Modifying Your Music Gear

I’d like to take a break from writing about home recording for a moment and talk about some mods I’ve made to my musical gear. Modifying your gear can not only be fun, but it can seriously change your sound to help you stand out in the crowd. This goes for both musicians and engineers. […]

Dithering, Is It Really Needed?

Dithering. I remember learning about this in college. I remember it being a subject that was easy to understand within the confines of a software processing environment. It was simply a way of taking a large binary word and turning it into a smaller one to save hard drive space without compromising the quality of […]

Bake Day

I’ve been working on a project lately that has become far more intricate and complicated than I ever expected it to be. When it began a couple of months ago I truly felt that we would be farther along. And as the level of complication of these tracks with their stacks of plugins continues to […]

Room Emulator Plugins

Last week we talked about analog gear emulators. But what about room emulators? Can you really get a clean, publication-ready mix through your headphones? Like many of you, I work out of my home and strive to get a mix from my living room that sounds like it came from a commercial studio. And, also […]

Analog Emulators vs. Analog Gear

Let’s start by saying that we don’t actually need analog gear. Nevertheless, everyone loves analog gear. I love analog gear. I’m sure that you do too. But why are we so drawn to it? Because if used properly it sounds great! So what about analog emulators? Well if used properly they sound great too. Not exactly […]

Recording Volume…

Without a doubt the biggest problem I see with tracks that people send me is volume. I’m constantly turning things down. In rock n roll it’s been said time and again that louder is better. That may (or may not in my opinion) be true on stage, but it’s certainly not true in the studio. […]

The Mystical Compressor (Part 2): Operation

Ok, the moment you’ve all been waiting for! Here’s the secret trick to operating a compressor flawlessly every time. Wait for it… Use. Your. Ears. That’s all; just use your ears. I have a friend and studio owner near Roanoke, VA named Jake Dempsey. He’s fond of the saying, “Ears before gear.” And he’s right. […]

What does a limiter do? How do I use it?

Our last blog was about basic compressor education (“The Mystical Compressor Part 1”). I thought that before I write Part 2 where I will give some advice on compressor operation, I should address limiting. The two are very closely related in function and controls. The applications, however, are very different. A limiter is essentially a […]

The Mystical Compressor (Part 1): Basics

Ah, the infamous compressor. Few things are more confusing to a new sound engineer than compression. The basic concept of compression is easy enough to understand. It’s the controls and proper operation that often baffles us. Understanding compression and how to use it is an essential skill for any mixing engineer. Mastering compression can make […]