Category Archives for "DIY-Production Basics"

Community Q&A: Controlling the “pops” on an SM7B

Recording Q&A
Daily Blog - July 20th 2021

The Self-Recording Band Community is awesome and our members ask great questions! We love that and want this platform to be as helpful as possible, so we try to answer them all. Sometimes on the podcast, sometimes directly in the Facebook group, sometimes via email and sometimes here on the blog. Let's do a little Q&A series over a couple of days. Today's question is about controlling the "pops" on an SM7B.

Community Q&A: Controlling the “pops” on an SM7B
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74: Interview Episode With Grammy Nominated Producer And Mix Engineer Jacob Hansen

Jacob Hansen

Jacob Hansen Is Joining Us For This Episode!

Jacob has worked with some of the biggest names in metal and alternative music. He's produced and or mixed records for bands like Volbeat, Amaranthe, The Black Dahlia Murder, Heaven Shall Burn, Evergrey, Fleshgod Apocalypse, Primal Fear and many many more. 

We're getting to pick Jacob's brain and talk about

  • DIY recording
  • getting amazing guitar tones
  • mixing records remotely
  • reamping
  • the most common home studio pitfalls
  • guitar tuning
  • workflow and efficiency
  • communication
  • collaboration best practices
  • the future of (home) recording
  • evertune bridges
  • amp sims and Kempers

among many other things.


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Room Sound And Reverb

Room Sound And Reverb
Daily Blog - July 13th 2021

If it fits the song, I love the sound of a great room. Especially on drums. I usually don't like reverb on most things, though, unless it's an intentional effect. Here's why.

Room Sound And Reverb
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Why Reamping Doesn’t Work With Small Interfaces

Daily Blog - July 1st 2021

This is one of the most common questions we get. People wonder how to reamp with the gear they have. And many of them have one of the popular bus powered portable interfaces. So you want to try reamping with a hardware amp or pedals but all you have is a small 2-channel interface? Read this first!

Why Reamping Doesn’t Work With Small Interfaces
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One Song At A Time…

Daily Blog - June 29th 2021

...is a good release strategy, but does it also make sense to work on one song at a time in the production, mixing and mastering process?

One Song At A Time…
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You Gotta Love Your DAW

Daily Blog - June 28th 2021

I don't care which DAW you use. What you use doesn't matter to me. But it definitely matters to you. And you should take that decision seriously.

You Gotta Love Your DAW
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Let Them Show You The Blind Spot

Daily Blog - June 21st 2021

We don't know what we don't know. Our song might sound great to us because we can't see (or hear) the blind spot. That's why getting feedback is so crucial. And perspective really matters.

Let Them Show You The Blind Spot

We can't be experts at everything.

We know our main genre very well. We might even know a lot about various different genres. But we can't know everything. So there will come the day when we're supposed to add something to our music or deal with something that got sent to us from a collaborator that's not in our wheelhouse.

These are excellent opportunities to learn and grow. But we can only grow if we realize we don't know everything, get feedback, an outside perspective and let others show us our blind spots.

Maybe you can play and record incredibly punchy, big rock drums and you're also comfortable engineering super hard hitting drums for metal and hardcore songs. Now you want to collaborate on this really cool indie song that calls for a smooth, soft, tight and bone dry pulse instead of a huge sounding kit. Can you pull that off just as well?

Try it, do your best, educate yourself and when you're happy with it, show it to others. You might have a blind spot. Let them show it to you and next time, you'll know exactly what to listen for.


PS: If you're looking for an amazing community to get feedback from and provide your own expertise for, check out The Self-Recording Band Community. It's 100% free and can be the growth accelerator you've been missing all the time.

PPS: Downloading one of our free guides and joining our email list is also a great way to connect with your peers, as we will invite you to events and keep you in the loop about what's going on in our community. We just had an amazing video meetup last weekend and together we helped 5 people improve their recordings, arrangements and mixes by listening and giving collective feedback live on the call. Join us now!

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The Essence Of A Great Guitar Tone

Daily Blog - June 18th 2021

What's a great guitar tone and how do I achieve it? How do I know it's good? There's only one thing that really matters and that you should learn to listen for.

Dynamic Vocal Mic Or Condenser?

What's The Emotion, How Is The Song Supposed To Feel? And Which Roles Do The Guitars Play In That?

These are really the only two questions you need to answer. 

When it comes time to engineer a guitar tone for a song, most people start with thinking about amps, microphones, EQ settings, etc. But all of these things are useless and all of your decisions are pointless until you're able to answer the questions above. You need to know where you want to go.

So where do you want to go?

We tend to answer this with things like "I want lots of distortion" or "I want a clean, shimmery and wide sound", or a more detailed answer like "I want a full, but tight low end, plenty of attack in the upper midrange and not too much gain to preserve definition and clarity".

Unfortunately, none of these really answer the question above. At least not completely.

Instead we could answer "where do you want go?" with:

"I want this song to feel aggressive and angry, so the guitars can't be too pleasing sounding. They need to be unruly and loud. They'll have to fight the vocal a bit. They need to be clear, bright and upfront and have a nasty type of distortion."


"This is a sad song, but there's also some hope in it. The lyrics are super important. So the guitars need to be mellow and smooth. They also need to be dreamy, wide and not step on the vocals. Clarity is not super important here, it's the desperate atmosphere and deep sonic landscape we need to create."

Now these are great answers that help us make good decisions! And if you've spent enough time with your gear, you'll immediately know what to choose and how to set it up to create those emotions. You know what it can and can't do.

It's all about broad strokes at this point. You can always refine later. The tone you're getting quickly and intuitively should work and make you feel a certain way without a ton of filtering, EQ moves, or detailed tweaking. If you nail it, you're 90% there, if you fail to convey the emotion of the song, no amount of processing will give you the right tone.

Don't create guitar tones in a vacuum

It doesn't matter how the guitars sound on their own, so you need to make all decisions in the context of the whole song and arrangement. You need to make sure the song feels a certain way, not just the guitars. They serve the song, so you ned to define their role and find a tone that works for that.

Guitars are midrange instruments

They are clear and loud in the frequency ranges we are most sensitive to. This means they impact our perception of the overall sound a lot. This part of the spectrum is audible on every playback system and it's what we react to first. It's also where the vocals live. This is why guitar tones matter so much when it comes to how a song feels. 

To say it one more time:

It's not as important to get every technical detail "right", whatever that means. It's also not important how they sound on their own. It's how they work within the song and how they make us feel.

Here's what to do Step-By-Step:

  1. Figure out what it is in a guitar tone that makes you feel a certain way. Try to put it in words.
  2. Learn every detail about your gear and experiment as much as possible to find out what it can and can't do. That includes not only amps, pedals, cabs and guitars, but also strings and picks.
  3. Learn everything about playing techniques and how your fingers affect the tone.
  4. Define the emotion you want to convey through your song.
  5. Define the role of the guitars in conveying that emotion.
  6. Use the knowledge from step 1-3 and create tones that serve the song.

That's your starting point and the most important thing to get right. Only then it is time to get technical and refine even further. Nothing else will matter if you get this part wrong.


PS: I often post videos to these daily blog posts in my Instagram Stories: @benedikthain

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