Ask Joe #59 – Reverb vs Delay

Wanna submit a question for the podcast? Go here:

Questions covered this week:

  • How do you copyright your finished songs?
  • How do you use delay vs reverb on lead vocals?
  • Is it okay to use reverb on acoustic guitar?
  • Can I record tempo changes to a click?
  • How do I get the best out of a 2-mic band recording?

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G.I.R.A.T.S. – Your Studio’s New Motto for 2013

GIRATS — what is that all about? What does it stand for?

It stands for something that you should print out and plaster all over your studio. It should be on your computer desktop and screensaver. It should be the motto behind EVERYTHING you do in your home studio.

What is it?


I’ve said it plenty of times before, but I can think of no better way to begin 2013 than this.

Get it right at the source. Don’t have a “fix it in the mix” mentality. If you don’t like the way the recording sounds, FIX IT NOW. Don’t assume you can do some clever editing and EQ-ing to make it sound great again.

Trust me, your recording life is infinitely better if you really focus your efforts on getting it right at the source.

4 Ways to G.I.R.A.T.S.

1. The Source – Make sure your source sounds good to begin with. Who cares if you’ve got a killer mic and preamp if the singer is absolutely horrible! If that acoustic guitar won’t stay in tune or if that guitar amp has horrible tone, do everything you can to fix the source BEFORE placing a mic in front of it. (Sometimes this means getting a different musician, instrument, or both.) (more…)

A Crucial Conversation About Gear

I was having a conversation with my buddy Pete Woj the other day.

Pete’s a cool guy. For one thing, he’s bought just about every tutorial video I’ve ever released (which makes him very popular around HSC headquarters), but he’s also big on APPLYING what he learns.

Anyway, we were talking about recording equipment. He was debating buying a new audio interface and wanted my opinion.

But then he listened to one of my recent podcasts and answered his own question. (more…)

My Favorite EQ

I get asked a lot, “Hey man, what’s your favorite plugin for ________?”

Today I want to share with you my favorite EQ.

There are lots to choose from: free plugins, paid plugins, rack-mounted EQ’s, channel strips with EQ, mixers with EQ on each channel.

Then within each of those categories you have approximately a bajillion different options.

Here’s my favorite EQ.


It is… (more…)

Wrong Side of the Mic, Dummy

It was several years ago.

I was working at Sweetwater, selling music equipment.

One of the perks of the job was that we got to take gear home to try it out in our studios. I had some vocal tracks to record, so I grabbed a Rode mic out of the “gear closet” and took it home.

That weekend, I set up the mic and got warmed up to track vocals for a song I was working on.

Mic check. Level check. Hit record and started sangin’.

It wasn’t until I had sung an entire take that I realized something…well…embarrassing.

I had been singing into the wrong side of the mic.


Why do I tell you this silly story? Simple. I don’t want you to be afraid to make a mistake.

You don’t have to have your act together 100% of the time. Mistakes won’t completely ruin your recordings. Clients won’t run away screaming if you make a mistake, even a dumb one.

Heck, you’ll probably learn more and improve faster if you let yourself make a bunch of mistakes.

So, that’s your homework for this weekend. Go make a few mistakes. It won’t kill ya.

If you want to learn how I learned from MY mistakes and how I go about getting vocal recordings I’m tickled pink with, check this out:

Joe Gilder

Your Audio Needs Better Lighting

A year or so ago, I was watching a video from Ronan’s Recording Show.

Ronan talked about how he’s getting more and more into video stuff. He had invested in a mid-level “prosumer” video camera, and he was experimenting with ways to capture high-quality video without a super-expensive camera.

He packed up his camera and went to a professional video set. There were several different “scenes” set up, each with really colorful props and all the proper lighting.

What happened? (more…)

Great Acoustic Guitar Tone – Mic Placement: Stereo (Part 5 of 7)

If using one microphone is great, two must be twice as good, right? Sometimes. 🙂

Some of the best acoustic guitar tones I’ve ever gotten have been with two microphones, this is sometimes referred to as stereo mic placement (although two microphones doesn’t always mean it’s technically “stereo,” but that’s for another day).

As with most things, if there stands to be a bigger benefit (better guitar tone), there are also greater risks (phase issues). (more…)

3 Reasons to Use a Dynamic Mic on Vocals

In all the magazine ads and music videos, this one thing is a staple.

Whether it’s a documentary on your favorite band, a movie scene in a recording studio, or a full-page ad in Sweetwater‘s latest catalog, one common theme exists: vocalists use large-diaphragm condenser mics.

I’m not a big fan of the phrase “that’s how we’ve always done it.” Certainly we should learn from the experience of others, but doing something JUST because everyone else does it leads to a fairly boring experience.

Do I use a condenser mic on vocals? Sure…but not exclusively.