Writing on mixing is a difficult task. Tryexplaining to someone, without actually beingthere, how to paint a picture, how to play theblues, or how to remove a spleen. These basicfew points just scratch the surface of goodmixing habits. Bottom line, the best mixescome from well-written, well-arranged, wellplayedand well-recorded songs. This article is excerpted with permission fromTim Crich’s book Recording Tips For Engineers.He also wrote the bestseller AssistantEngineers Handbook. He has over 20 yearsof experience in the recording studio and hasworked on records by the Rolling Stones, BobDylan, John Lennon, KISS, Billy Joel, BryanAdams, Cher, Bon Jovi and many more.
Mike Turner is the former guitarist of Our Lady Peace.He partnered with Mari Dew, Caryn Hanlon, and TrevorKustiak to launch The Pocket Entertainment and ThePocket Studios. For more information, contactwww.thepocketstudios.com
Are You Really Ready To Record?by Mike TurnerREcoRdinGWarning! This is a dangerousquestion! You may notbe ready for the explosivereaction that this may unleash!The level of frustration that thiscan cause may lead to much rantingand gnashing of teeth! Unpreparedbands are a problem for the engineeron a session, and, unfortunately, most ofthose people have grown accustomed tounprofessional musicians. For the producer,part of the job is to make surethat preparations have been done for thestudio – so if the band isn’t ready it’s atleast partially the producer’s fault. Ofcourse, if an artist doesn’t have a producerper se, someone in the band willhave to take the reins and direct the session,usually without having done theneeded pre-production.Ideally, when a band plans to go intothe studio several things need to be inorder before you get there. The song isthe most important thing. If it’s not great,why are you recording it? If you believeit’s as great as it can ever be (we all startsomewhere) then you need to make certainthat the arrangement is doing whatit should be.The normal flaw is that, as musicians,we tend to think that things areas much fun to hear as they are to play.Not true. Each part of a song needs tobe represented enough that it serves itspurpose and doesn’t overstay its welcome.You know that great four-bar riffin the intro of the song that you playfour times through? Most likely it onlyneeded to be heard twice, maybe onlyonce if you’re going to play it again aftera chorus as a re-intro (refrain, motif, orwhatever you choose to call it). If youmanage to dress up the riff in differentsettings, i.e., acoustic vs. electric, or bythe use of dynamics or effects, then youmight be able to repeat it more – butjust bashing away on a riff for extendedperiods doesn’t do anyone any favours.If you love the riff more than anythingand want to play it longer, feel free todo that live, just don’t beat the hell outof people with it on a CD.Okay, now your song is the best oneyou’ve ever done and the arrangementis tight and concise. Well done! Now,does the drummer know his/her parts?I mean really know them? You (looks likeyou’re going to be the producer after all!)should be able to ask: “What are youplaying in the second half of the secondverse where it goes to the pre-chorus?”and your drummer should be able to pickit up from that point and tell you, evenverbally (Boom KA BuBoom Boom KAKKACK-A), EXACTLY what he/she intendsto play. As a matter of fact, everyone inthe band should be able to give the sameanswer – not just for their own parts but,at the very least, the drums as well. Thisway there’s no confusion when you’re inthe studio. I can’t tell you the number oftimes I’ve heard arguments about howpart of a song is supposed to go oncethe band is in the studio: “Why are youchanging chords on the ‘and’ of four? It’ssupposed to be on the downbeat!” “NOWAY! I always play it like this... ” If youknew each others’ parts, this discussionwould have taken place at the rehearsalstage where nobody feels like an idiot infront of the engineer at the studio. Thisis one of the things that marks somebodyas a pro: knowing to listen first,hearing what needs to be played, andplaying it well.So, now you have a great tune with atidy arrangement. Everybody knows whatto play and those parts all agree. Next,make sure all of your gear is in perfectcondition. Do you want a permanent recordof how you were substandard? Thismeans new strings and setups for theguitarists, new skins and a well-tuned kitfor the drummer, and the singers shouldnot show up hung over from being outat a loud bar yelling and smoking allnight. If you don’t have top-notch gear,you should look into renting some forthe recording – most studios either havesome or can help you with a recommendationon where you can get it.Your checklist is almost complete.You now have a great tune, a great arrangement,great individual parts thatwork great together being played ongreat gear in the studio. Doesn’t thatsound great? Here’s where the finalhurdle is. When you get into the studiothere’s a different experience of themusic you make. It might not sound asexciting as you’d thought. This