Recording in the Studio - "The Lab"
Digital recording and making music from the comfort of
a computer or digital audio workstation (DAW) has undeniably become the current movement in today's recording world. Personally,
technology has moved so fast that I call it "The Brave New World" of recording. Yes, it's super-duper hi-tech "where-no-man-has-gone-before"
stuff going on with recording and mixing these days. Technology has changed so much over the years - putting the majority
of audio recording and mix productions delivered almost entirely in the digital realm. Actually, I can imagine by the time
you're reading this, there may be new formats with new technologies for the coming years being developed that will be even
more amazing than the present tools.
Recording using analog tape was a great time, and is
occasionally still used. I personally miss the "fatness" (warmth, roundness, and punch) of analog. But digital technology
has come so far - it's incredible. Technology has given us some very powerful DAWs to create music efficiently, and for less
Digital workstations and software-based computer recording
environments consist of a digital audio system that is set up for recording and mixing with console software and/or hardware
control surfaces, audio inputs/outputs, converters, and storage devices for saving audio and other data. Most systems come
with screen graphics to display visually what is happening sonically.
So much is available to make music today; Pro Tools, Logic
Pro, Ableton Live, Reason, Cubase, Sonar, Record, Fruity Loops, Akai has the MPC Renaissance, and I just saw a glance of a
touch screen system from Slate Pro Audio; The Raven MTX Multi-Touch Production System. There are also an incredible array
of audio plug-ins, virtual instruments and soft-synths available.
Soft-synths - Virtual Instruments?
Soft-synth: Soft-synth is short for Software Synthesizer - which is basically a
virtual musical instrument (VI) for a computer. These programs are software-based instruments that make sound, and some emulate
hardware synthesizers, classic synthesizer keyboards, and drum machine type percussion instruments. Some also sample. Because
of the remarkable advances in today's technology, the emulation of physical hardware instruments is very good. You can use
software instruments using a mouse, USB keyboard, MIDI controller to trigger sounds.
Audio Plug-in: An audio plug-in is computer software that is used to add to, enhance,
create, analyze, or change the audio in a digital audio computer program. In most cases, when an engineer refers to a "plug-in"
he or she is talking about a software-based digital signal processing application used to enhance the sound in the recording.
Plug-ins can do many things such as processing sound for reverb, echo and delays, EQ (equalization), compressors and limiting,
to emulating instruments and audio analyzing of sound and more.
Before we move into some of the fundamentals of getting
your music project recorded, there is something that I would like to ask you to give great consideration to. If you're going
to be working on music that is likely to be used as more than "just a demo" or a rough recording, it will usually
be to your advantage to either learn about audio recording (at least a little), or have someone working with you that knows
what they are doing when it comes to recording and studio engineering (See Audio Production Schools). Many times, artists and producers take the recording process for granted - believing they can make a good recording or
a high-quality record without having any knowledge or skills in audio engineering. But, audio engineering is still an area
where you need to have some skills on the technical side, have great ears, and have some experience in knowing what to do,
when to do it, and how to do it. Also, having some creativity is a great plus.