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Does expensive gear make a significant difference ?
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Dverse
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#1
13th July 2013
Old 13th July 2013
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Does expensive gear make a significant difference ?

Is spending 2000 $ dollar on a mic, booth isolation and preamps gonna sound significantly better then spending 200 $ on it ?

I would say yes, but some fo these noobs (I'm a noob too) claim or just say that they have clean sound and sound great with dirt cheap set ups.


I wanna rap, and sing hooks, I'm thinking of buidling a isolation booth and getting a nice mic and preamp and then sending the vocal tracks to producers to lay the beat down and engineers to mix and edit them.

Should I invest in a nice mic and preamp and soud isolation or does it not make a significant difference.

I want the product to be as good as possible. So it's more of a what is the money to spent on better question. Cause if I get gear for let's say 350 $ it leaves me with more money for better producers, promotion, videos and features.


I have a feeling more expansive gear is gonna make a pretty big difference.


Ok my sound music brothers, now your turn to drop some knowledge

Last edited by Dverse; 13th July 2013 at 09:26 PM.. Reason: typo
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13th July 2013
Old 13th July 2013
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If you are serious about rapping and singing then I think a good set of tools mic , and mic pre will serve you well. Room treatment is equally important.
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13th July 2013
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Why not to book some hours in a real studio and find out by yourself?
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Dverse
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13th July 2013
Old 13th July 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael E View Post
Why not to book some hours in a real studio and find out by yourself?
I don't like to go to a studio, I like the comfort of my own home. I haven't recorded 1 song yet. But I wrote I think 45 songs.

And it's simpelr to just ask here on this huge forum
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13th July 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dverse View Post
Is spending 2000 $ dollar on a mic, booth isolation and preamps gonna sound significantly better then spending 200 $ on it ?

I would say yes, but some fo these noobs (I'm a noob too) claim or just say that they have clean sound and sound great with dirt cheap set ups.


I wanna rap, and sing hooks, I'm thinking of buidling a isolation booth and getting a nice mic and preamp and then sending the vocal tracks to producers to lay the beat down and engineers to mix and edit them.

Should I invest in a nice mic and preamp and soud isolation or does it not make a significant difference.

I want the product to be as good as possible. So it's more of a what is the money to spent on better question. Cause if I get gear for let's say 350 $ it leaves me with more money for better producers, promotion, videos and features.


I have a feeling more expansive gear is gonna make a pretty big difference.


Ok my sound music brothers, now your turn to drop some knowledge



great gear is justifiable if you have excellent engineering skills, if that is not the case then i will have to say a resound no. If as an artist you are really talented and have a following and some acclaim then I would invest as much money as needed to get my name out there and record at a professional studio. If you are barely starting out and are so so, then I would just get a decent setup and practice. Its almost impossible to get professional results at home unless you modify your room to not have 90 degree walls, have some diffusion and bass pads, have an impeccible speaker system (pretty expensive), A top tier interface/AD/DA Some top notch hardware and some plugins. All in all we are talking a minimum of 30k.
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Dverse
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13th July 2013
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Originally Posted by Chaellus View Post
great gear is justifiable if you have excellent engineering skills, if that is not the case then i will have to say a resound no. If as an artist you are really talented and have a following and some acclaim then I would invest as much money as needed to get my name out there and record at a professional studio. If you are barely starting out and are so so, then I would just get a decent setup and practice. Its almost impossible to get professional results at home unless you modify your room to not have 90 degree walls, have some diffusion and bass pads, have an impeccible speaker system (pretty expensive), A top tier interface/AD/DA Some top notch hardware and some plugins. All in all we are talking a minimum of 30k.

Great post.

I was just wondering what pays of mroe, paying for studio time or buidling an isolation booth with a nice mic at home.

So studio time means = better quality. I'm not sure if these studios "rip" you off. Like if they got gear worth 10 k and charge you 500 $ a song. I guess I need to start looking for studios in my two countires and check what equipment they have to see if it's really worth it for their price. And come very prepared so I don't waste a lot of time.

I am 100% convinced in my songwriting, I need to practice a bunch vocaly but I can do that with a 80 $ dynamic mic too at home.

