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The EvO:R-Pedia Musicians Tips Section
Welcome to the EvO:R Tips Section. We call this section EvO:R-Pedia because it is like a complete
reference library for Indie musicians...Just about every tip has been used so you won't find false
promises and a series of books to buy after reading each tip. This section was put here by musicians
so that people that followed can take this knowledge and use it's power.
Hard Drive multitrack recording
for the Independent musician
By Roberto Luz
In the last ten years there has been a complete revolution in the way that musicians
get their music recorded. In the past we were subject to the whims of the "official"
recording industry because the cost of analog multitrack recording equipment was high
enough that only the large companies could even afford to own their own equipment.
The control of the music rested with those who owned the equipment.
Since the advent of digital recording there has been a revolution in music making:
the possibility of controlling the means of production has now passed on to the musician:
anyone who can play music can record and mix a professional sound right at home on his
computer. Never before has the musician been able to basically get around the system
and put out whatever sounds he desires.
This series of articles is aimed at providing simple instructions in plain English for
any musician who wishes to set up and run his own digital multitrack recording studio.
Chapter1. The hardware
Since the prices of computers have been constantly going down it is a real boon
to the home recorder. You can go out and equip an entire recording studio for less
than $1000. The minimum necessary setup would be
1) Pentium/Athlon 800Mhz CPU (Pentium/Athlon 1.4 Ghz or more is way better).
You have to be careful of the older Athlon computers as most recording software takes
advantage of the "floating point" structure of the CPU.
2) 384 MB of Ram (put in as much as you can afford, at least 512 MB) This is because
of the huge memory load that multitrack recording uses with all of the effects, equalizers,
compressors, etc. that you will be using.
3) You will need an extra hard drive, as you need to have your recorded audio files on
a different disk than your OS in order for everything to work smoothly. Audio files
are huge and you should have a fast (and large) hard drive to hold them.
4) You will also need to replace your sound card, as regular PC soundcards just can't
give you the quality of sound that multitrack recording needs. Try to get a card that
will record at least 20 bit (most will do 24 bit) also, you must consider the type of
recording your studio will do: do you just want to record 1 instrument at a time, or
does your project need the ability to record multiple tracks at the same time?
The more imputs that you can afford, the better. I use an 8 track audio breakout box.
Another thing to consider is whether you wish to incorporate midi into your recording
process. Midi is an excellent way to record multiple keyboard tracks because you can
edit everything up to the last moment.
The easiest way is to buy a combination audio/midi breakout box. They are even
available in a USB easy plugin format. You have to shop around and check on the
specifications of your audio card, as they are really different from each other. The
rule of thumb is: more imputs/outputs, highest bitrate possible is best.
The mixer boards provided by the software is OK, but I find that an analog
mixing board makes my life easier, as all of those little virtual knobs drive me crazy.
An extra monitor helps. When you are in the middle of editing some tiny detail
it is useful to be able to call up the many different levels of work, and the amazing
amount of extra tools (compressors, equalizers, effects, virtual instruments, etc.)
available can really bunch up on your screen.
Once you have your software, you can start recording right now. Of course, there are
many external things to consider: where is your studio locatedů. Do you need to worry
about noise, will the sound waves rattle your windows? Regular studio stuff. You need
to have the right environment in order to get as close to the music as you undoubtedly
will. Every sound that enters your studio will get on the recording.
In the next chapter we will consider strategies for preparing your studio to deal with
extraneous noise, and how to make the studio a comfortable place where you can spend
many hours turning soundwaves into beautiful music.