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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

I've decided recently that I want to take a course in music production,
there's a local music college that offers a special 8 month course for home producing.

I went for a meeting with one of the teachers there for getting more information and impression and the guy says that with the right rig and knowledge(which they will supply)
and alot of experience I could really produce an album that will stand on it's own against any other professional production.

I'm not fantasizing on becoming steven wilson after 8 months, but do you guys really believe that with the right knowledge and tools and further experience that I'll get in the future it's possible to achieve this level of producing without stepping out of your room?

Thanks,
Daniel.
 

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Hi,

I've decided recently that I want to take a course in music production,
there's a local music college that offers a special 8 month course for home producing.

I went for a meeting with one of the teachers there for getting more information and impression and the guy says that with the right rig and knowledge(which they will supply)
and alot of experience I could really produce an album that will stand on it's own against any other professional production.

I'm not fantasizing on becoming steven wilson after 8 months, but do you guys really believe that with the right knowledge and tools and further experience that I'll get in the future it's possible to achieve this level of producing without stepping out of your room?

Thanks,
Daniel.
Maybe not a Steven Wilson level of production, exactly, but with a LOT of experience, natural aptitude, and some intelligent equipment outlays you should theoretically be able to compete with a decent local studio.

The biggest challenges?

  • Room Treatment. Not only for recording - the quality of your live room is either the biggest or second biggest determinant behind kit tuning, depending on who you ask, for recording drums, and is pretty big for vocals and acoustic instruments as well - but also for mixing. Even average monitors with appropriate bass trapping and room treatment will yield excellent results, whereas top dollar monitors in a poor room will still be inaccurate.
  • Quality of Preamps and AD/DA Conversion Good pres cost money, plain and simple. Matt Crooks's (probably the most experienced engineer on this board, unless I'm forgetting someone) advice to me (which I ignored, I'm afraid) was that given the choice I was probably better off spending my money on a REALLY choice 2-channel interface and just tracking drums at a local pro studio, rather than spending an equivalent amount of money on something decent that would give me 8 or more tracks at a time. The quality of your preamps (and, just as importantly, knowing how they behave and where their sweet spot is - I'd tell you how to know this, except fucked if I know. :lol:) and how cleanly the analog signal gets converted into digital is absolutely HUGE for making a really killer recording.
  • Your Ear. Yeah, it's tough to admit, but part of making a great album is being able to hear what makes an album great, and if your ear isn't really that great, then it's like trying to paint with poor motor control, or something. I don't know if it's one of these "you're either born with it or you're not," things, or if it can be developed, but it's crucial.
  • Your Neighbors. Because some people don't like hearing a wide-open half stack right upstairs.

My personal thoughts are that it's possible to produce and record a GOOD sounding album in your own home, and it's something I'll certainly be testing as I start work on mine. However, it takes a ton of experience (the pros have been doing this hours a day for their entire lives), a lot of patience, a fair amount of money, and probably a bit of luck.

That said, you mention 8 months... Is that about when you want to record, 8 months from now? If so, and if you have no recording experience, I'm going to say you're probably better going to a studio. Even if all you were doing was recording and mixing 10 hours a day, 8 months is just not very much time to get up to speed, and the number of things you'd have to learn are incredibly diverse. It'd be like picking up a driver and hoping in 8 months time to be able to make it to the Masters. So, really, the ultimate question is this - do you want to have a pro-sounding album in 8 months, or do you want to learn how to record and mix an album, even knowing it'll take years and years to get to that caliber, if you're lucky?
 

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Daniel -

The short answer is, no. You will not in a single bedroom produce results that are as good as a properly constructed and equipped professional studio.

However, you can get good to very good results out of a bedroom studio. It takes a lot of investment though, in terms of time and money. Mixing on a $400 pair of speakers in the corner of your bedroom will make it next to impossible to get a great mix. If you can dedicate a room to your studio gear, and spend some money to acoustically treat the space and spend the time listening to your monitors you can learn to create a great mix.

Mixing is both art and science. A class can teach you how a compressor works, and how an equalizer works. They can teach you what 100hz sounds like and what 10khz sounds like. What they can not teach you is how to artistically apply compression and eq to a source. Learning the art of mixing only comes from experience. You'll only gain that experience after you understand the science of mixing. The course you are proposing to take will get you the science part, your experience after that will get you the art.
 

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Great posts so far.

