Looking for a great all around go-to studio microphone? Then put the Rode NT1a (or newly updated NT1) on your list. In the wake of last week’s article on affordable microphones vs expensive microphones I thought I would share one of my all time favorite affordable mics. For around $200 US, you really can’t go wrong with having one of these in your mic locker. Check out the review and sound sample at the end.
We all know that EQ is a powerful tool when recording, as it can help you sculpt the perfect sound before it hits your DAW. But what if you don’t own a hardware EQ or a channel strip that bundles one with the preamp? Can you still EQ your recordings without one? The way I see it, your microphone has a simple EQ built in.
Two Things You Need To Know
If you can grasp these two simple concepts it will help unlock a lot of potential in your recording sessions, no matter where you record or which microphones you use. I’ve written at length that mic placement in general is paramount to getting a great recording. But specifically there are two facts you need to understand about how most mics work.
The first fact is that when you angle a microphone off axis from the source (roughly 45 degrees) you tend to tame the high frequency response that it picks up. The second fact is that when you move a microphone closer to the source you get more bass response, and vice versa. Both of these facts assume you are using a cardioid polar patter with your microphone, which most of you are. Read More →
If you know me, then you know I’m not into expensive studio equipment. Is it because I can’t afford it? Well originally, when I was starting out, that was the biggest factor. I was a broke student working my way through school.
But these days I actually can afford all that expensive gear, and yet I still don’t buy things like $1000 microphones. Why? Because I can’t really justify spending 10x the money on something that really isn’t 10x better than its $100 counterpart.
Let’s Be Honest For A Moment
Let’s cut through the silliness and be honest for a minute. There are two inherent reasons why we think that $1000 microphones should sound better than $100 microphones.
One, we see many of the world’s top producers and engineers using them (and much more expensive mics too) and they get really great results. Two, we all suffer from what I call Brand Snobbery, which is a condition where you are brainwashed into thinking you always get what you pay for, and that some brands are inherently “better” than other brands. Read More →
If you’ve listened to just about any Soundgarden album over the past 20 years you’ve heard this effect. The creepy vocal swells up moments before the vocalist blasts into a new line. It sounds cool, because it is cool. You’ll likely recognize it when you hear it. Here’s how to do it.
Just about every week I receive an email that asks some variation of this question: “I tend to use mostly loops, samples, or virtual instruments. So do I need to apply an EQ to them since they are already professional samples?”
The problem with this question is that it exposes two flaws in how to think about mixing in general, and EQ in particular. I’d like to answer the question today and perhaps help expand your thinking on how to best approach EQ.
What’s The Point Of EQ?
Before we can talk about whether or not you should slap an EQ on your loops or virtual instruments we need to ask the bigger question: What is the point of an EQ? Or rephrased, What can an EQ do for my tracks?
EQ is your most powerful mixing tool. Why? Because it can take tracks that have many overlapping frequencies and help them each shine beautifully within a busy mix alongside many other elements. EQ exists to help you bring balance to the mix (i.e. clarity). Good EQ moves result in a mix where every instrument can be heard and nothing is being covered up.
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Struggling to get great recordings? It might not be because of your DAW, your preamps, or even your audio interface; but rather your mishandling of microphones. Think about it. The microphone is the most important piece of gear in your studio. Like the painter’s paint brush, the tennis player’s racquet, or wood worker’s saw, the microphone is the audio engineer’s weapon of choice. Smart engineers know this, and so they wield microphones with intentionality and purpose.
An Extension Of Your Instrument
Great musicians trip out about the quality and tone of their instrument. Guitar players want the best sound possible and they go to great length’s to get it. They tweak the strings, string height, pickup height, tone knobs, amp choice, cabinet choice, tube choice, pedals, and even amp volume to create the best guitar sound the world has ever heard. This quest for tone shouldn’t stop there.
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Logic Pro X might be one of the best home studio bargains around. I’m admittedly a Pro Tools guy (have been for over a decade now), but as someone who helps people get their home studios going, I’d be a jerk to not show what Apple’s latest version of their flagship DAW can do, and for such little money. Check it out.
My name is Andy Othling, and I release music under the name Lowercase Noises. I’ve been doing it for about five years now, and late last year I was able to quit my full-time job and make music my full-time gig, which is awesome.
The path to having success with my music and growing a large fan base was not easy, but I did manage to do it without the help of the music industry and recording labels. This means I’m 100% in control of my music and sales and I think that’s something ALL musicians can benefit from and would like to have.
The more I’ve looked back on the things that helped me get to where I am right now, the more I’ve realized that the principles that helped me with promoting and sharing my music are very similar to the principles Graham teaches here at The Recording Revolution. Graham’s advice has helped my recordings get better and better (as I’m sure it’s done the same for yours), but I think we can take that advice farther!
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We all have a tendency to make mixing more complicated than it really is. On the surface (and in many publications, both print and online) mixing seems to be about turning fancy knobs on fancy plugins and using all kinds of secret moves and voodoo gear. In reality, the process of mixing is simple and can be summed up in one word: balance.
You Only Have One Job
Much like Anakin Skywalker was supposed to bring balance to the Force, your job, your ONLY job as a mixer is to bring balance to the recorded tracks before you. Nothing more, nothing less. You do this with simple tools like faders, pan pots, EQ and compression. If, when using these tools you keep in mind your sole job as a mixer is to bring balance to the tracks, you will mix with purpose and clarity.
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If you’re like me, you rarely get to record your drums in a nice big studio space. Perhaps your tracking space is a bedroom, basement or living room. Maybe you’ve tried using room mics or a mono room mic to capture some energy and ambience naturally, but in the mix it just doesn’t sound great. Here’s a nifty little trick to take that lackluster room mic (or pair of room mics) and turn them into a more studio ready sound.