This post comes from Bjorgvin Benediktsson of Audio-Issues.com and author of Mixing Strategies and the new Recording Strategies EBooks. You can find him on Twitter @audioissues
The best recordings are the combination of great instruments, great engineering and great performances. It’s no wonder that taking care of those three things will make your tracks sound that much better.
Gettin’ in Tune
Great recordings are about balance. Not just in the way that you balance the arrangement in the production or balance the instruments in the EQ spectrum, it starts way sooner than that.
It’s about the balance of every single note.
In layman’s terms, everything needs to be in tune!
I think this strategy is obvious, but it’s amazing how many times people forget to tune each and every time they’re recording. And I don’t only mean the guitars and bass. The drums need tuning too! If you’re too lazy to tune your drum kit it’s not surprising that your drums are going to sound lackluster.
The drums are the backbone of the recorded performance and should be tuned just like the guitar and bass. Miss this step and you’re missing what music is about.
Everything in its Right Place
If you put up a mic and immediately hit record you’re losing out on the one thing that makes recordings better.
If you don’t even move the mic once, you’ll never know if that particular sound was better or worse than any other mic position that you could’ve used.
The microphone has a built-in EQ called “your hands.” Move it around and the sound of the instrument will change accordingly.
Move it very close and you’ll get added bass. Angle it closer to the treblier strings on an acoustic guitar and you’ll get more high-end.
You need to move it around and find the best sound in order for the mic to be in its right place.
Give the People What They Want
Ultimately, what every music lover wants is to keep their faith in great music. The only way to grab listeners by their ears and drag them down into the musical world you’ve filled is with a stellar performance.
That’s what everybody wants to hear. A great vocal delivery, a spectacular guitar solo or a mesmerizing piano part.
All the technical parts don’t matter if the artistic expression isn’t there. The best mics and gear in the world won’t hide a poor performance.
Because even if everybody’s tuned to the T(that’s probably not a term) and the microphone placement and engineering is spotless, nobody will care because the performance stinks.
All the subheadings within this article are song names from bands that were known for great songwriting, stellar engineering and amazing performances. Can you name each band?
If you want to learn more recording techniques, check out Recording Strategies. It’s currently on launch special at a 30% discount.
One thing that isn’t really mentioned in this article, but bears repeating so that guitarists and bassists etc will eventually get it: intonation. Gettin’ in Tune is more than just tuning the open strings to what your tuner tells you. A lot of musicians don’t really understand intonation, but if your intonation is off, you will not have every note in tune. One of the easiest checks for intonation: is your octave the same pitch as your octave harmonic?
Awesome comment! That’s so totally true. Correctly set up guitars that don’t go out of tune with a bar chord at the 12th fret are so much easier to record 🙂
Also, I actually have a part in my book that says to tune your guitar when you’re using a capo. Because if you’re playing bass on top of a correctly tuned guitar but for some reason is out of tune due to intonation reasons and a capo, that’s gonna cause all sorts of problems. Problems I’ve dealt with myself, since I can’t seem to write a song without a capo 😉
Thanks for the comment!
3 can’t fail recording strategies (#music) http://t.co/qLfAhB00