Tuesday, July 3, 2012

YOU CAN RECORD YOUR OWN ALBUM (if you really want to)

A few people have asked me how I recorded the ep Come to Me that I recently released through cdbaby. Well, with todays technology, recording is fairly easy when you have some decent recording equipment and a computer. Don't get me wrong. It doesn't just fall into place once you have the equipment. If you are like me and don't have a lot of money to spare, then you have to do almost everything by yourself. This means that writing the songs, buying the equipment, recording the songs, mixing the songs and mastering the album is up to you and you alone. And with very little know how this is what I did. So, releasing an ep or full album of your own songs must be something you deeply believe must be heard and feel compelled to do because many times perseverence is the only thing that will get the project done. So, most anyone, if they really want to, can produce their own album.
This is the equipment I used:
                                          AudioBox USB 2x2 recording system ($150.00)
                                          The AudioBox USB is a USB bus-powered audio recording interface featuring 2 microphone/instrument inputs with 48V phantom power, 2 balanced TRS outputs, and MIDI in/out. The AudioBox USB is bundled with PreSonus Studio One Artist, with groundbreaking music creation program, and over 4 GB of virtual instruments, plug-ins, loops, and samples to get you started making music immediately.
                                          http://www.presonus.com/products/detail.aspx?productid=53

My digital audio workstation (DAW) is Presonus Studio One Pro.
                              For $150.00 US Dollars you get the above Presonus Audio Box USB
plus in the box is free software (Presonus Studio One Artist) which allows you to immediately try out the Audio Box interface. I later upgraded to Studio One Pro so that I could master my ep myself. The upgrade from Arstist to Pro was about $200.00. This is a pretty good deal. If you want to pay an engineer to master your songs it will cost about $100.00 per song. I have very little previous knowledge of mixing songs and absolutely no previous knowledge outside my recently released ep on how to master. I watched Presonus's online videos about mastering and on top of that I was extremely helped by a podcast called The Home Recording Show http://www.homerecordingshow.com/ . If you are the least bit interested in home recording you must check these guys out. They know their stuff and the podcast is free. Go to their home page (linked above) and downlowd every show for free. "THANKS GUYS!"

                    I used these MXL 990/991 condenser mics to record all my vocals and guitar parts.
 http://www.amazon.com/MXL-990-991-Recording-Microphone/dp/B0002GJI3C/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1341378133&sr=8-1&keywords=mxl+991
I bought these 2 years ago at Guitar Center as a package set for $150.00. Now you can buy them at Amazon for about $79.00. They worked great for what I was doing. And concidering it was my first time at digital recording, I thought it was a good place to start. Now my recommendation would be to buy a Shure SM57 (about $100.00) for recording guitar and if you can afford a $350.00 mic for vocals, I would recommend the Shure SM7.

OTHER GEAR I USED:
My XLR mic cables are all Live Wire and my guitar cables are all Monster cables.
For tracking I used AKG K99 headphones.
And, I used M-Audio AV30's for monitors. I would not recommend these monitors for mixing. When listening back to my mixes through the AV30's, they had too much bottom end.

As you can see, with a little want to, perseverence, and around $500.00 (assuming you have a laptop) you can begin recording your own music.
For those of you who were interested in how I recorded the ep there it is.
I'm sure I made many mixing and mastering mistakes on this project but it was one of the most rewarding projects I have ever done.
You can be the judge as to whether or not this equipment gives decent results by listening to my ep
Come to Me by Kevin Qualls. I hope this was helpful.

Blessings,

Kevin

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