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Posts Tagged ‘recording tips’

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Songwriter’s Challenge: Write a Standard Form Song

Monday, June 17th, 2013

Beginners Guide To Song Form Part 2

After receiving such great feedback from you guys, we’ve decided to continue the songwriting form series. Last time we touched on the AABA format using Paul Simon’s “Still Crazy After All These Years” as an example, and today I want to focus on the most popular song structure-ABABCB.

Understanding Song Structure Basics: ABABCB Song Form

The ABABCB Song Form:

The most common song form is the ABABCB form, which is a verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus song. The “A” section is the verse, where the story is told. The “B” section is the chorus, which is the hook and the highlight of the song. A standard verse chorus can often become tiresome, so adding a “C” section, also known as the bridge, adds variation. The bridge is a musical departure from the expected-often summing up the song-thus supplying new momentum to the final chorus. Some popular examples for ABABCB songs are “What’s Love Got To Do With it” by Tina Turner, “Girl” by The Beatles, and “Hot N Cold” by Katy Perry. (more…)

Recording Tips: Keep it Simple

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

When I record a song, I have a tendency to layer many instruments on top of one another. Like, millions of instruments. OK, so maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, but I do tend to get carried away. Sometimes I’ll program a drum part that I think sounds pretty cool, but to beef it up I’ll double it on another kit. And then another. And maybe even a fourth.

Then I’ll play a guitar part. And maybe I’ll add a lead guitar line. I might even want to add a third guitar to harmonize. And of course, guitars always sound better doubled, right? So I’ll double the parts, lay down a bass, and think “hey, this song would sound great with a keyboard!” So off I go, recording a Rhodes and then laying down an organ bed to fill out the holes.

Finally it’ll be ready for my vocals. Maybe I’ll double the lead vocal because my voice isn’t super powerful. Then I’ll add a harmony part or two, and some four-part background “oohs” to take it all up one more notch.

Before I know it, I have 21 tracks of audio adding up to one huge wall of sound.

It sort of sounds cool sometimes, but mostly it just sounds a little confusing. With all these sounds, which is the one I’m supposed to be listening to at any given time? With the whole frequency spectrum being filled up by instruments, how can any guitar tone, kick drum, or vocal melody stand out amongst the blurry mess of sound that is my mix? (more…)

Recording Tips: How to Record Vocals

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

Unless you play instrumental music, the vocal track is the most important part of your demo. It’s the part of the music that most fans and listeners connect with the most, and that makes your vocal tracks the heart and soul of your recording. But recording vocals can be a tricky thing. How do you capture the spirit of a great vocal take without losing any of the raw energy of the performance? Here are a few recording tips for vocalists.

Finding a Place to Record

Where will your vocal recording take place? The opportunities are endless, really… Besides professional recording studios, vocals can be easily recorded at home with the proper setup. If you don’t have a home recording setup (or know someone who does), you might want to take a look at our guide to finding the right vocal recording studio to help you find the right location. If you do decide to head to a recording studio, you can skip the next section on recording software and hardware.

Recording Software & Hardware

When you take recording matters into your own hands, it is imperative that you choose the right recording gear for the job. The sheer number of options available may seem intimidating at first, but here are a few tips.

You’ll need a digital audio workstation (DAW) to start. Some of the most common DAWs include Protools, Cubase and Logic. If you don’t want to invest in expensive software, many companies offer scaled down, cheaper versions of their titles. There are also free options available as well, though if you’re planning on getting serious about recording you’ll probably want to spend a few dollars on decent recording software.

You’re also going to need an audio interface of some sort. This is the hardware that you will be plugging your microphone into (which then plugs into your computer, usually via USB or Firewire). Again, there are tons of options out there for interfaces, but there are plenty of basic affordable products such as the Mbox. Just be aware that the more expensive interfaces often boast better sound quality when recording. Music recording gear tends to be pretty straightforward with pricing; more expensive will get you better recordings and more options, while less expensive tends to deliver lower quality and fewer choices.

Choosing the Right Microphone

More than anything else, the microphone is probably the most crucial piece of recording gear you can buy when it comes to recording vocals. The best DAW in the world won’t make a difference if you’re singing into a $15 Radio Shack microphone. There are several different types of microphones, the most common being dynamic and condenser. Dynamic mics like the Shure SM-57 are typically more affordable, but tend to be better suited for live performance than for recording. Condenser mics can be pricier, but they’ll give you a much crisper, more nuanced vocal track. That’s why most engineers prefer to use higher end microphones for recording.
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Studio Pros Starter Kit

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

There can be a lot to think about when you start your first Studio Pros production.  Here are some links that you should browse through before you begin to ensure you get the most out of your experience—and to be sure you make an awesome song with us!

Before You Record:

Preparing the Perfect Pre-Production Files
Using Reference Tracks to Get The Sound You Want
Choosing the Right Instrumentation

After You Start the Recording Process:

How to Get The Most Out of Our Session Musicians
Understanding the Song Sketch

If You Record Your Own Tracks:

Finding the Right Vocal Recording Studio
Preparing Your Files for Mixing & Mastering

Happy recording with Studio Pros!

5 things you MUST know before you enter a local recording studio with your own band

Sunday, October 17th, 2010

1. Decide whether you want to record live (with the whole band playing together) or record one instrument track at a time. Even though recording live seems more fun, it’s actually much harder and requires renting a bigger, more expensive studio.

2. If you plan to record live, you should first try recording one of your rehearsals with an mp3 recorder. Even though the audio won’t be high quality, you’ll get a good idea of how “together” your band sounds and whether or not you’re ready to hit the studio.

3. If you decide to record one instrument at a time, you must prepare a sketch of your song before you enter the studio. This allows you to find the right tempo, work out the song structure, and think about hooks, breaks and other details that would otherwise take up a lot of your studio time. The sketch doesn’t have to be high audio quality. It will simply serve as a guide, so you can just record it at home before you get in the studio.

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