Welcome to Day 12 of 31 Days to Better Recordings.

We’ve all seen the pictures of those huge tracking sessions.

The drum kit has 16 mics on it. Both guitar amps have two mics on each of them. The acoustic guitar has two mics. The vocalist has a mic. The bass player is playing both direct AND they’re recording his amp with two mics. The keyboardist has 3 different keyboards, each with a pair of outputs.

Don’t even get me started on the orchestra in the next room. 😉

As much fun as these sessions can be, they’re not very realistic for us home recording folks.

If you have dreams of one day owning enough mics and preamps to do a big ‘ol tracking session, GREAT!

In the meantime, though, keep it simple.

Up to this point, any project I record in my studio, including my own album, I’ve taken the overdub approach.

The Overdub Approach

Rather than trying to put together a full band and recording everything at once, I recorded everything one instrument at a time. Rarely do I use more than two inputs simultaneously.

If you’re starting out in the world of recording, I’d suggesting using your one good microphone that we talked about on Day 3 and recording your projects one instrument at a time. One instrument. One mic.

“What about drums?” you may ask. Great questions. Until you have the capabilities to adequately record a drum kit (or rent out a studio for a drum session), use something like EZ Drummer to create your drum tracks.

Again, when you’re taking the overdub approach, the idea is to keep things as simple as possible. When you’re only recording one instrument at a time, you’re allowing you’re mind to really focus on that one instrument, that one mic, that one task. Instead of keeping up with 12 mics and 12 different mic techniques, you’re simply trying to get the best possible sound you can get with just one microphone.

Once you master the use of one microphone, graduate yourself to two, then even more as needed.

The goal here is to learn to crawl before you walk.

Most hobbies are fairly simple. I like to play basketball, for example. In high school, did we focus exclusively on complex trick plays on the first day of practice? No, we worked on the fundamentals.

It’s the same idea with recording, don’t jump in too deep until you’ve gotten a good handle on the fundamentals. Hopefully 31 Days to Better Recordings will help you with that.

Day 12 Challenge

In the comments below, list an area of your “recording life” that you’re letting become too complex. What can you do to simplify it and get better at it?