I’ve recently upgraded my home recording setup, so I thought I’d talk about it this month.
Being that I am off of the road for a while and enjoying time at home, I am now spending a lot of time writing and recording. I’ve recently upgraded my home recording setup, so I thought I’d talk about it this month.
A fairly simple rig, I have more of a workstation than an actual home studio. It’s entirely thought out for facilitating songwriting, as opposed to recording a full band, but it’s totally geared for recording guitars and amps. I use programmed drums, loops and keyboards (Reason and Ableton Live). If I ever want to flesh out a song further, I’ll go to another studio and record with a real drummer. There are plenty of impressive home studios out there in regards to the latest gear, mics, acoustic treatments and so forth, which my setup may not fall into the category of. But it’s very functional, utilitarian and fast.
What is very cool is having a 17’ x 30’ basement space that is isolated sonically from the upper living quarters as far as noise is concerned, so I can pretty much blast away on guitars 24/7. My space serves as a studio/amp workshop, with the recording station on one end and a workbench on the other for working on amps. Like many of you out there with a similar disease, I find myself combing eBay and classifieds for small amps, raw speakers, anything that could be some cool new sound to record with. So the workbench stays pretty heaped with new findings (i.e. crap)!
For a DAW (digital audio workstation), I’m running Pro Tools M-Powered software on an Apple iMac 17” 2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo Processor System – a 160Gb HD with 2Gb RAM. I use an external 300Gb hard drive, as an external drive for your audio files is required with Pro Tools or essentially any DAW to run properly (or at least fast).
For the mic-pre/interface to the computer, I’ve just picked up the M-Audio ProjectMix I/O Control Surface. A most awesome addition to the home rig, as it removes the mouse from my hand probably 75%, replaced with physical faders and transport controls. Of anything I’d recommend investing in right off the bat (beyond a fast computer) when setting up a digital workstation, it would be a control surface interface. Having faders, actual mute and solo buttons, plus physical controls facilitating onscreen editing speeds up the recording process and is less fatiguing, which ultimately aids in producing better sounding recordings.
A quick note on DAW software: most anyone will recommend their favorite and they’ll all be good suggestions. It boils down to what will work best for you. Each DAW out there has features that make it unique or potentially more useful for your needs or comfort. Take the time to check them all out. I recently switched to Pro Tools simply because most everyone I work with these days in the studio is on Pro Tools. It’s much easier for me to share song project files and tracks being on the same platform. I’m very happy with Pro Tools (M-Powered and LE are the reasonably priced “home” versions), as it functions quite similarly to how a traditional recording console feels.
As far as microphones and input signal path, fortunately these days there are many great sounding, affordable mics. One should always have a Shure SM57 on hand for recording guitar amps. Beyond that, I use a small handful of condensers for recording guitars and amps – Rode NT-1 and NT-2, and the incredibly priced Marshall MXL 990/991 pair. As far as high-end mics go, I’ll eventually pick up a Royer M-121 ribbon mic, which is becoming a studio standard for miking guitar amps. I run my mics into a stereo tube mic-preamp (ART dual-channel) to sweeten and soften the tone and then into a dual channel compressor (DBX 1066.) A very inexpensive signal path that gets the job done for recording guitar.
So why am I writing about recording gear in a mag that focuses primarily on guitar? Because I designed my workstation setup for recording guitar quick and easy and for getting great sounds miking real amps. Next issue I’ll impart some wisdom on how to dial up perfect guitar sounds “on tape” without fail almost every time. Cheers!
Peter Stroud, Sheryl Crow Band
Looking for more great gear for the guitar player in your life (yourself included!)? Check out this year's Holiday Gear Finds!
D'Addario XPND Pedalboard
DR-05X Stereo Handheld Recorder
Wampler Pedals Ratsbane
Flare is a dual-function pedal with a tube-like booster and a 1970s-style ring modulator effect that can be played separately or together.
Flare’s ring modulator is based on the iconic tone of the original Dan Armstrong Green Ringer. This vintage classic was made famous by Frank Zappa who loved the unusual modulations created by generating a harmonic octave over notes. Messiah’s version offers two control knobs: a “Sparkle” tone attenuator and output Level control. Its taupe-gold body, purple and green knobs and stick-figure rock ’n’ roller holding up a flame convey an appropriately rockin’70s vibe.
In a unique twist, Messiah’s Flare pairs the ringer with a warm tube-style boost instead of a fuzz. Flare feeds the booster into the ringer for an extra punch, while preserving the Green Ringerspirit. The ringer side also turns any fuzz into an octafuzz, and it has the ability to quiet signal background noise fed through it.
