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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A couple days ago I started responding to a post about home recording here on SOTW and realized that my response was getting long... VERY long. Also, it occurred to me that I've been giving similar advice to many of my friends who are brilliant musicians but know next to nothing about recording. Because of the pandemic, they're being forced to adapt, like I mentioned in the article I wrote for EarthQuaker Devices recently. So I thought it would be worth turning it into a blog post to go into more detail about how to really get started with professional recordings at home.

Here's the blog post. I hope it helps some folks out!
 

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Of course you're going to hate it! I don't know the psychological term for it but most everybody hates to hear themselves playing. The trick is to use the recording to weed out the things that didn't work and put in the things that do work. IOW, its about 'effectiveness'. Your ideas are probably good, but when you play it back, you don't like it. You change it, then it works. You have become more 'effective'. As you go down this path, you strive to get to the point where you play the 'right' stuff the first time around - but without the recordings, you're trying to do it blind, and that is not going to work.
Typically the harshest conditions are encountered on live gigs, which brings out the worst in your playing. When you get live recordings that are favorable, you will have reached a point where recordings at home or in the studio will be that much better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Well, I suppose it wouldn't hurt to clarify... The topic of this article isn't so much the psychological challenge of getting used to hearing your recorded sound on playback. That is indeed a long and arguably traumatizing process, and it took me many years to develop a sound that I'm happy with on any kind of recording. I only address that a tiny bit in the first section, mentioning that the source of the recording – in this case, your own musicianship – is still the most important part, and that's a worthy challenge of a journey.

The actual topic here is to help professional-level musicians who HAVE developed a sound they're happy with, and who have likely participated in many professional studio recordings, record themselves competently at home since it's an increasingly essential skill to have as a working musician in 2020. It was heading that way before the pandemic hit, but this catastrophe has crystallized it. That's why I posted the link in this particular subforum. :)

If an advanced player hears herself on a recording from a studio session, she'll be much, MUCH happier with the sound than she will be with a video or voice memo recording on her smartphone, no matter how fancy the phone is. She won't be able to send a phone recording to her producer friend who wants to pay her to track some parts for a soundtrack.
 

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I agree.... it is very difficult to like it. Especially when somebody recorded me with its mobile phone and showed it to me..... In my experience we must understand that the saxophone (and almost any other instrument) has many frequencies that we hear that are not captured properly by some mics.

It took me many years also to like what I record without modifying it by the console or something similar. Still today I play and play to find what differences can I make to like a little more what I play.

I am happy know with the recordings made while I play.
 

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I liked your article.
This suggestion might sound silly, but if you have someone do any mixing/mastering it will help. The only thing worse than hearing a finished recording of yourself is hearing it over and over during the mixdown process.
 

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Well, I suppose it wouldn't hurt to clarify... The topic of this article isn't so much the psychological challenge of getting used to hearing your recorded sound on playback. That is indeed a long and arguably traumatizing process, and it took me many years to develop a sound that I'm happy with on any kind of recording. I only address that a tiny bit in the first section, mentioning that the source of the recording - in this case, your own musicianship - is still the most important part, and that's a worthy challenge of a journey.

The actual topic here is to help professional-level musicians who HAVE developed a sound they're happy with, and who have likely participated in many professional studio recordings, record themselves competently at home since it's an increasingly essential skill to have as a working musician in 2020. It was heading that way before the pandemic hit, but this catastrophe has crystallized it. That's why I posted the link in this particular subforum. :).
Though I'm not a professional, I enjoyed the article and have appreciated your advice on microphones. As a (somewhat advanced) amateur, I've started learning about home recording as a remedy for not being able to get together with friends for jam sessions and casual gigs. It seems like making lemonade out of lemons, and also an incentive to improve as a player when the public-performance incentives don't exist. It'd be nice to look back on Covid as "the thing that finally got me over the hump with home recording and composition."

Thanks again for sharing your expertise!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thank you, @OhRightSF – and yes, you're right, having a serviceable home-recording rig is very beneficial to developing players, too. After all, it's painful enough to hear yourself on record for the first few (five? Ten?) years of playing, so... a better-sounding means of recording yourself might be some sugar to help the medicine go down. But it's also the only way most of us can collaborate on musical projects with our friends at the moment, and that can't be reserved for pros only! Everyone should be able to make music with their communities, and home recording enables that, for the moment.
 
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