10 tips on recording music

If you want to record music, but you (think you) are either a complete n00b, or you are hung up in the details, check out these tips.

The best equipment is the one you have

Way too many people gets stuck in gear snob mode. Stop dreaming about those tube preamps or the Studer tape machine, and get started with the stuff you already have. Just get started.

Record and experiment lot, so it becomes your second nature

It’s the only sure fire way to gain hands on experience. You’ll also develop a healthy routine, so it’s gonna take less and less time to set up your recording equipment.

Have an accurate mental image of the sounds you’re after, and try to get as close to them as possible during recording

tips on recording music - in the studioThat’s a key aspect if you want to create good sounding music. Instead of shooting randomly in the dark and waiting for the rare, magical moments of stumbling onto something usable, you better create the whole thing in your head right from the start.

The more elements you’re going to have in your arrangement, the smaller sounding they need to be recorded (don’t wait with it until mixing)

It’s another step towards making things easier for yourself right from the get go. Since you already have a clear idea of what it want to sound like, you can stop leaving the enormous low end and ice picky high end on your tracks. No more “fix it in the mix” necessary.

Pick/create a good sounding environment to record in

It’s gonna save you a lot of time and hassle in the long run. Much easier to record something with the room sound then trying to fake a good 3D room sound with a reverb on a close miked source.

If you want a distant sound, record it from a distance

Many people automatically stick that SM57 in the face of the cab then hit record. Just to realize it was going to be a rhythm guitar track, having to roll of the EQ and add reverb just to move the sound to the back. You can actually capture distance, instead of faking it.

Always work on getting new sounds, ones you haven’t quite heard before – these can become your signature ones later

Yep. Don’t spend you life trying to be the best possible copycat. You can create something that’s entirely yours. Let others try to follow you, not the other way ’round.

When nature (or whatever you believe in) gives you an opportunity to reduce noise, go with it; the earlier, the better

Why spend precious time fixing that hiss or hum with the gate and NR software, if you could record it more carefully? Watch your gain staging and be aware of what equipment to run or not to run together to get the lowest possible noise level during recording.

Crap music will not sound better when recorded properly

In other words, your beautiful sound won’t be able to save the day if the music sucks. A polished turd is still a turd.

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