Home Recording Reference In The Movie The Vow

I was watching the movie, The Vow (with Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams) last night and wanted to report another pop-culture reference to audio recording - specifically home recording versus commercial recording studios. Leo (Tatum's character) is explaining to Paige's (McAdams) parents that he runs a recording studio in Chicago, and that Paige had convinced him to turn it into a business. To that, Ryan (Dillon Casey), Paige's sister's soon-to-be brother-in-law, asks: "Isn't that sort of a dying field? No, I just mean - can't people record things on their computers at home and they sound just as good?" Leo replies: It may be a dying field, and you can record high quality stuff at home. But come on. You can't get the Sun sessions on your laptop." Well, Te Sun sessions, in my … [Read more...]

Home Recording Awesomeness – Virtual Instruments

Professional sounding audio recording is not as dependent on money (for good gear, studio musicians, commercial studios, etc.) like it was for so many years. Now you can produce pro audio right from your computer without having to spend much (or any) money at all. This new technology has also made it possible to record instruments for your music that you don't actually have.  You can have drums, piano, trumpets, guitars, etc. playing in your song without knowing how to play these instruments or without having someone else play them.  Sounds impossible, right?  Well that's the magic of virtual instruments. Real Virtual Instruments I'm sure you're familiar with the typical sounds a computer plays when a MIDI file is launched (for a review of what MIDI is, see our article: MIDI Recording – … [Read more...]

What is Auto-Tune, and is it OK to Use in Your Home Recording Studio?

You've been hearing it for more than 10 years, even before Cher released "Do You Believe in Love," though you may not realize it. Antares Auto-Tune is an audio manipulation program that allows a user to change the pitch (another way of saying "tune") of any sound. It started out life as a tool to make audio production easier and faster. And for folks doing home recording studios to record their voice, it was the holy grail. Auto-Tune is a brand name, but the effect it produces is becoming so wide-spread that it's getting to be a generic term for pitch-correction software tools. Probably its biggest competitor is Celemony Melodyne . They all do pretty much the same thing - namely, move out-of-tune musical notes to where they were supposed to be. For example, if a singer recorded a song, … [Read more...]

How To Be Your Own Glee Club – Queen Harmony Demo

What do you do when you don't have anyone else to sing harmony with? You sing harmony with yourself! Okay, what the heck is Ken talking about this time? Well, I was watching Glee recently, and one of the songs in the show was the Queen song, Fat Bottomed Girls, which opens with a killer a capella harmony. I couldn't get the song out of my head, so I decided to sing it (the intro anyway)...all 9 parts...myself...at the same time. Normally one person can't sing harmony with themselves, though I think there ought to be a surgery that allows it:). But with a computer and a mic, you can literally be every person in a Glee Club! If you're curious about how it came out, click on the audio player below for the intro to Fat Bottomed Girls as sung once again by me, myself and me 2. [jwplayer … [Read more...]

Vocal Harmony Experiments

I have done several vocal harmony demos on how you can use your pc recording studio to record your own harmonies, using just your own voice. Obviously the same techniques work for multiple people each singing their own harmony parts, but that's not the point. So what is? Well I wanted to show someone several examples of the "how to record harmonies" demos we've done and realized it was sort of hard because they were all their own individual posts. So I created this page in order to have all the harmony audios in one place. So here they are. These examples contain only one guy singing all the parts to just the awesome a capella intros to a couple of famous songs, which is a neat audio recording technique you can learn here at Home Brew Audio. As we do more, we'll add them here as well.  … [Read more...]

Sing Harmony With Yourself – Learn How to Record Your Voice on Your PC and Sing Along With It!

Have you ever been singing a song by yourself, and you could just hear the harmonies that were "supposed" to be there but were not? Every time I sing Take It Easy, by The Eagles, I get to the chorus and just have to imagine that I have Don Henley and Timothy B. Schmidt standing beside me. Without the vocal harmonies, the song just doesn't have the same punch, the same magic. Imagine trying to perform Kansas' Carry On Wayward Son, solo! I don't think so (actually I managed to do it...the intro anyway. Wanna hear it? It's right here: Vocal Harmony Experiments.) The same holds true for Bohemian Rhapsody, by Queen. There are certain songs that just cannot or should not be performed without those magical vocals. So what in the world do you do about it if you're a solo performer? Well, for … [Read more...]

Free Small Percussion Virtual Instruments For Kontakt

Kontakt, by Native Instruments, is a pretty standard software sampler and virtual instrument player.  Once you own a copy of Kontakt, you can purchase tons of virtual instruments that are designed for it.  Sampleism (http://www.sampleism.com) just announced a library of small percussion instruments designed for Kontakt - and it's free.  It contains sounds such as drum sticks, shakers, and some rather unusual sounds like the "rusty old iron plate." If you have Kontakt, check out the free small percussion instruments here: http://www.sampleism.com/lssamples/ls-small-percussion … [Read more...]

Tips For Recording Electric Guitar

There are lots of different ways to record electric guitar.  The sort of default way in the past was to plug the guitar into your amp, stick a Shure SM57 mic in front of it (the amp), plug the mic into your recorder and shred (or strum, or whatever).  You can also alter tone by changing what part of the cone you point the mic toward, or changing the distance.  If you were really adventurous you might also add a large diaphragm condenser mic for added flexibility and tone in the mix. Of course in the recent past it has been possible to dispense with the amp altogether. You can get DI (direct inject) boxes and amp modeling software now as well. Here is an article that gives you some tips and no-nos for recording electric … [Read more...]

Should You Use A Click Track?

I always use some form of tempo guide, like a click track, when recording music.  For one thing, it leaves open the option to add MIDI drums or percussion later in the project.  But it also allows you to copy and paste parts of, say, a guitar part that may have had a buzz, or a screw-up.  If the whole song is locked to the same beats per minute (BPM), it's a lot easier to copy a section of it (say the same guitar chord without the buzz or screw-up) and paste it into another part of the song.  And if you plan to send your part of a recording to a drummer who lives in another state, it sure helps him/her to lay down the drums after the fact if the song has a steady and consistent tempo. So for me the only question is whether I want to use my recording software's built-in click track ( I … [Read more...]

Kansas “Carry On Wayward Son” Harmony: Step-By-Step

To demonstrate one of the coolest things you can do with a home recording studio these days, I recorded myself singing the introduction (just the intro - so far;)) to Kansas' Carry on Wayward Son -  just me, myself and I.  Here is how I did it. First, take a listen to how it came out: [jwplayer config="Custom Audio Player" mediaid="858"] 1. I opened my audio recording software, Reaper (see my post on Reaper here) on my computer. 2. I hit the "Record" button in Reaper and sang the melody (the high part:)) into the microphone, which was a Rode NT2-A. The mic was connected to the computer via an audio interface box like the E-MU 0204 USB 2.0 *. 3. When I finished singing that high part, I inserted another track in Reaper (ctrl-T) and sang that part again, giving me two tracks of … [Read more...]