Posts belonging to Category Tips for Engineers



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…)

Sennheiser e604 vs. CAD M179 on Toms

For several years, I’ve had some Sennheiser e604’s that I’ve always used for recording the toms on drum kits. Lately though, I had been particularly unimpressed with how my tom tracks have sounded, so I decided to try out a pair of the much-loved-for-toms, CAD M179’s. I only bought two M179’s and set one mic between my two high toms (10″ & 12″) and the other between my two floor toms (14″ & 16″). I engaged the -20 db pad on the M179’s and set the pattern to hypercardioid to try and minimize bleed. (more…)

The Secret Ingredient of Recording

A few weeks ago, I was watching the movie Kung Fu Panda with my son. In the film, Po (the Kung Fu Panda), finally learns the secret of both Kung Fu, and of his adoptive father’s noodle soup: there is no secret ingredient. If you’ve seen the movie, you know what I’m talking about. A few days later, I started considering how this same revelation applies to the world of recording. (more…)

Digital Audio Connections Explained

If you’re confused by the multitude of common digital audio connections available today on many recording interfaces, such as ADAT, S/PDIF, AES/EBU, S/MUX, Word Clock, etc., you owe it to yourself to read this excellent article from Presonus:

Digital Audio Connections and Synchronization

Review: Behringer Behritone C50A

The Behritone C50A

For quite some time now, I’ve known about the merits of checking your mixes in mono to test for phase problems, and having some “grot boxes” (cheap, lo-fi speakers) to see what your mix will sound like on a less-than-stellar playback system. The idea behind the mono grot box is this: who cares if your mix sounds great on your studio monitors if it sounds like garbage on most listeners’ playback systems? (more…)

How to Prepare a Drum Kit for Recording

Most recordists will agree that acoustic drums are the most challenging instrument to record (and record well). One of the reasons (among several) is that a drum kit has so many moving parts that are prone to rattles, squeaks, buzzes, and other annoying sounds. It’s also quite a task to tune a drumkit, which always needs to be done prior to any recording session. (more…)

How to prepare Wav files for Tunecore using iTunes

Tunecore is a service for musicians that allows you to sell your music on the iTunes store and other digital retailers with minimal hassle. I recently had a client who was trying to get his music uploaded to Tunecore, but wasn’t sure how to create the specific file type that is required by them. (more…)

Recording Bands – Together or Separate?

When working in the studio, some producers/engineers prefer to record each instrument completely separate from each other. First, they’ll record the drums, then the bass guitar, then the rhythm guitar, then the keyboards, etc. It’s almost like building a brick wall, with each instrument representing a single layer of bricks. (more…)

Recording Audio for an Independent Film

Between November 2010 and March 2011, I had the opportunity to do something I had never done before–record the audio for a short film. Some friends of mine who have a video production company here in Northeast Arkansas (Anthem Pictures), were producing it, and recruited me to handle the audio. (more…)

The Importance of Accurate Monitoring in the Studio

How many times has this happened to you? You’ve been slaving away for hours, even days, mixing your latest musical masterpiece in your home studio. Everything sounds absolutely perfect. Then, you burn it to a CD, jump in the car, and pop it in your CD player. You’re ready to hit the open road and jam out to the greatest tune you’ve ever recorded. Then, the CD starts playing. You’re underwhelmed. The CD sounds dull and lifeless. There’s not enough high end. There’s too much low end. And what happened to the snare drum? You can hardly hear it at times because it’s being buried in the mix by other instruments. (more…)