Cody, on 12 October 2009 - 10:05 PM, said:
I'm going to revive this thread, as there are a lot of knowledgeable people and I need some advice. And it is interesting to read how Casey did act II.
Anyway, I had a thought of how my band could record a full length without spending all the money we have to our names and we will have time to get takes and tones we want:
-We would record drums at a pro studio and take 2-3 days to track drums, edit the parts, do some preliminary drum eq'ing, and do scratch tracks of guitar and such while the drums are tracking.
-We would buy some type of interface with pro tools le and a nice guitar/vocal mic or two and record guitar, bass, vocals, and anything else on our own.
-We would do the mixing on our own, and possibly send to a professional if we realize we aren't able to do it as well as we want on our own.
-Send to a professional for mastering.
What I am looking for is if it is possible for me to learn how to get good sounds and mixes with pro tools even though I have never used it. I have just used cheap programs and experimented with recording guitars and some really basic mixing.
Also, what gear should I look into. I thought of maybe an M-box or something, but I don't know how good they sound. We would also need a good mic or two, all I have that is semi-nice is an SM57 which we would use as one of the mics on guitar amps.
So there might be a few areas where it sounds like I am selling myself, or using this as advertising space- but dont feel that way, and understand that its just suggestion...
Basically- I think recording drums at a pro studio is the way to go. I am sure there is one in your area, and if you are not mixing them down there, all you need is an engineer who understands the room, and the mics to do the basic tracking for you. If at all possible, I would try to make sure that you would have some outboard gear in the mix since you will be unable to use it after the fact, and unable to afford high quality plugins after you pay for a mic or two, and the protools stuff.
Im usually not a HUGE fan of compressing before you track, but in this case, if they have some amazing stuff- utilize it- as long as he understands the sound you are going for, and how to attain it with his/the studios equipment.
After drums, I would suggest tracking bass in DI and using the plugin AmpegSVX... i forget who makes it, but it is a REALLY great modeling plugin for bass (and i know there will be people who bash modeling) but unless you have some really great mics, and a space where you can crank a bass amp, DI is what you will have to use, and as far as bass amp plugins go, that plugin is based on actual ampeg circuitry, and after a/b-ing it with actual ampeg amps, it comes strikingly close- as long as you have a good di/preamp.
Then for guitars, I would suggest not using any modeling software or plugins. If you HAVE to, Logic 9 by Apple has an amazing new feature called Amp Designer where its pretty easy to attain any sound you want. If not, I think for guitar my favorite sound comes from ribbon mics- and for cheap ribbon mics I would go with the Cascade Fathead. Check out cascade mics- and dont be turned off by their price being low- if you buy the fathead with the transformer mod, its actually a really beautiful sounding mic... we used them a ton on act III.
For vocals, I would suggest getting a Rode nt1000 (around 300 new). Andy recently used one on a session in illinois when he was in a pinch and needed a budget mic. He used it on drums, guitars, and will be using it on vocals. Right now in the room he says "its clear without ever sounding like its overdriven".
Mics- Cascade Fathead (349 with transformer mod), Rode nt1000, use your 57 on guitar as well- it will work great. You can also use the rode (3 feet away at closest) to track the guitar amp, or as a room mic for clean guitar.
As for an interface, if you arent planning on tracking drums with it (ever) then you could get a nice 2 channel interface for fairly cheap. If you want to use protools, you could either get an Mbox, or you could get M-Audio hardware and use M Powered Protools. I would suggest for you dudes to do this on Logic 9- and though I will not suggest you PIRATE software, it is pretty easy to find if you don't have the big chunk of change to drop on it. Having logic will give you access to some good creative tools that ProTools doesnt have- like the amp designer, and other really great plugins that just come with the software. Don't get me wrong, ProTools is surely something to learn, and is the standard for a reason, but I dont really think for the sake of just getting through a record that you have to learn it- Logic is easier, and better for musicians starting out . If you are cool with using Logic, I would get something like the Apogee Duet- simply because I really trust Apogee. Also, the Apogee works VERY well with Logic Pro as it can be used as a control for the program as well. It has great mic pres and they have phantom powering, so you can use them with the nt1000 which need power.
That all being said (and I know i might have left shit out, so just ask more questions and I will respond for sure) I DO think that if you want the best sound you should send it to a professional- anyone that you want really, and someone who is going to put effort into making your tracks sound GREAT and not just GOOD enough. A good mixing engineer can be the savior of a sub-par recording- and if what you are looking for is a high quality recording, and you are also looking at it as a learning process, it would be beneficial to let someone else do the final step, and hear what they did with the tracks- and talk to them about what they did.
I know that Casey Bates has a company that does mixing for bands that is kind of a 'mixing factory' sort of thing- and i know that his system works good and turns out cool mixes, but if you wanted to use them you would have to be in contact from the start, as they have a fairly precise list of needs for the tracks they will be sent.
I would also throw my name into the hat if you were interested, as I do a good amount of mixing, and feel confident in my abilities, and if that is something youd like to talk about you can PM me, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I hope some of this was helpful, and not just rambling and advertising for me. If I forgot something please let me know and I will address it.