Embarassing things you did in your first recordings

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loxstep
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Embarassing things you did in your first recordings

Postby loxstep » Tue Mar 13, 2018 1:39 am

The other day I was watching Oddity Archive (a youtube channel for audio/visual oddities), and the host told a story about making crude home recordings as a teenager. He recalled that his first recordings were made by playing his guitar in front of a cassette recorder. To record a second track, he'd play the tape in front of his computer microphone and sing over it, capturing the results in sound recorder. The results were awful. But endearing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SNiIw7_t6iE

That touched a nerve with me. My earliest recordings sounded awful too. As a kid, I didn't have the gear or the knowledge to make good recordings, but I still had the urge to make music, so I worked with what I had. I'm sure many of you did too.

So what "wrong" things did you do in your first recordings?

I'll go first.

1. Before I knew what a DAW was, I made canned music with this audio-toy called 'techno ejay.' It let you drag and drop premade samples, all recorded in the same key at the same tempo, so even the tone deaf could compose something listenable. Well I wanted to record my own instruments with it, but it wasn't practical, as the program was too limited. Nevertheless, I kept hunting for hacks and workarounds until I was able to make rudimentary multitrack recordings with it. The results were terrible, with lots of phasing issues, and everything took an extraordinary amount of effort to do. It was like trying to dig a subway tunnel with a spoon.

2. Before I knew about audio interfaces, I would record by plugging the output of a powered mixer into my desktop's line-in jack. The results were not as bad as you'd expect. To record drums with a 3 mic setup, I would have to adjust the levels on the mixer over and over, since the end result would always be a single mono track.

3. Before I knew about transcoding, I made lossy masters, sometimes as poor as a 128kbps mp3 file. Luckily, I still had the lossless stems for most songs. But there's a few songs I made as a teenager that only exist as a low bitrate mp3.

Would love to hear what everyone else has to share.

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GMaq
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Re: Embarassing things you did in your first recordings

Postby GMaq » Tue Mar 13, 2018 4:13 pm

Haha great topic!

Hmmm my sins were many...

- Back in 1996 I did teach myself very early on to make drumkit libraries (ie Soundfonts and proprietary stuff for an old Turtle Beach card with wavetable sampling). The samples were quite bad, no velocity layers and a ridiculous mix from various sources so I had electronic, acoustic, reverbed and dry samples all within in the same kits which just did not jibe at all :oops:

- My 'wanna-be-a-soul-man' singing was absolutely hideous to the point of painful... :oops:

- Usually too much Reverb (a pretty common mistake).

- Too much emphasis on EQ and not nearly enough attention to mic type and mic placement in the room.

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Re: Embarassing things you did in your first recordings

Postby folderol » Tue Mar 13, 2018 7:56 pm

My first ever recording attempt was of me playing a Jumbo Gem keyboard while singing 'Living Doll' ... to a Philips valve open-reel taperecorder via the supplied 'crystal' microphone. Plenty of domestic background noise. Fortunately the recording has long since vanished :lol:

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Michael Willis
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Re: Embarassing things you did in your first recordings

Postby Michael Willis » Tue Mar 13, 2018 8:57 pm

Completely failing to "get" how to use reverb, which made mixes sound horrible, and then convincing myself that somehow all of those reverb plugins weren't going to work for my style of music and that the solution was to write my own reverb plugin... :oops:

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Re: Embarassing things you did in your first recordings

Postby Lyberta » Tue Mar 13, 2018 11:19 pm

I've started in 2002 with ACID techno. It came with a library of loops that I could just draw without any regards to music theory. Of course, all this stuff is deleted.

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loxstep
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Re: Embarassing things you did in your first recordings

Postby loxstep » Sat Mar 17, 2018 12:21 am

GMaq wrote:Back in 1996 I did teach myself very early on to make drumkit libraries (ie Soundfonts and proprietary stuff for an old Turtle Beach card with wavetable sampling). The samples were quite bad, no velocity layers and a ridiculous mix from various sources so I had electronic, acoustic, reverbed and dry samples all within in the same kits which just did not jibe at all


I bet that sounded interesting, even if it wasn't what you were going for. Do you have any examples of your old drum tracks? I'd love to hear how it sounded.

42low wrote: 2/ Is that a mistake? I still do it that way regularly. :mrgreen: That is with a very good mixer and a good guality HQ card with high rates, and with great results.


