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Thread: I've come to the conclusion that a studio sound is only found in ... a studio

  1. #1
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    I've come to the conclusion that a studio sound is only found in ... a studio

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    Edit: I uploaded some short samples in another post along with my definition of "studio", it'd probably help a lot to read that post too.

    Hey, wow, I wish I knew this place existed two years ago. I'm a high school graduate who is into just about DIY everything, so after writing lots of music, it was only natural that I would want to lay down my own tracks and have them played back to me. My goal and dream was to basically make songs I wish existed; songs perfectly tailored to my own taste and also to bring my own taste to others ears.

    I'm a very cheap person. I think I've invested less than $500 in music in my entire life. I still use my first guitar, which I think is very tight in sound, but it could use better pick-ups. There's seldom times where I actually go: Wow, this is garbage. Especially after all the tweaks my guitar buddy taught me. I have a $100 comboamp, $100 Toneport, $50 mic, etc.

    Recently, I've been slowly getting more frustrated with recording, even though I'm getting better and better. I wanted a very heavy distorted sound, yet the clarity was just not coming through and the notes weren't distinguishable enough. My first recording was awful, buzzing bass, staticy guitars, now my recordings sound very tight, with many hours spent EQing and working on tone. But it never sounded "alive."

    I was thinking of upgrading my guitar, but I read something on this forum, that kind of changed my approach on the whole home recording thing: A home recording is just that. A home recording. I was told I could get studio quality recording with a Toneport, yes, maybe a $100 studio recording (Great clean settings and such though). I think I may have set my expectations too high.

    I must admit that my friend and his Macbook + GarageBand + Guitar and me and my Toneport have really exceeded what is to be expected, but I decided to not spend any more money on recording and just drop it till I'm done with school and have a good paying job. I could be spending that money else where, rather than a dream that may require a collective amount of money. Besides, I plan to major in computer/electric engineering, might come on handy in some aspects.

    Maybe if I wasn't into such heavily distorted music, quality would not be such an issue, but anyways, do you guys think I made the right move calling it quits for now? I don't mind putting this dream on pause. I'm just getting very tired of bringing the best out of what would be sub-par. Is home recording with a USB device just a dream in today's time?

    Thanks to anyone who takes the time out to read this.
    Last edited by tikitariki; 10-11-2009 at 16:59.

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    Maybe or maybe not you've made the right decision, but at least you have the wisdom to recognise that the decision needed to be made.

    You are mainly right . . . a studio sound is found in a studio. If you are operating on a budget and doing things as cheaply as possible, it becomes a major undertaking to get a 'studio' sound. That's not to say it can't be done . . .but everything is working against it. A good carpenter can make decent stuff with crappy tools, but a good carpenter can make great stuff with a decent set of tools . . . but they cost money . . . so you need to be quite sure that that's the treadmill you want to start spinning.

  3. #3
    dintymoore Guest
    Motown was a 3 track home studio. Paul McCartney's "Maybe I'm Amazed" was recorded on 4 tracks by himself at home in a barn. Lots of Neil Young's stuff was recorded in a barn at his home. Define studio.

    Hendrix sounded pretty good at Woodstock - that wasn't a studio it was a farmer's field.

    I could use the Musician's Union's recording studio tomorrow - all new with 30' ceilings. It costs $150 a year, so that's 50 cents a day to use their studio that cost at least 500K and is less than a year old.

    You need passion, accurate knowledge and persistence. With that you can get a studio if you need it. It's all about what you know and who you know. You can get anything for free if you know how to ask for it.

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    You are correct that you can only get studio sound in a studio. But you can get sound that is damn pleasing at home. Post your songs. Maybe we can help diagnose your tone problem.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dintymoore View Post
    I could use the Musician's Union's recording studio tomorrow - all new with 30' ceilings. It costs $150 a year, so that's 50 cents a day to use their studio that cost at least 500K and is less than a year old.
    Now I've got drool all over my keyboard! Where do you live to be blessed with such a structure?

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    Quote Originally Posted by tikitariki View Post

    Maybe if I wasn't into such heavily distorted music, quality would not be such an issue.

    Ther's something about that statement that just doesn't work for me.



    Just one comment (which may be too little too late)...I find that people who are into heavily distorted guitars, often OVERDO it when recording, and they end up with buzz and mush.
    You may be trying too hard.

    It's not "home recording" that is the issue...it may be your techniques, and yeah, you do need have SOME decent gear, but you certianly don't need to spend hundred$ of thou$and$.

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    Quote Originally Posted by miroslav View Post
    I find that people who are into heavily distorted guitars, often OVERDO it when recording, and they end up with buzz and mush.
    That is SOOOOO true!!! You get a live sound you like on an amp with the pre-gain set at maybe 7, sure that may work for some solo work but when playing back what you recorded, it's nothing but a fuzz box. Especially when playing power chords. Turn it down to 4 or so, eq the mid's up a bit, and suddenly you've got it.
    SS

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    That statement about distorted music is literally laughable. You think you have quality problems with your noise? Try recording Yo Yo Ma's cello or Whitney Houston's voice or George Winston's piano clean and with what you refer to as "studio quality". You'll be lying an a fetal position in a pool of your own urine just praying that Mr. Wizard will transport you back to the easy days of having to record a wall of headbanger distortion.

    That aside, I have two general problems with the premise of the OP. First, which has been alluded to already, what defines "studio"? Someone please describe the dividing line between studio and non-studio to me.

    Second is the implication that the "studio" is what's missing. With all respect to the OP, we could transport you right behind the desk at Mussel Shoals or the Record Plant or Abbey Road or any of the other top studios of the last half century and your recordings might be marginally better than what you have now, but they'd still be far from "studio quality". OTOH, if we transported Alan Parsons to your house, he'd most likely be able to get a fairly-close-to-pro result with your tools.

    While I admire and support your DIY attitude 100%, this is not a field where you can just wake up in the morning and decide to do it yourself. It takes a lot of time in the way of experience learning your technique and learning what tools you do have to become good at it. That's not what the clowns at Guitar Center have told you, of course; because if they old you the truth about that, they'd lose 60% of their sales.

    Unless one is a one-in-a-billion savant, one does not just wake up one morning, pick up a guitar for the very first time and play it like a "pro" at the end of the day, or pick up a pencil and piece of paper in the morning and start drawing blueprints for a skyscraper that will actually work, like a real architect. Audio engineering is the same way; the idea is easy to visualize, like playing a guitar or designing a building, but it's not something you can just "do" without a lot of time and learning and practice.

    Don't waste your prime years chasing a recording dream. The absolute smartest thing you can do right now is to go college, concentrate on your studies and build yourself a day career. At the very least, you can use that as a parachute when your dreams of rock stardom crash and burn, or to supplement the budget for your audio recording hobby so you *can* afford the good toys.

    Trust us old-timers, we ABSOLUTELY know what we're talking about when we say stuff like "If I only knew when I was 18 what I know now..." We may just sound like a bunch of over-the-hill-losers when we say that, but unless you want to sound like an over-the-hill-loser yourself when you get older, you'll listen to us.

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    That being said...along with the man behind the glass...its the Mic and pre+ the room that can get you there.

    The advise above about distorted guitar is gold...when you do record it...you want to try for the sound you want...then cut back about 10%.

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    These were done most likely with carbon mics. Like the ones in telephone handsets. If you really have something important to say, the medium becomes irrelevent. These recordings hold up pretty damned well after 80 years.

    http://www.archive.org/details/Prettypolly

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