#21: Spice Up Your Recordings With Creative Reamping And Unique FX

Creative Reamping Techniques

"Everyone uses the same samples and amp sims", "everything's quantized and edited to perfection", "modern productions have no soul", "So many bands sound basically the same", ...

Well, here's the cure: 

Make your records sound special and exciting by using and creating sounds that are unique to your production and fit your vibe perfectly.

There are things that you can do during the actual recording, of course, but usually you need to focus on the performance, capture great takes and you don't want to paint yourself into a corner too early in the process.

That's where "creative reamping" comes in. It's the process of taking an already recorded signal, running it out of the computer into a pedal, an amp, a PA system, some weird sounding box, etc. and then capturing it again.

This can be done after the recording, without destroying the original file. And experimenting with it is almost a must, when you are self-recording. Because you have all the time to do this without having to pay for an expensive studio, you can go absolutely bananas here, if you want!

Run your vocals through guitar pedals, send your drums through a PA system into some crazy sounding room, use a boombox or kids toy as a guitar amp, use headphones as microphones, there are endless options to try.

In this episode we'll talk about some ideas and about how to actually do this. Stop making boring records and let's get wild!

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#20: How To Record Acoustic Guitar (…And Make It Sound Great On Its Own Or In A Full Band Arrangement)

How To Record Acoustic Guitar

An acoustic guitar is a complex thing to record and there's so many things that can go wrong.

The instrument, the strings, the performance, the room, the microphones and placement, noise issues and finally the question:

How do I get this to work in the context of my song? 

Most of the time the acoustic guitar serves a specific purpose. Either on its own, or in a dense, full rock band arrangement.

In this episode we'll walk you through the process of recording an acoustic guitar and cover all the details, as well as different methods and approaches, so that you can start your next session with confidence.

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#19: How To Record Drums With Only Four Mics

How To Record Drums With Only Four Inputs

You don't need a complex, expensive setup to record modern, punchy drums.

In a typical home recording situation, what we can do is often limited by the amount of inputs and mics that we have. And when we think of modern drum production we think of complex multichannel setups with 20 or more microphones carefully positioned around the drum kit.

Sure that's often the way to go, if we have the gear, room, expertise, etc. But what if we only have four inputs available and still want all the punch and clarity? Don't let that stop you! There are ways to make situations like this work and we're gonna show you exactly how. Join us in our discussion about minimalistic drum recording techniques that can make your drums hit hard, regardless of the limitations.

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#18: How DI Tracks Can Save Your Guitar Recordings

How DI Tracks Can Save Your Guitar Recordings

When you record a guitar or bass, you should always record a clean DI signal in addition to your amp (or amp sim, Kemper, etc.)

There are plenty of very good reasons for recording a DI track - and just no reason not to.

In this episode we talk about the many ways your next record will possibly benefit from having DI tracks and sending those to mixing along with your amp tones:

  • It will enhance your creativity
  • It will allow you to focus on the music and the performance more, the stuff that matters the most
  • It will make you a better guitar player
  • Editing will be much easier, more effective and transparent
  • The final tone (the end result) will probably be a lot better (we explain exactly how and why)
  • There are a lot of creative, fun things you can do with a DI that can really bring your record to the next level (we talk about examples for this and how to do it)
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#17: Vocal Tuning Isn’t Just For T-Pain

Vocal Tuning Isn't Just For T-Pain

What comes to mind when you think of Auto-Tune?

​Probably not organic sounding, "real" rock music, right? The word screams "FAKE!" The truth is, though, that on most modern, professional records, even the very natural sounding ones, you'll hear some sort of pitch correction or tuning that happened in post-production or even in real-time during recording.

It's not at all about creating funny, robotic sounding effects (although you can do that if you want) and it's also not about making bad singers appear as if they could actually sing (although you can definitely do that to an extent).

It's mostly about taking an already great performance, that has the perfect feel and energy and getting the intonation just right, so that the vocal sits beautifully in the mix and connects with the listener.

