The Greasy Knots need your Greasy help


earthman buck
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earthman buck
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02/07/2007 5:39 am
This evening, we decided to start recording our debut EP with my lil' Micro BR. Things went not so well. We figured it'd be best to record each instrument playing the whole song, then put 'em all together. We were to be held together by use of a metronome.

We started with drums. We spent a while just finding the right level to record at, where the bass drum wasn't clipping and the snare wasn't too piercing. We found it (although it could be better), and Luke did a couple takes with his metronome that sucked. He said it was coming up too quiet in the headphones, even though the volume on the metronome was at its max. He also said the metronome was screwing up his timing, so he did a take without it and nailed it.

We moved on to bass. It was a lot easier to find the right level. As Michael played, Luke and myself danced around the kitchen, trying to make him screw up. Instead we kept crashing into his cymbals and windchimes, (the latter of which actually fit in pretty well with the song). We listened to the two tracks together, and the bass sounded terrible. However, it was more or less in time with the drums, so we decided it wasn't a big deal, as we have a friend who is good with tweaking sounds on Cubase.

Then came guitar. Let's just say I have worse timing than I thought I did.

Do you folks have any tips, however vague? We're having the most trouble with:

-Drums. Snare drum is way too piercing, all others sound like they should be lower or something.
-Playback. Luke's metronome is way too quiet through headphones. The playback on the Micro BR is very quiet as well, which makes it extremely hard to play along with.
# 1
magicninja
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magicninja
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02/07/2007 5:49 am
Hmm eqing drums is kinda hard. Especially when you don't have them individually mic'd. Some details on how you're micing them would help.

As for the playback. What kinda outputs does the BR have?
Magicninja
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# 2
earthman buck
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earthman buck
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02/07/2007 6:07 am
Originally Posted by: magicninjaHmm eqing drums is kinda hard. Especially when you don't have them individually mic'd. Some details on how you're micing them would help.

As for the playback. What kinda outputs does the BR have?

We're not micing the drums at all :o. We just got Luke to adjust his skins until it sounded about right(ish).

The BR has a single output, a regular 1/8" jack. We were just plugging headphones right into them. In retrospect, though, we'd probably get more volume if we used a 1/8" - 1/4" adapter, hooked the output to Luke's guitar amp, and used my headphones with the 1/4" jack to listen along.
# 3
magicninja
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magicninja
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02/07/2007 6:12 am
So if I understand you correctly, you have 1 mic doing all the recording for the drums? You aren't gonna be able to change much. The best you might be able to do is mess with the eq on his drum track on the BR. Other than that there isn't to many options. Perhaps someone knows I trick I don't but you may have to live with how they sound for now. I recommend looking for a mixer and a Drum mic set on Ebay. It'll make a huge huge difference.

What you suggest for the output is what I would do in this case. It won't be ideal but way to use what you got.
Magicninja
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# 4
earthman buck
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earthman buck
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02/07/2007 6:19 am
For the record, we know it's a bad idea to not have drum mics. We're just really poor. And the next thing we buy will probably something with which to hear our microphone.

Thank you, though, Marcos.
# 5
magicninja
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magicninja
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02/07/2007 6:23 am
Ok for what you have to work with you can experiment with mic placement and see if it helps any. Where do you have the mic at now? Maybe try placing something soft over the mic a shirt or a towel. That's all I can think of for now.
Magicninja
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"If it feels right, play it. If it feels wrong, play it faster” - Magicninja
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# 6
earthman buck
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earthman buck
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02/07/2007 6:31 am
The mic we're using is built right into the Micro BR. It's surprisingly clear-sounding for an inboard mic.

I never even thought of the towel thing, we'll give that a try. We already got to the not-too-bad level we're at by turning the input volume down to 40 (from a default maximum setting of 100). Luke can only play drums if he's pounding the crap out of them. :)
# 7
magicninja
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magicninja
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02/07/2007 6:35 am
Ok it'll be tough goings then for awhile. The towel thing can help dampen some of the harsher sounds. You'll probably need to turn the input up a little. Try everything. Wrap the whole BR up double layer it. you might just get some good results. Good luck guys! I can't wait to hear it.
Magicninja
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# 8
da_ardvark
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da_ardvark
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02/07/2007 8:45 pm
I have to agree with magic. It's hard enough to get a great recorded drum sound with everything miced. No mics at all, I wouldn't even waste my time unless you are recording for only yourselves. You can learn alot, but it will never be of high enough quality that you'll want outsiders hearing it.

