Investing time into experimenting with both microphone choice and placement in recording sessions, which predominantly involve tracking acoustic instruments and vocal parts are key to achieving the perfect tone of whatever you are record. Instrument and vocal tracks, which were recorded with attention to detail are more often than not the sort of tracks that you will find easier to process and sit in mix compared to tracks recorded with little to no care.
If you are fairly new to the world of music production then you will surprised at the variety of tones you can choose from at the business end of tracking (being your microphones) the next time you record. If you put the work into experimenting with microphones you will quickly learn how even the smallest of position changes can really help you to achieve the sound you want in your music.
It’s all too easy to be lazy by throwing a microphone in front of a source, hoping for the best, feeling confident in the magical powers of plug-ins to bring everything together in a mix but that’s the path of least resistance and your production may suffer because of it. If this sounds a bit close to home then there’s a chance you need to either start appreciating the importance and art of mic technique or develop your microphone placement skills, but where should you start?
First Step Tutorials For Recording Instruments And Vocals Typically Found In Band Line Ups
We have published hundreds of both free and premium video tutorials on our Production Expert video tutorial platform over the years, which have helped many recording artists and producers improve their audio production skills. Many of our tutorials were produced as series showing you full workflows of particular audio processes Others are single topic videos covering specific techniques and applications. On occasion a number of our tutorials will happen to fall within a theme, making up useful tutorial series. In this article we have pulled together seven video tutorials covering over 2 hours and 40 minutes of video in which we show you several essential first steps to microphone placement across a range of instruments and vocal tracking scenarios you will find in the recording of a typical band lineup.
Instruments which typically make up full band line ups include live drums, bass guitars, acoustic/electric guitars, pianos and of course vocals. Without knowing a few fundamental microphone skills you may struggle to get the best sounding recordings from the artists and instrumentalist you work with.
If you are new to music production and recording then these tutorials will hopefully inspire you to play around and experiment with sound and tone more with your hands holding microphones.
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First Steps To Recording Live Multitrack Drum Kits
At times drum recording can feel like a bit of a minefield. There are so many variables that need to be taken into account in order to get a good sounding performance. This recording drums first steps video shows you a handful of preparation tips you should consider before even recording a drum kit along with some advice on when and where microphones should be placed. This tutorial demonstrates the process of recording drums using a small set of mics. If you are new to recording drums then resist the urge of putting too many microphones around a kit as this approach may slow down your understanding of good mic technique practises.
First Steps To Recording Bass Guitars
Many engineers shortcut the process of recording bass guitar by recording direct out of the bass straight into an available channel on their audio interfaces. While in many recording scenarios this approach is fine, you may find that some bassists will prefer to track their instrument through a physical amp. If this opportunity presents itself, then you need to know the basics of getting the best tone from whatever amp you are recording with a range of microphone techniques and direct feeds. In this video we demonstrate a number of first steps to record great sounding bass guitars through amps.
First Steps To Recording Acoustic Guitars
Recording acoustic guitars can be a simple or complicated. It depends on how you approach it but there are some excellent starting points to microphone placement you need to know before you consider moving onto weird and wonderful mic techniques. Should you record acoustic guitars in stereo? What are the benefits to this? What should you watch out for? All this and more is explained along with several examples of microphone placement technique. We also provide a back to back play through of the same acoustic guitar performance with different mic arrangements demonstrated to help you compare the results of each setup.
First Steps To Recording Electric Guitar Amps And Cabinets
Recording electric guitar amps is a great way to start learning how even small microphone placement moves can change the presentation and tone of sound. This video shows you how even the humble Shure SM57 dynamic microphone can give you a number of very flattering guitar tones that, if recorded well, may not need much processing later in the mix. This tutorial also includes some extra tips and techniques that you can try if you have a couple of microphones spare in your collection. Guitar amp emulation plug-ins are very convenient for sure, but they don’t really compare to the real thing… being a real amp, reacting the performer, with proper speaker breakup with air pushing down a mic… it’s an exciting source to track. Learn how to get the most out of your guitar amp recording today by watching this video.
First Steps To Recording Upright Acoustic Pianos
Acoustic piano recording isn’t as popular as the other instruments in this list as not everyone has easy access to a piano in their studios. It’s fairly common practise to instead reach for piano sample libraries and virtual instruments, which is absolutely fine as there are some amazing packages out their to sink your teeth into.
That said, if an opportunity to record a piano comes your way then don’t shy away from it. This video shows you two different ways to capture great sounding upright pianos along with some useful tips for ensuring the piano is in good order to record.
First Steps To Recording Vocals
There’s no denying that lead vocals are one of the most important parts of any music production. They carry the narrative of a lyric, the melody of the song while purveying the soul and emotion of both the artist and the music as a whole. Besides drum grooves, lead vocals are usually the first thing that catch the ear of the listener. It’s imperative that we get vocals to not only sound as good as they technically but also emotionally. The process of achieving great sounding lead vocals isn’t difficult if you follow a process that considers every aspect of the chain from vocalist, through to mic, down to the choices you make in our DAW. This extended tutorial covers vocal production techniques from the performance aspect through to general studio practises, tracking, tuning and mixing techniques which together can help you to make the process of producing vocals easier and more productive.
First Steps To Recording Gang Backing Vocals
Gang vocals are quite easy to spot in popular music. Bands such as Coldplay and Muse are the kings of arranging massive sounding gang vocals which make great ear candy for the listener. These can be fairly easy to replicate if you record two or more people around a microphone singing the same part as these can be layered in tracking over and over until you get a cool gang vocal like effect but if you are a solo singer songwriter, or a music producer with only one vocalist available you may be struggling to get that desired gang vocal effect. Follow the steps presented in this video to learn how to layer massive sounding gang vocal sections.
In this video tutorial we describe a production concept we refer to as “The Room Of People Singing Happy Birthday” which will help you to understand how to approach gang vocal production. Watch this video and learn how to get gang vocal results just like you hear in the charts today, but by using a single microphone and one vocalist. This is an especially cool production technique for home studio producers.
We hope that these videos have given you an idea how important it is to not only understand mic placement but also why you need to be able to develop your own skills in microphone technique. Try some of these tips and techniques out of yourself. Be open to playing around with some of these until you find what works for you and the music you create.