If you’re a home studio owner, then you will inevitably be recording a lot of acoustic guitar. Whether you play yourself, or you’re working with a local singer-songwriter, it pays off to spend some time learning how to mic an acoustic guitar.

There are as many ways to mic an acoustic guitar as there are engineers in the world. For the purposes of this article, I want to show you why you should consider stereo-miking acoustic guitars (that is, using two microphones on the guitar instead of just one.)

Most home studio owners will throw a single mic on an acoustic guitar, point it at the 12th fret, and hit record. While there’s nothing wrong with this, I think a lot of people are missing out on some very cool guitar tones.

With that in mind, I’ve come up with 3 Reasons to Stereo-Mic Acoustic Guitar.

1. It adds width to your guitar-vocal demos (or solo acoustic guitar).
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Today I’ve got more basic video on how to create a click track in Pro Tools. As I mentioned in The Importance of Pre-Production, recording your music to a set tempo is a good habit to develop. It may be helpful to read that article first, then watch this video.

Tomorrow I’ll be posting a video about how to get more sounds out of your click track. (Let’s face it, not everyone wants to have a wood block blasting through the headphones.) 

Do you use a click track? What advice or tips do you have? Leave a comment. 

 

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Let’s say you just got your first USB audio interface. You’ve set up your home studio, installed everything, and you’re ready to hit that big red Record button and go to town.

What happens next can be both surprising and frustrating – latency. USB 1.1 isn’t the fastest protocol on the planet, and what can happen is that it takes the computer a little time to process the audio. Translation: you play or sing a note, then you hear it in your headphones several milliseconds later. This is latency.

The cure? Most manufacturers include a mix knob on their USB interfaces. This mix knob allows you to blend the direct signal (of the microphone plugged into the interface) with the playback signal (the tracks you’re playing back in Pro Tools). 

In this video I’ll explain it a bit further and show you how to get around this latency issue.

* There’s a slight hum in the audio during the screencast portion. My apologies. I had to rewire things a little differently to demonstrate what the latency sounds like.

 

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After creating this video explaining inserts and sends in Pro Tools, I thought it would be good to follow that up with something a little “meatier.”

Delay is a fairly simple effect, but it can have a huge impact on your music. Sometimes a delay can be the defining sound of a song or an artist. (Think: Edge from U2, with his dotted eighth note delays.)

If you’ve spent much time with delays, then you know that digital delays (like the delay plugins that are included with Pro Tools) can be very precise and accurate, but they sometimes lack the character of their analog counterparts.

Can a basic, run-of-the-mill delay plug-in sound anything like some of the fancy Moog delays out there? 

The answer is yes, and Matt Fordham at RecordReady.com has a great video explaining this called “Better Delay Feedback.” 
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SoloAmp-closeRight now I’m sitting in my studio listening to a recording from a show I played a few weeks ago. How was it recorded? Directly from my Fishman SoloAmp into my Mbox 2 Mini. (And yes, I have an audio sample for you.)

If you are a singer-songwriter or a solo musician of any kind, you really should do yourself a favor and check this thing out – the Fishman SoloAmp.

Need a PA?

Ever since I moved away from the Nashville area, I’ve been at a bit of a loss for places to play. As a singer-songwriter, you can usually get away with not having your own PA system. You can just show up to a writers night and use the house PA. Or if you’re opening for another band, you can just use their system.

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When you’re getting started with Pro Tools, or any DAW for that matter, the whole idea of inserts and sends can be a bit confusing. If you’re a bit hazy on what these do (and the differences between them), this video should help.

Thanks to Jon, one of my readers, for asking me to cover this!

What are some tricks you’ve come up with with your inserts or sends? Leave a comment for the rest of us!

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I’ve been involved with a discussion over at the Harmony Central Forums yesterday and today. The thread started with a question about the advantages of getting a higher-end audio interface. The original poster owns an M-Audio ProFire 2626, and wants to know if he should get something with better converters.

While you should be careful not to get sucked into the “buying new gear will solve all my problems and bring about world peace” cycle, it’s still important to think about the sound quality of the equipment you own. Like I wrote many times in the 12 Home Studio Necessities series, a lot of times you get what you pay for

But not all the time. 

Dinner and Gear

At some point you can spend more money and not be able to tell a difference. For example, last night my wife and I celebrated our three-year wedding anniversary. We went out to a nice restaurant for a fancy dinner. We spent a good amount of money, but it was well worth it.

What if we doubled the amount we spent? Would it be twice as good? Possibly. What if we doubled it a few more times? Then would it be worth it? Eh… At some point the more money we would spend on the meal, the less food we would get. We’d get those tiny little “fancy” portions you see on the cooking channel. Sure it would be tasty (I hope), but I know I’d still be hungry afterwards, and I’d probably feel like I wasted my money.

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