How to Choose A Website/builder and Host For Indie Artists


 

 How to Choose A Website/builder and Host For Indie Artists

 

Website

When it comes to choosing a website for your music it can be quite complexing at the beginning. From choosing a trustworthy host, a theme or even domain all come into play.

 

From my experience, there has been quite a few hosts and trials which I’ve tried and tested and it wasn’t until Music Talks grew to an extent, I tried to implement idea’s and found it was very difficult to do so, resulting in the move to a different host and re-building the entire site again.

Now, many would say, “why couldn’t you just upload the FTP file across”.  Simply because it was not at all possible.

Why You Need A Website

But let’s get back to the easier solutions for an indie artist. An artist should have at least a basic website as their base. This should be their space, their place, their own little piece of the net in which they own to send fans and business personnel.

Your website should feature your latest music, all your social media links which are easy to see, a newsletter subscription, contact details, pictures of you, and video if you have any.

These are the basics and should be kept up to date!

You can even have a private portal for PR purposes only so you can include your latest music and PR release for download to radio, management or other business industry professionals.

 

WIX/WEEBLY

The easiest and cheapest solution without having your own domain name as a stand-alone domain name, is either Wix or Weebly. (you can have your name in the URL, but it will be set up as a sub-domain) This means that your name will be at the beginning of the URL and end with either Wix or Weebly. (See Example here: https://traceyarbon.wixsite.com/musictalks-xyz-old/home)

 

Wix or Weebly providers require little to no coding experience and provide a drag and drop builder. Once you learn and know where everything is, it is quite easy and very fast to just get in there and do what you need; well at least that’s the aim of it, and should be that way.

I did find by using Wix, that it took quite a long time to upload pictures and quite often during my experience in the editor, the site editor would freeze. (however, this could be due to the fact that the site just became too big and I was on it every day.)  

Wix only offers the plugins they have on offer and nothing outside, unless you have coding skills. And I did find that by using Wix, the SEO was affected. I believe this is also the case with Weebly.

However, it is very good for a simple site for artists at very little cost.

If you do like to purchase your own domain name, I would suggest not to purchase from Wix itself. Wix is locked in with  Network Solutions, which means, should you wish to re-locate your domain with a different host, you are unable to transfer your domain immediately. If you do wish to transfer your domain, it takes 60 days, which will mean your site will be offline for that period of time. You can point your domain to your new host if you do not wish to take 2 months off the web. 

The other disadvantage is with Wix, is that you cannot download your FTP, which consists of all of your content. This means your blogs, pictures etc. can not be downloaded all at once in one file. You have to copy and paste every single article into your new site or onto a word document and be super organized.

You can download your pictures one at a time.

So, if you plan on building your site into a huge blog site or E-commerce site, I would not suggest Wix.

However, I do stress that it is perfect for the simple few pages of an artist for their music, gig dates, have a base place for fans or business personnel and to sell your music directly from Wix. You will need a Paypal account set up for this as well.

If you do want to purchase your domain, I would recommend Namecheap, Bluehost or Go Daddy. There are quite a few to choose from.

Namecheap and Go Daddy also have website builders available for free as well, with hosting at very good rates and support is average.

 

To Upgrade to one of the premium packages for Wix, which allows your own domain, begin at $10usd a month but does not give much bandwidth or any e-commerce features, nor your own email.  Email accounts need to be purchased separately and can be done through Wix, but is a G-Suite email account.

You can see what they have on offer here. https://www.wix.com/upgrade/website

A domain name alone will cost you around $15USD a year from a separate host if you choose to purchase this outside of Wix.

laptop

 

WORDPRESS

The other options are WordPress. So many options will have your head spinning,

However, to build a simple site for an artist, you can set this up with a simple WordPress theme for free.

You will need hosting and purchase your own domain name. Using WordPress has so many options available and it is nice and fast.

The down side of WordPress, is if you are always needing to add content on a daily basis it can take a bit longer, and you need to be on top of understanding more about certain aspects of how a site works. But hey, with so many using it around the world, it can’t be too hard.

