#1
Hey everyone, this is kind of a big thread here so just a warning
I am saving up some money to buy some pedals because I want to eventually record an album and have some questions. Some of these might be dumb questions but if you could just answer them for me I would really appreciate it and thanks in advance.


1) I want to record an album (i'm not in a band) that is very ambient with piano and guitar and relies heavy on echo and delay effects. I don't know how to use DAWs and I know they can be kind of expensive. I do have a copy of FL Studio but even when I am messing around with the Equilizers I have no idea what I am really doing. I want my album to have quality sound so do you think it would be better to take my music and record it in a studio where they actually know what they are doing?

2) My friend let me borrow his copy of FL Studio (I have made backing parts to my songs) and I am pretty sure it is pirated. If I use some sounds from FL when recording do I have to give credit to FL studio on the album or something? If so would I have to actually buy the full version?

3) What are your opinions on using drum samples vs real drums? Like I said my album will be very ambient driven and so the drums will be pretty basic beats.

4) Are you allowed to release tracks that are cover songs?

5) I currently use a Line 6 Spider II amp and I got an Ibanez guitar for like $200. Is it necessary for me to buy a better amp or can I just get everything done through effects and mastering?

6) Some tracks I would like to have female vocals. When the album is released, do I have to pay the studio/vocalist any kind of percentage of sales or is it based just on a flat pay?


Thank you for any help you can give me!
#2
Quote by Androxine Vorte

1) I want to record an album (i'm not in a band) that is very ambient with piano and guitar and relies heavy on echo and delay effects. I don't know how to use DAWs and I know they can be kind of expensive. I do have a copy of FL Studio but even when I am messing around with the Equilizers I have no idea what I am really doing. I want my album to have quality sound so do you think it would be better to take my music and record it in a studio where they actually know what they are doing?


A DAW can be leaned fairly easily. FL Studio is more of an electronic kind of thing, so recording might not be as easy as other DAWs like REAPER, Logic or Cubase. Personally, I use Mixcraft. Its like a hybrid between Reaper and Logic and I've used it for years.
Of course it would be better to take it to a professional studio. The real question is can you justify the cost?


2) My friend let me borrow his copy of FL Studio (I have made backing parts to my songs) and I am pretty sure it is pirated. If I use some sounds from FL when recording do I have to give credit to FL studio on the album or something? If so would I have to actually buy the full version?


The stuff in FL is royalty free, so no you wouldn't have to credit. It is far better to just buy it though. Support the developers.
Alternatively, get REAPER. It has a free unlimited trial period, but if you want, you can pay $60 and support the developers (Do that. It will give you a nice warm feeling inside).


3) What are your opinions on using drum samples vs real drums? Like I said my album will be very ambient driven and so the drums will be pretty basic beats.

I use programmed drums all the time (check the soundcloud link in my signature) and a lot of people couldn't tell the difference. I process them a lot though. I'd suggest BUYING EZDrummer 2 and browsing through the expansion packs, but there are many alternatives out there.

4) Are you allowed to release tracks that are cover songs?

With permission from the artist/label and after all the royalties are paid, yes.
If it's a public domain song (like 'Danny Boy'), go nuts!

5) I currently use a Line 6 Spider II amp and I got an Ibanez guitar for like $200. Is it necessary for me to buy a better amp or can I just get everything done through effects and mastering?

You can record everything without the amp and in your case, I'd recommend it. All you need is an audio interface (Like a scarlett 2i2) and some good free plugins and you're good to go! I personally use a mix of PODFarm 2 and EZMix when I use amp sims.

6) Some tracks I would like to have female vocals. When the album is released, do I have to pay the studio/vocalist any kind of percentage of sales or is it based just on a flat pay?

Depends on the vocalist/studio.
When I do mixing, I normally charge £20/$31 per audio track (so 5 tracks in a song would be £100/$155) and don't take royalties. Some singers prefer to take a deposit, then get royalties.
Very much depends on the artist. Just ask them!


Thank you for any help you can give me!

No problem! I'm sure someone can help you with REAPER better than I could, but I hope something I've said has been useful
#3
Wow. A lot of good questions but the answers require a few paragraphs (at least) for each. First off I wouldn't put the cart before the horse and think you'll be "releasing" anything soon. You don't sound like you are ready in any way to do that. I'm not saying that to discourage you but to just keep it in perspective while you are learning something about recording, performing, legal issues etc.

First off don't go running to an expensive recording studio until you are 110% ready. A recording studio doesn't make magic happen it's just there to capture it when it does happen. You need all of your songs polished, arranged and ready to play. You are paying by the hour and every minute you stop to consider something you should have thought about or make changes that you didn't think about before you got there is costing you big bucks.