I've done mediocre recordings at home, and I've also had mediocre productions done in the studio. It really is a balance of the art and the science.

I know next to nothing about mixing and finalizing production material. I have a few friends here who have studios, and it really does take quite a bit more than a few good sets of speakers to really figure out what's going on. Also, productions can sound immensely different played on different sources (iPod, car stereo, home theater, etc.). I think a good production should sound similar on all, but sadly that's not the case.

I wish you the best of luck, and I'm sure the material you will learn will be invaluable; it's up to you from there to make the most of it, which I'm sure you will.
 

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[*]Room Treatment. Not only for recording - the quality of your live room is either the biggest or second biggest determinant behind kit tuning, depending on who you ask, for recording drums, and is pretty big for vocals and acoustic instruments as well - but also for mixing. Even average monitors with appropriate bass trapping and room treatment will yield excellent results, whereas top dollar monitors in a poor room will still be inaccurate.
This is the biggest downfall of home studios. It's a lot more exciting to spend $1000 on a new amp, guitar or rack unit, but acoustic treatment is one of the most important things for a studio. There have been several companies that have come out in the last few years that offer reasonably priced treatments, so there's really no excuse for not having them if you're serious about mixing and recording.

Quality of Preamps and AD/DA Conversion Good pres cost money, plain and simple. Matt Crooks's (probably the most experienced engineer on this board, unless I'm forgetting someone) advice to me (which I ignored, I'm afraid) was that given the choice I was probably better off spending my money on a REALLY choice 2-channel interface and just tracking drums at a local pro studio, rather than spending an equivalent amount of money on something decent that would give me 8 or more tracks at a time. The quality of your preamps (and, just as importantly, knowing how they behave and where their sweet spot is - I'd tell you how to know this, except fucked if I know. :lol:) and how cleanly the analog signal gets converted into digital is absolutely HUGE for making a really killer recording.
Garbage in, garbage out. Once you get the signal into the digital domain, it's all ones and zeros, and all of the DAWs are more or less the same (the differences come down to work-flow). However, getting it to ones and zeros is a critical stage. When I upgraded my conversion it was so noticeable that my wife (who's not an audiophile at all) noticed that something sounded "better". Preamps are the same way. Fortunately there are good preamps under $500 and good converters under $500. Are they world class? No. They are good enough that they won't stop you from making good recordings though.

Your Ear. Yeah, it's tough to admit, but part of making a great album is being able to hear what makes an album great, and if your ear isn't really that great, then it's like trying to paint with poor motor control, or something. I don't know if it's one of these "you're either born with it or you're not," things, or if it can be developed, but it's crucial.
This is the "art" part of mixing. It can be learned. If you listen to the first mixes I did, to the most recent ones you can hear improvement in each subsequent mix. Some of the improvement may be equipment, but didn't change that much from mix to mix, so it's really not the gear. The improvement comes from experience, experimenting, knowing what worked and what didn't. Things that didn't work so well on one recording, I'd do differently on the next.

My personal thoughts are that it's possible to produce and record a GOOD sounding album in your own home, and it's something I'll certainly be testing as I start work on mine. However, it takes a ton of experience (the pros have been doing this hours a day for their entire lives), a lot of patience, a fair amount of money, and probably a bit of luck.
Drew is wise. :agreed:

Also, don't forget that the line between "home" and "pro" is blurring. Andy Sneap's studio is in his house, and no one would accuse him of not being a pro. My "home" studio was designed by an acoustician, and my gear list is substantially better than some of the "pro" studios in the area.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Maybe not a Steven Wilson level of production, exactly, but with a LOT of experience, natural aptitude, and some intelligent equipment outlays you should theoretically be able to compete with a decent local studio.

The biggest challenges?

  • Room Treatment. Not only for recording - the quality of your live room is either the biggest or second biggest determinant behind kit tuning, depending on who you ask, for recording drums, and is pretty big for vocals and acoustic instruments as well - but also for mixing. Even average monitors with appropriate bass trapping and room treatment will yield excellent results, whereas top dollar monitors in a poor room will still be inaccurate.
  • Quality of Preamps and AD/DA Conversion Good pres cost money, plain and simple. Matt Crooks's (probably the most experienced engineer on this board, unless I'm forgetting someone) advice to me (which I ignored, I'm afraid) was that given the choice I was probably better off spending my money on a REALLY choice 2-channel interface and just tracking drums at a local pro studio, rather than spending an equivalent amount of money on something decent that would give me 8 or more tracks at a time. The quality of your preamps (and, just as importantly, knowing how they behave and where their sweet spot is - I'd tell you how to know this, except fucked if I know. :lol:) and how cleanly the analog signal gets converted into digital is absolutely HUGE for making a really killer recording.
  • Your Ear. Yeah, it's tough to admit, but part of making a great album is being able to hear what makes an album great, and if your ear isn't really that great, then it's like trying to paint with poor motor control, or something. I don't know if it's one of these "you're either born with it or you're not," things, or if it can be developed, but it's crucial.
  • Your Neighbors. Because some people don't like hearing a wide-open half stack right upstairs.

