Recording a Covers Band Album

 The Great Cover Up, great cover songs done by pub bands. This CD Album is a virtual band, recorded one track at a time on my computer. I learn and practice every part of each song before recording. Many of these songs I have done busking solo for decades and many I have played Bass Guitar in other lineups, some songs are new to me.
Song List Recorded so far:

  1. Proud Mary                                  CCR
  2. Sunshine of Your Love                 Cream
  3. Where do the Children play        Cat Stevens
  4. Wish You Were Here                   Pink Floyd
  5. Like a Hurricane                          Niel Young
  6. Lotta Love                                     Niel Young
  7. Star Man                                       David Bowie
  8. Have You Ever seen the Rain      CCR
  9. Money                                           Pink floyd
  10. Heard it through the grapevine  Marvin Gaye
  11. Ziggy Stardust                              David Bowie
  12. Space Oddity                                David Bowie

 Mark and the Mp3s, Live show small concerts and busking around Wellington, NZ. To make a backing band, at the end of the production process, Mute the Lead Vocal and 1 Guitar track and export (mix down), then encode to mp3 compressed file format. Plug in the mp3 player and make a copy of the file. With the prerecorded backing, I can perform with a whole band sound, busking in the streets, with full control over the volume.

Introducing the Band. I have had the black Bass Guitar the longest (since 1991) it is a small Veste4 guitarsr copy of a Fender with a split front pickup. The red electric guitar is a ES-335 copy, also a Vester that I collected in 2001 (hollow body f-hole). The acoustic 6 string is an old FG Yamaha with a Fishman pickup, I was given this guitar in 2003.

 To help me get the correct sound for many of the songs on this CD, a friend Dave let me borrow his 12 string Tanglewood guitar. In 2005 my sister Catherine gave me her old Rolland HP 600 digital midi piano, she got it new in 1984. So that’s what I play my backing band with.

  Bus Tunnel Studios has grown a bit since I started recording music in 2001 after completing a Multimedia course. In the past 5 years I have collected enough music gear to put on a proper concert in a small venue and also DJ, as well as recording multi-track music on computer.mixer to computer

The Behringer mixing desk is small but I am only recording 1 track at a time.  It has all I need to plug in a Duo and DJ live, as well as record. It has effects send and return to get a nice blend. The zoom effects rack has over 500 effects but I only ever use about 20 of them. To get a good bench space was a gift so it doesn’t take up all of the room.

 Don’t You just Love Technology? I had to get another sound card when my old computer died. I built it from a pile of new parts in 2003, so I got a good run from it, but none of my other computers record in full duplex. That means that I must be able to hear myself as I am recording, along with the playback of the other parts.
Finding old PCI cards was a chore but it was only $20 so I’m not complaining about waiting for shops to open again, I am recording again in 16-bit. Another sound card I got is proving a lot more complex to install without crashing my very old multi-track program. If I get the M-Audio card going, it records in 24-bit definition, worth some effort.

 Someone asked what microphones do I use? How much one spends on the microphones is a measure of a good studio, mine is a very limited budget. The Vocal Microphone is an average Stage Mic, Audio Technica and there is a nice Pencil Mic I think is worth twice that, although old and beat up looking (drum stick hit it) it was rebuilt but nobody used it again so I am grateful that it ended up here. Both are built solid.

Recording Technique Tip To get the best sound out of Dave’s 12 string guitar, one track is plugged into the guitar’s pickup and pan 100% Left, the next track is set the pencil microphone near the guitar soundboard and pan 100% to the Right. The Computer has only 1 stereo input.
Once on the computer one uses a Wave File Editor to split it into 2 stereo files. This gives 2 tracks of the same guitar take. One can adjust the volumes to get the best blend of tones and EQ. The internal pickup has a different sound to what the ear can hear. The pencil microphone is better suited to instruments than the vocal microphone.
Although the mixing desk can deliver phantom power to fancy condenser microphones (they need the boost because they are so sensitive) it might not be well suited because my flat is quite near to Rongati Airport.


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