#1August 25th, 2005 · 12:58 PM
13 threads / 1 songs
408 posts
United States of America
Constructive Criticism
I obviously like alliteration I'm new and want to hear some feedback. esp. from btbowen, Eyeheartkittens and TonightsLastSong and anyone else who can go into a little detail, don't mind a long narration as long as it has a point;)

1. Want to know what the best way to record a song is without much money.
2. How do you feel about those "taxi" websites where you give them money to forward your songs to top record labels?
#2August 25th, 2005 · 01:53 PM
8 threads / 7 songs
96 posts
Canada
underwhelmingly underqualified
I don't know that I really have tons to say on this subject, but I'll give it a shot:

Best way to record a song without a lot of money? Umn... I have played on lots of friends' recordings for free, so that when it comes time for me to get something recorded they return the favour. Also, it sounds a little unlikely, but there are always people out there with new equipment who want to do some recording to cut their teeth. Our quartet recorded about 7 hrs' worth of stuff for free (well, we gave him coffee and many many thanks) because the engineer hadn't done jazz before, and wanted to see what he could do... ask around. You're probably only one or two degrees away from someone like this.

The other thing is that you *can* spend $10 on a mic, plug it into your PC, get audacity (http://audacity.sourceforge.net/), which is a super, free recording program, and put stuff out there. Daniel Iorio (www.danieliorio.com) is a great example of this, and he won a bunch of indie online music awards recently and everything.

viz. the Taxi websites, I have never used 'em; I don't trust 'em. Everyone wants to make a buck, and it seems to me all they're doing is taking out some of the legwork involved in getting your music into the right hands. It doesn't guarantee a contract at all (whether or not you even want a contract with a major label is another discussion altogether)... You're always better off making a name for yourself first by playing a bunch of gigs and being on other people's stuff, and eventually things will begin to turn around. If your stuff is good, and people like it, you will start getting attention, and then maybe make an EP @ home (but make sure it's as good as it can sound - soundproof the room, isolate the instruments if you're recording more'n one at a time, get the arrangements tight, etc etc) and sell it from the stage...

also, another route I have yet to take is getting an agent, but I have friends who have done so who now work a whole lot and just play music, and make a decent living...

s'at a good start?
#3August 26th, 2005 · 07:17 AM
115 threads / 18 songs
1,414 posts
United States of America
sorry it took a while for me to respond.  i saw the posts yesterday,b ut i didn't have time to really respond.  i got my car towed and i was trying to sort that out

but anyway...

let me tell you, i have no money whatsoever.  i have a job, and i get by, but i live from paycheck to paycheck.  that's just how you have to do things sometimes.

what i did though, was go to radioshack (shoot me now, i know) and bought a sound board.  it's not the greatest thing in the world, but it did what i wanted it to:  it had multiple "in" ports, 2 "out" ports, basic 3-level equalization, "repeat" effects (if tuned right, produce a lovely reverb effect), and had a mic plug.  the one i bought actually has 2 mic plugs, one for a quarter-inch jack and one for a standard mic (those big round, 3-prong plugs... i forget what they're called).

anyway, my point is, i went to radioshack to take advantage of the cheapness, but i didn't go TOO cheap.  i paid $150 for the sound board, and it does everything i wanted it to do.  i paid another $35 something for a decent (we're speaking in "relative" terms here), omni-directional mic.  i personally like the omnidirectional mics because the "straight-on" ones ... well, you have to speak or sing straight into them, and that's where a WHOLE LOT of those unwanted breath noises and harsh "p" and "d" sounds come from.  with the omnidirectional, i can sing with the mic angled almost sideways from my mouth.  if the volume is amp'd enough, you get great volume and yet you don't get those awful breath sounds.

so yeah, that's my setup on the equipment right now. as for software, i use Audacity as well.  i only use it for the recording phase though.  it's very simple to use, and cut and paste and shift.  it's just simple.  but after i record the stuff (without any effects, except maybe that slight reverb i was talking about), i export the audio into 3 or 4 different tracks.