If you sample anything, you generally need clearance to use it unless it falls into "public domain". I'm not familiar with FL Studio but I know it's been around for quite some time and even if you can use some the samples from it legally it sounds like a bad idea. I suspect they are way overused already so you won't be providing anything original or interesting.

As far as paying anyone who performs on your work I would suggest that you just work out an upfront fee and have them sign a contract beforehand indicating that their performance is a "work for hire" and subject to a one time payment.

I admire your ambition and wish you luck but you have a lot to learn. Don't let anyone stop you from pursuing your dreams.
Yes I am guitarded also, nice to meet you.
#4
You can release cover songs as long as you don't change the song itself (chords, lyrics, melody - you can change instruments or whatever). You do need to pay a small fee, but you don't need permission. The Harry Fox Agency website will give you all of the tools you need to purchase a license for most songs. It is very affordable.
Telecaster - SG - Jaguar
Princeton Reverb, Extra Reverb
P-Bass - Mustang Bass
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#5
Thanks for the quick replies. I am nowhere remotely ready to head into a studio XD A lot of the music I want to write is like I said reliant on using effects so there's a couple pedals I have my eye on that I need to get.

Honestly what I used FL studio for is to make simple kick and snare and hi hat beats that just act as a click track while I am jamming and writing music. There is one song where I use a long drawn out sample because it acts as a nice background droning sound. But I would like it to be that I can make majority of noises with just my guitar.

Is that how most studios operate that they charge per song and not per hour? I'm not sure how expensive they can get because I hear different things from different people and that you have to set up a budget with them sometimes so I didn't know if getting a DAW for myself would be more cost effective than taking it to a studio. I feel like I would rather take it to a studio because they will (hopefully) have years of experience and know what they are doing better than me.

I just hear people talk a lot of crap about Line 6 and my guitar isn't top quality so I didn't know if I needed to purchase better gear?

For recording I just have audacity and audacity obviously is not a good way of recording but it works for now. Whenever I am actually ready to go to a studio would I be recording everything from scratch there? Meaning I have all the songs down and memorized but I just go in and start recording from there or should I record some on my own and bring it in?


Again sorry if these are dumb questions I am just unfamiliar with studios. Thanks for the help again =)
#7
1. Use Reaper, learn how to use it, it's not hard. (You can use it for free - if they still do that, but I suggest you pay the license which is cheap)
2. You can import the parts you already have
3. Drum samples are good - but only if you know how to programme them to sound like a drummer i.e. you really need to know (in theory) how to play the drums
4. No. You have to pay for them.
5. You can use free VSTs in Reaper to get great guitar sounds - I assume you have an interface. Your amp in not needed. Your guitar will do fine provided you tune it and its intonation is OK
6. Depends on you agreement / contract with the artist
(you probably won't make any money so its a bit academic really)
#8
Quote by Androxine Vorte


1) I want to record an album (i'm not in a band) that is very ambient with piano and guitar and relies heavy on echo and delay effects. I don't know how to use DAWs and I know they can be kind of expensive. I do have a copy of FL Studio but even when I am messing around with the Equilizers I have no idea what I am really doing. I want my album to have quality sound so do you think it would be better to take my music and record it in a studio where they actually know what they are doing?


Studio would most likely end up being better at this stage but I'm sure it will bleed out whatever budget you have rather fast as it seems to me like you have no idea what you're doing. Maybe start songwriting and once you get closer to finished compositions you can track in a studio but make sure your material is written.
Most studio work with Pro Tools so that's something to think about, you'll either have to provide raw tracks for them to import in Pro Tools or start with Pro Tools on your end.


Quote by Androxine Vorte


2) My friend let me borrow his copy of FL Studio (I have made backing parts to my songs) and I am pretty sure it is pirated. If I use some sounds from FL when recording do I have to give credit to FL studio on the album or something? If so would I have to actually buy the full version?


You don't have to credit your DAW manufacturer for the album, but if you use FL, yes, you'll have to purchase it, I guess You can get started on Reaper which is cheaper and will work even if you don't purchase a full version once you get past the half minute nag screen. But it costs around $60 so why not buy it?


Quote by Androxine Vorte


3) What are your opinions on using drum samples vs real drums? Like I said my album will be very ambient driven and so the drums will be pretty basic beats.

Real drums are great. They're a b*tch to record and edit but the whole flow of the album is totally different. If you can program good el. drums then you're also fine...it is up to you how you want to sound.


