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.

A Guide to Combo Amps

BUGERA V22 ComboThis time around we’re going to highlight several very cool, best-in-class combo amps — so before we get down to brass tacks, let’s get some quick background:

The term ‘combo’ in amp-speak simply means the speakers and electronics are ‘combined’ in the same cabinet. This is opposed to a head and separate speaker cabinet ‘stack’. Both have inherent pros and cons: the combo is simple, straightforward and compact. Read more…

Home Recording Shopping Guide

Many people have a limited budget this year to upgrade their home recording systems. Because of that, it’s helpful to prioritize what is the most important element you need or would benefit from upgrading. If you consider your entire home recording system as 100% of your sound, assuming that you already have a digital audio recording system, then as much as 50% of your sound comes from the quality of the microphone you use. When you purchase your first really nice microphone, you’ll be surprised at what a difference in the overall recording quality it makes. Read more…

recording with reverb

Recording with Reverb and Echo – Tips and Lessons from Six Classic Tracks

If you’re recording and mixing your own tracks, you may have already begun experimenting with reverb and delay, two time-based effects that offer the opportunity to change the perceived time and space coefficient of an individual instrument, voice, or an entire mix. We’ll consider the aesthetic use of each, and recommend a few classic tracks worth checking out that make excellent use of these time and space effects. 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…

Home Recording: Choosing Your DAW

pro-tools 8Home recording has exploded over the past decade as digital technology has given musicians more and more powerful tools for capturing and mixing music on laptops and desktops. One of the key choices a musician or engineer must make is which DAW to invest time and money into.

What’s a DAW you say? Well, why don’t we see what wikipedia says: Read more…

Creating a Budget for Your New Album

creating a budgetCameron Mizell, freelance guitarist, producer, and consultant in Brooklyn, has written yet another excellent article for independent musicians. This article comprehensively details the time and costs involved in creating a new album. Mizell put together “a realistic cost scenario for every stage of creating a new album,” which could serve as an indispensable guide for those about to embark on the process. 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…

Tips to Ensure Success with Mastering

Paul Elliott, senior mastering engineer at Disc Makers’ SoundLab mastering studios, offers a few tips to help artists get the most out of their mastering sessions, as well as some of his own opinions about the role of mastering in the album-making process.

First, prepare an accurate track listing – in the proper order – of all the songs you are sending to the mastering engineer. If there are any alternate mixes, be sure those are clearly labeled and tell the engineer which one you prefer be used. Read more…

Home Project Studio: Parts 3 & 4

Half-round Geometrix sound absorbersPart 3: The truth about isolation booths
We find ourselves immersed in the building of the isolation booth, after a slight delay caused by unforeseen delays.

The room is coming along well. Two dedicated 20-amp circuits have been installed for audio power. Lines have been run for lighting. The ceiling has been insulated and the outer walls are ready to be prepped for paint and wall treatments. Now that the main part of the room is taking shape, it is time to look at the ISO booth design and construction.

I had just ordered industrial felt to “float” the inner framing of the booth when I spoke to Nick Collerian at Acoustics First. Read more…