Ask Joe #79 – Questions from Southerners

Wanna submit a question for the podcast? Go here:

Questions covered this week:

  • Do I need a direct box going from my synths to say a digimax preamp or can I just use a male XLR to 1/4 cable?
  • I heard someone describe the difference between subtractive EQing and additive EQing – subtractive is corrective whereas additive is creative. Would you agree with that description?
  • You’ve mentioned some recent changes to your studio – what are they?
  • When mastering multiple tracks, do you prefer to use different reference tracks for each song, or use a reference track on the first song and then use the first song as a reference track for the next song?

Ask Joe #58

Wanna submit a question for the podcast? Go here:

Questions covered this week:

  • What are your thoughts on using stereo widening plugins?
  • Is it possible to daisy chain 2 usb interfaces by plugging them into two different USB ports?
  • What is the best way to make poor acoustic guitar recordings sound good?
  • Do you use the auto gain setting on the compressor plugin?
  • Is there something wrong with adding the mastering chain to the master bus on a regular mix session?

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Ask Joe #54 – Should I Master While Mixing?

You’ve got questions. I’ve got (some) answers:

Questions covered this week:

  • How much is too much acoustic treatment?
  • How should I build a web presence to showcase my portfolio?
  • Should I master while mixing?
  • How do I deal with electrical noise?
  • How should I go about recording drums with one microphone?

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“The Problem With Scotland” (A Self-Fulfilling Prophecy)

Remember that scene from Braveheart?

King Edward Longshanks says, “The problem with Scotland…is that it is full of Scots.”

No offense to my Scottish subscribers (honestly, you have the coolest accent on the planet…for reals), but this phrase is kinda funny. A co-worker of mine from years ago used to randomly scream that from his cubicle…hilarious.

ANYWAY…the quote is just silly. Of course Scotland is full of Scots. That’s why they call it Scotland.

But what’s in a name?

I mean, seriously. Audio folks tend to refer to themselves “audio engineers,” but that name is just silly, isn’t it? (more…)

Can’t believe I said that…

Can’t believe I said that…

Back when I was in high school, I went on a date with this girl.

I barely knew her. We met through a mutual friend.

Over dinner, I was trying to get to know her. You know, ask questions.

I knew she lived with her mom, and she referred regularly to her dad who lived in another state.

So (wanting to prove that I paid attention and was interested in her) I asked, “How long have your parents been divorced?”

Her response: “Ummm…”

(Accompanied by an awkward smile.) (more…)

More Than One Way to Skin a Song

You know what they say, there’s more than one way to skin a cat…whatever that means.

But when it comes to mastering your music, sometimes it seems as painful as skinning something. 🙂

One common question has to do with volume.

How loud should your mastered mixes be? Are there any rules?

Hillel, one of my subscribers, asked it this way:

“Normally when doing a basic mastering of my tracks, I put my speakers and interface volume knobs halfway up and then try to bring up the volume so its at a nice normal listening level. Would you consider this a good practice? Or should I be attempting to get the volume up to a specific level?” (more…)

8 Powerful Home Studio Lessons

I’ve been recording in my home studio for years.

I’ve recorded in a hallway at my parent’s house, in a dorm room at college, in a tiny (and really messy) bedroom I shared with a roommate, in church sanctuaries, in lots of apartments, in a log house, and finally in 3 different rooms in my current house.

The one common theme? NONE of those places were designed to be studios.

That’s the beauty and the frustration of working in home studios. All those imperfections make for a challenging (but immensely rewarding) environment for making music.

Over the years I’ve learned countless valuable lessons, but today I want to share with you eight of the most POWERFUL lessons I’ve learned. These are things that have made a dramatic impact on the quality of my recordings.

Here we go… (more…)