The Studio Drummer Chats!

I'm a musician. Do I need to learn Audio Engineering?

September 04, 2018 Season 1 Episode 6
The Studio Drummer Chats!
I'm a musician. Do I need to learn Audio Engineering?
Chapters
The Studio Drummer Chats!
I'm a musician. Do I need to learn Audio Engineering?
Sep 04, 2018 Season 1 Episode 6
Jonathan Cazenave
Are you confident that you know how to record yourself and make it sound Pro? If not, this episode is for you. Learn the basics: What is a DAW? What is an interface? What software should I buy? I discuss these questions and more. If you have questions about this episode, feel free to reach out at http://www.jcazmusic.com The Irig Keyboard interface that I mentioned can be found here: https://www.ikmultimedia.com/products/irigkeysio/ My Studio Drummer Logo was created by Shawn McCauley. He is a super talented Comic Illustrator. Check him out at https://shawnmccauley.com/ If you want to hear some of these items in action, check out my youtube channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWgCLKFY9lMStEvuR6wrNrw?view_as=public
Show Notes Transcript
Are you confident that you know how to record yourself and make it sound Pro? If not, this episode is for you. Learn the basics: What is a DAW? What is an interface? What software should I buy? I discuss these questions and more. If you have questions about this episode, feel free to reach out at http://www.jcazmusic.com The Irig Keyboard interface that I mentioned can be found here: https://www.ikmultimedia.com/products/irigkeysio/ My Studio Drummer Logo was created by Shawn McCauley. He is a super talented Comic Illustrator. Check him out at https://shawnmccauley.com/ If you want to hear some of these items in action, check out my youtube channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWgCLKFY9lMStEvuR6wrNrw?view_as=public
speaker 0:
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Welcome to the studio Drummer chats. My name is Johnson Kazoo Nave, and this is a creativity podcast. I talk about things like music production, lots of drum stuff, things that may help you get better at your craft. No matter what. You do any sort of creative endeavor. I hope there'll be something in here for you today. We're going to talk about recording, producing audio engineering and specifically answer the question. If you're a musician, do you need to know how to be an audio engineer? This is a question. I get a lot from my students, and sometimes I bring it up to my students. If you learn how to play an instrument, guitar or drums or base or piano or your ah vocalist something like that, sometimes the question comes up. Do I need to know how to record myself? So I need to learn this software and learn how it works. And by ah audio interface and a microphone. And what is all this stuff anyway? This is something that comes up a lot, and my ultimate answer to that is yes, you do need to know how to record yourself. It's gotten to the point where it's pretty easy and I'm going to give you the tools today. Just just cover the basics. Just an overview of what you need to get started recording. But let me talk about why you need to do it first. For starters, you want to be able to record yourself doing what you do so they can represent you, such as you know, the word demo is an old term, because these days, really entire records are being made in people's bedrooms. But if you're a musician, you want to be able to show people what you can do. Yes, in person, but also, sometimes it's not practical. You need to send them something over the Internet you need descendant, send them an MP three. So being able to record yourself is a great way to do that. And you don't necessarily need to pay somebody else to do it. Sometimes. That's okay. There are still lots of great recording studios out there, and people that specialize in audio engineering and mixing and all those things. I'm gonna talk about a little bit, and I encourage you to hire those people. Um, if you're ah out of your element, but the basics of learning how to record yourself playing your instrument, especially if you're interested in writing songs or collaborating with other people. That's a big one, because I could do a drum track here in my studio. Someone sends me their guitar parts with a click track or basic, you know, drums that they've figured out using, Ah software. And I can add real drums here, or the same thing applies. If I want somebody to play on one of my tracks, I could just send it to them. And then they can add their tracks and send it back to me, and I can mix it. So it's a great way to collaborate. So those are a couple of big reasons, right there, just, you know, ways to create tracks. You may want to release them. You may want to put him on soundcloud or even on iTunes or something like that. So if you're a songwriter or composer where you want to collaborate or you want to show people what you do and how you do it, learning how to record yourself is a big one, and it's not too hard these days. But let me talk about a couple of quick bits of terminology. What is a recording engineer? Well, there are a few terms terms that are still around that apply to professionals in the music industry. But a recording engineer is a broad term that covers someone that records music. Back in the day. When they recorded things to tape, you had a tape operator and that person might fall into that umbrella. But the recording engineer ultimately was, maybe somebody who waas able to yes, operator tape machine also operated mixing Console also said it microphones in the proper place