Studio Recording

Operating a recording studio can be a nightmare of the uninitiated. But don’t worry. All you need to know about using all of that complicated studio equipment can be found here, from cabling and signal chains, to mic positioning and acoustic treatment. Put this together with info from our other columns and you’ll have more clients and projects than you can handle!

13 Types of Reverb & When to Use Them

Updated: Studio Recording
reverb types

I do agree there's only three main categories, but anyone looking to fully explain the topic can't limit the discussion to five or seven types of reverb, which is what always happens. It's unfair to the reader. If you're reading this then you probably already understand what this effect is and how it arises in nature or is created acoustically, mechanically, through electronics, or through […]

What is Reverb? All About This Beautiful Sound Effect & Its Uses

Updated: Studio Recording
reverb explanation

What is reverb? Is it different than an echo or delay? If so, what makes it different. Why is it used in music production? How is it created? This is the logical sequence of questions that arise when you start considering this natural sound effect for the first time. What people don't realize is that they know what reverb is, they just hadn't attached a […]

What is Audio Clipping: Examples, Causes, & the Easy Fix

Updated: Studio Recording
what is audio clipping

Whether during recording or playback, you've been around someone that sees the little red light go off or light up permanently who then says "Oh, dude, you're clipping." But do they even know what audio clipping is? What causes clipping? Is there anything we can do about it? Is it the same as peaking (yes)? I'm going to explain it all, tell you what it […]

Blown Speaker: Sounds, Symptoms, & Fixes (Plus Guidance)

Updated: Studio Recording
blown out speaker

No matter if you're talking about car speakers, studio speaker monitors, a guitar amplifier, or even some cheap computer or TV sound system, blown speakers are frustrating. And doubly so when you realize that if you'd caught it soon enough you could have saved it. Most of the time we want a matching stereo pair so that can mean replacing two if it's in a […]

What is Phantom Power? All the Big Questions Answered in Plain Talk

Updated: Studio Recording
phantom power

What is phantom power? How does it work? Why does it have that name? Which mics need it? Anybody who's been in this industry hears these questions a million times a year, including me, which is why I'm writing it up. Now I can just send people here and save myself the trouble. Usually what happens is a newcomer gets their first microphone and preamplifier […]

The Types of Microphones & Their Uses (When & Why)

Updated: Studio Recording
mic types

In most cases most people will only ever deal with three types of microphones. These are the main choices used in most recording and broadcasting scenarios. The main difference is in their diaphragms, which is the mechanism that reacts to sound and converts it to an electrical signal that can then be sent out of a speaker or recorded onto magnetic tape or a computer's […]

DIY Vocal Booth: Studio Quality Recordings on a Budget

Updated: Studio Recording
vocal booth

Nothing matters more than vocals. You can get away with shoddy drums, guitar, and any other backing instrument. But vocals get all the attention, so you can't really compromise. This is especially the case if you're recording vocals for music, a podcast, audiobook narration, or voice acting. Anywhere where your voice will be the center of focus, you have to produce a flawless recording. Let […]

Gain vs Volume: The Practical Differences That Matter

Updated: Studio Recording
gain and volume

At some point, no matter if you're learning to record music, be a mixing engineer, toying with your first guitar pedals, you'll be asking the question "What's the difference between gain and volume?" To the untrained mind, they seem like they're the same. They both make audio louder when you increase them. The sound of changing either might seem identical to you now, and maybe […]

Microphone Basics: The Beginner's Guide Stuff You Need to Know

Updated: Studio Recording
mic basics

Let me give you the low down. You can read some really in-depth information about microphones on the internet that's simply not reality based. You don't need to know how every piece of an engine works to be able to drive a car. Even seasoned recording studio engineers couldn't reel off a list of all the types of microphones, because we don't use or even […]

How to Soundproof a Room for Studio Quality Recordings

Updated: Studio Recording
soundproof rooms

With advances in technology driving the cost of music recording microphones, interfaces, and computers down, everyone is building their own home recording studios. Why not, right? Why pay $500 for a 5 hour time block in your local studio when you can buy a really nice mic for the same price? Double that and you've got nearly everything you need to record vocals, guitar, keyboard, […]

What's the Difference Between Mixing and Mastering?

