Recording is just getting easier and easier but you do need to be aware of new things, always ask questions, and grow. Don’t be overwhelmed with everything new that’s coming out, but do seek out new things-or you’ll just rot.

Recording-by-mail (in this case by email and Dropbox) is hardly a new idea. I remember when the first ADAT machines came out. What a great thing! You could record duplicate tracks to a ADAT tape-a cheap SVHS-type of tape, slap them in the US Mail to your cool friend/guitarist on the West coast, and in maybe a week get their magical tracks back to use for yourself! No plane tickets. Nothing to prevent you from working with anyone…anywhere. How cool was that? Very cool.

With DAWs now available you can do the same thing, only now there isn’t really anything physical needed, except your hard drive space which is very inexpensive now.

I just finished a record like this with two very talented musicians who both live, most of the time anyway, in LA; Bourbon Crow is their title. It was actually a very simple process:

  1. They sent me acoustic guitar/vocal demos of their songs. They just recorded them at home, and/or at a friend’s cheap-or free home studio.
  2. I brought their tracks into my setup here, and imported the mp3s into Cubase, which is my software of choice. Any DAW will work.
  3. In Cubase I had the software analyze their tracks for tempo, a relatively simple command. Then I had Cubase correct their tempos to the tempos I wanted to use, which were very close to theirs-only dead-on.
  4. I recorded all their backup tracks. This may not seem so simple for others, but it is very do-able.
  5. I emailed the guys mp3’s to check out; my arrangements, corrections, ideas, etc.
  6. After the bed tracks were agreed upon I sent them (in this case their engineer in LA) a link to a shared Dropbox folder. (Google if you don’t know about this-but very easy and free) THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP here is this; make sure and send them .wav files for guide tracks-that start at 0—-the very top of your sequence. ALSO—make sure they are all at the same sample rate and bit rate on both ends. In other words, if I work at 48k/24bit—so does he or she at the other end.
  7. Bourbon Crow booked a session in LA and did all of their vocals, etc there. Then, their engineer posted their new files to me in that same Dropbox folder that we share. His files were all simple-consolidated files; in other words, no spaces or edits, and all the entire length of each song recorded.
  8. I then simply imported their vocal files into my session. They all locked-up perfectly, sync-wise. I made corrections and mixed the songs. I sent them mp3’s again, to approve or reject. Corrections/comments back from them…
  9. When all accepted, I sent their mastering engineer 48k/24bit copies of all my stereo mixes.
  10. Done! Rock History repeats itself. Yay!

I didn’t even mention Cubase VST Performer. That’s for another time. Google it, though and then call all your buddies in LA and England and get busy! There are lots of ways to “give me some skin, cool cats-everywhere!”

Jamie Hoover