to make things sound good. So someone that could go from point A to point Z and getting your sound onto tape. So in learning all those skills, you are sort of becoming Yes, a recording engineer, someone who knows how to apply. Thank you. Someone who knows how compressor works All these things, effects and reverb. And these are things you can learn as you go. You don't have to learn them all the same time. You can get a pretty good sounding demo these days. Software. The presets on these on software these days is so good you can open up a template and sound pretty good right out of the box. So next, what's a mix engineer? Then, after things have been recorded and you might have put drums on some tracks and guitars on some other tracks and vocals on some other tracks and mix, Engineer typically comes in and balances all those levels. Makes sure that they sit well together when you hear them. And that can happen not only from levels but also from how they're treated in terms of compression or reverb. Or there's lots of different things that we do to audio to make them sound good with other audio equalization, I think I said, Ah, that's a That's a big one So a mix engineer makes all the sounds that you put track by track by track by track, sound good together, and it's it's actually one of the more challenging parts of of the big picture. So you know, you learning how to record yourself, you know you might have a natural ear Ford and you might have a natural ability, and you might have sort of, ah, interest in, uh in recording digitally and computers and things like that and it may come pretty easily to you, but if it doesn't still learn how to record yourself and then pass it on to a mix engineer, you still saved yourself hundreds and hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars and pass it on to a mix engineer. And then they can mix it for you and make it sound professional. And maybe even sometimes some mix mix engineers also do mastering. Which brings me to my next terminology. What is mastering? Mastering is the process. Once the the mix is done and you you take it down to just a stereo file, just a left and a right, so to speak. The mastering engineer comes in and make sure that it's loud enough that it will compete with everything else that's out there, so to speak. Ah, that's one thing they do. They add equalization, special kinds of e que lo in high end to make sure that it's airy and has all the high end. Make sure that there's lots of beef and base. Make sure that the mid range is correct again. A difficult job on and it can require some special gear is well, and it requires a good bit of practice and listening and ah, and mastering is a something that takes some time to get good at. You can get better and better at it. But again, that is something. If you're going to release something professionally like, for instance, on iTunes, or you're gonna put it out there on an independent label, that is something typically you'll hire out to a professional, someone who has been doing mastering for a long time and maybe has special equipment as well. So those are those of the basics of recording from according to mastering, and let me talk a little bit about some of the equipment that you need. So here's. Here's just an overview of what you need. The first thing you need is some sort of computer. Now a computer can also be the one that's in your pocket right now. It could be your iPhone or your android, because some of the software that's out there right now is pretty darn good, even for your tablet or your phone, so that actually can get you started very inexpensively. I use mostly Apple products. So on on the IOS Devices Garage band, which is a few dollars is excellent. It's very, very good. Ah, so beyond the idea of just using your phone, you can also, of course, use your laptop or your desktop computer, so you need some sort of computer and it can be a foam. The next thing you need, you may have seen this term. It's called a D a W dos. Some people say it that way. It stands for digital audio workstation, and it's simply the software you know, You would call a garage band a dog garage Man has a big brother that costs a little bit more. Ah, couple 100 bucks. It's called logic. It's also very, very good. If you're a Mac person, it's It's an excellent piece of software. For $200 you get everything you need. Thio pretty much to make a record. You get great plug ins, great synthesizers, great drums and loops and just everything you can. You can go get going with it really fast. Here's Here's the names of some other popular Dawes Q base is one I believe it is now, both for Mac and Windows. Pro Tools is another industry standard. I use one called digital performer. That's also works on both platforms. There is one called Reaper, which is very popular right now, works on Mac and PC as far as I know and is not very expensive. It's worth checking out. A lot of people really like Reaper. Able to live is one that's popular amongst the Elektronik crowd. Audacity is when you can download right now for free. It's a simple, simple D. A w reason is one that I've been checking out lately. A fellow musician friend of mine said that he was using it and really liked it. So I download the trial. I've been playing around with it just because I like to get my hands on all the different dollars. So I kind of know what's out there so I can recommend them to my students and so that I can help them learn on those Dawes. So that's the next thing you'll need. Another thing that you'll need is a computer interface or an audio