How to Be a Thief (and still sleep at night)

“Thou shalt not steal.”


But…sometimes stealing is the best thing you can do for a song.

Lemme back-track and explain.

When you’re working on a project for a client, especially if you’re playing the role of producer, it can become really tempting to make all the decisions yourself. Not only that, it’s easy to want to re-evaluate every decision that’s already been made.

Here’s what I mean. (more…)

Umm…You Might Be Getting in the Way

I got this email a couple days ago, and it was just too cool not to share with you.

Michael (one of my customers) wrote:

Understanding EQ changed my whole world a few months ago, I have started Understanding Compression this week and the quality of my mixes has taken a giant leap. My friends and clients have been letting me know I’m on the right track.

You know what’s so cool about this email? The thing that fills me with warm fuzzies?

The fact that Michael’s friends and clients are noticing a difference.

Wanna know why that’s cool?

Because friends and clients are usually completely oblivious to the recording process. They don’t care about compressor ratios and EQ curves. They don’t care about muddy-ness or crossfades.

They just know when something sounds GOOD.

They know if they would actually voluntarily listen to in the car on a road trip.

Why? Because the technical stuff (the recording, the mix) isn’t getting in the way. Nobody cares if you used parallel compression on the drums. They just know whether the drums make ‘em wanna dance or not.

Your job is to get out of the way.

If you’re doing your job, the average listener will be able to listen to the MUSIC and not the recording.

Now I’m not one to say my training videos are “world-changing,” but I seem to get a lot of emails like the one above. People are having lots of “ah-ha!” moments. Their recordings are getting better, and they’re having more fun.

To learn how to “get out of the way” with compression, clicky-click here:

How to Get Better: Copy Someone Else


They say imitation is the greatest form of flattery.

As a home studio owner, you’re constantly trying to make your recordings sound “professional,” or at least on par with professional recordings.

Well, if you want your recordings to sound like pro recordings, have you ever actually tried to emulate a professional recording??

The Challenge

Here’s my challenge to you. Take a listen to some of your favorite songs, pick one, and try to re-create that song…from scratch…in your studio.

Listen to the song critically, pull out a piece of paper and write down all the elements you’ll need to capture, then get to work recording sounds that sound as close to that recording as you possibly can.

Will you perfectly emulate it? Nah. Probably not.

Will you learn a lot in the process? Absolutely.

A few things you will learn:

  • A great recording always begins with a great song.
  • The “sound” of a recording comes from the source.
  • A great mix comes from great recording/production, not the other way around.
  • Beginning with the end in mind is HUGE. Knowing the sound you want, before you record a single note, makes all the difference in the world. Suddenly you have a goal.

What do you say? Try it this weekend? Leave a comment and let us know. I’ll hold you to it…

[Photo Credit]

Introducing “31 Days to Better Recordings”

I’ve got some exciting news for you loyal HSC fans. 🙂

I’m launching a series of posts designed to give you lots of ideas for how to make your recordings better. The series is called:

31 Days to Better Recordings

Yep, you guessed it. I’ll be posting every day for the entire month of October. The goal is to make you a better recording engineer by Halloween. 🙂

We’ll start out looking at studio equipment and gear, then we’ll move into tips for recording, editing, mixing, and mastering.

All 31 articles will be completely free. However, there’s a catch.

At the end of every article I’ll be posting a daily challenge. This challenge is designed to help you apply that day’s topic and to actually do something with it.

I can teach this stuff all day long, but if you’re not applying it and getting better, then what’s the point? I want you to be a better engineer in November than you were in September. But I can’t do the work for you.

Will you join me?

As we go through 31 Days to Better Recordings (or 31DBR for short), will you do the daily challenges? The first part of every challenge involves leaving a comment on that particular post, telling us either what you’re going to do or what you did do for that challenge.

This should be an awesome experience. The more people we have joining in the conversation, challenging and encouraging each other, the better the experience will be.

If you’ve never commented on articles in the past, I’d encourage you to try it. Like I said, the more involvement we have, the better it will be.

For you more experienced engineers, be sure to chime in and help out the new guys. Share your ideas. As most of you know, my wife and I are having a baby sometime in October, so there’s a chance I won’t be as involved in the comments at some point during the month. That shouldn’t stop you all from interacting, though. 🙂

For you new guys (and girls), don’t be afraid to ask questions. There are a lot of cool, knowledgeable people who hang out here at HSC, and one of them (or me) should be able to help you. (There are no stupid questions, and if anybody gives you a hard time, I won’t hesitate to delete their comment and ban them from the site. This is a safe place to ask your questions.)

Everything begins on Friday, October 1st. Will you join me? Leave a comment below and let me know. (Stretch your commenting muscles. :-))

Can’t wait to get started!!