Helpful ReplyFriday Technique "Tip of the Week"

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Anderton
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2014/12/11 10:00:10 (permalink)

Friday Technique "Tip of the Week"

This was suggested by kennywtelejazz, and sounds it would be a great addition to the forums. It's based on the Tip of the Week I do for SONAR, but would relate to more general techniques topics like recording, mixing, mastering, getting the most out of plug-ins, whatever. Here's how it works.
  • Starting Friday at midnight East Coast time, anyone who has a cool technique can post it. Whoever gets there first is considered as having posted that week's tip. 
  • If no tip is posted by Saturday at midnight East Coast time, then I'll post one on Saturday from my archives.
This way there's no pressure on anyone to constantly produce or feel obligated. If someone has something cool, they can post. I'll take care of changing the thread title each week to mention the current tip, and including hot links to the tips on this page.
 
Three more things:
  • I've spent a lifetime editing articles, so I hope no one minds if I provide that function here. So for example if English isn't your native language, don't worry about it - I can do some tweaks.
  • Please feel free to add screen shots or other artwork. An easy way is to go to imgur.com, upload your image, then link to it using the BB and Forum code.
  • We can tweak things as we go along. For example if we have more tips than fit in the once a week schedule, we can modify it or allow for two tips per week or whatever.

The full-length, 12-song "video album" Neo-Psychedelic Music for the 21st Century is now posted on my YouTube channel - yes, it was all done with SONAR.
 
Note: The opinions expressed in this post were written by Craig Anderton in his personal capacity and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cakewalk Inc. or Gibson Brands Inc.
#1
Karyn
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Re: Friday Technique "Tip of the Week" 2014/12/11 18:31:31 (permalink)
Where do we post Craig?  And as it's a first come, first served what happens if we spend half an hour creating a post, post it, and find that when the page refreshes there are five others above it..?

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Anderton
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Re: Friday Technique "Tip of the Week" 2014/12/11 18:57:21 (permalink)
Karyn
Where do we post Craig?  And as it's a first come, first served what happens if we spend half an hour creating a post, post it, and find that when the page refreshes there are five others above it..?



You post in this thread. You create the post in advance, then post it. If the spot has been taken, then post it next week.
 
BUT as mentioned, if we end up getting more posts than slots, we can certainly open it up and just make Friday "post your tips" day. I just assume there won't be giant amounts of participation at first (but then again, I figured I'd be lucky if the "tip of the week" hit 10,000 views). 
 
Also, I did say I'd be happy to edit. You may have noticed I go into the Tip of the Week thread periodically and clear out any comments that don't actually relate to the tips. If someone posts a tip here and it starts generating a major discussion, maybe it should be moved to create its own thread - the object isn't to start discussions, but post tips. And I think as time goes on, this thread will define what a tip is - something with some substance, applicable to at least a decent number of people, and hopefully has some thought put into it.
 
This is an experiment, so we'll see how it pans out. It will likely require course corrections. Remember, the "Tip of the Week" started as a "Tip of the Day" during August that would be left up for one month and then archived into the Cakewalk blog...uh...didn't quite turn out that way. 
 
 

The full-length, 12-song "video album" Neo-Psychedelic Music for the 21st Century is now posted on my YouTube channel - yes, it was all done with SONAR.
 
Note: The opinions expressed in this post were written by Craig Anderton in his personal capacity and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cakewalk Inc. or Gibson Brands Inc.
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bitflipper
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Re: Friday Technique "Tip of the Week" 2014/12/13 10:26:34 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby ChuckC 2014/12/14 11:06:52
Tip: always use a pop filter. Not to reduce pops - they're actually only so-so at that - but to enforce a minimum distance between your expensive microphone and an unschooled rock screamer's spit-hole.
 
Tip: use Velcro to attach your microphone cables to the stand and gaffer's tape to tape them to the floor. The drummer may have an uncanny ability to synchronize all four limbs, but he'll invariably be the one who trips over the mic cable and brings the boom - and your expensive microphone - crashing to the floor.
 
Tip: you can get a Velcro-like paper tape at the garden department of Home Depot that's intended for tying up tomato plants but works great for keeping cables tidy. It's cheap and you can cut it to any length. You can even write on it, e.g. "L" and "R" for audio cables and "IN"/"OUT" for MIDI cables.
 