(the number of tracks that i usually export to varies from song to song, depending on how i want to mix the final result.)

anyway, the tracks i usually mix down to, i call:

"music.mp3"
"vocal1.mp3"
"vocal2.mp3"

i save them at a 320 bitrate, and then import each of those things into a spiffier program, like Kristal Audio or maybe a Adobe Audition trial ( ) and start applying effects to it like mad, trying to adjust volume levels, pan the sound on the vocal tracks from left to right (whichever i want), etc etc.

the only real audio "editing" that i do with Audacity is the recording phase.  i leave mastering out of the picture until i import into a different program, like Kristal.  Kristal is free by the way, and it has better live-manipulation than Audacity.  the reason i don't record with Kristal is that it's simply not as easy and intuitive to use as Audacity is.

the ONLY effect that i'll apply to the audio in Audacity is a Compressor effect.  i typically do this to any vocal work once i get the volume adjusted to "about right."  Compressing the audio just makes it sound better b/c it brings out the soft syllables and reduces the high tones that were too loud.

anyway... i realize that not many people can just go buy a major program like Audition, or Cubase, or Sonar.  it's a freakin ton of money if you simply don't have money to spend.  i found a campus copy of DeepFreeze and am currenly exploiting it on a partition of my hard drive so that i can keep my adobe Audition trial alive as long as possile   i don't recommend that approach though, as DeepFreeze creates some other problems that aren't always worth reckoning with...

but anyway, my approach is:

get a soundboard that has at least a few quarter-inch inputs, at least a 3-band equalizer, volume-mixing sliders for each input, and maybe a "Delay" / "Repeat" effect.  i also have several other gadgets on mine, like panning left or right for each channel, but you don't always need that sort of thing, as it can be done manually while audio-editing and mastering.  sometimes you need some cable adapters in order to run the instruments to the soundboard, and also from the soundboard to the line-in or mic ports on your computer sound card.

i use my office at work to record in.  that seems absurd, i'll admit, but once all the faculty people leave, the place is mine, as far as i'm concerned, and i don't have to feel retarded for hitting a completely wrong note, because nobody is around to hear!  anyway, the setting should definitely be one where the background noise is limited.  see, i'd record at home, but i'm the oldest of 6 children, and so there's kids running around everywhere.  so, aside from my feeling self-conscious and embarrassed to be singing, there's not nearly enough quietness.

if you've got a friend with a computer in an apartment or something, that's awesome, because then it's either just you and him/her, or maybe s/he'll let you alone and go shopping while you work on their computer with all the audio stuff.

it's hard to just give a "fix-all" solution, i'm sure you know.  anyway, that's what i do.

as for taxi-websites... i'm not sure. i've never tried to use one.  i'm sure it CAN help, but i personally like it when people who hear my music know who i am.  they have a face to put with it.

sometimes, that's not very do-able, especially when you're dealing with a bigger audience and not the "local scene."  there comes a point where you have to sacrific being personal with the listener in order to get into a label.  quite honestly, the label isn't going to want to know if you're an interesting person... they make prefer it so that you're not a pain to deal with, but they want results.

in effect, yeah, taxi websites might have their use.  i haven't used one, but that's because i'm moving to canada in 4 weeks, and i've got to leave behind this music until i get back, 2 years from now.

once i get back though...

we'll see 
#4August 26th, 2005 · 10:12 AM
8 threads / 7 songs
96 posts
Canada
deeply digressional
...don't leave your music there; bring it with you! Canada has a *thriving* music community. Where, perchance, are you going to be "in Canada" (small nation that it is)?
#5August 26th, 2005 · 10:15 AM
115 threads / 18 songs
1,414 posts
United States of America
far eastern areas.  i'm learning french, as i'll be required to speak it there   Montreal area specifically, but i'll be out and about a little north of there too.
#6August 26th, 2005 · 10:41 AM
13 threads / 1 songs
408 posts
United States of America
Thank you
Thanks for all the detail, guys, I aprrciate you taking the time.
TLS does your soundboard replace a preamp and mixer? Your vocals are great, not my style, but great. Did you use a OD mic for the songs you put on this site? Also, I've found, just by singing into whatever mic I can get my hands on try to unstress p's and s's. Sing them as if you are going to sing them but trail off. It might sound wierd, and definetly unnatural but it works when you're using a terrible mic(at least with puh and sss). Does this make sense?
BT- love your jazz! You might have mentioned it but what instrument do you play?
I visited Montreal a couple of years back and the only fun thing I did was go to a jazz club-not that Montreal sucks, I was with a boring group
Thanks agian!
#7August 26th, 2005 · 10:52 AM
8 threads / 7 songs
96 posts
Canada
ha. went to Montreal for New Year's when I was in college and saw the craziest drag show. not boring friends, needless to say.