Sometimes that means it needs to be just a little off, sometimes it means it needs to be 100% accurate. And sometimes nothing at all is needed. It totally depends, but if it could really help the song and make a greater impact on the listener, would you still refuse to do it? Let's discuss!

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#16: Is There A Correct Order To Record In?

Whiteboard with Recording Order

What order should you record your tracks in? And why? Does it even matter?

We think it does matter! Unfortunately, it's not as simple as a list that you could follow every time you record.

Listen to this episode and learn what really matters when it comes to the order of recording things, the philosophy behind it, how to find out your perfect order and how to get the most out of your recording sessions by approaching them the right way.

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#15: If You’re Not Doing Pre-Production, You’re Missing Out!

Pre Production

Pre-production is critical to the success of your record. It's an essential part of preparing yourself, your songs and your setup for the actual recording process.

Only after pre-production will you really know if your arrangements work, if the songs are ready, if your music connects and has the desired emotional impact, if everyone can play their parts well and if the individual tones you're dialing in work together well.

​If you skip this part you miss out on the biggest opportunity to get your record to that pro level, the recording process will be more tedious and less fun and the final result will likely be less than ideal.

In this episode we talk about the importance of pre-production in much more detail and give you actionable advice on how to do it properly, so you get the most out of it.

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#14: Why You Need A “Producer” (even if you’re producing yourself)

You need a "producer" (that can be yourself) because getting a decent sounding recording is not enough.

It's not enough to record clean signals, avoid hum and noise and make it technically flawless. Not at all. The last thing the world needs are more perfect but boring records. Making something really impactful requires bold moves, committing to stuff early on in the process and - a producer. Because the most important hing is:

A clear vision of the thing you want to create.

And this is especially hard to do if you record your own music. Because you have to be aware of the fact that you are the artist, the engineer AND the producer in one person (or as a group of people, your band).

The differences between a producer and engineer are the following:

The producer is the one who has the creative vision, who guides everyone involved through the project. He/she never loses sight of the goal and he/she's always looking at the bigger picture, the 10000 foot view on the project. Think of this role as the role a movie director has. He/she doesn't operate the camera, but is in charge of the creative decisions and knows exactly how everything will work together in the end. In a traditional recording studio situation there was this producer and then there was one or more engineers. The engineers are the people who actually turn the knobs and set up the microphones. They know exactly how to bring this vision to life, how to capture the sound that the producer and artist are going for. 

If you have to combine all of this in one person, it's VERY difficult to stay objective and to not get lost in the details, but instead focus on the big picture.

That's why you need a "producer", someone in your band who can take on that role and who is responsible for the big picture, the songs and the vision (creatively and sonically). Ideally, that person or group of people is also responsible for the project management, timeline and making sure everyone is working towards that common goal. So that the engineer can focus on the details and making sure that everything is captured perfectly. And so that the musicians can perform freely and can completely be in the zone while doing so.

Listen to the episode and learn more about why this is so important, how to go about it and how to actually avoid the common mistakes we've seen so many self-recording bands make.

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#13: Understanding The Controls On Your Recording Gear

Confused by all the switches, buttons and knobs on your recording gear?

"What does this knob on my recording gear actually do and how does this all work? When do I need to push which button? What are "pad" and "48V" actually?"

Find out why, when and how to use all the controls on your interfaces and microphones!

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#12: Bass Tone Is More Than Just Low End

Bass Tone Is More Than Just Low End (Picture of a Bass Guitar)

Bass Tone is not just about getting the low end right. 

The bass has to cut through the mix and we need a bass tone that makes it audible on small speakers, as well. Also, we perceive low end differently depending on the midrange information, for example. We can even "hear" low end information when it's not really there at all. Sounds weird? Well, it's definitely fascinating!

It's also worth thinking about the role the bass guitar and the bass tone play in an arrangement. The interaction between the bass and everything else.

So, in order to capture a great bass tone that serves the song well and works in the final mix, it's absolutely crucial to know and understand all of these things. In this episode we're talking about how this all works and what to do if you want to dial in and record a great bass tone.

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