Sunday, May 3, 2009
Recording at Home The basic questions answered
Do I need &special room ?
That's up to you. Great recordings have been made in hotel rooms.
Where there's an engineer as well as performers, and several tracks are recorded at once, it's usual to have separate rooms for instruments and equipment.
So the engineer can monitor on loudspeakers.
What kind of Acoustic treatment do I need?
A fairly balanced recording environment, not too dead, no too bright is best.
You can adjust this balance with rugs and curtains as and when you need to.
In many cases, instruments are connected directly so room acoustics do not play a role.
The important thing is to ensure that your listening (monitoring) is accurate.
Can I use my Hi-Fi ?
In the first instance, you can use your home stereo system to monitor on. After all, you are most familiar with its sound.
Later on, you can upgrade to a studio accepted amplifier/speaker system.
Is it complex to install ?
Basic four and eight track systems are no more difficult to connect than Hi-Fi.
The rule is to follow instructions closely, label cables and avoid the confusion of untidy, 'rat's nest' wiring.
What effects will I need ?
A reverb system comes first.
Many studio effects are sophisticated versions of foot pedals, and you can use these to start with.
To achieve tight, punchy sound, a compressor/limiter is useful in controlling levels.
Extra equalisation can help add sparkle.
Delay devices provide various forms of time warp.
Which type of mike should I buy ?
Start with an omnidirectional - one that picks up signal equally from all directions.
They deliver mainly what's expected from them.
As many instruments and signal sources are directly connected these days, only buy the mikes you need when you need them.
Get the best you can afford for vocals. Clear, tight vocals are the trademarks of good recordings.
It is usual for professional engineers to build up a locker of favourite microphones, choosing different types for different instruments.
Is it difficult to operate ?
You can master the basic principles quickly, getting the most from your personal studio is a matter of experience.
All Fostex equipment is designed to be user friendly. Easy to operate, use and own.
What else need I buy ?
Other than a mixer and recorder (whether separate or combined) you will need a second tape recorder to record your final mix on, headphones or an amplifier/speaker combination to monitor, and a bunch of leads to connect everything up together.
You will probably find that you of this equipmenta as part of your existing stereo system.
How about maintenance ?
lt is very important to keep all electronics clean, particularly heads and dust away from faders. Much as with a car, a regular service is important to keep your studio running smoothly.
Do I need a patchbay ?
It is useful to have all the connections between amplifiers, recorders, and effects go through one central 'switchboard', but it's best to start with a simpler, wired system. When you find that you are expanding on what you are doing, you can install a plug in type jackbay quite quickly and simply.
What can be achieved ?
The quality and facilities of Fostex equipment allow you to develop your music and make full fidelity recordings.
Always remember that in the late sixties, the Beatles put together their 'Sergeant Pepper' album using four track machines.
Using the Fostex 250 you can 'bounce' 10 tracks with little signal degradation.
Eight track lets you do up to 36.
Where can I learn more about the techniques ?
These questions are taken from our book titled '250 Questions and Answers' on home recording.
There's also a Fostex Cookbook', packed with studio proven tips and hints.
Both are available free from your local Fostex dealer.