Tip: when tidying up those cables, don't get carried away with bundling them all together. Keep power, Firewire and USB cables physically separated from audio signal cables. MIDI cables, you can do anything you want with them.
 
Tip: Plug all of your audio devices into the same physical circuit if possible, and ideally add a separate circuit to the room just for that purpose. When installing said circuit, always use a dedicated ground wire that goes all the way back to the service panel. Never rely on conduit for grounding and don't daisy-chain grounds. And always use grounded plugs - ban ground-lifters from your studio, or at least hide them until they're genuinely needed for the occasional two-wire guitar amplifier. Hum is caused by improper grounding, not the third conductor on the plug.
 
Oh, wait, it's Saturday. Never mind.


All else is in doubt, so this is the truth I cling to. 

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Anderton
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Re: Friday Technique "Tip of the Week" 2014/12/13 10:59:28 (permalink)
Thank Bit!! Great stuff.

The full-length, 12-song "video album" Neo-Psychedelic Music for the 21st Century is now posted on my YouTube channel - yes, it was all done with SONAR.
 
Note: The opinions expressed in this post were written by Craig Anderton in his personal capacity and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cakewalk Inc. or Gibson Brands Inc.
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Grem
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Re: Friday Technique "Tip of the Week" 2014/12/15 09:33:09 (permalink)
Good idea Craig.

Good tips Bit.

Grem

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Anderton
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Re: Friday Technique "Tip of the Week" 2014/12/18 11:58:08 (permalink)
Anyone plotting a tip for tomorrow?

The full-length, 12-song "video album" Neo-Psychedelic Music for the 21st Century is now posted on my YouTube channel - yes, it was all done with SONAR.
 
Note: The opinions expressed in this post were written by Craig Anderton in his personal capacity and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cakewalk Inc. or Gibson Brands Inc.
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Re: Friday Technique "Tip of the Week" 2014/12/19 07:02:50 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby HELLYA 2014/12/21 09:06:00
Tip of week - Trust your ears
 
With the switch from knobs and faders on "real" gear to data entry boxes and digital readouts on screen it's becoming a trend to do everything by the numbers.  "You should high pass all your guitars at 153Hz" or "Apply a little mid cut at 736Hz"
 
Well here's some news, in the "olden days" you couldn't do that because frequencies weren't marked that accurately on gear but nobody complained because it doesn't matter.   If you're going to high pass a guitar, add the high pass, solo the track, press Play, then turn the knob until you start to hear a loss of bass from the guitar.  Then back it off a bit.  That's it.  Ignore what the frequency setting says.
Listen to the sound, ignore the numbers. If it sounds right, keep it.
 
Don't be afraid to experiment or use "extreme" settings.  They are only extreme if you look at the numbers.. If a control can be turned from full left to full right...  try it.  It doesn't matter if it's a gain control, a filter frequency or an fx depth.  Turn the control, use your ears, listen to what it does. If there's a point where it sounds great, keep it.  You'll soon learn where the "good" settings are, but more importantly you'll learn what a control actually does and how it actually affects the sound.  So next time you need a similar sound you can load up the same FX and turn the knobs to "about here" and you'll have it right away without thinking.
 
Your ears are the most important tool in your mixing arsenal, and they're the one bit of kit that you're forced to use and you can't change them.  So learn to trust them.
 
 
 
 
While I do various bits of studio mixing, my main experience is with live FOH where you get 15 minutes to get a half decent sound from a band you've never heard before in a venue you've maybe never worked in before using gear you've never seen before. (unless you brought your own). Then you get one chance to get it right with no re-takes.  You can only do this by listening.
If you've done your job well, the band gets all the praise. If you mess up, the whole audience turns to you...
post edited by Karyn - 2014/12/19 07:13:20

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Re: Friday Technique "Tip of the Week" 2014/12/19 22:52:00 (permalink)
Great tip. 
 
The corollary to this tip is listen with your ears, not your eyes.  In other words, it doesn't matter what the wave form looks like on the screen, what the frequency curve looks like in the flyout quad curve eq. or what the meters or indicators show.  It matters what you hear (and what it sounds like).

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Re: Friday Technique "Tip of the Week" 2014/12/21 08:07:01 (permalink)
Good advice Karyn, our ears are the most important piece of audio equipment we have in our mix tool box.

