Mixing music for just local musicians is a thing of the past. Someone in China could get an audio engineer in the United States to mix their music. Remote mixing and recording has been around for awhile but there have always been issues with latency (audio delay) and audio quality.
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This plugin allows you to stream high quality, near zero latency audio to a web browser. I tested it with a guy in Germany and it worked remarkably well.
Watch this Real Home Recording video for more information on this game changing product:
Perhaps even more important than equalization, the process of making instrument volume levels even throughout the duration of a song is paramount to achieving a great mix.
Volume levels should be somewhat dynamic for creative purposes, but for many instruments–particularly bass guitar and vocals–the volume should be relatively even. Otherwise, you risk listeners ability to hear every word or every note.
So…how do we do this? There are two major ways. First, you could go through and even out the levels with manual fader riding. But…that takes a lot of time and time is money as they say. So…what else? Compression.
Compression is basically automatic gain riding. You set how the compressor should react to a signal that goes over a set level (called the Threshold) with attack and release controls.
You can also use a compressor creatively. Here are a few video tutorials to watch on the subject of compression:
If that tutorial wasn’t good enough, watch this one:
The type of compressor you use is also important. Once you learn the basics with a standard digital compressor that is built into most DAW software, it’s time to move onto hardware emulations. Watch this video for a brief overview of the compressors top audio engineers use:
There are also plugins that automatically ride volume faders for vocals and bass such as
Finally, here are some videos on how to do parallel (New York) and serial compression tricks:
What is an equalizer? It is volume for frequencies.
What are frequencies? They are periodic vibrations that are audible to the human ear. In layman’s terms, they are the parts that make up a sound wave.
Equalizers were invented originally for telephone systems. They were used to increase audible perception of electrical signals that are sent over long distances. Without the help of EQ, telephone calls would be frustrating to understand.
In the same way, equalizers help audio engineers create better audio signals. Could music be made without equalizers? Sure. You would need access to a large microphone selection and place it in the perfect spot in front of a high quality instrument along with using high fidelity (expensive) microphone preamps.
Most of us don’t have the luxury nor the time, so equalizers are a great substitute for audio that wasn’t recorded perfectly.
EQs are also employed during the recording process for the very same reasons. Even if a studio has a large collection of microphones and very nice preamps, they may not have the time to audition each microphone to hear which one works best for a particular instrument or voice. EQs are time and money savers.
So, how do you use them? My favorite way is layed out in this video:
I use that technique in every mix because it simply works. Now…what are some of my favorite equalizers? Watch these videos:
I have an affinity for clean equalizers like DDMF IIEQ Pro at the start of a chain. Then a “character” equalizer like an API 550b, Neve 1073 or Pultec next. Rounding everything off, a nice dynamic equalizer after compression may be needed. So yes, I am a fan of serial EQing to get the job done.
Drums are one of the hardest instruments to record. Here are a few excellent video tutorials on the topic of drums recording. First, take a look at the Focusrite Academy video series. Then, play the videos below:
That should be enough to cover the art of recording drums. If you haven’t already, read the How to Tune Drums article.
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There are a number of excellent articles online about the art of tuning drums. The Drum Tuning Bible is among the best. If for some reason that link ever goes down I have archived it in PDF form here: DrumTuningBible
Next up, some video tutorials! But before that, I recommend the Tune-bot Studio to make life easier. If you need to tune drums in a noisy environment then the Digital DrumDial is a good alternative.