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need some help with next recording project (classic home vs studio questions) Dynamic Microphones
Old 16th June 2011
Gear Maniac

need some help with next recording project (classic home vs studio questions)

hey guys, gonna try to keep this as sweet and non ranty as possible.

I am a solo artist and I write and compose all my music by myself, play drums, bass, guitar etc.

I recorded my last release on a beat boss 8 track, took the tracks to a studio with an engineer to do drums/some other overdubs, turned out pretty successful on a local band scale and was done with a reasonable budget for a guy who was 19 at the time. I have been working/recording this way since i was 13, now am 21 it is part of my writing process since I am not in a band.

To this point I have never simply went into the studio and built a track from scratch on the clock except one situation in which I had free time to experiment in a friend's studio.

I am torn between, and not enough of an engineer to answer these questions

1. A macbook pro, a good interface, quality 2 grand 2 channel pre/2 grand mic etc

to simply TRACK at home (not mix, or do drums which would be done in the studio)


Spending the beginning to end in the studio.

Besides the lack of home room treatment (which can be added later) what advantage am I really going to have going to a studio to throw a 57 in front of my guitar amps/cutting a good vocal take if I have the same gear... besides professional mic placement

(I can record acoustic/electric/and vocals rather easily it seems from years of doing it

2. If you want the best, YOU MUST, go to the studio from day one, it is unrealistic to think that your end product will be as good as if you left it all in the studio's hands

I am a musician first, not an engineer so excuse my ignorance, but any input on this would be greatly appreciated thanks!
Old 16th June 2011
Gear Nut

Hey. I run an affordable studio so thought i'd pitch in with my point of view.

I usually do a lot more than than stciking a 57 infront of the gtr cab. I usually put 2 mics on the cab, a room mic, and an ambient mic. The purpose of this is to give more mix options, and to enable the song build in the mix. However there is no reason why you can't record a DI signal at home and reamp it at the studio, to save you time and money.

With regard to vocals do you have a well treated room that you either can't hear in the vocal track or sounds good in the vocal track? If not consider a studio.


Old 16th June 2011
Gear Nut

I'd suggest that it's a matter of how much input you're willing to take. Some artists can be very stubborn and some just have faith that I know what I'm doing and trust that I can do my job well and will help them.

Sometimes the stubborn artists go on to make great music with their own ideas and ways of doing things. But generally, speaking to that person, yes my room is better than yours. Yes my equipment is better. Yes I have experience with this. And yes those things do matter.

But really the teamwork changes the direction something goes. You could use a dead sounding room to get beautiful reverb with "airy" microphones, careful tweaking of a plug-in or hardware unit, and proper placement of everything in the room. Or you could use your mom's basement, an SM57, and a reasonable pre-amp and get some interesting sounds. Some songs just beg for that. But the difference is the basement will be far less versatile...on most songs it will sound terrible. Whereas the dead room, even if it doesn't sound super great on any, can be made to sound good on almost all. What you really want is both....and this is why good studios have special "live" rooms, in addition to heavily padded ones and ideally somewhere in between.

So if I'm your producer or engineer and I tell you "hey for that section of the song, let's record it in the bathroom", do you say no because that's weird or do you say O.K. because you get that I know what that sounds like and have done songs similar to yours and have a vision for how it will fit in the mix? Many people, not just artists, are very two-dimensional in that way....they'd just say no because recording in the bathroom is really weird to them. Saying no because you don't think it will sound good is okay...but again you may not know the room like I do and even at that you may not be hearing your own song the same way I am. Some people don't like Pink Floyd!

I think the key thing to understand is that it is possible to do a review of a song from a "technical" perspective...but it's a lot less meaningful than the emotional or expressive side of things. And I think that's where a lot of people go wrong...they view these as two separate things. The production and engineering of a record are there to support it, there to help it be the art that it is....not just there to make it sound like it was recorded by more than a 3 year old. That's a very small part of it.
Old 16th June 2011
Gear Addict
I think you can get ok results from recording at home. I know that on one album Soilwork recorded most vocals at one of the band members home studio. So i'd say that some things you can do really well at home.

But.. You need to know quite a bit even to record vocals at home.
Most people can put a mic in front of a singer and press record, but there's
more to recording than that.

The really good thing with having recording equipment at home is
that it's really easy to try out stuff, like harmonies, how different singing
styles work in different parts etc..

So i'd say that it's a great idea to get some recording equipment. You
will need to learn some stuff, but in the end it pays off.

You might want to consult the studio in which you will record the other stuff, so that your stuff easily can be put together with the stuff in the studio.

my amateur thoughts.
Old 16th June 2011
Gear Maniac


thanks for the replies, so do you guys generally agree that with a small treated room/a quality signal chain, the results for bass/electric/acoustic/and vocals can be just as great as a studio?
Old 17th June 2011
Originally Posted by hithere View Post
thanks for the replies, so do you guys generally agree that with a small treated room/a quality signal chain, the results for bass/electric/acoustic/and vocals can be just as great as a studio?
If you know what you're doing it can be. If not then it wouldn't be even if you tracked your stuff with the finest gear, in the finest rooms.

If you're going to release your material and you're not experienced enough to know what kind of results you can get with a home rig then you should just save your money and buy a couple of days of studio time. So long as you can perform your stuff well you'll get the most bang for your buck that way.

If you know enough to be able to get high quality results on your own, in your home then you already know and this question wouldn't come up. So in short if you're asking, it's probably best to take your well rehearsed material to the studio and let them handle the technical stuff.

But by all means assemble a scratch recording rig for your house so you can get ideas and arrangements down. Nothing ever wrong with that.
Old 17th June 2011
Lives for gear
RKrizman's Avatar

Originally Posted by hithere View Post
thanks for the replies, so do you guys generally agree that with a small treated room/a quality signal chain, the results for bass/electric/acoustic/and vocals can be just as great as a studio?
Can be, but not necessarily will be. Either way is a different kind of pressure on you. Up to you what produces the best results.

One nice thing about going into a studio is having another set of ears and somebody to keep you out of the technical part of your mind, and to help you realize when you've got something good and can stop obsessing.

But then you have the pressure of the clock, and the lack of privacy (if you're more of an internal writer). Plus, it can be fun playing with the gear yourself, and if you're anything like me, noodling around with gear keeps my mind from overfocusing on the creative process.

It's different for everyone.

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