Home Music Recording

Home music recording was a viable option even back in the all analog early 1980s, as this article shows.


| November/December 1980



home music recording - Marc Bristol

Down-home musician Marc Bristol, pictured here performing at a local festival, has a wealth of useful advice about  home music recording.


PHOTO: BRENT THORGREN

Even homesteaders need to relax and enjoy themselves from time to time, right? And almost everybody these days wants to cut his or her cost of living. So how about a little do-it-yourself entertainment?

That's what this column is about. Homegrown music... and sometimes homemade musical instruments to play it on.


Home Music Recording

There have probably been times in your musicmaking career when you've felt that a certain tune or collection of songs was worth preserving. Perhaps you just wanted to hear what the total sound of your group was like (since it's often hard to tune in to your partners while you're concentrating on your own instrument), or maybe you needed a demo/audition tape to send to producers and club managers. Then again, perhaps you wanted to have an album on hand to sell at your band's gigs.

Well, whatever the reason for the urge to record, you'll be glad to know that it's easier to "preserve" your music than most folks think. In fact — for all practical purposes — you can even do it yourself in your own home!

Although most people believe that superior recordings can be produced only in a professional studio that's equipped with the latest high-priced gizmos, the fact remains that excellent recordings can be made under much simpler conditions. (In fact, some of the best tracks I've heard were taped in home settings, using borrowed equipment!) Technology has advanced so quickly in the past few years that a person can now make a better-quality home music recording on his or her stereo deck than was possible on even the best commercial equipment that was available 20 years ago!

Now it's true that musicians can hear themselves better in a studio environment (and may be inspired, as a result, to turn out a more enthusiastic performance), but the same "professional" setting can easily bring about a tense recording session. Since they are paying an hourly studio rental fee (which can range from a reasonable $15 to as high as $100), performers in such a situation are bound to feel rushed and therefore may find it difficult to produce their best music.

In-home recording, on the other hand, offers a relaxed (and affordable) atmosphere. Instead of spending money to rent a studio for several hours, you can borrow — or rent, if you need to — a few pieces of equipment and record at home. (Even if you plan to do your recording in a studio, it's always a good idea to practice your arrangements in front of the microphones at home before you start that expensive tape rolling. Who knows . . . you might be so pleased with the results of your rehearsal that you decide to skip the more expensive studio method altogether! )

Another money saving alternative is to make a master tape at home (where you can take your time and get it just right) and then go to a commercial studio for professional mixing and equalizing. Such a procedure will give a flawless finish to a flawless performance, and cost you much less than you would have spent to record the original, from scratch, on expensive studio time.





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