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Re: Friday Technique "Tip of the Week" 2014/12/25 19:23:45 (permalink)
Anyone got plans, or is it time to dig into my archives?

The full-length, 12-song "video album" Neo-Psychedelic Music for the 21st Century is now posted on my YouTube channel - yes, it was all done with SONAR.
 
Note: The opinions expressed in this post were written by Craig Anderton in his personal capacity and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cakewalk Inc. or Gibson Brands Inc.
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Re: Friday Technique "Tip of the Week" 2014/12/27 20:53:43 (permalink)
Bueller?

The full-length, 12-song "video album" Neo-Psychedelic Music for the 21st Century is now posted on my YouTube channel - yes, it was all done with SONAR.
 
Note: The opinions expressed in this post were written by Craig Anderton in his personal capacity and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cakewalk Inc. or Gibson Brands Inc.
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Re: Friday Technique "Tip of the Week" 2014/12/27 20:57:34 (permalink)
Guitar Recording: Combining Virtual and Physical
 
Amp sims and physical amps aren’t an “either/or” situation. Both have features that can make it easy to use the two together.
 
For example, some guitar players like the flexibility of amp sim effects, but want to feed an amp and speaker that actually pushes air. You can send the amp sim out to an external effect insert, drive the amp (or optionally, its effects loop input to bypass the internal preamp and tone stack), and then mic the amp. Or if you like the amp simulation but not the cabinet emulation, you can bypass the sim’s cabinet (virtually all amp sims let you do this), then using the external effect insert, drive a clean power amp that feeds your cab. Because powered speaker monitors have more or less taken over the world, it’s not too hard to find second-hand clean power amps.
 
Similarly, if you like the sound of your amp’s preamp but want the flexibility of using your sim’s amp and cabinet, you can take the amp’s post-preamp effects loop output (send), feed it into your computer’s audio interface, and run the signal through the sim’s amp and cabinet. If you want to use hardware effects, they can insert between the effects loop output and audio interface input.
 
Yet another option is to split your guitar into two paths (e.g., with a Y-cord). One drives a guitar amp (which you can mic), while the other goes “dry” into the computer. This has two big advantages. First, you’re playing through your amp, so you’re getting the “feel” of the amp and no latency as you play. Second, when mixing you can process the dry track through amp sims to get entirely different sounds. If you like these better than the miked sound, you can use them instead...or combine them with the miked sound.
 
Amp sims are so convenient, and so well-suited to working in a small home studio, some guitar players have forgotten how much a good, small amp can contribute to recording. You don’t have to record at super-high levels; you might be surprised how little difference there is coming out of a microphone at different amp volume levels. Even a practice amp can give tones that belie its small size...
 
Another trick is that if you have an open-back cabinet, you can lay it down with its back against a rug on the floor, mic it from the top pointing down, and essentially have a closed-back cabinet. However, if it’s a tube amp, make sure you’re not messing with the ventilation for the tubes. This may be something you can do for only a few minutes at a time, if at all.
 
Finally, don’t forget that the guitar sounds heard on classic recordings weren’t just about the guitar and the amp, but often took advantage of studio-quality rack mount effects to polish the sound even further. Don't be afraid to bring your full sonic arsenal to bear on creating the ultimate guitar sound.
 

The full-length, 12-song "video album" Neo-Psychedelic Music for the 21st Century is now posted on my YouTube channel - yes, it was all done with SONAR.
 
Note: The opinions expressed in this post were written by Craig Anderton in his personal capacity and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cakewalk Inc. or Gibson Brands Inc.
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Grem
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Re: Friday Technique "Tip of the Week" 2014/12/31 10:38:01 (permalink)
Y-cord question:

I had always thought that when you use a plain ole "Y-cord" to split the output from the guitar to two different sources, that this would alter the impedance going into your amp.

What are your thoughts on this Craig?
Or anyone else's thoughts?
post edited by Grem - 2014/12/31 17:06:14

Grem

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Re: Friday Technique "Tip of the Week" 2014/12/31 17:44:29 (permalink)
I'm not Craig, nor do I play him on tv (yet), but I can wax on splitters, if you don't mind.
 
