Simple Tricks - Audio ?· Simple Tricks to Improve Your Recordings 3 Conclusion By setting your levels…

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    Simple Tricks to Improve Your Recordings


    For a few quick recording tips to get started, this eBook lays out some simple guidelines on improving your recordings.

    From simple recording mistakes in the digital world to simple-to-use tips on finding the sweet spot of an instrument, the following eBook covers the most important subjects of audio recording.


    Simple Tricks to Improve Your Recordings



    Everybody wants to record audio like the great engineers of history. You might read interviews and books about their warm sound and smoothly saturated tape. And then you try to apply those same ideas to your recordings.

    Big Mistake

    Digital audio recording is a bit different than what you read about in the history books about tape saturation and overloading your pre-amplifiers.

    Today, digital audio is not so lenient towards overload. Digital clipping is one of the worst sounds an audio engineer can hear. In the old days, engineers liked pushing their levels to saturation to get that warm tape sound.

    But now, the only thing you accomplish by pushing digital audio to the max is horrible digital clipping.

    No Clipping Please

    Now, with digital audio recording we have to record at an optimum level without distorting our preamps, causing that horrible clipping.

    When you are getting levels into your DAW, make sure you are getting a good enough level to record with before it clips. A nice rule of thumb is to record the loudest part of the signal at around 3/4 before you reach 0dB. If your meter goes from green to RED, then somewhere in the middle of the orange part should be a nice enough level.

    So when setting levels, make sure your audio is being recorded like in the area shown in the picture.

    Not too quiet so that your audio is too close to the noise-floor, but not so loud as to cause clipping.

    24 Bit Recording

    Also, make sure you are recording at 24 bit since it will give you much more headroom than recording at 16 bit.

    With 24 bit recording the signal to noise ratio is much higher and you can effectively record at lower levels without introducing too much noise into your signal.


    Simple Tricks to Improve Your Recordings



    By setting your levels correctly you can avoid a few problems in the mixing phase.

    You avoid that pesky digital clipping that ruins your audio completely, and by recording at 24 bit you have enough volume and headroom to play around with without the noise floor posing a problem to your recordings.

    Keeping simple things like this in mind helps smooth out any kinks you might have later. Get it great without digital clipping and your audio will be saved.


    Simple Tricks to Improve Your Recordings


    21 RECORDING STUDIO TIPS FOR A SMOOTHER SESSIONThere are many ways to screw up your recording session. Whether you are the artist or the engineer there are certain practices you can adhere to when you are recording. If you are working in a commercial studio or recording at your friends home recording studio then try not to screw up your studio time in any of the following ways.

    1. Being late If you are the engineer show up early to make sure everything is working properly. If youre the musician dont make the engineer wait around for you.

    2. Not changing the strings of your guitar Scummy strings cant be fixed in the mix.

    3. Not knowing your parts Its a waste of time and money to come unprepared.

    4. Singing with a cold Reschedule your vocal session if you know you cant perform.

    5. Giving a lackluster performance Not everything can be fixed in the mix.

    6. Being disrespectful It goes without saying, the engineer is your best friend. So treat him well.

    7. Recording for recordings sake Similar to not knowing your parts. If you are just piling on parts without a clear direction, its still a waste of time and money.

    8. Recording a badly sounding drum-kit Replace the drum heads and tune your drums. Itll be worth it.

    9. Not having a plan Make sure you know what you are going to do during the session. A good plan goes a long way.

    10. Dont cram too much into one session Dont try to record drums, bass and orchestra in the same three hour session. Recording takes time, so plan accordingly.

    11. Skipping the warm-up Singing first thing in the morning is hard isnt it? So is nailing a 200 bpm solo without warming up your fingers.

    12. Recording too hot Better be safe than sorry. Record at lower digital levels to avoid clipping.


    Simple Tricks to Improve Your Recordings


    13. Not being in tune Im sorry. Its a pet peeve, but people are prone to forget to tune their instruments.

    14. Not having enough cables Say youre doing a location recording and you didnt bring enough cables. Its not only a huge waste of time to go and get what you forgot, but it also reflects poorly on you as a professional.

    15. Not being familiar with how things work If you are working with a new piece of equipment, or working at a new studio then its imperative you dont look stupid when youre trying to figure out how things work.

    16. Fix it in the mix?- If you know you can(and will) fix it in the mix, then use this sentence. If you know you cant fix it, dont lie. Its one of the more common lines in the audio industry.

    17. Communicate Even though engineers and artists are a closely bred species they do not share all the lingo thats inherent to them. If the engineer isnt a musician then getting too musical will be confusing. Likewise with an engineer getting to audio-engineer-y.

    18. Dont do drugs I know what Bill Hicks said about drugs and music, but its usually not a good idea to be stoned or drunk during a recording session.

    19. Bring extras Extra strings, extra picks and extra drum sticks for instance. Some things break and its better to be prepared when(not if) that happens.

    20. Break the session into chunks Its better to record two energetic four sessions than one long eight hour one where the last two hours people are tired and uninspired.

    21. Not being comfortable As an artist, much of your performance is based on how you are feeling when you are recording. If you dont feel comfortable then your playing will suffer.


    Think about it, there are just as many things you need to NOT do in order to get that great recording down on tape.

    Just like its all about following the right guidelines for recording, engineering and musicianship; there are also some pitfalls you need to avoid.


    Simple Tricks to Improve Your Recordings



    Its simple: a great sounding drum kit will sound better and need less mixing than an out-of-tune, worn out drum kit.

    Getting a great drum recording is so much easier if you devote the time to getting the drum kit sounding its best.

    Drums Need Tuning Too

    I was recording drums recently at Allusion Studios and we spent a long time making sure each drum was tuned correctly.

    We used a drum dial to get each drum sounding its best. Just like you would tune a guitar or bass you should make sure each of your drums are tuned as well.

    A few quick tips on drum tuning

    Stretch the heads out. The heads will go out of tune fast if the heads arent stretched out.

    In order to choke the tom sound tune the bottom head a little higher than the top head.

    On the floor tom, tune the bottom head lower than the top head to get that falling floor tom sound

    Use the drum dial to get the drum sounding good all around, but use your ears for the final fine-tune.

    A Great Sound With a Great Instrument

    Once we had the drum sounding as good as possible we proceeded to mic things up.

    To get a more natural drum recording we used large condensers on all of the toms. The condensers were much more sensitive to everything around them but the bleed actually created a very natural, earthy sound.

    We were looking for an old-school but modern sounding drum sound so I think with the condensers we added an extra element dynamic microphones wouldnt have had.


    Simple Tricks to Improve Your Recordings



    Finally, by taking the time to get the instrument sounding as good as possible, using great microphones into pristine sounding pre-amps we were able to get a kick ass drum recording.

    It just makes you feel better that you have a great sound recorded; a drum sound that doesnt need every mixing trick in the book to sound great because its already 80% there.


    Simple Tricks to Improve Your Recordings



    Recording acoustic guitar requires a totally different method than recording the electric guitar.

    Since its an acoustic instrument as opposed to a plugged in electric one there are a few different techniques that you need to keep in mind when tracking an acoustic.

    Read on for