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Yeah, so what?
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok, I know this one maybe a little lame, but I thought of posting it anyways. The thing is, when I listen to most of the recordings here, they just sound so professional, thick and yet clear, I was just wondering how you guys do it. A lot of times we ask the same questions, what did you use for this song? etc, when we listen to a great song, so I just thought of trying to make some sort build-up info for everyone here.
Ok here´s mine: I use Audacity, and for the classic ´play over a BT´ upload whatever BT in it on a track, choose whatever sound for guitar in a guitar ME which is connected to PC thru the line in, hit the record and go on. After that I try to embelish the crappy thing I just done sometimes adding some reverb, doubling the guitar and/or the BT on another track, which seems to make the whole sound a little thicker, and sometimes some compression, normalizing, eq, (stuff that come on Audacity, they seem to be something similar to VST plug-in´s), but never get close to some recordings I listen here, even volume-wise when I pump it up it starts getting distorted, and yet when you listen to it compared to some posts here it sounds low, how do you kick in that volume without messing it? (Keep the guitar work out, just talking about sound).
Thanks for sharing, it would be nice for everyone to make decent recordings, a benefit for everyones ears, :thumb:
 

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excess to requirements
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the easy answer is - it isn't easy! EQ is one of the most important friends you can have because it helps to distinguish between tracks. also panning is important as it creates space. Most importantly don't let your ears fool you into thinking louder = more clarity. That might sound a little silly but the brain does respond to volume. this is one of my stumbling points when mixing drums.

there are tools that beef up the output. by far the best that I have used is waves ultra maximizer http://www.savedbytechnology.com/products/reviews/waves_l3_review.htm
 

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I think your problems would be solved with a simple process called "Normalize" which is standard in most recording programs. It pumps up the overall volume without any overload.

If you e-mail me one of your clips....I'll normalize it and send it back so you can hear the difference.....or at least take a look at it and tell you what's wrong.
 

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VHfanOU812 said:
I think your problems would be solved with a simple process called "Normalize" which is standard in most recording programs. It pumps up the overall volume without any overload.

If you e-mail me one of your clips....I'll normalize it and send it back so you can hear the difference.....or at least take a look at it and tell you what's wrong.
Thought I'd chime in....on the Normalize suggestion. I have Goldwave and imported one of my covers into it to normalize it and afterwards it sounded as if all the life was sucked out of it..like It was muffled almost...guess I did something wrong? Any ideas?:scratch:
 

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Riff Addict said:
Thought I'd chime in....on the Normalize suggestion. I have Goldwave and imported one of my covers into it to normalize it and afterwards it sounded as if all the life was sucked out of it..like It was muffled almost...guess I did something wrong? Any ideas?:scratch:
Not sure....I use Adobe Audition and it tends to give a track max volume and dynamic range.....just the opposite of what you experienced.
 

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You didn't mention what type of sound card you are using, but I found using a 24-bit soundcard vs. a 16-bit card made a HUGE difference in the quality of my recordings. Recordings made with 16-bit cards always sounded thin and tinny, whereas the 24-bit recordings sound more like what I hear from my amp. I guess my point is that I would make sure you are getting a good hi-quality signal into your computer as a starter. I picked up a used M-Audio Audiophile 24/96 for around $100 on Ebay a couple of years ago.

Another thing I use a lot of is the Izotope Ozone plugin. I guess technically this is a mastering plug-in, but I use it on my guitar tracks to add 'oomph', as well as to polish the final mix.

Of course, the best advice is to practice, practice, practice :) I listen back to recordings I made 2-3 years ago and there is an obvious improvement in production quality.

Here's a couple of really good reference sites:
http://tweakheadz.com/
http://www.recordingproject.com/

Good luck!
-dc
 

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Da Blooze Guy
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DrCode said:
You didn't mention what type of sound card you are using, but I found using a 24-bit soundcard vs. a 16-bit card made a HUGE difference in the quality of my recordings. Recordings made with 16-bit cards always sounded thin and tinny, whereas the 24-bit recordings sound more like what I hear from my amp. I guess my point is that I would make sure you are getting a good hi-quality signal into your computer as a starter. I picked up a used M-Audio Audiophile 24/96 for around $100 on Ebay a couple of years ago.

Another thing I use a lot of is the Izotope Ozone plugin. I guess technically this is a mastering plug-in, but I use it on my guitar tracks to add 'oomph', as well as to polish the final mix.

Of course, the best advice is to practice, practice, practice :) I listen back to recordings I made 2-3 years ago and there is an obvious improvement in production quality.

Here's a couple of really good reference sites:
http://tweakheadz.com/
http://www.recordingproject.com/

Good luck!
-dc
I second that, both really good sites, I learned a lot from them, and like the man said, practice, practice, practice.
 

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Ear Candy Distributor
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Up to now I've really just plugged into the PODxt, got a level and recorded it down into Cakewalk 9.0. It's an Audigy Card...about 3 years old.

Now trying to learn this Roland 24 track and in theory it IS easy but I still come indoors and plug into my bean-shaped xt over all the studio stuff at the moment because I know what sounds to expect and how to get them. The new stuff will take some getting used to but when Geordie and me have finished his build and all his stuff goes over there, I'll probably go for a card based system cos it's real simple.
 

