Greetings, CASA readers! This is Steve from DoubleShot! In October I wrote a blog about recording rehearsals and creating “part tapes” to learn new music more efficiently and effectively. Today I bring you ideas and lessons learned from DoubleShot!’s most recent venture: producing an album.
Before diving into this GIANT topic, please know that this is not a “how-to,” “DIY,” or “Recording for dummies” article but simply a look into how, why and “what could have gone better” from our experience. Discussion and additional ideas are encouraged! This is, after all, a community!
In late November, DoubleShot! decided it would be a good idea to record our first holiday album. Lesson one: It takes a long time to produce an album… START EARLY! After quickly determining that we did not have enough time to record in a professional studio, we decided to take a shot at recording and producing it ourselves. Between our audio technician and myself, we felt as though we enough hardware, software and knowledgeware to do it ourselves.
The hardware: Condensers mics, overheads mics, a kick drum mic and good ‘ol Shure 58’s. An apple computer, some mic compressors and a firewire interface to make all the sounds go into the computer. Oh yeah, and LOTS of XLR wires!
The software: Apple’s Logic Studio 9. We LOVE this software! Think GarageBand on steroids (and if you have an educator or college student in your group, they give you a great discount!).
The knowledge: Jeremy (our sound technician) did his undergrad in sound recording. He was a BIG help. Additionally, I have some experience in the studio in front and behind the booth.
The process: We chose to record in a band member’s warehouse with plenty of room to spread out. Instead of secluding ourselves in “sound booths” we placed the mic’s about 50 feet away from each other in a circle. To save money and lessen the amount of wires running across the floor we used our wireless in-ear monitoring system as our headphones. With a metronome click in our ear, we basically ran through each song about 10-15 times to give us a good selection to “cut and paste” from. Doing this we were able to knock out six songs in 4 hours! (two days of two hour sessions).
Our sound tech and I sat down and did a lot of the cutting and pasting from different takes, then I did the mastering to make it sound more “professional” (there are a lot of great plug-ins in Logic for this.) This part took the longest; roughly 40-60 hours in two weeks time (a lot of late nights).
Because our expense was so little, we were able to offer our fans, friends and family six digital downloads from our website for free, just in time for the holidays. Sure, they didn’t quite sound like we spent 10-15,0000 dollars and countless days in the studio but we think they sounded pretty darn good nonetheless! Here is a link to a non-holiday song we added to the list, just for fun. Happy recording!
Steve from DoubleShot!