How do I get a vintage wireless sound in a home recording set-up?
August 1, 2004 5:57 PM   Subscribe

HomeRecordingFilter. Of course, I'm recording an album at home. I'm already using a Rode NT1A mic, but I want to get the effect of a vocal coming through and old radio. I understand that I can fiddle with the EQ controls in CoolEdit (I mean, Adobe Audition...) and emulate the desired effect, but does anyone have any more tips to get the vintage wireless sound? While I'm at it - does anyone have any home recording tips in general?
posted by armoured-ant to Media & Arts (9 answers total)
 
best way: get an old radio and a $9 audio transmitter with line in (I've seen usb powered ones for under $20.) Record the rode normally and then play it back through the transmitter into the old radio, re-recording it through the rode. Success!
posted by neustile at 6:10 PM on August 1, 2004


Record a memo on your answering machine by holding a speaker up to the microphone on the answering machine. (only the vocal should be coming through the speakers) Then mic your answering machine, and play back the vocal. It will sound pretty lo-fi.

Or you could just eq out all the bass and treble. One or two bands of midrange makes it sound old fashinoned.

Extra points for recording some record crackle and adding that to the mix too... (don't ever use fake record crackle- that's so lame)
posted by mildred-pitt at 6:16 PM on August 1, 2004


If you're not crazy about authenticity, I highly recommend the EQ route. It lets you record your vocal track as cleanly as possible (that is, no effects, natural or otherwise, on the incoming signal), something you should do for every track. If you ever decide you want a different effect on that vocal, it'll save you re-recording it.
posted by uncleozzy at 6:26 PM on August 1, 2004


Some of the craziest distortion I ever heard was created by taking an old battery powered tape deck, ripping out the tape head and soldering a mike in instead. The owner was using it to busk with his harmonica, and it was great. Playing around with butchered old gear is the best.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 7:08 PM on August 1, 2004


If you have a guitar amp, you could record the vocals, output them through the guitar amp and Mic the amp. This will get something close to the midrangey feeling of radio.
posted by drezdn at 7:47 PM on August 1, 2004


A good general tip is to just experiment. Try different mic placements, like the attic, closet, bathroom, garage, etc. The best effects are natural acoustics.
posted by swift at 8:18 PM on August 1, 2004


Toss in a little compression whiile you're at it. Dynamic range wasn't invented until the 1960s.
posted by Fupped Duck at 9:29 PM on August 1, 2004


I've asked for some home studio advice here on two occasions, and those threads might be worth pursuing.

I've also recorded at the home studio of a couple of friends and acquaintances. I don't feel like I've acquired a bunch of wisdom, but fwiw...

The two recordings I'm happiest with (here and here) took place in two pretty different studios.

The former happened in a room in a friend's basement appartment... we just put some Earthworks mics on his guitar, and I later sang into them, and then ran them into his Digi001 we heaped pro-tools plugins on the two tracks (sans-amp, some reverb, eq, and I admit a little dash of autotune) and tweaked it for hours.

The later was recorded in a pretty good isolation booth, some mic that I don't think had much to its name, run into an ART tube preamp and then straight into the computer's native soundcard, to be taken/manipulated by Cakewalk/Sonar whatever. Not much manipulation at all... just some reverb. We were going to normalize the mix but never had the time... all in all we probably spent an hour and a half on the recording.

Conclusions I've drawn from this:

(1) Digidesign stuff isn't the end-all word. And in general, lower-end gear isn't as much of a handicap as you might think, when weilded by a person who knows it. Seriously, who would have thought a $100 ART preamp would actually help things? Not me if I hadn't heard it.

(2) A good space, arranged well for recording, saves a lot of time on post processing.

(3) Familiarity with gear/space you've got available may be the most important factor... audio equipment is like having another instrument, really, you have to learn to play it. You can know the theory (as I do... four semesters of college physics and a math degree and two semesters of audio classes) and it doesn't matter -- just like you can know music theory but still can't play the guitar well. Practice your gear as if it were an instrument.

Finally, I'm an amateur. Take my words with a grain of salt.
posted by weston at 10:12 PM on August 1, 2004


compression (something "warm" - you want a vacuum tube (valve) sound) and restricted bandwidth (turn down the eq at high + low frequencies). a bit of reverb might give you something that sounds a bit like multi-path reception and you probably need to add some noise too.
(not that i've ever done any of this, but that's the theory ;o)
posted by andrew cooke at 5:59 AM on August 2, 2004


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