Find a hiphop good studio and murk it.
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13th July 2013
Old 13th July 2013
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Originally Posted by Michael E View Post
Why not to book some hours in a real studio and find out by yourself?
+1

Nothing beats having your own experience.
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13th July 2013
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Originally Posted by GearAndGuitars View Post
+1

Nothing beats having your own experience.
How can I compare a studio to my own vocal booth if I didn't buy a vocal booth yet ?

I go to a studio and compare it to what ?
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Well my view is that it's not just about price.. and can be about, dare I say it.... "the right tool for the job" and so it depends.

I also think... that where one should spend one's money.. when looking at this from a business perspective, depends on how you conceptualize your approach to the business.. that this should drive your priorities and so its a little hard to give a good universal answer to your questions.

My feeling is that that your top priority ought to be learning and exploring...

I don't know very much about rap, but what I'd imagine.. is that if I was serious about wanting to have a career as a rapper..

Well first of all I wouldn't be hiring producers.. I'd be looking for some kind DJ producer folks to team up with..

So #1 The development of you're material.. you want to focus on both developing great material and on your abilities to make great material.. and I'd imagine that would be best done when you're teaming up with a producer / dj type of person.

(Not only that I think it's psychologically easier to think of your self more as a part of a team then on your own)

#2 It's not just a question of how groovy your material is, it's also a question of how well you can sell that material to a live audience.. and so I'd want to put some focus on that.. and I think that works best with a live DJ.

Again.. don't know a lot about rap.. but I'd imagine this is critical for making a career happen.. I mean as a rule of thumb at least.

#3 Obviously.. working on making records is important.. so you want to focus on that as well.

#4 You want to focus on learning the business, and sorta learning and developing your own kinda approach to the business.

I'd probably weight my goals more towards the artist side then the business side at first.. just cause I want to start with a good product really.

When it comes to the business goals..

I think it's best to do it grass roots.. which is to say that in promotion you can ether do a lot of leg work and spend not a lot of money, or do less leg work and spend a lot of money.. and it's a continuum between these two.. and I think for a variety of reasons you want to start with a focus on the leg work...

It's good to dream big but please try and keep your self in check and don't look for some kinda magic bullet that will cause you to make it big over night.. aim at the long hall... and a lot of that is about artistic integrity and a grass roots approach.

So this means you don't really need to spend a lot of money on promotion.

Now.. I think of there as being a kind of DIY tool kit.. and this is kinda a long story..

So for instance I think there's a certain value in having a web site that's designed in a way to facilitate how you're approaching the business / where you're at. As in good web design isn't simply about how pretty it is but about how it helps you in achieving your objectives.

And it all starts with objectives.

Some folks will go through various social networking sites and not bother with there own site but I don't think this is a good long term strategy.. On the other hand "your own website" could be a wordpress website.. where you simply find a decent theme that meets your objectives, more or less, rather hiring a designer... but then as a I designer I always want to advocate hiring designers http://static.gearslutz.com/board/im...ilies/wink.gif

How you present your self online is important.. and I can see why one might want to spend some money on video and photographic equipment.. or consider it... although you can probably get away with an iPhone or something.

But I don't know.. lets get back to equipment.

On the isolation both I would ask you "um, what exactly are you trying to isolate your self from?"

You can use filters to minimize the effect of the space you're recording in, that's probably the route I would take.

This like microphone preamps and converts tend to have the biggest impact when you're stacking tracks together, so if the production about a lot of software instruments, and maybe some hardware in there somewhere.. (and it's the producer who's gear is recording said hardware)... then preamps and converts are going to have less impact on what you're doing then if you were trying to record a rock band or something.

So.. what microphone sounds best has a lot to do with how that microphone interacts with your voice.. or whatever you're recording.. and along with this.. what kinda sound you're maybe going with... and there's the interaction between that microphone and the preamp...

The thing is you can get very good preamps for not a lot of money.. and if you really only need to convert one audio channel.. all and all you don't have to spend a tun of money. I mean I can imagine a very affordable set up.

Now as for microphones.. as I say.. depends on how they interact with your voice.. More expensive microphones often have better off axis response.. often we might talk about something that can function better as a work horse kinda microphone.. which doesn't matter to you too much cause you're only interested in recording your voice anyway.

I like the idea of going to a studio.. and besides just trying to make a groovy recording as your objective.. it might be to try and figure out what might be a good audio chain for you.. and that might be the best approach to all this.

But as a more general answer.. When we are talking about more high end gear..

