Category: Studio

Folsom Prison Blues – Home Studio Sessions

Acoustic version of Folsom Prison Blues Recorded live at the LoftStudio Home Recording Studio. Just a simple quick take, hope you like it!

I learned to love this song on a young age, since my father was a big fan of Johnny Cash (and lot’s of other country music). I’m not a big fan of modern country but like to listen and play songs by Johnny Cash and other “outlaw country” artists even though Blues and Rock are my favorite music styles.

Equipment used:
– guitar: Samick Greg Bennett
– mic: MXL770
– Interface: Behringer UMC404HD
– Ardour (Linux DAW)
– camera: Medion Life

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New Studio! Videotour of the new Home Recording Studio

The ZolderStudio (LoftStudio) has moved! As you might have noticed we were moving to a new location because we’ve bought a new house. Well, that is.. to us it’s new. But it was build around 1880. So it’s got a long history already. Anyway — we’ve started moving into the new house and rebuilding the studio.

After putting in the stuff we already had we’ve added a carpet, some new cables, additional acoustic treatment like DIY Acoustic Panels (see this video about the making and installation of the panels) and finally, yesterday, put in the foam acoustic panels on the walls.

The acoustic panels, btw, were very cheap to create. We paid less than 20 euro’s for them (hint: pre-made painters canvas). The acoustic foam was ordered online from Geek.

 DIY Budget Home Recording Studio

In essence, my home recording setup is a computer with a (Linux) DAW (Ardour, Mixbus5).

Recording at home shouldn’t have to be very expensive. Hook up a mic, trough an audio interface or use an USB condenser mic, and you’re ready to go. But once you get started with recording, there’s no turning back. So I bought a lot of addtional stuff over the years. Lot’s was also given to me as a gift, like the SoundTech ST162 16-channel mixer.

This really still is a budget home studio. Even though some people who visit me think it has cost a fortune to collect all this gear and to create it. There’s a lot of “DIY” stuff in the studio and, as written above, lot’s of stuff comes from very cheap, online, shops and stores in the Netherlands like the Action (there are many of them now all over Europe).

PICTURES & VIDEO

 

YouTube video (open in new window)

So, we’re “ready to rock” again!

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Unboxing & Review – Devine PRO2000 Studio Headphones

Today we’ve received a new set of headphones from BAX Shop, the Netherlands. The Devine PRO2000 Studio Headphones. We’ve bought them as an additional set of headphones for monitoring, recording and listening to music. 

Of course these headphones cannot be compared to high-end headphones. I did a comparison with the Audio Technica ATH-m20x. The ATH’s are twice as expensive as these Devine headphones. And yes, you can hear the difference. No doubt about that.

In short
Pro’s: the headphones are very well build, have a good sound and are very comfortable.
Con’s: they are not suitable for mixing.

The reason why they are not suitable for mixing is because the bass is too loud, there’s simply a little too much low end. The mid’s are fine, high end is slightly recessed. Still, it’s a good buy if you want to use them for listening to music or for monitoring. They’re dirt cheap! Only 27 euro’s.

Youtube video (unboxing and review)

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Dylan’s “Knocking on Heaven’s Door” (acoustic version)

What better way to celebrate using a new studio than recording a classic, acoustic, folk song? The ZolderStudio (LoftStudio) has moved! So I did some test recordings and one of them is Dylan’s “Knocking on Heaven’s Door”. And I did not only record the song, I made a video of the recording session.

It’s just a simple “one-take recording” using my MXL770 for vocals, a t.Bone EM700 for the guitar and I’ve used the Behringer UMC404HD as an interface. The DAW I’ve used was Ardour (Linux).

MOVING TO A NEW STUDIO
I’ve also made a short video about the move to the new studio. A full studio tour will be made as soon as the studio is setup completely. I’m still waiting for acoustic foam, ordered a floor carpet and there are now new monitor speakers too. So subscribe to the channel to receive updates!

Please visit the Youtube Channel and subscribe here.

 

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New EP Released: Morning Ritual (free single download)

A brand new EP by the Solid Rock Blues Band has been released today on ReverbNation, BandCamp and SoundCloud.

We’re moving! Moving to a new house and this also means: a new studio! To mark this big change here’s the last production ever made in the old “Loft Studio” – our brand new EP “Morning Ritual”. The album includes four blues, country and rock inspired original songs.

The Title Track, “Morning Ritual” can be downloaded for free at SoundCloud. But if you’re willing to support independent music, please consider downloading the full album (EP) from BandCamp for only $2!

The album is available exclusively as a download, for now, trough BandCamp.

TRACKS
All songs are recorded at the LoftStudio. The song “Summertime” has been mixed and produced by Jay H., writer of the VocalKing plugin (click here to check his website).

01 – Wine
A song telling the story of a lady, addicted to Wine.. up-beat, guitar driven, track!

