Tuesday, May 19, 2015

5 Tips For A Killer Recording

No this is not the definitive guide, nor does it even scratch the surface, but settle down for a moment we will get to that point.

1) Above all other things within the Home Studio, regardless of what instrument you are recording, or even how you are recording it, in order to achieve the best recording possible you have to make sure that everything leading up to the source is in good working order. Your cables, your preamp if you're using one, your strings, and even something as simple as the pick you are using can all affect your recordings. In fact, a great take can be ruined by the littlest of overlooked issues. 

2) Remove anything from your tracking room that could present extra noise. A chair can be the bane of a good take, when it decides to squeak at that moment you are trying to alleviate your ( eh hem) backside. A computer fan is ridiculously louder when you're trying to get a clean recording as well. One way to decrease the noise of that Boeing B-17 under your desk is to point your microphone in the opposite direction and hope for the best. In the winter an oil heater can crackle and pop its way into your recordings if you have one in the room. I usually just take mine out of the room when I am recording, as I expel enough hot air to  defrost our freezer. Do your recordings at night, or plan them around your spouses schedule if possible.

3) Make sure your levels are hot enough to be heard but not so hot that they clip when you get excited. In fact regardless of popular opinion, you really don't need anything above -12db's to get a good signal. There are ways to limit yourself and still feel like you're cranking it. Headphones with exclusive volume control is one way, another is to zoom in on the waveforms in your DAW. This makes them appear bigger, hotter, and bolder, without losing any headroom. Let's face it, a really big portion of our performance is based in psychology. 

4) Don't  play as if you had another chance to record. Play like you were paying for it! Set yourself a timer and a set number of takes to "nail it". This will force you to play better and increase your productivity.

5) When recording anything with a microphone, take the time to get the placement right. You would not believe how much time you will save in mixing when you take a little extra placing that mic where it wants to be. Put on a set of headphones and move it around to at the least three places and vary your distances. Remember to that what may have worked yesterday, may just be a waste of time today. Although it is ok to go back to that spot as a reference, don't get married to it either or you will have dull lifeless tracks that have no edge when placed next to each other.

Hope these have helped in some way! Let me know if they have. Send me an email, or comment below. Looking forward to growing together with you in our Home Studio journey!

Have a blessed day!