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RECORDING AT HOME – Introduction & TOC

 

Michael Holland of Wiggly Toes Music Productions

You love songs.  You write songs.  You want to present your songs in the best possible light with a top-notch recording, but you want to do it at home.

Look no further.  This blog series is for you!

I offer a special welcome to my fellow members of the Songwriters Association of Canada.  Together, we enjoy camaraderie, mutual inspiration and some really great music.   If you are in Canada, and you write songs, I strongly recommend that you join the SAC.   It’s a great organization.  Thanks to the economic realities of our business, songwriters need to stick together now more than ever.

Go to http://www.songwriters.ca/ if you’d like to find out more about the SAC.

The series will take a while to write and post, perhaps three months in all.  I’m aiming to be done by July 1, but I think it’s likely to be July 21 instead!  It’s a lot of information, perhaps 200,000 words in all, the equivalent of two and a half full-length novels.

I assume that you want great results from your recording set-up, and that you are not made of money.   I also assume that you don’t have a handy recording engineer and don’t know anything much about recording.  If I talk to you like an idiot, I apologize in advance, but I do want to be sure the least informed readers are not left behind.  I am well aware that most songwriters don’t want to be an engineer, but knowing how increases your artistic options and helps you to show your work off – and it can save you a great deal of money over the years!

It may surprise you to realize that there are quite a few really simple (and free or low-cost) things that you can do to bring your work to a new realm of audio quality.

I am talking not only about the technical aspects such as where to put a microphone, or how to make the bass LOUD while not muddying up the mix overall, but also about generating the desired emotional responses in your listeners.

Recording studios certainly have mystique but it’s really not that mysterious once you get a few basics squared away.  If you follow my blog for the next two months you will find yourself gaining an understanding of the process from one end to the other, and adding lots of useful tips and tricks to your arsenal, and, I hope, making the best recordings you have ever made at home.

You’re probably wondering about my own background.  I have been recording in various studios professionally (and at home) since the late 1970’s and I have specialized in mastering records since the 1990’s.  I have worked on consoles of all sizes and shapes, such as SSL, Neve, Sony, Mitsubishi, Soundcraft, and others.

I have written, performed, sung, played, tracked, mixed, mastered and gigged in Canada and the UK and I have had the best and the worst of times in many recording studios, from very large and famous multi-room complexes (places like Abbey Road and Battery Studios and The Strongroom) to very small and smelly studios (places I would rather not name) and they all taught me something valuable.

These days, I am in West Vancouver, BC, Canada, and I work as both a mastering engineer and a performing songwriter, which neatly satisfies my love of music, words and science.

I will cover the following areas.

 

1          SONGWRITER WORKFLOWS

2          TOOLS OF THE TRADE YOU REALLY DO NEED

3          TOOLS OF THE TRADE – SOME COOL STUFF TO CONSIDER ADDING

4          PRE-PRODUCTION – WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS?

5          PRE-PRODUCTION CHECKLIST

6          SIGNAL FLOW, ROUTING AND PATCHBAYS

7          YOUR MONITORING ENVIRONMENT

8          HEADPHONE MONITORING

9          CLICKS AND VIRTUAL INSTRUMENTS

10        MIDI PROGRAMMING – MIDI = Musical Instrument Digital Interface

11        MIDI PROGRAMMING – WHEN TO USE MIDI

12        MIDI PROGRAMMING – DRUM MAPS, SAMPLES AND SLICES

13        MIDI PROGRAMMING – SYNTHS AND SOUND DESIGN

14        SYNTHESIZERS – A WAY TO DESCRIBE SOUND

15        SYNTHESIZERS – COMMUNICATING IDEAS TO OTHER MUSICIANS

16        SYNTHESIZERS – FUN TO BE HAD WITH SYNTHS

17        SAMPLING – AN OVERVIEW

18        PROCESSING – EQUALIZATION (EQ)

19        PROCESSING – DYNAMICS Part 1

20        PROCESSING – DYNAMICS Part 2

21        PROCESSING – DYNAMICS Part 3

22        PROCESSING – DYNAMICS Part 4

23        PROCESSING – MULTIBAND DYNAMICS

24        PROCESSING – TIME-BASED EFFECTS Part 1

25        PROCESSING – TIME-BASED EFFECTS Part 2

26        PROCESSING – REVERB Part 1

27        PROCESSING – REVERB Part 2

28        PROCESSING – OTHER FUN STUFF

29        MICROPHONE TYPES AND A CLASSIC LIVE BED TRACKS MIC PLAN

30        LINE CONDITIONERS, PREAMPS AND D.I. BOXES

31        MICROPHONE STANDS, TUNERS, ACCESSORIES

32        TRACKING AUDIO IN GENERAL

33        TRACKING DRUMS AND PERCUSSION

34        TRACKING ACOUSTIC PIANOS

35        TRACKING ACOUSTIC GUITARS

36        TRACKING ELECTRIC GUITARS

37        TRACKING BASS INSTRUMENTS

38        TRACKING BRASS PLAYERS

39        TRACKING STRING QUARTETS

40        TRACKING A SMALL CHOIR

41         TRACKING MANDOLINS, FIDDLES,, CELTIC OR BLUEGRASS

42        TRACKING BACKGROUND VOCALS

43        TRACKING LEAD VOCALS

44        EDITING AND COMPING

45        MIXING PART 1

46        MIXING PART 2

47        MIXING PART 3

48        MIXING PART 4

49        MASTERING PART 1

50        MASTERING PART 2

51        MASTERING PART 3

52        MASTERING FOR iTUNES AND ONLINE DISTRIBUTION

53        CD REPLICATION

54        MASTERING FOR VINYL

55        TOP 5 BANG FOR THE BUCK UPGRADES FOR YOUR HOME STUDIO

56        STAGEBOXES, GOBOS, AMP DOLLIES AND ISO CABINETS

57        SETTING THE MOOD FOR RECORDING

58        SETTING THE MOOD FOR MIXING

59        RECOMMENDED READING

60        RECOMMENDED LISTENING

61        FINAL THOUGHTS

 

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9 Responses to RECORDING AT HOME – Introduction & TOC

  1. Anastace April 28, 2013 at 8:56 am #

    Wow, this looks like it will be really useful to a lot of us… Looking forward to it, Michael!

  2. Lucy LeBlanc April 28, 2013 at 10:53 am #

    Michael, thank you in advance for sharing and putting together such a comprehensive blog series.

    I, for one, know nothing about home recording….so I was glad to read that you would cover the essential basics as well as the more complicated information, in a manner that someone like me could understand.

    I’m looking forward to reading your blog every day.

  3. Adri-Anne Ralph April 28, 2013 at 1:38 pm #

    Sweet! I can’t wait for “Songwriter Workflow”… sounds like JUST what I need! I’m HOOKED!

  4. Jennifer Potter April 29, 2013 at 9:00 am #

    Sounds great Michael! Looking forward to the series.

  5. Adam Lees May 1, 2013 at 3:17 pm #

    Hey Michael, thanks for putting together this blog series and sharing your knowledge about recording, which we can apply to our own recordings! You’ve got some great topics coming up that I’m looking forward to… I will be following for sure! Thanks

  6. Dawn Schumilas May 3, 2013 at 1:58 pm #

    Thanks so much! This is going to be great! You can self-publish it as a book when you are finished. I’d buy it!

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