is wherea little flexibility is in order. You rememberthose parts that everyone memorizedand the arrangement that you labouredover so diligently? They might need alittle tweaking in the studio. This isn’t acontradiction of what I’ve said already.If you know the song as well as youshould, changes are easier to accommodateBECAUSE you know the songso well. Know your parts going in, butdon’t get so attached to them that youcan’t hear the opportunity for somethingbetter. Sometimes the smallest changeputs excitement into a track that waslacking once you got to the studio. Thechance to get the best performances willonly be increased by the atmosphere ofachievement you will get by not havingthe session grind to a halt because youweren’t prepared. Trust me, it’s hard tobe creative when you’re dealing withsomeone who hasn’t done their homeworkand is feeling too much pressureexecuting their parts in a song that theydon’t quite know.Mike Turner is the co-founder and former guitarist of OurLady Peace, as well as a three-time Juno Award winnerand a four-time MuchMusic Video Award winner. Hequickly established himself as a premier source for liverecordings using a streamlined mobile live recordingrig of his own design. Mike soon had the itch to build a“real” recording studio, and he partnered with kindredmusic industry veterans Mari Dew, Caryn Hanlon, andTrevor Kustiak to launch The Pocket Entertainment andThe Pocket Studios. Please contactwww.thepocketstudios.com for more information.
MP3 And Beyondby Mike TurnerREcoRdinGThe reality of the MP3 revolutionis ongoing. What is the impact ofMP3 on the recording of music?When first introduced, MP3compression was the only way of transmittingmusic files of any size due torestrictions on bandwidth. For this reason,people tolerated the inherentlyinferior audio quality. There was alsothe issue of expensive storage spacethat was also addressed by MP3 compression.Once again, because memorywas expensive, people tolerated the badaudio because good audio was just toomemory-intensive. Both of these factorsare becoming less and less of an issue.With high-speed Internet access becomingthe norm and hard drive memorygoing under the dollar per Gigabytethreshold, there is less need to toleratebad sound.My theory is that MP3s on the Internetare the equivalent of radio in the past.Radio was revolutionary based purely onthe fact that it was without precedent. Musicon the Internet is following a similarcourse based on the precedent of radio.Initially music was all over AM radio andpeople went crazy for it, millions of littletransistor radios were sold and the Top40 market was born. As AM becameubiquitous and the number of peoplelistening represented a sufficiently largeamount of the population, the small percentagewithin that number who wereunsatisfied with the fidelity were a bigenough market to merit a new format.And so FM radio became the domainof the discerning music listener. Astimes changed and tastes evolved, itwas no longer sufficient to just be accessiblelike AM radio was, the fidelityprovided by FM became more affordableand instead of tiny transistor radios thatonly received mono AM radio througha single speaker, people began to buyhome receivers that were stereo and hadmulti-component speakers capable ofgood quality sound. At every stage therewere a group of people that wanted bettersound and they are still around today.Go to your local stereo store and tell methat fidelity is irrelevant. Once the innovationsbecome the norm and theirprices become affordable, more thanjust the early adopters will choose toupgrade. Currently we are in the earlystages of the MP3 revolution but I thinkit’s inevitable that people will begin torequire more from the fidelity of MP3sand that an affordable, superior soundingalternative will supplant them.As for the question of a singles-basedmarket, I think it’s always been that wayto a degree. It takes an introductorysong to get the listeners interest – thenand only then will they check out thecatalogue of an artist. Unfortunately,there seemed to be a movement oncethe album became the standard to fillspace with sub-par material for the sakeof track count. If you wanted to get thesong you liked from an artist, you hadto buy the entire album regardless ofthe quality of the other tracks. With theamount a consumer buys from an artistbecoming discretionary, people willonly buy the entire album if it’s all good.There is the interesting idea that, as anartist, you will have the option of makingyour material available as each song iscreated, not every 12-18 months in analbum (ie: collection of songs) format.If you are creating something to bepresented as an album, you have thatoption but aren’t bound to it.What will happen to the industry overthe next few years? If I knew that I’d besleeping better at night! The only thingfor certain is that it’ll be utterly differentthan it is now. Most likely it will be verymuch smaller and the gross revenueswill be commensurately smaller as well.So if you want to be a rock star with amansion and lavish lifestyle, you’d