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Category Archives for "Gear Tips"

One sound fits all?

Daily Blog - May 4th 2021

When recording an album, are you really doing what's best for each song? Maybe one setup for the record doesn't cut it.

The Best Microphone

When I was starting out I often set up the drums, guitars, etc. for the record once and then just recorded everything with that setup.

Seems reasonable, right? At least if you're a band with a certain sound and vibe that doesn't change much from song to song.

But the truth is that if two songs are written in different keys, you might need to adjust. Same with faster and slower songs. And what about space, width, etc.? Does every part feel exactly right with the same exact setup? Are you doing every song justice?

Why do we often prioritize making the record sound super consistent, even if that means making a whole bunch of compromises along the way?

It will actually sound surprisingly consistent anyway, because you made it, everything gets filtered through your ears and brain and your taste is your taste. No matter what.

Next time you record a record, try different snare drums, different tunings, different guitar cabs or instruments to make each song (or each part) feel exactly right. The consistency will still be there and can also be achieved otherwise later in the process. Focus on the song first. Then the record.

-Benedikt

PS: You'll also find these daily blog posts in my Instagram Stories: @benedikthain

learn how to transform your DIY recordings from basement demos to Releases That Connect And Resonate With Your Audience

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The Best Microphone…

Daily Blog - May 3rd 2021

...might be the one you already have. Because limiting yourself forces you to learn everything about your signal chain. It forces you to experiment. It forces you to figure it out and make it work. 

The Best Microphone

We often try to solve a problem by throwing money at it.

But this might not be the best solution. And it might slow down our progress as we try to get better at engineering.

Part of the problem is that we tend to like the thing we've just spent money on. We want to justify our purchase. This means you're probably gonna like that new mic you're about to buy. Whether it's truly a good choice or not. 

And it might even sound better right away, so you'll be happy and stop experimenting for a while, but you'll never know how amazing your old mic would have sounded in a different spot at a different angle with a different setting on your amp.  

Then, as soon as you get tired of the new sound, you're gonna buy something new again. Because you'll remember that it solved your problem last time. So you'll never really learn that second mic and all its potential, as well. 

And you still won't know all the details about your signal chain, your room and all the options you already have available. All the cool things you could already do with your gear if you tried harder. You'll never figure out that changing the mic position, setting up your instrument differently or improving your playing technique often makes a bigger difference than switching to a new mic.

I had a whole mic locker full of wasted potential until I began to use my mics on things you're "not supposed to use them on" and started paying more attention to everything that happened in front of the mic. Once I started experimenting more, once I really committed to learning my gear and always trying hard to get the best possible results with whatever I have available, I began to discover the coolest tones and most exciting textures I've ever recorded. And I haven't bought many mics since then.

Happy experimenting!

-Benedikt

PS: You'll also find these daily blog posts in my Instagram Stories: @benedikthain

learn how to transform your DIY recordings from basement demos to Releases That Connect And Resonate With Your Audience

Get the free Ultimate 10-Step guide To Successful DIY-Recording

#32: How To Make Amp Sims And Kemper Profiles Work (They Can Sound Just As Good As “Real” Amps)

"I've tried using amp sims but they just don't sound like the real thing." 

Is this you? Do you feel like amp sims are great for writing, but you'd always choose a "real" amp for your actual record? If only you had access to a couple of great guitar amps, cabs and mics... If only recording these real amps was as quick and convenient as recording a DI into plugin... If only amp sims would sound as good as the real thing...

Good news: They do! Not the same, but just as good.

As always, it's not about the gear you use, it's about the sound in your head, your vision, your creativity. And there are always multiple different ways and different tools to get there. 

When it comes to guitar tone, modern amp sims (virtual guitar amp plugins or Kemper profiles) can definitely get you there. That being said, we can see why you are feeling like they're lacking. There are reasons many people seem to love analog gear (and specifically analog guitar amps) more than their digital counterparts. But luckily, there are ways to make them work just as well as the classic amps we all love. 

In this episode we're discussing what it actually is that makes an amp sound great and "real", then we're talking about if, where and why amp sims might be lacking and finally, we're giving actionable advice on how to make them work on a professional, exciting record.


Don't let your lack of gear hold you back!

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1 #21: Spice Up Your Recordings With Creative Reamping And Unique FX

"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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