interface, So this is just simply a device that gets your sound, whatever it is you're trying to create. It can be if you're seeing you know him into a microphone or if you are playing a guitar. Whatever it is, it gets it into the computer. There's a few different ways you can do it, but I would recommend just buying an inexpensive audio interface to get started. Remember that you can also get one for your phone very inexpensively that will plug right into either your port or your audio port. And I recommend, you know, just for getting started. Um, check out the bear injure interfaces. I mean, for less than $50 you can get something that will plug into your computer via USB and will allow you to get ah, sound from your guitar into your computer. So you know, Barrenger is probably the least expensive. A nice step up from that mid range is the focus, right, Scarlett. They make several different models of it. Some have to input. So you could do stereo. I sort of recommend if you have the money, go ahead and get a stereo input interface, because at some point you're going to want it, particularly if you're in a band and you wanna put up two mikes in a room and record everybody while you're recording at the same time. So if you can. The more inputs, the better. I think that the ah Scarlett, with uh with stereo inputs is somewhere in the 2 to $300 range. That's just just ballpark. And just to give you an idea of something on the high end, there is a universal audio Apollo Siri's, which are really, really good, really pro sound fantastic, and they are thousands of dollars to get into that. So there's a huge range from the $50 bear injure. Check it out on Amazon to the scarlet, the mid range, and there's a bunch of other ones. I just mentioned a few physic it you started. Ah, all those read the reviews, do your own research, but all those typically work fine. Just make sure it's compatible with your system and whatever software you're interested in using. And you know, if it's not, you can send it back if you plan on using MIDI. So Midi is musical instrument digital interface. Minnie is, ah, computer language that simply when you press down on a midi keyboard, it tells the computer, Hey, this person just hit this note this hard and held it down for this long as an example, so it just sends the bits of information about what you're doing. You can trigger that piano sound or that violin sound or that drum sound. So if you're planning on using MIDI and at some point, you probably will be using MIDI a couple of things to think about. If you have, say, a laptop and you are going to be plugging in your USB audio interface into that laptop, that's going to take up one USB port if you are going to use a maid. The interface and it's a USB type, which most of them are. These days, that's also going to use a USB port. So I have had mixed results through the years using hubs with those types of system powered hubs. Sometimes they were great. Sometimes they don't. But I would recommend that if you are going to use both of those that a just make sure you have to open USB ports on your computer if you don't on alternative is to get an interface with a built in MIDI input, so I won't get too deep into that. But that is a possibility that you usually adds about 50 bucks to the ah, the middIe to the price of the audio interface. But that way you plug in your audio interface into your computer via USB and you plug your MIDI device into audio interface. And so you're only using a one USB port at that point and it transfers, transfers the information for you. Okay, 11 quick thing that I'll throw out there that I'm interested in getting myself and I haven't bought one yet. And the price just keeps coming down and keeps coming down is a device that combines everything I just said in tow one device except for the computer. Ah, and I think it comes with some software to, but this is a keyboard that plugs in via USB and also has a built in audio interface. And these dis company is not a sponsor of this podcast, but I would love it if they would like to be a sponsored this podcast. I will do ad for them all the time, especially if they want to send me one of these. It's manufactured by Iike a multimedia, and it is called the I rig Keys. I owe 25 and they also make a 49 Qi version. Now this thing not only will work as an audio interface MIDI interface for your computer, but it's also IOS compatible. It will work with your smartphone as well, so I don't know of any other device out there on the market that does all of this, and that's why I'm interested in it. I saw it on Amazon, I believe. For about $170 Sweetwater has it for 200. I'm a big fan of Sweetwater. I buy a lot of stuff from them as well. So again, if they want to sponsor me, I'll do ads for him all the time, but because I think they're great company. But I buy a lot of stuff from them, but, you know, price shop. You can always ask them if they'll match the price for you for Amazon, and they're usually very good about that. So that's when you might want to check out that gets you everything you need. I'm interested in the 25 key version because I think I can squeeze it into my laptop bag and have everything I need plugging in my computer and boom, I'm done, have everything I need right there as opposed to the Reagan have now, which is several different small pieces. Okay, the last thing that you're going to need is some means of listening to what you've done. And you know any of these products that I've talked about, you know, you can get really expensive with with ease. That's true with a computer. It's