Daniel Sweet, Pro Musician
(back in the good 'ole days)
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This list from studio recording artist Daniel Sweet is just a bunch of things to keep in mind when you’re doing a home studio recording. It is by no means a complete list, just a collection of things that I think about when I’m doing a recording. Also note that some of the items in the list should be taken with a grain of salt...
Best Home Studio Recording Setup Tips:
• Spike Everything. Masking tape is your friend – if your recording is going to run over multiple sessions, put it on the floor under your microphone stands, the music stands, the instruments and the amplifiers. Digital photos help too.
• When you’re not the only person around the gear, make sure that’s it’s damned near impossible to trip in any cables. Tape everything down. On remote recording gigs, it’s always a good idea to run cables over door frames rather than across the threshold.
• If you have a temporary setup, or there is the possibility of someone tripping over a cable, leave lots of slack at both ends of the cable. When recording, I always leave a couple of loops of mic cable at the base of the mic stand, and at the other end, usually on the floor under the mic preamp. That way, if someone does trip in a cable, they just drag the cable a bit without your gear crashing to the floor.
• On a remote recording gig, make friends with the caretaker, the cleaning staff, the secretary, and the stagehands... anyone that is in a position to help you out of a jam. It’s always a good idea to bring along a couple of CD’s to give away to people as presents to make friends quicker. I admit that this is manipulative, but it works, and it pays off.
• Put your gain as early in the signal path as is possible.
• When you’re recording to a digital medium, try to get the peak level as close as you can to 0 dBFS without going over.
• Never use a boost in the EQ of the recording if you can use a cut instead.
• Never use EQ if the problem can be solved with a different microphone, microphone position, or microphone orientation.
• Usually, the best microphone position looks really strange. My personal feeling is that, if a microphone looks like it’s in the right place, it probably isn’t. Always remember that a person listening to a CD can’t see where the microphones were.
• No one that buys a CD cares how tired you were at the end of the session – they expect $20 worth of perfection. In other words, fix everything.
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