The booster side features a single Boost knob to control the MOSFET circuit, making it very tube-amp-friendly with a warm, organic boost and gain of up to 32dB.
The pedal is a distinct improvement over the 1970s pedal that inspired it. “Most ringer pedals don’t track well,” Tom Hejda, owner of Messiah Guitars. “The player can’t rely on repeating the same effect even with the most consistently played notes. We carefully matched the components, so our ringer follows your every move, producing that slightly dirty octave you expect on demand.”
Messiah developed this vintage octave pedal with flexible features so that people who love that messy, dirty Zappa-esque sound can get there with ease but there’s also something for those who have not fallen in love with fuzz or the Green Ringer alone. Flare offers an array of sonic options while retaining simplicity in the controls.
Each Flair Pedal Includes:
- 3 control knobs: Boost, Sparkle, and Level
- Two effects – Ring Modulator and Boost – can be used together or separately
- Space-saving top side jacks
- Durable, cast aluminum alloy 125B enclosure with fun artwork
- Easy to see, illuminated True-bypass foot switch
- Standard 9V pedal power input
Flare Pedal Demo
Messiah Guitars pedals are designed with an explorative player in mind. Like their custom guitars and amplifiers, Messiah’s pedals are hand-crafted in Los Angeles for a long life with guaranteed quality.
Flare retails for $199.00 and can be purchased directly at Messiah Guitars or you can hear it in person at Impulse Music Co. in Canyon Country, CA.
For more information, please visit messiahguitars.com.
This feathery little guy is a joy to play because of its incredibly quick response to your right hand - much faster and more expressive than your typical auto-wah pedal.
If it looks like a duck, acts like a duck, and QUACKS like a duck, then it must be a duck. That's how we came up with the name for our new envelope filter. This feathery little guy is a joy to play because of its incredibly quick response to your right hand - much faster and more expressive than your typical auto-wah pedal. Trevor explains how this is possible in the launch video, as well as gives a demo on Le Canard’s operation.
The attack control determines how quickly the filter responds to the envelope, and the decay sets how quickly the filter releases afterward. The range controls which frequency spectrum the filter does its magic on. Add to this relay-based full-bypass switching with failsafe, and you've got one crazy little quacky beast. It is so expressive that you'll want to give up on your rocker-wah forever.
The MayFly Le Canard envelope filter features:
- Super fast responding envelope follower. Touch it and it jumps!
- Range control to dial in the character of the filter
- Attack control to control how fast the filter moves on that first touch
- Release control to control how slowly the filter slides back to baseline
- Full bypass using relays with Fail SafeTM (automatically switches to bypass if the pedal loses power)
- Cast aluminum enclosure with groovy artwork
- MSRP $149 USD ($199 CAD)
Introducing the MayFly Le Canard Envelope Filter
All MayFly pedals are hand-made in Canada.
For more information, please visit mayflyaudio.com.
Outlaw Effects introduces their next generation of NOMAD rechargeable battery-powered pedal boards.
Available in two sizes, NOMAD ISO is a compact, versatile tool that offers the convenience of a fully powered board plus the additional freedom of not having to plug into an outlet. NOMAD ISO is ideal for stages with limited outlet availability, quick changeovers, busking outdoors, temporary rehearsal locations, and more.
NOMAD ISO builds upon the legacy of the ultra-convenient and reliable NOMAD rechargeable pedalboard line originally launched in 2018. The brand new NOMAD ISO editions feature eight isolated outputs (1 x 9V DC, and 1 switchable 9V/12V DC) for even more versatility and clean, quiet power. With an integrated lithium-ion battery pack boasting 12800mAh capacity, NOMAD ISO can fuel a wide array of pedals, and will last over 10 hours* on a single charge.
Each NOMAD ISO pedal board includes adhesive hook & loop pedal-mounting tape, eight (8) standard DC connector cables, and one (1) reverse polarity DC cable, giving you everything you need to build your ultimate "off-the-grid" rig. A rugged, road-ready padded gig bag with shoulder strap is also included, to safely protect your gear while you're on the move.
NOMAD ISO S
NOMAD ISO S: MSRP $309 / MAP: $249
Dimensions: 19 ¼" x 5 ¼"
NOMAD ISO M
NOMAD ISO M: MSRP $349 / MAP $279
Dimensions: 19 ¼" x 11"
More info: https://www.outlawguitareffects.com.