Episode 048: Quick and Dirty Demos (Part 1)

There are many ways to record demos for your band. These tips get you started at the simple and cheap end of the spectrum.

This is a topic that can grow with you… Three scenarios:

  1. Single mic in the room (one and done)
  2. Several mics through a PA/mixer into computer
  3. Multitrack it in

General tips

  • Demos can start simple and as you get more comfortable with technology and gear, try more complex solutions
  • Tons of help on YouTube
  • Just to make sure people understand mics
  • Most mics need to run to a preamp of some sort, almost all mixers build them in (or a digital interface)
  • XLR cable to go to the mixer or interface
  • Mixer will probably need cable to go to computer sound card, OR DAI makes it simple, just USB or Thunderbolt

Single mic

  • Best bet is omnidirectional mic
  • Zoom recorders are great for this, they’re designed to pick up a whole area
  • Blue Snowball — also a cheap option, USB connected
  • Or an omni condenser that you can run into the mixer/DAI
  • Where to put it?… get the right balance
  • Record straight into GarageBand or even simple Sound Recorder or Quicktime player
  • Some people use Reaper but it can be complicated if you’re not into tech stuff

Several mics

  • Next step up where you have a few channels — mini-mixer or a two-channel DAI
  • Maybe put one where it gets the drums/instruments and another where it gets vocals
  • Don’t pan hard, just put them up the middle
  • May need to do some trial/error to get the balance right
  • Still, condensers a good choice here
  • But SM57/58 type dynamic mics will get you something, esp. if you put one nearer to a PA for vocals
  • Again, you can record straight to a built in app on your computer

And now we’re out of time for this week… Listen to next week’s episode as we talk about more complex setups, and also give some tech tips that apply to every situation to help you get the best recording possible.


Photo by Ben Koorengevel on Unsplash. Music: JahzzarPlease Listen CarefullyspinningmerkabaUrbana-Metronica (wooh-yeah mix).

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