Short answer, yes, impedance gets changed a bit. The resistance of the guitar coil (assuming passive pickup) gets halved (half to each split), so the ratio between guitar out and amp in gets changed. Modern amps (not line-level, whole 'nother story) expect a wide range of resistance values from the myriad pickups out in the wild, however, so there's not danger to circuitry or anything, but there could be some coloration changes depending on the ratio between guitar out and amp in. That said, you (or whomever is the guitar player) may or may not notice any sound change caused by the split other than slight decrease in gain, which is easily solved. (Or there may be no sound change at all if you ask an oscilloscope, but the player may go ahead and notice it anyway! We're like that.)  If one is using a bunch of effect pedals as part of the scenario, then coloration by a split is classed as least-of-worry. Heck, using a "budget" 30' guitar cable on stage can cause a guitar pickup to get, um, picked up differently, too. (Through capacitance change more likely than resistance change.) There's a lot of links in the signal chain that can affect the outcome, point is not to fret (haha) over all those links, but just to know about them in case you don't like the sound you are getting and you want to "fix" it. A Y split is the easy/inexpensive link to get two outputs from one instrument. If the guitar player is noticing a sound change with a splitter, then a DI with multiple outs is called for. (Although a change in sound is what the player/recording engineer is after in the first place!)

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Grem
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Re: Friday Technique "Tip of the Week" 2015/01/01 14:24:58 (permalink)
Thanks czyky.

Grem

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Re: Friday Technique "Tip of the Week" 2015/01/02 12:09:30 (permalink)
Tip of the Week: More than You Ever Wanted to Know About Guitar Splits
 
Well since it's Friday, no one has posted a tip (but if anyone has one, feel free to post it), and I have played myself on TV, here's some more info about splitting, guitars, impedance, etc. to add to what czyky said.
 
First, as he mentions splitting affects only passive guitar pickups. If you split after effects, or an active guitar pickup, the subsequent impedance doesn't matter because the effect or active guitar pickup will have a low impedance output. This means it's only minimally affected if followed by a high impedance input, like from an amp, DI box, or well-engineered effects.
 
Second, lowering impedance will attenuate high frequencies more than low frequencies, so we're talking about a frequency-dependent level issue - not just level in general. In fact some guitarists like to feed a low impedance to take off more highs and give a "creamier" sound with distortion.
 
To my ears, following a passive pickup with a 100k impedance produces a noticeable dulling of the sound. At 250k, it's a very slight difference. Over 500k, you're not going to hear much difference, if any.
 
So why not make all direct inputs as high an impedance as possible? With really high input impedances, your cable is more likely to act like an antenna and pick up noise. A 1 Meg impedance is fine, and I wouldn't go above 2-5 Megs personally.
 
Now, about how a split affects guitar. We'll cheat and consider the impedances as equivalent to resistance, because that's close enough and I don't want to make anyone's brain explode. When splitting, the guitar sees two resistances in parallel. The formula for the value of two resistors in parallel is:
 
(R1 x R2)/(R1 + R2)
 
So let's suppose your amp has a 220k input impedance, and your interface's DI input is 1 Meg. Your guitar is seeing (1000 x 220)/(1000 +220) or 180k - not that much different than the amp by itself.
 
So the bottom line is splitting won't cause any significant degradation if:
 
  • The split goes to two high-impedance inputs
  • The additional split has a significantly higher impedance than the other input
  • The split occurs after an active device like an effect
  • The instrument has active pickups
 
 

The full-length, 12-song "video album" Neo-Psychedelic Music for the 21st Century is now posted on my YouTube channel - yes, it was all done with SONAR.
 
Note: The opinions expressed in this post were written by Craig Anderton in his personal capacity and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cakewalk Inc. or Gibson Brands Inc.
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Grem
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Re: Friday Technique "Tip of the Week" 2015/01/02 16:36:05 (permalink)
Thanks Craig. You and czyky have helped a lot.

Now next question: What is the best way to split? A simple cut, twist, tape? Or a more elaborate soldering job?

Grem

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Re: Friday Technique "Tip of the Week" 2015/01/05 10:05:49 (permalink)
Sounds like you need some soldering tips.

 

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Re: Friday Technique "Tip of the Week" 2015/01/05 14:44:22 (permalink)
I saw what you did!!

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Re: Friday Technique "Tip of the Week" 2015/01/10 00:53:36 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby Mesh 2015/01/29 11:00:09
It's still Friday where I live, so:
 
Soft Synth patches are not going to work for your mix until you edit/fix them. (This goes for hardware ones too). This is especially true if you are mixing together more than one patch into a piece.
 
