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As a musician, your demo is definitly your calling card. It can help you to expand your audience, and it's your ticket to being noticed, so it's very important to get it right. Contrary to popular belief, demo recording doesn't have to be expensive. If your songs are great, listeners will hear it, no matter how much cash you spent on the recording.
What Is The Purpose Of Your Demo CD
Think about what you want to achieve. Is it to give a CD to venues to get more gigs? Perhaps you want tracks for downloading off of your myspace page to build-up your fan base? Knowing what your objective is will help to determine which tracks you record and their recording style.
Some of the reasons you may want to record a demo include:
To send a CD to venues to get more gigs
Produce downloadable songs for your band website or facebook page
To produce a CD to sell at future gigs
To demonstrate your technical music ability
To send a CD to a record company or radio station
To sell your music on iTunes or other online retailer
Select Your Material To Record
Your first demo CD may only be 2 or 3 songs – so make them count. Remember to select the correct material to meet your objectives. A more technically advanced piece of music may impress future band mates, but that simpler track with a killer hook could be just what the younger generation wants to hear!
Practice, Practice, Practice
Although recording at Studio 105 Recording is inexpensive, arriving on the day well rehearsed will maximise your studio time and ensure you walk away with the best possible results. Ensure that everyone knows the songs inside out and can play their piece with minimal mistakes.
Talk To The Recording Engineer
It is well worth taking the time to speak to your recording engineer in advance to talk through what you want to achieve from your recording session. If they know what your expectations are, they can better plan your time in the studio and ensure that you walk away with a result you are happy with.
Think About Your Sound And Recording Method
If your CD is intended to demonstrate how your band sounds at a live gig, try and achieve a hi-fidelity recording of your live sound using the same arrangement you usually play at band practice.
How Long Does It Take To Record A Demo CD
This depends on many factors such as how many songs are being recorded, competency of musicians, complexity of the tracks and how much post-production work is required. Remember, actual instrument recording often only accounts for a third of the process. Editing, mixing and finalising needs to be factored in and budgeted for.
What is the recording process
The recording process differs depending on the recording and the song. Often the song is built up in layers. First, if necessary, a click track is recorded to set the rhythm, this is then deleted at a later stage. The drums are recorded next sometimes with the rest of the band. The main rhythm sections of guitars, bass and keys are laid on top with filling accompaniments of solos etc added afterwards.
Editing, Mixing & Finalising
Never underestimate the time required for the post-production of your demo CD. The engineer will need to clean each and every one of the audio tracks you recorded. He will be looking to remove unwanted sounds, unused space and balance the tone of your sound, possibly adding reverberation, compression and effects.
The mixing process involves balancing the volume levels of the different elements of the tracks to achieve the desired sound. This phase of the process requires just as much creative energy as writing the song in the first place. This is the time to get involved in the post-production process, sit with your recording engineer and ask questions and make suggestions.
Mastering will add the ‘polish’ to your performance. It is important at this stage to double check that your engineer understands the desired format for the finished product. this will determine the setup for the finalised CD.
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