Here are a few quick, bite-sized tips to help you boost the quality of your recordings and get better sounding demos and mixes.
Tip #1: Great Recordings Start at the Source
My favorite recordings are those that sound great before any further processing is applied in the mix stage - "We'll fix it in post" just never sounds that great.
Let's consider a drum kit. If I walk into the room while the drummer is playing and the kit just doesn't sound good at all, I can't expect the recording to be any better.
Usually, I try and spend some time in the room listening to the instrument and identify if anything needs to be tweaked. This is before I go ahead and figure out what to do with microphones or processing on the recording side.
For example, tuning a snare drum head and maybe adding a gel or two can save a lot of time processing that same snare later on if it isn't sounding right in the space.
Tip #2: Move the Mics
It's easier than ever to reach for an EQ today to tweak the sound in a recording, but it can be just as effective to go out into the room and move the mic around.
For example, adjusting where the mic is positioned on a guitar or bass amp cab can totally change how the tone is captured. Moving the mic and listening to the results can be more impactful than anything you could do with an EQ.
Tip #3: Use Gain for Balance
This one takes a bit of trial and error to get right, but it can make a big difference to your recordings.
When you listen back to your recordings, set all your faders at 0 dB and remove all the plugins you've been using. Now - listen back - what needs to be balanced better?
Consider making those tweaks at the source in your next recording and watch your rough mixes come together quicker and with less clip gain and fader movements.
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