#1
Hey everyone! Every now and then we get people who think they can get an interface, plug in, and have professional sounding songs in a couple of hours. And as much as the audio interface companies would like us to believe that's true it really isn't and many underestimate the amount of work involved in producing your own album. So I've decided to log the progress as I record my band Masquerade: #19's next album (which I still don't know the name of ). This will (hopefully) provide a full representation of the effort involved in recording your own album.

Now for most amateur recording engineers (i.e. 90% of this forum) I and many others would highly recommend against trying to record your own band if you want to actually sell the final product. Why? because it takes years and years of experience (and thousands of dollars in gear) to get the kind of sound that comes out most pro studios. Why am I not taking my own advice? My bandleader released the initial EP 8:42 on his own recorded in his bedroom with software drums/bass, an SM58, a Vox VT40+, a Yamaha Audigram 6, and a copy of Sony Acid Music Studio 8. He later formed the band proper, and we went in to a home studio and recorded XOXO in January 2013. We were royally screwed (it cost $4000 on a budget of $2500), and the product was subpar, barely better than 8:42 which cost nothing to make and ~$200 for the interface. My band leader is still paying off his debt to his parents after that recording, and it will be a long time before we can invest money in anything as a band again. But as a band trying to "make it" we can't really stop releasing stuff for the next 2-3 years while we pay off the debt. We are also willing to spend a lot of time and effort producing our own album.


Aim: To produce an 18 track Punk-Pop album on our own on a budget of as little as possible.

Current Equipment:
Me:
Digitech BP355 multieffects unit (has USB out)
Yamaha RBX375 and RBX270 bass guitars
Fender Rumble 350 combo amp
Yamaha AR2500 combo amp
Ashton BA15 combo amp
Behringer C1-U USB Condenser
Old Dynamic mic (unsure of model, SM58 clone)

Bandleader:
Yamaha Audigram 6
Ibanez GAX30 (I think, it's an SG clone)
Epiphone Les Paul Junior
Behringer Xenyx 802USB
Shure SM58
Shure Unidyne 55SH
Behringer C2 paired SDCs
Cheap beginner drum kit of some description

Other equipment I have access to through friends:
Line6 UX2
Focusrite Saffire Pro 40 (may have a small cost)
Electronic drumkits
Shure SM57
Another Shure SM58
Peavey Vypyr 15 and 75
Ashton GA25
Jackson JS1 Dinky
Bugera 6260 combo (6505 clone)
Studio Monitors (not sure about model)

Current mixing skill level: Beginner to Average Hobbyist. My latest mix as of this date is South of the Water - Actions!. My latest final mix to this date was my third incarnation of When You See My Friends - Mayday Parade. I have been mixing for about a year, taking it more seriously in the past 6 months.

I will continue to update this thread as we progress, through mix practice and the arrangement of the album first. Then onto the tracking, production, mixing, and mastering of each song. I will be constantly asking for feedback on the mixes I do (esp. once I get onto mixing our stuff) which I will relegate to this thread rather than cluttering up the Crit My Mix thread every few days once I get going.

Any advice anyone wishes to give me would be greatly appreciated (and I'll probably ask questions from time to time) and I'm happy to answer any questions anyone has on what I'm doing.

Finally, if a mod feels this would be better suited elsewhere in the forums feel free to move it or ask me to delete it and I'll repost in the correct forum.

EDIT: Nearly forgot to mention, we are aiming to have it released sometime around March 2014. i.e. 9 months from now. We are however willing to push this back if we feel it is unready, better to take longer and release something sounding fairly professional than to rush it and be unhappy with the result.
Last edited by chatterbox272 at Jul 5, 2013,
#2
Your mixing is coming along nicely, man!

The more detail you go into, the better - it can be a little community project.

Looking at that list of gear, I assume you're going to be going virtual for the most part? I don't see any amps worth miking up.

Honestly though, it might be worth paying for a day of drum tracking - whether it's at a pro studio or just a bunch of borrowed mics.
#3
I plan on going into as much detail as possible, the more detail I go into the more tips and tricks I can pick up from you guys and the better a resource this will be to others who decide to attempt to go down the same road.

The plan is to go virtual yes, I have been building a library of free plugins, samples, impulses, etc. to use for it. I have 622MB of plugins at the moment (over 400 different ones) most of which are very good (The Antress Modern pack, the Kjaerhus Classic pack, all the VoS plugins, etc.). I also have almost 3.5GB of drum samples (over 6000), and over 1.5GB in impulses (both cabinet and reverb).