betterhave two mansions and a downrightopulent lifestyle to start with.I think that the record companies willstill be around but they will get out ofthe distribution business entirely. It’s alwaysbeen their specialty to know howto market artists. I think it’ll also becomemore artist-driven in terms of the publicno longer being content to buy whateveris being marketed. I hope in the futureit will be quality first, then marketing.I believe this will be the most relevantaspect of the future industry. Not to sellsomething to a consumer by hook orcrook, but to become a trusted sourceof specific types of music. Let’s face it,with the advent of affordable recordingtechnologies EVERYONE has a bandand wants you to hear their music. Thedifficulty is filtering through all of thatcontent to get to what you’re interestedin. This is what the labels are specialistsin. There are still versions of aspectsof the traditional industry, for examplewebsites like www.pitchforkmedia.comare replacing print media but the importanceof getting noticed by them isno different and no less difficult. Recordlabels are in the business of relationships.There are publicists whose livesare dedicated to knowing what outletis appropriate for which artist and havethe relationship with all of them. Do you,the artist, know someone at pitchfork?Rolling Stone? The Oprah Winfrey Show?How are you going to get the benefit ofthe exposure that these outlets offer tothe right artists?Some future version of the label willhave continued to maintain the relationshipswith these outlets and that will bethe value they bring to the table. This isjust one aspect of what a label does nowand the best thing is that they are a onestop shop for these and other services.I guess you could try and outsource allof these things … wait a minute, that’sthe next column!Mike Turner is the co-founder and former guitarist of OurLady Peace, as well as a three-time Juno Award winnerand a four-time Much Music Video Award winner. Hequickly established himself as a premier source for liverecordings using a streamlined mobile live recordingrig of his own design. Mike soon had the itch to build a“real” recording studio, and he partnered with kindredmusic industry veterans Mari Dew, Caryn Hanlon, andTrevor Kustiak to launch The Pocket Entertainment andThe Pocket Studios. Please contactwww.thepocketstudios.com for more information.
Laying Down Electric Guitarsby Chris TedescoREcoRdinGWhen it comes to recordingelectric guitars, there arereally no rules. However, inmy experience, there are afew misconceptions about the art of capturinga good sound. You absolutely mustbegin with a good sounding source andthis applies to miking anything. Onceyou’ve achieved getting the sound youwant out of the rig, then you can startthrowing up mics and trying differenttechniques. Most engineers have theirown systems built through experimentationand experience but generally speaking,anything goes.Speaking with Steve Chahley, ChiefEngineer at DNA Recording Facility, somegood points were brought up. Agreeingthat every situation is different, “moretimes than not, the guitarist’s live setupand sound doesn’t apply when they getinto the studio,” says Chahley. “In a livesetup, gain, volume, and EQ settings aredialed in with a very different purpose inmind and that purpose is to make surethe guitar can be heard during the performance,which sometimes sacrificesthe tone.” In addition, overdrive pedalsand such could be used live to get a bitof boost during certain parts of the songbut in the studio, it is sometimes betterto drive the amp naturally from its nativecontrols, especially if it’s vintage.The MOST important thing to do, andif this is the only piece of advice thatyou take from this article then I’ve donemy job, is to make sure that the guitarsthat you’re tracking have been set up andtuned correctly. There is nothing worsethan discovering that the guitars andbass are slapping each other as a resultof poorly set up intonation and tuningwhen you’ve already tracked 12 songsthis way! Sometimes it’s obvious rightfrom the start but sometimes it’s not. Thesituation becomes worse and worse asyou move along, especially when you’relayering guitars.Once you’ve set up and tuned, youcan now start listening to the amp. Getthe sound that you’re after by adjustingthe amp while being in front of the cab,not behind it. It’s common sense that themic(s) are placed where the sound comesout of, so put yourself in the place wherethe mic would generally be positionedand listen. Be careful not to blow youreardrums out! Start at a lower volumethen gradually increase it.You’re now ready to toss up a mic ortwo. Now this is the debatable part of thepiece! “There is no right or wrong way ofmiking a guitar amp although there are afew things to watch out for,” says Chahley.Speakers in general produce a SoundPressure Level (SPL) that you need to takeinto consideration when miking. This refersto the pressure caused by speakersmoving air. You can distort the microphoneeasily by having the amp too loud,or by having the