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Discussion Starter #1
my band has made quite a bit of $$$ playing shows and we are going to spend some of it to go into a recording studio and record a demo that doesn't sound like crap so that more venues will hopefully be fooled into thinking we don't suck and that way we can get......more shows!

We've done some homemade recordings and such but this will be the first time in a studio for all of us. Any advice from you guys who've done it? We're planning on having everything in the songs we're recording totally clean and perfect by the time we record so hopefully it'll go quick (although it probably won't). I'm writing some solos so I can practice them and get them totally clean so I wont have to improvise in the studio. Its a 5 piece rock/jam band. Any other tips or advice or things I should know beforehand that thou learned sages of the sax wouldst bestow upon me?

BTW this is in here since its a rock band and I thought there might be things unique to recording that style. if there's a better sub-forum for this plz let me know!
 

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I just want to add a couple of suggestions:

--Budget around 2x the time for mixing as for laying down tracks

--Don't try to record too many tunes in one day

--Don't mix on the same day as you lay the tracks; ears get fatigued

--take a rough mix home after the tracking session, and listen to it in a variety of ways (in the car, on earbuds, on crappy speakers, on nice speakers). Your demo needs to sound good on them ALL.

Have a blast--it's hard work to record, but the end product lasts a looong time:)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks Neil! I'll read that later tonight.

hakukani said:
I just want to add a couple of suggestions:

--Budget around 2x the time for mixing as for laying down tracks

--Don't try to record too many tunes in one day

--Don't mix on the same day as you lay the tracks; ears get fatigued

--take a rough mix home after the tracking session, and listen to it in a variety of ways (in the car, on earbuds, on crappy speakers, on nice speakers). Your demo needs to sound good on them ALL.

Have a blast--it's hard work to record, but the end product lasts a looong time:)
we were thinking many of these things as well, glad we're on the right track. we're planning on spending several hours recording on the first day and go back for mixing the second day to break things up so we're not cooped up in the studio all day. We're keeping the number of songs low since its a demo and we dont wanna be crunched for time and have to rush the recording process. better to have 4 good tracks than 7 bad ones. we're gonna have more than 4 songs prepared though just in case we end up having extra time to record an extra track or two.

I appreciate the advice! We're looking forward to it alot.
 

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I would suggest (and this is totally focused on you as a sax player) finding a studio that is run by a sax player or other horn player. I have heard some really crappy recordings of sax come out of studios that purportedly knew what they were doing. Some places just don't know how to handle a sax because they aren't familiar with it. Now if you were in NJ I could reccomend someone very highly, but I doubt you want to make that trip, But I do know of one in NC as well.
 

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Bill Mecca said:
I have heard some really crappy recordings of sax come out of studios that purportedly knew what they were doing.
Here here! One of my studio nightmares occured at place in Newton, MA called The Mix Lab (many moons ago). I was overdubbing bari parts on a funky TV show main title written by Mark Holden. The engineer was John Nagy, who was responsible, in large part, for the early 'clean' ECM sound. Gary Burton New Quartet was one of his, if I recall correctly. I thought I was in good hands. I was miced with an EV RE20, while the U87 hung idly by. The sound was tubby and muddy. When we spoke about it later, Nagy told me he didn't know that it mattered. I love the track, but hate the way I sound on it. All those hours I spent on that Lawton 7*B, right down the....
 

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I'm curious as to who is doing your recording work. The husband of my wife's niece, Gary Fly, is building a rep in Atlanta/Athens area.

I concur that you need to limit your number of songs...and the duration of each. Club owners and festival bookers won't/don't take the time to listen to an entire CD. Perhaps have the first cuts be short "snippets" of the best songs ..and include the full versions on the CD as well.
 

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What studio are you booking time in? I'm familiar with several around Atlanta since I live in the area.........daryl
 

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Be prepared to spend 2 hours miking the drums and 5 minutes on the sax. Eat before you get there or bring some food. Bring bottled water. Break in several reeds in advance. It's often better to wear the headphones over one ear only. Don't handle the mics; let the studio guys do it. Try not to settle for a lousy headphone mix just because everyone else is satisfied.Don't let anybody get drunk until you're finished for the day.Ditto on the weed or other intoxicants.Get plenty of sleep the night before.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
LBAjazz said:
Be prepared to spend 2 hours miking the drums and 5 minutes on the sax. Eat before you get there or bring some food. Bring bottled water. Break in several reeds in advance. It's often better to wear the headphones over one ear only. Don't handle the mics; let the studio guys do it. Try not to settle for a lousy headphone mix just because everyone else is satisfied.Don't let anybody get drunk until you're finished for the day.Ditto on the weed or other intoxicants.Get plenty of sleep the night before.
all words of wisdom. our guitarist has a bit of a drinking problem (if you can call full-blown underage alcoholism a "bit" of a problem) and we've already had to deal with his crap after he totally ruined a recent show. needless to say if he touches a drop before or during playing again he's out of the band for good. the rest of us are all wise to that and stay sober till the afterparty. when you're impaired you only sound better to yourself.

and miking drums is a PAIN. and its annoying to listen to too.

