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Red Light District

Red Light District

March 7th, 2010 by

Hello readers, if you’ve stumbled upon this then I guess you’re somewhat interested in the wide (and very confusing) world of audio production/recording. Throughout this series of columns we will touch on many different aspects of recording, from good equipment to start out with to methodology, to mixing, and many other small things along the way. In this introductory column we’ll glance over some of the very basic principles and ideals of recording/music production. And, before I forget, and I cannot stress this enough, this is about your ears, first and foremost.

All for you?

A rough estimate would be that about 90% of people doing this whole recording thing were at the beginning musicians, and it is also likely that their first experience with recording was recording themselves. Now this isn’t always the case, but more then likely it is these days. In addition to that though, it can also be said that some people ONLY record themselves, which is cool, too. Either way, whether it’s for you, or for a band you’re working with, there are important things to incorporate into your skill set, like good session/file organization, creating a system for how you work, and optimizing each step of your process to make the following step that much easier, and obviously we’ll be touching upon all of this.

Knowing All The Different Animal Kung Fu Styles

9 times out of 10, we would see versatility as an advantage. In recording it’s pretty much the same deal. Even if you’re only making music in a specific style, or your only producing music for people in a specific style, the amount of insight you’ll gain from working on many different styles of music is invaluable. There is definitely no single way to record everything out there, different situations/music require different tools and ideals, and the overlap and borrowing between projects and styles is just too important not to experience. It’s a big world out there.

Gears Of (Recording) War

Now obviously, as predicted and rightly so, we are going to be talking about the necessary (and unnecessary tools) of recording. Thinking about buying that $2,500 microphone to send into that $300 interface? Or how about using that really nice microphone preamp you just got into some really unstable A/D conversion? Or what about the ever classic situation of using some decent monitors in a terrible position in an acoustically untreated room? Yeah, we’re going to tackle a whole bunch of this stuff. We’ll also be talking about choices in recording software, as well as plugins, and all the other new-school toys that are out there and how you can take the best advantage of them.

Shit in? Shit out.

Oh no, I used a word of curse. Obviously with some of the extremely warped and nonsensical practices in recording today (mostly involving corrective and replacement technologies), it would be unfair of me not to talk about the importance of getting it right going in (as in performance). Later on we will discus this in depth, and if you don’t realize it already, it will become abundantly clear that you might not always need to go stampeding toward the drum samples, or the tuning plugin, or the time correction. We will talk about the dangers of “fixing it in the mix” and we will also talk about the general overuse of the corrective technologies we have available these days.

The Kool-Aid Is Not For Everyone

I cannot stress enough here, that you should never be afraid to do what sounds best to you. Guess what? if the entire internet says to use so and so’s presets on all your plugins, and only ever use blah blah blah’s advice for getting drum sounds, and it sounds crappy to you, that’s because it probably does in fact sound crappy. A lot people have their own ideas and theories for recording and production (and 99% of the time, if it’s on the internet it most likely won’t apply to you nearly as well). Don’t ever be afraid to do what works for YOU, and always arrive at those results by what you HEAR and EXPERIENCE, not by what the internet recommends. We’ll discuss things that might not apply 100% to you, the reader, and they shouldn’t. They shouldn’t apply 100% to you because everyone works and creates differently, and the sooner you discover yourself, the better and more fun your results will be. Remember, advice is great, but your own experience is what will count.

A Taste Of Things To Come

If you’ve made it this far in reading, then I didn’t scare you off, and that’s good. Stay tuned for this series of columns, and hopefully you will take away something positive from them all. Either way, thank you very much for reading.

Coming Up Next Column:

“Ignition” In this column we will talk about the very bare fundamentals of modern recording, critical listening, what you should know, and how you can lay the best foundation possible for yourself before diving into this crazy world of recording.

Red Light District

About Jeremy Krull

Jeremy Krull is a multi-instrumentalist/producer/engineer hailing from New York. In 2008, he graduated from Berklee College Of Music majoring in Music Production and Engineering. He has nearly 20 years of playing guitar under his belt as well as constantly growing amount of professional recording experience. He is currently working or has worked with: Dark Empire, Hiss Of Atrocities, Sincarnate, Greg Burroughs, This Car Up, Flinn Pomeroy, Jimi Anderson, Chris Buono/Dave Fiuczynski, the Magna Carta label, and Bumblefoot. The column he is responsible for at Guitar Messenger is known as Red Light District, and focuses on a moderately in-depth look at modern home record production for guitarists. In his column you will find advice on equipment, software, tracking, mixing, and overall production.

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  • Matt B

    Looking forward to reading more :-)