Another way to put it: don't be mesmerized into a false sense of sonic nirvana by the "big" sound of a lush synth patch and then just drop it into your track, set the level and consider it "placed". Lush synth sound + another lush synth sound + another (etc) == MUSH synth sound.
 
Remember that you are working at cross-purposes from the sound designer who saved the original preset(s). When a sound designer finishes a preset, he or she wants it to shine on its own (and entice you into buying the library, all good). When you put said preset into your latest dub mix, it is not longer a solo entity and has to be tamed to fit with the other presets. It shouldn't sound good by itself anymore, once you have it properly set into the mix.
 
Aspects of synth presets that need tweaking--or possibly gutting.
 
First and foremost, turn OFF the preset's reverb effect. Lots of synth presets (the majority?) come with reverb turned on, to make them sparkle. Your total piece is better served keeping the sparkle out of the picture, until later in the chain when you add your own judicious sprinkling of a reverb effect (or two) on a buss and direct sends from your synth tracks out to that sprinkler system (sort of your sparkle sprinkler, if you will). Imagine a mix with, say, four synths (or more), each with its own reverb going, all mushed together, causing a lack of clarity and focus. (Um, unless you don't want clarity and focus in your mix, in which case, skip this step.)
 
Check any LFO-based effects and adjust them to fit your creation. The sound designer added, say, a fading ping to a sound at some arbitrary low frequency. Sounds great by itself, but, since the odds of said sound designer reading your mind are pretty slim (at least in this pre-singularity age in which we are trapped), the LFO frequency does not match what would be best for your finished sound. Maybe (probably?) the LFO should be synced to your tempo: quarter note? eighth note? What are the other synths' LFOs synced to? Experimenting with different sync settings on each patch maybe called for here.
 
Gotta do some equalizing, but you know that. Lot's of presets, as I've said, try to sound B-I-G! Your piece should sound big on the master buss, not each component of it. Chip back those big sounds to make them fit.
 
Watch resonance, and other settings that might build up in one frequency range. You might be liking a handful of presets because, without your even realizing it (oh, the blindness of inspiration!) their resonant filters strike your fancy (and your ear) in a good way. Which is good, in a way. But if they're all striking you in the same sonic neighborhood, you're going to get ear fatigue. (Or, much worse, you audience is.) Rough up those complacent resonances, I say, or at least pan them far away from each other.
 
I'll bet, when you start poking around, you'll find other settings in your favorite synth patches to beat into submission. (Creativity makes YOU the boss.) The bottom line take away executive summary: Synth patches rarely, if ever, sound their best in a mix with other instruments/patches without some sculpting. (C'mon, flipping on the ol' HPF cut at 40hz is hardly sculpting and I think you know that.) Make it a rule to think of synth patches as "raw" synth patch pre-sets. They're not the finished sound that you want throw, un-cooked, into your mix. They are the beginning inspirations that you will want to peel, chop up and blend in, using your own special seasonings.
 
Okay, now I'm getting peckish.
 

"I can't think of a single example of where a big company buying a small company has ultimately been good for consumers." --bitflipper
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#21
Anderton
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Re: Friday Technique "Tip of the Week" 2015/01/10 22:29:12 (permalink)
GREAT advice, well-stated, and I agree completely. Thank you very much!

The full-length, 12-song "video album" Neo-Psychedelic Music for the 21st Century is now posted on my YouTube channel - yes, it was all done with SONAR.
 
Note: The opinions expressed in this post were written by Craig Anderton in his personal capacity and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cakewalk Inc. or Gibson Brands Inc.
#22
Grem
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Re: Friday Technique "Tip of the Week" 2015/01/13 02:37:44 (permalink)
Anderton
GREAT advice, well-stated, and I agree completely. Thank you very much!


+1

Grem

Michael
 
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#23
ibediggin
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Re: Friday Technique "Tip of the Week" 2015/01/15 15:02:10 (permalink)
mix remix then remix
is my tip
I know its weak but whatever
#24
Beagle
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Re: Friday Technique "Tip of the Week" 2015/01/29 09:08:49 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby Wookiee 2015/01/29 14:08:31
It's not quite Friday, but I'll be busy tomorrow and might not get to it.
 
