What things have you learned recently?

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Kasey
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What things have you learned recently?

Post by Kasey » Sat Jun 02, 2007 9:01 pm

What have you learned/more deeply understood/discovered recently in regards to your recordings recently that have noticeably improved them?

I go first:
1. I've learned more about proper gain structure, to try and record to digital at around -18dBFS. I already understood this to a certain extent, but I would be tempted and be recording closer to -10dBFS or maybe even a little higher. It's amazing how much this simple thing has opened up my recordings.

2. Though I am a heavy proponent of listening to mix rather than seeing to mix, I have recently realized that I can't trust my little BX5a monitors (hoo'da thunk it, right?). Thus if the levels of the bass seem to be the exact same as the overall level of the whole mix... I should probably turn down that bass a little bit, and check it closer with my more "bassy" headphones (ATH-M30's).

that's all I've got right now. oh and room mics! room mics are my new friend too! recording is exciting.

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Post by Judas Jetski » Sat Jun 02, 2007 9:36 pm

Gear matters.

Recording chops are good, true. But still. Gear matters.
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Kasey
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Post by Kasey » Sat Jun 02, 2007 9:41 pm

now that i have a topaz instead of a yamaga mg board... i'm forced to second that. luckily i haven't had any real experience with truly high end nice gear, otherwise i'd probably whine more.

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Re: What things have you learned recently?

Post by Recycled_Brains » Sat Jun 02, 2007 9:48 pm

Kasey wrote: 1. I've learned more about proper gain structure, to try and record to digital at around -18dBFS. I already understood this to a certain extent, but I would be tempted and be recording closer to -10dBFS or maybe even a little higher. It's amazing how much this simple thing has opened up my recordings.
+1. amazing how much it really does help.

also, how much of a difference a great sounding pre-amp makes.

getting better at tracking with compression and using compressors as a tone shaping device in addition to a dynamic controller.

using (hard) L/R/C panning techniques.

cool thread...

-ryan
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Freakmagnet451
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What I learned

Post by Freakmagnet451 » Sat Jun 02, 2007 10:25 pm

I learned my old Martin D-35 sounds bigger and fuller when I put really light strings on it and play it soft and smooth.

I played around with Mid/Side using a KSM44 in figure 8 and either a KSM27 or a Peavey 520i for the mid. It is starting to sound really good.

The Peavey is a recent discovery too, sort of a poor mans SM7 or RE20. I got mine for $80 on ebay. I am waiting for a friend to send me a lightly used SM7, should be here next week.

I learned I like using dynamic mics through tube pres for digital recording, sometimes it sounds friendlier than a large diaphragm condensor.
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GarryJ
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Re: What things have you learned recently?

Post by GarryJ » Sun Jun 03, 2007 7:14 am

Kasey wrote: I go first:
1. I've learned more about proper gain structure, to try and record to digital at around -18dBFS. I already understood this to a certain extent, but I would be tempted and be recording closer to -10dBFS or maybe even a little higher. It's amazing how much this simple thing has opened up my recordings.
I'm not familiar with the concept (novice level when it comes to most aspects of recording), but it sounds intriguing - care to explain a little further?

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Kasey
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Post by Kasey » Sun Jun 03, 2007 7:30 am

http://messageboard.tapeop.com/viewtopi ... +structure

http://messageboard.tapeop.com/viewtopi ... +structure

those threads will go more in depth. my understanding is still limited, but basically, the notion of "using all the bits" in a post 16 bit recording world is junk.

here I'll just quote mr. john scrip.
Preamps (along with basically everything else) are designed to run "best" around 0dBVU. The best sound, the lowest distortion, the best signal-to-noise, the most clarity, the most focus - all of the "good" things.

As most converters are calibrated around -18dBFS (= line level or 0dBVU), running a preamp up to around -0dBFS is running it *18dB* hotter than it was designed to run. 18dB into the headroom. The headroom that's designed to handle micro-transients - Not the entirity of the signal.
that about sums it up. once you have a whole mix of tracks recorded like this, when you've been used to "using all the bits" you'll be amazed how much easier it is to mix.