If you are using WordPress for a large site, you need to keep an eye on your plugins and their updates, as they can break your site. Word press hosts also usually have unlimited email accounts and sub-domains included in their plans. Shared hosting is the normal option and is absolutely fine to use for sites that are not huge businesses. 

 

SQUARESPACE

Other options are Squarespace,  which looks amazing, but I think are quite expensive after looking into it, but super easy to use, fast, have great themes and looks to be able to do it all. However, you will need to pay for all the bells and whistles.

 

For a simple artist website, you would be looking at paying approx. $23USD a month if paid annually on the Basic Commerce package, which includes a checkout page should you wish to sell merchandise. Squarespace does not include emails either and needs to be purchased in addition to paying for hosting.

 

BANDZOOGLE

Bandzoogle looks like a fantastic option for artists and if you are looking at paying a little bit and get a lot, then this looks to be perfect. Prices here: https://bandzoogle.com/pricing

Bandzoogle don’t require coding skills. Email account is not included and to be paid annually in addition to hosting fees.

I could keep going, but it really does depend on how much you can afford to pay, and what you need on your site.

My recommendations from my own personal experience with website builders – in order from Free to paid purely for independent artists are:

 

  1. Wix/Weebly – https://www.wix.com (free version)
  2. Bandzooglehttps://bandzoogle.com
  3. Squarespace – https://www.squarespace.com
  4. Namecheap – https://www.namecheap.com 

 

Two other platforms/hosts with domain and easy building platform which I have not used, but also look good are:

 https://www.jimdo.com

https://www.site123.com/

 

Other Recommendations

When looking at hosts check/ask what their uptime/speed is.

If you wish to become familiar with WordPress, expect to learn and take the time to work it out.

Recommended hosts for use with WordPress are:

 

  1. Namecheap – https://www.namecheap.com
  2. Hostgator – https://www.hostgator.com
  3. Hostpapa – https://www.hostpapa.com  (very good support)

 

Again, it does depend how much control you want over your site. As you will see, many sites with builders do not include your own emails and have to be purchased separately, so the cost can add up.

When using word press, as mentioned above, you will only need to pay for the hosting, any paid plugins (but there are many for free), and if the host does not offer a SSL certificate (which is recommended), you will need to pay for that. Check the hosting packages and what it includes. Word Press can end up being the cheapest option, but requires a bit more work.

If you want to save money and have your own domain with emails and subdomains, I would highly recommend using WordPress. You can also update and change themes. You are in full control.

Hope I haven’t confused you.

What Gear Is Needed To Get Audio Into Your Computer


 

In the last article you learned all about the DAW, the Digital Audio Workstation. This is the program that receives the audio that you record or midi signal (let’s get to MIDI later). In this article we will look at what gear is needed to get audio into your computer. To record into your computer you are going to need a microphone. Make sure you get some good quality XLR cables. You will need some kind of interface or system that talks to your computer. This interface will have a preamplifier built into it. If you’re really keen then you’ll get a compressor and an EQ, too. Let’s expand on these devices in order from the microphone to when the signal actually reaches the computer. Read on to learn about what we call the ‘channel strip’.

The Microphone

When people think of a recording studio the microphone is one of the first items that spring to mind. There are a lot of different microphones out there and it can get really confusing. They all sound different and they all have different roles to play in capturing sound. If you are starting your own home studio then we highly recommend you consider a microphone called a condenser microphone.

These are slightly more expensive that the microphones you would see on a stage but they are perfect for a home recording studio. These microphones are very sensitive and record audio with a lot of clarity. They’re not necessarily appropriate for live performances with bands because they pick up too much. When you are recording into your DAW you will be layering sounds. The more clear and clean the sound is captured the more clear your song will sound when the layers begin to build up. Once you have your microphone you’ll need a lead to get from the microphone to the next piece of kit: the preamplifier. Read on to learn about why you need a preamplifier.

