Learning to record at home

Added on Friday 1 May 2009

I've been spending some time trying to figure out how to record my songs at home; the idea being that I'll do the recording in my own time - them book a studio to get them mixed, by someone who knows what they are doing.

With this in mind I've bought myself some fancy new recording software called 'Logic studio' - which apparently is the software to have for Mac users (that's me).

Complicated stuff - this Logic. My first setback was discovering that I can't install it on my laptop because I don't have enough space on the hard disk; a full install is about the same size as the entire capacity of the disk! Hmmm ... wonder if that's an excuse for a new computer? Probably not.

Luckily I was able to install it on my iMac, so I've been playing with it over the last few days - and recorded a new song to help me figure out how it works. The first thing I've learned is that recording is the most 'jargon infested' subject I've ever come across - and it is also deeply complex (or is that just me?).

It's a far cry from recording into a cassette tape machine with a plastic microphone from an electrical store; which was the cutting edge for me when I used to visit my friend Derek to record our imaginary radio shows. I'm not sure what age I was then - probably about 12. Not sure if it armed me with enough experience for my latest attempts.

I'll post my first results on Myspace shortly.

All the best,
Jim p.s. Thanks to David Kusher for the mention on Spiral Earth: http://spiralearth.co.uk/news/story.asp?nid=2753

And later..

A little update to my previous post about recording music at home. So far I haven't really got anywhere, other than having learned some new words. The most important new word I've learned is 'latency'; here is a definition, "a synonym for delay, is an expression of how much time it takes for a packet of data to get from one designated point to another." (http://searchcio-midmarket.techtarget.com/sDefinition/0,,sid183_gci212456,00.html).

In practice this means I sing into the microphone and then there is a delay before I hear myself coming through the headphones; which gives me a headache and makes it impossible to sing along to the music. I'm a long-terms user of Apple computers - and a fan - but I think this is the first time I've actually been made depressed by a computer problem.

I couldn't find a solution in the manual or online - so I booked a slot with an Apple 'genius' at the Apple store in Glasgow. I'm just back. They couldn't sort it - though suggested a work-around. when I got up the road and tried it the work-around didn't work.

I'll keep you posted. So far it's bleedin' crap this home recording thing.

All the best,
Jim

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What the critics said about 'Every day is sunshine' by Jim Byrne.

  • "a heady and exotic mix. " Q Magazine.
  • "..full of cinematic turns of phrase, dressed up in alluring melodies delivered by some of the most respected players on the modern-day Celtic Folk scene." UNCUT
  • Album of the week on Celtic Music Radio
  • Added to 'God's Jukebox' on Radio Two Mark Lamarr show
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  • "Great record... a complete, compelling listen. ", Adam Levy (Songwriter/artist, guitarist with Nora Jones)
  • "ten beautiful, atmospheric songs..", Folk, Blues and beyond
  • "a fresh, original album", Eilidh Patterson (singer songwriter, vocalist with Beth Nielsen Chapman)
  • Sounding like Johnny Cash never left Folsom prison...meditations on life that'll soon sound like old friends. Spiral Earth

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