Recording 101óChapter 2

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†††† For simplicityís sake weíre going to first examine how to record an acoustic guitar while singing. The guitar will require 2 microphones, ideally hyper cardiod condensers. One will be placed near the lower bout of the guitar situated so that the diaphragm is parallel with the top of the guitar while the second will be placed near the 12th fret, again parallel to the neck. This will help reject the vocal and keep the guitar track as clean as possible.

 

†††† Insert 3 audio tracks by clicking on Project, then Add Track and then Audio for each track. Arm the tracks you are recording to by clicking on the Record Enable button on each track. Then choose your inputs by first selecting each track and then clicking on the Show Inspector button in the upper left hand corner of the screen and selecting either Left or Right Stereo in for the two guitar mics and In 1 or In 2 for the vocal mic that is connected to the outboard pre-amp (see below).

 

†††† In order to minimize bleed from the vocal mic, the next thing we need to do is to buy some insurance. This will come in the form of a music stand that can be pivoted so that the flat part of the stand covers the two guitar micís as much as possible. This will require some trial and error to arrange everything so that the guitarist/vocalist can play unimpeded.

 

†††† The vocal mic can really be any mic you have laying around since ultimately, weíre not going to keep it anyway. It wonít matter if the guitar bleeds into it for the same reason. Since the Lambda only has 2 mic pre-amps, youíll need to have one for the vocal mic. Check out ARTís Tube MP Studio Mic Pre-amp for about $30.00

 

†† Now, setting levels.. Take time to do this properly and youíll save yourself a lot of time later. While the guitarist/vocalist is warming up have him/her play through the song a few times while you adjust the levels on the preamps using primarily the input meters in Cubase. The input bar graph on the Lambda itself is not accurate enough to dial the levels in properly. Ideally, what you want is for the peaks of the guitar tracks to be at about Ė3db. Using a compressor while recording will help tame the transients so that you donít have any overs (0db, that is).

 

††† If youíre recording yourself, youíll have to record a bit of the song, and then check your results, make adjustments and do it again until things are just so. Once youíve dialed it in, make some notes as to where the settings are for the micís† youíre using and then you can dial it right in the next time. If you use different micís next time, youíll have to go through the whole process again.

 

††† Now that everythingís set up, just click on the red recording button in Cubase and† record. If the takeís not perfect, donít sweat it, just do it again. If you do get frustrated, take a break. Youíll find that the time away will help you relax a bit and figure out what youíre doing wrong and how to correct. After youíve done it a few times, youíll be able to cut a rhythm guitar track with no trouble at all.

 

††† If youíre recording electric rhythm guitar, itís much easier because you can isolate the amplifier or plug right in to the Lambda. This frees up a couple of tracks that you could use as a scratch drum track if you have the capabilities to isolate the drum kit as well. This will require the use of an outboard pre-amp as above. Again setting levels is extremely important so take your time. Itís possible that will youíre recording, youíll get swept up in the song and play louder at some point which will ruin the entire take.

 

†††† The most important thing to do is to have fun. If things arenít going exactly right, step away for a minute. Recording has a pretty steep learning curve but once you get the hang of it, youíll wonder what the big deal was in the first place.†

 

 

Next monthórecording drums.

 

††††††††††††††††

††† If you read the article from last month regarding the Lexicon Lambda system setup, youíll be up to speed. If not, you can catch up by clicking here. Now that weíre all set up, the next thing to do is to start recording.

 

††† There are many different situations youíll encounter when recording yourself, your band or others. The most common, however, is starting with the rhythm guitar part, either electric or acoustic, and layering the vocals, drums, bass, lead guitar, etc. in order to produce the song.

 

†††† Ideally, youíd want to record the rhythm section (bass, drums, rhythm guitar or piano) along with a scratch vocal all at the same time to a click track to keep everything in time. Unfortunately, the Lambda is limited to 4 inputs so the most you can reasonably expect to do first is to record the rhythm guitar and scratch vocal. If youíre recording with microphones, youíll need to devise a method for separating the vocal mic from the micís used to record the guitar. If you donít you could run into problems down the road if you should decide to change a verse, chorus or line.

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