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Home Recording Tips

How To Record Music with Digital Multi Track Home Recorders


Home Recording Tips with Multi Track Recorders Or Recording Software

Page updated 3/1/2016


Home Recording Tips - Home recorders and digital track recorders may or may not have all of the functions we talk about below.  If you are shopping for a digital multi track recorder, it's a good idea to make sure your getting the functions that you need most at a good price.  The technology has improved tremendously over the last few years. 

You can find digital multi track recorders that burn CD's, have 30gb of memory or higher, include effects (pre / post), drum tracks, and hundreds of effects for under $1,000 today.  Roland, Boss, Foster, Tascam etc. all sell professional models in that price range.  Most vary with the number of tracks and number of effects.  So look around and find the best value for the price. 

Home Recording Tips on Doubling, Reverb, Effects, and Equalization 

  1. How To Make Home Recordings Of Your Band Music Or Solo Project
  2. How To Record Using Digital Multi Track Recorders
  3. How To Home Record With Computer Recording Software
  • Start With A Simple Drum Beat - This is a great feature for a solo artist who does not have the luxury of a drummer.  This will keep your recording in time or on beat.  Most recorders now offer their systems with editable drum beats and loops.  So when purchasing a Multi Track Portable Recorder or computer recording software, look for the feature of editable drum beats.
  • Try Putting Down A Guitar Track First - Try recording what ever instrument is the main source of music in the recording.  Once you get a solid guitar track down, it will be easier to sing with the recording.
  • Adjust Your Record Volume - This is done so that your avoiding any digital distortion in your recordings.  For example, most digital home recorders show the volume level going to red when you are in a digital distortion range.  Avoid this by turning down the record volume so that you will have a smooth recording of music.
  • Doubling Vocals - Doubling Guitars - If your recordings are sounding thin and unprofessional yet you have good equipment, try doubling your guitar and vocals.  Your recordings will sound much improved using the doubling technique.  Here's how it's done. In order to double vocals successfully it takes a little patience.  Basically, sing the exactly the same as you did the 1st time around and use a separate track on your digital recorder.  Use the same vocal style, effect, and inflections in your voice to achieve a doubled vocal that sounds like only one person is doing it.  The vocal will now sound fuller, professional, and the vocal volume should increase.  Doubling Guitars is basically the same concept.  Play the same line as you did the first time around in the recording.  Try to use the same amp settings, record settings, and play the same notes and chords as well.  Double the guitar on a separate track.  You will be surprised how professional your recordings will sound.  Some professional bands triple or quadruple their guitar sounds and add different guitars playing different lines within certain song sections.  Of course, there is no specific way to double tracks, but the basics are described above. 
  • Harmonize - Try harmonizing vocals and or guitars in order to add texture to your digital home recordings.  Harmonies are the same notes your playing in a phrase, but played at a higher octave.  I'm sure you have heard vocal harmonies on recordings.  In order to accomplish a vocal harmony, use a separate track and sing higher or even lower octave notes on this track.  Just practice, practice, and practice.  This technique is a trial and error process. Guitars can be harmonized as well.
  • Panning - Panning is basically a fancy term for adjusting how the sound leaves the speaker for a track.  Maybe you want track 1 to be in the left speaker and track 2 in the right.  Any tracks that you have doubled (Guitars or Vocals etc.) can be panned to give the stereo effect to your recordings.  Try panning your first guitar track all the way to the left, and your second doubled guitar track all the way to the right.  During playback you will hear the first guitar in the left speaker and the second guitar in the right speaker.  Sometimes you can blend the pan so it is not all the way in stereo.  This is a good idea if you hear a slight mistake on one guitar.  You can try to blend the sounds together to help the overall sound of the recording.  Try panning vocals, keyboard, or other instruments to give a stereo effect to your recordings.
  • Mark Function - Most Portable Multi Track Recorders have a mark function.  If you have recorded songs in the past, you know what a pain it is to have to fast forward and rewind all the time to get to where you need to be in the song.  This is where the mark function comes into play.  Play the song and try to mark the parts of the songs where you will need to stop and record or re-record parts.  This usually happens in a section just before a chorus or measure change in a song.  Mark the places you will need to stop and the machine will usually apply a number for each mark.  Use the Mark Forward or Backward function to skip to the places in the song where you want to be in the song.  The mark function saves time while recording.
  • Undo Function - The Undo function is a must for digital recording in the home.  It's almost impossible to get every take right the 1st time, so the undo function gets rid of that bad take you just did.  Plus you are not taking up recording memory on your system by rewinding and recording over the bad take.  Remember you don't want to clutter your recordings with a ton of bad takes so Use the UNDO function. 
  • Equalization - After you have finished your song try using equalization to make your tracks sound a little more professional.  Add Treble to guitars, Bass to Drums or Bass Guitars, or try adding mid's or treble to vocals.  Experiment with equalization on every song.  Sometimes you may have a track with a little digital distortion.  If you want to keep the track try some equalization and see if this helps. 
  • Reverb - Add Reverb to your drums.  This makes your recordings sound more professional as well.  Reverb can be used on vocals and guitar as well, but use it sparingly here since it may drown out the vocals and guitar a bit if too much is used. 
  • Effects - Most digital recorders let you add effects to your track recordings while your recording.  Try adding distortion to guitars, delay to your guitar solos, or chorus to vocals.  Just remember a little goes a long way with effects.  If you use to much or too many your recordings may not come out the way you expected. 
  • Post - Effects - Some home recording systems allow you to add effects after you have recorded the track.  So you can add lets say reverb to your drums after they are recorded or chorus to a guitar that may have gone slightly out of tune during recording.