Lesson 35

Overview of the Recording Process

Here we have a basic recording setup. There’s the computer, with recording software, I’m using Logic Pro. Here’s the interface with a couple of microphones plugged in. Theres a keyboard, connected with a USB cable to record midi, an electronic drum kit which we are recording the line output, an electric guitar plugged in di, and a bass guitar, also plugged in di.
Unless you really know what you are doing, drums need to be recorded first. That will set the foundation of the tempo for all the other parts of the song to follow. 
Recording drums first though presents a problem... what will the drummer play along to?
To answer that question, you need to decide if you are recording the band live, or recording each part individually. You need a well equipped studio to record live, where the drummer would be playing along with the entire band. In this case, you would have the drums recorded, as well as the rest of the band playing which would serve as a ghost track. Then you would re- record all the other parts separately.
If you are like most budget studios, and can’t accommodate a live recording, you will need to first do a rough recording to a click track to serve as a ghost track. This ghost track does not need to be high quality, it simply needs to function as a baseline to start layering the tracks to. It does not need to have all the parts, just the main instrumentals and maybe vocals too, with a prominent click track. This ghost track is what gets played in the drummers headphone mix when you record the drum parts. Once the drums are recorded, I recommend recording the bass next. This builds the rhythm foundation that the rest of the song will be recorded to. Next will be your main instruments, such as guitars and keys. I like to do vocals last.

Recording with microphones is quite simple. Sound is just vibrations of the air. Pretty much any type of microphone will capture pretty much any type of sound. But the goal isn’t just to record the sound, it’s to record the sound as cleanly and as authentic as possible. This is where it becomes an art, knowing the advantages and disadvantages of the different types of microphones, polar patterns and intricacies of microphone placement. 

Within the recording process, there is also the option of adding midi parts and sound effects for extra production.

Once all the parts are recorded onto individual tracks, the next step is the mixing. Mixing is a skill that can make or break a song. Even an amateur recording can be brought to life with really good mixing, and a great recording can be ruined with poor mixing. ISK Pro Audio offers offers affordable and high quality mixing services, so I recommend you give it a try to hear for yourself if mixing is something that you could improve on.

Once the mixing is complete, the final stage Is mastering. Mastering is both simple, and complicated at the same time. It’s simple, because there’s not much to it. you’re basically taking the finished song, and making final adjustments such as eq, compression, and reverb on it. You would also set the start and end times of the song. So it’s simple in that regard, but where it gets complicated is getting the settings just right. You want the song to sound good at all volume levels, and on any stereo system. Making perfect adjustments is very difficult. You need high quality, and very accurate speakers, a proper acoustic space, and experience to know how it should sound.