mic too close. If you’reusing a condenser or especially a ribbonmic, you can actually destroy the diaphragmor ribbon at loud volumes. Placingthe microphone perpendicular to thespeaker is probably the first thing to try.The speaker’s face is made up of the cap,which is the smaller protruding circle inthe center, and the cone, which is thelarger circle surrounding it. Pointing themic’s diaphragm at the point where thecap meets the cone should give you the“best of both worlds” sound. The moreyou move the mic towards the center ofthe speaker, the more hi and mid frequencieswill appear and oppositely, themore you move towards the outer ring,the more low end frequencies will appear.If you’re using a two-mic set-up, then thesecond mic could be placed at a 45-degreeangle and pointed more towards thecone, giving you some extra low end. Atmix time, these two tracks can be blendedtogether to give you one sound. This isan example of a simple close mic guitarcabinet setup. There are endless ways toplace microphones in different configurationsto achieve a good sound. Settinga mic back a few feet from the cabinetas opposed to a few inches will give youanother colour at mix time.If you’re using a combo amp with anopen back, you have a few more optionsbecause you now have sound comingfrom the front of the amp, as well as theback. Applying the same technique asabove to the front, try adding a mic tothe rear to capture some lows and lowmids. Just remember, you need to flip thephase of the back mic because when thespeaker moves forward (pushes), thenthe front mic diaphragm moves inwardand the rear mic diaphragm moves outward.Without getting too technical, ifyou don’t flip the phase, it will soundlike crap!Getting a good guitar sound dependson more than just mic technique. Wehave to take into consideration thingslike the actual mics you’re using, the preamps,the compressors, the multi-trackand even the cables. You don’t necessarilyneed a Neve pre to get a good guitarsound, but it definitely helps. The keyis experimenting! Be creative with thesetup, keep mixing in mind, and tunethe damn guitars!DNA Studios is owned and run by Chris and DaveTedesco and hosts Steve Chahley as Chief Engineer.
The Bottom Endby Inaam HaqREcoRdinGThe bass line in a track is one ofthe things that make a listenermove and groove with the music.The way it swings with thekick and holds down the bottom end,both rhythmically and harmonically,forms the foundation that the track isbuilt on. As such, the recording of bassis not a simple afterthought. While itmay seem very simple to just plug inthe bass direct and go, there are severalconsiderations to keep in mind.First off, a great bass recording startswith a great player, a fine instrument,and the right part. There are ways to enhancethe sound and fix certain issues,but starting out with these elements isthe best way to ensure that you get goodresults.Use of a direct injection (DI) box isoften the first choice for many engineersand bassists, but beware, not all DIs arecreated equally. One high-quality DI isthe Avalon U5, which has a very solid,clean, and transparent sound. Manyhigh-end outboard tube preamps alsohave instrument inputs that allow guitarsand basses to be plugged directlyin. Tube preamps can help to warm up,or add a bit of grit to, what might otherwisebe a clean, yet sterile, recordedsignal.For many players, the crunch andgrowl that comes from their favouritebass amp is an essential component oftheir sound, so you will need to record theamp to get the dirt that you wouldn’t beable to get from the direct signal alone.A large-diaphragm dynamic mic suchas the Sennheiser 421 is a good choiceof mic for this application. It can betterhandle the high sound levels being createdby that fridge-sized, earth-shaking 8x 10 bass cabinet than a condenser mic,and will be able to capture more bassthan, say, a Shure SM 57.A special case in recording is theupright acoustic bass. This monsterinstrument can create a lot of beautifullow end, but is vulnerable to leakagefrom nearby instruments. A commonway to mic the acoustic bass is toplace a large-diaphragm condenserdown near the bridge or the “f” hole.A small-diaphragm condenser canalso be placed near the neck to pickup the fine details like finger noiseand string snap, (as well as the occasionalgrunt or heavy breathing fromyour bass player!). An option to considerwhen leakage is a factor is towrap a small-diaphragm condenser infoam or bubble wrap and gently placeit where the bridge meets the body,facing up. That allows you to get themic nice and close. A lot of uprightbasses also have a pickup, which canbe blended with the mic(s) to help youget a clearer signal from the instrumentwith a minimum of bleed. Manybassists are reluctant to even use theDI when recording because the pickupdoesn’t capture the same resonanceand warmth that can be heard acoustically.A little reassurance that you willonly be using the DI to augment themiked signal can help your player feelmore comfortable.By recording both the direct signaland the mic signals of the bass or