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Month: July 2011

Bass Guitar Microphone Shootout

This is a guest post from Ryan Canestro of Ditch Road Records and host of The Home Recording Show. Find him on Twitter @RyanCanestro.

Electric guitar has had all the glory for too long when it come to microphone shootouts. Well, when it comes to just about anything, but that is beside the point. A conversation with a listener of The Home Recording Show about what microphone to put in front of a bass cabinet got me thinking more than a normal human should think about the subject. My stock answer has always been to use a large diaphragm dynamic moving coil microphone. This would be your standard Shure SM7b, EV RE20, Sennheiser 421, Heil PR40, et cetera. Now the reasonable doubt to this approach started to creep into my head.

I decided to test my usual choices and conventional wisdom to see what actually happens when you try different types of microphone designs, polar patterns, and distances from the source.  It was once again time for me to slip into my studio lab coat and get down to some serious business (as I have convinced my wife). I would have liked to use every microphone that I have available to me in the studio, but I knew that would do none of us any good.  What I ended up doing was taking one microphone to represent each of the different varieties.


Mastering With Multiband Compression E-Book

Last week Ian Shepherd (, mastering engineer and friend of AGZ) announced the release of his first instructional E-Book Mastering with Multiband Compression.

There is a basic and enhanced edition. The enhanced version has a bonus 1hr tutorial video, and audio examples for just $10 more.
Here is the sales page:
Buying through this link will support AGZ
If you prefer not to donate, click here.

Ian sent me an advance copy and I was quite impressed. I sent him a short review for his sales page.

I already use multiband compression in my mixing and mastering, but this eBook made me realize I’d been taking some things for granted. Reading it I gained new strategies, a greater understanding of the parameters and new ideas I can implement into my mastering projects right away” Jon Tidey, Audio Geek Zine

And this is the truth. Ian’s approach is different than the way I’ve taught myself to use multiband compression over the past couple years. I haven’t been doing it completely wrong but I now know why on several occasions it hasn’t worked as well as I’d hoped. Multiband compression was never as transparent as I’d like and it was so easy to overdo it. I know this is a common complaint about multiband compression and Ian’s book has the solution. The starting point, strategy and tips will change the way you misuse multiband compression.


Guest Post: The 24 Bit Advantage

This guest post comes from Barry Gardner, mastering engineer at SafeandSound online mastering

The 24 bit advantage

These days almost all digital audio workstations have the option to record and operate at 24 bit resolution. In fact it is highly likely that the vast majority of musicians and engineers are already setting their DAW’s up to work at 24 bit. 24 has a number of advantages over operating at 16 bit. I am going to explain a very important advantage which may not be as obvious. It relates to mixing reference levels on your stereo master output bus. Firstly we have to look at record levels because this is where the initial advantages occur. When you record at 24 bit resolution you have a much greater theoretical dynamic range. This means that the noise floor of the recording in the digital realm is much lower than recording at 16 bit. It is theoretically 48 dB lower than at 16 bit. So as a consequence there is no need to record anywhere as hot as when using 16 bit. In fact, a suggested recording level for 24 bit would be to have an average signal level of -18dBFS. You could even have peak signals at this level without detriment to audio fidelity. With peaks at -18dBFS at 24 bit your noise floor is still theoretically 30dB better than that at 16bit. An additional bonus effect is that to obtain peak levels of -18dBFS your mic preamps, compressors and mixer channels will be operating at a lower electrical level which means a cleaner and clearer recording.