Now that I’ve had time to really work on my recording techniques, I’ve finally decided which instrument is hardest for me to record. At first, I thought it might be drums, as multiple mics are needed and getting the tone of the drums without all the excess noise in the room seemed like it would be really hard. Then, I thought, maybe vocals would be really hard to record, or piano. But no, the hardest instrument (for me) to record are guitars; specifically distorted guitars.

Recording Guitar

The struggle I always have is that the frequencies I usually want to boost with distorted guitars (300Hz – 750Hz range) muddy up the mix, but when I take them out some, the beefiness of the guitars dissipates with the surrounding instruments and vocals. It’s a fine line to walk, and I have to always tread lightly. What’s funny is that the drums are my favorite (and easiest) to record. In addition to the frequencies, actually recording guitars and the methods used changes drastically from instrument to instrument. I’ve found the best method for my studio (obviously adjustments are made during the process, but this is a general starting point) is to plug into an emulated line output (if available), have a directional mic in front of the best sounding speaker in the amp (at a slight angle to the speaker), and a room mic about 4 feet back and directly in front of the amp. That way, I can get a thick sound, and multiple tones that the guitar produces, from the microphones, while getting clarity from the emulated line output. This is usually a great starting point to recording guitars.

What is your hardest instrument to record? How did you work around it? Also, which is your favorite/best?

Reaper – Review

Posted: October 8, 2013 in Uncategorized

Ok, I’ve wanted to do this for a while, but was waiting to really get a lot of usage with the program. I feel it is time to review Reaper, by Cockos…

So, to start off, this program is very user friendly with what you can do with it. You can fully customize your experience with the program; the way you use it (and the way it looks) can greatly vary from user to user. This is very intimidating at first, especially being new to the program. But luckily the forums online care very helpful and you will be able to learn the program basics fairly quickly.

This DAW also works with a variety of peripherals. I can use my newer, Audiovox 1818 and it work just fine; I can then connect my Mackie analog mixer up in the same way, and it finds the drivers automatically. This is very helpful, especially if you’ve accumulated more and more equipment over the years.

I do have to say this: if you are looking for a DAW that can do composition, and do it fairly easily, THIS IS NOT THE PROGRAM FOR YOU. I love this program, but for compositional works, I would suggest a DAW like Logic. And if you are looking for a program that relies heavily on making beats (techno, house, rap, etc), I would look elsewhere as well. You can make beats and whatnot in Reaper, but I’m sure there are more fluid programs out there. All that being said, Reaper is phenomenal for recording, mixing, and mastering, and can do A LOT. In fact, Reaper comes with so many good in-program plugins that I have rarely looked elsewhere for additional plugins. You want a drum trigger to go along with your snare? There’s and awesome plugins for that built in. How about a huge delay that doesn’t lost it’s clarity? There’s another awesome plugin for that. Also, are you familiar with GarageBand and many of the settings/plugins used with that? That’s right: Reaper has an “AU” plugin section to use most (not all) of those plugins; any that are missing from the list have Reaper equivalents that are just as good, if not better.

I must admit, that when my buddy first recommended it to me (he does a lot of live mixing/recording), I wasn’t very interested. But now, I can’t shut up about this program! In addition, if you’re on a budget, this is perfect for you; selling for a mere $60. I highly recommend this program: comes with the versatility and most of the same options as a powerhouse like Pro Tools (NOT all options, but a lot of them), is easier to use then most other complex DAWs, and has the price for a new sound engineer. Oh, and did I mention it works for both Mac and PC? I didn’t. Well, it does! Reaper is worth a look, so try the free trial version by clicking here.

Know Your Program

Posted: September 27, 2013 in Uncategorized
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Now that I’ve spent a lot of time with Reaper (awesome program, by the way), it’s amazing the things I can do now. When I did my first recording, it was rough, to put it lightly. And the mixing/mastering process was even more so. I wanted to pull my hair out. But I stuck with it.

I recorded two of my own songs, with the purpose of learning my DAW and getting to be proficient with it. Now that Iv’e spent a chunk of time with Reaper, I’m going back to my previous recordings, and it is SO much more enjoyable of an experience. And I listen to what I had done before, and what I can do now; the difference is kind of humiliating and awesome at the same time.

I guess the point of this random post is to choose your DAW and stick with it! Don’t give up, and just continue to work out the bugs. It seems like every DAW get more and more customizable to each user as well, so be diligent and know your program; don’t give up!

