Making a world-class recording is easier than it used to be. Scarlet Lab, our professional album recording and artist creation studio, turns your raw music into fully developed tracks, composed by professional musicians in 15 days including all instrument and vocal tracks. All tracks are recorded, mixed and mastered in 5 steps. In addition to acoustic recording, Scarlet Lab also provide a vast library of live recorded sample instruments from which you can choose any instrument complementary to your music style.
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Entries in recording (18)
If you are a musician who is also doing your own mixing and recording you are likely to need as much help as possible achieving a good mix down. One way of understanding how your mixing is holding up against professionally engineered records is to listen against a reference which you admire the sound of within the genre of music you work with. There are a few pointers which can make this much more successful.
Anyway, I’ve got a good one for you today. It encapsulates almost a decade of vocal recording and endless experimentation, and shares what few golden nuggets I can deliver to you as a result of my experiences and learning.
The problem with recording vocals in a professional or home studio is… Well, just that… The act of recording vocals.
There is nothing natural about it. The human voice is the most complex and finicky instrument there is, and it takes quite a bit of technical outsmarting and finesse to effectively capture an accurate representation of the audible vibrations emitted from an individuals’ vocal chords.
Unlike recording a guitar, acoustic OR electric, a piano, or almost any other instrument, vocal recording presents a few unique challenges, namely, the critical nuances of the tracking process in regards to the direct effect on the captured performance.
I’ve written lots more technical and procedural articles on Vocal Recording Tips here.
When pro audio gear reached the masses seven or eight years ago, the ‘home studio’ dream was born for tens of thousands of musicians all around the world. A couple of years later many of the leading manufacturers of recording gear such as Mackie and Motu started catering to the nomadic musicians and the touring artist with portable gear.
NRG Recording Studio kept 2011 alive with creativity and top ten hits flowing all year long. Here is a taste of this past years guests; Studio A hosted some of rocks greatest with monumental stars of Earth Wind & Fire along with Engineer Paul Klingberg making hits once again. Some of the newest talents such as Kitten with Producer Gavin Mackillop as well as NRG Artists’ own Life Down Here, Cruz and Raushi rocked the house and are the latest additions to the NRG family, look for releases coming soon. The halls were also graced with UK rock band Lost Prophets with the amazing Producer extraordinaire Ken Andrews.
Studio B was fortunate to feature some of its own sensational talents such as The Bravery with Jay Baumgardner and Mexico’s legendary, award winning superstars, Mana with equally accomplished Producers Thom Russo and Benny Faccone. The moroccan beauty also welcomed the 90’s hard rock vocal superstar Sebastian Bach Produced by the lovely Bob Marlette. Zebrahead once again chose NRG Studios along with Producer Jason Freese to knock out their latest hits. We can’t forget the soulful rock of a dear friend, Gavin Rossdale and Bush rocked the house with Engineer John Ewing and award winning Producer and Mixer Jay Baumgardner bringing home the hits with their recent number one hit “Sound of Winter”. Studio C also welcomed a great friend Moogie Canazio who was mixing a grammy award winning Latin artist Claudia Brant along with many other projects this year.
When I record drum or percussion tracks for clients, 9 times out of 10 I’m sending the RAW wav files straight from Pro Tools. Of course, my goal is to always get the best sounds that I can possibly get in the studio and at the source. However, mixing and processing the drum kit is inevitable.
In general, mixing audio is a personal art form. Everything from the style of music to the instruments chosen will determine how the mixing session will go. Because the drums are typically recorded first, it makes sense to mix the drum tracks within the context of the remaining instruments later verses starting with a processed drum mix. Of course, there are no rules here. This is just what I have found to be the most effective way to work.
That being said, I get a lot of questions from clients asking for my advice on mixing the drum kit. My only goal when mixing drums is to attempt to highlight the sounds as I hear them in the studio. Meaning, my approach is simple:
Get rid of what’s not necessary and keep what is. I know, really deep stuff right?
I set up a London recording studio business almost 10 years ago and have worked with thousands of musicians in that time, something I consider to be a real privilege. Recently I have been looking at opening a recording studio in Birmingham, it makes sense from a business point of view because Birmingham has a very vibrant music community.
The introduction of a Birmingham recording studio to our company is exciting but I am very keen to get the right producer on board. After years of producing I think I know what musicians want from a recording studio but I see a great opportunity in asking you guys what you consider important.
…should each album have it’s own distinct feel/concept throughout? Or should it be a compilation of your best songs during that period of songwriting?
