In Part 1 of this post I exposed 2 of the most prevalent myths relating to home recording floating around out there. You don’t need thousands of dollars of gear including boutique preamps to make pro recordings…it’s just not true (remember Ari Hest). Today though I want to touch on 2 myths that swing the other way slightly. Kind of playing devil’s advocate here. Because the other problem I see out there is people who claim to have all the gear I recommend and they just aren’t getting the results they want, so they blame the gear. Let’s take a look…
Myth #3 – “I have Pro Tools and it’s the industry standard, therefor my recordings should sound amazing!”
You’ll see this one a lot online. People will buy a Pro Tools system and then bash all the other software users out there while at the same time espousing that just because they own and use Pro Tools, they should be making pro level recordings. Now I’m unashamed to say that I love and use Pro Tools practically everyday. I think it is the industry standard for a reason and continues to serve as an awesome recording solution for hobbyists and professionals alike. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, just having a good tool doesn’t guarantee good work.
On this blog and when I do consulting I recommend most people get a Pro Tools system. Read some of my earlier posts to see a lot of the benefits to Pro Tools and why push it. I believe it has all the tools to help you make pro recordings. But that’s it. It won’t record for you and it won’t get a great acoustic guitar tone for you. YOU have to learn how to record, edit, and mix yourself. It takes time and experience, not money. So get the right tool for the job (and don’t pay anymore than you have to) but then learn the tool as best as you can. That is the ONLY way to get a good recording.
Myth #4 – “My recordings sound good to me so they must be good!”
I’m going to be honest with you right now. Just because you think your recordings sound good doesn’t necessarily mean they ARE good. Now how could I say that?! Isn’t music subjective? Well yes and no. I do encourage creativity and innovation. And many styles and sounds we now consider the standard were once new and weird. And you must make music the way YOU want to hear it. It is the only way to satisfy your creative spirit. If we’re all just recording music to meet some standard of perfection then we’re simply a factory churning out clones. But there is an important other side to this coin.
Taking all of that into account, when you make a recording you still need create a balanced and clear representation of the music you have in your head. It will need to be captured in a way that translates well onto computer speakers, iPod earbuds, car stereos, and home theaters. You have a medium in which you will be delivering your art and there are standards to which you must adhere. The problem comes when you have spent hours in your home studio working on a song or an album and it sounds good to YOU. But have you tested it on other speakers? Have you played it for people you trust? Have you compared it to they way your favorite professional recordings sound? These are vital steps to help you actually see the true recording behind your bias mask (we all have this). If you truly care about making great recordings, then take the time to ensure what you are creating will translate well into the real world.
Don’t fall for the myths…
You’re a smart person. You are reading this blog for a reason. Obviously you care about good music and making great recordings. Do yourself a favor and don’t listen to all the myths floating around on the internet or in recording magazines. And don’t espouse those same myths to yourself that will actually hold you back from making the best possible music. Instead focus your energy on getting the right tools, learning them well, and just getting in the studio and doing it.