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December 19, 2005, 11:27am Report to Moderator
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From John Babich

Can you play the Blues? Got a computer?

It's a beautiful time to be a Blues musician...

Or any musician for that matter. The recording process and the computer world have combined to create a Blues musician's dream. Easy, affordable recording and distribution. This won't guarantee you'll become the next Blues phenom, but you'll be in the old ball game.

Blue artists have always been at the mercy of recording technology. By definition, they are complete opposites. With the advent of home recording technology, intuitive software, and affordable computers, it's now easy for any modern Blues player to make their own quality recordings and distribute them over the Internet.

So, ya gots ya some chops, and you have a computer...

Here's what you will need for your computer and home studio...

A Good Hard Drive The most important piece of hardware for home recording is a big fast hard drive. Most new machines are equipped with an ultra-wide DMA hard drive at 7500+ rpm. The better the hard drive, the more tracks you can record and playback smoothly. You'll need a high capacity drive too. Raw audio files are huge. Each track can eat up as much as 50 megs of space. If you're recording a whole band, one song can can easily top one gig in size. So you will need more than an old IDE 1.4 gig hard drive.

A Quality Sound Card Your computer must have a sound card to record and playback music. Most standard sound cards that come with today's computers will work for home recording, sound quality will be adequate, but not up to most recording standards. But we're talking the Blues, and you already have better recording equipment than most of the great Blues artists ever used in the studio. It's worth the money to get a quality sound card. There are several brands on the market, just make sure it's 24 bit resolution. Your final recording on CD will be 16 bit, the resolution of a standard sound card, but the recording process demands a higher resolution.

CD Burner You must back up your recordings. You must back up your recordings. You must back up your recordings. You'll also need to burn mixes to listen on other stereos. It will also free up hard drive space for your next project.

Recording Software This software will display each track recorded. If you can copy and paste, you can edit and mix your music. The software will have effects like reverb and delay to enhance your sounds. The software application that most professionals use is ProTools. Very expensive, very complicated. An easier application to learn and use is Cakewalk. Another popular program is Cubase. n-Tracks is a shareware application that can be downloaded if you're tight on cash. You'll need encoding software, RealAudio, Windows Media, and .Mp3, to compress you final product so it can be transferred over the Internet. These applications are free for download.

Microphones The best way to get a good sound is with a good mic. It's amazing the difference a good mic makes. Today there are good, affordable mics on the market, or you can rent a killer mic from a music store for a special session.

Monitors Reference speakers (monitors) are essential in refining your music. But don't rely on one set of speakers. Use headphones, boom-box speakers, and your car stereo to tweek your sound in the mix and mastering stages.

Once you get your masterpiece recorded, you can go to Mp3.com and create your own CD for sale and distribution over the Internet. You upload your music and art work and they do the rest. You split any the sales 50/50 with mp3.com. They also provide a website for your music.

Promotion is up to you. The Internet is the greatest grapevine ever created, and if you market yourself creatively, you can actually make some money and get your music out in the world forever.
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