Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Home recording

This is "a drop in an ocean" because the way I do music composition and recording is a drop in an ocean to much of what is out there in comparison to 'real' recording with 'real' equipment that many people do at home and beyond. My equipment is very raw by most standards. However, I really enjoy making music and have a - need - to make music. So I'm going to make it. If anyone gets something out of this blog or the music, then we are both happy.

Almost anything is possible nowadays to make 'demo' quality recordings with computers and a few basics and I hope that anyone who stumbles across this page will be inspired to do the same. It's a great time to live in if you like composing music; we have so many tools at hand.

Here's how I have been doing it so far:

This is pretty well my set-up for recording. I am in the rental market so have to move house every few years when they sell up. So I have had to make my set up easy to move and compact with most of the action happening through the computer. I've been using second hand Pentiums for the last few years. I've destroyed a few in the process because I push them fairly hard.

My favourite guitar is an AXL player deluxe Stratocaster - obviously a rip off of the original Fender Stratocaster but it does the job for my needs. Plays well and has a great sound but does go out of tune a bit.

I've got amps and pedals but often I use a Line 6 'TonePort UX1' computer recording interface. This is old now (and not made anymore) but it has some good basic amp models.

It uses 'Gearbox' software (see above)

For acoustic guitar, mandolin and sometimes micing the guitar amps, I use a Rode M3 Cardoid Microphone

I play most of the parts on my recordings and have found having a midi controller a really important part of the puzzle. I picked up this keyboard and really like it. It's an Ashton UMK61 Controller Keyboard.

For VSTi's I mainly use freeware from places like http://www.vst4free.com/ and http://www.dskmusic.com/
I grew up on guitar  -and also - synthesizer music so, it's no problem for me to mix them together.

Drums are the hardest part of the chain. I search on the internet high and low to get free and legal drum loops. I often go to http://www.looperman.com/ where other musos give away loops.

Back in the 90's I bought a SR16 drum machine. I still use it every now and then because it has fairly 'realistic' drum samples. It's a pain to program but comes up with the goods.

For my Digital Audio Workstation I use SONAR LE by Cakewalk. I used to use a Windows 95 version of Cakewalk for years and it served me well until I got this. I also use the free program Audacity (http://audacity.sourceforge.net/) which is surprisingly powerful.

My main amp is the Crate 60 W which I bought in the early 90's to go on tour across half of Australia. It survived the desert air of the Nullarbor Plains, gigs in all sorts of places and and so on. The other amp I have recorded with is the Pro Amp small but sounds good up loud (don't tell my nephew; it's his).


Cry Baby Wah Wah

RP50 Multi-effect

  Boss Super Overdrive SD 1

 Boss Digital Delay DD-7

Many moons ago, I actually did a course in Audio Engineering but being dyslexic I found it hard slog but after a bit of efffort I got my paper but decided to stick to the music side of things:
I also used to play live in a number of (unknown) bands, was a roadie on a few trips and got to travel around Australia but stopped in the late 1990's...here's a one shot not long before I finished:

After giving up on music for a few years, I found that it still burned within me and so I decided to continue in a much low key way - which has been surprisingly satisfying.

You are welcome to 'like' the following page or 'subscribe' to the next, so you get updates, but you certainly don't need to.You are welcome to visit it every now and then. I take the music seriously but not myself so much. I like people's comments and interaction or suggestions, so you are welcome to join in on the fun:

or lots and lots of videos (best watched at random) right here:

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