In honor of this silly holiday, I’ve put together a silly list for you. Print this up and post it in your studio. 🙂
Here we go:
23 Guaranteed Ways to Make Horrible Recordings
- Always start with a mediocre song. The less thought that goes into the song the better. If you’re the songwriter, just throw some music and lyrics together as fast as you can. The key is to start recording as soon as possible.
- Don’t bother with pre-production or any form of planning. The arrangement will just magically happen for you. It’s best to just dive in and hope for the best.
- When you start recording, never take the time to listen to the instruments/vocals in person. Always throw a mic in front of them and listen on headphones. You’re better off not knowing what the source actually sounds like.
- Always use multiple mics when you can. If it sounds good on one mic, it will sound twice as good with two, three times as good with three, etc. etc.
- If you’re not happy with the sound you’re getting, don’t worry about it. You can always fix it in the mix. Just get something recorded.
- When choosing a microphone, just pick the one that looks the best in front of the singer/instrument. Trying out different microphones is a waste of time.
- To get that “studio quality” microphone sound, place the mic as close to the source as humanly possible. Trust me.
- If you’ve got some sort of outboard compression available, USE IT. Compression always makes recordings better. Just go for it.
- When recording, make your levels as hot as possible. The meter needs to be just a few pixels away from clipping.
- Acoustic treatment is a scam. Those acoustic treatment companies are just trying to rip you off. It makes NO difference on the sound of your recordings. Don’t buy it.
- Once everything is recorded, go straight to mixing. Editing is a scam. If anything is out of time, it is NEVER okay to edit it.
- When mixing, use at least 5 plug-ins on every track.
- Just like with recording, keep the levels of everything really loud…just shy of clipping. In fact, if you don’t have a lot of clip lights going off during your mix, you’re doing it wrong.
- When using EQ, find the frequencies you like and boost away. The more boosting you do, the better.
- If your mix is starting to sound muddy, boost the lows and the highs some more. That’ll fix it.
- Use LOTS of reverb. If you’re not sure if you’re using enough, turn it up a little more.
- You should have used a lot of compression during recording. Now that you’re mixing, compress every track, too. You can’t compress too much. That’s how you get your stuff to sound professional. Use at least 6 dB of gain-reduction on each track…that’s just a minimum.
- When you’re mixing, don’t really think about the song. Focusing on arrangement and the “feel” of the song really doesn’t matter. You should just turn up the faders and go.
- When you bounce your mix, be sure to throw a limiter on it right at the end. Your mix MUST be loud.
- Speaking of loud, be sure to master your own mixes. Mastering is simply putting a compressor and limiter on your master fader. Crush the mix, then limit it, so that the waveform of the recorded mix looks like a rectangle. That’s what the professionals do.
- Don’t take any criticism on your mixes. If the client doesn’t like the mix, he’s clearly not a professional like you. Tell him to leave you alone.
- Also, make it a habit to only listen to your mixes. Don’t bother listening to professional mixes. There’s nothing to learn there. The only difference between you and a professional mix engineer is luck. They got a big break, you didn’t. There’s no difference in talent whatsoever.
- If you’re ever unhappy with your mixes, buy more gear.
Do you have any to add? Which one was your favorite? Leave a comment below.
[Photo by baejaar]