The truth about home recording

Do you play guitar, piano or keyboard? Do you sing a bit? Be it on your own songs or perhaps you like to sing some of your favourite tunes? Do you have  a computer and sometimes you record yourself? If this is you, Rapunzel studios would really like to hear your work, we love to hear what's out there.

A common story of people who record at home is that these people have read in a brochure or advertisement somewhere or they are told by the guy in the music shop that times have changed and you can now make professional quality recordings at home using a £100 microphone and a cheap interface. While I believe this to be 100% truth, I'd like to write a few words to try to explain the reality of recording at home and why most people who actually want their music to be listened to would be better off recording in a real studio (especially mine).

 

Firstly, most people who record themselves don't realise how good they are, or more accurately, how good they could be. They record their stuff onto programs like Garageband, Audacity, Logic, Cubase or Protools, they've read on the internet on sites like gearslutz, the Recording Revolution, Pensado's place and Sound on Sound about how to make themselves sound good with the use of compression and E.Q. and virtual instruments. They are quite happy with how the songs almost sound like a real record. They listen to their recordings over and over again until they become a part of their very soul and they know every detail of the sound. They upload them to soundcloud or bandcamp and share their work on Facebook and bamm!! They get a handful of likes and a comment or two. I should know, I've been there.
What people don't realise is that if they were recorded by an engineer with experience and sympathetic ears their recordings will be better. When I say better, I'm not talking about higher fidelity I'm talking about recordings that make you feel the song and please your ears (more about this later). You don't need me to tell you that better recordings mean better paid gigs, more fans, more radio play, more sales, better looking groupies, a happy existence and world peace BUT, most importantly, and I can't stress this enough, more listens!

I'm not going into it too much now (I'll save that for another post) but the internet has changed music, in my opinion largely for the better, in some ways worse but think about it for a second; you sit down for a meal and you want some music in the background. Nowadays you literally can listen to anything and everything that has ever been recorded, for free!!  What makes you think they're going to choose your music that you recorded in your bedroom? And this is my whole point. You need people when they think "what shall I put on"  to think "I know, I'm really in the mood for some [insert your band name here]" The difference between your songs recorded in your bedroom and a professional recording (done by me) is how it makes you feel. Most people when they listen to music they aren't thinking "oh those transients need to be tamed, the low end is flabby and it needs a cut at 7khz" they just like the music or they don't. When you hear one of Lou Reed's hits for example, you don't think about how this note or that note is out of tune you just feel the emotion of the song and you're taken (hopefully) to the place where the composer wanted to take you. Like a form of hypnosis.

I don't want to upset any one but chances are if you had never heard Lou Reed before and you saw him singing for the first time down at your local open mic you wouldn't expect him to sell the millions of records he has sold. Don't get me wrong, I am of the school of thought that much like a good guitarist can make good music with any crappy old guitar, a good engineer can make a good record with a cheap mic and interface. When it comes to mixing, the best tool you can have is a good set of ears and experience. They say that to be good at something you have to do it for 10,000 hours and that's something I agree with.

I hear songs routinely on Facebook which could be really good but they're not, they're average. Without wanting to blow my own trumpet too much, with my 10+ years of experience starting with university and later real world experience, if it was me who had mixed those songs I think they would be something that people actually want to sit down and listen to, share with friends and put on at a diner party. If you don't believe me send me a song and I'll mix it. I think you'll be surprised. Not only you will be impressed, but the guy at the radio station, your girlfriend or boyfriend, that friend of a friend who stumbles on it on Facebook, they all will be. I mean, do you really think that Bob Dylan would be where he is today if he had just settled with his home recording of 'blowin' in the wind' recorded on a Rode NT1 and a Focusrite scarlet? Not me. But that's not my point, if George Martin mixed it, it would be great! The point is, Bob stuck to what he does best; writing songs which is actually what most musicians should do.

Don't get me wrong, home recording is brilliant and can be awesome (where would I be with out it?), everyone should do it, I'm just trying to make people aware that until they are really good at recording and mixing and if they have any ambition to improve their lives as a musician or to impress their friends and spouses and fulfil their potential as the great musicians they are, then they really need to get in touch with Rapunzel studios.

Thanks for reading everyone.

We look forward to hearing from you at Rapunzel Studios.

 

"better recordings mean better paid gigs, more fans, more radio play, more sales, better looking groupies, a happy existence and world peace"

 

"When it comes to mixing, the best tool you can have is a good set of ears and experience"