Producing Background Vocals

Live Background Vocals For any given song, the specific approach to producing background vocals is dependent on the production style and genre, but when listening to any modern song on the charts, you can quickly pick up that there is a lot going on. Serious thought has been put in to the arrangement and presentation of these parts, which usually means quite a bit of editing work. Luckily for us, this type of work and associated workflow is what Pro Tools does best. Read more.

Basic Tracks: Where the Magic Is Made

The Music Producer’s Handbook Basic tracks are the initial recordings of the rhythm section that are done prior to any overdubbing. Basics are the foundation for the music being recorded and for any other parts that come afterward. If there’s something faulty in the foundation, it will either be impossible or very costly in time and money to fix things later. That’s why it’s essential to make each basic track the best it can be.

Regardless of whether you spend a little or a lot of time in preproduction, recording basic tracks is where you either make the project or break it. Even if you had a great preproduction, you never really know how things will record or what unforeseen circumstances will pop up until you get there. Read more…

Creating a Lead Sheet

Lead Sheet SoftwareThere’s some great software on the market that makes it easy to transcribe your music. We compare two programs and give you our take on ease and performance.

For a songwriter getting ready to work with a back up band or go into the studio with session musicians, having an accurate lead sheet of your songs is a great way to save time and money. Read more…

Pro Studio: Vocal Mics in the Studio

Fast Forward’s Pro Studio guru puts four mics through their paces

One of the key elements in any popular song is the vocal performance, and an essential part of capturing a vocal performance accurately is the microphone used in the recording. Top recording engineers know how important it is to match each singer’s particular vocal qualities and timbre to the microphone that will best capture the power and subtleties of that voice. This month, Fast Forward brought four high-quality vocal microphones (i.e. list price of $1,000 or more) into the studio and ran each through its paces, recording male and female vocal tracks and some narration. By the end of the session, you’ll have a good idea of which of these mics may be worth the investment for your home recording studio and what you might want to look for in studios near you. The four contenders include: the Kiwi, from BLUE Microphones; the TLM 103 from Neumann; the Black Hole BH-2 from JZ Mics; and the KSM 44 from Shure. I invited my colleague Jeff Crawford, a local producer and engineer over to provide a second set of ears for the evaluation. Two singers were asked to help with the testing, each one bringing a backing track of a song that they were familiar with to use for the test session. Read more…