Producers Develop Their Signature Sound
As outsized personalities like Spector began to loom larger over their recordings, the idea that certain producers could create a signature sound became prevalent. Experimental pop artist Brian Eno saw himself in demand as a producer for other artists starting the mid-70s after his self-produced records gained popularity.
While many producers stuck with one or two genres they were comfortable with , others sought to venture into any genre they pleased. Tom Wilson jumped from genre to genre, recording folk artists like Bob Dylan, proto-punkers the Velvet Underground and avant-garde jazz prophet Sun Ra, all in the 1960s alone.
As larger music producers in mainstream pop music grew their sounds with state-of-the-art equipment, innovators also thrived around the world by making due with limited technology. In late 60s Jamaica for example, producers would make a single copy of a new song to test its marketability. Those copies became known as dubs, and soon producers were making instrumental mixes of the song for use in clubs. This practice birthed the sub-genre of reggae appropriately called dub music in the 70s.
The Complete Checklist For Releasing Your Own Music
7 registrations for every track you release
Today its extremely easy to release a song and get it distributed worldwide. With the click of a mouse, you can upload your latest track and sell it on iTunes or stream it on Spotify and Apple Music. Within a few hours, the music can be in the ears of fans around the globe.
So, distribution is no longer a mystery, but musicians still often make the mistake of skipping the essential steps that music labels know they must take before they distribute music into the world, to protect artists rights and prepare to earn royalty income. There are seven simple registrations you need to take care of if youre not working with a label.
But first, lets review a basic understanding of copyright, as well as the steps to prepare your music business so youre ready to register songs when you release them and can collect royalties starting on day one.
Turntable Parts And Components
The list below may vary slightly from turntable to turntable but the majority of parts and components are represented in some way, or similar functions are achieved on most quality turntables.
1. Platter The surface where you place your record and is spun by the belt in order for the stylus/needle to track the record groove.
2. Motor Pulley Will drive the belt to spin the platter.
3. Motor Pulley Cap Protects the motor from dust and debris.
4. Rubber Belt Connects the Motor Pulley and Platter to drive the platter at a consistent speed .
5. Spindle A protruding rod attached to the bearing that the platter sits on that also keeps your records in place.
6. Turntable Mat A protective surface to isolate your records from platter vibrations while also protecting your records from scratching. Can be made of various materials each with unique properties and benefits to playback.
7. Speed Selection/On Button Knob to change speeds from 33 1/3 to 45 RPM. Different models of turntables have different methods for selecting rotational speed.
8. Power LED Indicates if power is on.
9. Counterweight Adjustable weight that allows you to balance your tonearm specifically to your selected cartridge.
10. Anti-Skating Control Adjustable knob allowing you to select an anti-skating measurement to prevent you records from being pulled toward the center of your platter too aggressively during playback avoiding skipping or distortion.
18. Power Input Input for power cable.
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The Latest In On Copyright Law
This talk from lawyer and artist Abid Hussain at Ableton Loop is the best explanation of copyright law in relation to music Ive seen to date.
In summary, there are 3 court cases in the US that have given 3 separate precedents for how sampling should be treated, which makes it very confusing and contradictory.
The first case says that sampling is always infringement, no ifs, buts or maybes. However, the second case argues that only if it is substantially similar, then it constitutes copyright infringement. Lastly, if the work using a sample is transformative enough , then it wont be classed as copyright infringement. Confusing, right?
Basically, its not clear, but its still very risky, especially if the original is recognisable. But people sample differently, which is why its not always the same answer. These cases could develop in years to come, and are always open to change with changing laws and new sampling controversies.
Regardless of whether you are in the US or not, there are a lot of similarities between the courts in Western countries. That being said, before proceeding with releasing tracks containing a sample, you should do the research to make sure your country has similar laws.
Whats The Best Way To Record A Drum Kit
Recording drums in a home studio recording is very difficult, especially if youre recording on a budget. This is chiefly because each individual drum often needs to be miked separately, some with two mics, and the kit at large needs to be miked as well. This is why unfortunately for most home studio recordings, an acoustic drum kit cannot be used.
Gabriel Barletta Because each drum is miked at the top, there should be no need to reverse polarity/invert phase.
If, however, you are determined to do this, you can get away with four microphones. Roughly speaking, this method worked for The Beatles. In editing, it will be more difficult to separate each drum and cymbal, but if you angle each microphone right you can reduce the amount of audio bleed.