Remember you'll have to gate each drum mic so that the mic only picks up when that drum is struck. Except for the over heads that is. Also I find it a good idea to run each drum thru a compressor with an eq going into the sidechain. If you know anybody that has some of this gear, just invite em over. Have a recording party.

My 2 cents :)
# 9
acapella
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acapella
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02/09/2007 8:12 pm
We got a good drum sound by taking the front off the bass drum and putting a blanket in it, and putting another blanket on top of the snare, and Luke playing part of the song with an empty water bottle on the floor tom. Now it's just a matter of getting it all right in one take. Then we'll be on to other instruments, and who knows what problems we'll run into then. :P
You go outside and practice screaming. We'll play music while you're gone.
# 10
Kevin Taylor
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Kevin Taylor
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02/09/2007 9:09 pm
You need to mic the drums seperately. If you don't have a mixer and individual mics, use whatever you have to mic the snare, hihat and kick seperately, and then use a couple of mics overhead for the cymbals.

Record the whole band, then go back and re-record each instrument seperatately. Start with the bass so that the kick melds with the bass notes.
Record the guitar next so you can double it up and make it stereo.
If you have keys, add em last.
Then do the vocals. Start with a scratch vocal so you can add harmonies, then redo the main vocal until you have it perfect. Even if it means doing each line seperately.
Use a click track too.

When you mix down, spend a whole crap load of time on it. Like 10 hours to get the sound down.... especially the drums and bass.
# 11
Kevin Taylor
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Kevin Taylor
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02/09/2007 9:11 pm
If ya have full access, check out the stuff I posted on Multitrack recording.
It takes ya right through the whole process.
# 12
earthman buck
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earthman buck
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02/10/2007 3:47 am
You kids and your fancy recording. We're the Greasy Knots! All we need are blankets and water-bottles!
# 13
polansky
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polansky
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02/10/2007 4:03 am
Originally Posted by: earthman buckFor the record, we know it's a bad idea to not have drum mics. We're just really poor. And the next thing we buy will probably something with which to hear our microphone.


Buck, I get it's hard to mic drums and without many mics it's pretty hard to get a cool sounding drums... but.... did you now that John Bonham from Zeppellin recorded all his drums with one ambient drum mic?.

The story tells that John walked tru the whole room with the mic in a boom and tested it and when it got to the right place he went... "if anybody touches that mic I will kill him".

So my point is... don't get discouraged... take a weekend to experiment take your time do many test and do weird things like putting blankets or foam around de kit, place the mic in other room or in the hallway nearby, hell... wrap the mic in the blanket... anything, you'll have a blast and you can find very intresting stuff.

I know recording nowdays are into the point of perfection, digital stuff, super high tech stuff, pro tools, editing software...and some of it it's within reach... but... all the records that turned anyone into music in this forum (let me say that again) in this webpage were made with so basic gear... all great albums were recorded in crappy four tracks with old fashioned mics, and technics like I mentioned, all of them are full of mistakes but that is what makes them great... do your homework and everything will work out fine.
Power corrupts. Absolute power is kinda neat.
# 14
Dr_simon
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02/10/2007 5:43 am
Originally Posted by: earthman buckYou kids and your fancy recording. We're the Greasy Knots! All we need is blankets and water-bottles!



then why are you asking for help ?

Couple of things you can do to help your selves that don't cost much.

Buy some cheap mics

You need 2 for the drums (1 pointing at the drummers head and one pointing down at the drummers head @ 45 degrees), 1 for the singer, then DI the bass and possibly one for the guitar. Get a 4th one for the guitar unless you have a POD. Use dynamics not condensers.

First lesson - try to minimize bleed through into different mics, learn what the 3:1 rule is. Then learn how mic placement gives you different sounds i.e. pointing a mic at the center of a speaker sounds different to pointing it at the edge.

Look for the Shure PG line or go with Behringer. They are fairly naff mics but will be much better than the internal mic you are using.

You should be able to do this for a hundred bucks all in (inc stands and cable) if you go second hand.

