Ask Joe #90 – Quality vs Quantity

In this episode, I share with you my thoughts on why you can absolutely aim for both quantity AND quality when creating art and making music. I also answer questions about everything from dealing with a spastic acoustic guitar player to ditching Pro Tools to working with amp simulator plugins.

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12 Home Studio Necessities #2 – DAW/Recording Software


Alright, so you’ve determined that your computer is up to snuff for recording music. Congratulations! The computer is oftentimes the most expensive piece of the whole studio (especially starting out).

You’re creating a DAW, a Digital Audio Workstation. Now that you have a computer, you need some recording software.

“What should I get?” you ask.

Free Software

There are a ton of options, and many of them are free. If you’re not sure how serious you are about recording, you may need to start with one of the free programs. I’ve found Reaper to work well on the PC. If you’ve got a relatively new Mac, then you’re already off to the races with GarageBand, which is included for free.


Ask Joe #64 – Phase Issues

Wanna submit a question for the podcast? Go here:

Questions covered this week:

  • Which tracks should be mono, and which ones should be stereo?
  • Should I switch from Pro Tools to Studio One?
  • Should I bounce down my background vocals to a single stereo track?
  • Why am I having phase issues on acoustic guitar?

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Room Treatment and a Couch Full of Gear

As you may recall, last weekend Graham and I hosted our second Simply Recording Academy recording workshop at a studio here in Nashville.

It was, as expected, a BLAST. We hung out with six awesome dudes from all over the US (from Buffalo to Houston) for two full days of recording and mixing. ‘Twas too much fun.

On Saturday afternoon, just before the workshop ended, we held the big giveaway. Graham and I were able to secure $2,700 of gear that we gave away to workshop attendees. And it was all thanks to these super cool sponsors: (more…)

Why Ugly Compressor Plugins Rock

I used to be that guy.

After using fancy, good-looking compressor plugins in various studios, I would get back to my home studio and stare blankly at the “DigiRack” compressor plugin that comes with Pro Tools.

It’s ugly.

It doesn’t have any fun colors or cute graphics.

It doesn’t look like an awesome piece of vintage gear.

It’s just a few knobs, a volume meter, and a gain reduction meter.


No way that thing could sound good. (more…)

Develop “The Twitch” (How the Save Button Can Save Your Butt)

I’ve got a twitch, an involuntary “tick.”

But it wasn’t always involuntary. In fact, I used to be twitch-free. But I trained myself over the years to have this twitch.

Now you may be wondering why someone would willingly develop a twitch. What kind of idiot is this guy? …you may be saying to yourself.

A. Yes, I’m an idiot, but that’s not the point.

B. My twitch has saved my butt more times than I could count.

Do you have a twitch? (more…)

VIDEO: How to Create a Reverb Track in Pro Tools

Reverb is simple, right? But sometimes people don’t know the best way to set it up. It’s one of those things you wouldn’t know unless somebody showed you, so here it is. 🙂

By the way, this principle applies to you even if you’re not using Pro Tools. It’s the standard “Send/Return” technique for setting up effects like reverb and delay.


If you’d like to go deeper into understanding how to use reverb and delay, become a VIP member and get access to Understanding Reverb and Delay plus tons of other training videos and a community forum.

“But there are so many plugins we haven’t used yet!”

This past weekend was the very first Simply Recording Academy. Graham Cochrane and I got together with a bunch of home studio guys like you and tracked and mixed a band here in Nashville over two days.

It was epic.

I’ll be writing about it more, but my brain is still processing everything.

There were a lot of great moments over the weekend, but one that really stands out was on the second day. We spend the entire first day tracking a band (a really, REALLY good band called Manic Bloom — check them out, buy their music). We spent the second day mixing the song.

The moment that struck me was when we were probably over halfway through the mixing process, and Graham and I had only used the stock EQ and compressor plugins that come with Pro Tools. That’s it. We literally didn’t touch another plugin for most of the mix session. (more…)