Using a recording studio for the first time can be intimidating.
It could also end up being an expensive experience if you don’t know what you’re doing.
There are a lot of mistakes that first-timers make, which ends up taking longer to get that perfect sound.
- 1 Tips for Better Instrument Recording
- 2 What Instrument is Easiest to Record?
- 3 How to Set Up Your Studio for Instrument Recording?
- 4 Conclusion
Tips for Better Instrument Recording
Keeping that in mind, here are some quick and easy tips that you can use for instruments recording that will help you save your time and your money while recording an EP.
Speakers and Amps
One thing to keep in mind is that when you’re using a multi-speaker guitar cab, all of the cones aren’t going to sound similar.
That’s because some of the cones will be of different sizes.
Also, certain stereo effects are known to modulate the way the signals are directed to various cones. All of this can have an impact on the overall sound quality.
To make sure that doesn’t happen, set up several mics that are at least 3 to 6 inches away from the speaker grille and listen carefully to the sound they produce (at a reasonable volume, of course).
Having someone who can move around the mics for you while you’re finding the right position can also help.
Of course, having someone to play the guitar while you arrange the microphones can also help.
One problem that many recording studio mixers are perfectly aware of when it comes to recording is instrument bleed.
This is especially the case when multiple musicians are recording at the same time.
Bleed can be a big problem since it ends up on your recording.
While some hi-hat leaks that usually occur in the tom mic are understandable, you do not want your lead guitar getting in the way of the bass while recording.
Many recording studios make the mistake of attempting to fix this problem in the mix by using gating or the EQ, but it’s much better to nip this problem in the bud before it makes its way to your recording session.
While attempting to record every musician separately is certainly not going to be an option, its best to isolate the drums from the other instruments since drums are typically the loudest during a recording.
A pro tip for those who will be using one or more electric guitars is to mic the amps, but keep them in a separate room away from the drums.
The signal from the guitars can easily be fed to the vocalist via the headphones, so that shouldn’t be a problem.
This will ensure that you are able to capture the correct sound with very little or no bleed during recording.
Experiment with Your Mics and Pickups
You can use separate mics or an Omni pattern mic to capture the room ambiance along with getting that perfect close-to-the-mic acoustic sound from your guitar.
However, if you’re going to be using two separate mics (one close to the guitar and one away from it) to capture this effect, you will need to listen for any phasing issues that could appear.
Another common problem that new musicians are faced with is choosing microphones.
While mono mic’ing is efficient, it is not the be-all-end-all solution in a recording studio.
Also, while using a single microphone is the preferred choice of many musicians, it’s always best to use two different mics placed at different locations in the recording studio.
When choosing mics, it’s all about sound, sensitivity, and ruggedness.
Also, look for polar pattern data to find out which angles are the most or lease sensitive to the sound reflection bouncing off walls and windows in the recording area.
Avoid Unnatural Sounds While Recording Guitar Signals
This is another problem that often gets ignored by new musicians while recording their EP.
The famous DI’ed sound that’s produced with piezo pickups is only able to capture the sound emanating from the strings.
This means you get very little sound from the body and almost no ambiance sound.
This can result in a recording session that sounds strange and unnatural.
You can add some weight to the sound quality by blending the signal with the mic recording to get a more balanced sound.
Locking Multiple Tracks for Better Post-Production Editing
Nowadays, the practice to lock multiple tracks is commonplace in the recording studio.
In fact, most of the decent editing software programs available today allow music producers and sound mixers to group tracks together, which has become an essential part of instrument recording.
But why is this so important?
If you want to edit your tracks quickly and easily as a single unit, then locking multiple tracks is the way to go since it’s easier to work with concurrent tracks that are locked together and are in sync, as compared to editing each track individually.
Using multitracking and overdubbing also helps identify tuning issues during the recording, which can then be fixed on the fly.
What Instrument is Easiest to Record?
When it comes to recording at a studio, it really all boils down to the recording equipment and instruments that you will be using.
But, as a rule of thumb, it’s always best to record with the percussions first, since the drums are what helps guide the rhythm of the track.
When it comes to the question of with or without a click track, there are many musicians who prefer to avoid a relentless spot-on tempo, unless absolutely necessary.
That said, there are those who prefer to record guitars and vocals first, which is then followed up by supporting melodies to fill in the gaps.
At the end of the day, it all depends on what works for you.
For beginners, it’s recommended to have all the musicians play the track through and work toward achieving track separation with the help of using acoustic screens and clever mic placement.
Any additional parts such as harmony vox, or guitar solos, etc., can be included later on during the mixing process.
Here are some tips to help you set up a studio for instrument recording.
How to Set Up Your Studio for Instrument Recording?
The following is how you can set up a studio for instrument recording.
Choosing the Room
When it comes to choosing the room for a recording studio, bigger is definitely better.
This is because a larger room will have more space to fit more equipment and more musicians at a time.
It also means that you will have plenty of room for new equipment should you decided to scale your recording studio.
Apart from that, recordings that are done in a large room tend to sound better.
Dealing with White Noise
Normally, we tend to ignore the various sounds that surround us in our daily lives.
Cars, children playing, neighbors, birds, and even the wind – we as a species have learned to filter out these sounds.
But when it comes to instruments recording, these sounds that are mostly ignored in normal life tend to get amplified.
This will mean sound-proofing the room to stay clear of the most common noise offenders.
Don’t forget; you will have a lot to sound distortion to deal with inside the recording studio, so the last thing you want to be thinking about is the neighbor who decided to mow the lawn, or the sound of road traffic making its way into the recording.
While you’re at it, you will also want to add some acoustic treatment to the recording studio to enhance the sound quality of your recordings.
With the number of acoustic treatments available in the market today, it’s easy to find an amazing acoustic treatment plan for your recording studio without having to break the bank.
One mistake that new recording studios make is using carpeted rooms.
This can lead to one of two problems; either the carpet will end up absorbing the high frequencies and not the low ones, which will have a negative impact on the overall sound quality of the recording, or the carpet will quickly wear out due to high foot traffic.
If you do need a carpet for the drum kit, skip the wall to wall carpet and get an area rug, which will be just as effective.
When it comes to studio floors, its best to go with either hardwood, tile, or concrete flooring.
Arrange the Workstation and Recording Station
If you don’t have the luxury of using multiple rooms for your recording, then you can easily divide the recording studio into two stations; the recording area and the mixing area.
While setting up a studio for recording yourself is not going to be the same as a studio setup for multiple musicians, you can find the perfect floor plan for a recording studio online that will fit your requirements.
Another quick tip to roll off with is to try and get what is known as “punter’s ear.”
This will help you solve many problems at their source rather than fixing them later on.
This can be difficult to achieve since it’s easy to get accustomed to poor sound quality due to bad tuning.
Keeping the aforementioned tips in mind should enable you to achieve the best instruments recording every time you step inside the studio.