The Essentials of a Home Recording Studio

Outline:

a) Define the home studio,
b) Take a look at the essential elements
c) The recording process, and finally..
d) Getting off the ground.

The Home Studio is the ideal tool to materialize your ideas of compositions. It can even become a real passion if you start well! In fact, this is how many audio professionals begin their careers. So what is home studio? Nowadays, a home studio can be a grab bag of accessories and tools that allow you to record and process audio.

But no matter what combination of tools you use, among them will be four major elements: A computer, an audio interface, microphones, and finally the listening monitors. Though it this one is not required, we’re going to add MIDI keyboard controller to the list as it has plenty of features that even non-pianist musicians can get plenty of use from it.

Below is an example of a very minimal home recording studio that has all of the essentials. Providing you have these materials, you can get off the ground.

home studio

It is rare that you find people recording on analog these days as they are too expensive and highly inefficient.

This small explanatory diagram details the basic connections of a home studio. Note that the monitors selected for this scheme are active and do not require a power amplifier (which would be placed between the sound card and the monitors if they were passive). For a complete guide on home studio monitors, visit: http://www.hollagully.com/the-top-10-best-home-studio-monitors/

The sound signal is transmitted as follows:

• Your microphone captures the sound waves of your voice or instrument and is plugged directly into your audio interface. Microphones for home recording are typically dynamic or condenser. Click here for a complete guide.

• The audio interface converts the analog signal into binary (digital) data so that it can be processed by the computer. The computer receives these digital data and processes it via the software and plugins you have installed and run. You can record the signal, modify it, etc. For a complete guide on audio interfaces, visit:
http://www.hollagully.com/best-audio-interfaces-usb-firewire-thunderbolt/

• The computer then returns the processed signal to the audio / digital interface for transmission to the speakers (and / or headphones if necessary). To do this, it will convert the digital signal received from the computer to an analog signal (this is the reverse operation of just now).

• The speakers (and / or headphones) play back the analog sound signal!

So this briefly explains the recording process. There are many options for recording software out there and if you’re just getting started then going down this rabbit hole will likely be a daunting task. There are simple options that can get you off the ground running – most notably would be Garageband which is free and comes stock with any Apple computer.

The goal here is to get yourself set up with the bare minimum to start recording. From there, let the passion develop and invest further once you’ve displayed a level of commitment that can justify further investments. There are some excellent entry level products that allow for outstanding results. This is where you want to set your focus in the beginning.

Resources: Hollagully

5 Tips For Improving Your Live Performance

We’ve often heard something like “that artist has got it, he’s just got it!” A way to describe someone’s X-factor or unmistakable quality that sets them apart and captivates the audience.

Some performers can completely transform on stage. We feel like they were born for the limelight and they give off an air of “natural” talent.

The truth is these talents are achieved after years of hard work and dedication. Apart from a very few “freak” instances where some artists fit in the upper echelons of human expression, most successful artists would admit that they got their because they worked so damn hard to be there.

There are many subtleties that go into a captivating performance and what will set you apart from the others is just how signature your subtleties can be. Here are a few tips to help you develop some.

live-performance

  1. Deal With Your Stage Fright

    Many successful artists claim that the stage fright never truly disappears. In fact, John Lennon had claimed to have vomited before almost every performance up until the end of his career because of stage fright. The truth is, you have no choice but to face this on your own and develop your own methods of dealing with this. Perhaps a few shots of whisky will help you get there or maybe some deep meditation. Whatever the remedy, its up to you to face the music and it’s only once you do that you will have to potential to overcome it.

  2. Videotape Your Rehearsal.

    There is quite a distinction between a practice and a rehearsal. A practice is running over the tunes, doing your homework, and sharpening your skills. Rehearsal is where all this comes alive in a preproduction to the live show. Film your rehearsals and give it your all. Afterward, watch the video and study over and over. How do you look? How do you comport yourselves in front of your audience? Would you think twice about those performers on stage?

  3. Dress To Impress

    In a live performance, music needs to transcend its sonic aesthetics and enter the realm of performance art. You may be a bitter bedroom dweller who only labels this as vanity, but this probably best points to your lack of creativity than your moral superiority. All eyes are on you at a show, let your appearance be an extension of the music. Approach it as another creative challenge. Are you up for it?

  4. Practice Your Banter

    I don’t know how many concerts I have seen that have left me utterly uncurious about the artist on stage. Use banter as a way to engage your audience. You should be collecting information and data about your audience to know what kind of people they are and you should be engaging them on their level, and bring them on to yours. Practice your ability to hold peoples attention, to think quickly, and tell stories. It will give your audience a window right into your soul, and that’s the goal isn’t it?

  5. Make The Best Of Your Soundcheck

    If this needs to be explained to you then you should probably reconsider what it is you think you are chasing after in life, and learn a big dose about what it means to succeed. You’ve been to large concerts where the opener didn’t sound nearly as good as the main act. Sure there are several reasons as to why, but the main one is that the sound guy isn’t as “in tune” with the songs, production, and goal with the opener as they are with the main act. You work hard to sound good in rehearsal, so take advantage of any and every opportunity to make your live show fluid and quality as possible. Make friends with your soundman. Get his name. Buy him a beer. Trust me, it will go a long way.

Hope you enjoyed these 5 tips for a better live performance. If you’d like more musical tips and info, visit us on our home page.

Help Music Journalists Help You

If you’re an musician who’s been at this for some time, you’ve probably stumbled across the names of certain journalists in your time who you’d love to one day work with. You likely believe that you’ve got a good idea about what their job consists of and what it is that they expect from you. But there are a few things you’ve likely never considered.

