Day 13 – LISTEN Before you Commit [31DBR]

Welcome to Day 13 of 31 Days to Better Recordings.

Setting up for a recording session takes time. You’ve got to deal with mics, stands, cables, etc. It’s normal to want to jump in as soon as possible and start recording.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve done this. Three hours later…I’ve recorded a lot of material, THEN I listen. If it sounds bad, then I’ve wasted three hours of my life.

Front-Load Your Sessions

It’s understandable to want to rush through the setup process to get to the “good stuff.” If that sounds like you, I want you to try something.

Next time you have a session, make a conscious effort to to spend twice as much time setting up the microphones as you normally would.


Day 3 – One Good Microphone [31DBR]

Welcome to Day 3 of 31 Days to Better Recordings!

HSC31DaysLogo_400.jpgIn the 12 Home Studio Necessities series, I talked about microphones. Regardless of the style of music you’re recording/producing, you’ll need to use a microphone from time to time.

If you’re like me, you use a mic for almost everything you record.

There are hundreds of mics to choose from. It can easily become overwhelming. You could buy microphone after microphone, in search of the perfect combination.

Just One Microphone

Ever heard the phrase “less is more”? It really applies to home studios, especially if you’re starting out.

It’s easy to hop on some of the popular forums and hear a hundred different engineers recommend a hundred different microphones. Before you know it, you’re starting to think you need a whole closet full of microphones to have any hope of making good recordings.

That’s not necessarily true. Having all of those microphones doesn’t guarantee you’ll make better recordings.


Intro to Preamps [Video]

Last week I posted a video called Intro to Microphones. This week, let’s follow the signal past the microphone and into the microphone preamp.

A preamp is one of those necessary items for your studio. Either your audio interface will have built-in preamps, or you’ll use external preamps. Enjoy!


Intro to Microphones [Video]

Ah, microphones. They can be so much fun to use and collect, but if you’re just starting out, you may not really know what different types of microphones exist out there. Hope this helps!


The 3:1 Rule

MicsAfter writing What is Phase? last week, one of my readers emailed me, asking me to address the 3:1 rule of microphone placement. (Thanks Mike!)

What is the 3:1 Rule? According to the handy Sweetwater glossary,

…when using two microphones to record a source, normally you will get the best results by placing the second mic three times the distance from the first mic that the first mic is from the source. Confusing? An example: If the first mic is 1 foot from a source, the second mic should be placed 3 feet from the second mic. Using the 3:1 Rule will minimize phase problems created by the time delay between mics.

This rule originated when engineers were micing multiple sources in the same vicinity. The same principle applies. If you are recording two different sources of sound, their respective microphones should be at least three times further apart than they are close to their respective sources. Keep in mind that rules are meant to be broken; you may prefer the sound created by ignoring the 3:1 Rule – experiment and let your ears be your guide!


Ask Joe #10 – Gear Rentals, Active vs Passive Studio Monitors, & Printing Instruments & Effects

Photo by takomabibelot

Photo by takomabibelot

I had a nice handful of questions this week. Three to be exact. Let’s dive on in.

Question #1

Shawn wrote:

Hi Joe,
I am recording a instrumental jazz/bossa nova piece with classical guitar.  I have a mbox2, AT 4033, MXLV69, AKG C1000S, and a Universal Audio 2610.  Should I rent a mic or a to d conv and go digital in on the mbox.  I have no space and like the acoustics of my bathroom.  What would be the best option for the limited budget.  A U87 is $30 a day.  The rosetta I think 800 is $100 per day.
Thank you so much for your time.


AKG D5 vs Shure SM58 [Audio]

sm58-vs-d5You may remember a shoot-out I did between the Shure SM58 and its big brother the SM7B. It was interesting to hear some of the similarities between the mics, especially since one costs almost three times more than the other.

Ever since then, I’ve wanted to compare the 58 to a microphone I use quite a bit both in my studio and when I play out live – the AKG D5.

I’ve loved the sounds I’ve been able to get out of the D5, but I’ve never compared it directly to the SM58, which dominates the live sound market.

The D5 is a pretty stylish mic, with its black grill and body and nice big AKG logo. It’s also a super-cardioid microphone, as opposed to the standard cardioid pattern on the SM58.

Aside from these differences, the microphones are fairly similar. They’re both dynamic mics, and they both sell for right at $100.

So…does one sound better than the other? Let’s hear. (more…)

Review: Stereo Mic Bar [with Audio]

langejanLast weekend I was recording acoustic guitar for a friend. He was having trouble getting a good recording of his guitar, so he asked me to give it a shot.

It was a beautiful Langejans guitar. I had never heard of the brand, but this was a gorgeous guitar with rosewood back and sides. The guitar had a huge bottom end, but was also surprisingly bright as well. I loved the sound of it.

I decided to stereo-mic the guitar. However, rather than use a spaced pair of microphones – one up by the neck, one down around the bridge – I decided to place the mics closer together.

Then I remembered getting a stereo mic bar months ago. I had actually never used it. After some digging around, I finally found it and put it to work.

What is a stereo mic bar?