Best way to set up tracks for collaboration.

December 2, 2008 4:25 PM

How can I record music at home on my Mac in a way that would be useable by collaborating musicians?

I am busy with scary shit and don't have time to work with a band, but in the spare odd hour or two I'd like to collaborate with interested musicians here. I'm sick of the a cappella tracks, they feel egotistical to me.

The question is, what should I do minimally - in terms of recording and in terms of sending it to the other people - to produce good stuff for use by other musicians?
posted by By The Grace of God (7 comments total)

sing in tune. use a metronome. include the tempo in your post. the single vocal tracks you've been posting should be easy enough to work with as posted provided they are in tempo and in tune. (this is not a critique of your singing, just suggestions for what's easy to work with if I'm personally trying to add parts.)
posted by mexican at 5:54 PM on December 2, 2008

If you're just thinking of just vocal tracks? I would say: record a rough version (or, at least, not a "final" version). Send it out, let your collaborator record the backing tracks, and then record your final vox over that.

As far as format, the rough version could just be an mp3. For any actual stuff, I would need a WAV, but I could do a conversion myself easily enough (although keep quality issues in mind).

(As you know, there's a collaboration page on the Wiki. I dunno how many people actually look at it, though.)
posted by Karlos the Jackal at 6:10 PM on December 2, 2008

Both of the above.
And get a decent mic and a way to record it onto your computer.
You can get a Shure SM57 for £77 pounds here (first UK instrument store site I found on Google) which is a great, simple mic to learn recording vocals on if you don't want to lay out bigger bucks for a large-diaphragm condenser mic. But you should get something better than a USB computer mic.
And there's countless interfaces you can buy that will let you plug your mic in and then plug the interface into your PC via USB or firewire...too many too mention and it depends on your setup and what your looking to do, if you want to record more than one track at once, etc.
Good luck and I'm definitely interested when you get up and running.
posted by chococat at 8:09 PM on December 2, 2008

I don't really have anything else to add other than Umbu's collaboration with one of your songs was just freaking awesome, I listen to it a lot. I was really surprised how well in tune you sang through the whole thing, I don't know how in tune it actually was but your relative tuning was spot on through the whole thing, do whatever you did on that track.
posted by BrnP84 at 8:17 PM on December 2, 2008

First of all take steps to be cross-platform. This is very easy as you can export individual tracks as BWF (Broadcast Wave Format). This is the definitive format, 'nuff said.

If you cannot figure out how to collaborate please educate yourself on popular software and file formats. Basically, work with yourself for a while.

Once you understand how digital media works, collaboration is not much more than a distraction, unless you are working with a very well known collaborator, . . but hell is it fun.
posted by dagosto at 2:49 AM on December 3, 2008

So you want to collaborate with someone where you start by recording the vocals first?

As above, it would need to be
1. very well synced to a metronome
2. in tune (in absolute pitch not just relative).
3. in some pretty standard format.

you would also later need some way in the future to record more vocals while playing back a partly finished - possibly multi-channel version of the backing.
posted by mary8nne at 8:00 AM on December 3, 2008

I wouldn't need to record them 1st necessarily - that rough-track approach works, or coming up to someone else's stuff is great too!

Thanks for comments guys!
posted by By The Grace of God at 1:06 PM on December 3, 2008

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