Well you ever see the term "mastering grade" on the marketing material of like.. and piece of gear? Do you know what mastering grade means? Its term used by copywriters to make you think it's extra special.. end of story. A mastering engineer might want different features then a mix engineer.. but without getting too deep into it.. the difference isn't really about quality..

What I'm driving at here is that there's specific things that are important to someone who's performing a particular kind of roll.. that there job..

Now if you're recording and mixing bands day in and day out.. what you want for that job is different then if you didn't do that day in and day out.. and some of that has to do with workflow.. and you have to get this sound of whatever quality inside of a time constraint defined by a budget..

But you... as someone trying to record your self inside of.. lets say a home recording context.. well have different needs.

So sometimes spending more money is specific to the problem of recording and mixing day in and day out.. or the particular problems of a commercial studio.. or I mean the the advantages of that.. in a kind of.. what your priorities are.. then it is something that's quality independent of context.

Another thing is that mass production makes things cheaper.. and since there's significantly less commercial studios then musicians in bedrooms.. you don't see economies of scale working on behalf of commercial studio gear in the same way you do with musicians in bed rooms.

All of that said.. clearly good gear is best.. but spending more money does not equal better gear or gear with more value for a person in your position..

(I can't believe i wrote such a long response.. ok, shutting up now)
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13th July 2013
Old 13th July 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dverse View Post
How can I compare a studio to my own vocal booth if I didn't buy a vocal booth yet ?

I go to a studio and compare it to what ?
To what ya got... or what you aspire to have... All the better reason to start with a good benchmark.
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Originally Posted by Dverse View Post
I don't like to go to a studio, I like the comfort of my own home. I haven't recorded 1 song yet. But I wrote I think 45 songs.

And it's simpelr to just ask here on this huge forum
How do you know if you haven't tried it?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dverse View Post
Great post.

I was just wondering what pays of mroe, paying for studio time or buidling an isolation booth with a nice mic at home.

So studio time means = better quality. I'm not sure if these studios "rip" you off. Like if they got gear worth 10 k and charge you 500 $ a song. I guess I need to start looking for studios in my two countires and check what equipment they have to see if it's really worth it for their price. And come very prepared so I don't waste a lot of time.

I am 100% convinced in my songwriting, I need to practice a bunch vocaly but I can do that with a 80 $ dynamic mic too at home.

Find a hiphop good studio and murk it.



gear alone at the studio should not be a reason to book the place by that merit alone, you want to know the engineer your working with and what kind of things their capable of doing. Its not unheard of for a mix to cost $500.....hell I charge a similar price but those that do are usually pros. To be honest $500 a mix isnt that much. It all comes back to how much do you want to invest, think of it as a business venture. If you're not too serious then don't spend all that money but if you are trying to get a professional sound now, a commercial studio will be your best bet.
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13th July 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chaellus View Post
Its almost impossible to get professional results at home unless you modify your room to not have 90 degree walls, have some diffusion and bass pads, have an impeccible speaker system (pretty expensive), A top tier interface/AD/DA Some top notch hardware and some plugins. All in all we are talking a minimum of 30k.
plain and simple: wrong!
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Originally Posted by Chaellus View Post
gear alone at the studio should not be a reason to book the place by that merit alone, you want to know the engineer your working with and what kind of things their capable of doing. Its not unheard of for a mix to cost $500.....hell I charge a similar price but those that do are usually pros. To be honest $500 a mix isnt that much. It all comes back to how much do you want to invest, think of it as a business venture. If you're not too serious then don't spend all that money but if you are trying to get a professional sound now, a commercial studio will be your best bet.
Although there is a spectrum of results I'd say the above is largely not true.
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It's about the weakest link. When you start you start creating your chain, it's really hard to tell why you may need that great mic or that great pre.

But as you start building up your signal chains (recording chain and monitoring chain), you'll have pieces that outweigh others.

As you eliminate the weaker pieces, then the strengths of the better pieces start to shine.

When you get to a point that the whole chain is made up of elements of higher quality, you start seeing the "weaknesses" of your chain. You'll start understanding why one mic/pre, might be better than another.

