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Creating a CD Project

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  • Creating a CD Project

    Hey there,

    I wanted to poll the community and find out if there are any tips on creating a CD project of original songs on a shoe string budget. I know the phrase "you get what you pay for" means something, but I'm just curious what others do or have done in this area if you aren't able to afford bringing an entire band in to a studio and have an engineer on staff and the pay for all of the mixing and mastering.

    I have had several people at my church ask if I've considered putting some of my original tunes on a CD. I have the raw / rough recordings I've done, but they are typically keyboard generated drum loop sequences and keyboard samples instruments.

    Just curious

  • #2
    I am not the guy with the answer to your question. Just chiming in to say, "more than one person will bewnifit from the answer you give" to anyone who has something useful to offer.

    I would also ask, to the "you get what you pay for" mantra crowd, does this mean of you can't go big budget don't even bother? I hope not.

    Thanks all.


    • #3
      So many different factors would need to be considered to answer this question.

      Is this a band co-op or is it a solo project? Is this a song demo to sell at gigs or are you trying to become a serious recording artist?

      If you are going for a broadcast quality recording, using the best studio musicians available can save money overall because they (a) have better gear and therefore produce a great sound that doesn't have to be edited or manipulated (b) are able to find the best part immediately and nail it, saving money on studio rates.

      The first thing you should do is record a rough demo before going into the "real" studio. This will help people hear your ideas/direction before the clock starts ticking and you will also have the pre-production (map of the song and "scratch" tracks) and can bring that into the studio, saving as much as 30 hours on a full album.

      what? me worry?


      • #4
        There's a HUGE spectrum of $$$$ that you can spend here. But, if you have some technical know how and even some very basic recording gear you can get a ton of work done on your own and save some real cash by staying out of the studio.

        The project my wife and I did recently, I did most of the work on my own (keyboards/drum and perc tracks), had a friend come in and play guitar and bass. All we did in the studio was track the vocals and do some tweaking to the other tracks.

        One thing we did do was hire someone to mix and master the whole project. That was really worth way more than we paid for it. It took about 4 hours per song, but was worth every penny.



        • #5
          Recording your project

          I agree with what has been said so far....there are so many things to consider:

          1. Is a full 10-12 song project necessary? More and more artists are releasing small packages of songs instead of full length albums.

          2. What is the purpose of the project and who is your audience? Will the people buying your record be just as happy with intimate, unplugged (economical) arrangements?

          3. Do you have great songs? Great songs don't typically need a lot of dressing up to capture people. Maybe big production will be a luxury down the road when you have a wider audience/larger budget, but it isn't necessary.

          4. Who do you know? What kind of bartering can you do? For instance--I booked an AMAZING acoustic guitar player to do a concert at my church and asked him if he would take a few hours the day before the concert to lay down some parts on a song. Those parts ended up on my record two years later.

          When working with mixing/mastering/studios/musicians, be honest and forthright and ask for good deals. Say "this is my budget--can you do 'such-n-such' for X number of dollars?" If they can't, they can always say no. But, chances are they might just do it. I've never had an issue with good mixers, musicians and etc "slopping through" work either, because they know that the outcome reflects on them! Also--most working mixers/producers/engineers in my current realm of reality spend a LOT of time working on CRAP. There's ALWAYS people out there with a rich aunt or something who can plop money down and want someone to polish their proverbial turds. (bad songs) SO, if you have good/great songs, music people are grateful to have something fun to work on and will many times put in extra hours and give better deals.



          • #6

            Seriously dude you and your church band have mad live performance skills from what you have posted here. Either do a worship night with your songs and record it or capture them one by one from your services, that compile that to a CD after maybe cleaning it up some. Maybe get a really good sound board guy for the services you record so he can make it sound its best on the recording.

            I would put that on my IPod if it was available!

            If you are trying to demo your songs for a publisher lots of times just this kind of recording works (according to stuff I have read and heard in seminars).



            • #7

              While I appreciate the great feedback of our recordings, the recordings you hear are literally just a "tap" off of my in-ear Aviom mix from my mixer. I have my Aviom mixer's headphone jack split off using a 1/4" headphone splitter adapter. One 1/4" plug goes to my in-ears,the other goes stereo to a handheld recording unit I keep with me up on the platform. So what you hear is pretty much what I hear in my ears on Sunday.

              This is the latest song I've posted like this:

              Now, this has some clipping in it, most likely because the signal going into the handheld was too hot. Ultimately though I'd love to record it off the board, however, we have a very old board.


              • #8
                RE: Old board

                The church I led in for years had an ancient board too. What we also had was a really good sound guy who knew how to get the best of it. You might be surprised at what you can do with an old board, or, since you are a tech guy by trade, you may have already explored and discarded this possibility. What I am saying is don't discount what a good sound guy can do with old equipment - we were always blessed with really talented ones. In the end its all analog sound.



                • #9
                  Best advice I could offer would be to stay within your means.

                  Sometimes you don't have a band to access, or software to fill in gaps and add extra elements. If not, don't force it. If so then great!

                  Sometimes you don't have much of a budget. If not I wouldn't pursue expensive mastering and CD production.

                  I agree with Trent, good songs don't need much doctoring. Great songs are engaging even if played badly.

                  To my ears, it sounds worse to force a full band with loops and poor samples than to just play a simple acoustic and vox track.

                  Definitely subjective opinion there.

                  I'd stress the importance of worship music being grounded in the service to your local community. I think there exists a cultural pressure to reach huge audiences as worship songwriters/pastors/musicians; maybe its a miss interpretation of value, dunno... but I think there's something to be said for songwriters who primarily write musical worship to serve their local community first, then growth comes if it does. Sometimes I think this attitude can help shape our goals when recording a project -- but definitely a bit of a ramble.
                  Last edited by MarcProctor; 07-03-2012, 06:22 PM.