Studio Preamplifiers

Recording StudioThe signal that your microphone puts out is going to be very small and weak. This is normal. The preamplifier will boost your audio signal. This is so it’s loud enough for us humans to hear the sound. Some people would argue that the preamplifier has more impact on the quality of the sound than the microphone. This may be true. It’s worth getting a good preamplifier so that your signal is boosted well and sounds really good. Some famous preamplifiers are Neve’s, SSL’s and API’s. These are extremely high-end professional preamplifiers.

In most cases a preamplifier will be built into a box that performs multiple functions before sending your signal to the computer. Regardless, it’s good to know about preamplifiers and why they are important. Let’s continue our investigation of the ‘channel strip’. Our next component will be the audio compressor.

Recording Studios Sydney Compressor

Audio compressors are more complicated piece equipment. The Reality is that novice home studio owners may never need to use a hardware compressor. Nevertheless, let’s look at why they are important. A compressor will control the dynamic of your audio signal. This means it will reduce the jump in volume between your whisper and scream. Without the compressor the whisper would be unheard and the scream would hit the ceiling and cause distortion on your beautiful audio signal. In order to keep the audio controlled enough so that you can hear a whisper and not distort a scream we use an audio compressor.

In many instances home studio owners can just make sure they control their own sound and not bother with a hardware compressor in the chain. If this is the choice that you might make then you will have the option to use a digital compressor that exists in your DAW (Logic, Pro Tools, Ableton, etc). This is a very common practice. Almost all serious recording studios will use hardware compressors to capture the sound on it’s way into a computer. At least just enough so that the artist doesn’t need to worry about causing any problems with their dynamic performance. At Crash Symphony Productions we build our own audio compressors that we use in our studio. They make a big difference to the quality of our recordings. Let’s look at another item in the recording chain: the EQ or equalizer.

The EQ

The EQ is another item that may not be considered necessary in the recording chain or ‘channel strip’ (both names for the same thing). However, it gives a lot of control over the audio signal on the way into the computer. An EQ will allow you to boost or cut frequencies that make up your audio signal. A sound is made up of an array of different frequencies. Some have many low frequencies and not many high frequencies. Others might be the opposite. An EQ will allow you to target specific frequencies and control them as you see fit. Just like a compressor, you may find that you don’t really need or want an EQ in your signal chain or ‘channel strip’. If this is the case, like your compressor, your can use the digital EQ that exists in your audio recording program. Let’s look at the final stage in your audio signal. The Audio-to-Digital Converter.

The Audio-to-Digital Converter or ADC

The Audio convertor is an important part in the channel strip. It takes the electrical signal and encodes it into ones and zeros so the computer can read it. All the above items will be dealing with an electrical signal. Today, most audio projects are digital and so our audio must be converted and fed into the computer. How well the converter does this has an impact on how we hear the audio once it is in the computer. Good conversion makes a big difference to our recordings. You can pay a mint for good audio conversion. Most home recording situations won’t require this level of audio conversion. In fact, the items listed above can be purchased in one box called an interface (this doesn’t include the microphone).

An Audio Interface

A good interface will allow you to plug your microphone into it and then take a lead and plug it in into the computer. The pre-amplification and conversion will be managed in this one box, the interface. Depending on how expensive the box is will determine what features are included. For example, cheaper boxes will have only the preamp and conversion. More expensive boxes will have an EQ and a compressor addeds. Different combinations exist and it all depends on how keen you are. Be aware, professional recording studios will use single items that will uniquely perform each task. As a result, the quality of the signal dramatically increases. But it gets extremely expensive. Our suggestion is get a good two-channel interface and start simple.

In the next article we are going to investigate some techniques to help you get the best microphone signal at home.

For more information about our Recording Studio in Sydney contact info@crashsymphony.com.au or call us on 02 9953 7686.

 

 

 

 

 

WEBSITE: https://www.crashsymphony.com.au/

LINKEDIN: https://www.linkedin.com/in/james-englund

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/crashsymphony

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/crashsymphonyproductions/

For more information about our Sydney Recording Studio contact info@crashsymphony.com.au or call 02 9953 7686.

