Reader Spotlight: Wild Season's Incredible Bedroom Brewed EP

2014 Jul 28, 2014

I love it when other people prove my points for me.

Today I want to introduce you to Chad Altenberger – a longtime TRR reader, talented guitar player, and all around great guy.

He just released his first ever solo EP under the artist name Wild Season using nothing more than a $300 interface, an outdated version of Pro Tools, and some budget microphones. Take a listen.

The Studio Setup

Chad’s studio is simple, affordable, and effective. Built around an older version of Pro Tools (version 9) on his laptop, Chad’s I/O is a 16 channel Tascam USB interface that he bought for $300 years ago, which has 8 built in mic pres (enough to do drums).

I have a small set-up in my house (which I share with three other guys). My bedroom and the adjoining laundry room is where I do 90% of my recording and all of my mixing.


The bedroom has some Auralex foam panels on the wall and ceiling, nothing too crazy. The laundry room has foam on all the walls and ceiling (band used to practice in there). I recorded drums in our old church building, which is a big warehouse with cement walls and rafters above. And everything else was recorded in my bedroom/laundry room or my friend’s living room.
– Chad Altenberger, Wild Season

Chad’s home studio

Chad’s view of his recording/mixing space is perfect – he knows what will get the job done and not to get all bent out of shape about acoustics. A little bit of treatment and creative mic placement and the “non-ideal” studio environment becomes totally doable for a pro sounding project.

I do have one pretty nice pre-amp that I recently got in exchange for a recording project. It’s a 500 series Great River MP-500NV which I used for most of the vocals. And one other external pre which is an ART pro channel ($150). I have an assortment of odd-ball mics that I’ve acquired over the past few years. All are sub $300 range and some of them were given to me. I borrowed a kick drum mic from my church because I don’t have one.
– Chad Altenberger, Wild Season

Two things to notice here: 1) just about everything you hear was recorded through built in pres on a $300 USB interface/converter, and 2) all of his mics were in the $100 to $200 range (he even has some in the $50 range). This is total “revolution” style recording.

Also, Chad did something smart – the nice Great River pre he used on vocals he got for free (by trade really) since he does freelance recording and mixing for other bands as well. This is a great way to leverage your skill to build your studio without shelling out money.

Oh – and he borrowed a kick drum mic. What a concept, borrowing what you don’t have. Free and practical!

I got the Waves SSL 4000 bundle a couple years ago which are the main plugins I use. I have a couple little random plugins I’ve either gotten for free through promotional campaigns or in exchange for recording. Other than that I use the stock plugins. Oh, and I have some 5″ KRK monitors.
– Chad Altenberger, Wild Season

The key to getting better at mixing is to focus less on what doesn’t matter, and instead focus on what really does matter. In this case, Chad picked his go-to plugs (SSL from Waves) and moved on with his life. No point in swapping out 4 different EQs or compressors during the mix.

The Simplicity Of Getting Good

Full disclosure, Chad is a good friend of mine. Years ago when I lived in Virginia we played in a church worship band together and I’ve engineered a few albums he’s been a musician on in the past.

The amazing thing is, about 5 or 6 years ago, Chad had never really dabbled in recording or mixing at all. He started to pick my brain and I began teaching him what I teach every one of you here at The Recording Revolution.

His first few recordings and mixes weren’t that great. He’d admit that too. But an amazing thing happened these last few years – by simply recording and mixing more and more (mostly other people’s music) Chad has become really good at what he does.

I watch videos and read blogs of people who are a lot better than me at recording/mixing and have been doing it a lot longer than I have. Then I just try to get my recordings to sound the best they can with the stuff I have.


I know what sounds good to me and what doesn’t. I love making music and the freedom to be however creative you want using whatever you can find. As long as you have a way to capture, then you don’t need too much else.
 Chad Altenberger, Wild Season

When Chad told me he had produced his first ever solo EP and shared a mix he was working on, I was blown away. I’ve seen his progress. I know how far he’s come.

I know that he didn’t go to school for this. I know that he works full time and volunteers at his church so his “studio” time is limited. I know that he doesn’t have expensive gear. He’s just like most of you.

But his tracks sounded amazing and it’s because getting good is not only possible for anyone willing to play the long game of recording and mixing, but it’s inevitable.

Now It’s Your Turn

I hope Chad’s music (and humble studio) encourage you to embrace the simplicity of getting good at this craft. Like Chad said, “as long as you have a way to capture, then you don’t need too much else.”

Why not set some deadlines and commit to releasing an EP in the next 3 months? You already have everything you need, so stop looking for that magic bullet and get on with music making.

In the mean time – do Chad a favor and stream and download his EP here. Show some love and support another independent musician. A few dollars can go a long way! Also, like Wild Season on Facebook and spread the word.

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