- One dynamic microphone aimed at the snare
- One large-diaphragm dynamic microphone for the kick
- Two, ideally identical, condenser microphones acting as overhead mics. Place them on a T-bar and in an array that points them over the cymbals and toms in a Y configuration.
If you dont like the idea of playing drums with your fingers, an electronic drum kit may be the way to go. The one I have is the Alesis Drums Nitro Mesh Kit, which is affordable and lets you enable stereo output.
Recording Studios In A Box A Cost Effective Way To Set Up Your First Home Studio
If you cannot make your mind up on all the separates, then all the best brands do fantastic studios in a box which contain microphone, audio interface and headphones, along with some recording software. Absolutely perfect for the complete beginner, because you know everything is going to work well together. Our favourites are below, and if you want to know more, read our full reviews of these all-in-one recording studio software and equipment packages.
Complete recording package from Mackie, with mic, software, interface and cables
How Much Money Will It Cost
If youre getting started from scratch, one of the first things youll want to know is how much money it will cost. This will depend based on your goals, but if you already have a halfway decent computer or laptop then you can expect to pay around $300 for a basic setup with one decent microphone and everything you need to record your first track.
There are a few things to think about when considering cost. For example: how many tracks do you need to record at the same time?
Its not uncommon to use 6-8 microphones to record a full drum kit. Not only will you need the microphones, stands, and cables, but youll need to have an audio interface that has enough inputs to hook everything up.
Dont think you need to go out and buy a dozen mics just to start recording. You can always start with one or two and slowly build a collection from there. You can even do a great job of recording drums with 2-4 microphones, but more on that later..
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But Everyone Says Get The Shure Sm57
Sure, the Shure SM57 is a great dynamic microphone, primarily because its extremely versatile for recording different types of instruments. It also has a higher SPL level, making it better for recording loud instruments like drums.
However, youll never get that lush, full-sounding vocal with a dynamic microphone that you would with large-diaphragm condenser microphones.
A condenser microphone sounds more broadcast-ready, because of its warm, full-bodied sound. You can record voice-overs, warm vocals for your tracks, including acoustic instruments like violins and guitars.
Generally, a condenser microphone makes a good start because youll be able to tackle more audio and music projects with it.
Will I Use A Computer Or A Hard
This is the digital age, and we dont record on reels of tape any more. Youll need a computer, or a special device called a hard-disk multitrack recorder.
Using a computer is possibly the best way to go, especially if youre familiar with them and have one already. Most modern computers should be powerful enough to get you started. And whether you prefer Windows or a Mac, there are software options that should meet your needssee the next section for details.
You may want to tweak your computer to get maximum audio performance. These articles will help:
If youre not comfortable with computers, or want a more portable solution, you might consider purchasing a hard-disk multitrack recorder. They are small specialized computer devices that function in a way similar to traditional recording equipment, and range in price from around $200 up to $2000 or so. Most of these devices store your music internally on a hard drive, though some use CDs, DVDs and SD cards.
These devices have everything you need in the one package, so you dont need to worry about buying additional mixers, audio interfaces, or software. You can learn more about them from this AudioJungle article:
The KORG D888 Hard-disk Multitrack Recorder
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Music Production In The Digital Age
The 90s also saw the increasing evolution of digital recording and engineering carry over from the preceding decade. Major albums like Paul Simons Graceland from 1986 were recorded to analog tape but transferred and mixed on new equipment called a digital audio workstation . DAWs became standard in 90s recording studios, and by the 00s the vast majority of music production became entirely digital.
How Cheap Is Too Cheap
Since home recording can be expensivemusicians often search for the cheapest possible solutions to recording their music.
And thats fine, exceptthere is such a thing as too cheap.
While it is technically possible to build a working studio for as little as $400-$500
There are low limits to what can be accomplished in such a studioand I really wouldnt recommend it to anyone truly serious about recording their music.
Insteadheres what I do recommend:
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What Do I Need To Record On A Computer
Get the lowdown on audio interfaces, DAWs, mics and more
RECORDING WEEK: Using samples and virtual instruments in the box provides incredible creative freedom when producing tracks. However, there may well come a time when you want to expand your sonic palette to incorporate sounds youve recorded yourself. Thankfully, most DAWs are also powerful multitrack recorders, perfectly capable of capturing everything from a single tambourine hit to a full multi-miked band.
Are you someone who likes the idea of recording but arent entirely sure how to get started? Then this back-to-basics feature is for you. Let’s take a look at the essential hardware and software requirements, looking at what you do and dont need, and running through the advantages of certain features.
