The Official 'Secrets of the Studio' Thread!

Discussions on sound production outside the synthesizer such as mixing, processing, recording, editing and mastering.

The Official 'Secrets of the Studio' Thread!

Postby Joey » Sat Sep 13, 2008 5:01 pm

So I noticed this forum was lacking one of these threads, something similar to the how to patch thread in the GS forum.

With that said, I figure we all have a few useful secrets/production tips we can share to help out everyone

I'll start off with a few easy ones:

1. For any track that is not a bass or kick drum, cut out all of the frequencies in the low end of the spectrum so no low end is taken away from the bass or kicks

2. On snares, using a compressor with a long attack and short release really helps fatten/ add punch to the sound

3. Taking a stereo pad, and then doubling it and panning each hard left and hard right (or less), and then adding a chorus/flange/phaser to one of the pads really adds some liveliness to the sound

4. Always do a mono check of your mix to make sure there is no phase cancellation

Anyone else have anything to share?
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Re: The Official 'Secrets of the Studio' Thread!

Postby GeneralBigbag » Sat Sep 13, 2008 6:04 pm

Kick and bass will often interfere with each other - depending on the types of sounds used, highpassing one or the other, and using a notch eq in the 200-500Hz area (i.e., filtering and cutting one to prevent overlap) will bring greater definition to both voices. Also, on the subject of EQ, I find it is a bad idea to boost the fundamental of a bass patch to bring it out, boosting where the harmonics are, or adding some light distortion will increase the perceived presence without sucking energy.
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Re: The Official 'Secrets of the Studio' Thread!

Postby Carey M » Sat Sep 13, 2008 9:54 pm

Drive your pres, drive your comps, punish those input stages, watch those leds turn red... Just a hint of overdrive there, maybe a bit more here, instant magic! ;) Usually not good with heavy harmonic content, complex chords etc. But sometimes great on percussives and mono lines.

Also, experiment with parallel compression.

- CM
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Re: The Official 'Secrets of the Studio' Thread!

Postby tallowwaters » Sat Sep 13, 2008 10:11 pm

1. Push all your faders up as far as they will go

2. Put reverb on everything, especially bass and kick

3. Use a hard elbowed, 1:32 ratio compressor with the threshold set at -14 db for mastering
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Re: The Official 'Secrets of the Studio' Thread!

Postby shaft9000 » Sun Sep 14, 2008 12:34 am

:idea: record in the nude whenever possible :idea:
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Re: The Official 'Secrets of the Studio' Thread!

Postby Carey M » Sun Sep 14, 2008 12:39 am

shaft9000 wrote::idea: record in the nude whenever possible :idea:

Note to self: never buy gear from "shaft"...

- CM
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Re: The Official 'Secrets of the Studio' Thread!

Postby tom Cadillac » Sun Sep 14, 2008 7:05 am

Heh! Great thread idea! I'm a newbie at studio stuff, but anyway...

1) multi track bass lines and if you can use the same synth as you did for lead or whatever - and old synth with a mono option is a good choice.

2) make a real distinction between fooling around/practicing and when you press 'record' - maybe taking your clothes off is a good idea. In record co studios you probably already have that wake-up edge of nerves because you know some studio guy is checking it all out. I get the feeling at home I can get too sleepy when I record. Jump up and down, open the window, close the curtains, take your clothes off............
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Re: The Official 'Secrets of the Studio' Thread!

Postby code green » Mon Sep 15, 2008 2:58 am

keep detailed notes. i have been kicking myself in the head recently for having let this habit lapse.
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Re: The Official 'Secrets of the Studio' Thread!

Postby brian.only » Mon Sep 15, 2008 9:16 am

-take breaks while recording, 3-4 min walks are great.

-keep your cords minimal and separate from power cables, mute tracks occasionally to listen for hiss and ground.

-have fun.

-try to finish that last song before you start 3 more.
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Re: The Official 'Secrets of the Studio' Thread!

Postby piRoN » Mon Sep 15, 2008 10:53 am

-take breaks while recording, 3-4 min walks are great.

Oh yes, they're a lifesaver. My normal rule of thumb is that if I try two things in a row that just blatantly don't work then I'll go for a walk for a few minutes.