Making a great recording need not be difficult. I suggest a quality cardioid microphone and a great all rounder would be the Audio Technica AT4033. It’s a condenser microphone and will require 48 volts phantom power supplied by the mixing console or your sound card microphone preamplifier. (this is very common on mic preamps).
As a musician it is highly recommended that you use 24 bit resolution in your digital audio workstation. This affords a number of real advantages and not just when processing the audio with plug in software. When you set your DAW to 24 bit you have allowed yourself to record at a much lower level without any technical detriment. The theoretical noise floor at 24 bit is significantly lower than that of a 16bit recording. This means that you can now record signals that peak at around -18dBFS. Thats sounds low but in fact this is equivalent to the electrical level that would have been understood as nominal in a large NEVE or SSL console i.e. 0Vu. In a digital system -18dBFS is referenced to +4dBu (1.23 volts), the same can be said of 0Vu. So there is no need to record at high recording levels when using 24 resolution. I think the confusion may have crept in for 2 reasons, we we recommended that hot signals were good at 16 bit and also the saying “hit zero” may have worked it’s way into the minds of musicians as a hang over from the days of large consoles and Vu metering.
Welcome to the first installment of TrueDIY Tech! In this do-it-yourself technology series, we will be providing details on how to create your own tools in the studio and explaining the most commonly practiced studio techniques. We’ll also be reviewing new equipment that is priced for aspiring engineers and how to use it to best suit your project.
In the video below, Chris Thomas of Strewnshank Productions explains how to build your own Subkick™ featuring audio examples showing the difference in a drum sound with and without the speaker microphone mixed in.
Remember getting those red and green 3D glasses with comic books back in the day? Now, 3D movies in theatres (and in people’s living rooms!) are the next big thing, and they make the old 3D specs look like antiques.
Likewise, most people with a home theatre setup have their speakers set for 5.1 surround sound, but very few people are savvy to the most immersive, ear-tingling 3D audio format that’s actually even more accessible.
Binaural audio is the sonic equivalent to today’s ultra-immersive 3D movies, and it’s actually been around for ages!
Control. It’s not an easy thing. Everyone wants it in one way or another, and it can do strange things to people. Sometimes, though, it can be difficult to know how much to seek, and when.
Take, for example, the relationship between artist and the other players in the recording process. If we look at it from an “assembly line” point of view, the musicians come into the studio, play their parts, and leave. The mix engineer is responsible for capturing those sounds properly and mixing them. Then, he/she hands it off to the producer, who plays with the sounds captured and potentially adds new ones. Once that’s done, it’s handed off to the mastering engineer, and the final product is ready for press.
Of course, this is far from a real world scenario. Along the way, the artists want to give input into how the record is mixed, produced, and even mastered. As a guitar/bass/keyboard/percussion player, your expertise may lie primarily in playing your instrument, but as a musician or member of a band, musicianship extends to artistic expression on a larger scale.
This can lead to disagreements, and when it comes time to figuring out who has the ‘final say,’ it’s a matter of role definition and – you guessed it – control.
So how do you tackle this?
It’s important to remember that everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. Identifying your strengths is often much easier, but it’s the latter that is often more important. The main role of a producer is to take the songs he or she is presented with, work out an overall ‘vision’ for the album, and make the two meet. That’s a difficult task that not everyone can achieve, and even MORE difficult to define.
However, if you recognize someone who has experience or expertise in this specific, it’s vital that you allow them creative space to work. This doesn’t mean allowing them ‘free reign,’ but it does mean that they’re the experts who’s ‘say’ should hold more weight.
That may sound scary, but in reality, it all comes down to trust. If you chose a producer whose work you respect and trust, you should feel comfortable letting them take the lead. If you don’t, you might want to re-evaluate your choice.
This applies to other aspects of your career, too. In general, you should be the leader of your career at all times. Just make sure that you leave room for others to be in control from time to time, in the areas where THEY shine, and you’ll find that everyone will benefit.
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We have all been there, booking studio time then when the day comes we end up working out parts & dealing with issues that should have been taken care of before hand. The clock is ticking in the studio and money being used that could have been saved or used for what it was intended for… tracking the magic.
Here are some tips to make the most use of your studio time:
1. Your Going To The Grammy’s. Practice & Pre-Pair like it.
A. Give yourself 15min to practice each song a day. Don’t burn yourself out, it is important to maintain your sanity and stay focused on the song. Two Times through each song is a good goal. Do this each day for 1 week before the session.