Recording Week is brought to you in association with Universal Audio
Stage : The Bedroom Studio
While beginners always have that natural desire to want to learn everything, right away
The truth isyou really only need a few items to get started.
And anything more will probably just confuse you.
So if you dont have a studio yet, a simple bedroom studio is the first milestone to aim for.
And for a setup like this, you need the following 9 items:
- Macbook Pro
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How To Set Up Your Home Recording Equipment
Setting up your equipment to record your own music is not difficult, but there are a few traps and pitfalls you can fall into. Hopefully, this section will help you avoid those. It is worth pointing out at this stage that it is a good idea to turn down all volume and gain controls on all your equipment until everything has been connected up. This helps avoid unpleasant popping sounds as you start to turn things on.
What Equipment Do I Need To Start Recording
Computer / DAW
Your computer doesnt need to be amazing in order to start recording, however it helps to have a good processor and lots of RAM. When you start working with more elaborate projects and layering multiple tracks is where some extra horsepower in the processor and tons of RAM will be necessary.
If youll be working on a PC, I recommend 8 GB or more RAM. but you could realistically get started with 4GB. When you start working with multiple tracks and adding effects, the plugins will eat up RAM rather quickly, so eventually an upgrade may be required.
Mac vs PC
These days, it really just boils down to personal preference. A lot of professional recording studios use Macs, but most popular DAWs will work across multiple systems. It is also possible to build a very powerful Windows PC at a fraction of the cost, so theres that.
Aside from personal preference and cost, youll also need to consider which equipment you plan to work with. There are some high end recording interfaces that only work on Macs, so you need to think of the software and hardware as a pair.
A recording interface is one of the most important aspects of your rig. This is basically a device that allows you to take your incoming microphones or audio from another source, and connect it to your computer so that you can record it into your DAW and start working with it.
The Shure SM58 is a dynamic microphone that is popular for live and studio vocals
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Laptop Or Desktop Computer
Again, its not ideal to produce music on a smartphone. So youll need a laptop or desktop computer.
It needs to have enough memory, RAM, and processing power to efficiently run recording studio software. Pretty much every Apple computer has what you need to start recording at home .
For a Windows computer, here are the recommended specs:
- Multi-core processor
- 1 GB RAM for Windows XP and 2 GB RAM for Vista
- 40 GB system drive hard disk space and 80 GB separate physical audio drive
- Drive speeds of 7200 RPM
Connect Headphones Or Monitor Speakers
So youve got your input sorted time to take care of the output.
This could be as simple as plugging a pair of headphones into a headphone socket on your audio interface. Some interfaces have more than one headphone socket to allow multiple musicians to listen. Some also have individual volume controls for each headphone socket, so remember to turn these up independently of the main volume control.
The other option is a pair of speakers. Connect these to a set of outputs on the interface they are usually located around the back of the interface. The cables that you need will be determined by your particular speakers you may require jack-jack cables, jack-phono cables or XLR cables. Check carefully what type you need before you part with your hard-earned cash.
Make a note of which outputs you connected your speakers to if your interface has multiple sets of outputs we will need this information in the next section.
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How To Mix Music With The Ears Of A Skilled Audio Engineer
As a home recording musician, youre always on that never-ending search for better sound.
You buy all the latest plugins.
You read every book, and memorize every tip on how to make your mixes sound just like the pros.
Except your mixes DONT sound just like the prosdo they?
In fact, theyre probably not even close.
Sound familiar? If so, your story most likely sounds something like this:
The Mix Processing Chain
Although it isnât part of the recording process, itâs important to mention that the recording process alone wonât give you the finished article.
Once youâve compiled all of your takes in your amazing sounding dry vocal, there are several things to consider when it comes to processing.
I use two EQs. One to clean up any frequencies that are bugging me, take out any low-end rumbles or high end hiss that were missed in the recording stage. The other is to give some nice character and tone â maybe an analogue emulation plugin.
Use compression to level off any transient peaks and also bring up any breaths and nuances you want to hear. The bigger your arrangement is, the more youâll probably want to use compression, is as it will be fighting against a lot of other frequencies. Also, try using volume automation as this is a common way to make sure the vocal level is more consistent throughout.
I find that even a touch of analogue or tape distortion can make vocals pop out in your mix and make the general sound a lot better. Play around with it to find a great sound, from a hint of tube warmth, all the way to full-on cabinet distortion for crunchy effects.
Use this to add depth and width to your mix, but remember, itâs easy to get carried away in the moment especially as it seems to add âtalentâ to your performance â so be careful.
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