Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The coming depression and how to keep making music

How to make a Pro recording for under 200.00

I worked in many pro recording studios, I was a second engineer for years until I learned the ropes on how to go about the whole recording process, that was years ago, for the last 15 years I have devoted my self to Project studios and home studies. I try to demystify all the jargon and bull the big studies think you need.

The advent in recent years in home studios has made it passable with Little cash to make a actual pro recording or a great pro demo. You may need a wake up call to how just a few hundred bucks and a lot of practice you could have a great home studio and charge clients to record, start your own Production Company or a Record Label, it is now all passable and the investment is much smaller than you think to get started. Gone are the days of paying hundreds or thousands to have your CD cut in a pro studio, with study, trial and error you can and should do it your self, and save thousands of dollars in the process. What you spend you will make back on your first recording, literally. So join me on this Little journey, most of which I took from my free E-Book how to make a pro recording At Home For pennies on the dollar.

I teach two different groups of aspiring recording artist, of late It has all been geared to the one with little or no recording experience.Many do not know what a Low-fi or Hi-fi cable are or what plug goes where.They may have some stuff on hand and to date the results still echo out loudly this is a demo. It never has to be this way, never. It takes years to master a craft, I do mastering engineering, yet after all these years I consider my self a student, mastering is called the unknown black art, but it need not be that way, I say mastering for all.

 In later blogs I will demystify the mastering process and explain what it is , what it is not, and how anyone with practice and good plug ins can do a good job mastering there own music. My little in house production
The reason a pro studio sounds, or can sound so good is what we will be talking about in this article.Ore-amps, microphones,mixers, and software the pros use and how and where to legally get the same stuff they use for pennies on the dolor. You relay can make a pro recording for under 200.00 and that is chump change, almost anyone can come up with that. So I hope this article is of great hope and a launching pad to the many more books, web sites and free links I will be sharing, step by step, hear a little, there a little.

Being an Indy artist is what that means non commercial and non mainstream, like the fluff and crap we hear on the radio.
So you want to be a independent artist? control your music from A to Z that is what it is all about.With the advent of pro PC recording software , mastering plug'ins sound cards that can produce 24 bit by 192 KHZ is indeed considered pro specs. So why with all the good software do you have do you feel your recordings are not up to par with pro studio and FM radio?

I mentioned before, software is not the problem a good 1 to 200.00 sound card with studio specs is not the problem, so what is the problem I will list 3 essentials on what, and how to take your recording to the next level.

1.Quality Mic pre-amps. This is the most important equipment a home recorder needs.There are good tube driven pre amps for under 50.00 some others more expensive that are digital solid state run 100 to 5,000 and more, so whats the lower middle grounds, most of us can not compete with a pro studio, but only by way of the pre-amps and high end large diaphragm condenser microphones, that's it, more on good quality mikes latter. The pre amp has always been the overlooked gear need in a home and project studio.You must first ask do you want a 100% digital solid state or a warm tube pre--amp.

The pro engineer has a wide array of mics and pre amps do to the fact a voice may sound better with a Neumann U87 and a high end tube pre-amp, or a AKG C414 may sound better on a certain voice with a solid state pre-amp, I did all this, still the pre amp comes first so get the best one you can get

My #1 choice that will produce a warm pro sound is the At 2020 100.00 a 5 star rating

from may engineer's also the Rhodes NT1 mic

Another good prices 100.00 pro level mic is

This a great, great mic also the AKG presona makes are outstanding, but the AT 2020 for 100 is the best Mic in the price range that will produce pro recordings.

As I mentioned on Pre amps I would choose first the following

The M-audio DMP3 around 160.00 a dual pre amp and sound 100% pro

Other lower end pre amps that sound good are

Behring makes cheap, but pro sounding gear and they have been the front runner in pro consumer stuff this pre amp is under 55.00 and works well with electric Guitar and vocal tracks

You can not go wrong with this unit, but a real pro pre amp sound for vocals can not be made if your shooting for a budget pro level home or project studio

there are many others, I tried the Presonus   and wow all models are great

 It really does not cost that much to put together a pro level sounding home studio, the most expensive or must have new gadget is not always the way things work, the sales man try to push the new stuff, new stuff is not always better.