02 – Morning Ritual
The Title Track. Well, .. a song about drinking coffee and the End of the World. But it seems as long there’s coffee, we do not need to worry about the End of the World, right?

03 – Stone Hearted Mandy
Previously recorded and released on the Barking Aunts’ album “Yesterday’s Coffee“. This was a concept album, a story in a handful of songs, about family life and how it got torn apart. We thought this track could be improved so we re-recorded it.

04 – Summertime
We can’t wait for Summer to begin.. mixed and produced by Jay H. using his Vocal King plugin and giving it a good creative treatment. It brought the song to a level we would have never expected.

CREDITS
Special thanks to my friends who helped me out on this one!

  • James Zheutlin (a.k.a. Acid Cowboys) – Text contributions;
  • Jay H – mix & production on “Summertime”

(click on their names to find out more).

DOWNLOAD
Download the full album at BandCamp
https://barkingaunts.bandcamp.com/album/morning-ritual

STREAMING

Available for streaming at SoundCloud or Reverbnation

 

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Free Single Morning Ritual

Morning Ritual (free download)

So what’s next when you have a new guitar (Harley Benton TE-52), a new vocal condenser mic (MXL770) and installed a new DAW (Mixbus5)? Record a brand new song! So here’s “Morning Ritual” – a song about how we try to survive in this world of ours these days.

The song is available as a free download at SoundCloud and there’s a video!

I must say we’re very happy with the new gear as well as the new DAW! Even though there are some hardware issues to overcome it is clearly the best DAW I’ve ever layed hands on.

Recorded at the ZolderStudio
Drums & Bass – Digitech Trio
Guitars, Vocals, recording & mixing – Rudy

Equipment used:
DAW – Mixbus5
Mic – MXL770
Guitars: Harley Benton Telecaster, Washburn Acoustic

 

 

MORNING RITUAL (Lyrics)

Words & Music (c)2019, Solid Rock Blues Band

Well here’s your coffee dear,
it’s in a paper cup,
I know you do adhere
to the morning ritual..
without you can’t get up,
so here’s your coffee dear
here’s your coffee dear

Well here’s your paper dear,
it says the end is near,
you might not want to read,
or hear the news today
don’t worry anyhow
here’s your coffee dear,
here’s your coffee dear

Chorus:
You can Leave Your Make-up on the shelf,
‘cus time, time suits you well,
and here’s your coffee dear

Here’s Your Coffee Dear,
though the End is Near,
You know we can’t give up
on our morning ritual,
yeah though our life is short,
at least there’s coffee dear,
so here’s your coffee dear.

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Stepping up the game: Harrison Mixbus

A professional DAW for home recording doesn’t have to cost an arm and leg. First of all, there are many free solutions or nearly-free solutions. Like Ardour. It’s free (open source) software, if you’re using an older version that is. Like Ardour 4.x.

Last week Harrison Mixbus was offering Mixbus5 for a deep discount and I just couldn’t resists. Still use Ardour for older projects but Mixbus is just an awesome product!

Harrison Mixbus is a digital audio workstation (DAW) available for Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X and Linux operating systems. Mixbus provides a modern DAW model incorporating a “traditional” analog mixing workflow. It includes built in analog modeled processing, based on Harrison’s 32-series and MR-series analog music consoles. Mixbus is based on Ardour, the open source DAW, but is sold and marketed commercially by Harrison Audio Consoles (Wikipedia).

Installation took some time, you really do need to do this “step by step” following the (online) manual and I had some “problems” importing old projects from Ardour sessions (I thought it was compatible, but it isn’t 100% compatible with my Ardour 4.x version). But after about 30 minutes I was already doing my first (test)recording.

Mixbus5 looks a lot like Ardour (no surprise here!) but it’s more advanced. It’s also more demanding (CPU. Memory, Disk). Despite that, I got it workin smoothly on “light” ITX-computer using an Intel® Quad-Core Processor (J1900, 2 GHz) with 8GB RAM. On this machine I’m running Linux Mint as the OS.

FEATURES
Mixbus comes with a ton of features, plugins and the special offer included some additional plugins!

 

NEW STUDIO
We will be moving soon to another house and there I will be having a bigger (lof)studio. Apart from a bigger room, I most certainly will need bigger monitor screens for this.. in fact, I will need/want two screens 🙂 This is just too much vor only one (small) screen.

NOTE!
I installed Mixbus5 on my desktop computer first for testing but it didn’t run smoothly on my SATA HDD. The disk simply can’t keep up. Mind you, it’s a fast Seagate disk, but SATA just can’t handle it too well.

My dedicated “DAW-computer” (the ITX) has an SSD disk and it runs smoothly. I did have time-outs sometimes, so I’ve installed a little utillity on my Linux ITX computer to prevent it from going in to “sleep” mode and have more performance (full cpu-usage). This fixed the time-outs.

