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Shmikes

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Hi everyone

After being very unhappy with the quality of recording Captain Tom's produces my band have decided to invest in some home recording gear. We've bought a computer hi spec specifically for recording and have Aardvark pro q10 and Cubase (i forget which version).

How difficult is it to attain good quality home recordings and is mixing etc hard to do?

Just any other tips would be welcome too.

Cheers.

Shmikes.

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Hi everyone

After being very unhappy with the quality of recording Captain Tom's produces my band have decided to invest in some home recording gear. We've bought a computer hi spec specifically for recording and have Aardvark pro q10 and Cubase (i forget which version).

How difficult is it to attain good quality home recordings and is mixing etc hard to do?

Just any other tips would be welcome too.

Cheers.

Shmikes.

much harder than practising then going to capt toms actually ready to record, you cant polish a shit afterall. Get some good musical equipment, then learn how to use it, then actually learn your songs and you will get a very good recording out of toms for the money you will spend. Either that or dont practise and go to a very expensive studio and spend thousands clipping and chopping till you get something that sounds a bit better. I'm not being harsh here thats just the simple facts.

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Do any of you have any knowledge of home recording? If not, your going to be in for a tough time. Did you not consider going to a studio that isn't Toms?

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The more complex the home recording, the more difficult it is gonna be to make good quality. If it's you, a guitar, and a nice room...well you should be just fine. But if you're thinking of drums, bass, multiple guitars, vocals, and then some, don't expect HiFi at home.

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Guest Tam o' Shantie
much harder than practising then going to capt toms actually ready to record, you cant polish a shit afterall. Get some good musical equipment, then learn how to use it, then actually learn your songs and you will get a very good recording out of toms for the money you will spend. Either that or dont practise and go to a very expensive studio and spend thousands clipping and chopping till you get something that sounds a bit better. I'm not being harsh here thats just the simple facts.

Why do you assume that they can't play their instruments or that they don't know how to play their own songs?

I like the guys at Captain Toms and the quality has improved a lot over the years but I have never heard anything out of there that was mixed onsite that in my opinion comes close to being 'very good'. I can get a better drum sound with 1 mic in a bedroom than I have ever got recording at Toms. I don't know if it's the rooms or the gear, the studio is great for demo purposes but I have never heard anything great from it.

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Why do you assume that they can't play their instruments or that they don't know how to play their own songs?

I like the guys at Captain Toms and the quality has improved a lot over the years but I have never heard anything out of there that was mixed onsite that in my opinion comes close to being 'very good'. I can get a better drum sound with 1 mic in a bedroom than I have ever got recording at Toms. I don't know if it's the rooms or the gear, the studio is great for demo purposes but I have never heard anything great from it.

i never said they couldnt play their instruments, read tom.

What i did suggest was to buy good equipment and learn how to use it properly.

As for the recordings at Capt Toms, i have heard some very very good recordings from there that have been mixed there as well.

So you can get a better sound with one mic in your bedroom yeah? Prove it.

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to try and add to the discussion...

i assume you have some sort of interface otherwise this is a non-starter. Be it a nice fancy soundcard or a bespoke piece of kit.

There is a lot of online help available about home recording/studios etc. What you might consider is recording the drums properly at a "studio" (and possibly vocals) then doing all of the rest of it yourself. This will significantly cut back on your budget and give you all the time in the world to perfect your guitars - without burning too large a hole in your pocket.

If you wanted I might be able to help you out recording the drums for you.

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Basically you need a good set of ears and are willing to spend hours and hours reading and learning and practising before you will achieve anything anywhere close to a good mix.

EQ is everything, so i'd say trawl the internet and learn what you can about that to get some idea of where all instuments should sit in the mix and in what particular frequency ranges instruments sound good or bad.

It all depends on whether you want acceptable demo, or pro sounding recordings - because like with a lot of things you get out of it what you put into it. In addition the better you get and the more you learn, the more you realise there is SO much to it.

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Erm...need to jog memory here.

Ok I use 4 condensers.

2 sennheiser pencil mics (614s) for close micing hi-hats and ride

2 SE Electronics (can't remember the model numer, maybe SE1A?) but these are a bit bigger than the "pencil" mics. More closer to an AKG C1000S type of size.

then I have 3 Sennheiser 904s for the toms.

SM57 for the snare (i have 2 but never double mic really)

and an Audix D6 for the kick.

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Guest Tam o' Shantie
i never said they couldnt play their instruments, read tom.

What i did suggest was to buy good equipment and learn how to use it properly.

As for the recordings at Capt Toms, i have heard some very very good recordings from there that have been mixed there as well.

So you can get a better sound with one mic in your bedroom yeah? Prove it.

Ha ha...sorry I can't prove it Milner because I recorded it onto my cassette multitrack the other day and my laptop is broken. If you can find a Captain Tom's recording that sounds better than the 10EW single that I mixed myself on a computer (vs a professional studio whose day to day job is to do this work) I'd like to hear it though. I think you and I have a different opinion of what constitutes a very very good recording as well. The quality of recording that Captain Toms' produces is simply not fit for any serious release.

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Ha ha...sorry I can't prove it Milner because I recorded it onto my cassette multitrack the other day and my laptop is broken. If you can find a Captain Tom's recording that sounds better than the 10EW single that I mixed myself on a computer (vs a professional studio whose day to day job is to do this work) I'd like to hear it though. I think you and I have a different opinion of what constitutes a very very good recording as well. The quality of recording that Captain Toms' produces is simply not fit for any serious release.

As i said you will get a very good recording for the money you will spend, which compared to most studios will not be a hell of a lot.

I will find quite a few examples when i get my internet on the go at the flat (im at work right now), out of memory tho, the Weapon "lucky like kokura" demo was amazing sounding for a toms recording, i also got two very very good demos for Kenetic that cost us 100 for two songs, again once i get the net at home ill upload them online.

