Acoustic Treatment 101

studioshot

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

dr40

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…)

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

Recording Bands – Together or Separate?

by Jon Goad

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…)

Pondering the Price of Plugins

For the uninitiated, “plugins” are the software effects that can be plugged in to your DAW recording software to add various effects or virtual MIDI instruments to your recordings. (more…)

Review: The Drum Recording Handbook

drumrecordinghandbook

Most engineers will agree that the acoustic drumkit is the most difficult instrument to record and get a professional quality sound. It probably doesn’t help matters that I’m also a drummer, so I’m a tough customer to please. My drum recordings have gotten progressively better over time (thanks mostly to some helpful mixing tips and tricks), but I’m always looking for something to help take my recorded drum sounds to that elusive “next level”. (more…)