We had our first show in about six months last night and we played really well. One guy even hit us up for a CD. Sadly, we haven’t recorded one.
I like recording. Or, I should say, I like a certain kind of recording.
I know lots of people who have gotten into home recording. At this point in the digital age, if you have the time and the skills, you can record at a more or less professional level for very little money. I don’t know the names of the programs but I do know you need to buy a good microphone, which will set you back a couple hundred dollars. That’s not a ton of money relative to what you’d pay in a studio. But I’d rather pay for the studio. All the new technology is great (I couldn’t care less about the analog vs digital debate- I can’t even tell the difference), but it does take someone with knowledge and skill to make a good recording.
Early when I started doing bands, I tried home recording. The first time we did live takes of the songs we wanted to record. Into a single microphone. It took us hours to be happy just with the placement of the microphone. And then we had to play each songs dozens of time until we had a take that wasn’t marred in some tiny way. I was pretty happy with the sound, but I’ll never do that again.
The second time a friend recorded us. We did most of the tracks- drums + bass, guitar, vocals- separately and then mixed them together. It was much easier than the first attempt, and it came out OK. That recording didn’t blow me away.
We’ve recorded twice at a studio, and paid $35 an hour, which I hear is pretty cheap. But the hours go by fast. The first time it took us 12 hours to record and master a 4 song demo. That’s a good chunk of money. But it was worth it.
In a studio we have an engineer/producer. Our guy has helped dozens, maybe hundreds of bands record. He’s great for bouncing ideas off of. If we want a certain sound, he can help us get it- it helps that there is a ton of great gear lying around the studio that we can use. He also keeps us on track- by the time someone is starting to put their instrument away, he’s got the next person lined up to record.
In a studio we are on the clock. We went in for one and two day sessions and came out with finished recordings. I know guys who have spent months recording demos, because the temptation to just keep tinkering is too much. We would go in, play record our stuff, get a rough cut to take home, listen to it for a couple weeks, and then get one more chance to fix things. That’s it.
In the studio we’re paying for a professional. I like that and probably won’t bother trying to home record again.