Ask Joe #79 – Questions from Southerners

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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 #65 – Getting Clients Without a Portfolio

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Questions covered this week:

  • How do you maintain a good work-life balance?
  • How do you choose good reference tracks?
  • Should I upgrade from a PC to a Mac?
  • How do I get clients if I don’t have a portfolio?
  • Should I buy an external preamp?

3 Steps to Getting Your First Paid Recording Gig (Simply Recording Podcast)

Dueling Mixes

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A Tale of Two Preamps

Last night I was listening to a song off of my latest album. (I know, I know…who listens to his own music?)

Anyway, I was listening to the final song on the album, which was a slower, intimate tune. The instrumentation is just piano, a little acoustic guitar, and some background vocals.

Then there’s the lead vocal.

The lead vocal on this track stands out from every other track on the album, so much so that my mastering engineer asked what I did on that song to make it sound so good.

Here’s the skinny… (more…)

Great Acoustic Guitar Tone – The Preamp (Part 6 of 7)

Everybody asks about what microphones and mic placements they should use on acoustic guitar, but rarely do they ask about the preamp. It’s a shame, because the preamp plays a huge roll in the sound of ANY recording.

As I told you in the Intro to Preamps video, there are lots of different types of preamps. If you’re starting out, you’ll just use the built-in preamps on your audio interface. That’s fine, but just know that a really nice microphone into a cheap preamp may not sound as amazing as you expected. (more…)

How Should I Connect My Preamp to My Interface?

2143443898_5c1e3c9f6d.jpegAfter posting the review of the Presonus Eureka, several of you asked me how to exactly connect an external preamp to an audio interface.

While this may seem simple enough, a lot of home studio owners are doing this wrong. It’s not the end of the world, don’t worry. However, you need to know the proper way to connect these things, since it might adversely affecting the quality of your recordings.

Mic Input vs. Line Input

What is the purpose of a preamp? Why does it exist? As I mentioned in Intro to Preamps, microphones produce a very low-level signal. Without a microphone preamp, the signal remains unusable.


Presonus Eureka Review

One of the best upgrades you can make to your studio is to get a nice outboard preamp. But it can be hard to bite the bullet. After all, you’ve got preamps built into your audio interface, right? They sound fine, so why would you upgrade them?

Well, for one thing, you don’t know what you’re missing. Imagine that you grew up without access to computers, and someone showed you a 20-year-old IBM PC running DOS, you’d think it was amazing, right? You’d have no reason to think there could be anything better, but that doesn’t mean that better computers don’t exist. (Now imagine yourself fainting at the site of an iPad.) 🙂

The point is this – just because you’re happy with the stock preamps on your interface doesn’t mean your sound can’t be dramatically improved by investing in an outboard preamp.

I must preface this review with two things:

  1. Don’t succumb to Gear Acquisition Syndrome. Buying gear for the sake of gear is no bueno. However, if you’re in a position where you’re ready to upgrade, read on.
  2. The good folks at Presonus sent me this Eureka for free in exchange for a review. That said, I only do this with items I truly believe in. (I’ve turned down similar offers from other manufacturers.)


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!