Posted: 2 October 2018
If the term ‘DIY’ evokes bad memories of flat pack furniture and unscheduled trips to the local hospital after getting over-zealous with a hammer, then fear no more. DIY is no longer the scourge of Swedish flatpack enthusiasts and is instead a genuine option to record your music.
Your first point of call should be deciding where to record. Just because it’s easy to record in your bedroom doesn’t mean that you should. You will be amazed by how much difference you can make just by experimenting with different environments and microphone positioning, so be sure to sound out surroundings properly. Have you tried bass in the bathroom?! Don’t discount it until you’ve tried it!
Life is going on as normal whilst you mastermind your chart-topping tunes, so minimising ambient noise is key. Any and all sound-proofing you can do will help but also try to plan your recording to take place at times that best avoid possible interruptions. After all Bohemian Rhapsody wouldn’t have quite been the same if you could hear Freddie Mercury’s flat-mate cooking beans on toast in the background.
The whole track is built on the initial foundation you build so Do. Not. Rush.
Take your time and experiment with your set up. Don’t be afraid to use a clicktrack. Obsess over the little details. Basically, what we are saying here is that when you are creating your recording space and putting down the beats and bass to power your track along, make sure you are totally happy with the end result. Record something that sets the tone for what you want to create, and trust us, getting this right in the early stages will save you heaps of time in the long run.
Let’s be straight up. The most difficult element of home recording is successfully recording a drum kit. But if you’re having a rough time recording a full kit, don’t panic. It’s not cheating to use a drum machine. It may not be the exact sound you’re after but if needed you can always take your recording to a studio and record the full kit later. This will not only save you time and trouble but is also much cheaper than recording the whole shebang in a professional studio.
This is a simple one. There’s no point shredding an immense solo that would make Hendrix howl if you’re not in tune. When multi-tracking or overdubbing this problem will just be exaggerated, so get on top of it early, and always tune up between takes. An easy mistake to make even for seasoned pros but an easy one to fix.
Make sure you’re totally happy with the playing of each part as it happens and avoid trying to ‘fix it in the mix’. The more errors that occur the more work you have to put in when mixing and mastering and the further away you will end up from the sound that you really want.
There’s no sure fire way to create the perfect song. It could take months or minutes, you could spend shedloads or small change but ultimately if you DIY then you’re the boss. Look at what you want to get out of your recording and what methods work best for you, just be prepared to put in the time and effort to get there.
Next week we share our top tips for DIY mixing and mastering.