Let’s take a look at 5 tips that will allow you to get better recordings immediately!
1. Location in the room
The sound of the room will leave an imprint on your recording no matter what you do. We want to try our best and avoid getting resonances and null points in the frequency range when we are recording, but it is unavoidable for most people in small rooms. So the best thing you can do without spending any extra money to to find the place in your recording space that sounds the best. Here are a few tips for doing just that:
- Test your room by walking around and clapping your hands. Actually, I would often walk around while hitting a drum. You want to find the location in the room that sounds the fullest. If you hear a metallic ringing or “boing” sound, avoid that!
- Avoid close to the walls and corners. There can be a lot of reflections here and an overall level increase in the bass that will cause the low-end to boom on lower notes.
- In many cases, the locations around thirds of the room’s divisions provide a good starting point to finding the best sounding places.
Here is some more information about room location from Bobby Owsinski’s Blog: Finding The Best Place In The Room To Record
2. Microphone Position
The distance, angle, and the where the microphone are pointing all affect the sound in a recording. If you want to get better recordings in your home studio, you are going to have to learn microphone technique and experiment…a lot! Don’t just take the advice of someone on the internet on how you should position your microphones. While that can be a good starting point, it might not fit your exact situation. Experimenting is key!
3. Referencing sounds/recordings
You need to have an idea of how you want the recording to sound like before you press that record button. It is common for mixing engineers to reference professional mixes while they mixing so they know they are staying on the right track. You can do the same thing when you record. While you are not going to achieve the polished sound of instrument in a song that has been professionally mixed and mastered, the closer to can get to that in the recording stage the better it will sound in the final mix.
A great recording starts with a great musician. What will make you great? Practice. Before you even get that microphone out, you want to make sure you can play what you are recording perfectly. That means practicing with a click, being able to play it all the way through without mistakes. I know it sounds boring, but that is what it takes to make better recordings.
I think the one of the worst things that you can do is try to piecemeal a recording together. For example, you are playing the verse, but you can’t play it without mistakes continuously. So you copy and paste that take into multiple places. Don’t do that! Another example, you practice the verse and can play it great, you practice the chorus and you can play it great, but you can’t connect them smoothly. You are starting to get excited and impatient after all that practice and just want to record it. I know the feeling. Push through it. When you hit record and you are able to play a part all the way through, that feeling is well worth it.
5. Take your time
Most of you are probably musicians that have a home studio setup in your house. In the past, you had limited time to go into a studio and record your song. Now that there is the flexibility of home studios, you can put you time and effort into your project without burning your budget. There are definitely pitfalls to having this flexibility such as procrastination and laziness, but if you keep the right mindset, it can be a great advantage.
Set a deadline for yourself, and put in some effort everyday. Not when you feel like it, but everyday. So take your time, and as long as your are making progress you are on the right track.
Do you have 10 minutes?
Then you have time to implement some of these tips. Right now, I want you to find the best location in your room to record. Tomorrow, find the best microphone position.