Taking the Steps

Posted: September 24, 2013 in Uncategorized
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I have to say, stepping out and trying to start a business is a scary thought. I mean, what if I fail? What if people don’t like the job that I do? Will I be able to legitimately help up and coming musicians while still be able to provide for my family? There are a lot of scary thoughts.

 

And with a baby on the way, it makes it even more complicated and scary. What kind of time will I have? If this becomes a legitimate business, what will my time look like? Man, there’s a lot to chew on. But, this is something I really want to do, and to excel at; and I’ve got to start somewhere. I look forward to when I can upgrade [much needed] equipment, and expand my knowledge. It’s going to be a tough road, and it will take me a lot of work. Which leads me to the axis of my little rant: working for something you love will not be easy, but it will be fulfilling. I’m looking forward to the day when I’m not scared of these things anymore, but rather, it is commonplace and I deal with it all the time. Anyway, I’m done with my thoughts for the day, and wasting your time on random thoughts and fears. Have a great day, and remember to work towards your dreams and not be ashamed of the road taken to get there!

Ready to Go

Posted: September 24, 2013 in Uncategorized
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Hey all! If anyone is actually checking this blog out anymore (or ever was!), you should check out the couple of Sinnett Studio samples that we have up. You can click here to check them out. If you have any recording needs, whether far or near, perhaps I can help you out. Anyway, I hope you have a great day!

 

~Mike

So, after going through some songs that I’ve recorded and mixed (and attempted to master), I’ve come to the conclusion that I not one to master songs. Tracking and mixing, I can do. But as far as mastering goes, I need to send the projects to someone else.

When I first started looking into recording, one of the first things I noticed was that many suggested having a different mastering engineer if you are the tracking/mixing engineer. At first I thought, “I can be the exception.” Well, I was wrong. Some people can, but I am now in the camp that believes whoever tracks/mixes a song or album should send their finished product to an engineer who knows their what they are doing.

I began thinking why this might be; why is it better to have a separate person master than the one mixing? Why couldn’t I [efficiently] do both?

I think it comes down to this: you are your own worst enemy. We all have gifts, and the sooner we realize what we are not good at (along with what we are good at), the easier each project will become. I found that the more I messed around with a song after I felt I had finished it, the more is made it soundworse. I guess some people (me!) have to learn the hard way sometimes.

Been A While…

Posted: July 2, 2013 in Studio Work

Well, with all the work I’ve been doing (at both my job and with getting Sinnett Studio started), I completely forgot about my blog. But it’s ok, because I suddenly remembered it! Ha ha. Anyway, I figured I would share some experiences with the recoding business and what I’ve learned on the small business side of things.

In February, my partner in crime, Isaiah, and I recorded a band named Clearview for free. In return, we could use their songs for promotion of the studio (not claiming they were our songs, of course). I learned a lot from the experience. In a nutshell, this is what I’ve learned:

1) Some musicians/bands are picky. This is a good AND bad thing. This doesn’t necessarily mean they are being pre-madonnas, or acting arrogant. This could simply mean they know what they want. So, being the sound engineer, you need to be able to discern between making a stand in a decision, and knowing when to just do what they say. At the end of the day, you both need to realize that you want to benefit the band; this needs to be efficiently shown as well. This way the band will trust you when you decide to suggest/decide something with the sounds/color/tone/layout of the music.

2) Develop a system by using bands as “guinea pigs.” No, you won’t get paid, and it will be like free work, but I’ll tell you this: when recording, mixing, and mastering this band, I discovered (very quickly, I might add) my strengths and weaknesses. I am extremely glad that I discovered these before I actually began my business. Be patient, and do charity work

3) Have a trusted group. I could go on into the technical aspects of recording, the lengthy process of mixing, or the art of mastering. But I’m pretty sure you could find all the info you want with a simple Google search. The final thing I discovered was to have a select group (not many, in my opinion) of people to listen to your mixes as the progress. For me, it was my wife, and Isaiah. If the 3 of us agreed on the sound, levels, creative additions, etc on a song, the outcome was usually good. I would listen to the song in my car and it would sound good, or at the very least, start at a very good foundation to work from.

Anyway, these are just some musings and realizations I discovered when going through the process. Take them or leave them, but I figured I would throw them out there just to try and help anyone who cares to read my posts. If ever you have any other questions, I will gladly share what I know in my short life as a beginning sound engineer. Just send an email to mike@sinnettstudio.com or leave a comment below. And just for checking out my blog, here is the latest single we will be promoting soon on our website – http://www.sinnettstudio.com. Just click here.