Then...& Now

Then...& Now


Continuing the discussion from Who here does what?:

A lot of people were posting an overview of their music in that thread. Listening through a few of the posts, it occurred to me that it would be interesting to hear everyone’s progress… a sort of a “then” (when you first started out seriously in recording) and “now”. For example:

This is the oldest one I can find at the moment - it’s from around '91/92. This is an all analogue recording done on a Yamaha MT1X 4 Track cassette tape based machine. The mic was an SM58 for vocals, an SM57 for guitar, with a Profile Telecaster copy into a Marshall JCM900 50w. Bass was a very old “Coronet” Jazzmaster copy direct into the tape machine. Drums were courtesy of a borrowed Roland Dr Rhythm (I think). It’s pretty much mono because all the drums and bass were bounced to one track, then the two rhythm guitars were bounced to another, and the lead vocals, harmonies and lead guitars used up the remaining few tracks, so they got some panning. Automation, EQ, Compression? What are those???!!!:

Here’s a recording I made in 2006. (That was about a year before I joined It was a surprise present for my wife on our (then) 15th anniversary. This is far from the first recording I’d done (at that point I’d been dabbling occasionally for about 20 years), but it was one of my first “modern age” recordings I’d done in 24 bit digital.

I basically sat down and composed, recorded and mixed the track in one mammoth session that started around 5:30pm at night, and finished around 2:30 in the morning. Equipment was a Tascam 2440 standalone digital multitracker, a Samson Condenser mic, a nice Martin acoustic and a Zoom 1234 drum machine. No post-production trickery (I didn’t realize it was possible, and I didn’t have a DAW yet) - all “as is”. The guitar was mic’d as well as DI’d to give some stereo spread. All FX and processing were via the limited eq, compression and reverb options available in the Tascam:

… & here is my most recent recording (which took considerably longer, although not ridiculously so):

…my most recent mix (this song was years and many versions in the making):

…so…feel free to post your “progress” over the years…“Then & Now”


great idea. just don’t know if i can find my early recordings. I am looking


Ok here is one of my earliest recordings with cakewalk. 1 mic vocals, 1 mic guitar, plugged the piano in and recorded live takes until i thought i had a decent one. Mixed not really since i didn’t even pan if i recollect.

Then we started messing more with the process and here is an early recording using ardour on a linux system, recorded in parts, more mixing, etc.

from our last album.


This is my first song I put together MANY years ago (12). It is about my then three grandkids (now there are six) It is painful to listen to. ha ha Played poorly, way too slow, poor lyrics, no bridge, the list goes on. I played the drums and that sucked too. I am busy working, but will review yours later tonight. Most won’t want to post their old cruddy stuff. ha ha


Fab idea, :beerbanger:
have no time right at the moment but will enjoy posting something later on, plus of course listening to everyone’s journeying…


Very cool melody here - good song!

Pretty impressive! Nice stereo spread, interesting arrangement, good song!

Nice build in this one - really catchy melody - I like the production in the background vocals - cool!


I think I remember you posting this before…

It’s amazing how good this sounds, simply because of your vocal and harmony skills, and your ability to put together a good melody. Perhaps your Grandkids think it’s corny now, but I’ll bet they loved it at the time. Thanks for sharing!


Here’s really the only thing I’ve ever seriously mixed. It was mixed in Adobe Audition. If I still had the source files, I’d probably give it a remix.

Artist: Bat Lizard Stew
Song: God Of Thunder/I Love It Loud
Album: Got To Foo: A Sagafoo . com Tribute To KISS (2008)

The drums were recorded in Connecticut into a 16 channel hard drive recorder, brand unknown. The guitars were recorded in Wisconsin, along with one backing vocal track, I don’t remember what gear he used. I recorded my bass, backing vocals, and the lead vocals in my living room with a Boss BR-864. The thunder at the end was taken from one of those audio sample sites.


Very cool Al - Thanks for sharing this!.. Is that you playing the drums too?


No. I only played bass and sang backing vocals. That’s also me uttering the “lord of the wasteland” part.


then (2013)
Frozen Let it go (Flute Quartet)
This one has quite the story though, I was really excited about recording so I bought a mic, had no idea about EQ or mixing. Recorded 5 flute tracks and mixed it together into a jumbled mess.

Surprisingly enough, despite the terrible recording and mixing, the track generated 3 million views in 60 days on youtube as frozen was in a big hype - Disney got upset and I got into a copyright battle with Disney (this was the time when cover artists were getting hammered) and youtube removed the video and stopped me from ever uploading it. Thankfully it was monetized and I did make some cash from however long it was up.