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Post by qball » Sun Jun 03, 2007 7:33 am

I have learned...
... that the size of the recording space (or amount of sound treatment) is determined by the sound source. The louder or deeper (in frequency) the instrument is, the more air space or sound treatment is needed in a room.

...that I have been recording my tracks too hot. Thanks to this thread, I think that I have discovered a major mistake of mine. I want to read more about this.
I think women should leave the toilet seat UP!!!

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GarryJ
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Post by GarryJ » Sun Jun 03, 2007 8:24 am

Kasey wrote:http://messageboard.tapeop.com/viewtopi ... +structure

http://messageboard.tapeop.com/viewtopi ... +structure

those threads will go more in depth. my understanding is still limited, but basically, the notion of "using all the bits" in a post 16 bit recording world is junk.

here I'll just quote mr. john scrip.
Preamps (along with basically everything else) are designed to run "best" around 0dBVU. The best sound, the lowest distortion, the best signal-to-noise, the most clarity, the most focus - all of the "good" things.

As most converters are calibrated around -18dBFS (= line level or 0dBVU), running a preamp up to around -0dBFS is running it *18dB* hotter than it was designed to run. 18dB into the headroom. The headroom that's designed to handle micro-transients - Not the entirity of the signal.
that about sums it up. once you have a whole mix of tracks recorded like this, when you've been used to "using all the bits" you'll be amazed how much easier it is to mix.
Cheers! Good threads and good info. I wasn't aware of the precise relationship between dbFS and dbVU, makes a lot of sense now that it's mentioned.

As for things I've learned recently, besides that I've also been tracking too hot..

- Trying to get a pristine, Bob Clearmountain sound on everything, isn't a viable way to work, even if you do have great equipment. Nor is trying to approximate anyone else's engineering/mixing - it's much more rewarding to go with what sounds good to your own ears. If it sounds good, it sounds good, it's not "lesser" if it differs when compared to the work of someone you admire.

- Adding reverb to drums is completely unnecessary if you have a well-placed room mic to add a sense of space.

- There is a lot of information about recording on the internet that is completely useless.


Nothing particularly groundbreaking, but in my first tentative steps in the recording world, somewhat of a breakthrough.

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Kasey
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Post by Kasey » Sun Jun 03, 2007 8:50 am

GarryJ wrote:
- There is a lot of information about recording on the internet that is completely useless.
haha. I don't stray far from tapeop much anymore... I used to frequent homerecording.com's forums.. but between us, the people around here generally seem to be a bit more...intelligent.
lots of books are good though!

also, if i had done this six months ago, I would have said how important acoustics and specifically bass absorption is in both mixing and tracking.

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Post by Gummy » Sun Jun 03, 2007 10:01 am

Know YOUR space and YOUR mics and experiment.
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Post by KennyLusk » Sun Jun 03, 2007 10:53 am

Mixing with outboard effects instead of plugins has made a huge difference for me lately.
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Post by ??????? » Sun Jun 03, 2007 12:21 pm

1. rhythm guitars can often be bandpassed or highpassed quite extensively and still sound totally right in the mix, make room for other stuff.

2. I know it's a touch unconventional, but I often have good luck printing effects on certain things while tracking. Especially delays and such. As long as I have a relatively decent concept of what is going on from the start, I don't usually go wrong recording with the effects. This started because I was too lazy to set up sends while mixing. I find myself hooking up my Fender 6G15 verb or my tube Echoplex straight into a DI coming from keyboards, or straight into the amp on guitars.

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Phiz
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Post by Phiz » Sun Jun 03, 2007 1:10 pm

I do a much better job of configuring my compressor settings when I'm not distracted by the signal level lights. Unfortuantely, I mix completely in the box without a control surface, so it is hard to configure a compressor without looking at the screen. I wish my plugins had an option to disable all metering lights.

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Post by mathamagician » Sun Jun 03, 2007 4:29 pm

I just discovered i like micing acoustic guitar by pointing a SDC downward towards the ground in front of/near the soundhole. Nice sound, cuts out some of the boominess, and adds better separation when recording vocals and acoustic at the same time.
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