Quote by Androxine Vorte


4) Are you allowed to release tracks that are cover songs?


Yes, via a permission/licensing from songwriter/publishing holder of the song.

Quote by Androxine Vorte


5) I currently use a Line 6 Spider II amp and I got an Ibanez guitar for like $200. Is it necessary for me to buy a better amp or can I just get everything done through effects and mastering?


Can you make a $200 setup sound like $20,000? Most likely not...probably better to start recording direct with plugins, like free guitar vsts such as Lepou, Freeamp, etc...


Quote by Androxine Vorte


6) Some tracks I would like to have female vocals. When the album is released, do I have to pay the studio/vocalist any kind of percentage of sales or is it based just on a flat pay?



Depends on how you cut the contract with whoever will sing. I usually do "work for hire" - I hire out the session musicians for flat fee and they don't get any royalties.


Sounds to me like you have no idea what you're doing so it might be beneficial to read up on some audio recording materials or take a class or two. Same thing with music business.

Here are some books I think might be helpful:

http://www.bobbyowsinski.com/mixing-engineers-handbook.html

http://www.systematicproductions.com/mixing-guide.htm

http://www.amazon.com/Music-Business-Explained-Plain-English/dp/1577465776/ref=dp_ob_title_bk

Might want to look this guy's courses as well or buy as needed:
https://www.recordingreview.com/cart/product/killer-home-recording-silver/

There's something to be said about doing your own thing as well and discovering new ways of doing it as you go, some kids have gotten famous that way as well, so who knows...

You can also go ahead and get a drum machine/sampler like the AKAI and a multitrack standalone machine and go at it this way. That way you can concentrate on the music and not on the computer.

Good luck!
#9
Quote by Androxine Vorte
Hey everyone, this is kind of a big thread here so just a warning
I am saving up some money to buy some pedals because I want to eventually record an album and have some questions. Some of these might be dumb questions but if you could just answer them for me I would really appreciate it and thanks in advance.


1) I want to record an album (i'm not in a band) that is very ambient with piano and guitar and relies heavy on echo and delay effects. I don't know how to use DAWs and I know they can be kind of expensive. I do have a copy of FL Studio but even when I am messing around with the Equilizers I have no idea what I am really doing. I want my album to have quality sound so do you think it would be better to take my music and record it in a studio where they actually know what they are doing?

2) My friend let me borrow his copy of FL Studio (I have made backing parts to my songs) and I am pretty sure it is pirated. If I use some sounds from FL when recording do I have to give credit to FL studio on the album or something? If so would I have to actually buy the full version?

3) What are your opinions on using drum samples vs real drums? Like I said my album will be very ambient driven and so the drums will be pretty basic beats.

4) Are you allowed to release tracks that are cover songs?

5) I currently use a Line 6 Spider II amp and I got an Ibanez guitar for like $200. Is it necessary for me to buy a better amp or can I just get everything done through effects and mastering?

6) Some tracks I would like to have female vocals. When the album is released, do I have to pay the studio/vocalist any kind of percentage of sales or is it based just on a flat pay?

Thank you for any help you can give me!


Hey hey bud, I'd like to share my limited information with you to maybe shed some light on the issues.

1. I have recently recorded my own EP (check here: https://soundcloud.com/sammetry/sets/creatio). If you're not comfortable with sound engineering techniques (especially recording/mixing) I recommend you work with a professional. The only way to make your album sound good (as you mentioned that you want it to sound high quality) is to go through the stages of music production in a healthy and professional/methodical way. I can help you with some stuff (I am a sound engineer) if you have samples etc.

2. No, because you don't have to use FL Studio. You do not have to do anything with a pirated or a licensed copy of any program but if you want to credit the program and actually use their stock samples, you're gonna have to buy an original copy.

3. Unless you have a good drummer who plays spot on, a sound engineer that records drums professionally, and an acoustic room that makes the drums sound lively, I say you go for VST drums.

4. No. And you can not ever sell or claim the rights as your own, even if you change the songs genre and write the whole thing from beginning to end yourself. You'll have to buy the license for it from the songwriter via their agent/management, in order to release it and then maybe sell it/promote it.

5. If you know how to make them sound good, you do not need any new gear, no. I personally used VSTs and no amp with my ESP Eclipse on the recording that I linked above. Good/quality sound is a matter of knowledge rather than having a high end gear. But you do have to make sure that your gear is perfectly tuned and ready for recording (i.e. your guitar's grounding must be perfect, tuning and intonation must be perfect, your amp should provide the tone you want and should be sizeable enough to shout at the volumes that a recording must be captured in etc...)

