Posts belonging to Category Recording



Acoustic Treatment 101

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A while back, I received an e-mail from a friend asking me about acoustic treatment options for a practice room that he is setting up in the basement of his home. He plays the drums and guitar, and he said that the reflections in the room were terrible. Knowing that I had spent a lot of time and money on treating my studio, he was curious about what I had used, and what I would recommend that he do for his room. (more…)

A Gear-Buying Strategy for Small Recording Studios

One of the most challenging aspects of building a recording studio is knowing what equipment to buy and when. Where do you start? What should you sink most of your money into early on? The sky is the limit when it comes to how much money you can spend, so it can be very difficult to know what to buy first–should you buy a great mic and a mediocre preamp, or a great preamp and a mediocre mic? What about converters? Should you invest more in high-quality converters early on, or save that investment for later? (more…)

A Better Way to Record the Audio for Your Church Services

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I’ve been using a Tascam DR-40 portable recorder for over a year now to record our band reharsals and services each week at church. After each rehearsal, I import the recorded audio into my DAW, export each song as an MP3, and e-mail those MP3’s to the other members of the band so we can evaluate our parts, practice them, and listen to the songs to help commit any new ones to memory. I’ll often do the same thing after our services, just so we can listen back and hear how everything sounded out front during the service. I also want to begin posting the pastor’s sermon each week on the church website, but recording the sermon with the DR-40 has brought some challenges (more on that in just a moment). (more…)

Why My Church Needed the Behringer X32 (and Yours May Too)

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The church where I attend (and play the drums in the worship band) recently remodeled our sanctuary. This included new lights, paint, carpet, and expanding the size of our stage. As part of this project, we also installed an all new sound system. Like many churches of our size, we’ve undergone a fairly recent transition from more traditional piano and organ-based music to a live band with guitars, bass, keyboard, and drums, so the old sound system was woefully inadequate for our current needs. For the new mixing console, we ultimately chose the Behringer X32. And boy, am I glad that we did. It’s been a real answer to our prayers (pun intended)–solving many of the problems and overcoming the limitations of our old analog system. For those of you who might be facing similar issues with the sound system in your church, I’d like to highlight some of the stellar features of the X32 which we have found to be a real God-send (again, pun intended). (more…)

Behringer X-Air XR18: the Future of Live Mixing

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A few months ago, my trusty old analog mixer that I had used since 2008 developed an intermittent short in one of the aux sends. Unfortunately, this was one of only two pre-fader aux sends on this mixer, so I was using it for one of two monitor sends for band rehearsals and live gigs. This board had a total of 4 aux sends, but two of them are post-fader, and are therefore unsuitable for use as a monitor send. (more…)

Review: Rack Writer Dry-Erase Rack Panels

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In my studio rack, I now have one dual-channel and three 8-channel rackmount mic preamps (for a total of 26 inputs) that I use for recording all of the vocals and instruments. One of the challenges to any session is remembering which mic is connected to which preamp. On more than one occasion, I’ve found myself twiddling a Gain knob to no avail, only to realize that I grabbed the wrong knob by mistake. So the thought occurred to me–wouldn’t it be nice if I could label each preamp channel somehow, so that I could easily see which one I was actually adjusting? (more…)

Studio Monitor Burn In: Fact or Fiction?

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One of the things I love about recording is the passion that other recording enthusiasts have for it. If you’ve frequented any of the popular recording forums (TapeOp, Gearslutz, Homerecording, etc.), you’ll find some very colorful discussions about what gear is best and how best to use it. Occasionally, I’ll discover that there’s a whole mythology that has developed around a certain recording technique (e.g., the “Recorderman” overhead mic placement on drums) or a certain “best practice” that people either swear by, or swear at. Such is the case with whether or not to “burn-in” new studio monitor speakers. (more…)

The Shure SM7B – Magic Mic, or All Hype?

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Originally released in 1976, the Shure SM7B has become the stuff of recording legend. It was the mic that was used to record the vocals on the best-selling album of all time: Michael Jackson’s Thriller. It’s still the preferred vocal mic in the studio for many famous Rock vocalists. You’d be hard-pressed to find a recording forum without dozens of threads about the SM7B, and how every engineer should own one. The demand for these mics is so great that you’ll pay almost as much for a used one as you would to buy a new one. (more…)

Review: Behringer Ultragain ADA8000 Mic/Line Preamp & A/D/A Converter

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If you’re looking to expand the inputs and/or outputs of your recording interface, and that interface comes equipped with ADAT (also sometimes called “Lightpipe” or “Toslink”) inputs and outputs, look no further than the Behringer Ultragain ADA8000. The ADA8000 is an 8-channel Mic/Line preamp and A/D (Analog-to-Digital) converter. But as a bonus, it’s also an 8-channel D/A (Digital-to-Analog) converter. This comes in handy if you need additional analog outputs from your DAW, like maybe for mixing “out of the box” using an analog console, or if you need additional analog outputs for creating headphone mixes for multiple performers while tracking in the studio. (more…)

Monitoring Vocals in the Recording Studio

One of the challenges that any engineer faces when recording vocals in the studio is creating a good mix in the headphones for the singer. The goal is to create a nice balance between the singer’s voice (which is being monitored directly from the microphone) and the rest of the recorded mix (the drums, guitars, bass, keys, other vocal tracks, etc.). If the singer can’t hear enough of their own voice in the headphones, they will have a tendency to go off pitch or sing too loudly into the mic. On the other hand, if they hear too much of their voice in the headphones (and not enough of the mix), they will often not be locked in well with the music and sing too softly, therby creating a weak performance. (more…)