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#237893 - 07/11/08 01:55 PM how did you record your demo?
Lucky2Bhere Offline
Member

Registered: 03/04/06
Posts: 533
The days of "everyone wants to hear a demo" has arrived (actually it arrived a few years ago). May I tap into those of you arranger players who recorded demo's? How did you do it?

I have tried making a demo over the years and they never seem to come out right. Not the musicianship, but the sound. It never seems to sound integrated or with any life force. I even spent a month in a studio with nothing to show for it.

I have a Tascam 644 MIDIstudio 8 track tape recorder, and a Roland BR1180CD Digital Recorder (unused so far), and very good microphones.

I'm particularly looking for that fat, thick sound on vocals that Donny has on HIS demo's.
And...a general "full" sound on the whole kaboodle.

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#237894 - 07/11/08 04:53 PM Re: how did you record your demo?
Dnj Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 09/21/00
Posts: 40742
email me we'll talk....

onemanband52@yahoo.com

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#237895 - 07/12/08 05:26 AM Re: how did you record your demo?
travlin'easy Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/08/02
Posts: 14519
Loc: Forest Hill, MD USA
Lucky,

The easiest, least expensive and, IMO, best way is to follow the instructions I posted at http://psrtutorial.com/L/REC/MakeCD.html . I suggest downloading the Beta version of Audacity, which is very good and allows multitrack recording and has outstanding editing features.

Good Luck,

Gary

------------------
Travlin' Easy
_________________________
PSR-S950, TC Helicon Harmony-M, Digitech VR, Samson Q7, Sennheiser E855, Custom Console, and lots of other silly stuff!

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#237896 - 07/12/08 05:32 AM Re: how did you record your demo?
Nigel Offline
Admin

Registered: 06/01/98
Posts: 6202
Loc: Ventura CA USA
You can download Audacity from http://audacity.sourceforge.net/about/?lang=en

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#237897 - 07/12/08 05:34 AM Re: how did you record your demo?
Nigel Offline
Admin

Registered: 06/01/98
Posts: 6202
Loc: Ventura CA USA
Kristal is also pretty nice multitrack software that is available for free from http://www.kreatives.org/kristal/

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#237898 - 07/12/08 06:57 AM Re: how did you record your demo?
Lucky2Bhere Offline
Member

Registered: 03/04/06
Posts: 533
Travel and Nigel, thanks, but I must have asked this question the wrong way.

What I meant was: Not...what software recording program did you use, but how were you playing your instruments as it was being fed into the recorder?

Were you using a MIDI file and singing on top of it? Did you multi-track one part on top of another? Did you use the room reverberation or the recorder's effects? How did you process the vocals for that "thick" sound? Did you do the instrumental part first and then sing over it? Or.....did you do it all in one take.....sat down with your keyboards and just played away?

I'm humble enough to say this has been a thorn in my side for years and I lose work because of it.

Donny...thanks...I WILL email you privately to hear what YOU did yourself.

Lucky

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#237899 - 07/12/08 12:15 PM Re: how did you record your demo?
mikeathome1 Offline
Member

Registered: 08/23/04
Posts: 1208
Loc: Syracuse NY
I am having the same questions. I'm using a hard disk recorder for the first time and am not happy Especially with vocal tracks.
What effects do you use?
Do you use a compressor? Hardware or in the recording software?

Do you record it wet (with effects) or dry and add them later. Do you master your recordings.
I want the vocals to blend, they are either wimpy and lost in the mix or the mix is lost behind powerful vocals.

I record the tracks first, I'm using a midi file for this just so it is one less thing to worry about.
I use a condenser mic and have read some articles online about recording vocal tracks.

Anyone with experience that would like to share their "secrets"? Or do you just keep recording until you get it to sound right and not really have a technique.

The TC harmony M is getting me closer to a great vocal sound. I love this thing and I've only used it for half an hour.

[This message has been edited by mikeathome1 (edited 07-12-2008).]
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#237900 - 07/12/08 01:05 PM Re: how did you record your demo?
Mockie Offline
Member

Registered: 04/05/08
Posts: 310
Loc: Dublin Ireland
I've used a Mini Disc recorder connected via phono plugs to the RECORD OUT on my powered deck.I,m getting a very authentic live sound, Tyros + vocals and sax. I then transfer to CD.The important bit is to get the mix right before recording,check by doing a test recording and make adjustments if necessary.
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Roland Juno DS-88 Roland BK-7m. Midi Accordion

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#237901 - 07/12/08 01:54 PM Re: how did you record your demo?
Diki Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 04/25/05
Posts: 12861
Loc: NW Florida
It all depends on what you want the demo to be...

