The Project
Tracking with a Click
Tricks of the trade
Advice from the pros
Getting Great sounds
Home Recording
Home Vocal Session
The Session

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To an outsider, what goes on in a recording session remains largely a mystery.  Some assume that music is played and then some magic is performed that turns everything into a perfect performance - as if there is a big, red button in the middle of the control room that re-times every drum hit, re-pitches every instrument and re-phrases every vocal.
Although there is a great deal that one can do nowadays to improve things, there is no way of turning a poor performance into musical gold-dust.
One of the biggest mistakes the beginner can make in recording is to assume that there is a 'right' way to do something.  All too often, the beginner assumes that there must be an 'official' monitor, a single mic that is the right one for vocals or kick-drum.  They ask questions like "What is the best mic for horns?"  The truth is that everybody has (or perhaps it would be better to say should have) their own way of doing things that is right for them. 
Some people never use a click track, some people insist on using one at all times.  The truth is, do what ever works for you.  I record drums one way, somebody else will record drums another way.  I use an Audix D6 and sometimes a sub-box of my own design for the kick, others may use, say, a Shure Beta 52 and an AKG D12.  I put the drums on a wooden riser and throw a duvet over the kick.  Others may put the drums on a stone floor and leave the kick open.  I like to take off the resonance skin and empty the kick of all pillows, blankets dead cats and gaffa-tape, others get their best sounds with the kick filled with the weekend shopping.
There are no rules!
The way you do things will decide what your recordings are going to sound like.  It is your sonic personality, your trade mark sound.
If people like the sounds you get, they will ask you to record them.  If they don't, they won't.
You will find that the sounds you get will often reflect the kind of person you are.  I tend to get a sound that I describe as a 'large, blond sound,' which is just as well, as I am six-foot-two and back in the days when I had hair, I was definitely blond.  (Perhaps now I am getting a large, bald sound!)
But I am an optimistic and very outgoing and outspoken sort of person, and I have found that I seem to gravitate towards a very open sound full of air and space. 
Others I have known, are careful people who craft their sounds with the same precision they use to craft their lives.  Who you are will be reflected in the kind of sounds you find pleasing and will be the kind of sounds you hope others will sound pleasing as well.  The expression 'sonic personality' is a very good one here and fits this idea perfectly (and is why I pinched it from Bruce Swedien!)

The whole recording process is divided into five clear sections or tasks - preparation, tracking, editing, mixing and mastering, so you might like to have a look at those right now.


The Byre Recording Studio