Lesson 2: What You Need

Lesson 2:  What You Need
    For this lesson I will recommend just using the things that I utilize.  I will give some options, but I want to show how to use this, so I will keep this lessen brief.  Lesson 3 and 4 will be more in depth about the actual process and how to record.  This background information is needed to make the next lessons more clear.

2.1- Hardware


Copyright: Illusive Mind

This portion of recording is absolutely the most essential piece.  While having the top of the line product for recording will obviously cost top dollar; great sounds can easily be achieved with far less expensive pieces of equipment.  Computers are an absolute necessity for producers, sound engineers, anyone wanting to digitalize audio or really anyone involved with business (in virtually any way).  While many different types of personal computers are available- only one will serve fit for you.  Most people prefer to use Windows Vista because most software’s and connections are compatible with Windows Vista.  Some people also use MAC computers with a powerful editing software called Logic Pro.  For this lesson we will stick with what’s easiest and cheapest (as cheap as possible at least).

The list below will clearly show the things that are absolutely necessary to get started creating music and digitalizing audio.
– Windows Vista 64-bit (this will allow you to utilize the majority of your RAM for audio editing and processing).
-Intel Core II Duo (or Quad) processor
– Digital Recording Console also considered studio software and plugins
– MIDI controller (optional)
-Mic stands
-Dual Monitors (recommended)
-Mic/instrument pre-amps
-Headphones and/or speakers
-Cables and other connections for instruments, micas, and pre-amps
-Christmas lights – to relax the mood while you are editing the music (it really works)

While this looks like quite an enormous list, the truth is you can get bundle packs of all of this gear for just a couple hundred dollars on Musiciansfriend.com.  If you cruise through their site you will notice how expensive and incredible some of the gear is.  Also, for a full list of what EXACTLY these different terms are, check out this glossary for bedroom recording (http://www.bedroom-recording.com/recording-equipment.html) Hopefully if you record some good songs you can buy the best equipment one day.

2.2- Software

There are many different types of software for recording and editing audio.  These can range from the very expensive software ProTools (link), to some free editing softwares such as Audacity (link).  There is no right or wrong answer in to which software you use, it is recommended though that you use the Professional Grade software mentioned before, ProTools.  It would be similar to a photo editor using Photoshop versus iPhoto… The tools and the extent of what you can do are limited with freeware and are essentially limitless with full versions or “professional/producer versions” of audio editing softwares.

For this lesson, and future lessons going forward, we will be doing a brief walkthrough of FruityLoops Studio Producer Edition.  Fruity Loops PE from Image-Line Studios is dedicated to providing musicians, sound engineers, producers, and composers with a fully functional studio software for a fraction of the cost of ProTools (the “top of the line” studio interface).  FL Studio costs about $299.95 for the Producer Edition and comes with FREE UPGRADES FOR LIFE.  This means, that when I bought Fruity Loops Studio PE 4 back in 2004, I have received upgrades to the next version 100% FREE.  This was the exact reason I chose FL Studio.  It comes with 1000s of instruments to choose from and compose with directly in the software.  You do not even need to have an instrument AT ALL to make a full song.  The Producer Edition allows for you to record external audio equipment as well.  With the aforementioned equipment in lesson 2.1.

Image 2.2 – The FL Studio Interface
Copyright: Image-Line Studios

Explanation of this interface.
Left side browser – Where you will find your instruments to choose form that are digital or come pre-made with the software.
Bottom (wave looking segments) – different tracks that you have created.  These will be instruments you made melodies with in this software, or externally recorded instruments.  Notice how they are lined up for the most part, or very close.  This is where all the instruments will “hit” or come in at the same time… like a song sounds!
Middle (stereo level adjuster looking knobs) – exactly what it looks like, where you adjust the sound levels and frequencies.  Also you can get really nitty gritty and adjust which ear the sound comes out of, how loud it is at certain points, and so on and so forth.
Top-Middle– drum segments.  Each little segment represents a drum beat, cymbal beat, or other percussion sound.  Actually whichever instrument you have selected- each different line would be a different drum or a different note lets say if you had a piano instrument selected.
As you can see this software gives us endless creativity and endless options for engineering our sound perfectly.

2.3- Instruments

    For this section we will be brief and go over the basic instruments used in recording.  A basic parameter to follow for this production step is to always have a low tone for a high tone in a song.

Drums–  This will provide the basic “beat” for the song.  This is almost a necessity in a song in a technical sense.  Music follows the steps, 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and.. 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 … It’s this sequence that derives a measure.  Some measures have only 2 beats per measure (1 and 2 and … 1 and 2 and, etc).  Imagine that a kick or bass drum hits on the first beat and a snare hits on the 3rd beat…  So using drums and FL studio, we get the sounds “Kick and 2 and Snare and 4 and Kick and 2 band Snare and 4″…  It’s a simple theory to explain how drums work…  Do this sequence inout loud and you will understand the basis for how to create the beat of a song.
*note: drums are NOT needed in every song, but this step will show the basis for how the music sequence works.
Guitar or Piano – this will be one or multiple instruments.  It can be 2 or 20 guitars and or 1 or a million pianos. All used together to create different rhythms and melodies or used to sing a personal ballad.  These interments can play everything from low bass tones to high treble frequencies.  Again, we want to have a low for every high.  These instruments will be a lot of our melodic instruments (especially for basic bedroom recording).  This is the instrument you will create the la-la-la-laaaa-la-laa in different tones throughout your song to create your melody (def of musical melody) or rhythm.
Bass Guitar – This instrument will be used, or created digitally, to “fill” the song.  This is going to bring a connection between the high frequencies and the very low drum sounds.  It is going to provide a low creamy tone which essentially is used in conduction with the Kick/Bass drum to give the drum sound some “creaminess” (for lack of a better word) or in a technical term- to give it life and tone.  The bas guitar is an amazing bridger/connector for drums and guitars.  It could be one of the MOST important in the recording process.
Vocals- Where you sing your lyrics or tones which can be the same or entirely different from your melodies.  You can change the notes or do whatever you want.  Granted, there is a more technically correct way to sing than just belt out words at the top of your lungs.  Skilled Vocal professionals are incredible with the range and control they have of their singing voices.  They can actually hit notes on a piano with their voices just by saying to them- “hey sing a B note” and boom.  There is your B note in perfect pitch.

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