Why should you record at a professional recording studio? A friend of ours came up with this list, and we think it is really great. There are some advantages of recording at home, but the biggest advantage of recording at a professional studio is that you have the gear and people that know how to use the gear. Audio experts work in studios, so why would you not seek their help when you are working on an album? If I have a plumbing problem, I ask a professional plumber for help. If I have an audio problem, ask a professional audio engineer for help!
- mostly analog processing gear
- you have a professional audio engineer to help you get the sound you want
- lots of microphones to choose from
- acoustically treated environment
- accurate play back monitors
- It costs money to book time
- Cheaper than booking a studio
- you can spend as much time as you want on tracking
- you probably don’t have the same equipment as the commercial studio
- your files might not save in the correct format for mixing (.WAV vs .MP3)
- fewer microphone choices
- the room you’re using is probably not acoustically treated
- almost all digital signal chain
- your monitors are not as accurate as what’s in the commercial studio
- no professional engineer to help you find that perfect sound
This is an excellent article about music in schools, and about the value of music in our educational system. It is a shame that more students are not exposed to music in their education. This article makes us all realize that it is not just a shame, it is a tragedy. A tragedy of which we will feel the repercussions when those students get to the workforce. Not only is music an important part of our lives for listening, it is an important part of our development and education. Don’t let your school, or your children’s school, get rid of the music program.
It depends. That is one of my most favorite phrases. It seems to be said a lot around Tierra Studios lately, especially with The Art Institute of Houston students being here. Why is it said so much? Because so much of what we do as recording, mixing, and mastering engineers depends.
On what does it depend? Just about everything. The last few days we have been talking about compression, and how to use it. The thing that was not said is that it depends. It depends on what style, or genre, of music you are mixing. It depends on what compressor you are using. It depends on what microphone you used to record that instrument. It depends where you put that microphone. In short, it depends.
People that ask how to record, mix, and master music want to know the answer. Heck, we want to know the answer too!! Unfortunately, there is not one way to do things. You have to experiment and try different things. Listen to different styles/genres of music. Listen to different recording, mixing, and mastering engineers. Get out of your comfort zone and listen to music to which you would not normally listen. Then ask yourself two questions. Is this a good sound? If so, how do you achieve that sound? Then go experiment!
Just remember that “it depends”. One of the parts of “it depends” is that it is constantly changing as well. Things change in life and things change in music just as fast. With the changes in technology that happen, and have happened, has extraordinarily changed music and music production. So “it depends” will be with us for a long long time.
Yesterday we discussed compression. One post is just not enough to discuss all aspects of compression, so here are some more thoughts on the subject.
Again, here are what the four knobs on a compressor and the definitions for each knob:
Threshold: the point (dB level) at which compression begins
Ratio: the amount that signals above the threshold are reduced toward the threshold
Attack: time it takes the compressor to turn on once the signal is above the threshold (time constant)
Release: time it takes the compressor to turn off once the signal is below the threshold (time constant)
Is there one way to compress more? No. In order to get more compression, you could lower the threshold, increase the ratio, shorten the attack, or lengthen the release. By lowering the threshold, there are more decibels above the threshold, and, therefore, more signal is being compressed. With an increased ratio, the signals above the threshold are being reduced toward the threshold even more, and, therefore, the signal is being compressed harder. Shortening the attack time means the compressor turns on faster once the signal goes above the threshold, and, therefore, the compressor is on longer compressing more. Finally, with a longer release time, the compressor is compressing for a longer time once the signal goes below the threshold.
There are advantages and disadvantages to each one of these scenarios. So how do you know what to do? Experiment. Do each and see which one works best. Keep in mind that you are trying to maintain musical dynamics, and enhance the music. The music is the most important thing!