Recording Base has always strived to be a place where musicians and producers can find the correct recording advice. But this time, we’re focusing on the most common recording mistakes – mistakes that both new and veteran recording artists tend to still make.
So what are these mistakes and what can you do to avoid them?
Not choosing the right microphone
If your music involves recording anything outside of the digital space, you’ll need to be more precise when it comes to choosing and using microphones.
Neumann and AKG vocal microphones, while expensive, are definitely worth the investment if your music centers around warm vocals or acoustic instruments.
But if you have a limited budget, even a basic Audio-Technica or Blue Yeti mic can do wonders in the studio. Reputable microphone review site Shout4Music has a series of comprehensive features on the different premium and entry-level models made by these popular microphone brands.
Taking the time to compare specs like diaphragm size, sensitivity, and frequency range can help you to pinpoint which brand or specific model will best serve your recording needs.
You might also want to look into useful added features like USB compatibility, and whether or not the mic comes with its own cradle and shield.
If any of these terms seem unfamiliar, look them up, especially if you’re planning to record vocals or instruments.
Neglecting mixing and mastering
In a nutshell, mixing is all about balancing and editing individual tracks or adding effects.
Even if it’s your first time recording music, you should already try to learn about mixing and even mastering your own tracks. All you need to start mixing is your own digital audio workstation (DAW).
Music tech review site Bedroom Producers Blog lists several DAWs that you can get for free, including Studio One Prime, Cakewalk by Bandlab, Waveform Free, and many others.
While these are tasks often delegated to producers or specialists, musicians who know how to mix and/or master their own tracks will find it much easier to work in any type of recording setting, whether it’s just in your bedroom or in a fancy label’s studio.
The more you know about what mixing and mastering entail, the closer you can get to your intended sound right from the recording process. It’s also much easier to work with producers when you can speak their language.
Not taking acoustics seriously
Recording room acoustics are an often-neglected part of the recording, which is unfortunate.
The improvement in sound quality you can get from acoustically fine-tuning your recording space can make recording any type of live music much easier.
Basically, hard and angled surfaces reflect sounds while softer and flatter surfaces tend to absorb it. This is why sound absorbers are made using special foam panels, and why angular rooms like theatres and churches have natural echoes.
You can apply these same principles to your recording space until you get the right balance of sound reflection and absorption.
Using software like REQ Wizard can also help when you’re making sound measurements using your mic and other input devices.
Considering the amount of free software and practical acoustics information you can find on the web, it’s entirely possible for you to DIY your way to fine acoustics.
These are just some of the most common recording mistakes you can make in the studio. If you can avoid making these mistakes, you’re already one big step towards becoming a better producer and recording artist.
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Gautam Roy is a recording engineer and a blogger from India. He loves music, writing and travelling. He is also an active investor and a successful entrepreneur.