Your right tho, i wouldnt use capt toms to record something i wanted to release, BUT it is a very good place to show up a band, if your not top of your game you will sound like shit, simple as, they dont have the fancy tricks for making a 300 sonar kit sound like a 5000 DW.

Its simple tho, you go into toms, knowing exactly how to set up your guitar amps/guitars/drums/anything else and you know your songs inside out then you will come out with something you can be quite happy with.

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It's doable. I've been learning how to do home recordings for 2years now. I've noticed a huge difference from those demos to where I'm at now. It's all about practise and reading. Don't expect awesome results straight away, I haven't got awesome results yet. I've got pretty good home demo recordings though. Other people have told me that they think it's good, but I spend a LOT of time reading about this shit.

You'll need good equipment to help you along. But start lower down the ladder, if you can get decent sounds from shit gear, then an upgrade is worth it. Beg, borrow and steal what you can. I found that recording in studios really helps you along. If you wanna learn, watch producers like a hawk.

My band are recording with Nick from MMW in March, I'm expecting to learn a lot from him(and Dan) when I'm there. It's a steep learning curve, but a lot of fun. Good luck.

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Ha ha...sorry I can't prove it Milner because I recorded it onto my cassette multitrack the other day and my laptop is broken. If you can find a Captain Tom's recording that sounds better than the 10EW single that I mixed myself on a computer (vs a professional studio whose day to day job is to do this work) I'd like to hear it though. I think you and I have a different opinion of what constitutes a very very good recording as well. The quality of recording that Captain Toms' produces is simply not fit for any serious release.

To be fair though, if you record your own music you will be able to spend a lot more time and effort on it than you would in a studio such as Tom's. Furthermore, you can achieve as close to what you want or think sounds good yourself, rather than have someone else guessing what you want from a mix. Combine that with the added passion of doing your own stuff and as long as you're half decent at recording, home stuff can sound a lot better than ten hours in a studio. I'm sure Tom's could yield more than adequate enough results if you spend enough time and money. Like milner said, the song we did there a few years ago came out well and had pretty much zero time spent on it. In fact I think we did it for free 'cos it was for a FHR sampler. But as we were well rehearsed, and had good gear that we knew how to use, the results were very adequate.

The biggest complaint you hear of Tom's is that the drums from recordings there sound shit. Well that's largely because the drummers that record there *are* shit, and don't know how to set up a kit properly, never mind hitting it hard and in time with a set of fresh heads on a good kit. I've heard horrific guitar sounds from there too, but that's what happens when you get n00bs with rank gear, shit tone and ass-cabbage riffs, who are just delighted to be a recording studio for the first time.

You can't polish a turd in a studio, but the luxury of recording at home means you can at least take the time and effort to spray it silver.

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Guest Tam o' Shantie

I am not in disagreement that good, well played instruments recorded at Toms will sound better than shitty ones played by amateurs, i'm just saying that it isn't the primary factor which causes Captain Tom's recordings to sound less than adequate for me - and by the same logic, I would never presume that another band with the same opinion of their recording quality could get around the problem by practicing and buying better gear.

I have no problem with the studio and would use it again, but only for 100 quid demo recordings.

The idea of spending a week in Toms at a reasonable rate to accomplish a decent sound is silly too, I think. We recorded 2 songs in a day at The Byre with Mark Thomas engineering and the results were my personal favourite recordings that 10EW ever did, in terms of quality.

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the se1a's are good value for what they do they work well as overheads but also work well on acoustic guitars or as an ambient mic! i tend to mic my cabs with a close mic'ed 57 and a se1a a few inches back gives a lovely natural sound to the amp. I would say though when you are mixing id say only use eq to boost very little try to use it more of a bad sound eliminator. the only time i ever boost frequencies is to give the kick of snare a bit more punch. Most of all dont stick to any rules experiment you may find your 'new' technique when mixing sounds amazing after all music is subjective to taste as is production

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Toms are pretty good and Paul the sound tech is pretty damn good for help and advice.

I got the mixes from him and mixed them myself and re did any parts i wasnt happy with and my equipment cost 400 buck so yeah you can get a good recording if you have Logic and have an alright sense of what you are doing....

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yeah, although the question was about micing drums lol :-p

if i were to double mic i'd probably do that or just use two 57s one on-axis and one off axis. However this kind of technique is really only worth while when you've got a few things:

1) a good guitar

2) a good head

3) a good cab

and of course inplied that the guitarist can actually play.

any of those missing you're just as well using a pod. imho.

as for drums, i would generally re-trigger kick, snare and toms anyway and use the mics very little, only really to add a more real/dynamic feel and to give them a bit more ambience (although a bit of reverb does that just as good) But the one thing I don't trigger is the cymbals, hence 4 mics for those, and I'm also contemplating using my large diaphragm condensor that I use for vocals as a "room mic". Just so I can definitely get the right sound for the overheads.

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Adding a room mic to drums is awesome. It brings out a lot from the cymbals and if you compress it right, can add a nice crunch to the drums. I find it to be great for effects.

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Guest Tam o' Shantie

If we are going to start trading tips it might be worth finding out what style of music is being recorded

I record drums with one large diaphram condensor microphone pointed at an angle towards the snare drum, from about 6 inches away, fed through a photo optical compressor straight to tape. i found that this technique works well to create lively, 'big' ambient room drum sounds which sound fairly similar to an actual drum kit. I wouldn't touch triggers because i don't and never will have any desire to record 'metal drums'.

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yeah totally, it depends what style you want and are recording.

Although I would have thought even if you did want to record in a "roomy/ambient" type of way you'd still want to mic up each drum respectively? But that's just me.

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