I could live from it but I choose not to simply because AJ isn’t a very steady income. I’m making quite some bucks right now, but will I still have the same amount of sales next year, or the year after that? I don’t know, so I decided to keep my daytime job next to composing music.
Ditto (or at least from all marketplaces, not just AJ). If I could be guaranteed that the amount I was making would stay the same or grow I might be tempted, but you never know what might happen going forward. If I were single, I’d probably do it, but since I’ve got the family I need the security of the day job.
It is nice to know that there’s a backup plan if something happens with my job or industry, though
I heard some big sellers that I thought had fairly average recording quality. Nothing wrong with that of course – it’s how it moves the listener that matters.
I’ll be the first to admit that a couple of my overall best sellers fall into this category IMO, partially because they’re older tunes and I like to think I’ve improved since then, but also because neither one was really meant for greatness, as it were. My top selling song I wrote and produced quickly as kind of a joke, and my second best was the result of a day in the studio where I just wasn’t feeling creative so I pushed out a simple finger picking pattern just to get something done. I’d chalk it up to quality VH presentations that used these songs, except that they sell well on other marketplaces as well.
So anyway, what I’m saying is that I’m not sure either of these tunes had what I’d call either highest quality composition or recording quality, but maybe something else comes through to the listener, the elusive “feel” aspect to it (I think Gareth referred to this a while back in some other thread that I can’t find now). The frustrating thing for me is that that’s the hardest to reproduce. I have many other tracks that I’m far prouder of from a quality and creative aspect that don’t do well at all.
I tried to play in bands in college (Eugene, OR), and later in Seattle, mainly with my SeaportSound co-collaborator, Natt, but it never really went anywhere except that we composed literally 100s of songs. After that, I mostly just muddled around in my spare time. And then in 2009 I discovered stock music, and started writing and recording again. That’s about it! Now I’m just climbing the learning curve, and having a blast. Thanks for this thread, Jamie – I haven’t read everybody’s bio yet but I plan to go through them in the next day or two.
Hi Joel! First time we’ve connected and very happy to do so. I’ve been listening to your stuff and it’s very clear why you’re doing so well here. Thanks for making AJ a popular destination – all the successful authors have built this place and we are the beneficiaries of your hard work. Without your talents our clients would not come back here so you have my respect and gratitude.
Cool story and reinforces again how personal music is for all of us. I was in a band (errrgh not a good time) and quickly realised I was a better solo act than a band member. I’m curious as to what point we need to arrive at for us to be able to sustain ourselves through writing music. Certainly helps if you land a few big gigs along the way, but there are guys on AJ making big money each month and could probably survive on that.
Many of us do other things to make money, but derive our real joy in life from music only. Some of us figure it out earlier than others too by the sounds of things. One of the common themes though so far as that even those of us who gave it up for a while, eventually decided to return to their passion.
Seems more than just a few of us were conflicted about the choice to do that though. Certainly the ability to earn money out of a music career is the #1 reason we take other paths sometimes.Anyways – I love to see any composer doing well – and you’re doing great Joel. Thanks for replying and look forward to chatting with you more in the future.
Hey Jamie, it’s good to connect with you as well! I haven’t been as active as I’d like on the forums lately but I’ve read a good many of your posts (and listened to your work), and it’s a boon to AudioJungle to have you on board.
Aquila strings are what they recommend in the Hawaii stores at lease.
Um, I meant “at least.” I don’t lease my strings – I buy them outright.
All right, I put together some quick sound samples on SoundCloud here. I apologize in advance for you having to stare at my ugly mug while listening
I’m not sure how well this is going to work in the context of this thread because it turned into a mic shootout instead. Here are the parameters:
1. Each mic was about 6 inches from the sound hole, angled slightly but pointing to it.
2. The preamp used was a Forssell SMP-500. It’s a little more transparent than the pre I use on most of my tunes here.
3. Ukulele is a Kala KA-A8AC Concert (in dire need of a string change). Also I’m hearing some buzzing there, I may have to address that soon. Also keep in mind that each track was a single take First part is strumming, the second is some light fingerpicking, for each track.
4. I tried to adjust for volume the best I could, but otherwise no effects have been applied to the signal.
5. I decided not to do a blind shootout because we’re not testing mic knowledge here, but getting a feel for different flavors of various mics.
Shure SM81 – small diaphragm condenser, cardioid
AKG C451B – small diaphragm condenser, cardioid
Neumann KM184 – small diaphragm condenser, cardioid
Little Blondie – small diaphragm condenser, omni
Oktava MK012 (modded by Oktavamod) – small diaphragm condenser, cardioid
SM58 – dynamic, cardioid
SM7b – dynamic, cardioid
Thank you JHunger. finally a wise use of this forum (anybody tired of the “red/black/silver paw/50/100/200 sales/congrats threads? Wouldn’t it be nice to create a separate forum for those?). I’m about to buy my first Ukulele, does anybody have suggestions about brands or models with a good price/quality ratio?