Then youtube relaxed the cover laws a year later and I re-opened the dispute, this time the song was approved and I was allowed to reupload it. It was ofcourse way too late by then I lost all the past views.
Anyway, story aside here is my terrible recording (dont laugh) lol

After the horrible experience on youtube, I decided to turn up the gear and started learning like a crazy girl I am.

Here are some of my recent ones:

Water (2016) - loudness war elements in this

Despacito (2017) - This one I scaled back from loudness wars and focused on depth.

Supernova (2018) - This is my original orchestral composition as part of a series of movie scoring project for a real movie! (cant spill the details) - this one has intense sub bass (apocalyptic sounds, earthquake rumbles and such) and was challenging to mix, ended up getting a good handle on it though.

Its been a crazy journey and I loved every bit of it!


Sounds pretty good for a first recording - kinda like a flute choir.

That’s a nice in quality! BTW, what were you using for acoustic guitar on this one - was it a VI?

Quite pro sounding - another big jump in quality.

Oh yeah, I think I’ve heard this one already - top stuff. Rapid progress in the space of only 5 years - congrats!


its a mix of VI and real instrumentation. The bass guitar is real, the acoustic plucking similar to 1 min 1:13 marker is a VI, the chord strum every once in a while is an acoustic 6 string.


This is my earliest recording that is still intact. This was from high school recorded in my bedroom, obviously live in one take, into CoolEdit. I was on drums.

This one I did for a mixing contest a couple years ago. I played all instruments (yes, drums are sampled. I’m not any better at drums now than I was in high school). Vocals are my friend Mark Richey.


Brilliant - I love the way it goes all “Back to The Future” around 2:30, then just keeps on going!.. away into the prog rock wilderness!

I remember this one - awesome song! :beerbanger:


OK, I’ve been chicken up to now, but I’ll go next. (I think I may actually have the oldest recording too!) After college, around 1988 or so, I was in a band and we picked up a Tascam 8-Track cassette recorder - and let me tell you, this thing was the schiznit! (Although you really had dubious quality stuffing all of those tracks onto a cassette.)

I recorded this song weekend and played everything, including the HR16 Drum Machine that’s still in my basement. :wink: (Pardon the quality - it was recorded to cassette, mixed down to cassette, and copied over to a cassette, then eventually converted to an mp3.)
It’s called “Words Can’t Say”:

Here’s a band project using the same machine circa 1989 right before we all parted ways. We tracked the drums through a mixing board and onto the Tascam. Same with the vocal so we could use the reverb off the board. I played bass and the snazzy keyboard parts. :slight_smile:
Sweet Innocence:

Fast forward a few decades to 2015 and my son’s music teacher tracked this song for me that I had written for my Mom. He played the drums and cello. This was my introduction to digital recording and a DAW. I was hooked!
Who Will Wipe The Tears:

I picked up Studio One and to learn my new DAW, I started to redo some of our old band songs and needed a singer. I looked up my old band mate from 20+ years ago and got him back into recording in the process. We collaborated on this EP. Rather than try to decide whose mix should go on the EP, we each put our own mix on there. The first one was pretty much done when my pal started collaborating, so he didn’t do a mix of that one. (Mixes 1,3 and 5 are mine. Mixes 2 and 4 are his.)

Finally, here’s a tune I did with my then 15 year-old son. He’s more into that electronic computer music stuff and did the keyboard-y things. We bounced between FL Studio (his DAW) and Studio One which is where I mixed it.

Now, after a year plus of “immersive” mixing, I’m ready to start creating again. (…and to stop buying plugins!) Hopefully I’ll have some “bashable” stuff before too long!

What a great site this is! Thanks to all of you who are so generous with your knowledge and talents! Cheers!


Nice - kind of a “bass taking the lead” instrumental

Sweet! - funky rhythms - great bassline - great hook! A pretty decent recording for the time too!

Wow, nice step up in quality - love the live cello. The song has a cool storytelling vibe too.

Prog-rocky vibe happening - Really enjoyed “Standing There”.

Very nice stuff - great to have music in common!

Amen, Bro - Looking forward to it!


Thanks Andrew! I’m glad you enjoyed “Standing There”. That was one where I really went crazy with the whole “digital recording” thing. I took the original drum beat intro from the cassette and programmed it using MT Power Drums. (A FREE drum program in case anyone is unaware). Then I spliced up the original drum intro from the cassette and created a parallel drum track that I ran throughout the song. So the intro is just the cassette recording which I compressed the crap out of to sound like John Bonham, then I blended in the programmed drums with my “original drum track”. So for that particular song, the 3 of us original band members got to play together again (virtually). Fun stuff! :grin:

MT Power Drum Kit 2

Cool - I love hearing stories like that! Thanks for sharing.


If anyone is interested in downloading them:

EDITED TO ADD: I started a thread about this plugin here: