Techniques
All of these topics, and more, will be released in the order that I think you should consider them. It does not make sense for me to talk about mixing techniques if you don’t have a space or equipment and software. However, if you already are comfortable with the beginning topics, you can jump around my posts to get what you need. I would ask you to a let take a look at topics that you already know because there might be a gold nugget in there that you can add to your knowledge.
Still want more? Check out my site at mlcrecording.com for the latest posts about Home Recording. You will not be disappointed.