I'm not sure what the name of the recording studio is since I wasnt involved in booking us there, I'll find out. Its not in ATL though. My permanent residence is in ATL but during the school year I live in greenville, SC, since I go to college there, so we're doing it at a place in greenville.
 

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Drums are ...<what?> can't quite hear you, sorry.

Yeah, when sound guys get together, they talk about mics and miking drums. I engineered a CD that was ALL percussion. Percussion ensemble, djembe ensemble, steel drum band, Afro-Cuban sacred bata, and New Orleans 'kitchen' band.

It was fun to do, but a great deal of work.
 

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I agree with comments regarding sax recording. i've worked with some studio guys that just didn't have any sax background, and it showed!
Take caution, watch how they mic, if they stick the mic right in the bell, you know somethings wrong... (obviously :) ).
 

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Discussion Starter #14
the place is called Sit'n Spin, website is www.sitnspininc.com

They generally do demos and stuff, so the rates are cheap. A friend's band just recorded there recently and their demo came out really well, we were pleasantly surprised, so hopefully ours will come out well too.

One of the co-owners, Matt Morgan, seems to have done live sound for quite a variety of stuff, including Derek Trucks (I love derek trucks, if Morgan is good enough for Trucks he's good enough for me), Hootie and the Blowfish, and Edwin McCain. McCain uses sax in "I'll Be" a little bit, so the guy's at least had some experience with it from that, and he's probably done horns for other things too. anyway it'll be a fun learning experience.
 

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Recording Advice

I think the biggest thing I've learned is to get a track as good as possible and then walk away from it. Listen the next day, with fresh ears and the actual musical performance will be seperated from the moment you-all had while tracking it.

I have had the experience of feeling like we just killed it - all high fivin each other and thinking we were studs. The next day we go back in and listen and wonder what happened. The emotion of the moment does not get on tape, and the pitch, feel, timing, solo ideas, or whatever; end up sounding much less than it felt the day before.

I always leave 12-24 hours before making a "keeper" judgment.

The suggestions to listen on a few devices is really good too because sometimes, a lower quality system might reveal a pitch conflict or mix error not heard on those thousand dollar speakers.

Good luck,

SAXBOY
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Ok, we spent 7 hours in the studio today. It went great. The sound guy was really chill and really easy to work with, and definately knows what he's doing. I was skeptical at first because he seemed a little too relaxed for his own good and I was afraid he wasn't gonna know what he was doing or put in much effort, and this place has fairly cheap rates so we weren't expecting much, but when we laid down the first song and listened to it I was amazed at how we sounded, and he did some great editing while we were there. He definately knows how to record a great sound and then make it even better.

Basically the drums, bass, electric guitar and singer were in one room, and I was in another. They werent recording the singer today, we're gonna go back and lay down the vocals later this week, he just sang so we could hear all the parts and keep track better. We wanted to get the drums recorded since they're the biggest headache to move and set up, and the guitar and bass as well so that we wouldn't have to try to match the same settings on them that we were using today. I was being recorded, but only to get a bead on how I sounded. I am going back later this week to lay down the real sax tracks. I'm sure many of you guys are familiar with this stuff but its the first time for me so its pretty exciting.

So basically we have six songs recorded, minus vocals, and with passable sax parts (I only did one or two takes per song) which I am going to redo by myself so I can spend more time on it (its easier to bring a sax back to redo a part than to bring the drums back, so we focused on getting them right first). He had me using an AKG 414, which picked me up much better than the SM-98 I use onstage. The 98 is more direct and "narrow" sounding, while the AKG is better at picking up the full range of the sound, so you can hear the lows much better, it definately flattered the sonic qualities of my Keilwerth. I can't believe how full and mature my sound was even without any effects, we're talking just the raw sound as it was recorded. I've always been looking for a certain sound I've had in my head, which I'm sure you can all relate to, and focused my choice of horn, mouthpiece, and lig on achieving that, but I've only ever heard horrible quality recordings of myself so this entire time I didn't realize that I'd already achieved the sound I've always wanted! I was amazed when I heard it today: full and rich, open but not thin, with a little bit of edge, it is a very satisfying sound to listen to. I can't wait to get back into the studio to lay down my tracks over what we did today.

Thanks for the great advice from everyone, alot of it definately came in handy and I feel like I went in better prepared than I otherwise would have.

edit: oh yeah, I'll post a song for critique when everything's finished, probably in two weeks.
 

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AKG 414s are my favorite mic for a lot of applications. In fact, it would be my 'desert island' choice.

Glad you had a good session.
 
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