Our drum kit is not suitable for recording really, otherwise we should be able to record it with the equipment we have (we have ASIO4ALL working with the Audigram and Xenyx together, adding the C1-U wouldn't be hard). The current plan was to borrow one of the electronic kits and record the MIDI, then use my growing sample library for that (there's plenty of good velocity sensitive samples there).
One of the e-kits belongs to the same guy who owns the Pro 40. There was consideration of paying him to do all the tracking, so we have access to the superior DIs and converters in the Pro 40 as well as his e-kit.
#4
Wow, that's a serious amaount of plugins! I just went the complete opposite direction - I deleted my VST folder and started afresh with nothing but freeware, all carefully organised by type into different folders.

EQ

- Sonitus SoneQ
- J1000 MQ57 and PQ33
- BootEQ
- AudiocationEQ
- BaxterEQ
- IQ4

COMPRESSION


- Density and ThrillseekerLA
- RoughRider
- JB Red Phatt Pro and Smash Pro
- Molot and Limiter No6
- TDR Feedback Comp II
- Audiocation AC-1
- 5ORCERY

VERB/DELAY


- EpicVerb, NastyDLA
- Bricasti M7 impulses
- Ambience
- Hybrid Reverb 2
- TAL Dub-2, TAL Verb

OTHERS

- PreFIX, TesslaPRO, Rescue Mk2 and FerricTDS
- Kjaeurhus Classic Phaser, Flanger, Chorus
- Basslane
- Voxengo SPAN
- Floorfish, Spitfish
- Isone
- Engineer's Filter
- TrackPad
- LePou amps, Simuanalog pedals and decent cab IRs
- Amplitube 3 Free


That's pretty much the whole lot, and even half of that isn't really necessary. If anything my mixes are getting better, I certainly don't feel like I'm slowed down by the reduced variety.

The best bit is I've packed em all into a portable Reaper install and uploaded it to my server (complete with my own configuration, themes, templates etc). I can download it anywhere and in five minutes me mixing exactly the same as I would be at home. I can even package stems inside a portable copy of Reaper for bands to mix their own track!


Definitely recommend having a clean-out and tightening up the amount of plugs you're using. Just rename your current VST folder to something like 'VSTOLD' so you can revert if you want to.
#5
Quote by kyle62
Wow, that's a serious amaount of plugins! I just went the complete opposite direction - I deleted my VST folder and started afresh with nothing but freeware, all carefully organised by type into different folders.

EQ

- Sonitus SoneQ
- J1000 MQ57 and PQ33
- BootEQ
- AudiocationEQ
- BaxterEQ
- IQ4

COMPRESSION


- Density and ThrillseekerLA
- RoughRider
- JB Red Phatt Pro and Smash Pro
- Molot and Limiter No6
- TDR Feedback Comp II
- Audiocation AC-1
- 5ORCERY

VERB/DELAY


- EpicVerb, NastyDLA
- Bricasti M7 impulses
- Ambience
- Hybrid Reverb 2
- TAL Dub-2, TAL Verb

OTHERS

- PreFIX, TesslaPRO, Rescue Mk2 and FerricTDS
- Kjaeurhus Classic Phaser, Flanger, Chorus
- Basslane
- Voxengo SPAN
- Floorfish, Spitfish
- Isone
- Engineer's Filter
- TrackPad
- LePou amps, Simuanalog pedals and decent cab IRs
- Amplitube 3 Free


That's pretty much the whole lot, and even half of that isn't really necessary. If anything my mixes are getting better, I certainly don't feel like I'm slowed down by the reduced variety.

The best bit is I've packed em all into a portable Reaper install and uploaded it to my server (complete with my own configuration, themes, templates etc). I can download it anywhere and in five minutes me mixing exactly the same as I would be at home. I can even package stems inside a portable copy of Reaper for bands to mix their own track!


Definitely recommend having a clean-out and tightening up the amount of plugs you're using. Just rename your current VST folder to something like 'VSTOLD' so you can revert if you want to.

I second a 'clean-out' in your DAW. (Kyle- that portable thing sounds VERY cool, I wish I had something like that for when I'm at work and inspiration strikes!)

I did a very similar thing before starting my last project, and I HIGHLY recommend it. Deleted all third-party plugs that I had pirated (there were lots!) and paid for the Waves RMAxx bundle (which was on sale for $99). Used that almost exclusively, with a few Ableton compressors. Your freeware approach is basically the same thing, just free instead of $99 haha

I also spent a few hours putting together a drum rack in Ableton with one of each piece of kit, setting up a channel strip and bussing them all together into one cohesive kit that I could drag onto every song (I made a four-piece percussion kit for one stripped-down song though).

You could try to do this as well, maybe pick a few snares to swap around, but otherwise limit yourself to ~16 slots and build one 'kit' for the whole project. It will give a nice cohesive feel to the record, and with pop-punk, you don't really need a thousand different sounds, just a solid four-piece kit (multi-layered maybe?) with a standard hat/crash/ride selection.

