Analog Recording in Digital Times

analog recordingWhile the revolution in recording technology centers on affordable digital audio workstations, the affection for the old analog traditions and sounds is more than just nostalgia.

To that end, Britain’s six-piece Band of Bees is working hard to reclaim and recapture some of the vintage sounds of legendary artists from the ‘60s and ‘70s like The Beatles, Buffalo Springfield, and the Young Rascals in their recordings. Read more…

In Search of Vintage Gear

There are some astounding values placed on vintage instruments and recording equipment these days.

A 1958 Stratocaster in excellent condition, for example, may fetch as much as $25,000. Vintage recording devices from bygone years may also be valued at $10,000 or more for the most coveted items, such as rare German tube mics or broadcast limiters. For the vast majority of people, these prices put items like this out of consideration. Read more…

Pro Studio: Laptop Recording 101

studiotogo2Compiling a “studio on the go” has never been so easy or affordable Being able to easily and quickly record your material at a moment’s notice is one of the key advances technology has provided musicians today. But just how easy is it to take that recording capability with you when you travel? Following is an exploration into the basics of setting up a “studio to go,” centered around an affordable laptop computer. With the advice of recording engineer Bob Furlong, we’ll find out just what you need to record anywhere and anytime the spirit moves you. Read more…

Holiday Gear Guide

NightTrainEach year our Pro Studio expert seeks out a range of products which might make for a welcome addition to your music-making or home studio recording in the new year. This year is no exception, as he spoke with a pro audio expert to learn about some great additions to your home recording rig, and also visited a local music store to try out some new music-making toys that deliver outstanding results. Read more…

Gear Watch: jamLink Internet Audio Interface

jamLinkMusicianLink has released the jamLink, an audio interface that uses the internet to allow musicians to play in sync from different locations, no matter how far apart they are. The jamLink works with pretty much any instrument or microphone that has a 1/4” output, so you can plug in and jam with guitarists, singers, or other bassists across the country even if they are hundreds of miles away. Read more…

The $999 Home Studio

A pair of VLA-4 powered monitors makes it easy to mix your project. As the cost of home recording technology has continued to fall, the list of products and their available features continues to grow. So it seems timely to ask the question, “Can you put together a viable home recording set up for less than $1000?” To help answer this question, we turned to pro audio veteran, Richie DeCarlo at Philadelphia’s music superstore, 8th Street Music. Let’s see what gear goes into a prototypical home studio rig and how much bang for the buck can you get with a grand. Read more…

Do You Need a Direct Box for Home Recording?

01_HosaSidekicksmVirtually all of today’s home recording digital audio interfaces allow easy connection of microphones as well as various high impedance sound sources such as an electric guitar, bass or keyboard. But are you really getting the best possible sound quality plugging your instrument directly into these interfaces? This month we’ll do a test recording of bass guitar using a typical digital audio home recording interface, and then add a direct box into the equation to see what difference, if any, such a device makes in the quality of the sound. Read more…

Drum Mic Showdown

p810-fig1-3We took three drum mic packages into the studio for a live showdown.
Although most engineers will tell you they select microphones based on the type of instrument or the tonal quality of a particular instrument, we all have a trusted set of “go to” mics when it comes to recording drums. In the last few years, many microphone manufacturers have grouped sets of drum mics into affordable, easy-to-use packages for both the studio and live performances. This month we put three sets of drum mic packages through their paces to test what kind of performance you can expect. Read more…

Drum Tuning Advice for Recording and Gigs

Step 1: New Heads
There is nothing like a new drum head to give you great tone to work with. I prefer the sound I get from thinner heads such as Remo’s Diplomat, FD and Thin/FD lines. The disadvantage to thinner heads is that they tend to wear out quickly. A general-duty head, such as Remo’s Ambassador line, will last longer and, if new, should sound nearly as good. For recording purposes, avoid heavy-duty heads, such as Remo’s Emperor, PinStripe, PowerStroke, and the Black, Clear or White Dot series. These are all great heads, but they are designed more for live performance and tend to constrict the sound, making it a bit flat sounding instead of bright and exciting. Read more…

The Beginner’s Guide to Microphones

Audiotuts+ has put together a simple, helpful guide on microphone basics. This is a quick read of the fundamentals and will help you understand the different types of microphones, how polar patterns describe the way a microphone picks up sound, and what other factors you should consider before purchasing new equipment.

At their most basic, microphones are transducers. A transducer is an electrical device that converts energy from one form to another. In this case, the transducer is turning sound — acoustical energy — into an audio signal — electrical energy. Read more…

Acoustic Guitar Recording – The Basics

If you’re doing home recording, one of the main instruments you may be using for accompaniment is the acoustic guitar. Learning the basics of acoustic guitar recording requires time to experiment a bit to find your instrument’s sweet spots for micing, and also understanding some essentials with regard to your guitar and recording environment. We’ll use the most popular dynamic mics that many musicians rely on for gigs, the venerable Shure SM-57 and 58, to show how to get a good recorded sound from your acoustic guitar. We’ll also recommend two affordable condenser mics that can help you take your guitar’s sound to the next level. Read more…

When It Pays To Have a Home Recording Rig

The Boss BR 600 delivers a powerful all-in-one recording station that is ideal for guitarists.Talk with any musician who writes and performs his or her own music and chances are that one of the things near the top of their “to do” list is to regularly record their songs. There’s no better way to improve your performing and writing chops than to routinely record and critique your own music. So when does it make sense to invest in buying and learning how to use a home recording rig and when does it make sense to shop around and use a professional studio? Read more…

How to Record Vocals in a Bedroom

Don’t have a dedicated recording studio? Recording in your house? Check out these tips and tricks from Audiotuts+ to get the most out of your sound in an imperfect setting.

The number one factor in vocal recording is the room. You might’ve thought it was the mic you’re using or the pre-amp you’re running it through, but the truth is if you’ve got a U87 and an Avalon but the room you’re recording in is crap, you won’t be much farther ahead than a guy using a Behringer mic through an Mbox.

You could buy one of those (often rather expensive) reflection shields that attach to the stand and sit behind the microphone, and this will do you some good, particularly if your mic is omnidirectional. However, most common vocal microphones for both home and studio users are cardioid, so the shield will still help to an extent but the majority of problem reflections will come from the front — that is, the surfaces behind the vocalist’s head.

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