I'll also add - learn to differentiate between feeling creatively driven and just feeling bored. When I'm bored, I'll just do sampling stuff, or put together patches on my more labyrinthine gear for later use. Trying to record stuff with no real creative urge going on is just a frustrating and depressing affair.

Now as for stuff that's more relevant to the thread - Recording the acoustic noise of electric instruments is a very fun thing. Record an electric guitar through an amp sim and simultaneously mike up the strings. Either EQ the sound to pull up all those lovely transients or drop an enhancer on it (I like to use Character on the Powercore) and lay it over the top of the amped sound. Or mic up a bass guitar and lay the plucking and string noise over the top of a synth bass sound - it gives it a whole world of attitude, and you can punch it in at key points to give the bass track a bit of needed emphasis.

Recording real sounds is fun, do it as often as possible. I spent half an hour today whacking a pie tin with a wooden spoon just to add that 'little something' to a drum mix.

Use a gate with a slow attack to soften the transients of drum sounds that have too prominent an attack. It doesn't stomp all over the rest of the sound like EQing would. I use this on kicks that have a clicky attack, like a lot of analogue drum machines.

Parallel distortion is cool when you want grind in a sound but find running it through a pedal destroys all the dynamics. Put a distortion pedal on an FX send and record it to a separate track, then EQ the original and the effected tracks so that they complement each other.

Ugh... I should be able to come up with more, but it's late and I'm tired.
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Re: The Official 'Secrets of the Studio' Thread!

Postby ned-ryarson » Mon Sep 15, 2008 4:11 pm

automate fx
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Re: The Official 'Secrets of the Studio' Thread!

Postby shaft9000 » Mon Sep 15, 2008 5:04 pm

Carey M wrote:
shaft9000 wrote::idea: record in the nude whenever possible :idea:

Note to self: never buy gear from "shaft"...

- CM


too late! who did you think sold you that old matrix, anyway? :wink:

actually, i was just being a facetious twat, since publishing one's 'secret' on an internet forum would negate it's secret status.
but you needn't worry, as it's about a 10,000+ mile trip from here to there.
you'd pay quite a fee to ship and import that far, one would imagine.
2600.solus.modcan a.eurorack.cs60.JP8.Juno6.A6.sunsyn.volcakeys.jd990.tb303.x0xb0x.revolution.
999.m1am1.RY30.svc350.memotron

shaft9000.muffwiggler.com <- singles & mixtape
shaft9000.bandcamp.com <- spacemusic album
youtube.com/shaft9000 <- various synth demos and studies
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Re: The Official 'Secrets of the Studio' Thread!

Postby spookyman » Tue Sep 16, 2008 3:20 pm

- Allways drink a glas of red wine before recording. It helps a lot to give everything.

- A Cat (synth or real) is the perfect inspirational source and brings luck in the studio.

- Work in deepness with your mix. Like on a rack. Some elements are more on the left side, other on the right, other one in front and other in the background. A real 3D mix...

- You can't "save" everything in the mix. A good sound and playing (singing) is allways better than tons of EQ and AutoTune.

- Shit In --> Shit Out.

- Listen to good records, and compare with your mix.
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Re: The Official 'Secrets of the Studio' Thread!

Postby th0mas » Tue Sep 16, 2008 4:11 pm

Something I'm realizing while recording bandmates who haven't recorded as much as I is that a lot of musicians have some ego against multiple takes. I've decided to introduce them to the analogy that they are looking at recording their part as a race (foot, car, whatever), where they feel like they're cheating if they stop and start, but it should be more like a painting.. which never gets judged by the number of strokes
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Re: The Official 'Secrets of the Studio' Thread!

Postby divineaudio » Tue Sep 16, 2008 8:54 pm

a few of the things i learned while working on my last album...

1. you don't need nearly as much bass as you think you do.

2. for your whole mix to sound right, each individual track (drums/synth/bass/vocals/etc...) will NOT sound right when you solo it.

3 if you record the right sound the first time, you don't have to spend time fixing it later with excessive eq/compression/voodoo magic etc...
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