bassamp, you can give yourself great flexibilitywhen it comes time to mix. Bysending the direct sound to an amp andthen re-recording it (a process known asre-amping), you can re-create or changethe bass amp tone. The direct sound canalso be processed with amp simulatorsor effects, radically altering the soundof the original instrument.Anytime that you are running multiplesignals of the same sound in parallel,such as the DI sound and the ampsound, it’s essential to check for phase.Because the signals aren’t taking exactlythe same path, they get slightlymisaligned. The peaks and valleys ofthe sound wave that should be lined upbecome opposite to each other, and canceleach other out. In this situation, thesignals are out of phase, and the bassmay sound hollow, or all the bottom endmight suddenly disappear when the DIand amp signals are combined. By invertingthe phase of one of the signals,you can restore the sound. Most consolesand preamps have a phase switch to flipthe phase. Often this switch is simplymarked as a “0” with a slash through it.If there’s no phase switch handy, anyprofessional DAW software worth its saltshould have an “invert” function to dothe same thing. Little Labs also makes avery effective unit called the IBP AnalogPhase Alignment Tool, which allows youto sweep the phase to make sure thatyour signals are totally in phase.There are many other aspects to considerwith regards to the bass such asEQ and compression. These choices willdepend a lot on the track and the styleof material. In general, when recording,it’s a good idea to be conservative andnot commit yourself to anything thatmight limit your flexibility further downthe line. In mixdown, you want to allowthe kick and bass to coexist by givingeach one its own frequency space. Justremember that the tools you use and thedecisions you make should be chosen,like colours, to complement the partbecause, ultimately, the bass is servingthe song.Inaam Haq is the senior engineer at Cherry BeachSound, where he has been for 10 years. Inaam hasworked with Rush, Headstones, and Not by Choice.www.cherrybeachsound.com.
There’s No DNA In This “Bleed”The Hell Of Isolation/Separationby Chris TedescoREcoRdinGThe very purpose of having multipletrack recordings is, essentially, tohave control of the sound of eachindividual track. However, withpoor isolation/separation, there can potentiallybe a problem when recordinglive off the floor, which, in our experience,is becoming more and more popular, especiallyamong indie bands.Picture a room full of instruments, includingdrums, bass and guitar amps,and percussion, for example. Now, throwin 30 live mics in that same room, andyou will have an issue with isolation/separation. There is a small misconceptionabout the two. Isolation is when youplace instruments in different rooms sothat each microphone is picking up onlythe sound coming from that particularinstrument and its ambiance, assumingthat these rooms have a significantamount of sound proofing. Separation iswhen the instruments are all in the sameroom and are sectioned off to achievethe least amount of “bleed” into the otherinstruments’ mics. Unless you have astudio with five or more booths and aband that’s cool with being in differentrooms, total isolation may be difficultto achieve.Even though isolation will allow forthe most control over each individualtrack, some groups need to play togetheras a band in order to get a good performance.In this instance, you need tohave good separation of each instrumentor you’ll have a nightmare at mix time.For example, when you are turning upthe guitar track, you may find that youare also turning up the snare drum becauseit bled into the guitar amp mics. Ifyou add compression to the guitar tracklater on, the kick or snare might be loudenough to trigger the compressor or reverbunit, making it difficult to control– like using a PC.The best way to achieve separationis to use “baffles,” or “gobos.” Basically,gobos are moveable walls on wheelsor pads that can be positioned aroundthe sound source to “separate” it fromthe rest. It’s like building a temporarywall in your live room. They are madeup of an absorptive side (a few layersof dampening material such as insulationcovered with a rated fabric), and areflective side (a more dense layer ofmaterial such as MDF wood, or particleboard), or a combination of either side.The gobos don’t stop the sound completely,but they dramatically reduce it.Imagine sitting in front of a speaker atmid volume. By placing your hand betweenthe speaker and yourself (palmfacing the speaker) you could block thedirect sound. Although you can still hearthe sound, it has to move around yourhand (gobo) to get to your ears – this iswhat makes it indirect.To properly execute “good separation”you need to use some common sense.Have a game plan in mind when placingyour instruments around the room. Tostate the obvious, don’t point the guitarcab at the kick drum or the bass amp.Set up the gobos strategically accordingto priority, depending on how manyare available to you. Cover the drumkitfirst, and