From the moment I tried to play guitar, the art of recording has fascinated me. In my teens I experimented with the impressive Akai tape recorder with the sound-on-sound feature. For days and days I was busy with an acoustic guitar, a cheap microphone and a few pots and pans recording songs like 'Hey Joe'. Alas, in the last decisive take of this song my mother called me for diner. From that moment her yell 'Diner is ready!!!' was imprinted in the impressive chorus of the song.... for ever! Hendrix would be proud!
In the time I played in all kind of bands it was the dream of every musician to have the possibility to record their own music in a somewhat professional way. But the highest you could achieve in that time was e.g. a Tascam 4-track recorder (with a cassette!). Expensive and with limited possibilities.
But luckily for musicians IT made a giant leap since then, with as key concept the digitization. Almost everything that used to be analog (e.g. pictures, movies, music - who remembers 'long play records'?) is now available in a format consisting of only ones and zeros. This is a huge benefit for listening or viewing, because it has a high quality, is in a compact format and easy to edit and to copy without quality loss. For us musicians, the benefits go even further. To record and edit music these days you can come a long way with only a PC - that you already own - and of course some other hardware and software, like a 'drummer plugin'.
All my music starts with a rough idea, is recorded in my home studio, or in the studio of one of the collaborators, using software like Reaper, Cubase, Reason and Pro-Tools. After every stage it is exchanged over the internet, edited and fine-tuned until the desired end result is there. The guitars, and some of the basses and saxes you hear are real instruments. All the others are samples, soft synths, drum machines or other plugins.
On this page you find more information about my Home Studio setup. Most of it isn't hugely expensive, state-of-the-art gear, it's all 'proven technology' quality equipment. It works and I'm happy with it!
If you need more detailed information about how to setup a home studio for recording music, don't hesitate to send me a message. Maybe I can help.
Over the years I used all kinds of DAWs (Digital Audio Workstations). In fact I think I used them all except Protools. After a number of years of using Cubase I had to do an expensive upgrade, so I started looking for alternatives. Amongst others I tried REAPER and I was very happy with it. It's small, fast, extremely stable, has the same functionality as Cubase (it has everything I need and a lot more) and it's flexible. You can adapt menu's and define all the 'actions' you need. Furthermore it has a constant stream of updates and a very active user community. All that for a fraction of the price of Cubase. After using Reaper for two years now I'm still convinced this is the best DAW on the market (for me).
You can't record music without a good audio interface or soundcard. I use several TC Electronic Konnekt 8's and Konnekt 24's for many years now. Although they have been replaced by newer models these are still excellent firewire soundcards and after all those years still supported by TC Electronic. There are drivers available that are fully compatible with 64bits operating systems like Windows 10. Nice thing about these interfaces is that you can stack models from the Konnekt family together to create more inputs and outputs.
Recording music is one thing, making it sound good is another. Studio monitors are high quality speakers designed for a recording studio, they have a flat frequency response and focus on accurate audio reproduction. Your music might play nice on one system, but on the next, it might sound horrible. So, it is absolutely critical that you hear it correctly while you are mixing or mastering. A good set of monitors is absolutely essential. Expensive but money well spent. I use the Genelec 8030 nearfield monitors.
The shure sm57 is the industry standard for recording (loud) guitars. You can't go wrong with them. So, who am I to disagree. I use several of them.
You need ample computing power to record and edit music. I have a Dell with a i7 processor, 16 Gigs of Ram, firewire interface and a fast Samsung EVO SSD harddisk. My operating system is the latest Windows 10 version. My larger projects have around 50 - 70 tracks and a lot of plugins. This system handles that with ease.
Because you want a silent PC when you are recording with mics, mine has a graphics card with passive cooling. While using a DAW there will be a lot of information on your screen, so a large screen (mine is 27 inch) makes life easier.
Besides recording my guitars with a mic and an amp, I also use Line6 modelers. Especially for high gain sounds they are very useful. I use both the Line6 Pod X3 and the Pod HD. Both have sounds that I like and that I can't replicate on the other.
Below you see the three guitars I play most:
- A Fender '99 standard USA Stratocaster, totaly stock.
- A Fender'91 USA telecaster with a noiseless Dimarzio Area T pickup in the neck and an Seymour Duncan Lil '59 in the bridge.
- A Fender '97 Lonestar Stratocaster with a Dimarzio Area 61 in the neck position, an Area 67 in the middle and a Seymour Duncan Pearly Gates humbucker in the bridge.
For those who are interested in pick-ups. I did a youtube movie comparing several of them. It has around 25.000 viewers, so it must be interesting for some...
For 'classic rock' sounds I also use a Fenix Les Paul copy with a Dimarzio DP103 PAF in the neck and a Super Distortion in the bridge position. My bass is an old Yamaha 1000S.
I have done my share lugging around heavy (tube) amps. Nowadays I keep it simple. My main amp is an Award Session Blues baby 22 transistor amp, loaded with an Eminence Lil Texas speaker with a Neodymium magnet. It sounds amazing and is very loud and lightweight. The whole package is below 10 kg!
... and of course there is the famous indestructable 'Red stripe' Peavey Bandit! A great workhorse amp. I have several of them in rehearsal rooms and around the house. The only thing I have done to make them even better is change the speaker for a Eminence Texas Heat or Red White and Blues speaker.
I don't use any guitar effects during recording, but add them at a subsequent stage with plug-ins, so they are not imprinted and I can change them later on without having to redo a track.
But I'm a guitar player and guitar players have pedal boards. I have loads of stompboxes, but at the moment I'm using this simple board with a tuner, a Chicago Stompworks pedal with on the right a TS808 clone and on the left a Proco Rat clone (great pedal!), a TC electronic mini Shaker and TC electronic Flashback mini delay.