Do you want to capture your 'live' sound, warts and all? A simple two track recorder will do that fine.

Want to edit the performance to get rid of any flubs and clams, and then sing after it is recorded? You can still do that with a two-track. Record the arranger performance to the built-in sequencer. Edit there 'til the way you want it, then record to the two track and sing over the top of it at the same time. At least if you screw up the singing, the arranger parts are recorded, so you don't have to get both perfect at the same time..!

But if you want to get up to commercial release standards, even if using an arranger, a multi-track software can help put the 'pro' touches on you might need. In this scenario, you still record the arranger performance to the built-in sequencer. But then you transfer the SMF to your computer, and open it in the DAW program. You can now solo each individual track (after editing into shape) and record each arranger part separately. Even each drum sound or subgroup individually if you prefer. You can now do far more extensive EQ, compression, transient design, effects, and automation to make it more polished.

Then you can record the vocal, and use far better comps and eq's than are generally built-in to arrangers, plus a touch of Auto-tune if you need it. Be sparing, but it can do wonders without getting all Cher-like if you are careful! Now's a good time to add REAL backing vocals rather than the harmonizer, too, if you want that extra polish... (plus a real guitar part or horn can make it sound less arranger-like). You could even edit the sequence to make all the fills just a LITTLE bit different, add a little bit of variety to the repeated nature of the arranger.

How much you do is up to you, but amazing results can be done, with as much care as you'd use on a real band recording. But, unless you want a very simple 'this is me, live!', I would always recommend, at the very least, using the arranger's sequencer to make the initial 'capture', because it is the easiest to edit at this point. and then overdub the vocal afterwards (or record it at the same time you are playing back the edited sequence).

Most of us fall into the trap of having our own played parts and vocals louder than they need to be if you listen objectively, after the recording, and there's nothing you can do about this if you do a simple one take stereo recording. This two-step method at least stays close to being live, but allows easy fixing of these basic problems, as well as more complicated ones before the actual audio recording takes place...

Hope this helps.

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#237902 - 07/12/08 07:48 PM Re: how did you record your demo?
travlin'easy Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/08/02
Posts: 14519
Loc: Forest Hill, MD USA
In my case, I played the songs directly from my PSR-3000 into the PC and recorded the keyboard only. Then, I recorded the vocals on a separate stereo track. I didn't need to do much in the way of editing, but the ability to edit the vocals is there, which for some is a great asset. You cannot do this with a simple, two-track recording system unless everything is perfectly balanced--something that in most instances is quite rare. The beauty of recording in this manner is the ability to not only edit the vocals, but additionally, the ability to just delete the vocal track and do it again if necessary. This is NOT rocket science and DOES NOT require sophisticated software or a high-powered PC.

You can record the song(s) as midi sequence files, edit them either on the keyboard or using PC software, then play they into the PC and record them as audio files. Again, the next step is to record your vocals, which can be fired through the keyboard's vocal processor, or fired through an inexpensive mixer with effects. When the finished product sounds the way you want, save it, then listen to it in your car while driving to work. If it still sounds good, compile the songs on a CD, print a high quality label, and send them out to prospective clients.

Make sure you have your phone number, website, email address, etc on the CD lable so the person listening to the CD knows how to get in touch with you--THIS IS IMPORTANT!

Also, when you record the songs, do full length recordings--NOT snippets of songs that fade from one 10-second segment to another. You would be amazed at how often that CD will be played in someone's car, then passed on to another person that does the hiring for musical entertainment. They want hear the entire song--not just a small sample. At least that has been my experience over the past couple decades.

I'm in the process of making a new CD for sending out to current clients. At this point I really don't need new clients. Sending a new CD to my current clients is just a gesture that keeps me at the top of their performers list.

Good Luck,

Gary

------------------
Travlin' Easy
_________________________
PSR-S950, TC Helicon Harmony-M, Digitech VR, Samson Q7, Sennheiser E855, Custom Console, and lots of other silly stuff!

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