Adventures In Audio
"Sweet By And By" by Lighthouse Of Grace

A & R

Our A&R department occasionally features music from our website visitors. Our visitors are invited to write a commentary about how their music was made. Sometimes their spelling isn't all that good.

Thursday November 30, 2006

My wife (Elizabeth) and I have been recording Gospel music in our basement studio for a little over a year. She does all the vocals, though I did narate one song called; "When The Record Played Again." Our first efforts at recording was with a Tascam DA-30 and Panasonic SV-3700 DAT machines, then we tried a Fostex MR-8HD, and eventually ended up with a Yamaha AW1600.

There is no esoteric equipment in our studio, it started out and continues on a shoestring budget. The challenge is to get the best sound possible out of mediocre or average equipment. The AW1600 does a nice job of recording vocals and anything else that we might actually record. Other than the vocals or an occasional harmonica, guitar, or mandolin, almost all other music is midi generated.

The instrumentation in "Sweet By And By" is completely midi, with the exception of a 16 note harmonica lick. The harmonica was recorded by using a Nady SP1 dynamic mic, directly into the AW1600. The guitar was done by using Musiclab's "Real Guitar", and where possible, all other instruments were rendered using Tascam's GVI plugin.

The vocals for this song were recorded using a CAD GXL3000 condenser microphone, going through an ART Pro Channel preamp, into the AW1600. The vocals were edited to correct any timing issues in Audacity, which is a powerful (and free) editor.

All tracks were then mixed in Sonar 7 Producer Edition, with no effects, with the exception of a little eq and reverb on the vocals, some eq on the harmonica, and some compression on the bass. Two separate banjo tracks were panned hard left and right, and the harmonica track was panned slightly to the right. iZotope Ozone 3 was used in the master channel, using the "Mix Master" preset. A pair of Behringer Truth Monitors were used for mixing, along with a small pair of Pioneer speakers, switched in to see what it sounded like on smaller speakers.

While "Sweet By and By" has a bluegrass sound, most of our other recordings have a country gospel sound. We have definitely made some progress over the past year (thanks in part to Audio Masterclass) , but every time I listen to our recordings, I still hear things I'd like to fix. I don't know that I will ever be 100% satisfied with our efforts.

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