Tips, Tricks & Money-Saving Ideas
We sought out
experts in the “art of recording” to compile tips, tricks and
money-saving ideas. We talked to record producers, mixing and
mastering engineers, and artists whose recordings were so good
they got them to the next level. Of course, artists who have
done home recordings know that there’s more involved than
simply getting a sound on tape or a hard drive. To help step
up your learning curve, we’re offering you the following tips.
1. THE LEARNING CURVE
should take some time to learn about the recording process. Go
to a recording school if you want to learn how to engineer
and/or produce. If school is out of the question, at least
read a book like “Modern Recording Techniques” by
Robert E. Runstein and David Miles Hube.
It can take a lot
of trial and error before you get what you want.
It can also take
years to learn how to use Pro-Tools and other hard drive
systems. In fact, in the beginning they can be more confusing
than helpful. You have to know how far you can push things,
and how it relates to everything else in your recording.
2. YOUR PROJECT
SHOULD MATCH YOUR BUDGET
Don’t spend more
that the recording deserves. Figure out what you’re going to
do with it. If it’s serious and you have the budget,
hire professionals. It will actually save you time; and, could
also save you money down the line.
3. KEEP IT SIMPLE
If you’re not
getting the sound you want, don’t start fooling with EQ and
gain. Instead, just move the microphone around until you get
the sound you need. Small adjustments can make huge
differences in the sound.
4. PAY ATTENTION
TO THE ACOUSTICS
better acoustics if you use a space that doesn’t have parallel
walls. If you don’t have that available, try to set something
up to accomplish it.
vocals, find the deadest spot in the room and set up there.
Clap your hands to make sure there’s no echo. If you want an
echo, use a bathroom. The tiles will bounce sound.
sound. So use curtains or some sort of covering in front of
5. AVOID AMBIENT
Be aware of
ambient noises, like dogs, planes and phones. Home recordings
are often stopped because of planes. Keep your computer far
enough away so that your recording doesn’t pick up the hum it
makes. A closet can work well.
6. HARDWARE &
Get the best
equipment and software you can afford. But, it doesn’t have to
be top end right away. Invest in a good pre-amp. It will
upgrade your recording substantially. Neeve and API are two of
the best. Check out eBay for them.
Check out a
stereo compressor and noise gate. And, be sure you have enough
cables and an audio patch panel (a point where all audio
cables connect to your system). It will save you a lot of
time, because you won’t have to chase cables all over the
7. GET DECENT
Face it – vocals
are really important. You can get a decent vocal microphone
for around $300 to $1000. Don’t skimp on microphones. Try out
a few of them and see which one records your voice best. In
the studio you might try two or three before you find the
sound you want.
If you’re worried
about room noise when you’re recording your vocals, it won’t
play into the sound if you sing no further than 4 to 5 inches
from the microphone. Get up close and use a spit guard.
Practice your vocals and see if you’re breathing right. A lot
of vocals are ruined by improper breathing techniques.
8. CHECK YOUR
It may sound
fundamental, but make sure your instruments are in tune and
sound good. If something doesn’t sound right it will affect
your whole recording. If necessary, borrow or rent an
instrument. You won’t regret it.
9. START WITH A
GOOD DRUM SOUND
It all starts
with the drums. The better the drum sound – the better the
recording electronica, do not use programmed drums – they’ll
sound cheesy. You should consider recording in a professional
drum room where you’ll have 12 microphones recording the kit.
It will make a BIG difference in your recording.
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