Open Mic Performance Tips

In the back of most everyone’s mind who has ever picked up a guitar, manned a keyboard, or stepped behind the microphone on one of those open mic nights, there is always that dream of performing for thousands of people on stage or television. For those of us that are actually attempting to make those dreams realities, from New York to California, and all over the world, one of the physical manifestations of this dream is the songwriter’s night. 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 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…

Are Dynamics Dead in Popular Music?

Since the earliest compressors were conceived and built, the ability to modify, control, and maximize the dynamic range of a musical performance has been the quest of many an audio engineer. In the early days of audio, limits on a recording’s overall dynamic range were dictated by vinyl – the state of the art in music delivery until the CD’s debut in 1982. Today, with virtually all music being recorded and massaged in a digital environment, it’s become standard operating procedure to limit, compress, or maximize the dynamic range of a track or an entire mix. Read more…