Thanks so much for your kindness about my music. Now if only I could find a way to make it more commercially viable...!

instrument(s)? trumpet... & marching mellophone. I have actually been exercising my manic collector's side for a while now, so I have a mellophone, a frumpet, a trumpet, a pocket trumpet, and just recently bought a marching (valve) trombone in Bb which has yet to arrive from Florida. whee. my wife has put a moratorium on more buying for a while. We don't really have any more room... 
#8August 26th, 2005 · 11:09 AM
13 threads / 1 songs
408 posts
United States of America
I sympathize with your wife But I did buy a CD from that jazz band I heard, I hope that is consolation.
#9August 26th, 2005 · 11:10 AM
115 threads / 18 songs
1,414 posts
United States of America
your questions, CC...

TLS does your soundboard replace a preamp and mixer?

Did you use a OD mic for the songs you put on this site?

Does this make sense?

yes, yes, yes.

as for the first question...

i might be better off using a seperate preamp, but i simply don't have the money to do that   as for the mixer ability, the board is cabable of that, but most of the time i'm only recording one thing at a time anyway, so i don't have much need for straight mixing.

i do the music and then the vocal tracks seperatly.  that may seem like an obvious "duh" statement, but i thought i should say so anyway.  i have to do it that way because of overlaying vocals anyway, but i defnitely keep the tracks going just one at a time to avoid as much trouble as possible.

more about pre-amp though..

like i said, i'd probably be better off using one, but i don't.  the sound board can apply some "gain" to the track volume, so i do that, but i still record to the computer with my computer only taking about 1/3 of it's max volume for the line-in jack.  that way, i don't get massive clipping issues, and i can use Audacity to manually amplify the sound if it needs to be louder.  it's always better to have the sound too quiet than too loud.  you can amplify quiet noise, but you can't de-amplify noise that got clipped because it was too loud.

anway, there's my two cents
#10August 26th, 2005 · 11:19 AM
8 threads / 4 songs
246 posts
United Kingdom
what on earth is a pocket trumpet?  thats potentially the coolest thing ive EVER heard of!!
#11August 26th, 2005 · 12:44 PM
13 threads / 1 songs
408 posts
United States of America
I agree with the way you record TLS. I'd much rather do one thing at the time. And it's obviously working for you, the guitar sounds very clear. Thanks for the help.
BT-you are a true musician, it's unfortunate jazz isn't more appreciated, esp when you think about musicians who can improvise on stage and just go with the groove.
#12August 26th, 2005 · 06:23 PM
8 threads / 7 songs
96 posts
Canada
pocket trumpets are this novelty item that for the longest time nobody but a very select few played (most notable Don Cherry - http://www.jazz-vision.de/90cherry0607.jpg, who gained famed playing one with Ornette Coleman in the 60s). It's the same key and register as a normal trumpet, but it's been coiled up really tightly.

here...
http://www.trevorjonesltd.co.uk/images/KanstulPocketTrumpet.jpg

they were really badly made for aeons and you could only get a good one for like $2K - $3K from really high-end companies, but in the last couple years they've gained popularity and now Amati (and Jupiter) makes them for about $600, and they're pretty good. So. Got a nice tax return this year and bought one in time for a trip to (my native) UK... stuck it in its case in the bottom of my ruck sack. Perfect for travelling.

BT

(btw, CC, tx. though it should be made clear that my wife has worked hard to get my swelling head down to its current size, and she'll have yours if I start having trouble getting through the front door again)
#13August 26th, 2005 · 09:48 PM
8 threads / 4 songs
246 posts
United Kingdom
lolol!!!

thats awesome!!
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