6. You have to discuss that with the artist but it's usually a front flat pay basis thing. No one wants to rely on a newly emerging artist's album sales. I suggest you find a like-minded female vocalist who's starting off newly like yourself and make a collaboration which you both will profit. Even if, as it's your project, you'll have to cover all recording fees etc.

Feel free to contact me through sammetrymusic@gmail.com if you think I can help with anything else. Best of luck!
Last edited by Sammetry at Jul 14, 2015,
#10
Quote by Sid McCall
You can release cover songs as long as you don't change the song itself (chords, lyrics, melody - you can change instruments or whatever). You do need to pay a small fee, but you don't need permission. The Harry Fox Agency website will give you all of the tools you need to purchase a license for most songs. It is very affordable.

I'm just gonna re-post my earlier post to counter any mis-information.

What you want is a compulsory mechanical license. You can get one from HFA.

Source: I do this for a living.
Telecaster - SG - Jaguar
Princeton Reverb, Extra Reverb
P-Bass - Mustang Bass
Apogee Duet 2 - Ableton Suite
#11
Thanks a lot for all the great replies. Like I said, I am nowhere near ready to actually go in a studio I am still writing lots of songs. I will give Reaper a try thanks for the suggestion!
#12
Actually I have a question. I have never used VSTs before and until a few minutes ago I didn't know what they were. Are they needed for recording? I can understand drum or maybe piano parts but what about guitars? How would that work?
#13
Quote by Androxine Vorte
Actually I have a question. I have never used VSTs before and until a few minutes ago I didn't know what they were. Are they needed for recording? I can understand drum or maybe piano parts but what about guitars? How would that work?

VSTs are just plugins. Whether you use them or not is up to you. I would recommend using them for drums especially. Also, you will need to use them for the purposes of EQ. This article discusses some COMMON EQ things* :
http://blog.sonicbids.com/the-ultimate-eq-cheat-sheet-for-every-common-instrument

*Note: Just because the writer uses specific frequencies does NOT mean you should take this as your Bible. You may need to adjust for your specific room/area.
#14
I've seen a lot of people talk about their equipment they list a DAW like cubase or something. Does that mean that they are plugging in their guitar (and pedals) into the computer or something like that and the DAW acts as the amp so to speak?

I've always just played through an amp.
#15
Quote by Androxine Vorte
I've seen a lot of people talk about their equipment they list a DAW like cubase or something. Does that mean that they are plugging in their guitar (and pedals) into the computer or something like that and the DAW acts as the amp so to speak?

I've always just played through an amp.

Both of those are acceptable ways to do it. I use an amp, many people here use VSTs. Just use what works for you!
Telecaster - SG - Jaguar
Princeton Reverb, Extra Reverb
P-Bass - Mustang Bass
Apogee Duet 2 - Ableton Suite
#16
Quote by Androxine Vorte
I've seen a lot of people talk about their equipment they list a DAW like cubase or something. Does that mean that they are plugging in their guitar (and pedals) into the computer or something like that and the DAW acts as the amp so to speak?

I've always just played through an amp.

Both. Neither.

Seriously, whatever works best for you is fine.
#17
Quote by Androxine Vorte
Hey everyone, this is kind of a big thread here so just a warning
I am saving up some money to buy some pedals because I want to eventually record an album and have some questions. Some of these might be dumb questions but if you could just answer them for me I would really appreciate it and thanks in advance.


1) I want to record an album (i'm not in a band) that is very ambient with piano and guitar and relies heavy on echo and delay effects. I don't know how to use DAWs and I know they can be kind of expensive. I do have a copy of FL Studio but even when I am messing around with the Equilizers I have no idea what I am really doing. I want my album to have quality sound so do you think it would be better to take my music and record it in a studio where they actually know what they are doing?

2) My friend let me borrow his copy of FL Studio (I have made backing parts to my songs) and I am pretty sure it is pirated. If I use some sounds from FL when recording do I have to give credit to FL studio on the album or something? If so would I have to actually buy the full version?

3) What are your opinions on using drum samples vs real drums? Like I said my album will be very ambient driven and so the drums will be pretty basic beats.

4) Are you allowed to release tracks that are cover songs?

5) I currently use a Line 6 Spider II amp and I got an Ibanez guitar for like $200. Is it necessary for me to buy a better amp or can I just get everything done through effects and mastering?

6) Some tracks I would like to have female vocals. When the album is released, do I have to pay the studio/vocalist any kind of percentage of sales or is it based just on a flat pay?


