I get perturbed every time I think back to recording the charity CD senior year. I had a mid-range soundcard on a mid-range computer and I didn't have any significant amount of experience recording anything but myself. This rudimentary equipment and inexperience definitely showed in the final product, and I always cringe when I think about how much better it could have been. Since that time, I've acquired some better equipment and significantly improved my ability to use it. Nonetheless, I will be the first to admit I am still learning when it comes to recording others. Of course, one improves by practicing, so today I was happy to record a song for Jeremy who was steadily writing blues tunes while was away at college.
Most of the tracks came together without much trouble. Thanks to the better equipment I mentioned, we were able to overdub several acoustic guitar tracks, a bass line, and vocals in a rather short time. We hit our first real snag while trying to record the overdriven guitar. Understandably, Jeremy wanted to get his familiar bluesy tone from his amplifier, but we couldn't seem to get rid of a horrendous ground loop buzz. We tried plugging into his amp's line out plug; we tried miking it: we even tried putting the amp in the closet?all to no avail. In the end we had to sacrifice a bit of tone by going through my amp like the other guitar tracks. With that problem solved, we wrapped up the rest of the song in another two or three takes.
As expected, the afternoon was as much a learning experience for me as a recording session for Jeremy. I got to see how my recording setup worked with another person's equipment while Jeremy got to hear what his music sounded like with multiple layered tracks. We're planning to record again next Sunday, and I expect it will go as well as or better than today's session. Perhaps I'll figure out how to get rid of that buzzing.