With that knowledge, you evolve your chain to offer better performance.
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14th July 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael E View Post
Why not to book some hours in a real studio and find out by yourself?
with that viewpoint, why have a forum at all ?
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14th July 2013
Old 14th July 2013
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It makes a difference if you know what your doing.
I see people buy expensive gear all the time and don't have a single clue about engineering or what to even listen for when recording/mixing.
hoping to buy the xpensive stuff and it will magically happen..
then wondering why it doesn't sound off the hook amazing right of the bat.
it just doesn't work that way.
buy what you can afford,seek out the knowledge of others,learn to use it and your ears.
sorry it doesn't magically happen overnight in your bedroom reading internet forums.
I've been involved with audio for years [35+], own some cool gear and still have so much to learn
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Old 14th July 2013
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Originally Posted by RoundBadge View Post
It makes a difference if you know what your doing.
You don't "NEED" to get anything but the cheapest stuff available... and as you hear deficiencies with that equipment - then - and only then should you start looking into other stuff that can improve your groove.

You need to do work, listen to the product in a critical way -- figure out what you don't like about the product then take steps to correct what you don't like.

Lather, rinse, repeat... in 15-20 years you'll either be doing something else for a living or have a pretty bitchin' setup. Trying to get stuff when you have no idea why you're getting stuff is a fool's errand... and hopefully you're not a fool.

Peace
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Dverse
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to make it clear, I just wanna rap / sing the song and record the vocal cleanly, I do no engineering editing or mixing myself.

So the choice is to do it straight away at a studio, or get recording vocals equipment at home and record from there sending trough e-mail the vocals to producers to edit / mix with the beat.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fletcher View Post
You don't "NEED" to get anything but the cheapest stuff available... and as you hear deficiencies with that equipment - then - and only then should you start looking into other stuff that can improve your groove.

You need to do work, listen to the product in a critical way -- figure out what you don't like about the product then take steps to correct what you don't like.

Lather, rinse, repeat... in 15-20 years you'll either be doing something else for a living or have a pretty bitchin' setup. Trying to get stuff when you have no idea why you're getting stuff is a fool's errand... and hopefully you're not a fool.

Peace

I'm not a producer, I'm not building a recording studio. I am not gonig to buy pianos or any other instruments. I don't make the beat or engineer anything.
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14th July 2013
Old 14th July 2013
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Originally Posted by RedTuxedo View Post
It's about the weakest link. When you start you start creating your chain, it's really hard to tell why you may need that great mic or that great pre.

But as you start building up your signal chains (recording chain and monitoring chain), you'll have pieces that outweigh others.

As you eliminate the weaker pieces, then the strengths of the better pieces start to shine.

When you get to a point that the whole chain is made up of elements of higher quality, you start seeing the "weaknesses" of your chain. You'll start understanding why one mic/pre, might be better than another.

With that knowledge, you evolve your chain to offer better performance.
I've found this to be extremely accurate
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14th July 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fletcher View Post
You don't "NEED" to get anything but the cheapest stuff available... and as you hear deficiencies with that equipment - then - and only then should you start looking into other stuff that can improve your groove.

You need to do work, listen to the product in a critical way -- figure out what you don't like about the product then take steps to correct what you don't like.

Lather, rinse, repeat... in 15-20 years you'll either be doing something else for a living or have a pretty bitchin' setup. Trying to get stuff when you have no idea why you're getting stuff is a fool's errand... and hopefully you're not a fool.

Peace
Yep.

It is going to take you some time to get the sounds you want, even if you have great gear. I developed an interest in music when I was about 14 and started bugging my parents for a 4-track. I don't think I made a passable recording until I was 20.

If I had any advice for you, it would be to get yourself some basic yet very usable tools.

You can get yourself an Apogee Duet 2 brand new for $550. You can get a Shure SM58 ($100) or an SM7b ($350).

Start there.
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I'm not a producer, I'm not building a recording studio. I am not gonig to buy painos or any other instruments. I don't make the beat or engineer anything.
I think what Fletcher said is still relevant for your situation. The way most people figure out what they need is by getting something (generally from other peoples opinions or from shooting out a few pieces) and then typically you will eventually hear something that you don't like about it and want to improve. Like it may be too colored, or maybe too clean, or it may emphasize the wrong frequencies. Then you find the piece that fixes those issues.