point the amps away from eachother and from the kit. If you have to,use one gobo as the wall between twoinstruments, rather than sectioning offthe bass cab while leaving the guitarcab blaring into the openness. Anotherthing to consider would be drum overheadmics. I suggest keeping them alittle tighter to the kit than usual, or theymay become unusable. If you’re havingtroubles with the kick drum, try coveringit completely – mic and everything– with a moving blanket or a sleepingbag. You get a tighter sound, but youeliminate most of the leakage allowingyou to gate the kick much easier later.On the live floor, you must maintainenough volume from all of the instrumentsso that the musicians can stillhear each other reasonably well, oryou’ve defeated the purpose. So, turningdown the volume of the amps won’t help.A great way to check if you have goodseparation is to record a small section ofa song using your set-up then listeningback. What you should be listening foris the volume increase in, for example,the snare drum when the guitar is notplaying. If the snare drum gets dramaticallylouder, there is too much leakage inthe guitar mic. You can apply this test todifferent combinations of tracks.Even desperate attempts to isolate/separate instruments, like hanging blanketsor constructing temporary roomsmade of plywood, are better than nothingat all. I can’t stress the importance ofhaving control of your instruments oncethey have all been recorded. Just likeanything, experimentation and commonsense are key to achieving a good recording.If you can’t afford to buy gobosthen do what I did, just make them. Theymay not look pretty, but unlike recordcompanies, sound is more importantthan presentation.DNA Recording Facility is owned and operated by Chris and Dave Tedesco and hosts Steve Chahley as Chief Engineer, assisted by T.J. Booth.Contact: www.dnafacilities.com.
REcORdinGUnderstanding Phaseby Chris TedescoThis is one of those thingsthat you must always beconscious about during sessions,much like listeningfor instrument tuning, which just sohappens to carry some of the sameprincipals.It’s safe to say that audio signalsare made up of two basic principals:time (frequency) and volume (amplitude).These factors make up a sinwave (sinusoidal wave) when displayedon a graph. This is where theterm “sound wave” comes from. Thesin wave moves in both the positiveand negative direction. The heightof the wave represents the amplitude,and the length of the waverepresents the frequency. Frequencyis measured in Hertz (Hz), which isjust a fancy way of saying “cyclesper second.” One cycle is whenthe wave travels from zero to “its”amplitude in the positive direction,then to its amplitude in the negativedirection, and then back up tozero (Fig 1.1). The amount of cyclesthat happen in one second gives youthe frequency. For example, twentycycles in one second is 20 Hz and20 thousand cycles per second is20 kHz, which is also the averageaudible range for humans. We listento audio in its analog form becauseour ears work like mics. A speakerpushes out in the positive directionof the wave, and pulls back in thenegative direction of the wave. Ourears react in the opposite directionso on a speakers “push,” our eardrums“pull,” and vice versa – liketalking into a mic.Why am I telling you about soundwaves?It’s because phase, in essence, isthe direct comparison of soundwaves being played overtop of eachother. Let’s use a portion of a 20 Hzwave as an example. If we zoom inon one cycle, we see that it beginsat zero, and travels to the positive(push) amplitude, and then to thenegative (pull) and back to zero. Ifwe put the exact same 20 Hz frequencyovertop of it that has thesame amplitude, we end up addingthe two waves’ amplitudes togetherto make a theoretically louder 20 Hz.If we “reverse the phase” on one ofthem, we get a “figure eight” typeof sin wave (Fig 1.2). All we’ve doneis started the wave from zero to itsnegative amplitude first, and thento its positive amplitude and backdown to zero. It’s a mirror imagesplit horizontally. The result is a completetheoretical cancellation of bothwaves, which means no sound! Thiscomparison can also be made usingtwo waves with different amplitudesor frequencies. Their sum, however,follows some pretty complex physicsand mathematics. The result is analtered wave in both frequency andamplitude.How does this affect us in the realworld? Imagine a vocalist thatwants to record in the control roomusing the studio monitors to listeninstead of headphones. We can applythe cancellation theory in thiscase. First we must set up a mic andspeaker on the points of an equilateraltriangle (Fig1.3). The heightof the mic must be at the height ofthe centreline of the speakers aswell. We have to switch the controlroom mix to mono, which meansthat both speakers are emitting theexact same wave. If we reverse thepositive and negative wires on oneof the speakers, we have just flippedthe phase of that speaker. In theory,at the point where the wave fromthe left speaker meets the rightspeaker (exactly where you placedthe mic), the