Lessons from home recording…

I thought I’d share some lessons I’ve learnt recently from my experiences in home recording. I’ll do it over several posts, but the first main lesson I’d have to say is KISS.

Not the glam-rock band, but ‘keep it simple stupid’. More specifically, the less tracks you have for a song, the less mess you’re likely to get in.

In an effort to want a song I’m recording to sound as ‘pro’ as I can get it (for a home-recording hobbyist) I’ll often add all kinds of overdubbs and extra tracks including guitar licks, extra percussion, several keyboard sounds and harmonies. But a thing I’ve realised, everytime you add a new track you have to make more decisions on gain, compression, panning, equalisation and other effects, as well as how it fits into the overall mix.

Furthermore, if you’re not accurate with timing and pitch, then things start sounding loose and messy the more tracks you have. Different tracks may cover up a mistake, but they also may cause it to sound more pronounced.

So, I’ve found it’s easy to deal firstly with basic bass, drum machine (no real drummer unfortunately), rhythm guitar, one main vocal and maybe harmony, and either lead guitar or keyboards. This makes the job of mixing and arranging less daunting. In fact it’s also good to just work on acoustic guitar and voice sometimes as well.

By the way I use Audacity for all my mixing, but I record via a Yamaha SIAB box.


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