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Yeah, so what?
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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Hey guys, I really apreaciate your inputs, thanks a lot! :thumb:
Goport: Gotta try that ultramaximizer, sounds good stuff. The thing is, I guess I should change from Audacity, which doesn´t support VST, but some kind of equivalent, to another kind of software I guess, maybe Cakewalk, cubase, ... :dunno: The thing is I really like the simplicity of Audacity, but it is limiting for ´pumping up and thickening´recordings.It does have some neat EQ which I use though. I understand sound level is not equal to quality, but it is one point I seem to not reach with what I have.
VHfanOU812: I do use the Normalize thing as I mentioned at the beginning, maybe I have to set the parameters to do the job more efficiently, or maybe the one that comes with Audacity is just not doing it enough,.. thanks for your offer about e-mailing, really apreciate it! I´ll send you some short clips, if you don´t mind, and see what you think, :thumb:
DrCode: Yeah, sorry for not mentioning it, but it´s a decent soundcard, (24 bit), and the input signal seems ok, thru the line in, coming from a RP200 serving as preamp. In that sense I think its ok, no delay on recordings, and a decent 24 bit out put tone from the gadget, and the PC is a pretty powerfull one all around. Gotta try that Ozone plugin, thanks for mentioning it, but again under another recording software. BTW, the tweakheads link I just found out a couple days ago, great one, Gotta check the other one too, thx again for the links. Browsing for these issues I found another one very interesting, its a neat one, for gnx users but has good info for everyone look for the ´Book of Dar: Optimizing your sound
Again, thx a lot, and lets keep this thing going on sharing all those ´small details´that make a ´huge difference´on our recordings.
 

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Ok here is some of my not so secret secrets:
Drums
I create all the drum patterns with soundfonts. I then usually put the bass and snare on different tracks so I can put a touch of reverb on the snare only and compress the bass drum. It gives me a pretty good drum sound.

Bass
I use half-decent bass soundfonts until I get a real bass guitar but you can get good results if you compress the bass sound.

Guitars
I always double track my rhythm guitars to thicken the sound and most of the lead parts too.

Other instruments
I always try to use other instruments like piano and synths to create new sound ideas, I have loads of soundfonts and soft synths.

I record guitar parts dry and then add FX if needed at mixing stage. Until I get a decent set of monitors I mix with decent quality headphones. Try not to over-use Reverb and try not to place everything in the centre of the stereo field.

Other than that, experiment and trust your ear but also get other people's opinions and take them on board.
 

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Thats good advice phil...I was wondering...when you arm the track and start to record, are you supposed to set the slider "way up" and then adjust the level "down" after OR set the slider "way down" then adjust the level upward?? I set the slider toward the top, then record. Set Mains last. Make any difference?:dunno:
 

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Riff Addict said:
Thats good advice phil...I was wondering...when you arm the track and start to record, are you supposed to set the slider "way up" and then adjust the level "down" after OR set the slider "way down" then adjust the level upward?? I set the slider toward the top, then record. Set Mains last. Make any difference?:dunno:
I usually set mine near the top to get the loudest possible signal without distorting.
 

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phil28uk said:
I usually set mine near the top to get the loudest possible signal without distorting.
Yes, you don't want to go above 0 and clip. On the other hand you don't want to be quiet so that when you turn you up enough to hear you also turn the noise up enough to hear. Pluss not getting enough volume also doesn't give as much sampled dynamics, at least that is my theory. Louder volume gets a nicer sampled wav. So the trick, as always, is balance...if you see red you have turned up too far.
 

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one important thing to do is to give space for each track . i usually put drums and bass down the center and offset the lead and ryth guit because guitars tend to blend a little. also ill burn a mix and listen to it in my car then go back and tweak it.and like said earlier practice,practice. i listen to my old 4 track cassette recordings from 10 years ago and scratch my head :wtf:
 

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psymetal said:
one important thing to do is to give space for each track . i usually put drums and bass down the center and offset the lead and ryth guit because guitars tend to blend a little. also ill burn a mix and listen to it in my car then go back and tweak it.and like said earlier practice,practice. i listen to my old 4 track cassette recordings from 10 years ago and scratch my head :wtf:
I do the car thing. but now I mix the drums down to 2 tracks and pan hard left and right. I only do one for the bass, but I pan it slightly off centre.

Guitars I either record twice and double them and pan hard l/r or clone and pan hard l/r. Lead I centre unless vocals are going on at the same time.
 

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stingx said:
I test my mix on the shitiest speakers I have and if they sound good on that I know it's a winner.
I think you are just joking but it could be misconstrued. You really want the best, flattest response speakers you can afford in the best room you can get. Shitty speakers could make you make bad choices.
 

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nope he ain't joking. it is common practice to have a crappy radio in most recording studios. The logic is, if it sounds good on that it will sound good on anything, this is normally done after everything is mixed at the end of the mastering stage just before mix down. It allows you to optimise the track to sound good even on the cheapest lo-fi systems. Obviously the recording and mixing stages are done on decent flat response monitors.
 

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Napoleon Dynamite
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Porty, for mixing/mastering (cannot afford separate speakers for each process) I use 8" near field active monitors.

For testing the mix, it's pretty hard to find shittier than these:



Here, want a pair?

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16836163001

A friend told me to find the shittiest/cheapest speakers. This is even better than running out to the car to test out the mix for a lazy bastard like myself. Trust me, if the end product sounds nice through these, you did good.
 
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