The Ultimate Catch-22 (The Story of Billy)

Which came first — the chicken or the egg?

I’ll see your question and raise you a question.

Which came first — the mix engineer or the tracks?

At first glance, you might say, “Well duh, Joe. You can’t mix if you don’t have tracks.”

And to that I say…EXACTLY.

Imagine with me for a moment…

There’s an aspiring musician named Billy. Billy LOVES music, and he recently discovered the world of home recording. (more…)

Batman’s Mixing Utility Belt

My wife and I went to see the new Batman movie last weekend.

‘Twas epic.

What I like about Batman is that he’s just a normal dude. (Okay, a normal billionaire dude, but still a normal dude.)

No super powers.

Just an average Joe with lots of fancy gadgets.

(Side-note: I don’t think you should be allowed to use the phrase “average Joe” unless your name is ACTUALLY Joe. All us Joe’s are sensitive guys.) (more…)

4 Ways to Balance the Loud and Soft Parts of a Song

Corey asks a stupendous question:

“What would be a good way to even out dynamics in a quieter section, AND louder section, of a song without all sections of the song ending up the same volume? It seems like there should be an easier way than automating the compressors threshold on every track.”

First things first. Compression isn’t always the answer.

While I LOVE what compression can do for a track or a mix, I also know that it’s not a miracle worker, and there are other things to consider before you start making that compressor work overtime. (more…)

Presonus StudioLive 1602 – 3 Things I Like

As some of you know, for the last 6 months or so I’ve been playing with the Presonus StudioLive 16.0.2 mixer in my home studio. Being a long-time fan and user of Presonus gear, I was thrilled to get to put this thing through its paces.

I’ve done everything from recording a live concert, to mobile tracking sessions, to recording podcasts, videos, and live streaming video/audio online.

So yes…I’ve put it through its paces. I absolutely love this thing. Having a physical mixer with all the benefits of a firewire audio interface is the bomb.

Check out this quick video where I share with you three of my favorite things about the StudioLive, and why it’s a great option for us home studio folks.


Do I need a mixer?

Recently someone emailed me asking what the “best” mixer was for his home studio.

I replied back and asked him, “Are you sure you even NEED a mixer?”

People get hung up on the fact that a recording studio needs a mixer, or a console. Back in the analog days, of course this was true. You needed some way to play back all those tracks from the tape machine.

Nowadays, though, a lot of the big studios may still have a big console sitting in the control room, but there’s a good chance they’re mixing everything in the box and only using two channels on the entire console.


Ask Joe #14 – Recording Meets Live Sound

In my last post I put up a LONG-overdue video. Now it’s time to jump back on the “Ask Joe” bandwagon.

If you’re new to HSC, I make it a point to regularly answer reader questions here on the blog. I can’t answer EVERY question, but I try to cover as many as I can. Got a question? Fill out the Ask Joe form.

Jon asked:

Hey Joe, how about a piece on basic, fairly low cost, live stage setup, for the beginning group:

  • 2-4 mics
  • mixer and/or DAW (with basic reverb, dynamics, EQ)
  • amps
  • floor monitors
  • what else?


Is the Recording Console Dead?

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have known that I spent the weekend in the Chicago area installing an Apogee Symphony System for a client and doing some training. The install went surprisingly well, with no major issues, aside from a missing BNC cable.

If you’re not familiar with the Symphony system, you should check it out. It’s a phenomenal PCI-based system that connects any Apogee converter directly into your DAW (in this case, Logic) with insane audio quality along with virtually no latency.

The system is a dream home studio setup, and it’s all centered around the Symphony system and a Toft ATB24 24-channel recording console. (Pictured above.)

I have to admit, while I don’t use a recording console in my home studio, I grew very attached to the Toft board. It’s a great-sounding console with a ton of routing options. There’s something about running an analog signal through an analog mixer that makes you feel like a real recording engineer.