A lot of us record in spare bedrooms.  Mine is "treated" somewhat with some high frequency absorbers and some mid-bass traps and you can tell when you walk in the room that the sound is fairly dead.  However, there are still some killers to recording anything with a mic in that room:
 
Ceiling fan - turn it off.  it might get hot, especially in Texas and other hot temperature zones, but if you leave it on(or any fan) then you will "chop" the sound with the fan and it will record that way.  in the recording it could show up as a chopping sound or as a phasey noise in the recording that you can't identify otherwise.
 
door - close it.  there are always noises "down the hallway" you might capture during that excellent acoustic guitar riff you've been practicing for weeks and finally got it right during recording...just to find out that you can hear the dog in the other end of the house moaning while he scratches himself.  or the dishwasher kicking on, or the TV in the living room being turned up by your teenager watching MTV...
 
avoid parallel or "normal" lines with planes in your room.  (HUH?) yeah, I'm speaking geometry.  you should probably know what a parallel line is, don't set up your mic's so that the source (the thing you're recording) is directly facing a wall (normal to it, or so that it makes a 90 degree angle with the wall you're facing) nor set it up so that the source is exactly parallel with one or more walls.  use offset angles to all flat surfaces you can.
 
Bit talked about using a pop filter for keeping your distance between the mic and the mouth of the singer.  yes, that's good, but also know that too much of a distance between the mic and the singer is a bad thing.  that will introduce your room sound and you can't really effectively filter that out.  if you know what you're doing and you WANT the room sound, that's a different subject.  but if you're recording through a mic and will be adding reverb later, don't stray too far from the mic unless you're popping out some SPL's and need to "work the mic."  quiet passages should be sung very close to the mic (I like to use 1 to 2" on either side of the pop filter).
 
it's a recording, not a party.  remember the more people you have in your little bedroom studio during recording, the more likely one or more of them will make a noise that gets recorded.  sometimes the noise is embarrassing.  just sayin'
 
if your bedroom studio has a window to the outside, cover it up with curtains or some material during recording.  this will help keep the road sounds in front of your house out while keeping your high frequencies inside from bouncing off of the glass.
 
turn the A/C or heater off if you can during recording.  There's a guy on these forums who used to post songs in the songs forum all the time and i'd always say, "Kevin, this is great, but what was that sound at 2 minutes?"  Kevin:  "Oh, dawg you've got good ears...that's where the air conditioner kicked on, it was getting stuffy in here!"
 
Don't forget to save often!  I know this is such an obvious one, but I've also had a situation where I was excited to be recording an ensemble of 8, go them all set up and they're using earbuds/headphones to listen to a backing track while singing into some "choir mics".  when the session was over, one of them was helping me tear things down and turned off the power strip which was running the headphone amp for the ensemble.  unfortunately, it was also running the computer and I had forgotten to save the entire time!  luckily you can almost always recover the raw wave files since they're saved as they're being recorded.  but it sure did scare the bejeebers out of me!

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#25
bitflipper
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Re: Friday Technique "Tip of the Week" 2015/01/29 11:58:35 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby Wookiee 2015/01/29 14:08:36
OK, if Beagle's gonna cheat, I will too. 
 
I've not done a lot of live remote recording, and always struggled with not being able to hear what's coming through the microphones when it's a loud band. I could only watch the meters and hope for the best. Normal headphones just can't isolate well enough when you're close to the stage. Or worse, off to one side of the stage.
 
Then I remembered that I had a pair of ear protectors hanging up in the garage and did an experiment. I used my Shure in-ear monitors and clamped those ear protectors over them. Instant silence. Some lows still got through, but we were taking the bass direct so it didn't matter. Guitars, vocals and drum overheads could be heard clearly and at a reasonable volume where clipping, tone and bleed could be easily evaluated.
 
Ear protectors are cheap and available at any hardware store. They also provide an additional benefit, which is to, well, protect your ears. 


All else is in doubt, so this is the truth I cling to. 

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#26
dappa1
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Re: Friday Technique "Tip of the Week" 2015/02/01 15:52:24 (permalink)
Make sure your levels are correct and not in the red.

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#27
jimfogle
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Re: Friday Technique "Tip of the Week" 2015/02/08 14:56:33 (permalink)
"Broken" ear buds make inexpensive vocal tracking headphones.
 
If you have a set of ear buds that you're ready to throw away because only one bud works, don't throw them away.  Instead cut off the broken bud then use the remaining bud as a headphone while recording vocal tracks.  Mix your vocal guide track to mono, pan the guide mix to the working ear bud channel, set your volume level, cover your ear and record.