Updated: Studio Recording
mixing and mastering difference

We've all heard the difference between an amateur recording captured in your buddy's garage and a professional recording tracked in a recording studio equipped with all of the best gear available. But that only affects the clarity of the song in general. Those differences in recording environments and access to gear is like the difference between working with a puzzle where the pieces were cut […]

DIY Studio Desk Plans - Custom Fit For Your Needs

Updated: Studio Recording
studio desk plans

What you'll discover as you browse the internet is that there's a whole ton of people who have built their own studio desks, but very few ever documented the process meticulously in terms of isometric engineering sketches or even your typical carpentry blueprints on a dirty napkin. This is the same conundrum we face in the world of computer desks and essentially every other kind. […]

How to Achieve Low Audio Latency While Recording

Updated: Studio Recording
low latency audio

Let's say you're an accomplished guitarist who has been playing live for nearly a decade, ripping improvised solos alongside your band mates in your city's most celebrated cover band. You realize you don't want to pretend to be a member of Talking Heads for the rest of your life, so you bring it up to your crew and they all confess the same. But rather […]

Gain Staging - Levels are Everything for High-Resolution Recordings

Updated: Studio Recording
gain stage

It's hard to blame musicians for not having a perfect gain stage... Most have never even heard of this aspect of signal processing. Ignorance won't save you though. It's either done right or you've compromised your ability to have the highest quality song at the end of the day. Your gain matters at every step, from the preamplifier, equalizer, compressor, converters, and even when printing […]

Instrument Miking Techniques & Tips to Capture Your Best Sound

Updated: Studio Recording
instrument miking

There's a danger to studio recording and mixing the results. We all fall prey to using our eyes instead of our ears. It's simply a part of how our brains are wired and how we survived all this time. But the beasts of the recording jungle, your clients and audience, will eat you alive if you listen with your eyes instead of your ears. It's […]

How to Use a Patchbay

Updated: Studio Recording
patchbay guide

So you finally got sick of climbing behind your desk or wiggling under your rack to change your audio signals' path through your now giant recording gear collection. I don't blame you. The dust, the spiders, the cat hair, and other surprises aren't worth the trouble, especially when there's an affordable and genius solution on the market. Take into account that most of us end […]

Open Back vs Closed Back Headphones: There's a Clear Winner

Updated: Studio Recording
open vs closed headphones

There's so much more to the story when it comes to choosing a set of headphones. If you score even a higher tier of consumer level headphones then that's about all you'll need. They'll have a 1/8th inch headphone jack and probably a 1/4 inch adaptor. You can plug them into your smart phone or MP3 player and you're rocking and rolling. But what about […]

Condenser vs Dynamic Mics: 10 Myths Busted!

Updated: Studio Recording
condenser and dynamic mic myths

Some of these issues are flat out mythology and categorically false, while others are true in some applications and false in other scenarios. No wonder there's a lot of contradiction to be found on message boards and websites. Couple that with people pretending to be more knowledgeable than they are and others simply parroting bad advice and you can quickly see how the confusion continues […]

What is a Headphone Amplifier? Do I Need One?

Updated: Studio Recording
what is a headphone amplifier?

Even beyond that, many headphones that could benefit from an amplifier can still be used without one at low volumes and you'd never know the difference. But eventually in the professional music industry you run into a headphone amp… Just what is it and why do we need them? Even once a person discovers headphone amps, they usually first encounter the snake oil audiophile type […]

7 Home Studio Must-Haves for Comfort & Productivity

Updated: Studio Recording
7 studio must-haves

As you continually visit the same room day in and day out and start accumulating years of your life spent in it, you begin to get hyper-sensitive. Little things can become giant distractions. Minor annoyances can cause you to flip out out of frustration. The big things can make you throw your hands up and be ready to quit forever. There are moments when you […]