Happy Friday, everybody! It’s time for another round of Ask Joe. If you’re new and have a question, head over to the Ask Joe page.

But not until you’ve read today’s post, of course. 🙂


Photo by -bast-

Graham Cochrane wrote:

Hi Joe…just stumbled upon your site this week and have thoroughly enjoyed  reading your articles and watching your vids. The information you give is helpful and is presented clearly. Keep up the good work!

My big question is about converters. Now, since you have spent a lot of time with the different products out there, I’d like your opinion. I currently run Pro Tools LE 7.4 on a mac with the 002r. I’ve been a longtime pro tools user since learning it back in college and have migrated through the original mbox to the 002r a few years back. I’m not a fan of just spending money to make things sound better, but I seriously am toying with the idea of looking into better conversion for my system, mostly for the sake of getting bigger drum sounds with more clarity and depth as I feel this is where better conversion will make the most noticeable difference.

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studiolive-angleAre you looking for ways to expand your home studio? Perhaps you’re itching for a new challenge or a new way to potentially make some money?

Let’s take a step back. You have a home studio. You record your own music. You find the occassional artist to record, but you’re wanting to step things up a bit.

You’ve tried a bunch of different ways to promote your home studio, particularly going to concerts to find and meet new musicians. But what if you could take that further?

Perhaps you’re meeting a lot of great musicians, but you just can’t quite convince them to come record a demo in your studio. What if you could bring your studio to them? Better yet, what if you could offer to multi-track record their live show?

Now we’re talking. Enter the PreSonus StudioLive.

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photo by *** Fanch The System !!! ***

photo by *** Fanch The System !!! ***

We’ve all got one…that first album you ever recorded. Maybe it was on a little portastudio cassette recorder. Or perhaps it was on a computer with free software.

My first two albums were actually somewhat similar. They were both recorded using free software and cheap equipment.

I had a blast recording both of them. I didn’t know a thing about recording technique or mixing. I just knew that I loved to sit in front of a microphone and click the red Record button.

Recording as a Musical Instrument

I’ve always been a musician. It started with singing and piano lessons as a kid. Then I picked up the guitar.

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Photo by fdecomite

Photo by fdecomite

Okay, this is the part of the concert where I ask for some audience participation.

I can go on for months talking about Pro Tools, recording techniques, and how to get good recordings, but I think it’s good to stop from time to time and ask the question why do we make music?

I invite you to be a guest author today on Home Studio Corner. Leave a comment with your reasons for making music. Whether you’re a musician or strictly an audio engineer, why do you do it?

Ready? Go!

One Hour - iPhone TimerIf you follow me on Twitter, then you may have noticed the other night that I gave myself a challenge. I had a song I hadn’t recorded yet, so I thought it would be fun to see how much I could get done in one hour.

Whenever I think about recording in my home studio, I tend to tell myself that I need to set aside at least two hours if I really want to accomplish anything of worth. As you can imagine, this is stupid.

I had a suspicion that this was stupid, hence the challenge. If I only have one hour to record, can I get anything done? Or would it be better that I just watch TV or surf the internet? After all, an hour isn’t very long.

So, in an attempt to prove myself wrong, I set the timer on my iPhone for one hour, hit start, and opened up Pro Tools.

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Happy Friday! It’s been a busy week here at Home Studio Corner. It appears that the 12 Home Studio Necessities eBook has been pretty well-accepted. Thanks! If you haven’t gotten your copy, you can snag one up by signing up for my newsletter.

On to the questions! I’ve got three questions this week. In case you’re new, every week I try to answer reader questions. (It usually falls on a Friday.) If you ever have questions you want me to address, I can give it a shot, just fill out the Ask Joe form. 

Marcus Williamson wrote:
Hi Joe, Thanks for all you help so far with setting up my studio. My question is the high pitched noise I get though my monitors [using an Mbox 2 Mini], any time I turn the monitors on I get this noise. It’s not in the head phones so I’m not sure if it’s from the m-box mini or my monitor set up. I mostly use my head phones (when you have a 15 month old the only time things are quiet enough to record is when he is sleeping) but still like to use the monitors. I have see others have this problem and I’m not sure it can be solved. Thanks again for you help.

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Do you use playlists in Pro Tools? Do you know what they are?

Playlists are very cool and can be quite useful. Basically, each track in Pro Tools can have as many playlists as you want. These playlists are basically different “versions” of that track.

1. Recording Takes

The most common use of playlists is keeping track of takes. Let’s say you’re recording a vocal and you want to record several different takes. You have two options, you can create a new audio track for each take, or you can use playlists.

The way it works is by clicking the drop-down menu on the left-hand side of the track in edit window and selecting “New…”

Playlist Menu

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jamie-randolphIn case you missed it, I posted a video last weekend about how musicians can give away their music and still be successful.

After watching that video, I immediately thought of a band down in Memphis, Tennessee, Jamie Randolph & the Darkhorse. I went to school with the drummer, and I’ve met the band a few times, but I’ve never had the chance to see them live.

Then a few weeks ago they released a live album, and they’re giving it away for free! The unique thing here is that it’s not your typical live album recorded in some noisy bar. They actually recorded it live at Ardent Studios in Memphis. They invited a handful of friends and family to come be the “audience,” and they set up a recording session with a small PA in the tracking room and played a show.

These guys are great players, great songs, and the recording sounds fantastic. If you’re looking for a comparison, think The Wallflowers’ Bringing Down the Horse. 

Jamie Randolph & the Darkhorse. Great guys. Great music. Please do me and yourself a favor and follow this link to download the live album.

A few other ways to find out more about the band: