100 Recording tips

The now defunct Home Recording magazine shared their Top 100 Recording Tips and Tricks with Virtual Studio Systems, makers of Lyricist. Here are a few of the gems.

1. Add the ambience last in your mix. Get it pumping with no verbs or delays, and then introduce them to taste. You’ll be surprised at how many boxes you don’t need.

3. Nothing digital exists unless it is in at least two places. In other words, until your files, performances, audio, and presets are backed up, they can all be gone in the blink of an eye.

8. Normalization is a great tool, but can work against you if the audio track hasn’t been recorded properly (i.e., if there is unwanted noise on the track, it will just get louder when you recompute the overall track level).

17. Bounce tracks only when it’s absolutely necessary, especially when you’re recording on analog tape. Not only do you lose a generation, but you’re also locked into the bounced mixes and about to erase the original tracks! Better to mix to a second machine– even the native 16-bit audio of a computer— and transfer that back to a new multi track tape.

32. Have your gear set up and ready to go. When inspiration hits, you don’t want to lose an hour hooking up your mics or fiddling with MIDI cables.

52. Eschew perfection; respect performance – a year from now you won’t hear the “mistakes,” but you will notice if the performance is lifeless.

60. Today, virtually all recording musicians are posting music on the web in the form of MP3 files. In order to create an MP3 file, you need an encoder, and there are many shareware versions of MP3 encoders available on the web, with varying degrees of quality. If you care about the audio quality of your music, purchase a full version of your favorite MP3 encoding software. This usually costs only about $30. It will make all the difference in the quality of music that you post on the web. Try Audio Catalyst as well as Music Match encoding software.

65. Want to get that telephone voice sound? One kHz is the magic frequency here. Equalize and filter out all your highs and lows, and just boost the hell out of 1k. You can even overload the channel to get some pleasing distortion.

95. For acoustic guitars, nothing beats a mic. Going direct from your piezo-powered acoustic/electric guitar may be convenient, but as of today, the technology has not been able to surpass a good non-cutaway acoustic (ye olde Martin and a fine condenser mic).

96. Get a chair that doesn’t squeak. Almost everything today is made of, or with, plastic. In the case of office chairs, most squeak, especially when you pivot or tilt. An open mic will pick it up, even if you’re oblivious to it. Get a solid, non-swiveling chair. Instead of bells and whistles, opt for solid and quiet.

See the complete list of 100 top tips and tricks at Virtual Studio Systems.

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