Printing Effects and Instruments in Pro Tools [Video]

Have you ever hit a wall when recording or mixing? Sure you have. We’ve all gotten the dreaded “I can’t handle this; please increase your hardware buffer size” message from our DAW.

In this video I explain how to print some of your tracks/instruments and free up more processing.


Close Your Eyes

457833210_ac5964cb95A few months back I got to sit through a demonstration for Focal monitors. (These monitors are phenomenal, by the way. Definitely worth checking out.)

During a portion of the demonstration, the presenter had us all close our eyes and simply listen to the music.

As I listened, I was able to hear all sorts of details in the music. Was this because I was listening to some high-end, expensive studio monitors? Yes, but I think there’s more to it.

Does closing our eyes trigger our ears to be more attentive?


What is Phase?

WaveformsDaniel sent me the following question yesterday via the Ask Joe form. If you have a question, please ask! I’ll do my best to answer it either here on the blog or over in the forums.

Here’s Daniel’s question (which is a great one, by the way):

Okay, so in researching proper recording techniques I stumble upon the issue of “Phase” quite often. Most of what I’ve read deals with the electrical properties of phase / polarity. Most of which makes perfect sense, however, I have failed to see how this effects actual recordings. Enlighten me here, Joe. What practical knowledge do I need to know about phase when it comes to the recording process?

– Daniel


“Is that wrong?” – Thoughts on Making Musical Decisions

Wrong WayI was emailing a potential client the other day. He had a few questions about having me master his upcoming album.

As we emailed back and forth, he asked for some mixing advice as well. We were talking about using a high-pass filter on vocals to clear up the muddiness, and he said he sometimes rolled off everything below 400 Hz on vocals.

Then he asked the question. “Is that wrong?”

Those of you that immediately said Yes in your minds, you’re wrong. You’re completely missing the point.


Processing Vocals Part 4 – 3 Tips for EQ-ing Vocals

Once I’ve recorded, edited, and tuned the vocal, my next step is to reach for an EQ. Some may go for compression, and that’s fine, but my preference is to EQ the vocal first.

If you haven’t already, you should watch my video Intro to EQ. In it, I explain the basics of EQ. As you can surmise from the video, I don’t like to use EQ as an effect. I view it as a shaping tool. If you need to use drastic EQ on a track, chances are it wasn’t recorded very well.

Here are some quick tips to try out when you EQ your next vocal.

3 Things I Wish I Had Known When Recording My First Albums

photo by *** Fanch The System !!! ***

photo by *** Fanch The System !!! ***

We’ve all got one…that first album you ever recorded. Maybe it was on a little portastudio cassette recorder. Or perhaps it was on a computer with free software.

My first two albums were actually somewhat similar. They were both recorded using free software and cheap equipment.

I had a blast recording both of them. I didn’t know a thing about recording technique or mixing. I just knew that I loved to sit in front of a microphone and click the red Record button.

Recording as a Musical Instrument

I’ve always been a musician. It started with singing and piano lessons as a kid. Then I picked up the guitar.


One-Hour Challenge

One Hour - iPhone TimerIf you follow me on Twitter, then you may have noticed the other night that I gave myself a challenge. I had a song I hadn’t recorded yet, so I thought it would be fun to see how much I could get done in one hour.

Whenever I think about recording in my home studio, I tend to tell myself that I need to set aside at least two hours if I really want to accomplish anything of worth. As you can imagine, this is stupid.

I had a suspicion that this was stupid, hence the challenge. If I only have one hour to record, can I get anything done? Or would it be better that I just watch TV or surf the internet? After all, an hour isn’t very long.

So, in an attempt to prove myself wrong, I set the timer on my iPhone for one hour, hit start, and opened up Pro Tools.


Dealing with Low-Mids and a Muddy Mix

Photo by zteamie

Photo by zteamie

Recently I had a chance to sit in on a seminar given by Kent Morris. Kent’s a brilliant guy. He works with Peavey and focuses on training churches on sound systems and how to use them. The topic of the seminar was how to use multiple microphones in a live situation.

Since this blog is about home studios, I won’t be getting into all the different topics he covered. Suffice it to say, Kent’s a brilliant presenter. If you ever get a chance to hear him speak, please do so.

What really captured my attention was something Kent said about EQ. He was talking about how to EQ a vocal to bring out clarity and definition when he made the following statement:

“Every instrument you deal with has a fundamental frequency in the 250-500 Hz range.”