...bringing sexy back
Since: Jul 01, 2002
thats why i started with this whole home studio thing in the first place...so that IM in charge...
Posted on Jan 21, 2004 01:59 pm
Member Since: Dec 23, 2003
In June of 2002 my band decided to start putting money back to cut a cd. Six months later we had a decent amount of money saved and found a studio. We went in and checked it out, it was very nice and close to home. They had an elaborte Pro-Tools set up, so we would give this whole digital recording thing a try. We had them play us some of their recordings and they sounded really professional and well produced. We didn't want to commit to doing the whole cd. We decided to record 2 songs and see how they came out.
I was pretty excited about the whole thing. I had never recorded in a real studio before. I had been recording for many years, but it was just demos. I couldn't wait to get into a studio with an experienced engineer and see what I was doing wrong, what I was doing right, and learn some new techniques.
My band is pretty experienced. Everybody has at least two decades of playing under their belt. We picked our best two songs and went into record them. I watched carefully as the engineer positioned the mics for the drum kit. He put the overheads in place and I never saw him move them. Is this guy that good I was thinking. Whenever I set up overheads I have to move them at least several times until I get them right. Oh well, it was his studio so what did I know. We laid down scratch tracks and stated to record our parts. Our drummer laid down his part. The drums just didn't sound good to me. The engineer told me not to worry about it.... we'll eq them later. I laid down the bass. He said it sounded great! It had WAY to much low end in it! But, everything was there so I figured we'd just eq that out later. Our guitarist was doing this acoustic part in one of our songs. I watched the engineer set up the mic in front of his guitar and then never move it. Then the engineer started having my guitarist move forward and back, and lean his guitar in and out until he was satisfied with the sound. I offered to go into the booth and move the mic, which to me made more sense than moving the guitarist. The engineer said no that's ok, we've got it. I looked through the glass at my guitarist. His guitar was tilted in and he looked very uncomfortable with it. I asked him if he was going to be able to play this way.... he said he was OK, that it was a short part and he should be fine. Time and time again I saw this engineer do things that just made no sense to me. This was no part timer here, this was his full time gig.
Anyway, we got everything laid down and started working on the mix. My guitarist and I are the "sound guys" of the band. So, it was just him I and the engineer working on the mix. We sarted with the drums... they sounded like hell to me. We got them sounding half decent, all execpt the snare. After too much wasted time we replaced the snare. On to the bass. He pumped it up and it was shaking the room. Ok, if we were a rap band maybe this would be alright.... but, we're a hard rock heavy metal kind of band. The engineer thought the bass sounded great. It was devouring the kick and making the mix sound terrible. I was being polite about the whole thing... asking if he could thin out the bass a little. Things went on and on like this thoughout the entire time. We got it mixed to a point and burnt off some rough mixes to take home and listen to. How did it sound? It was terrible! I couldn't believe that we were paying $45 an hour and I was turning out better sounding demos with my Tascam 8-track reel to reel. I was so dissapointed, and the old wallet was getting lighter by the day. We went back night after night to work on the mix. The guy cut us a tremedous break on time. I don't think he charged us for half the time we actually had in it. After too many hours, too much money, and far too much agravation, I realized that this recording was never going to sound good. We didn't book anymore time and just let the project sit for a couple of months. The engineer remixed it on his own time and it did sound better. But, it sounded bad at it's best.
It was time to get back to work on the cd project though. We went shopping for a new studio. We took a trip down to Right Coast Recording in Columbia PA. This place is like a vintage gear museum. We had already made our minds up that we wanted to record in analog and this was the place. We booked time and went in to record two songs. I learned more from the engineer at Right Coast in one hour than I did from the other guy in a month. Again, it was my guitarist, the engineer and I doing the mixing. It went smooth and quick and sounds unbelievable! It's nice recording in a studio with gold and platinum records hanging on the wall. Plaque's from bands like 38 Special, Van Halen, Tina Turner and Billy Joel.
So... we booked more time next week. We are going to go back in and re-record the two songs we did in the first studio. That was $1,600 down the tubes. But, we certainly can't include them on the disc with the other songs.
Live and learn
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