Home Studio Registry: Denny Ballard

Primary use Secondary use Recording knowledge level MIDI knowledge level
Jamming/Fun Commercial work Above average Average
Commonly work (with) Completed songs/demos/jingles
Other musicians 21-40

Future plans/projects

I plan to continue recording with the excellent musicians I've managed to surround myself with. At this point, it's more archival than commercial. I've recorded several commercial and psa jingles, and once recorded a version of "America the Beautiful" used as background for several congressional members in their messages played to their districts after the 9/11 attacks. I've played in rockabilly and rock bands, but I love acoustic swing and other acoustic styles. If I get enough of a library recorded, I'd like to package it into a cd/album.

Guitars

Guitars: 
I use a Martin HD28M for acoustic recording. That's a mahogany version of an HD28. I find mahogany is more balanced and works better in recording situations. I had to thin my herd when hard times hit, but things are getting better. I recently bought a Huss and Dalton OOO Custom, all mahogany top, back and sides. For electric projects, I play one of two souped up Fender telecasters. One was built by Joe Barden and has 3 Barden pickups. It's very versatile and I can get just about any sound I want with a little tweaking. The Barden humbuckers have a marvelous tone and there is no hum. The other is a Fender custom shop Baja telecaster. It has a custom Twisted Tele neck pickup and a custom Broadcaster bridge pickup. It's got more twang than the other tele and I'm really beginning to like the sound of it.

Keyboards

I have a Casio midi keyboard but I rarely use it, although I sometimes use it to add a bass line. I'm a guitar player.

Percussion

I've collected percussion instruments for 35 years. I have bones that rattle, congas, different size tambourines, washboards, shakers... you get the idea. More recently, I've picked up two Yamaha digital drum units. While I'd prefer real drums, these work pretty well for my limited needs.

Effects

Digitech RP1. I don't use a lot of front end effects. I often go back and add a filter after recording, but I record mostly acoustic, so other than reverb, I don't use effects much.

Microphones

I use Shure SM 58s for voice in my home studio. For acoustic guitar, I use a Sennheiser MKH 416 P48. That is one sweet sounding mic.

Mixing

Mackie 1604. I had two of these, but one went in a trade for the Baja tele.

Tape decks

I used to record directly to my computer with an ECHO Layla interface. I could do 16 discreet tracks direct, and with Cakewalk, I can do 256 virtual tracks. Now I've upgraded my computer to a Win 10, Intel Core I7-6700k that runs at 4Ghz and has 2400GB ram. The old recording gear won't run on this 64 bit system, so I'm trying to figure out the best way in. Currently, I'm using a Zoom digital recorder that allows me to record 2 tracks at a time, but I'm used to using 16, so I'll have to get more gear. I've never said that before.

Monitoring

Crown 2000 power amp, JBL TR 125 monitors, Sony MDR 7506 headsets.

Computer

Dell Pentium 4. 3.0 GHz / 512 MB Ram.

Music software

Cakewalk Pro Audio 8 at home.

Additional equipment

I use a Fender Twin Amp when I need a big amp or a Fender Champ 25 SE when I can use a smaller one. I also have a Fender Blues Jr. and a Gibson Skylark(GA5) for buttery smooth overdriven sound. All are tube amps, but the Gibson is lower wattage with softer overdrive. I like it a lot - it has only an on-off switch and a volume pot, no other processing. I've recently had it recapped and tubed.

Comments

I prefer to mic acoustic music, but at home it can be problematic. There're too many extraneous interruptions - monsters (I mean kids), flourescent lights, refrigerators..... But I have had some sessions at home that came out really nice. And I do have an LR Baggs passive Ibeam pickup in my Martin with a Baggs preamp I play that through. Kind of wanky, but not a terrible acoustic pickup.