i was just curious as to how ya'all record your homemade instruments. i'm new here and
as i'm looking at at various discussions and threads, i'm seeing lots of threads about
building, and lots of videos. there doesn't seem to be a lot of music or discussion about
recording these instruments we all make. from the sound of most of the tunes i've heard
here the phone seems to be the main means of recording. i guess that's ok as far as video
goes,but for audio a phone just doesn't do our instruments or music justice. i see lots of
groups for this and that, but no recording group or original music group. is anyone
interested in these two subjects?
Portable computers (laptops) tend to do a very good job of recording. The main thing of importance I've found is the microphone; the mike makes all the difference in the world. Some use an external sound connection / mixer box to input into their computer. In such cases the type you get is equally important. Some do a good job, some don't. Some record using an amp and mike, others feed the instrument directly into the mixer box.
For my needs I like to record using an external USB mike plugged directly into the computer, with my git plugged into an amp. If I'm singing I'll use a standard vocal mike and separate amp. I prefer recording outdoors, because indoors seems to echo the sound off the walls and easily override the mike, whereas outdoors you can crank that amp and get really good sound out of it. Depends much on the individual as sound is very subjective. In all cases, the best I can say is experiment and see what comes out sounding good to you.
If you're mike hunting, read reviews. One of my very favorite into-an-amp microphones is under $25... the Peavey PVi 100. But preferences in mikes is widely varied. This is especially the case in USB mikes.
For sound editing, a lot of people like AUDACITY, free sound software downloadable and easy to learn. For videos, not sure yet. Was in truth hunting for good video software today. But in a pinch, a GOOD cell phone can do an excellent job of recording video, and you can even find external mikes for cell phones. My cell phone does a rather good job of picking up sound. But many don't.
In the long run it's kind of a coin toss in which reading reviews and buying from a place like Amazon-- where you can return a turkey-- is a wise move. : )
As far as the final result, trial and error. Wish there were a formula where one could say "Do this and this and this and great sound guaranteed"... but it seems sound doesn't really work like that. ; )
I don't record so I'm not much help. There is a group here called Recording Studio. There hasn't been much activity lately but there are some helpful posts. Maybe you can jumpstart the group! http://handmademusic.ning.com/group/recordingstudio
Wayfinder hit most of the important points. Any old laptop seems to work fins as a recording device. Older laptops have separate jacks for the mic and headphones and that can be helpful (more later).
Audacity is very good for recording and post-editing your stuff. it is fairly intuitive to use and the more you use it the more you learn.
Mics are important, but you don't need a $500 mic to make decent recording. Check reviews and find something with good comments and a decent price.
As far as recording technique, it depends on what you are doing.. If it's just you and no accompaniment, just work with mic placement in front of your amp. Most of my recording are with a backing track for accompaniment. I found that if I play the track through the amp along with my playing I have no options for balancing things later. After fiddling around a lot, I found that if I load the track into audacity, then plug in my headset, I can mic the amp for my guitar. I listen to the track in my headset and play. When done, I have the backing track on one track in audacity and my playing on the other track This means I can edit an tweak each track separately. Works well once you get used to it.
Play around with different approaches and you'll find what works best for you.