Home Recording Studio

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Until the year 2012 I was a 100% analog musician. I had used Finale since 2001, but that was the extent of my relationship with music technology. I was so obsessed with musical “purism” that I foolishly decided as a young person that I wouldn’t so much as write music with percussion in it. Well, times have changed.

In 2012 I began a Master’s degree (2012-2014) in music composition at the University of Utah. During my first semester, I was introduced to Logic Pro which I had to buy and use to create “electro-acoustic” music for a course.

Logic Pro is the professional version of Garage Band. It is an Apple-owned software used to create, record, mix, master, and produce music. These are called DAWs or Digital-Audio Workstations.There are many types of software like Logic: Pro-Tools (industry standard), Steinberg Cubase, Presonus Studio One, Reaper, Audacity, and Reason. Here’s a picture of my Mac running Logic Pro 9.

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Look at them, shop around. I prefer Logic Pro because that’s what I was introduced to. It’s expensive because it can only run on Apple Computers, which are expensive. I know producers who use Cubase, Presonus, and Pro-Tools. I’d recommend something that can run on either Windows or Mac.

Another consideration to make about computers, is that you want at least 16 GB of RAM and a high end processing speed (I use a 2.9 GHz Intel Core i7 processor) in order to run everything smoothly. Make sure the hard drive is solid state as well.

Getting good speed and RAM is cheaper when you buy a PC – it is quite expensive on an Apple computer.

I’ll get into DAWs in another post where I can go into more detail about how effective they are and what you can create with them.

My Epiphany

So I used Logic to record random projects, experiment, and have a good time. In 2014, I bought a midi keyboard to help me make projects go faster in Finale.88 key.jpgIn 2015 I took some extra music lessons from a film composer and I learned from him about virtual instrument libraries. I had known about Garritan Personal Orchestra and others, but I never actually knew how to use them or what their true value was.

I learned from this composer that I should experiment with Eastwest Sound Libraries. My epiphany was that if I could record and produce music in my own house, then I should do it! If God blessed me with the ears and fingers to write music, then why shouldn’t I be sharing that with the world?

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Now these sound libraries produce excellent sounding instruments. I control the instruments from my midi keyboard (which produce thrillingly authentic sounds) and then my DAW, Logic Pro, keeps track of what I input into the program. So after laying down multiple instrument tracks, I can have my computer playing symphonic music back to me that sounds true to life. This is not like finale’s playback button that can make pretty sounds – this can make your heart throb.

So I bought a $650.00 package that came with all the instruments of the Symphonic Orchestra. Those instruments sit on an external hard drive and are at my beck and call. When I need them, they play for me.symphonic orchestra.png

In addition to that, I pay a $29.99 per month subscription to 9,000 other virtual instruments, many of which I use in my studio every day.

I spent the months of October experimenting with these sounds. I made several short demos to show off how great this instruments sound. One day I spend eight hours making this 8 second clip of the Star Wars Main Theme:

I also made some original demos using these virtual instruments:

So once I got familiar with these virtual instruments, I knew that I needed to be able to record as well.

So I took several online courses at Udemy.com one of which was “How To Record Voice Like a Pro.” I waited until these $200 courses were on sale for $15 each. I took online courses in mixing, editing, recording, etc. This was a turning point in my life.

I knew that to start recording I needed:

  1. A Microphone
  2. An Audio Interface
  3. A room that was acoustically treated well enough in which to record audio

Luckily for you and me, there is an awesome package sold by Presonus that contains everything you need to start with.

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This package comes with a DAW by Presonus, a large diaphragm condenser microphone (cardioid pattern), mixing headphones, audio interface, boom stand, and cables.

Everything you need to start recording is in this package. This is one here is only $219.00.

I bought this package and have subsequently purchased another microphone which I LOVE!

 

When we purchased the equipment, we hung hung blankets and mattress pad foam on the walls. The basic idea is that we want to reduce the reflection of sound waves in the room so that reverberation does not come back into the microphone and detract from the clarity of the signal.

