Don’t Fear The Recorder – Why You/ Your Band Needs To Be Recording More Than A One Take Live Demo

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Most bands understand that they should be recording themselves. The amazing perspective you get from a song when you hear it back loud and clear through speakers is much different than you can ever gain any other way. Even if you are going to a producer later, every producer loves a good quality demo that they can hear what you have clearly.

The thing that many people don’t realize is the better quality you make this demo, the better you can hear where to take the song yourself and the easier it is for your producer to bring your song to be the best it can be. As a producer it astounds me how much better the songs are from bands who record themselves compared to those who don’t. As well, the bands that do more detailed recordings – going past just recording themselves playing a song live by doing numerous overdubs and putting down every idea possible to hear how they sound come in with consistently better then the bands who do not. This makes it easy for me to hear what needs to improve and get great ideas on how to execute them.

While Garageband is a great tool and I do believe you can do much of what I am talking about in it, it is amazing how much it helps a bands creativity when they learn how to use a “real” DAW. Follow me to the jump and I will make some suggestions on what you can do to get started improving your recording quality and what you should strive to do when demoing out your material.


Why?
Bands who record themselves seem to be able to be more creative in the
studio, they get the process and the potential of the tools. They also
tend to know what they want and how to get it better. This is one of
the most important things in trying to realize your creative vision.
Artists who get recording and have done a lot of it have the comfort,
and vision to get a recording they are happy with. It takes a lot of
practice to understand why something doesn’t sound right and how to
then get it to sound the way you want. Whether you want to write better songs or be happier with your recordings this is essential.

Going Beyond Garageband
What Garageband doesn’t show you is the real options a good DAW gives you, it is a great begginers tool and amazing training wheels, if you want to really further your songs and recordings there comes a time where you need to start tracking every single idea you have and learning how to manipulate and play with sound in a real tool.

Cheap
Most groups have a laptop that can handle recording but are scared to get their feet deep in the water. It is amazing how cheap it is to actually make a demo to listen back that is clear enough to work from. As long as you have a computer made in recent years simply purchase a cheap audio interface. There are many to be had in the $150 range that have 2 ins and outs. As long as you have two ins and outs and two microphones you can record any instrument good enough for these demos. This shouldn’t cost you much since I don’t know many bands who don’t already have two mics. If you have a Mac laptop you can even use the built-in mic to record drums with a very usable result.

Since I am recommending you use more than Garageband I should suggest some software that will enable you to get DAW recording a little better. Ardour (choose your own price) and Reaper ($60) are both great and insanely cheap. Logic makes an Express version that is a great cheap interface and gives you amazing features for $199. Pro Tools has a few different cheap options that all include Audio Interfaces. If you have a M-Audio Interface you can get M-Powered for around $200 from some outlets. Pro Tools LE will give you a light Pro Tools version that can be had at a few different prices that get lower on eBay everyday.

Jesse Cannon is the editor of Musformation. He produces records at his studio Cannon Found Soundation. Follow him on Twitter at @JesseCannonMusF. For more info please visit his website.

  • Todd Thomas

    I came from the background of a rock band having never recorded myself before and of all the DAW’s I tried (Pro Tools, Ableton, Logic), Logic Express was the easiest for me to learn. It’s cheap and if you’re used to working on a MAC, very fast for key commands etc. The overall interface is very pleasing to the eye as well. From there you’ll also know nearly everything about Logic Pro when it comes time for you to upgrade as well.

  • Todd Thomas

    I came from the background of a rock band having never recorded myself before and of all the DAW’s I tried (Pro Tools, Ableton, Logic), Logic Express was the easiest for me to learn. It’s cheap and if you’re used to working on a MAC, very fast for key commands etc. The overall interface is very pleasing to the eye as well. From there you’ll also know nearly everything about Logic Pro when it comes time for you to upgrade as well.