As is my custom, I was listening to the Home Recording Show the other day. They mentioned a comment left on Episode 121 that I thought was awesome.

Here’s the comment, by Edward Mowinckel:

I used the steak analogy. You can burn a steak, but after you burn it, it’s burnt. You can cool it off, but it’s still burnt. If you cook it medium, you can still cook it more, or just enjoy a medium steak!

He was referring to the process of recording with levels too hot. Some people think you have to peg the meters to get a good recording. His point was that, when setting levels for recording, you don’t have to go in NEARLY as hot as you had to in the analog days.

Day 22 – Setting Levels for Mixing [31DBR]

Welcome to Day 22 of 31 Days to Better Recordings.

Have you ever played the red light game?

No, not “red light, green light.” I’m referring to the game you play while you’re mixing a song. You’re so close to being finished…you can taste it. You make a little tweak here, a little fader move there, then BAM.

The red clip light goes off.

You hunt down the light, click on it to make it go away, then adjust the level of that track down a bit. Okay, crisis averted, back to mixing.

But wait, now the mix doesn’t sound quite as good as before. Since you had to turn that one track down (because it was clipping), you need to turn down all the other tracks a little bit to make everything balanced again.


Day 14 – Setting Levels for Recording [31DBR]

Welcome to Day 14 of 31 Days to Better Recordings.

A lot of people ask me about setting levels for recording. It seems simple enough, but people tend to be a little nervous about it.

What if I record it too loud? What if it clips?

What if I record it too quietly, and it’s never loud enough?

These are legitimate concerns, but I would say that it doesn’t matter nearly as much as you think it does. Yes, proper gain staging is important, especially when using outboard gear, but when setting levels coming into your recording platform, it’s not as tricky as it may seem.