The world of music has evolved a great deal. Decades ago, you and your band members had to hop from venue to venue and play your hearts out, hoping that some big-shot record label guy notices you, and gives you a shot. Even The Beatles struggled before having number one hits!
But nowadays, recording your band is as simple as it can get. To help you get started, we’ve put together the ultimate guide on how to record a band in nine easy steps!
How to Record a Band in 9 Easy Steps
Nowadays, anyone can record their band anywhere. Whether it’s in a professional recording studio or your parents’ basement, you can record your band and get great results as long as you have good preparation and the right equipment.
Step 1: Choose a Song
The very first thing you and your bandmates should do is pick a song (or a bunch of songs) to record. Pro tip: Don’t go for just any tune, go with songs that best represent your genre and style.
However, don’t go overboard and expect to record dozens of songs. Be realistic and limit yourself to a reasonable amount of songs.
It’s also important to make sure you know them by heart, because this recording will accurately represent how well you play these songs live!
Step 2: Choose a Location
The second thing you need to do is figure out where to record your band. It’s simple to just turn up to your usual rehearsal place and call it a day.
However, if that location is stacked, you need to find somewhere with more options to separate the musicians. It also has to have enough space for all your gear.
So consider what places you have access to and what locations you might be able to rent!
Step 3: Get the Right Equipment
It goes without saying that your band will require their standard setup of instruments and amplifiers, but you’ll also require some additional recording equipment.
Some equipment you’ll need are:
Dynamic microphones have a pretty basic construction, which makes them incredibly durable. They can handle extremely loud sound signals and also perform well in terms of background noise rejection.
On the other hand, they have a low sensitivity, which means they have a lower output level and, in most cases, don’t have a complete frequency response. These will be used as amplifiers for the guitar and bass.
Condenser microphones, on the other hand, are more complex, which means they are more fragile. They can pick up a wider frequency response, sound more natural, and have greater sensitivity or higher output levels. You’ll typically use these for ambient room miking and vocals.
For both of these mics, you’ll need stands for ambient noise, XLR cables, and spares in case anything goes wrong.
When you’re recording music, one of the most critical things you’ll need is an audio interface. Its main job is to get sound into and out of your computer or other devices.
Because your computer’s built-in microphones, speakers, and headphone jacks aren’t meant for high-quality audio, having an audio interface is a necessity. It gives you greater flexibility, much more control, and awesome sound quality.
MIDI keyboards are used to play many software instruments on your computer. The MIDI does this by sending a message on which notes to play to the instrument software inside your computer.
On top of these, you’ll also need a laptop with specs capable of efficiently running digital audio software.
Step 4: Set Up Your Band
Now that you know everything there is to know about prepping, it’s time to know how to set up for a live recording session.
During recording, instruments are all recorded simultaneously through a variety of microphones, which can cause spills, a common issue that happens to every musician. You can minimize spills by making sure any mics you use are separated from each other by at least five times the distance as from the source they’re recording.
This is where overdubbing steps in as the knight in shining armor!
Step 5: Record Drums
Start by placing your mics six feet above the ground and aiming them down towards your drum kit. The closer the mic is to the batter head, the more power you’ll hear from the kick drum sound. Place the dynamic mic a few inches above the edge of the snare drum. The more you move it away, the more ambiance you’ll receive.
Step 6: Record Guitar
When you’re recording guitar, your mic should be facing the speaker cone and almost touching the grille cloth. This can produce a pretty good sound. You can even keep modifying the positioning while paying attention to how it affects the sound. For example, positioning in the center sounds sharper, and to the edge sounds darker.
Step 7: Record Acoustics
Condenser microphones are used to capture acoustic instruments because they are sensitive and take up rich tones. However, they can create mic leaking during a live performance.
You can still tape live with the band if you’re an acoustic guitarist by miking an acoustic combo amp or using its direct input.
Step 8: Record Vocals
When it comes to vocals, it’s best to overdub them to prevent mic leaks and produce a clearer sound. It’s important to choose a recording place with no natural reverb. The placement of the microphone is significant; singing upwards will open the vocalist’s throat and allow them to sing higher notes.
It may take some time for the vocalist to feel relaxed, which is why it’s critical to warm up and do as many takes as possible.
Step 9: Overdub
The best technique to ensure a successful performance and reduce the pressure on the guitarist during a jamming session is to record a solo or a lead part separately. This is mostly done to enhance certain parts of a song.
Remember, there’s a fine line between retaining the sound and enhancing it.
Let’s Wrap it Up
Recording a band isn’t as hard as it used to be, you can even do it anywhere! All you need is the proper equipment, good preparation, and a lot of patience.
We’ve created the ultimate guide to tell you everything you need to know about how to record a band in nine simple steps!