The golden standard for many musicians today is to have their music highly produced and highly professional-sounding. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. In fact, there is a reason having highly produced music is so in vogue; it sounds amazing.
This high-quality sound doesn’t necessarily fit with all music, however, and the rough quality aesthetic can still be used to great effect. Here are a few ways to keep the rough, garage band sound.
1. Record with minimal soundproofing.
One of the easiest ways to make your sound quality crystal clear is to record in a soundproof booth. If you want to get away from that sound and have one that’s a little rough around the edges, record in a room with a lot less soundproofing.
Instead of being absorbed by the sound proofing, your music will bounce around the room, providing the natural acoustics to your recording. This will make the recording sound a bit louder and a bit more cluttered. Both of those things are indicative of the garage band sound.
2. Record instruments into microphones.
With a lot of electric instruments nowadays, you can record directly into recording software. This eliminates any sort of feedback from an amp while keeping the original sound of the instrument.
In order to keep the garage band sound, play your instrument through your amp and put a recording mic in front of the amp. The mic will pick up any and all feedback from the amp. Depending on how close the mic is, it will create feedback as well.
3. Play together.
When most bands go to record a new song, they record all the instrument tracks individually. That means one person is in the booth at a time playing their part of the song. While this helps clean up the sound of the track overall, it doesn’t do anything for the garage band sound.
In order to create that sound, the whole band needs to record the track while playing together. That will give the recording a true indication of the volume levels and the raw, undoctored sound.
The garage band aesthetic doesn’t work for all types of music. However, when it does work, it can bring out the raw talent of the musicians, as well as highlight the underlying emotions behind the music. If you want to try this aesthetic, then record without soundproofing, mic amplifiers instead of instruments, and record your track by playing together instead of individually.
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Anthony Mauro is a San Francisco State graduate who splits his time between the Bay Area and San Diego. He spends his free time thinking long hair is cool, playing video games for an online audience, and writing short stories, comic books, and novels.