Free Studio

I have been getting more involved with recording and mixing as time goes on. I have subscribed to a brilliant magazine called ‘tape-op‘, they do a subscription by which you provide an email address for them to spam, ethically and legitimately, and you get a free magazine. It has awesome articles and advice.

I have had a few odds and sods of recording equipment lying around for a number of years. I was given a very high quality 10 channel soundcard as a bonus for some work I did.  I dropped it into a Windows computer and then spent several years battling with driver updates, XP optimisation, crashes, hangs, glitches, and no small quantity of problems relating to the limit quantity of ‘clue’ I had at the time.  Needless to say, my recorded output was zilch.

Fast forward several years and I’m the proud (and entirely evangelical) owner of an Apple macbook, which is simply *awesome*. I have a firewire audio interface which is great for portability and recording one source at a time and has enabled me to get pretty good (if I say so myself) at making mixes of music.

Recording the drums however brings a whole new set of rules to the recording equation. I have been plugging a guitar, a bass, or my voice into a single input, poking the record button and staying in time as much as I can, overdubbing previous takes. Drums however are pretty difficult to record with one, or even two microphones. That’s not to say that it can’t be done, or done incredibly well with one or two microphones, but it’s not generally the modern way to track the drum kit. Hell, I have a 10 channel soundcard, why aren’t I using it to record drums?… Well, firstly it’s been gathering dust in my parent’s garage for a while, and it won’t plug into my macbook… sulk.

I did spend a little while counting pennies and looking whistfully at £350 soundcards on Digital Village, but it wasn’t to be. It’s better to do what you can with what you have than continuously spend money getting nowhere, no matter how bright the LEDs are!

Being a signed up geek, I joined a London group called HackSpace and went to a few meetings, through which I made aquaintences and friends, and came into possession of an unwanted G4 power mac, none of us know how powerful it was, or how much memory it had, but it had to be explored as a potential carrier for my soundcard. As it transpires, it’s a dual core G4 450Mhz machine with just short of a gig of RAM in it. Plenty to get me started!

I went though a painful process to update it from OS9 to OS X (10.4 – Tiger) and I’ve popped an install of Logic Express (7) on it to see how it gets on… So far it’s getting on very well, but it’s yet to be used in anger.  It doesn’t have the raw power to do mixing and processing in the box, but I hope it can catch 8 channels of audio simultaneously which I can then transfer over to my macbook to mix and master.

Watch… er… listen to this space and hopefully I’ll have some recorded samples on the go soon!