true with plug ins for the software. There's, you know, I'm just scratching the surface here, but you can get professional sounding results with just the basic things that I've mentioned. So the thing that you'll need and the reason I say that is, as you guys probably already know, Headphones monitor speakers. They can get very, very expensive, But start with a good set of earbuds. If you've got some ear buds that you use a lot and you've already got him and they sound good to you, you can. That's all you really need. You're gonna want those, though, as your recording, because when you are multi tracking, in other words, if you let's say you lay down some guitar and then you're going to sing on top of that guitar, you need to be able to hear the guitar that you're playing, too, but you don't want it coming out of speakers back into the microphone while you're recording. So when you're recording, you want to always use earbuds or headphones of some sort, so you're gonna need earbuds or headphones. Now there's a bunch of, you know, great headphones out there, and that's a whole nother topic. But I will tell you that I've found some pretty good ear buds on ah on Amazon for in the $30 range, and I don't have the model number in front of me. But if you want to know, shoot me an email. Uh, J C it Jake has music dot com, and I will be glad to give you that model number. And then I'm gonna also tell you about another industry standard headphone. That's in the $100 range called the Sony V six. I have two pairs of these right now, and I've had them for years, and they are built like a tank. The ones that I have remained in Japan. I have not body of the newer versions, I think now maybe made in China. I think you can still get the Japanese version, though, but they are very, very good for tracking and monitoring. You typically don't mix on headphones, but you can. And if I were going to, I would probably use the Sony V six is because of their very flat response, which simply means that they don't make it sound big. And Basie and Bumi and great they don't ah, crank up the high end of the mid range is they just kind of sound like exactly what's there, which is what you want when you're mixing for monitors for speakers. Ah couple ah, brands That makes some great entry level monitors and midlevel monitors and pro level monitors. Mackey is one I use Ah, lot of Maki monitors. I really like him. They make a really small ones all the way to really big ones, and you kind of get what you pay for and when it comes to the world of monitoring, but they're they're fine. Uh, you know, mid range. They make all the way up to professional range monitors. K R K is another very popular brand, so check those out. And if you want to spend the whole bunch of money, check out a company called Focal F O. C. A. L. That's probably going to be my next purchase for monitors. If I replace my Mackey's, they make really, really great high end professional monitors. So just to wrap up here into summarize a little bit, if you are a musician of vocalist, a songwriter, anything you do need to learn how to record yourself. It's not. It's not hard. It may seem a little bit intimidating. Ask one of your musician friends who already knows how to do it, to show you the basics. I guarantee they will be happy to show you those things and show you what they figured out about it. And don't get overwhelmed with it. All you need is a computer and an interface. If you're going to record yourself doing vocals, you will need a microphone. Um, a quick win that you can get that's just again. A great universal under $100 is the sure sm 58 or the shore, sm 57. Those were both industry standard. Mike's there under $100 and they will last you forever, and they will sound fine. So don't get overwhelmed with all the the budget aspect of it. And you know the big picture. There's lots of other options, lots of things you could do their USB microphones that if that's all you're going to do, is just singing to your computer. But I would recommend you get an interface and a microphone, and that way you can cover anything that you need. You're going to need software, So check out the different dollars that I listed that I talked about above, and you will need some way to listen to what you're doing while you're recording, such as headphones or good beer buzz. Play with it. Experiment. Have fun with it. And also remember that YouTube has some amazing videos. If you get stuck on, like, how do I use Garage Man? What's the basics of garage man? Put that in YouTube. Just put in, you know, Garage man basics. I guarantee there will be a fantastic video of somebody who has taken the time to show you the basics of how to get around in garage band for any software like that. So have fun with it. Let me know if you have any questions. I'll be happy to answer him. I teach this stuff to my students as well, so I'm happy to answer any questions like that. You can send me an email at J. C. At Jake has music dot com. I am on YouTube as the studio drummer, and I am on Instagram as the studio drummer. I'm on Twitter as J. C studio drummer and reach out to me. Let me know what you're up to, and if I can do anything to help you, let me know. I hope you enjoy this podcast. And if you did, please hit the subscribe button and please leave me a review. It helps a lot as a new podcast for getting started. I really need reviews and and I need five stars from people that have listened to it so that I can move up in the iTunes rating. I will talk to you soon
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