Less is more!
Telecaster - SG - Jaguar
Princeton Reverb, Extra Reverb
P-Bass - Mustang Bass
Apogee Duet 2 - Ableton Suite
#6
Take pictures too. I think documenting the process will be an interesting study.

Quote by kyle62
I don't see any amps worth miking up.


^ Careful now. Dangerous thinking. People get surprising results out of surprising equipment.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#7
Although I do have a lot of plugins, I don't use a lot of them. I could get by quite happily on Antress Modern Compressor, ReaEQ, Limiter No 6, Ferric TDS, ReaSamplOMatic5000, and a couple of amp sims. I just tend to download things at uni and try them out. It's still all neatly organised so I know exactly where everything is, I just like to try new plugins and don't see much point in deleting them after I download and organise them.
#9
Quote by chatterbox272
Although I do have a lot of plugins, I don't use a lot of them. I could get by quite happily on Antress Modern Compressor, ReaEQ, Limiter No 6, Ferric TDS, ReaSamplOMatic5000, and a couple of amp sims. I just tend to download things at uni and try them out. It's still all neatly organised so I know exactly where everything is, I just like to try new plugins and don't see much point in deleting them after I download and organise them.

Agreed.

Also, seriously give SonEQ a try. It sounds incredibly smooth and natural, has a great lowpass and highpass filter, excellent saturation, and very low on CPU. I have an instance on every single channel in my daw to get slightly closer to a 'large console' mentality.
#10
^^What do you think of BootEQ?
All I want is for everyone to go to hell...
...It's the last place I was seen before I lost myself



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#11
Hey guys, time for an update. We've had to put this on hold for a little while because I just had exams and the bandleader got really sick. We've got a couple more of our mixing practice cover tracks in the works but that's about it.

I'm looking at making a few acoustic panels to help control reflections and whatnot, and I was wondering how well egg cartons actually work (for treatment that is) or whether I'm significantly better off investing in some proper acoustic foam and using that instead?
Also if I were willing to spend $100-$200 to help improve this album, where would you recommend spending it? If I can get some extra work over the break I might have some money so I need to know where to spend it, and if not then I'll at least know the weak points and I can see if there's something I can rig up on the cheap to fix it (I'm usually pretty good at that kind of thing).
#12
Quote by chatterbox272
Hey guys, time for an update. We've had to put this on hold for a little while because I just had exams and the bandleader got really sick. We've got a couple more of our mixing practice cover tracks in the works but that's about it.

I'm looking at making a few acoustic panels to help control reflections and whatnot, and I was wondering how well egg cartons actually work (for treatment that is) or whether I'm significantly better off investing in some proper acoustic foam and using that instead?
Also if I were willing to spend $100-$200 to help improve this album, where would you recommend spending it? If I can get some extra work over the break I might have some money so I need to know where to spend it, and if not then I'll at least know the weak points and I can see if there's something I can rig up on the cheap to fix it (I'm usually pretty good at that kind of thing).

Egg cartons do nothing, it's a myth. If you're willing to build from scratch, get some Owens-Corning 703 fiberglass panels and frame them (optional) and wrap them in fabric. They'll cost ~15 to 20 bucks when all is said and done. If you have a local insulation store, you can get them much cheaper than online.

Or, keep an eye on Craigslist. I got a boatload of auralex panels and bass traps for $99. They're terrible for retail price, but for dirt cheap like that, they're incredible.

Edit- that's all in US terms, so adapt that how you will.
Telecaster - SG - Jaguar
Princeton Reverb, Extra Reverb
P-Bass - Mustang Bass
Apogee Duet 2 - Ableton Suite
#13
Yeah we don't get squat used, and what does show up is usually overpriced.

Naturally I can't find a single place in my area that sells fibreglass panels. Infact, all I can find from anywhere that might be of use is some "Acoustic Convoluted Foam" from Clark Rubber, and I'd question whether it's different from any other convoluted foam really.
#14
Quote by chatterbox272
Yeah we don't get squat used, and what does show up is usually overpriced.

Naturally I can't find a single place in my area that sells fibreglass panels. Infact, all I can find from anywhere that might be of use is some "Acoustic Convoluted Foam" from Clark Rubber, and I'd question whether it's different from any other convoluted foam really.

You don't have home improvement stores around you?

Roxul Safe-N-Sound, and other equivalents, are sold at a lot of places like Home Depot around here. I used Roxul RHT40 and RHT80 mineral wool for mine.
Quote by Dave_Mc
I've had tube amps for a while now, but never actually had any go down on me
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maybe you're not saying the right things? an amp likes to know you care.





www.SanctityStudios.com
#15
Best I've got are a couple of Bunnings Warehouses. I might be able to get something like that from there, so is it just some kind of insulation material I need then?
#16
If you find any good cheap foam for acoustics available in Aus, please let me know.

Also, I'm really interested in following this project
RIP Gooze

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