Bernard's Hot Tips for the Biz


 

 

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Music Connection Feature Story

 
HOT TIPS
   
In the music business you often hear the phrase, “You’ve got to pay your dues.” While that may be true (to a certain extent), it doesn’t have to be painful, or last a long time. There are many ways to achieve your goals; and, with “Bernard’s Hot Tips” you’ll find shortcuts and reality checks that will make your “dues” go down easier.   

 

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Production & Recording

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Twenty Home Recording Tips

Twenty Home Recording Tips From The Experts

Fifteen Production & Recording Tips


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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

You 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

You’ll achieve 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. 

When recording 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. 

Glass absorbs sound. So use curtains or some sort of covering in front of windows.

 

5. AVOID AMBIENT NOISE

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 & SOFTWARE

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 studio.

 

7. GET DECENT MICROPHONES

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 INSTRUMENTS

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.

 

Unless you’re 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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By: Bernard Baur

 

 

 

 

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