:D No, it can sound fine with the right soundcard. The downside is you have to mix and eq the drums perfectly in your mixer, because you only get one stem at the end.

jonetsu
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Re: Embarassing things you did in your first recordings

Postby jonetsu » Sat Mar 17, 2018 2:11 am

Radio Shack cheap cassette tape recorder.

rghvdberg
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Re: Embarassing things you did in your first recordings

Postby rghvdberg » Sat Mar 17, 2018 8:09 am

I cringe at almost anything I've done.

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English Guy
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Re: Embarassing things you did in your first recordings

Postby English Guy » Sat Mar 17, 2018 3:07 pm

I bought a Foster X15 4 track cassette recorder more than 30 years ago now. I knew nothing about anything but the learning curve was priceless. I have the machine and tapes and keep threatening to do a transfer to a DAW.

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magicalex
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Re: Embarassing things you did in your first recordings

Postby magicalex » Sat Mar 17, 2018 7:20 pm

loxstep wrote:2. Before I knew about audio interfaces, I would record by plugging the output of a powered mixer into my desktop's line-in jack.


I've recently gone back to that setup as the mic preamps are better on my Behringer mixer than my Alesis io2. To my ears the overall audio quality is no worse and the latency settings are the same.

As for embarrassing things, I used to sing in an American accent despite being from Scotland. It's not uncommon, but I'm glad I grew out of it.
My name is Sandy and I sing songs: SandySingsSongs.com

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protozone
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Re: Embarassing things you did in your first recordings

Postby protozone » Tue Jun 26, 2018 5:57 pm

In a few of my early tunes, the percussion was a one-bar loop that repeated for the entire tune.
No way will I do that anymore. Luckily, I had enough happening in the tunes that people didn't complain. :lol:

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Re: Embarassing things you did in your first recordings

Postby Nachei » Sun Jul 08, 2018 1:52 am

In my, not one, but two first demos after I started the home recording thing, I wanted to stay sparse, so the songs were only 1 voice + 1 guitar track. In fact I was so parse that the guitar was recorded DI, and that was it; as the guitar was acoustic, I thought it was fine.

I didn't discover the crudity of the sound until the day that I played the demos for a friend at his house (how's that for embarrassing? :) ). That started my quest for a thing called reverb, and it was a great aha moment on how my writing process works (perhaps more "conceptual" than physical. Only in the latest years I've become interested in sound qualities, dynamic range... For me composing is the fun part).

I was so proud of my steaks, that I forgot that you had to actually cook them and add some dressing! :P

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Linuxmusician01
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Re: Embarassing things you did in your first recordings

Postby Linuxmusician01 » Tue Jul 10, 2018 12:41 pm

I still don't know how to play or record music properly and I love every mistake I make, ha ha. :wink: Reading your mistakes I still: make 1 bar drum loops (like many, many oficcially released classic techno tracks), use the IN jack from my on-board sound card, don't use reverb or compression and I mix everything either too loud or too soft. But I wont let it hold me back. :)

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protozone
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Re: Embarassing things you did in your first recordings

Postby protozone » Tue Jul 10, 2018 8:38 pm

Linuxmusician01 wrote:I still don't know how to play or record music properly and I love every mistake I make, ha ha. :wink: Reading your mistakes I still: make 1 bar drum loops (like many, many oficcially released classic techno tracks), use the IN jack from my on-board sound card, don't use reverb or compression and I mix everything either too loud or too soft. But I wont let it hold me back. :)


yeah, actually I feel stupid for what I said.
I still make one bar drum loops sometimes, but I try to vary them.
You make a good point. If the results sound good, that's more important.
Good attitude. Accepting your own results is also a great way to learn new styles and techniques.
I respect you and what you are saying.
I was too hasty to say what I said.

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Linuxmusician01
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Re: Embarassing things you did in your first recordings

Postby Linuxmusician01 » Wed Jul 11, 2018 11:05 am

Well, some mistakes can be called "happy accidents" (quote from Bob Ross) and some are, indeed, a bit embarrassing. What I often do wrong is to play an extra track in my DAW only to notice that it wasn't actually recorded. So I use a little physical multi-track recorder for quick recordings of ideas etc. ...Only to find out that I've overwritten a track that I wanted to keep.

Hmmmmm. DAW's are too complicated and hardware recorders don't have enough tracks, ha ha.


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