My personal thoughts are that it's possible to produce and record a GOOD sounding album in your own home, and it's something I'll certainly be testing as I start work on mine. However, it takes a ton of experience (the pros have been doing this hours a day for their entire lives), a lot of patience, a fair amount of money, and probably a bit of luck.

That said, you mention 8 months... Is that about when you want to record, 8 months from now? If so, and if you have no recording experience, I'm going to say you're probably better going to a studio. Even if all you were doing was recording and mixing 10 hours a day, 8 months is just not very much time to get up to speed, and the number of things you'd have to learn are incredibly diverse. It'd be like picking up a driver and hoping in 8 months time to be able to make it to the Masters. So, really, the ultimate question is this - do you want to have a pro-sounding album in 8 months, or do you want to learn how to record and mix an album, even knowing it'll take years and years to get to that caliber, if you're lucky?
Well, I'll probably try to produce alot of stuff but I'm not expecting it to sound that good from the start, I'm not striving to master the art of recording\mixing\mastering in 8 months.

I'd like to get it to sound decent after 8-12 months from today though, also, I'll never record drums at home, I'll maybe go to a studio with a drummer for that but for now I'm thinking about using drums plugins.

What kind of equipment would you guys recommend for getting a decent results from the beginning? I do believe I'm having a good ear, I do understand that I'll need to gain experience for getting better, but, which equipment would give me a great jump and joy to record with? I'm currently having a e-mu 0404 usb interface, prs custom 24, Ibanez K-7, Framus Panthera custom 7, rivera knucklehead reverb, orange 1X12 cab.

Also, would recording the rivera with the 1X12 wont ever work to sound good?
It does sounds very good in the room, although I know it says nothing aboiut the recording.

I'm mainly asking about a sound card, monitors, microphone here, if you got anything else to discuss than shoot.
 

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Well, I'll probably try to produce alot of stuff but I'm not expecting it to sound that good from the start, I'm not striving to master the art of recording\mixing\mastering in 8 months.

I'd like to get it to sound decent after 8-12 months from today though, also, I'll never record drums at home, I'll maybe go to a studio with a drummer for that but for now I'm thinking about using drums plugins.

What kind of equipment would you guys recommend for getting a decent results from the beginning? I do believe I'm having a good ear, I do understand that I'll need to gain experience for getting better, but, which equipment would give me a great jump and joy to record with? I'm currently having a e-mu 0404 usb interface, prs custom 24, Ibanez K-7, Framus Panthera custom 7, rivera knucklehead reverb, orange 1X12 cab.

Also, would recording the rivera with the 1X12 wont ever work to sound good?
It does sounds very good in the room, although I know it says nothing aboiut the recording.

I'm mainly asking about a sound card, monitors, microphone here, if you got anything else to discuss than shoot.
You're definitely going to want to ditch the emu for something better. As Drew said a quality two channel unit would be a good choice, especially if you lack the ability to have isolated rooms anyway. I personally want either a Motu or an Apogee.

The monitors and the acoustic treatment kinda go hand in hand, since if either sucks you won't get good results. The guitar equipment is fine; perhaps picking up other amps down the road for variety may be beneficial, or even a modeler for variety.
 

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i go to SAE and we had a week of how minimal gear you really need aside from all the mics and not concerning yourself with how your room is shaped(unless you have the cash to remodel it to be a room within a room) All you really need is a computer with 2gb+ram, DAWs, decent but cheap interface(digi 003 is quite popular), Monitors(a pair of KRK's with 6 inch speaker, otherwise your neighbors would complain). A "lunch box" with half way decent preamps. You dont need a console unless you plan on recording something with 2+ mics(like drums)

aside from cords and mics thats all you really need.
But for some free things is to train your ears and take good care of them.

