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|What is this Guide?|
We are not talking about a cheap, hissy, unprofessional
sound, like we used to get with old 4 track cassette studios. Those days are
gone. With the dawn of modern recording software (called sequencers), with
their full-featured digital mixers built right into software, you can expect
your sound to rival the big boys in the studios downtown. Yes.
It's true! For a modest investment in microphones, preamps, audio interfaces
and software you can be well on your way. I'm going to tell you all about
today's gear, tell you what you need and what you don't need, give you strategies
for gear acquisition that are tried and true, and show you where you can save money
and exactly where you should not compromise. When you see this "TweakSpeak"
Icon, you know important terms are defined or F.A.Q are answered.
What is a Recording Studio?
A Recording Studio is
a number of devices that allow you to capture different "takes" of performances
and assemble them into a finished audio product. It includes microphones,
recorders, instruments, a mixer and audio processors. With the exception
of microphones, these may come in software forms as well as hardware.
What is a Sequencer?
A sequencer is a computer
application that allows you to record both digital audio and MIDI data and
blend the sounds together in it's software mixing console. There are editing
tools that let you control every aspect of the production down to very fine
details. Effects and processors of high quality are increasingly being added
to these applications. The modern sequencer now can fulfill many recording
studio functions that were possible only in expensive studios a decade a
Cakewalk SONAR Home Studio (Windows)
Sonar Home Studio 7 is the easiest way to turn your PC into a full-fledged music production studio. From start to finish, Sonar Home Studio will help you capture your creativity and share it with the world. With Sonar Home Studio you can record live instruments, vocals, or any audio source. You can easily edit audio, MIDI, and music notation. The updated Loop Explorer gives you the tools to build backing tracks faster than ever.
What is a multi-track
A multi-track recorder
is a recording device that allow you to record audio directly to separate
tracks. Once all the tracks are added, they can be mixed down to a
stereo master recording. Today's digital multi-tracks have built in
effects so you can add varying amounts to each track. The major difference
between a hardware multi-track recorder and a computer sequencer is that
the sequencer can record and edit MIDI data and the multi-track cannot.
Boss BR-1600CD 16-Track Digital Studio
The BR-1600CD Digital Recording Studio combines BOSS famous, easy-to-use interface with eight XLR inputs for recording eight tracks simultaneously. This affordable 16-track recorder comes loaded with effects for guitars and vocals; including COSM
What is MIDI?
MIDI is a form of computer
data that keyboards and computers can send back and forth that turn
on notes. You can write musical notes on a computer screen and the
data turns notes on and off on the keyboard or sound module. Likewise
you can play notes on your keyboard and the computer will "record" these
commands to turn on and off notes.
When you see this "TweakSpeak" Icon, you know important terms are defined or F.A.Q are answered.
But don't think just because you have the gear
you will sound like a million bucks, automatically. No, my friend, it does not
work that way. You need to understand music to write music and
you need to know how to use the gear or software that you have as tools.
Talent is important, and there are many talents required to make a full
production. But that doesn't mean you need to know how to play an
instrument, like the keyboard, with proficiency.
we consider the studio itself to be a musical instrument. Like any
instrument, you get good by practicing, trying different things, experimenting,
mimicking, tweaking, mixing.... After a while, it dawns on you that making
music is a craft, the mixer is its workbench, and the studio is it's
laboratory. You supply the creativity,
your musicality, your quest for musical beauty. You capture your tracks then
tweak it down to a work of art. This process is the focus of
TweakHeadz Lab. The goal of the studio tweak is to create art in its highest
form of expression.
The great masters of the recording arts learned
their techniques by devoting their lives creating, capturing and tweaking sound.
These secrets are hard earned, and used to be passed down from the pros to their
apprentices at big studios. You would set up microphones, sweep the floor, run for coffee
and take out the trash, then, one day they let you help them at the console. Those
days are almost gone. TweakHeadz Lab is the modern day equivalent of that
apprenticeship. If you read my articles carefully you will find many secrets
of audio production. Of course, I don't know everything, no person does.
but I do know a lot. Enough to get you on your path.
