Home Studio Recordist
Peter Tedstone informs us of his clandestine bedroom activities!
This series welcomes contributions from you, the reader, about any aspect of your home recording setup. If you have made your own record or recorded in a pro studio for the first time, for example, then why not write and tell us about your experiences? The best ways to learn about recording are to experiment and to follow the examples of others. Through the columns of this page you can pass on the valuable knowledge you have gained yourself to those in a similar situation.
This month we feature Peter Tedstone whose interest in synth-based music has thus far resulted in several cassette releases of his own recordings.
It's strange how all of a sudden things start to happen. There I was beavering away at my Moog MG1 synthesiser bouncing between two stereo cassette decks and feeling less than happy with the results, low sound quality and tons of hiss. My sequences were slow and boring through having to be played by hand and my drums were just chiffs of white noise. I was totally fed up, eventually sold the Moog and took up playing rock and roll in a band.
However, the Japanese came to my rescue with the superb Fostex X15 4-track, the Roland SH101 synth and the Roland TR606 drum machine, and my bank manager with a large loan...
Seriously, I've been interested in music since the age of seven way back in 1963 when I learned to play the violin and recorder and to read music, although I must admit I can't play either now and my reading is slow to say the least. The musical interest carried on through my teens where I played guitar (and violin) in various groups, plus I did a bit of singing.
I first became interested, or more properly, fell in love with synths in 1973 with ELP's album Trilogy and from then on I got into Tangerine Dream et al. The Moog came in 1983 when I was in a 'space rock' band and this was also the time that my experiments with stylophones and short wave radios turned into synth music. Things really started to go though, when I purchased the Fostex and Roland equipment and I was able to produce high quality sound and, mainly due to the SH101's versatility, an interesting musical 'event'.
Due to sheer hard work and plenty of cheek I have two cassettes available from Lotus Records and have had my music featured on INKEY$ cassette magazine. At present I am working on my third cassette and also trying to get some live gigs.
Since this magazine is called 'Home Studio Recording' I'd better get down to the way that I record. Firstly, I record the sequence and drum machine onto the same track of the X-15, carefully balancing the relative volumes before actually recording. This idea simply saves ping-ponging and so keeps the sound quality as high as possible.
Next I'll record the strings, say, by playing triads on my Casio MT30 and adding a fifth from the synth, which adds extra depth to the sound. The mix then goes through an Amdek flanger to add movement to the rather static Casio sounds. On top of this lot will go a lead line, FX or another sequence etc.
To avoid any track bouncing I use an E&MM Quadramix mixer, which although simple does all I want and I can't really justify a 'complex' mixer. Of course with only four tracks to play with you have to do at least two things on each track which helps your technique for sightless playing no end!
Besides all the above mentioned equipment I also have a FAL Lead 50 combo which is used for reverb and some tonal adjustment, a cheap and nasty guitar and an even nastier home-built fuzz box (listen to my 'Visions of the Forest' tape to see what can be done with a cheap guitar).
I did master my tapes onto a Tensai TFL807 cassette deck but I have just gone mad and bought a Nakamichi BX-1 cassette deck as an aid to better sound quality. I monitor through a Quad 33/405 amp and B&W DM5 loudspeakers with a mono cassette player to check for 'typical' car quality. Whilst recording the actual four tracks on the Fostex though, I always monitor on headphones since my 'studio' is in a spare bedroom and my neighbours wouldn't be too keen on my works late at night!
You don't need loads of expensive equipment to get some sort of success in music, just a lot of care, the zest to have a go plus the self confidence to actually send your tapes to someone. I think I've proved this since I've not got much in the way of equipment but I have got a big ego!
For more information on his music, Peter can be contacted at (Contact Details).
Further details on the cassette 'magazine' INKEY$ can also be obtained via a S.A.E. to (Contact Details).