We also purchased this reflection filter that seeks to dissipate the singer’s sound waves immediately after being picked up by the microphone.SE reflection filter.jpg

We’ve recorded speech for theatre auditions, pop songs, opera arias, instrumentalists, and more. We create our own minus tracks with my virtual instrument library and we produce our own music from the comfort and convenience of our own home.

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Oh, and once the school year ends we’ll be un-employed besides teaching music lessons so come on over if you want to record, have flute, clarinet, sax, voice, piano, theory or another kind of music lesson. We currently teach voice, piano, flute, and music theory lessons. 🙂

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Hermanas and Adios to Summer

Hope you had a great Labor Day!  Our weekend was full of friends, family, a voice teaching seminar, church, and The Home Depot.  Just the way we like it.  Also, our Home Depot visit(s) provided us with the motivation to kick off a little remodel.  Details soon…  🙂  

August was an exciting month for our families.  Mostly in the sister department.  I shall expound by way of bullet points:

  • My not-so-baby sister reported to the Missionary Training Center to begin her 18-month mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  The MTC is a facility for the training of missionaries (hence the name).  😉  Members of the Church are able to serve as full-time missionaries at the age of 18 (men) or 19 (women).  It is an incredible program.  These missionaries put aside school, work, friends, etc. and focus only on serving God and His children all over the world for 18 months (women) or 2 years (men).  My sister was called to serve in Argentina, and she was SO ready and excited to go.  It has been inspiring to watch her prepare for this experience and to read her letters for the last few weeks.  She is learning so much about herself, her faith, and SPANISH.  I’m so proud of her!  
  • Shane’s sister reached her 8th month of pregnancy and will be having the first grandchild, niece, etc. in the family sometime in the next two weeks!  The end of the month was particularly exciting because the doc said that this sweet little babe could come anytime.  We’re so excited for them, and I can’t wait to be an aunt!! 
  • Another of Shane’s sisters received a call to serve a mission in Ohio!  She won’t leave for another few months, but we are so excited for her!!  She will be great.

It has been a wonderful summer.  And a busy one!  And although I’m looking forward to cool weather, holidays, crunchy leaves, lots of soup, and pumpkin stuff, I always miss the carefree days of summer when they draw to a close.  

On Family Vacations and Gratitude

Last month, Shane and I went on a nine-day vacation with my family to the Midwest. I can’t even remember the last time I got to spend nine whole days with my parents and siblings! It was so good. We flew into Kansas City and spent the first two days exploring sites that are significant in the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in and around the Kansas City area. We walked a lot, learned a lot, and had a great time.

KCI Airport

Liberty Jail

Kansas City Temple

Sis and Dad at Marydale Inn

Far West

Shane and Kacee in Far West

The majority of our trip was spent in Nauvoo, Illinois, a beautiful little town on the Mississippi River, made up mostly of restored buildings from the 1840s. Nauvoo was the home of thousands of early members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and my family (and Shane’s family!) has ancestors who lived and owned land in the area. It is such a special place.

Nauvoo Temple

Joseph and Hyrum Carthage

Carthage Jail

Barge on the Mississippi

Hotel Nauvoo

Dancing the Night Away

Joseph and Hyrum Nauvoo

Family

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Such an incredible trip.

Then two weekends ago, we had a chance to drive up to our Alma Mater and visit some friends and old professors. It was a quick trip, but it was so great to catch up, and we felt like we were coming home. The experience prompted a conversation between Shane and I about the people and opportunities that have made us who we are today. We owe a lot to the people we visited that weekend. Do you have those people in your life? People who brought you and your spouse together, or who changed your outlook on education or careers or family? Or who lifted you up during a really hard time? I’m grateful for those people. Who would we be without them?

 

Photos courtesy of my mama.  She’s the best.  ❤