Studio Basics

Audio Mastering Basics: Taking Your Music That Extra Step

Posted by Daniel Keller on July 23, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT

No one will argue that digital technology has done much to empower musicians to take control over their recordings. Today’s artists are far less dependent on high-priced recording professionals, with many great-sounding projects having never even seen the inside of a recording studio.

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Beats Working - A Short Primer on Miking and Recording Drums

Posted by Daniel Keller on June 23, 2010 9:58:44 PM PDT

Ask ten recording engineers about recording drums and you’re likely to get more than 20 opinions. Few instruments combine subtle nuance and brute force the way a good drummer can, and capturing that sound has been the subject of hundreds of articles and thousands of conversations.

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Gain Structuring With Plug-Ins

Posted by Daniel Keller on May 26, 2010 2:11:11 PM PDT

For those of us who toiled over faders back when the earth was still cooling, the concept of gain structure was fairly easy to grasp. Each separate box was a link in the audio chain, visibly connected via patch cables, and analog distortion was easy to hear and identify. In today’s all-digital, all-in-the-box world, it’s not that simple. Signal paths can be unconventional and convoluted, and digital distortion can be subtle and sneaky.

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Using Multiband EQ to Fix Common Mix Problems

Posted by Daniel Keller on April 21, 2010 11:14:11 AM PDT

In the never-ending quest for the perfect mix, EQ is one of the oldest tools we have, and still one of the most powerful. Used in moderation, EQ can add clarity and definition to a crowded soundscape. Used with precision, it can remove offending sounds we wish we hadn’t captured. As a strategic tool, a bit of EQ can make all the difference needed to separate dueling guitars, scoop the mud from your drums or make a vocal shine.

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Recording Vocals the "Motown Way," with David Issac & Reggie Dozier

Posted by Dave Isaac on February 24, 2010 11:15:11 AM PST

There were many recording techniques used in my years as an engineer back in Detroit in the various recording studios around: Selah, Sound Suite, Vanguard, LaMonte’s, United Sound, Studio A, and more. I shared some of these memories with another fellow Detroiter, the great engineer Reggie Dozier (brother of Lamont Dozier from Holland-Dozier-Holland), over lunch to help me recall the analog days.

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5 Things You Need to Know About Mastering Your Music

Posted by Michael Romanowski on December 23, 2009 11:15:11 AM PST

The mastering engineer is the last step of the artistic phase, and the first step of the manufacturing phase. It’s the final opportunity to listen, polish, and make a change in the sonic presentation. It is also the first step of the manufacturing phase, because it prepares the master in the way that best suits the needs of the manufacturer.

The goal is to listen to the broad picture; the actual content is immaterial. The mastering engineer is paying attention to EQ presentation, to level presentation, to dynamics presentation.

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Audio Compression Basics

Posted by Mason Hicks on November 24, 2009 11:15:11 AM PST

Compressors and limiters are specialized amplifiers used to reduce dynamic range — the span between the softest and loudest sounds. The use of compressors can make recordings and live mixes sound more polished by controlling maximum levels and maintaining higher average loudness. Additionally, many compressors — both hardware and software — will have a signature sound that can be used to inject wonderful coloration and tone into otherwise lifeless tracks.

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Studio Monitor Placement — Finding the “Sweet Spot”

Posted by Mason Hicks on September 23, 2009 11:14:11 AM PDT

Of all the components that make up your studio environment, the two most important for producing high-quality mixes have to be, 1) your ears and 2) your near-field monitors. More specifically, the proper placement of these key components within your room will make all the difference in achieving accurate mixes that will sound good on the widest range of systems.

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Stereo Miking Techniques for Recording Acoustic Guitar

Posted by Mason Hicks on August 26, 2009 11:15:11 AM PDT

If you ask a handful of engineers how they approach recording acoustic guitars, you’re likely to get at least a handful of different answers (provided they’re willing to divulge). This is because so many factors play a part in capturing an acoustic guitar: the room, playing style, body size, recording environment, the player’s skill level, etc. All things considered however, most engineers will tell you the real secret to recording acoustic guitar is simple: stereo miking.

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