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Anthony D. Beardslee Tips and Techniques for Making Better Recordings of your BandTips and Techniques for Making Better Recordings of your Band.

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Presentation on theme: "Anthony D. Beardslee Tips and Techniques for Making Better Recordings of your BandTips and Techniques for Making Better Recordings of your Band."— Presentation transcript:

1 Anthony D. Beardslee Tips and Techniques for Making Better Recordings of your BandTips and Techniques for Making Better Recordings of your Band


3 Anthony D. Beardslee Instructor at NECC in Norfolk Audio Recording Technology 14 Years Experience in Teaching 20+ Years Experience in Professional Audio Sound System Consultation

4 Can You Help Me? Common Problems Making Decisions Based on Hunches Misinformed On Their Own Misinformed Support Personnel Lack of Training Dont Know the Entire Picture Dont Have a Known Budget

5 A Good Recording Means… Good Sounding Instrument Skilled Musician Acoustics Good Sounding Room Inside Inside Noises Eliminated Outside Noises Eliminated Good Microphone Proper Placement High Quality Recording System Tuned and/or Configured Properly Skilled Engineer

6 What Are You Trying To Do? Reference Recordings Recordings for Auditions All-State, Scholarships, etc. Keepsake for Students or Parents CD Sales – Local Fundraisers, etc. CD Sales – National Grammy Submissions Adds 4 to 6 years to my presentation


8 Equipment My, how times have changed!

9 Whats Wrong With This? Cassette is noisy Moving parts picked up by internal mic External mics are not professional quality

10 Todays Better Options… DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) Laptop or Desktop with I/O and Software Record direct to CD – Stand-Alone Burner Portable Digital Recorder Hire Someone

11 DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) Computer with lots of RAM (Memory) High Processing Power I/O (Input/Output) Device Required Sound Card External I/O Box Familiarity With Software Avid Pro Tools Sony Movie Studio (Video editor w / great audio tools) Roland (Sonar) Cakewalk Adobe Audition Apple Garage Band Mackie Tracktion MOTU Digital Performer

12 Direct to CD Burner

13 Music CD-Rs Only! Stand-Alone burners usually will not accept standard CD-Rs typically used for computer burners

14 Beware CD-RWs More expensive Must erase the entire disc to re-use it Not as compatible with standard CD players as CD-R media

15 Dont Forget to FINALIZE!! CD projects on stand-alone burners can be left open-ended to accommodate a project that might occur over several days HOWEVER… until it is finalized, it will not play in any other CD player.

16 Portable Digital Recorders Higher Quality Internal Microphones More Reliable, Less Noisy Medium Often removable flash media No Moving Parts! Best bang-for-the-buck! Some provide inputs for professional-grade microphones Can be configured to record in a wide variety of formats, i.e..WAV,.MP3, etc. Connect directly to computer for burning or emailing

17 Most mount directly on stands


19 Look for… Editing Capability Very helpful if you have no computer Trim head and tail of any recording Removable Storage SD Ability to Record in Multiple Formats.WAV or. MP3 Direct Connection via USB If it has XLR jacks for external mics, does is provide phantom power?


21 Acoustics – Good Sounding Room To Improve a Bad Room… Reduce reflective surfaces Hang dense blankets Build or purchase movable gobos Mount absorbers and/or diffusers

22 Diffusers Absorbers

23 Packing Blankets have excellent absorptive properties Source:

24 + = Instant Gobo

25 When Hanging Blankets… Putting blankets around the source is more effective than hanging blankets on the walls If hanging on walls, try to have some air space between blanket and wall, rather than hanging in direct contact with the wall

26 Acoustics – Inside Noises Eliminated Fluorescent Lights Heaters, Air Conditioners, Air Ducts, etc. Computers Projectors Inside noises can also be avoided with isolation, gobos, blankets, etc

27 Acoustics – Outside Noises Eliminated Hallway Noises People Tardy Bell Windows? Outdoor Noises Traffic People Birds, Dogs, etc. Avoid Noisy Times of the Day


