The Michael Scott School of Recording

I gotta admit, I’m a huge fan of the TV show “The Office.” (More specifically, the first five or six seasons…not such much the latest stuff.)

If you’re not familiar with the show, it essentially centers around an idiot boss named Michael Scott, who is constantly making bad decisions.

In one episode in particular, it’s “Pretzel Day” at the office. This guy shows up once a year with a pretzel cart and gives out free hot pretzels to everyone in the office.

Michael waits in line all morning for his pretzel, and when he finally makes his way to the front of the line, he has to decide what toppings he wants.

The pretzel guy rattles off at least fifteen different options.

Michael shyly replies, “Is there any way I can get…all of them?”

The guy proceeds to give Michael “the works” — more sugar than any human should ingest in one sitting. Needless to say, a sugar rush is soon to follow…and more hilarity.

But what can a bumbling boss on a sugar high teach us about recording?

We all have a tendency, like Michael, to overdo things. We eat too much sugar. We watch too much TV. (Oops, busted.)

When it comes to recording, it’s easy to take a good song and add so much garbage on top that it becomes a big mess.

This is especially easy to do with compression.

Compression is like sugar.

You get a little taste of it, and you fall in love. “This makes everything sound better!!”

So you compress more and more — track after track — until you realize that suddenly your mixes aren’t sounding good anymore. They sound dull and lifeless.

Is more compression the answer?

Negative Ghostrider.

You need to back it down. Show some moderation. Take a simpler approach.

I’m a firm believer that “less is more.”

And it seems to have paid off for me and my mixes.

More here:

www.UnderstandingCompression.com

Joe Gilder
Home Studio Corner

P.S. Have you heard about Dynamic Range Day? Okay. Stop what you’re doing and check it out here:

DynamicRangeDay.co.uk

My buddy Ian Shepherd puts this on every year, and it’s awesome.

You can learn all about WHY dynamic range is important in your mixes (and why too much compression is a bad thing), plus there’s a huge giveaway. Prizes include free copies of two of my videos: Understanding EQ — www.UnderstandingEQ.com — and Understanding Compression — www.UnderstandingCompression.com.

Ask Joe #23 – DYNAMIC RANGE DAY! (WITH AUDIO EXAMPLES) [Podcast]

Play

Image by DTGraphix

TODAY IS DYNAMIC RANGE DAY!

I’M TYPING IN ALL CAPS BECAUSE IT’S REALLY ANNOYING…AND SO IS RIDICULOUSLY, UNNECESSARILY LOUD MUSIC.

BACK OFF THE LIMITER, BOYS. YOU’RE KILLING THE MUSIC.

IN THIS EPISODE OF THE PODCAST, I TALK ABOUT DYNAMIC RANGE AND GIVE YOU SOME AUDIO EXAMPLES OF WHAT “TOO LOUD” SOUNDS LIKE. I ALSO ANSWER SOME READER QUESTIONS.

Enjoy!

LINKS FROM THE SHOW:

CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE HSC PODCAST IN ITUNES.

CLICK HERE FOR THE PODCAST RSS FEED.

Thoughts on Mastering, and DYNAMIC RANGE DAY

Do you master your own tracks? Do you really know what mastering is? Do you think it’s all about making your mixes as ridiculously loud as possible?

We all could stand to learn more about mastering. It’s a mysterious topic and, sadly, one that gets overlooked. Most people think that mastering is simply throwing a limiter plug-in on your mix.

One and done, right? Wrong.

I’m nowhere near being an expert at mastering, but I know someone who is. Ian Shepherd (@ianshepherd) is a professional mastering engineer who runs a couple of great blogs:

If either the topics of music production or mastering interest you (and if you’re a fan of Home Studio Corner, then I bet they both do), you need to follow these blogs.

Dynamic Range Day

It won’t take you long to find out where Ian stands on the issue of over-compressed music, or the “Loudness Wars.” In an effort to raise awareness, Ian has announced “Dynamic Range Day.”

It’s March 20, 2010. You can find out more about Dynamic Range Day by reading this post over on Production Advice.

While your over there, be sure to sign up for Ian’s newsletter — great stuff from a guy who’s much smarter than I am. 😉