Thank you for any help you can give me!


Get reaper, Eq by boosting to hear the frequencies you don't want at first, then cut those out. You will need to roll off the bass most of the time, except for bass and a kick.

You have a lot to learn, so I wouldn't worry about all the royalties and stuff like that. I have a Michael Jackson track I remixed on my soundcloud. Used his vocals, and did my own backing track for it. It's not for sale, and only a maximum of roughly 81 people on planet earth have ever heard it. You will probably get something like that at first. Maybe you could build a following, but I wouldn't worry about covers or anything until that starts happening. For a vocalist, it can get complicated. If I were you, I'd just make whatever deal with them that suits the both of you. Which most likely will never matter. Some of those could be just someone clicked it for a second and stopped listening, idk, maybe basically none of them are whole plays. There is tons and tons of music by people that are not very good or just learning, and that think they can sell their music. It will be tough for you to get people to even listen to it. I wouldn't listen to it thinking I might like it. Especially that I can tell you have no idea what you're doing, and clearly think it is a lot easier than it actually is.

I wouldn't worry about sound quality so much right now, or getting a studio. You have a lot to learn about mixing, and about VSTs, about additive and substractive synthesis, and compression, and how to reverb, and sidechaining, gating, stereo fields, phase shifts, and that's before you ever even tackle actually making good music.

You have a few years of learning before you will be able to make something really strong. A lot of it is subtle. Even just when you get to compression, you will be like, wtf, and then you will begin to learn the differences between compressors even. At first you will struggle to even know what they do exactly and how to set them, let alone hear the differences between them.
Last edited by fingrpikingood at Jul 14, 2015,
#18
If you don't already have an interface, a good up to date computer and little knowledge of how to use recording software, I suggest you get a hands on multi track recorder like the Tascam DP006 digital multi track. It has 6 tracks to record on, built in stereo microphones and records at 16 bit/44.1 khz. digital quality to an SD card all for just under $100.00. It's great for creating quick quality demos. At that price you can get a good start on recording some of your ideas and nailing your arrangements. Since it also has a USB connection you can move the tracks into a computer for further work if you want.
I'm just suggesting it as a way to get your ideas down fast, learn something about recording and overdubbing and get started with a minimum investment. Although I have a 24 track Tascam and a full compliment of computer based recording and mastering software I get a lot of use out of my little Tascam DP004 (the older version of the DP006) as a "scratch pad" to just get ideas recorded quickly before I mentally loose the initial ideas.
Yes I am guitarded also, nice to meet you.
Last edited by Rickholly74 at Jul 15, 2015,
#19
@Rick - great suggestion. I also get a lot of use of my old Boss Micro Br. Multitracking on that thing is a nightmare but for idea recorder it is priceless. OP might just look for something like that or the new Zoom R8 or 16 or 24 which is also a full fledged audio interface as well, so he can learn the basics of recording and take it to the PC later as he is ready to work on PC.
#20
Thanks again for all the great advice. One thing I was wondering though; suppose I do purchase Reaper (or which ever DAW I decide on) and I record stuff on it. How would that work with going to a studio? Would I just have to play everything live there again or do they take whats on my DAW and mix it as it is?
#21
Quote by Androxine Vorte
Thanks again for all the great advice. One thing I was wondering though; suppose I do purchase Reaper (or which ever DAW I decide on) and I record stuff on it. How would that work with going to a studio? Would I just have to play everything live there again or do they take whats on my DAW and mix it as it is?

You export the individual pieces called "stems" (just the dry audio from each track with no effects) and send those to a studio in .wav format for them to mix.
Telecaster - SG - Jaguar
Princeton Reverb, Extra Reverb
P-Bass - Mustang Bass
Apogee Duet 2 - Ableton Suite
#22
It is really up to you or if the parts are up to par, some hemo demo stuff is ghastly and unmixable, then other projects pretty much mix themselves.

There is a DAW interchange format that for the most part is broken so the most popular way is to take "stems" as Sid already mentioned, basically you're taking each track or if you prefer submix of tracks and creating a new file with these with common time. So lets say your song is minutes long, then you export each track with a length of 5 minutes even if it is only a small solo that say happens at 1:30 - the rest of the track is blank but when added in a new project on any DAW it just lines up because the start and stop times of each track are the same length.
Otherwise if you take only the solo which say is .323 seconds and happens at around 1:30 (actually 1.3324) then aligning that in the new project file will be a nightmare, that's why usually you export with common time on all tracks.
Some people can't be bothered with that and that's why they just start and stay on Pro Tools.