 

Why It Helps Everyone If You Set Up Your Own Studio


 

As a commercial recording studio  Crash Symphony Productions sometimes get enquiries from people with very small budgets. When they learn of our rates they can freak out! As a result, we’ve actually gotten really good at giving budding musicians advice on how they can start working on recording at home. You may think that this is counter-intuitive to business? Well, actually, it’s not. We’re going to begin a series of articles that repeats this advice that we give to those callers. We’ll explain why it actually helps us all in the long run. And not for the reasons you may think. Read on to learn more about producing your own music in your own studio.

Why it helps everyone if you set up your own Studio

Here are some reasons why it helps us to give these callers advice. Firstly, the more you know about music production the easier it is to communicate with engineers and music producers that may one day help you. This helps get the results that you want in the studio. Of course, we do our best to communicate in layman’s terms but when someone requests ‘echo’, and what they really want is reverb, it gets tough. Secondly, when musicians have a chance to record at home it helps them work out what they really want on their recording. People who are new to recording often have no idea about the process, no idea how to communicate what they want, and no understanding of how long the process can take. Thirdly, if a musician is able to work on their own music at home it gives them a chance to take the project as far as they can. When they do get to a point where they need professional help they are more aware of exactly what it is that we can do to help them.

About Logic Pro X

The first thing we begin with is the DAW or Digital Audio Workstation. This is where all the action happens inside your computer. It’s the program where you record your audio. Think of it as your canvas. For many people out there this is really obvious, but some people don’t even know about these programs. Our Sydn studio, Crash Symphony Productions, works predominantly in Logic Pro X. This is a program that is now exclusively an Apple program. It’s extremely cheap and you get a huge amount of bang-for-the-buck. It’s a big program, too. The reality is that most engineers and producers won’t even use all the functionality that Logic Pro X offers. The key is to learn about what you want to achieve and aim for that. There’s a mammoth amount of learning material on YouTube. You’ll never have a problem learning how to do something.

About Pro Tools

The next big program that our studio owns is Pro Tools. This was one of the first audio production programs. It is found in almost all the large recording studios because they adopted this program very early when studio recording changed over from analogue tape to digital recording. There’s no doubt that Pro Tools is a powerful program. We find that we only use it when we are working with UK or American film companies. They send us big Pro Tools Projects and then we record the actors into those projects and send them back. We wouldn’t recommend people who are starting out building their own Recording Studio to invest in this program. Support for the software is expensive and difficult to get, it’s an expensive program for what it offers, and it is hard to learn. Logic Pro X blows it out of the water!

About Ableton Live

The last big player that we’ll talk about is Ableton Live. This is a seriously strong contender for your first DAW. It all depends on your genre of music. If you’re into electronic, hip-hop, or other “In-the-Box” styles of music then this could be the program for you. We have found that a lot of young producers who create this type of music are using this program. So many in fact that we were forced to purchase the program for our recording studio. One of our young-gun producers, Adam, is a guru in this program and so we found that he uses it a lot, too.

There are other great programs out there that are useful like Cubase and Reaper, and many more. However, one of the great things about recording on computer is being able to take the project around to different studios, track some content directly into your project, and then bring it home. If you choose a more obscure program as your DAW it becomes more difficult to do this. Our clients, who use logic, can send us the Logic Pro X projects. We can open these up just as they are on their home computer and continue working on the project. If they want us to mix or master it’s a lot easier when there is some kind of DAW compatibility between your home studio and the commercial recording studio. There’s no doubt that there are ways around this issue if it becomes a hurdle. However, the workflow is a lot better for all when we can open up your project the way it was in your bedroom.

 

Next, we’re going to look at what you might need to record into your DAW in your Sydney Recording Studio.

WEBSITE: https://www.crashsymphony.com.au/

LINKEDIN: https://www.linkedin.com/in/james-englund

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/crashsymphony

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/crashsymphonyproductions/

For more information about our Sydney Recording Studio contact info@crashsymphony.com.au or call 02 9953 7686.