If you have good money but limited room after all of this stuff, but some decent plugins.*not t racks from ik multimedia(its cheap and ok, but not the best) go for a waves bundle.

i hope i helped somewhat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Does using monitor headphones wont give good results? even a high end ones?
I'm going to probably move soon so I dont know which room I'll have, thought that headphones could be a good idea because they're independent to the recording environment.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
You're definitely going to want to ditch the emu for something better. As Drew said a quality two channel unit would be a good choice, especially if you lack the ability to have isolated rooms anyway. I personally want either a Motu or an Apogee.

The monitors and the acoustic treatment kinda go hand in hand, since if either sucks you won't get good results. The guitar equipment is fine; perhaps picking up other amps down the road for variety may be beneficial, or even a modeler for variety.
it looks like the apogee symphony I\O doesnt have a single mic in, am I missing something..?
 
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It is possible to make a home recording sound like a studio recording. If you want to spend 15 k on plugins, preamps, and quality converters. Another few k on mics and just happen to have a sonically viable room for recording in your home.
 

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Does using monitor headphones wont give good results? even a high end ones?
I'm going to probably move soon so I dont know which room I'll have, thought that headphones could be a good idea because they're independent to the recording environment.
I do most of my mixing on headphones (AKG K240s) and through a shitty JVC stereo system. It's do-able, and I'm of the opinion that if your ears are good enough, you can mix on any set of speakers or headphones once you know how those specific speakers respond, but you have to do a lot more checking your mixes on other speakers to see how your mix turned out. It's just a lot easier to mix on a really good set of monitors.

Mostly, I mix on headphones (my AKGs are really excellent headphones though) and check through my stereo to make sure the bass is good (since it's hard to judge bass levels on any set of headphones) and to check reverb levels (it's easy to use too much reverb when mixing on headphones).
 

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I'd like to get it to sound decent after 8-12 months from today though, also, I'll never record drums at home, I'll maybe go to a studio with a drummer for that but for now I'm thinking about using drums plugins.
If you're planning on using drum plugins then your drums will sound good, but unless you are very good at programming drums (knowing how to think like a drummer), your drums will sound completely fake and plastic.

I'm mainly asking about a sound card, monitors, microphone here, if you got anything else to discuss than shoot.
You've not talked about your budget, or goals. You've said you don't want to record drums, so that's a good start. Do you plan on only recording electric guitars, or do you plan on acoustic guitars, bass guitar and vocals?

Without knowing your budget, I'd suggest the Genelec 8040s for monitors. You can't really do better than that, and they will give you great results for years. You asked about a soundcard but what you really need is an interface. I would suggest the Appogee Duet for an interface, since you only need two channels. From there you need a two channel mic preamp. I would suggest the Great River MP-2, for a little bit of colour and analogue warmth. For mics, I would suggest a Shure SM-57 and a Royer R-122. The 57 and 122 will work well together on the amp, and the 122 will work great on acoustics.

Does using monitor headphones wont give good results? even a high end ones?
I'm going to probably move soon so I dont know which room I'll have, thought that headphones could be a good idea because they're independent to the recording environment.
Headphones will not give you good results. They might give you OK results, but headphones are used for checking details, not for full mixes.

it looks like the apogee symphony I\O doesnt have a single mic in, am I missing something..?
Yes, it's an interface not a microphone preamp. You'll need mic preamps to go along with the Symphony.
 

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For mics, I would suggest a Shure SM-57 and a Royer R-122.
Um... A Royer R-122? They cost at least £1000. Not exactly a microphone that everyone can afford!

Spot on with the 57 though, I'd even say get 2 of them if you are planning on recording a lot of electric guitar.

Headphones will not give you good results. They might give you OK results, but headphones are used for checking details, not for full mixes.
This is also spot on, I've never liked mixing on headphones, and can't understand why people do it.
 

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keep it 68 degrees.(sound waves travel at 1130 fps at 68 degrees and a foot faster at each degree higher after that) but i really dont think that would so much in a room rather than a concert.
 

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Were you thinking of doing sound engineering as a career? Or just as a hobby? There are good 6-week courses that get you into the swing of getting down on recording. That would be a good head start to get you in the game, otherwise if you wanted something more I'd get into a 2-year program at a community college with a nice studio to get a hang of things. There is a lot you can do on your own to figure out how things work, but having someone who REALLY knows their craft show you how everything works then get time to really play around with the equipment is really helpful I've found.
 
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