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Ombrenuit

Recording Tips?

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I've recently been recording a lot of my own work directly through an interface, but I've run across some recording issues, and any tips would be greatly appreciated. Just a few quick questions are:

 

Really the biggest problem I've run into is what the industry standard on volume is. How loud should I record? I don't really want someone to be listening to my music and have to either turn down or turn up their volume; that is just a pain and always a common complaint among my friends.

 

I've been using a metronome, but are there any other tricks to help keep time?

 

My audio set-up is fairly cheap, but I have a sub-woofer; is there any reason why music optimized for my own set up would be terribly different played on another computer (say without a sub-woofer?).

Edited by Ombrenuit

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I've recently been recording a lot of my own work directly through an interface, but I've run across some recording issues, and any tips would be greatly appreciated. Just a few quick questions are:

 

Really the biggest problem I've run into is what the industry standard on volume is. How loud should I record? I don't really want someone to be listening to my music and have to either turn down or turn up their volume; that is just a pain and always a common complaint among my friends

You need to record as hot as possible without clipping. The analog domain is a lot more forgiving than digital. When you record hot on analog the tape acts as a natural compressor so the recording turns out warmer. When you record too hot in digital you get a lot of distortion.

 

So, the recording level should almost clip with the loudest an instrument can play (or the average loudness it can play).

 

Then you'll need to mix the tracks in a way you're happy with. This is an art form in itself & it's not for the faint of heart. The EQs and tracks need to be balanced, the instruments/voices need to be heard. Here's some links for mixing tips:

http://www.dysgenicrecords.com/feature.php?id=64

http://www.recordingeq.com/EQ/req0301/feature.html

http://www.silver-dragon-records.com/mixing_audio.htm

 

The final stage is mastering. You'll need a great pair of ears for this. This is where "loudness" comes into the picture. The final EQ, overall effects, compression etc.:

http://www.silver-dragon-records.com/audio_mastering.htm

http://www.pcmus.com/mastering.htm

 

I've been using a metronome, but are there any other tricks to help keep time?
I have a mental trick, act like you're causing the metronome to keep time.

 

My audio set-up is fairly cheap, but I have a sub-woofer; is there any reason why music optimized for my own set up would be terribly different played on another computer (say without a sub-woofer?).
If you mix with a sub woofer & play your mix on other systems then you may find that your low end is missing :o It's best to invest in some reference monitor speakers.

 

No matter what speakers you mix with, always test with any system you can find: crappy car stereo, good car stereo, good/bad boom box, home theater, portable mp3 player, with/without headphones, etc. Once you're happy with your mix on all these systems then you're ready to go ;)

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Thanks a lot, this is an enormous help and giving me some serious insight (though the drum article was a bit beyond my level, but it made for good reading; I only wish we had twenty mics for my band's drummer). I had no idea recording could be taken to this level. I actually got Adobe Audition per your request today, and though its definitely more overwhelming then audacity, I'm going pretty well fiddling around with the options.

 

*edit* I fixed that mono/stereo issue

Edited by Ombrenuit

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As for newbie questions go with this software, for some reason when I play back recorded bits its mono only. Is there a way to adjust it to both speakers?
If it's recorded in mono, it'll be mono. If that's the case you can easily turn it to stereo with Edit>Convert Sample Type (F11) (although you can pan in multitrack view, which would be a little easier on a low end system especially if you have a lot more tracks to deal with).

 

There's some other effects you can apply to take the mono-ishness of a stereo track like adding a slight delay to one side of a stereo track, or alternate EQs on each side:

 

Left: _ - _ - _ - _

Right - _ - _ - _ -

 

These are only the tip of the iceberg.

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