Here’s the second edition of “Ask Joe.” If you’re new to Home Studio Corner, “Ask Joe” is basically a question-and-answer portion of the blog where I address questions submitted by readers via the Ask Joe form. (I tried to post this last night, but YouTube wasn’t playing nicely.)

I mention at the beginning of the video how the previous video was a bit on the long side (10 minutes!)…but this one ended up being 8 minutes. However, I’m only dealing with four questions today.

Video Summary:

  • 0:25 – A good all-around virtual instrument package?
  • 1:44 – Hard drive chipset for Cubase?
  • 3:13 – Good audio interface for a band?
  • 5:57 – Using a Yamaha PSR keyboard as a MIDI controller?

Related Articles:

In my latest newsletter I wrote about a friend of mine who lost a lot of work due to a hard drive failure. In light of the last several articles dealing with productivity, it’s important that we look at archival and backup. Our theme has been making the most of your time in your home studio. Backing up your files can be a huge time-saver.

If you haven’t already, be sure to read this article on why you should use a dedicated/external hard drive for recording. With that in mind, the next step is to acquire another drive for backup purposes. Ideally you’ll have at least three hard drives:

  • System Drive – This holds your operating system
  • Recording Drive – This is where you save your session and audio files. (All your audio streams to and from this drive.)
  • Backup Drive – This is where you…drumroll please…save backups of all your files. Read more »

In The Seven Habits for Highly Effective People, Franklin R. Covey writes about the importance of scheduling priorities. Schedules tend to get a bad rap. People who schedule out every single part of their lives are considered cold, rigid, and non-spontaneous. People who don’t schedule anything are considered flaky and irresponsible.

So what does this mean for your home studio? I suffer from an acute case of “flying-by-the-seat-of-my-pants.” I rarely schedule studio time into my week or month. I get there when I get there. Once I do sit down in the mix position, though, I sometimes scratch my head as to what I’m actually going to do.

The Time-Wasting Begins

It’s when I’m in this state of indecision that I start doing some of the things I mentioned in the first article of this productivity series, things like re-wiring my studio or rearranging my gear or furniture. Very little of this has anything to do with music. Read more »

One of the things I enjoy most about starting a new recording project is setting everything up. If you’ve done much recording, you know what I’m talking about. There’s a certain sense of giddiness that bubbles up when you sit in front of a blank Pro Tools screen.

It’s very god-like. You’re creating something out of nothing. When you open Pro Tools for the first time, it doesn’t open up with a huge song already put together for you. It’s a blank slate. There’s not so much as a single mono audio track created. You must do this yourself. For me, that’s an exciting part of the creative process.

But what happens when it takes you thirty minutes to set up your Pro Tools session for every new song you start recording? While it is certainly fun to build your virtual Pro Tools mixer, is this the best use of your time? Shouldn’t you be…um…what’s the word…recording instead?

I’m as guilty of this as anyone. However, as I mentioned in the first article of this productivity series, it’s important that we view our home studios as professional studios. Time is of the essence. If there’s a basic activity that you’re doing over and over (i.e. setting up a Pro Tools session for recording), wouldn’t it make sense to automate that process? Read more »

One of the easiest ways you can save time in your home studio is by labeling your inputs, outputs, and busses in your DAW. This is easy to do and will only take you a few minutes. 

Once you do this, your routing life will be much easier. You won’t have to waste time guessing where a certain track is being routed. Check out this short video on labeling your IO in Pro Tools.

 

How do you set up your IO? Leave a comment!

Workflow and time management are crucial in any endeavor. Home studios are no different. I am constantly amazed at how much time I waste in my studio. I could easily spend two hours simply “setting things up” or “trying things out.” By the time I could feasibly begin recording or making music, I’m either tired or have run out of time.

Most of us pursue music in our spare time. “Weekend warriors” they call us. But if you’re like me, you’ve had many a good-intentioned weekend come and go without a single snippet of audio to show for it.

Just this weekend I was planning to make some serious progress on my album. My wife was going shopping, so I knew I had time to get a few tracks recorded. Unsurprisingly, she shows up an hour and a half later, and I’ve barely gotten a thing recorded. I was just getting into it. Read more »

I love technology. It is a beautiful thing. However, while there’s nothing wrong technology itself, we need to consider the role that technology should play in our lives.

I’m mainly referring to technology as it pertains to making music, particularly in the recording world. These days everybody and their dog can have a home recording studio. Don’t get me wrong, that can be an awesome thing. Thirty years ago it simply wasn’t possible to spend a couple hundred dollars and be able to make high-quality recordings at home. The technology wasn’t there.

Technological advancements of the last few decades have brought a new, massive percentage of the population into the world of studio recording. My life would certainly be dramatically different if I couldn’t record my music (and the music of others). Without the onset of new technology, the entire recording industry would consist of the select few who could drop $400,000 on a huge recording studio, fully equipped with analog tape machines and massive recording consoles.

Today an average Joe can pick up an interface and a microphone and do a lot of things the big analog studios of the past could do, and a lot of things they couldn’t!

Read more »