Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Audio Recording in Ubuntu Studio - Part 1: Plan your Project

Okay, so you've decided that you want to record a song from your home. You've also decided, like the rest of us cheapos, that you are going to use freeware. If you haven't yet decided, I recommend you use Ubuntu Studio (for why see here). Ubuntu Studio is armed with these great programs: the Best Programs in Ubuntu Studio.

When recording a project you never want to go in Swinging Blindly (especially if this is your first time). So here are a few steps to ensure that your project doesn't run out of steam half way through.

Firstly, you need to understand that there are four parts to any recording project:

  1. Preparation (setting up tempo, ensuring the song arrangement is finalised, etc.)
  2. Recording (getting your instruments' sounds into your computer)
  3. Mixing (Getting your levels right, panning each instrument, etc.)
  4. Mastering (Getting your track to sound professional)
With these steps in mind we can set up a flow diagram leading us through the project from start to finish. As an example, I plan to record a cover version of Sunday Bloody Sunday by U2. The flow diagram for my project is show below.

You can see from the figure that every instrument has its place in the recording process. It is important to put the drum track down first, even if you are using real drums. This is because it sets up the tempo for the song and provides a nice backbone for the other instruments to play along to. It is imperative that you play to a metronome, it'll be hard at first but it will always make the project easier and the song tighter. Yeah, I know...you're too cool for a metronome... you think it will destroy the emotion of the song... for the people who think that (like I did) - shut up, and listen 'cause I know, first hand, that you need a metronome.

I plan to create a blog post for every step in the process over the next few weeks. So stay tuned for the basics as well as the not-so-basics of hydrogen, recording guitar, bass, vocals, mixing, mastering, etc...etc...etc... Exciting times await!

Check out the next part of this project: Audio Recording in Ubuntu Studio - Part 2: Record a Hydrogen Drumbeat

Other posts you might find interesting:
Audio Recording in Ubuntu Studio - Part 2: Record a Hydrogen Drumbeat
Audio Recording in Ubuntu Studio - Part 3: Adding Effects to the Ardour Drumtrack
Beginner's Guide to Ubuntu Recording
What Exactly is Mastering For?
Speaker Placement

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi we added your nice blog to our nice website:
http://linuxmusicians.com/index.php
http://planet.linuxmusicians.com/

Keep going with posting nice articles..

Brian said...

Thanks for the support guys,

Here are the clickable links of those above:

http://linuxmusicians.com/index.php

http://planet.linuxmusicians.com/

Later,
Brian

Jamie Jessup said...

Hey Brian,

I've seen you're drum beat, which was fantastic by the way. However, If you're going in a direction to emulate the Edge on this one I wouldn't mind hearing some of the ways you plan to get a similar sound. While this certainly isn't his signature where the streets have no name, as a guitarist I find his sound to be quite fascinating.

Jamie

Brian said...

Hey Jamie,

Thanks for the compliment. Drumming is my department. My bro, Mike, will be there to guide the guitar process though. I'm hoping to unveil some cool techniques.

later,
Brian

Tyler said...

Keep on posting. I'm lovin' it.

Brian the Lion said...

Hey Tyler,

Thanks, I'm glad you're enjoying it. Unfortunately, I've been very busy the last few weeks and haven't been able to post as much, but I hope to be back in the saddle soon.

Later,
Brian