SOUND QUALITY

Sounds you want to avoid:

POP: The sound of the letter "P" in a mic. A cheap way to deal with this? Take a coat hanger and make a circle out of it. Get some hose and cover the loop. Congrats, you have made your own Pop Filter.

external image stedmanpsxl.jpg
external image stedmanpsxl.jpg


HISS: Any recording on cassette tape will have that terrible "HISS" running through it. You can cut this out through EQ-ing out any of the highest frequencies on your mixer, using the hiss filters in your audio programs, using noise filters, etc. or by recording digitally.

HUM: Your computer and equipment has a 60 cycle HUM that often ends up being recorded in home studios. A few ways to avoid this? Check to see if your equipment is noisy. If it is, repair or replace it. Record in a separate room from the equipment (yep, I have been in bands where we had the vocalist in the bathroom for recordings), cover the computer temporarily with a towel (another cheap fix), or fix in post with the Hum Removal functions. You can also test the EQ, by lowering sounds at 60, then experimenting from there. Remember, if you lower any frequency, it lowers the sound across the board for that frequency.

ROOM NOISE: While carpets on the wall, foam, etc. will cut back on noise, most likely the room will have its own unique "silence". Record the room by itself. Some programs will analyze the noise for you and allow you to remove the noise in post using the analysis. If not, play with the noise filters and EQ (yep, I use a lot of EQ), and see how you can reduce or eliminate room noise without affecting the final track.

Note: For movies, many times the silence is recorded and then actually ADDED to the final movie score to make the dialog sound as if it is actually in the room.

CLIPPING AND CLICKING: That can only mean one thing - DISTORTION. And, although distortion is an awesome effect, it is not awesome when it affects the overall sound quality. A good way to avoid unwanted distortion (definitely the sign of an amateur), is to make sure that in digital you never hit the volume RED zone, and in analog that you rarely hit the volume RED zone (some percussion hits in analog need to hit the red for the right "feel". Because of the way that digital works, instead of just distorting the sound, it actually chops off the sound waves, leaving an annoying click behind.

ADVANCED RESOURCES FOR RECORDING:

Recording Lead Vocals:
http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/jun01/articles/vocalsfaq.asp

VOCAL EQ Tips:
http://www.hometracked.com/2008/02/07/vocal-eq-tips/

HOW TO PROCESS VOCALS IN LOGIC:
http://audio.tutsplus.com/tutorials/mixing-mastering/how-to-process-vocals-for-an-amazing-professional-sound/

MICROPHONE BASICS:
http://home.earthlink.net/~rongonz/home_rec/microphone.html

RECORDING VOCALS IN THE HOME STUDIO:
http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/mar04/articles/computervocals.htm

HISS REMOVAL IN AUDACITY:
http://www.deeplysimple.net/2006/10/removing-hiss-with-audacity.html