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!

Best DAW: Choosing the Digital Audio Workstation That Fits You

Updated: Studio Recording
digital audio workstation

You can ask 100 professionals which is the best DAW and get at least 10 different answers. That's not because there's a ton of equally good choices out there, but because each is created with certain industries and genres of music in mind. In the past some of these costed an arm and a leg and required a dongle proving you paid for their giant […]

The Best Free Audio Editing Software: Simple & Complex Options!

Updated: Studio Recording
free audio editors

Free audio editing software made me into the man I am today. Of course, I jest, but the truth is that if they weren't available to me when I first got started then I'd have never gotten started. There were two main reasons. First, I wasn't going to shell out big bucks for a professional-grade audio editor when I was simply curious about the process. […]

Bass Traps: The Complete Guide for Taming Unruly Low-End

Updated: Studio Recording
what is a bass trap

Bass traps in particular, but the entirety of the acoustic treatment rabbit hole, are extremely interesting. If you look around online you'll see just how many people are completely obsessed with the topic. That was me for the longest time. The thrill is over once you finish your own build, but the benefits last forever. And let me tell you, it's impossible to over-emphasize how […]

The Benefits of Using a Scratch Track When Recording Music

Updated: Studio Recording
the benefits of using a scratch track

A scratch track, sometimes called a guide track, may seem like a waste of time to a cocky, over-confident amateur or a money-conscious renter of an expensive studio, but it provides tons of benefits you may not realize just yet. If you do like you should and surrender to the process of the studio engineer, he or she will undoubtedly first guide you through laying […]

Spring Reverb - Learn About & How to Use This Ever-Present Effect

Updated: Studio Recording
what is spring reverb

Spring reverb has been around for what is practically forever. Anyone who's been slightly involved in the music industry to any degree, especially guitarists, have heard of it. It's the oldest mechanical reverb around and still in use. Of all of the different types of reverb, the spring is the most common by far in terms of manufacturing and ownership, but possibly the least used […]

Plate Reverb - Learning About & Using This Influential Audio Effect

Updated: Studio Recording
what is plate reverb

Anyone that has spent even the slightest amount of time with signal processing effects, either as a guitar player, synthesizer player, music mixer, or really any role will have encountered plate reverb. It's everywhere and for good reason. Of all of the different types of reverb, none has stood the test of time and garnered more attention and love than that generated by a plate. […]

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 […]