indie album on the cheap, part 1: recording

so my CD, "proskyneo" was just released last week. here are some of the corners i cut to make sure i didn't break the bank:

  • i used my PC for home recording, as well as my bass player's Fostex 16-track.... no studio time = el cheapo.
  • the program i used is called Cubase SX. pretty flexible and sounds great as a lower budget alternative to the industry standard ProTools. i didn't buy any special interface for analog-to-digital (like the MOTU or the m-audio MobilePre). they turned out to be more than i wanted to spend, without any significant improvement in recording quality.
  • my workhorses were the KSM27 mic and the ART tube pac preamp. i used these two for most of the recording. the tube pac has two tubes - one preamp, and one compressor - for a nice warm/fuzzy preface to the harsh digital world inside my PC.
  • we recorded drums to the Fostex digital 16-track with a Shure kick drum mic, and an 8-channel compressor by Presonus that entertained me for hours (i'm a self-professed compressor junkie). both were rented for about $110 for the week. since we owned everything else up to that point, this was the first expense we had to pay.
  • all the drums were recorded at our bass player's practice area with a lot of prayer. I first recorded my acoustic, voice and a click track for every song, speaking what parts were coming up next ("chorus here" or "play really hard man" or "big stop right here"). this let me be the producer without having to be present for every track.
  • all the bass guitar was recorded at my bass players house, straight to PC as he played along with my template/click track and the drum tracks.
  • everything else (all guitars and vocals) were recorded at my 2-bedroom apartment, right there in the living room.
  • a few extra vocals were recorded by Jim Hornaday at DreamCatcher studios in mesa, AZ. his studio doesn't have a website, but you can find this rock star here.
  • then i mixed everything myself, taking tips from online articles.

all in all, I only paid about $310 for the recording of our album ($110 for mic/compressor rental, $180 for recording a few vocals at a studio, and about $20 in blank CDs we used to swap tracks and try different mixes). not bad, eh?

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