1. EquipmentThe equipment I use is very simple, and even though it may not be the best, it still can give anyone a good quality recording for a song. If you have anything different that you use feel free to use that instead. Please don't go out and buy the exact stuff I use because in most cases the stuff you are using may not be much different. The equipment I use is still recommended though if you are just starting and have nothing else to use.
Samson G Track Microphone
This microphone costs about $120 online depending on where you look. It comes with all of the chords you will need and it also comes with software that I will talk about later. Overall this is a good microphone and it may not be the top most studio quality but I have still used it to make really good recordings so I recommend it.
Pop FilterThis is something you will definitely want to get even if you are just going to record for fast demos. It will help block out the popping noises that your voice makes when you sing "P" or "S vowels. Now if you are just recording with intruments this isn't needed but for any vocals it is a must have. You can find any kind of pop filter for about $30-$40 if you look around.
Sonar LE SoftwareThis is the software that I talked about earlier. It comes with the Samson G Track and many other Samson microphones. It is nowhere near the best software out there, but it gets the job done and I have gotten so used to it that I don't even think about using any other software. The Samson G Track will work with most recording software like Garageband or Logic Pro. Now a lot of people out there will use Audacity which is a free program for recording. With the Samson G track though it will not work. For some reason Audacity does not have the anti latency software in it that is needed to record with the Samson G Track. What the anti latency does is it makes it so that when you record there is no delay in the recording. With Audacity you will get this delay which makes each track lag behind the other. This is why I recommend using the Sonar LE software because it solves this problem.
This is all of the equipment I use, and it may not be the best way, but it has worked really well for me in the past.
2. Pre-RecordingWell I didn't really know what to call step two so pre-recording but not be the best but I think it works.
Before you record you will want to make sure of a couple of things. Now many people use recording studios which will make a lot of problems non existent, but for people like me who record in just a regular room these are some thing you need to look out for.
Make sure you try to make the room as silent as you can. If you are just making a quick demo this doesn't really matter, but if you are making a track for your album you will want to make sure this is not a problem.
If you have fan on or an air conditioner make sure to turn them off. Any extra noise can cloud a recording so try to make sure those things are not on during a recording. Also try to keep everything or everyone else quiet around you. Sometimes I will record and then when I playback the track I will hear people talking in the background. This is because people will be walking past my room talking to each other and that will get into the recording. If you are recording with someone else around try to keep them quiet too to make sure they don't get into the track as well.
VocalsVocals are pretty self explanatory when recording with the Samson G Track. All you have to do make sure the microphone is on and then you sing. Make sure your recording levels are at a good spot though. Do a couple of test tracks to get the right volume. Try to keep the mic at a level to where the vocals can be heard but to a point where there is not much background noise, because turning up the mic brings up background noise into the track.
Also try not to sing right up against the microphone, keep a small distance away from the mic. This will make your vocals sound more natural in the recording.
Acoustic GuitarThere are two ways to record an acoustic guitar. Now if you are using the Samson G Track or another kind of interface you can record direct in if you are also using an acoustic electric guitar. This way is ok but I don't recommend it. What I do is use the microphone to pick up the acoustic guitar.
Put the mic on a stand (or something to hold it up) and set it up about a foot away from where you are sitting with your guitar. Try to line up the mic with the 12th fret of the guitar. This will give you a nice range in sound. If you want to get a higher or more bass tone to the guitar then move the mic up or down the guitar for a different type of sound.
Electric GuitarThere are many ways to record an electric guitar. With some programs you can add pedals and different sounds to the guitar right on the program. If you are doing this just plug your electric in directly to your computer or into the microphone if you are using the Samson G Track.
You can also record from your amp which is what I do. With my Fender Frontman 212r there is a pre-out on the amp. This allows you to record directly from the amp. This will cut out any background noise and the nice thing is your can also hear the amp still when you are recording.
I usually use my Frontman 212r but sometimes I will use my smaller Fender Frontman 25r which doesn't have a pre-out. For this amp I will just put the mic right in front of it and just pick up the sound through the mic. I recommend using a pre-out or output if you have one but if you don't just set up the mic and record that way.
KeyboardsRecording keyboards is very easy to do. With the Samson G Track all you have to do is plug into the mic using the audio interface, then plug into the output of the keyboard. If you have an amp you can also mic that or use the output but for best quality. I recommend just using the output on the keyboard.
BassI don't usually record bass but it is easy to do as well. You could record direct in with the Samson G Track but I would recommend recording an amp instead because you have more control over the sound.
OtherFor harmonica or tambourine I just use the mic to pick up the sound, the same would go for a instrument like a saxophone or a trumpet. For drums I can't really tell you much because I have never recorded them before. I would recommend something else other than the Samson G track though unless you have an electronic drum set because it would be easier to plug in. If I ever end up recording drums I will make an update though to tell you what I did.
MixingMixing is something that I am not very good at so I would go on YouTube and check out some mixing videos. For me all I do is check the levels and add some reverb to the vocals to make them sound better. If you have two different tracks of the same instrument (ex. acoustic guitar) I would move one two one side and one to the other. This will give you a great stereo sound. I would keep the bass, vocals, and solos in the middle but other than that try to move around some of the other instruments.
Now the way I record may not be the best way, but even with the best software you will still have to put a lot of time into recording. Time is the most important thing when recording. If a track sounds off re-record it to make it sound right. I have made some terrible recordings and then I have made some tracks for my album which I are way better and are very good quality. Time is really the most important thing with recording so remember to always put time into recording and the end product will come out much better.
Hopefully this helped and hopefully this lesson didn't come out too late. If you want to hear some recordings that I have made click the link below.
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