Home Recording: Getting Your First Take - dummies

By Jeff Strong

Your palms are sweaty and your hands are shaking as you get ready to press the Record button for your first take. There’s something about knowing that what you’re about to play is for keeps (or at least could be).

Relax. Take a deep breath and remember that you’re both the artist and the producer. You can take as many “takes” as it takes you to get a good “take.” (A take, by the way, is an attempt at a performance.) Anyway, it’s normal to get a little nervous when you know the recorder is capturing every sound that you make.

To do your first take, follow these steps:

  1. Cue the beginning of the song.

    Press and hold the Stop button while pressing Rewind on a Zoom R24 or click the Stop button twice in Logic or Cubase, for example.

  2. Arm your track by pressing the Record Enable button or, in the case of a Zoom SIAB system, the Status button until it blinks red. Next, arm the recorder by pressing the Record button until it flashes red, and then press the Play button (or the Record button again in the case of the Zoom).

    Presto, you’re recording.

  3. When you’re done, press the Stop button and then press 0 or the Stop button again to rewind.

  4. To listen to your recorded track, you need to disarm the track that you recorded to and set it to play. You accomplish this by pressing the Track Status button until it turns green (or by deselecting the track — just click the track bar).

    Now you’re in playback mode.

  5. Now, adjust your channel fader on the track channel that you recorded to and press the Play button.

Well, how does it sound? Good? Then you’re ready to record a different track. If you don’t like the sound, you can record the part over again by rewinding, rearming the track (press the Status button until you get the red blinking light again), and pressing the Record button followed by the Play button.

Depending on your system and the recording settings you have selected, you may be able to keep each take and decide later which one to use for your final song. This may be in the form of virtual tracks (as in the case of the Roland SIABs) or regions list (in the case of Pro Tools.