Preparing for a Vocal Recording Session

microphone

Preparation for anything tends to be kind of a bitch. Practicing all the parts of the music to a metronome, setting up microphone stands, setting levels, tweaking compressors, inserting effects, laying carpets, and other ghetto techniques to deaden ugly frequencies – all in hopes that it will make your music sound sexier.

Last summer, while recording my band a few demo tracks, I seriously underestimated how long it would take to prep for each recording session. It was the sole reason our demo project turned into a rush job, and our recordings definitely suffered because of it!

Vocals, in particular, were a superroboticcyborgbitch. It figures I’d find an article with advice on how to prepare after the fact, and not 6 months ago. Anyway, this little ditty makes some excellent points that I’d like to share!

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Simple Audio Mixing Tips [Part 3]

mixing console

This is the 3rd installment of some simple audio mixing tips I’ve been posting up every so often. Here are five more intriguing tips to try out while mixing your audio!

Check ‘em out…

1) Turn up the monitors pretty loud, then leave the room and shut the door and listen to the mix from outside of the room. Doing this can sometimes reveal weird things in the mix that you may not have heard from directly in front of the speakers. It can also help with making sure the track levels are well balanced. I know this may not make much sense but try it out! It really does work, some professionals use this trick and swear by it!

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Simple Audio Mixing Tips [Part 2]

Neve mixing board

This is my second installment of “Simple Audio Mixing Tips,” so I’m back to share five more interesting tips to try out while mixing your audio! Ok, lets just get right to it:

1) Mute vocal tracks when there is a break of more than a second or two to kill any unwanted noise. In my experience, vocal tracks tend to be the noisiest and contain the most artifacts out of any other instrument. I think it is because much more sensitive microphones (LDC’s, in particular) are being used that pick up everything happening inside and immediately outside of a room (damn you airplanes!!). To cut back on some of the noise in your mixes, try this simple technique to eliminate unwanted breaths, licking of lips, or any other interesting noises that really don’t belong in your audio. A great way to automate this “muting” process is to use a noise gate, which kicks in once the track falls below the dB threshold that you specify.

2) For drums especially, import a known good track into the session, and see how yours sounds compared to the reference. Mix to get yours sounding more like the reference. This is an extremely helpful technique. You should always A/B a reference mix that has certain qualities you may want to emulate. It is much easier to hear it than to think you know what it sounds like already, because you are most likely wrong. Use this technique for any instrument, and for entire mixes, its really helpful!!

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