Last update 10/98 - Jens Moller -
If this will be a recording of a live performance
- Use as much of the signal as possible from your PA system. Most PA's have
a low level signal out that can be used for recording purposes. Use that to
get first generation audio signals instead of putting a microphone(s) out in
- For signals not available from the PA, put a microphone no more than 12
(30 cm) away from the front of any speaker system an artist is performing
- For Drums, use 3 or 4 microphones - one on the Snare, one on the Bass
Drum and 1 or more suspended immediately above the drummer.
- For acoustic instruments - Guitar, Violin, Saxophone, Trumpet, etc. Find
a microphone or transducer that attaches to your instrument and run this
thru the PA system. You may have feedback problems on some instruments, if
this is the case, attempt to close up any openings on instruments, such as
a guitar, mandolin, violin, viola, cello, upright bass with cardboard or
Also consider buying or renting a feedback eliminator (Sabine FBX or similar).
If you can't run this thru the PA, have a separate feed from each acoustic
instrument to a mixer and work down from there.
- Use a compressor (2:1 is probably as high as you want to go) on the
vocals. This will keep them more even and out front in the mix.
- Get as close as possible to the performers to reduce audience noise.
- Test your mix on a variety of sound systems. See below.
If this will be a home studio recording
- Use Reverb sparingly.
- Master your mixes to the best of your ability. This means that you should
work for consistent volume levels between songs, and all instruments should
be able to be distinguished when listening to the recordings.
- Don't depend on what it sounds like from your headphones - these lie to
you. Our experience tells us that mixes sound better on headphones than on
most other speaker systems - make certain that you test on a variety of
speaker systems. We promise you, you will be sorry if you only listen to your
mix and masters using just headphones.
- Record in a quiet area. We have some recordings where you can hear
birds (parakeets, We would guess) in some passages of songs - this is
impossible to mix out, as are barking dogs and meowing cats. We occasionally
hear a ringing phone in mixes - unplug your phones and let the answering
machine get the calls.
- Try not to use any more equalization than necessary. Most pros try to
record with the EQ settings as flat as possible. Some boost around 3 to 5 kHz
to force the vocals to stand out a bit better. Fixing your mix with lots
of equalization tends to create a very muddy mix - this is a bad thing.
- Test your mix on a variety of sound systems. This includes high end audio,
car tape decks and the lowest quality junker cassette deck/speakers that you
can find. Compare your mix to professionally done tapes in the same situations
and adjust your mix accordingly.
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