sound will cancel out,leaving you with a vocal track thatamazingly has only vocal on it. Becausethe vocalist’s ears are furtherback from the crossing point of thetwo waves, they can still hear thetrack while they are singing, it justsounds out of phase. Listening tosomething out of phase is causingone of your eardrums to push andthe other to pull, making it seemunbalanced and unpleasant, but itgets the job done! If you are goingto attempt this trick, make sure youdouble check that you have set itup properly – triple-checking yourmeasurements, and starting off at avery low volume. If you do screw itup, you will probably get the worstfeedback loop ever, which couldblow up both your eardrums andyour speakers, so be careful!DNA RecordingFacilities is owned andrun by Chris and DaveTedesco and hostsSteve Chahleyas Chief Engineer.Fig 1.1Fig 1.2Fig 1.3
REcORdinGRecording On A Tight Budgetby Chris TedescoGood quality recording hasn’t become that muchcheaper over the years. Because of this, homerecording has become more popular. With a tinyinvestment, you can get some decent-soundingrecordings right on your computer. When artists want to usea large studio to make records, then budget becomes a veryreal issue.The goal is to get the best-sounding recording possiblewith your budget. Sometimes, sacrificing a bit of sonics forperformance will get your further. Paying a good producer tohelp you with the music will benefit you more than paying agood mix engineer tomix the project. For alower budget, recordingcertain aspects athome will give youmore time to get theperformances rightrather than sweatingthe clock at a largerstudio.What will you beusing the recordingfor? To shop aroundto labels, to sell atlive performancesand pass around, orboth? Figure out howmany songs you wantto record based on theintended purpose,budget, and the “calibre”of your set.Choosing Your RouteIf you want to shop the songs to labels or private investors,there are no set rules. Major labels today don’t want to spendany money in the development of artists, so a full albumshould be a good idea. What happens if they ask you formore material? Shopping an EP should also do the trick, butdo they want to release six songs instead of 12 when thecost of reproduction is the same, for example? With regardsto private investors, they want to hear good songs, whichincludes sonics.Record your strongest songs and abandon the idea of fillingup an album with just that – fillers! If you’re selling themor giving them away at shows, a good quality demo could beright for you. Most people wouldn’t buy a CD with less thanfive songs on it. And we’re back at square one! However, youcan record three songs with a lot better quality and performancesin the same time you allocated to record five or six.Budgeting Your ProjectThere are ways to get a good recording with a lower budget.Doing it all at home is not the answer unless you have next tono money. Even though home recording has come a long way,a well-built and well-equipped studio with a great engineerhas yet to be surpassed. By the time you rent equipment andlearn how to use it effectively, you may have wasted moneythat could have been put towards a larger studio. In homerecording, you still have to deal with rooms that are not acousticallytuned, isolation issues, and terrible live floors.One way to do it is to budget for two days at a larger studio.On the first day, you could track all of your drum parts andwhatever else that you can fit in, like bass guitar or some guitaroverdubs. Then, spend as much time as you’d like at hometracking the rest of the instruments and the vocals and getthe performances right. When you’re ready, use the secondday at the studio to mix. The studio should end up costingyou between $1,800 and $2,000, which will end up soundinga lot better than spending that much money on rentals.The other way is to track live off the floor in a larger studio.Take one day of studio time to set up, record, and mix. Thiswill end up costing you about $1,000, but you will be able toget more songs out of it. Also, this frees up cash if you needto rent instruments or to use towards artwork and duplication.The following chart could be used to set a budget foryour project.Choosing A StudioFind a studio with great equipment, an excellent engineer,nice rooms, and, of course, a good vibe. Also, you should lookfor a studio that is willing to help your cause – a place wherethey don’t mind going that extra mile for you to try and getyour project on the road. There still are a few studios thatsupport artists with smaller budgets, and if the owners areinterested, spec deals are also an option.At DNA we try to encourage independent artists to inquireabout studio time even though they have a tight budget. Ifonly the rich could afford to record music, there is a majorproblem. We would like to see more independent bandsmaking good-sounding records, and if we can help – all thebetter.DNA Studios is owned and run by Chris and Dave Tedesco and hosts Steve Chahley as Chief Engineer. Contact: www.dnafacilities.com.