Jim F
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#28
czyky
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Re: Friday Technique "Tip of the Week" 2015/02/13 21:31:54 (permalink)
Happy Friday the 13th. In honor there which of, I call this tip "I'm feeling lucky" (or "this patch sounds awful, I think I'll use it").
 
This is a tip/creativity idea for your "stuck" projects. You know, the ones that are getting mixed, but don't seem to be getting any closer to generating a spark, much less setting things on fire. All the tracks kind of fit, but....it's just--I don't know--lackluster overall. (Not that this has ever been my experience--nor yours! I speak hypothetically.)
 
What to do? Here's an idea for potentially pumping some pizzazz (whoops, better use a pop filter!) into a project that works for me when a project gets stuck (um, hypothetically). Or if I'm just feeling goose-bumpy with creativity and I want to try something new.
 
This is based on the notion of, when you are mixing, NOT soloing any particular track to listen to it. Always mix (goes the dictum, to which I try to adhere) of not making any audio judgments out of context. As mixing progresses and each track is aurally "sculpted" to fit with the other tracks (the context), each track--listened to by itself--might sound yucky (to use the technical term). But that's okay, because it's out of context and so it won't be heard that way in the real world--so don't listen to it that way. Make all mixing/sculpting decisions and adjustments ONLY when listening to the piece as a whole--all tracks playing (at a modest listening level, of course--Messrs. Fletcher and Munson are watching you!)
 
So here's the tip to try (really, try it!): Purposely put a yucky sounding track into your mix and listen to what happens (in context). As an example, let's say you're using a Dimension Pro bass patch. Lots of them to choose from (many dozens), but, maybe like me, you only ever use a handful of your tried and true favorite bass patches with which you are comfortable. What I am suggesting is that you swap out one of your fav patches (currently in the mix that is going nowhere) with a bass patch that you know in your heart of hearts that you would never, ever use, or--even better--one that you have never, ever even listened to! (I mean, "FG Crazy Donald"? Really?) That's the patch to try, BUT don't listen to it by itself--don't even press a midi key. Slap it into the track, guess at the level setting and start the track rolling. Go ahead and hack away at the EQ and effects, etc. but always in context. You'll probably hate it, but...you might love it!
 
The bass example is a simple example. Try swapping a fat patch with a thin patch or an "8va" sound with an "8vb" sound. My example caters well to synth tracks, but the same idea will work with guitar track amp models, with keyboard tracks (try a dirty Wurlitzer instead of a Steinway, why not?), heck, with entire drum kits. Pick a kit you've not yet touched (because this is a ballad and why would I use a metal kit?), plug it into your soon-to-be masterpiece and give it a chance (just as if you had a "real" drummer come in and audition with your band--"let's take it from the top and see what you've got.")
 
This technique does not fall into a "traditional" record/mix/master model. That's okay, too. It's a non-linear (NLE)world now, so embrace it. So you're mixing, that no longer means the instrumentation is set in stone. (It could mean that, but you're then missing out on a lot of what a 21st century DAW has to offer.) And guess what? Sonar just added "take recall", so you can mess up--er, I mean, "constructively deconstruct" multiple tracks with multiple alternative patches/effects/kits etc. Be fearless! If you go too far afield with new, off the wall ideas that you just know will sound terrible, a) good for you; b) you can always breadcrumb your way back to civilization (eg, the bland mix that you're trying to spice up, remember?); c) hey, in context it doesn't sound all that bad! Why not print a copy--with the "new" track sounds that you swore you'd never use, why did Cakewalk (or whomever the vendor is) ever include those dorky patches anyway?--to a CD and try it in your car on the way to work tomorrow? Why not print a couple of alternatives and try them all out to listen to on the way to work? Tomorrow's car trip might start of a new friendship with your (formerly) lifeless project.
 
PS. I didn't use the phrase "think outside the box" even once during this diatribe. Pretty proud of myself.

"I can't think of a single example of where a big company buying a small company has ultimately been good for consumers." --bitflipper
www.reverbnation.com/markadamczyk
www.adamczyk.com
#29
roalin
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Re: Friday Technique "Tip of the Week" 2015/03/04 09:34:56 (permalink)
Nice tips thanks.
#30
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