Home Recording for Musicians
Home Recording for Musicians
by Craig Anderton
Published by Guitar Player Books (Music Sales Corporation)
To the solo home recording musician the title of this book must be irresistible. Craig Anderton is well known for his articles in American publications. Although the book is distributed by Music Sales, I have tried unsuccessfully to obtain it from a British supplier. I finally bought it direct from America from Polyphony (PAiA).
So, what is so special about this book? Well, as Craig says in his preface: "There are many excellent books on recording written by engineers; this one is written by a musician for musicians." And that about sums it up. So much of the information has been worked out by Craig from practical experience as he struggled, like many of us, with the problems of recording in a garage, an attic or a corner of a room.
The first chapter covers the basics of sound and contains the hardest stuff to get it out of the way. It explains basic theory, often simplified but sufficiently accurate and comprehensible to form a working knowledge for your recording. This chapter also gives details of various makes of 4-track recorders which is, unfortunately, a little out of date (the book was written in 1978) but the points to look for when buying a recorder are still relevant.
Chapter 2 is called, "Creating the Home Studio Environment" and gives suggestions on how to lay out a studio in places ranging from a room to a closet.
Chapter 3 describes the console; what facilities you may need and the various ways you can arrange and route the signal path. It also mentions various signal processing devices.
Chapter 4 discusses microphones including the problems of impedance matching — now I understand it — and different microphone types.
Chapter 5 is probably the one you will refer to the most. It discusses recording techniques. Even such instructions as "clean your machine" are highly relevant. This chapter leads you through every aspect of recording in minute steps. Tips are given on microphone technique (it's amazing how many singers are unaware of microphone procedure in a studio), arranging baffles, bouncing tracks, creating special effects with tape and mixer and noise reduction techniques.
Chapter 6 is about mixing, of which a book could be written, but Craig covers most aspects and situations the home recordist is likely to encounter quite succinctly.
Chapter 7 gives suggestions about maintenance including de-magnetising and cleaning the heads.
The whole book is extremely easy to read, written as it is in Craig's easy-going softly humourous style and it is well illustrated. Craig's interest and enthusiasm for the subject is obvious; he has written the sort of book he probably wished he had when he began recording.
The last chapter is devoted to the design and construction of a mixer which may be of interest to avid constructors but the strength and interest of the book lies in the details on recording. A record is supplied with the book which demonstrates aurally ways of altering and spicing-up a recording.
For anyone with a 4-track recorder and or doing home recording of any kind this book is so full of information, tips, hints and suggestions that there can be few better ways to invest a few pounds.
Make the effort to get a copy.
Review by Ian Waugh
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