 As many pro studios I worked in still use the same board, pre amps and mics from years  why? they work. The only thing pro studios have all adopted is the PC running Pro tools, if you want a job in a studio as a second engineer you must know your way around pro tools.You can get a Pro tools SE small nodule with pro tools software, what is good about pro tools is you can learn one little module and will be able to run a full blown pro tools set up.I like pro tools and have played around with it, but look in the small midi or pro tools area of a studio and what you are really seeing is a
on premise home studio.

so #1 pre amps

#2 Condenser mic

#3 The sound card, now again people have different likes and dislikes, some cards have a break out box, much preferred over dealing with hooking and UN hooking a nice card via the back

But wait, we want gear tried and proved that will make a pro recording and for not much money, so with no break out box the winner is as has been a while

The upgrade and famed MIA with the new Midi cable, the specs on this are the best, but this card was made for the songwriter and solo artist and is not big on multi channel so best card for solo recorder the price is around 130.00 to 200.00 shop around and make sure it is not the old Mia with out the needed Midi break out cable.

The best pro level card for multiple recording is the standard and still low budget yet pro champ


The M-audio 192 with Midi, note many cards do not include MIDI you will need it.The unit like

others can record 24Bit at 192 KHZ those specs are mastering studio specs.Most people do not use the 192 unless it is a critical recording of strings, orchestra, all acoustics It can be a blessing and a curse and can make some recordings sound lousy, so always shoot at minimum pro level use , that is 24bit and 97 KHZ, if you never heard the difference hold on to your hats, even the audegy SE a 40.00 sound card recognizes and records 24/97 and is a great card for one doing pro level demos that can latter be made in to mastered products, the problem with the SE is they are no longer available on the market as DELL bought them out.If you can get one on Craig list or e bay cheap do so  the only online store that has it new for 30.00 is tiger direct., weakness only one line in and one out. You will need from a sound card a minimum of 2 Analog in's and two outs +midi. Most have 32 bit DSP effects processing and do many recorders use 32 bit stationed or float in there software. Now lastly get a good mixer, I must say the onyx brand by Behringer are all wildly good, the smaller ones are used in Broadcasting and sound for small clubs and churches
Samplitude Pro 7 ,T-racks, Nomad mastering plug ins, waves gold bundle and many other stuff.
50.00 pre amps 40.00 look on postings and you can cut start up 25 to 70% I kid  you not, I have done it, look at OEM software and get ready to freak out I use it paid Penny's on dollar and have a PC studio worth well over 40,000 honestly. My total pay out around 1,000 not including monitors or mixers I use this mixer with outstanding results.

You want a fast PC min ,PNT 3 1Ghz ,I used a 1 Ghz on a tun's of music, running acid pro 6

Lets not forget a needed mixer.

it is a 4 mic XLR input all with mind blowing xenyx boutique pre amps, this are great preamps even with out an out board per-amp, but not as good as a dedicated pro level pre amp. the unit is 130+ look around  use in home studio, church , practice, gigs and is USB to PC if you desire that.Note you can not beat plugging your midi out to midi in on a sound card, but you can place your pre amp before the in on this unit and a small 50.00 compressor, as I said radio and TV stations use this as well as small clubs this is a pro level board for the home recorder.

So my summation is:

Pre-amp and more pre-amps a large diaphragm Condenser Mic like the B1 a great tool, a sound card under 200.00, you can get a good sound card under a 100.00 and has pro specs, but no Midi in and out and no pre-amp 48 volt phantom supply, I would not use any of the cards as my source for a pre amp as the Xenyx blows them out of the water. You can attach many mixers if you want one to USB 2.0 and its convenient and nice, but going to the sound card with the mixer In a far better sound altogether.

One can still make pro recordings with a 59.00- 69.00 Mix craft 5, easy to learn easy to loop great effects and mastering effects for under 80.00 it has a top of line sampler, many, many VSTI synths.

Recording try this all in one audio and midi sequencer it CAN NOT BE BEAT. also it is one of the funnest programs I ever tried I give the unit 5 stars mark my words you will be happy and amazed. a used 50.00 condenser like ones I explained I just got an m-audio Nova for 40.00 and it does the job Use a small mixer in the xenyx line they range from 39.00 and up and use the xenyx for your pre amp for now,A pro studio that is a starter but will take your music to the next level for a little over 200.00

As an audio teacher and not involved or payed by any of the business that I mention' their products. I try different stuff daily and unbiased give a honest review.

For a free copy of my e-book the poor mans guide to making a pro recording at home-for Pennies OnThe Dollar .It will be posted soon for free reading and download'

To hear my current music that I did in a low cost home studio listen to what can be done.



until next time. also a great web site for new recordist filled with great info is


Have a great and music filled week. Do not be shy ,email me and we will set up a time for some one on one instruction, mentoring etc it is a free consultation service I offer as I pay it forward.

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