Save money and get just as good
recordings WITHOUT paying expensive
recording studio rates
to make a CD
Ok so you want to be the next pop idol and need a demo CD to
send to record company execs and TV producers, or maybe you're
a working singer/entertainer who would like to produce an album
to sell at your gigs.
Either way, you probably think that the only way to make a professional
sounding recording is to spend fortunes hiring a large, state-of-the-art
Well...you'd be wrong!
Read on and we'll
show you how, using your backing tracks, you can make an album
at home at a fraction of the cost that a recording studio will
If you take a quick surf around the internet or look in the yellow
pages for your area, you will probably find a dozen or more recording
studios situated local to you. Their prices will vary, but generally,
most charge by the hour (anything from £20 to £200
per hour depending on the studio, it's location, and it's facilities).
Oh yes, of course, you can save money by using your backing tracks
for the music rather than paying session musicians to play on
your album, but even still, the time it can take to get each vocal
on each song exactly correct (not to mention the final mastering
of the album) can still eat up hours and hours of expensive studio
time. You can bet that a three song demo will usually end up costing
you in the region of £100 to £200, and a full album
can cost anything from £500 to well over £1,000 and
upwards depending on the length of time you take to make the recording
(and these figures are for the cheapest recording studios - a
larger city centre studio will charge much more)!
So instead of spending £1,000 to record 1 album of say 12
songs, what if you could record twice that amount - 2 albums with
15 songs on each (30 songs)...for half that price?
OK, let's take it
one step further...
What if you could
record as many albums, and as many demos, as you wanted for a
one-off price of £500. Sounds interesting?
Well, you can...
By investing around £500 in a stand-alone hard-disk recording
machine, you can produce as many professional, studio quality
recordings as you want in the comfort of your own home, with even
the most basic recording knowledge and skills.
The results will be every bit as good as you can expect from recordings
made in a purpose built recording studio (probably even better,
because no-one knows your own sound like you do). Just think -
no more "racing against the clock", trying to squeeze
as much recording in to a tight recording studio schedule. No
more watching your bill rise up and up by the hour like a waiting
Taxi. No more being put under pressure to lay down that perfect
vocal work within a severely limited period of time. No more being
lied to by studio engineers who can't wait to get rid of you to
get the next person in who tell you that the vocal is fine when
you know that it's still not right and needs another couple of
hours work on it...NO MORE!
Now you can spend
as much time as you want recording, re-recording and mixing -
take as long as you need to make it perfect.
You can record your vocals on the days that your voice is at its
best, not the days that you happen to be booked in to a studio
- after all that's what the professionals do. That's why big recording
stars have their own studios and/or block book a recording studio
for 6 months or a year or more when they want to record an album.
Up until recently
hard disk recorders where enormously expensive which meant that
only professional recording studios could afford to use these
machines but now all this has changed. For around £500,
you can buy a stand-alone hard disk recorder which can create
incredible sounding recordings all in one user friendly and accessible
Most have enough hard disk space to give you hundreds of hours
of high quality recording (just think how much would it cost to
book hundreds of hours in a recording studio!) and 8, 16 or 32
tracks of simultaneous recording, built-in digital mixer, effects
like reverb and echo etc and a CD Writer for you to produce your
If you are a gigging singer or musician you probably already have
tracks, and a MP3
player or minidisc
that you use for gigs and these then are all you need to produce
that fantastic new album. Just think of the extra money you will
make selling your CD at gigs!
How to record your
Connect your MP3 player or minidisc or whatever machine you use
to play your backing tracks to channels 1 and 2 of the hard-disk
Then connect your microphone to channel 3.
Connect a set of headphones and sing along with your backing track
as normal while recording all three channels simultaneously.
If you make a mistake, go back to the beginning and start again,
or if you want, you could just plug your microphone into the next
free channel (after all you have 8 channels available) and record
your vocal again.
At the end of it you can use which ever vocal sounded best or
you could mix different tracks - ie use, say, the first verse
and chorus that you recorded on to channel 3 and the second verse
and ending from say channel 5 or 6. Add effects to your vocal
using the in-built reverb, echo etc or if you're really adventurous,
play around with the other effects like chorus FX (to thicken
up the vocal) or compression FX (to tighten up the whole sound
and give it more balance). We'll be looking at recording techniques
in more depth in a future article.
When you're happy
with your songs and you have produced enough to make a full album,
use the in-built CD-writer to make a master CD. All you need to
do now is make copies of the CD, which you can do on your home
PC, and design and print the inserts (artwork) for the CD label
and jewel case. You probably already have publicity photographs
of yourself which you can use on the CD cover and there are many
good CD labelling software programmes with lots of really cool
templates which will make designing your CD cover a breeze!
Make a "live"
Want to know how big stars record "live"
albums? They don't do it in one night as you would expect - they
take the recording equipment on tour with them and record their
show EVERY night. Then, at the end of the tour, they listen to
every song from every night and keep the best ones to put on their
"live" album. And now you can do the same.
Use your hard-disk recorder to record your own performance at
every gig over, say, a two or three week period, and then make
a compilation of the best results - hey presto, you've just produced
your first "live" album!
There is so much more
you can do with a hard-disk recorder and in this article we have
only scratched the surface. Making a "live" CD is a
quick and easy way to produce an album and there is also an added
advantage that customers love it when they get home and hear exactly
what they heard at your gig (many singers albums are "over-produced"
and just don't sound real which is a often a big disappointment).
Try experimenting too. You may find that you can give a better
vocal performance when you record "live" rather than
in the confines of a small room or studio.
Once you've mastered the art of recording with your hard-disk
recorder, you've sold lots of albums at your gigs and are making
a nice tidy extra income on top of your gig money, why not use
it to make yourself even more money by recording for others?
There are lots of
local acts out there who would love to cut an album but don't
have enough money to hire a large recording studio. Offer to produce
their album for them - after all, you have all the necessary recording
equipment required to produce a CD and the necessary software
on your PC to design and print the inserts, copy the CD's etc.
Why not go along to one of their gigs with your hard-disk recorder
under your arm and record them "live". The next day
you can present them with a demo of the recording (tip* don't
give them the full songs, just about 1 minute of each as a "taster")
and then offer to make a full recording for them, or sell them
the full recording you made the night before!
Article Written by Kenny Campbell
(This article cannot be reproduced without express
(all rights reserved)