the H4N for the Win

I'm not a recording kind of guy. I do Live Audio. I do Photography. I do Drums. I do Video. I'm not that hot at Recording.

But, my friend Taylor Wood really needed a handful of demo tracks, and couldn't really justify heading out to the full-out studio. So... I said I'd help out.

We laid down about 10 songs, two takes on some, one take on others.

Since this wasn't going to Nashville I really wanted a quick, flash way to capture the tracks, get them cleaned up, and get them right back out.

I don't have all the legit recording gear so we worked with what I did have. A Zoom H4N handheld recorder. This is the little guy who I hide behind unity candles at weddings. A great little recorder with a strikely attractive XY stereo pair up front.

To excite things I decided to put in my Westone's and "mix" the tracks "live". Let's be honest it was the closest thing to "Live Audio" I could pull off and it still be called recording. Just being honest.

I had a lot of fun mixing it, the Westone's gave me incredible isolation from the actual room, making sure what I was hearing was what was being laid down. That would definitely be the only sting on this setup. Without the in-ears, I'm not sure how well this would have worked. I was going to use my big Sony headphones but they simply would not have blocked the ambience out.

Also, since it was a true stereo XY pair, the sound was evolved not just from overall movement and adjustment of placement, but also by simple tilts and pans. That also kept things interesting in the process, just leaning a bit left or right to shift things up.

I would definitely ad a windscreen in the future though. I had to have Taylor keep his breath flowing in one exact spot so I could "steer" around his POPS.

Also a bit of fun was that we used our ProPresenter lyrics for him to read, that kept him in order and flowing confidently without worrying about lyrics.

I did 3 things in post.

a Thickening Limiter
a harder -2 Limiter
10% Reverb

That's all nothing too fancy. :D

Also, on this track only, he wanted me to lay down a simple DJembe beat, so we did that up in my bedroom afterwords. I would have done it in the original glass room, but that ring from the head was too much for the additional carrying on.

Well anyways there's that. A fresh view at recording. We had a lot of fun doing it this way, and the tracks came out simple and clean in the end. Our friend Cayla took a little video of us while we were doing it, so I've got that posted. I synced in the finished track from this song, along with it's phantom djembe player. :D

thanks for reading, let me know what you think!