In your recording studio, you get to have three roles--musician (as creator and performer), audio engineer, and producer. What stands between you and the masters is simply knowledge and experience. Their knowledge translates directly-- the tools in the modern software studio have the same names and functions as the classic hardware machines in a pro facility and are used in the same way. The big studios downtown have compressors, limiters, vocal processors, delays, reverbs, equalization, multi track recorders, computer automation and massive consoles that hook it all together. If you have a modern software package or hardware digital multitrack, you have all these tools too. They know exactly when and how to use EQ to clean up a track, when to use compression, the precise place to put reverb in the mix, how to record vocals, guitars, drums and how to level everything to make a stunning audio image. I am going to be your guide to acquiring all these skills.
Tweak's studio at midnight 2009
I will tell you the things that you absolutely
must know for music production in a clear, simple, even entertaining way.
While much of this knowledge is technical, I'll avoid bogging you down
with unnecessary technical details. We are not flying to Mars here (except
maybe musically), so we can have a little fun. After all, our music is
something we want people to enjoy.
Because you may be running your studio on a
computer, we'll cover that too. You need to know how to tweak your computer
as well as you know how to tweak your musical score. Then there is the matter
of Understanding MIDI and digital audio and how these work together
(yes they ARE different). This is a core concept underpinning how
the contemporary computer-based home studio works, so we'll get to that first.
is technical, results can be artistic. Think of it this way, in
your hands is the most powerful musical
instrument human beings ever invented.
It is so powerful
that human beings have only begun to tap into its possibilities.
You can do 100 track scores with hundreds of instruments playing together
if you want. Its as vast as your musical mind and has the capability
of sounding better than your store bought CDs. If you have musical
inspiration and technical know-how, you have the boundless universe
of musical form at your fingertips. A dream? Yes, but with
effort and a good guide, it's a dream that comes true.
Browse down the left frame of this page to
the topics you are interested in. At any time you can jump to a forum
specifically devoted to the topic. At the bottom of nearly every class
you will see a link that says:
Want to talk
about this topic?
Since this is the newbie topic the above link will take you directly to discussions among newbies. The Mic page takes you to the forum on Microphones. By jumping back and forth, you can read the basics here in the Guide, jump over to relevant questions and answers and learn really quickly.
Well, I have been asked questions on building
home studios for over 15 years. I have answered thousands of emails and
wrote these so I could direct people to these answers rather than write
everything out again.
That's me! I have studied music, philosophy
and sociology and have a graduate degree in the latter. I've spent much
of my life teaching by day and learning the recording arts by night.
I've been doing recordings on computers since the first sequencers came
out and as you see by the list, I have a lot to show you. I started
this site back in 1996 and am constantly improving it, thanks to your support.
Tweak's Studio Oct 2007
If you like these articles and I have helped you out, may I suggest buying your gear at zZounds or SameDayMusic from my product links? Please enable your browser to accept cookies and I will get credit for anything you purchase at these stores. These stores only operate in the USA and Canada. People from other countries can support TweakHeadz Lab by paypal. TweakHeadz lab is an expensive operation in both money and time and needs your support to survive. To those who have supported the TweakLab in the past, you have my thanks. With your help, this site has become what it is today.
Buying at zZounds or SameDayMusic is better than buying at many other stores. They both have an easy return policy on most items too, in case you have trouble with what you buy. What could be better? You get a great store, the right price, EZ returns and you support one of the best user supported sites on the internet.
Real Newbies with No Experience
will want to
check out the "Fast Overview"
or if you think you can
Go to the Studio 101 Class
Best of luck in your studio enterprise!
Rich the TweakMeister
"Music … can name the unnamable and communicate the unknowable." Leonard Bernstein (1918-90) American Composer in The Unanswered Question