FREE DEMO
You can download a free demo at Harrison’s website
https://harrisonconsoles.com/site/mixbus.html

____________

I was planning to have some fun with it this weekend and perhaps create a short video about it but.. i fell ill and on top of that the power supply one of the hosting-servers died on me.. So had to go the the data center and fix that. I will post an update later!

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Review Harley Benton TE-52 NA Vintage Series Telecaster

The Harley Benton TE-52 NA Vintage Series Telecaster is a Fender Telecaster “look-a-like” Telecaster guitar and not only a lookalike but also a ‘sound-a-like’. It comes with all the sparse features the original Telecasters had: 3-way switch, tone and volume, 2 single coil pickups (Roswell TEA alnico-5 TE-style). A solid wood (Ash) body. C-profile neck, decent tuners, 21 frets and deluxe chrome hardware.

The guitar comes with with d’Addario .009-.042 strings according to the Thomann website. I do have some doubts about this. I’ll get back to that later on.

Anyway, how’s that for a guitar that will only set you back EUR 139.00??
What can you expect, build and sound wise?

BIRTHDAY PRESENT

As I wrote in the post about the MXL770 mic, I turned 50 the other day and my wife gave me a few very nice presents! Apart from the MXL770 she also gave me (amongst other non-music related gifts) this Harley Benton Telecaster. It had been on my wish-list for some time. But I already have a very decent collection of guitars so I didn’t dare to buy another one 😉 She knew, however, that I wanted a Telecaster. So, .. I got it as a birthday present! This now more-or-less completes my wish-lists as far as guitars is concerned!

 

 

Worship-Guitar

I started to play in a worship band (in Church) last year and I’m using my electro-acoustic Samick guitar for that. However, on stage I noticed I was having feedback issues sometimes – so I have to turn it down too much. I want to use this telecaster instead. An electro-acoustic is, in the setting I’m playing in (Drums, electric bass, electric piano, vocal-group) just not a good choice. Hope the other band members agree.

d’Addario Strings?

I’m having a hard time believing these strings are really d’Addario. Or perhaps a certain type that just don’t feel comfortable to me. On my Gretsch I have a set of d’Addario Nickel Wound (.010-.046’s). They have a different ‘feel’. The ones one this guitar don’t feel slick, they really hurt your fingers when bending or sliding in to a note. So they will be replaced one day soon. I will probably opt for the d’Addario Super Light Plus (.095-.044) because Telecasters aren’t build to have super heavy strings on it but I’m not completely satisfied with these. Anyway – that’s the only “con” as far as I’m concerned. Other than that, it’s a superb guitar for the money!

 

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MXL770 Studio Condenser – Unboxing, Review and Testrecording

The MXL770 Studio Condenser is a very budget friendly yet high quality studio condenser microphone made by Marshall. It is a perfect microphone for those recording at home – it’s suitable for recording acoustic instruments like an acoustic guitar, as well as electric instruments and vocals.

So – I turned 50 the other day and my wife gave me a few very nice presents! One of them is this MXL770 studio condenser microphone. My favorite studio condenser, a McCrypt condenser microphone, is having issues after having been in use for over 20 years. So – time to replace it. This is a great replacement. In fact, I think it’s a very good upgrade. While the McCrypt was most certainly a great mic, this one is even better.

 

 

 

In the video there’s a test recording using my acoustic Washburn guitar and some vocal. Both are ‘dry sound’, no processing done. In the end of the video there’s a mixdown of the track I recorded.

The microphone was ordered online at Thomann (Germany).

 

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Professional Free Online Mastering

Is it possible to get free mastering? Even better: free professional, radio ready, mastering? Yes it is! Yesterday I recorded a hymn (“I Surrender All”) and even though the mix was fine, I wanted it to sound “radio-ready”. So, I went online to search for a quick fix. I do my own “mastering” most of the time using Audacity but it didn’t sound good enough.

Google is your firend, right? So, I ended up on BandLab’s website. They have been offering free online mastering for some time now (I never knew,.. and perhaps you didn’t either – that’s why I’m posting this!).

What to expect from a free mastering service? Well, .. to my surprise it does a great job! When you upload a track you have a few options: CD quailty, bass heavy (for radio: don’t!) and clear sound.

I uploaded a few tracks and was amazed to hear the difference!

BandLab’s new online mastering service is the first such tool with free unlimited use and is compatible with all major music formats. The new feature is also integrated across the entire existing BandLab creative workflow so that creators can share final mastered tracks across the BandLab social music platform or download their finished works as high-quality versions for distribution to other services. (MusicConnection)

Here’s a sample of the mastering at BandLab, the song “Summertime”

The mastering gives it a lot more ‘punch’ and depth. Of course the mix was very good also, thanks to Jay H.

Anyway — There’s no excuse not to use BandLab – it’s free, it delivers you a good mastered track. Head over to BandLab to get your songs mastered!

More of our songs at BandLab can be found at this link:
https://www.bandlab.com/band/band6816193038897138

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