~OK the second bit. Read a lot about recording, mic placement and gain staging

Their is lots about this on the web. You need to become very familiar with these ideas if you are going to have a cat in hells chance of producing anything that is even half listen-able to. Im not talking CD quality Im talking about quality level that doesn't make small children cry and party goers vomit.

Recording stuff is hard and takes a lot of knowledge. Once you have that knowledge you don't need fancy kit (so much). However with out a teacher, you are left with the internet !! And with out fancy gear you are forced to become good at tracking !!

My advice is start with the stuff here at GT. Their is much of vaue in both Schmange's and my lessons. You can ask us about the things that either we haven't explained well or you don't understand. Both of us have made albums for both our selves and other people.

By the time you have digested that lot you will be ready to talk the talk even if walking the walk is a whey a whey.

Good luck !
My instructors page and www.studiotrax.net for all things recording.
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# 15
R. Shackleferd
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R. Shackleferd
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02/10/2007 5:47 am
This brings me back to my garage band days...more aptly, bedroom-band days. Yes, we had a large drumset, bass amp, and guitar amp in a relatively small bedroom. We also tried recording practices (on a cheap tape recorder, also with onboard mic) for our own review. We ended up finding a really good sound putting it down the hall, but halfway through songs his mom would yell something or walk around. So we found a similar usage for the bedroom closet with the door closed. But yeah...you gotta experiment, and what works for one song obviously may not work with another, based on respective intensities.

Oh, but still...you can only go so far quality wise though this way.
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# 16
Kevin Taylor
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Kevin Taylor
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02/10/2007 5:59 am
Originally Posted by: earthman buckYou kids and your fancy recording. We're the Greasy Knots! All we need is blankets and water-bottles!


What fancy stuff?
For the PhaseIV album all I used was a $100 mic, a cheap Behringer mixer a cheazy $50 acoustic and a Gibson L6S.
Everything else was self contained in the comptuter (a 10 year old Mac G3 with a 60mhz processor and 700mb ram. Most of the software you can get as freeware like reverbs etc...
The only thing that cost money was the synths and you can use loops from a place like Peace Love Productions that are only about $6 each.
And Cubase, again, you can get something a lot cheaper if you don't need 128 tracks.

It's all in how you use it. Instead of micing all your drums, use a bunch of loops, then use the real kit to fill in the cymbals and tom rolls.
When you record the bass, put lots of compression on it.
For the guitar, go straight line in and get Amplitube or if you can't afford that, spend a bunch of time messing around with mic placement and keep the volume down.

If you absolutely must record live, just do a scratch version first, then redo each instrument seperately until you get perfect takes.

Last but not least, take a whole bunch of time mixing and mastering.
Again, you can get freeware stuff for doing compression.

Seriously dood, if you don't know any of this stuff just read through the tutorials. There's tons of pics and audio examples showing how a song progresses.
# 17
earthman buck
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earthman buck
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02/10/2007 6:20 am
Originally Posted by: schmangeAnd Cubase, again, you can get something a lot cheaper if you don't need 128 tracks.

That's one thing we could do. A friend of ours has Cubase and he's quite willing to make whatever we record sound better.

I truly appreciate all the input, guys, but anything that requires drum mics is still out of the question for now. We'll keep screwing around with the setup we have going, maybe post a couple shoddy demo versions of our songs for you to hear, and revisit this thread for tips when we finally get some worthwhile recording gear.
# 18
Dr_simon
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Dr_simon
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02/10/2007 11:21 am
I think you are looking for an easy way out. If you want to make nice recording, learn to record.

If your tracking sucks it will always sound like your tracking sucks. This means the recording will suck no matter how it is mixed / cleaned up.

You can't get a computer plugin to fix crap tracking / bad mic placement. You can Eq it and add some verb but it will always sound like crap tracking that has been EQed and had some verb stuck on it.
My instructors page and www.studiotrax.net for all things recording.
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# 19
quickfingers
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quickfingers
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02/10/2007 10:38 pm
i did this a while ago. put headphones out through the computer to listen to the metronome, and put those headphones on the guitarist. plug him into an amp that has a headphone jack out, and put those headphones on the drummer. drummer will play to the guitar (or bass, whichever is easiest to follow) and there will be no other bleeding through of instruments. after you have the drums laid down, its just a matter of hooking the peices up.
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# 20

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