There are some secrets of the trade that could every musician should know. Here we’re gonna provide you with a few pieces of useful information to ensure that your next interaction with a music journalist is a success.

Journalists Do Their Research

A journalists job isn’t to merely understand every finite detail about your new album. Their job is to know what questions to ask you in particular for their interview to stand out from the rest of them. Wouldn’t you only get tired of answering the same questions over and over? Well journalists would certainly get tired asking them. They need to keep their readers entertained.

Nothing is more boring in an interview than when musicians answer well thought-out questions with a predictable, unimaginative answer similar to all their other interviews. Journalist’s questions should be well researched. So provide them with equal amount of care in answering them. They are there to translate your message to your audience. Don’t make their job any harder for them

music journalist

Music Journalists Love What They Do

There are plenty of easier ways to make money than to put words on to paper. Music journalists write about music because they absolutely love it. Often just as much as you do. A journalist may even be your biggest fan.

This means that music journalists consume a lot of music and have developed a pretty good sense of taste. So if you’re album sounds like a rip off of some other huge commercial success, chances are they’ll sniff you out pretty quick. And given the amount of music they consume, if you reference obscure music in an interview to try to come off as pretentious, they’ll probably sniff that out as well.

Music Journalists Are Legitimately Excited To Talk To You

If you get asked to do an interview, than they are genuinely fans of you and your music. Don’t stick your nose up to any small time indie blog that would like a piece of your time. Unless you’re already in the big leagues, and that you’re reading this article you’re clearly not, than this won’t apply to you. But if you are in the big leagues, you would already know that it is essential to give people who truly love your music the time of day. They are evangelizers of your creative work. Do not take that for granted.

We hope you take these point into account when looking to interact with some press. Make it a two way street. The interview may be about you, but remember journalists have lives and their livelihood depends on translating your value to a wider audience.

Lessons From The Masters | Puccini, Beethoven, and Michael Jackson

“What makes a good composer?”

That is the main focus of this article. Of course there are tons of “good” composers and songwriters in the world, but in all conversations it always comes down to a named few who’s work has stood the test of time. I have chosen three amazing composers (all are not composers of classical music), and I will to write a few lines about each. I thought I would try to shine light on a particular detail about each composer – a musical attribute that the composer manages better than most. The thre chosen are Opera Giacomo Puccini, the King of Pop Michael Jackson, and Classical Music Champion – Ludwig van Beethoven.

GIACOMO PUCCINI

puccini

GIACOMO PUCCINI: Tosca, Madama Butterfly, La Bohème and Turandot. Puccini is behind all the masterpieces. He worked around the turn of the century from 1899-1900, and is of course most famous for his operas. His great strength is to create a musical drama using concrete melodies that the audience can absorb. Listen to the finale of Turandot so you understand just what I mean. Just this piece is processed by Franco Alfano after Puccini’s notes, when the master left before he completed the opera. Giacomo Puccini one of the worlds absolute favourite composers of classical music. If you have yet to experience the above-mentioned operas, you best get on it now.

MICHAEL JACKSON

michael-jackson

MICHAEL JACKSON: Certainly the King of Pop did not distinguish himself primarily as composer or songwriter, but rather as a talented singer and performer. Nevertheless, he is himself behind most of the songs for his best-selling album, and it is not because of his tragic death he gets here. Jackson could express himself through his music in a way that enchanted the entire world. Jackson’s voice arrangements and rhythmic capacities our out of this world, with an outlandish ability to arrange and tie up small details everywhere. His taste for music, guided by genius producers like Quincy Jones and Teddy Riley, led for many years at the forefront of Western Pop culture. He is one of the worlds most influential musicians who had the capacity to hit a universal nerve within the human psyche. 

LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN

ludwig-van-beethoven

LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN: He was afflicted by the fact that his hearing was worsening over the years. When the depression reached an all-time low, he made a decision – he would give the world all the music he could create, despite his inability to fully enjoy it himself. For this we are all deeply grateful. Here I want to mention a particular feature that Ludwig van Beethoven possessed as a composer, though it is difficult to know where to start. So perhaps I will suggest that you listen full-heartedly to Eroica.  Be inspired by the profound magic of this music.

I feel greatly inspired by all the composers mentioned above. Their legacy lies in the process of their work, the commitment to the discipline that outshines the rest. So to answer the question “What Makes A Good Compose?” I would suggest that it is a commitment and discipline to the process itself that creates prolific, unparalleled art.

RECORDING | Drum Microphone Set Up

The sound of drums sets the tone for the overall quality of production. If the drums of your demo or EP sound bad, that’s enough to affect the feel of the rest of the entire recording. Even if your guitars sound great, even if the voice of the singer has never been so clear and powerful: if the drums don’t smack, the whole production will be judged badly.

Capturing a good drum sound can be complex. It is very common to use eight microphones or more, and their quality and placement is absolutely paramount. Once you’ve managed to properly place the mic’s and get a good recording, it is still necessary to know what to do with all these tracks. How to give them that punch and clarity that characterize the albums of your favourite artists?

Surely you are wondering how you can compete with the “real” studios? How to do well on a small budget, few microphones and limited space?

IN TRUTH, GETTING A GREAT DRUM SOUND WITH FEW MICROPHONES IS NOT SO COMPLEX.

You do not need a big budget to achieve a professional drum sound . You just need the proper training and a few simple techniques to make the most of your material and your recorded tracks.

You already have a good part of the material. You just need a little knowledge and practice.

ENTER: WARREN HUART.

Warren Huart runs an online audio training program called Produce Like a Pro where he teaches students a wide variety of recording, mixing, and production techniques that translate just as well in the home studio as in large professional ones. 

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