Or you may get lucky and buy the exact right piece on a guess. Who knows? It's different for everyone. I'm just saying most people get there through trial and error.
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Originally Posted by Dverse View Post
So the choice is to do it straight away at a studio, or get recording vocals equipment at home and record from there sending trough e-mail the vocals to producers to edit / mix with the beat.
Go to a studio. Work with an engineer. Learn a little bit about what they're doing... and THEN you can try recording your vocals at home and emailing them to the Pud-oosuh -- it will save you both a lot of time and more than a little aggregation.

Peace
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dverse View Post
to make it clear, I just wanna rap / sing the song and record the vocal cleanly, I do no engineering editing or mixing myself.

So the choice is to do it straight away at a studio, or get recording vocals equipment at home and record from there sending trough e-mail the vocals to producers to edit / mix with the beat.
I would say if this is your plan that you need to buy yourself a titanium shark cage -- or at the very least 10,000 tons of raw garlic and some well sharpened wooden stakes

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I think part of the problem in trying to answer your questions is that you want to try and record, produce or partially produce your own material, and become an instant star without putting in the time in takes to learn the recording and production skills necessary to do the job. The people who are trying to answer your questions, for the most part, have spent YEARS and in some cases DECADES (like Fletcher) learning their craft and there is just no realistic way you can do all of those things on a professional level without learning your chops and that takes TIME and EFFORT. I know you may not want to hear that, but you are asking for advice from people with experience and it does not help you to be told things which are not true.

I know rap is different than other forms of music, but for me, the road to actually producing something was a long one. I started studying music as a child, taking several years of piano lessons. Later, I sang in the school choir and learned about vocal harmony. Later, I took up guitar, wrote songs and played in bands in college for several years. After that, I started buying recording equipment and recording other bands to try learn where to place microphones and how to mix, and learning about things like compression, eq, reverbs etc. After that, and only after that, did I feel I had the skills necessary to try and produce other artists. I am not sure how to short cut all of that unless you hire other people with those skills to do all that for you. If you really want to record and produce yourself, you need to buy at least a basic recording setup and start experimenting and learning how to do it. If it is your first set of gear, it does not have to be the greatest as you will be upgrading your gear as you upgrade your skills. If you want to be a star tomorrow, you will need to find outside recording studios and producers to do the things for you that you can't take the time to learn yourself. Otherwise, you need to alter your expectations and realize it is going to take some time to learn your chops. Giving advice on things you don't understand does not really get anywhere.

I don't know any way you, as an unknown, can just record some raw vocals, send them to someone and expect to get finished hit records back in the return mail. I don't think that is realistic or I have never heard of anyone offering that service.
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14th July 2013
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The only thing I would add to this conversation full of sage advice is you should get as decent a microphone as you can to get a somewhat usable vocal recording, and it all starts with the mic after the voice. I say "somewhat usable" as your intention is to send your tracks to others for collaborative work.

If you can think about the various "good" microphones that can be useful to that end, you can also arrange them according to cost too. The ground floor might be a Shure SM7. $300-350 used sometimes less, and not much more expensive new.

Up from that there are a variety of very good microphones on your way to spending a couple thousand. You don't need to go there, so investigate all that's talked about here and start considering all options.
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Originally Posted by whiteaxxxe View Post
plain and simple: wrong!
more true then not unless you have money and years or decades of experience. Not impossible but not probable for most.
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14th July 2013
Old 14th July 2013
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GearAndGuitars View Post
Although there is a spectrum of results I'd say the above is largely not true.
hmmm so your telling me that its not true and that the OP
should go and buy expensive gear without knowing the ins
and outs of it? Or that they should just go to any studio
and not do research? Hmmm having a hard time believing
that its not beneficial to do research.
#30
14th July 2013
Old 14th July 2013
  #30
Lives for gear
 
Chaellus's Avatar
 
Joined: Nov 2007
Location: LA-Portland
Posts: 2,662
My Recordings/Credits

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dverse View Post
I'm not a producer, I'm not building a recording studio. I am not gonig to buy painos or any other instruments. I don't make the beat or engineer anything.


Like I said in your case as the artist you can get a cheap set up to practice on to prepare for when you go to an actual commercial studio with great engineers. Have your stuff together so you dont waste time, research the studio and the engineers and if you want you can watch them and learn. Its more than likely better as the artist to just be the artist rather than the man with many hats. Doing it yourself professionally will cost alot more money and years or a decade at least before you get similar sounds and thats ok if you want to be an engineer but if thats not the case have a professional record you. They will have the gear and the years of skill it takes to get such results.
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