Thanks! Yeah, I think that we’re missing an opportunity sometimes. Looks like SchwartzSound hooked you up with the right thread – the takeaway from that (for me) is that Kala ukuleles are a great bang for the buck.
@stuck – I should change my strings probably about as often as I should change my guitar strings . Probably once every two months the rate I play this thing. Aquila strings are what they recommend in the Hawaii stores at lease.
jhunger, this is great! I am glad someone took the initiative. I record Uke the same way as you, but my mic is a C-460b. That runs into a 70’s API pre. I use just a bit of compression more for the tone then the “squish” (Waves stuff) and just a touch of EQ. My room has a bump at about 385Hz and another at around 160Hz. The only difference is where I want the Uke to sit in a mix. if it is prominent, then I record closer to the source, if it is a background instrument, then I back up about a foot or so to get a bit of my room. (acoustically treated, but I still have to add more)
Thanks for the info! That’s interesting about the placement for a background instrument, but it makes perfect sense – I may try that next time
Hey Dan, substitute clarinet for the trumpet and I think I followed a parallel path as you for a while. I started on piano and got reasonably good but disliked it because I was basically just repeating what was on the sheet music and not creating anything. So I quit when I was about 12, and didn’t play for a year until I got a little cheesy casio keyboard for Christmas. At that point, I started playing around with the beats and automatic chords and started learning that chords were the foundation of music and a building block for songwriting. Around 14 I picked up a guitar and taught myself to play. I loved my parents music more than the contemporary stuff (this will be a politically incorrect statement for a lot of you, but there wasn’t much I liked going on in popular music in the late 80s). I got into the Beatles, Cat Stevens, and especially Paul Simon. I learned to finger pick by learning to play The Boxer, and also learned a lot about good lyric writing there as well.
I tried to play in bands in college (Eugene, OR), and later in Seattle, mainly with my SeaportSound co-collaborator, Natt, but it never really went anywhere except that we composed literally 100s of songs. After that, I mostly just muddled around in my spare time. And then in 2009 I discovered stock music, and started writing and recording again. That’s about it! Now I’m just climbing the learning curve, and having a blast.
Thanks for this thread, Jamie – I haven’t read everybody’s bio yet but I plan to go through them in the next day or two.
Sounds pretty similar to how I record mine. I agree, I’m a little hesitant to link to my AJ tunes (and also I don’t keep track of how I recorded each one usually), so I may put up a couple of soundcloud samples instead in the next few days, along with a few more details (when I’m not supposed to be at my day job :)).
permain & vaisnava, no problem – I love talking about this stuff! When I get time I’ll try to write a little more about at least what I’ve learned.
Well it seems like the ukele recording techniques might be a good place to start actually. I don’t have a uke or mic, so if people who have done it can share their techniques and their tracks featuring their technique I think that would be a good way to get the ball rolling. A new thread would be appropriate.
I went ahead and added one here. I’m curious to see what other people are doing with the uke as well.
Inspired by vaisnava’s thread, I’m starting a thread around recording everybody’s favorite instrument, the ukulele!
The idea here is that anyone can share what they know or ask questions about the instrument, good brands, types (e.g. soprano vs concert vs tenor), how they record it and fit it in the mix, anything around playing and recording ukuleles, really.
I’ll start with some basic info about how I like to record:
I normally use a Kala concert acacia wood ukulele to record with. I like a single, bright SDC microphone, and the one I use most often is an AKG C451B, usually 6 inches to a foot away and angled toward the soundhole. When mixing, I don’t do a whole lot of EQ other than a bass roll off and a little bump in the 4000+ range, and if I’m plucking I’ll normally put a bit of compression (maybe 3:1), but again, not too much. Other than that, I don’t typically use any effects.
I’d always like to improve on my sound, so I’m interested to hear if anybody else does things differently.
Yes, we already know that the ukulele is a much maligned instrument on these forums. If you want to add a snarky comment about how you’d never stoop to such depths as to touch an ukulele, feel free – we’ll totally respect you for it .
I really like vaisnava’s idea and I’m hoping that we can continue this in some form or another for a variety of audio areas, e.g. for other instruments, how to use various effects, etc. It would be great if each topic were specific to one subject, for instance covering specifically EQing techniques rather than just a general mixing thread. Perhaps there could even be a naming convention to title the thread “Audio Education Thread – [n]” (or something else if anyone has a better idea) so it’s easy to find them amongst the other topics.
Of course there is already a lot of information online on these topics, but we have such a rich pool of expertise along with one of the most productive forums around here, so I think we could get a lot of discussion going that will help a great number of us DIY musicians.