Archive for the ‘slaveern’ Category

slaveern-rant: A 12 channels board? Is that’s it?

Thursday, May 3rd, 2007

I was working with this band on a few songs. Once their band members casually chatted about ’so-and-so’ studio has a ‘huge mixing board that go across the size of this room’ (referring to my control room). Note that I was using a Yamaha MG16/4 so they compared and I just thought, yeah whatever. Another day after their tracking session the guitarist commented on my setup saying, “I didn’t realize yours a 12 channels board”. He noticed there are 12 white-colored faders on it but in effect it’s 8 mono with pre and 4 stereos. I was stupid enough to try to explain this to him saying “well it’s really an 8 channels board with the other 4 stereo channels….” Apparently he didn’t pay too much attention on my explanation on the mixer, but as he heard the word “eight”, it got his eyeball grew bigger and rolling.

* sigh *

I didn’t know what to say and stopped trying to explain what is this ’small mixer board’ thing is all about. So far at that point they were fairly happy about my work and commented it’s much better than what they had done in another place (commercial). Apparently they don’t know much about recording and they thought they know what it means by ‘pro studio’ though – big console. And I knew that if I continued the explanation, their ‘perceived’ goodness of the product will likely diminished, simply because it is not ‘big’ enough. Think about how they’d feel if I told them:

- I only used the preamp on the mixer; other than that I used the mixer for monitoring/routing only
- Other than the drums all I need is 1 or 2 channels for everything else
- I mix your songs on a PC; an analog mixer is actually not necessary

It’s a sad affair as I saw quite a few on the forum asking for opinion on getting a bigger board because of aesthetic reason (me included).

A history of my recording setup

Sunday, February 18th, 2007

Like I mentioned before, my quest for great sound started with the desire to get a good demo recording for our own band – I bet a lot of you guys were like myself. We tried to utilize anything we can get hold of with minimal investment – ghetto blaster, karaoke mic, boom mic for video cam, mini hifi as monitor…etc. The following are the setups that me and my band used in chronological order:

1. A tape cassette recorder (i.e. ghetto blaster)
2. A Sony video camcorder (for the sound only :D )
3. A PC with CoolEdit and Hercule Fortissimo sound card with couple of Audiotechnica mics, using a mini hi-fi as monitors – with Microsoft sound-recorder software
4. PC ‘upgraded’ with SoundBlaster Audigy with front panel and Cakewalk Music Creator
5. Alto S-8 mixer and a few more AT dynamic mics in attempt to capture drums better with seperate mic
6. Attempted to record one track at a time, using walkman ear-buds as headphone monitor (lol)
7. Studio Project B-1 for vocal (yay – finally, a purchase that is somewhat wise)
8. Roland MA-10D “monitor” (duh!)
9. Realization that I must put a lot of effort into learning this recording thing before any future purchase

Using Microsoft Sound Recorder was just funny as hell. If you ever used the software, you realize that you can only record 60 seconds of sound clip. In order to record an entire song, we found out from the web that the trick is to first record a 60 seconds clip, then keep pasting it back onto the Sound Recorder, then we were able to record an entire song.

I’m not even sure why I got the idea of ‘we must have a mixer for recording’ even though I don’t have an interface for multi-tracking; nor why I needed the Soundblaster ‘upgrade’ – other than the fact that it looks pretty cool. Although the Roland MA-10D was not a wise purchase, but it did get me to the realization at #9. After I learned that all the real studio guys use monitors, I bite the bullet and spent $150 instead of using my multi-media speakers for mixing. The MA-10D was the cheapest thing with “monitor” name associated with it that available in Mothermusic (local music store like GC). For the first time, I found that there was a significant improvement on my mix, using old tracks but with the MA-10D instead of the Cambridge 4.1 thingie. I mean, what can be worse than using those 2.1/4.1 computer speakers combo thing for monitoring?

slaveern is here (cont.)

Thursday, February 15th, 2007

Using the knowledge I gained from piano lessons, I followed the ~20 pages manual and taught myself the basics of chords and arrangement. It’s on and off, more of a toy than an instrument to me. One day, my brother fool around with my beloved SHS-10 while drinking a glass of water, and you know what happened next. However, I still kept my SHS-10 with the faint hope of resurrecting it. SHS-10 was no longer available, so I resolved to get a cheap Casio keyboard. Couple years later it broke and school was just too busy (senior high) that I didn’t bother to do anything with it. On the other hand, I felt that the Casio gave me more options but the inability to create my own ‘pattern’ was just not good enough. Few years later I saved up some money from summer job and got myself a PSR-500 which enabled me to actually arrange some music. I had a lot of fun with it but I’m still alone playing it myself. Then one day I the church that I went to have an outreach event. Through connections we invited a band for performance but somehow the church people decided to have our own singers. So me and another guy was chosen to be that. It was all fun and stuff during the event and later on we hanged around a bit more and I told them that since they had guitar, bass and drums, I can play keyboard too. They were open on this and asked me to bring ‘my stuff’ next time they practice. I was just BS-ing – I can fool around with my keyboard at home at my own pace, but in fact, I can hardly play anything off the bat, let alone accompanying a rock band. I knew that this was the chance that I’ll EVER get into a band.

I went home and got busy working out a few songs that I knew they’d play for next practice. I brought my PSR with me and they are fairly receptive and thought it made good accompaniment. As I realized they were still checking me out, I thought I needed to impress them.  I still couldn’t believed why I think SHS-10 is ‘cool’.  I get my SHS-10 to music shop and get it fixed.  So the second time I took the chance and used my PSR as sound module, and played with my SHS-10. As you can imagine, they laughed their arse off :) Eventually I bought myself the AX-7 controller, and a much better synth MU-80. You can still see those in my studio pictures including the SHS-10.

Our band was more lay back and never came across the idea of ‘making it’, so we only did community and fund-raising events. On the other hand we definitely enjoyed the time together. After a while we started writing our own music. And of course that led to us wanting to record them. And this is how it got me into recording in the first place.

slaveern is here

Wednesday, February 14th, 2007

This is slaveern. I’m here to write stuff about my continuing adventure in music creation. At a point in time, somehow, I bumped into the realm of studio recording and this is how it started.

I enjoy music, but on the other hand, I truly suck at music. I gave up on music many many times, but it is always there waiting for me to go back.  I started learning violin at the age of 9 but stopped at the age of 11 because of lack of interest. I simply can’t get much enjoyment out of the nightly practice of that squeaky tone. With routine practices and dull coaching, fun is totally out of the equation. At the age of 13, I realized that many friends of mine in school that had attained certain level of musical achievement. I’m amazed at the music that one can play with just two hands. I loved the music and I envy them. I told my parents that I want to pick up piano and they let me. But this wasn’t enough to motivate me to pass learning Fur Elise. Somehow me and classical music just didn’t seem to click. Then I found out that one of my friend is learning keyboard. I always followed him to music stores where he’d showed me what he learned lately. He also showed me one of his ‘toy’ – a silver SHS-10 keytar. I thought that was really cool. So I saved up my allowance for a few months to get myself a red one, in thinking that one day, maybe one day, I’ll be playing that SHS-10 along with my friend on stage. Now I think about it, how cheesy is that :)