RECORDING READING SUGGESTIONSASSISTANT ENGINEERS HANDBOOK - SECOND EDITION BY TIM CRICHOver 300 pages of non-technical tips, tricks and how-to’s. Including Studio Etiquette, that every assistant needs.https://www.musicbooksplus.com/Assistant-Engineers-Handbook-Second-Edition-p/bl003.htmMASTERING AUDIO - THE ART AND SCIENCE, SECOND EDITION BY BOB KATZWritten by an award winning, highly respected professional, Mastering Audio gives you a thoroughintroduction to the unique procedures and technical issues involved in mastering.https://www.musicbooksplus.com/Mastering-Audio-The-Art-and-Science-Second-p/fp439.htmMODERN RECORDING TECHNIQUES, 7TH EDITION BY DAVID MILES HUBER & ROBERT A RUNSTEINModern Recording Techniques provides everything you need to master the tools and day-to-day practice ofmusic recording and production.https://www.musicbooksplus.com/Modern-Recording-Techniques-7th-Edition-p/fp495.htmRECORDING ENGINEER’S HANDBOOK, SECOND EDITION BY BOBBY OWSINSKILearn the tricks the professionals use to record exceptional audio tracks for hit records and learn directly fromthese award-winning engineers and producers as they reveal how they make their hits in the studio.https://www.musicbooksplus.com/The-Recording-Engineer-s-Handbook-Second-Edi-p/hl8120.htmSHAPING YOUR SOUND MICROPHONES, MIXERS & MULTITRACK RECORDING DVD BY ARTISTPROHosted by world-renowned educator, producer and engineer Tom Lubin, this DVD will give you the skills youneed to make good recordings sound great.https://www.musicbooksplus.com/Shaping-Your-Sound-Microphones-Mixers-Mult-p/hl1542.htmSOUND ADVICE ON RECORDING & MIXING VOCALS BY BILL GIBSONSound Advice on Recording & Mixing Vocals will show you the specific steps to take in pursuit of that perfect,sparkling vocal sound that makes your song shine!https://www.musicbooksplus.com/Sound-Advice-on-Recording-Mixing-Vocals-p/hl4408.htmTHE ART OF MIXING DVD BY DAVID GIBSONDavid Gibson’s hugely popular The Art of Mixing, the book that has taught a generation of mixing engineers,comes to life with over 3-1/2 hours of vivid, animated instruction on one feature-packed DVD!https://www.musicbooksplus.com/The-Art-of-Mixing-DVD-p/hl4492.htmTHE MIXING ENGINEER’S HANDBOOK, SECOND EDITION BY BOBBY OWSINSKIYou will learn about the history and evolution of mixing, various mixing styles, the six elements of a mix, the rulesfor arrangement and how they impact your mix, and mixing tips and tricks for every genre of music.https://www.musicbooksplus.com/The-Mixing-Engineer-s-Handbook-Second-Editio-p/hl5856.htmWWW.MUSICBOOKSPLUS.COM + 1-800-265-8481