A few weeks ago I was excited to knock out a couple of podcasts in my studio.

Over the weekend, I had rearranged my studio, disconnecting and reconnecting everything.

It was Monday morning, and I was excited to get to work. I plugged in my mic, put on my headphones, and…?!?!

Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…

“Oh crap.”

There was a distinct electrical buzz in the signal.

I proceeded over the next half hour to test every piece of the signal chain to find the culprit.

The mic, cable, and preamp weren’t the problem (I swapped all of them out, but still had noise.)

FINALLY…I found that when I wiggled the cables behind the rack, the buzz went away.

Long story short, I had run the power and audio cables together in one big bundle. This hadn’t been an issue in the past, but now it was causing problems.

So I separated the power cables. Problem solved.

This is the correct way to solve a problem in the studio, by the way.

I COULD have said to myself, “I can just buy that RX plugin and remove the hum after I record it.”

But that would be obviously stupid.

Unfortunately, ometimes we do obviously stupid things in the studio.

“That bass tone is pretty lame, but I’m sure I can fix it with a few plugins in the mix.”

Sigh.

Solve problems on the front end as much as possible…not the back end.

That’s one of the side-benefits of doing a lot of mixing. You discover two things:

  1. How great-sounding tracks make mixing so much easier (and more fun).
  2. How poor-sounding tracks severely limit what you can do during mixing.

Who’da thunk it?

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Joe Gilder
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