29 Microphone/Musician Placement Generally Speaking… The further away the mic is from the source, the more room you will hear Balance issues can easily be solved by repositioning the instruments Micing too close will result in unnatural sound

30 X-Y Pair Spaced Pair Natural Sound Bigger, Wider Sound

31 Not too far back – too roomy sounding Raise mic to avoid too much front row Aim microphone to cover entire ensemble as if the microphone was a camera

32 Mic too close to trumpet – unnatural sound Too much trumpet and not enough piano

33 Mic is too far away – too much room

34 Balanced approach Do a few practice recordings to get balance right

35 Where to point the mic Pointing at the sound hole or bell is a good start (usually) Internet searches are often helpful Put a finger in one ear and move around the instrument to find the sweet spot


37 Mixer divided into channels Each of the channels combine to the master Master output feeds input of recorder

38 Watching Levels 1. Microphone Preamp (gain) 2. Channel Fader (volume) 3. Master Output Level (mix) 4. Recorder Input Level 1 3 2 4

39 Sound Check Always do a sound check Checking Levels Always RECORD your sound check So that you can listen and check balance & sound Use the loudest portion of the song/program Set levels at about -6 dB at loudest level

40 Digital Meters Levels too low – poor signal-to-noise ratio Forces you to increase volume of the final product, which also increases the noise Exception: If this happens to be the quiet passage of a piece that gets very loud at the end, then youre ok

41 Digital Meters Levels too high – no headroom Running a high risk of overload/distortion Digital distortion is much less forgiving

42 Digital Meters vs. VU Meters *Average Operating Level


44 Microphone Choices Generally Speaking… Condenser Mics are Better for Recording Quality of low-cost condensers have significantly improved

45 Microphone Choices Need Phantom Power Prone to wind turbulence – Use wind screens or position mics away from air

46 Microphone Choices Use Shock Mounts

47 Microphone Polar Patterns Long story short, generally speaking… Avoid Omni-Directional and Bi-Directional Pick up too much room Cardioid, Super-Cardioid, and Hyper-Cardioid reject sound coming from behind them Uni-Directional is a poorly-worded nomenclature (cardioid is better)

48 Does this look uni-directional to you??


50 File Formats.WAV or.BWF. MP3.WMA.AIFF.SDII.M4e,.M4p,.M4a.RA AAC

51 .WAV or.BWF Uncompressed – no loss in quality due to file size reduction CD quality.WAV is about 5 Megabytes per mono minute Example: 5 -minute stereo recording = about 50 Mbytes Good for burning, bad for emailing Attachment size too big

52 .MP3 and.WMA Compressed formats Loss of sound quality Data ratio compared to.WAV can be around 5:1 to 30:1, depending on bit rate Better for emailing or web streaming Do NOT use for CD sales (use.WAV)

53 Comparison of Bit Rates* BIT RATEDATA RATIOSOUND QUALITY 256 kbps**5:1Transparent 128 kbps11:1CD Quality 96 kbps14:1Near CD Quality 64 kbps22:1Near FM Radio Quality 32 kbps30:1Bad AM Radio Quality *Compared to CD Audio ~ 10 Mbytes per stereo minute **kbps = kilobits per second

54 If Recording for CD and Web… Record using uncompressed WAV first… Use these files for your CD Then convert files to MP3 for web publishing Most DAWs and media software will do this Converting MP3 back to WAV will NOT restore original sound


56 CD Burning Software Necessary to create AUDIO CDs Dragging a folder full of.wav files into a burn folder is NOT creating an audio CD Its a CD-ROM with.wav files on it Wont play on CD players CAN use standard CD-Rs since you are using the computer and not a stand-alone burner

57 CD Burning Software Apple iTunes Free Windows or Mac Reasonably intuitive and easy to use Roxio Easy Creator Around $90 Sony CD Architect Around $100 Many more mastering options Windows Media Player Not as user-friendly as iTunes Burner XP Free Windows Only



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