Hard Drives (There was a serious flood that caused hard drive prices to soar after I recorded this, so they might be more pricey now than I mentioned in the video)
Hi! I’m Dave from boyinaband.com and it’s time to wrap up our studio assembling journey here in Day 7, where we’ll talk about those little bits and bobs we haven’t yet mentioned. Are you sad that our journey is nearly at an end Kieran?
I’m not really sad, I didn’t get emotionally attached to it.
Fantastic. And you know what else it’s difficult to get emotionally attached to? Hard Drives.
Recording high quality audio takes up a lot of hard drive space – so if your computer isn’t particularly flush for the stuff, grab yourself a terabyte or two – I’ve had a 2TB hard disk for about 4 years now and still haven’t filled it up, to give you a rough guide. You can get external USB 1TB hard drives for about £50 these days – and to everyone from the future who can get 10 Petabytes for that much, well screw you.
So get yourself an external hard drive and BACK UP FREQUENTLY. Seriously, make several versions of each song you make, and once in a while back up your entire catalogue. I’ve avoided some scary close calls by doing this.
To answer your first question – Virtual Studio Technology. Now, let’s explain that VSTs are the wonderful bits of software that plug in to most DAWs. Not Reason though, Reason is special. Anyway, they do all kinds of things – processing sounds with distortion, reverb and other effects or making sounds themselves as synthesizers and samplers. Basically doing all the things that back in ye olde days of recording involved tons of expensive outboard hardware. Aren’t you grateful you live in the future, Kieran?
Didn’t you just tell people from the future to go screw themselves?
Stop being so hypocritical, Kieran. Anyway, there are free ones and there are paid ones – this is a whole topic unto itself but if you are ever stuck for inspiration, search google for good VSTs – and if you’re looking to spend money on getting some really good ones, here are some that I use:
Sugar Bytes WOW – a great formant filter that gets really cool growly bass sounds
Sugar Bytes Effectrix – a fantastic VST that allows you to add effects over time really easily without tons of messy envelopes. Has a great turntable stop effect too.
CamelPhat – Really good filter and distortion plugin
CamelSpace – Fantastic delay and reverb kinda plugin, makes things sound horrendously pro.
Fabfilter’s VSTs – There’s loads of good ones here, I use the EQ and compression all the time. Really nice visualisation of what’s going on.
Direct Injection boxes – don’t laugh Kieran, it’s immature – are quite cheap little boxes that can be pretty useful. They take a high impedance, unbalanced signal and convert it to a low impedance, balanced signal. What do they do Kieran?
They unbalance your impotence?
*sigh* Okay, basically I’ve found them useful for either reducing the volume of an incoming signal – some bass guitars particularly I’ve used would have clipped without one, or removed hum from an input from a long lead. They’re quite cheap (like £20) and give you an excuse to buy something that seems kinda studio-y.
Here’s one you might have forgotten – not all microphones come with leads, you’ll need to know the different types too. The two main types studio users will need to know are:
XLR leads, the 3 pronged ones, which are used for microphones. [show]
and Quarter inch leads, the ones that are commonly known as guitar leads. [show]
These can both be bought for less than a fiver. You’ll probably need a few if you’re as bad at losing leads as I am. Though I do have a lot of lassos now.
And for all y’all wanting to know the difference – the XLR has a higher signal to noise ratio – basically meaning things you record with it have less background noise than with a quarter inch. I can’t tell the difference though, to be honest.
And we can’t forget samples – if you’re making electronic music, stuff like orchestral music, or want to emulate live drums for example, samples are frickin’ useful.
They are basically just recorded sounds that you can legally make music with – They usually come in the form of sample packs containing a bunch of the things or patches for VST samplers.
Good, powerful samples are vital when making professional quality music, so ensure that when you’re listening to them, you think “Yes, I could imagine this in a professionally produced song” before you splash out.
I’d advise checking out Primeloops.com, which is where I get most of my samples from.
But if you don’t mind copyright issues, go ahead and rip off sounds from other songs to your hearts content. Hey, worked for Dr Dre, Fatboy Slim and a zillion other huge producers.
And there we have it! There’s obviously loads more to look at – I haven’t touched on pre-amps, hardware effects, racks, live performance gear, computers and I’ve only scraped the surface of some things in this guide – however, hopefully you’ll now know enough to go out and put together a studio capable of recording noises and putting them in some sort of order. Feel free to call it music if you want.
Cheers for watching this guide and be sure to subscribe to boyinaband for more music related videos. Like this one, or this mysterious looking one.
So do you have any last words to share with our viewers Kieran?
I sure do!