The Auralize Music Production Web Magazine

Adventures in music and audio for the home recording studio enthusiast


Should you make decisions as you record, or keep your options open until later?

There are so many decisions to be made during the process of recording. Should you make them one at a time as you go along, or let them pile up so that you have a mass of decisions to make in the mix?


Demonstrating the Waves J37 analog tape emulation plug-in and comparison with a real tape recorder

A video demonstration with examples including sine wave tests, female vocal, bass, background vocals and drums


Two microphone preamplifiers compared at Abbey Road Studio 2 - tube and transistor

Tested are the Universal Audio Solo/610 (tube) and the Focusrite ISA One.

Recordings of speech by newly-starting Audio Masterclass students

Audio Masterclass students start by sending in a simple recording of speech. That shouldn't be too difficult, should it?


Recordings of acoustic guitar by Audio Masterclass students

Audio Masterclass students make recordings to compare their microphones. Here are a few of acoustic guitar...


The Waves CLA-76 compressor plug-in on snare drum, with video

A practical demonstration of the Waves emulation of the Universal Audio 1176 compressor on a studio recording of snare drum

A simple 8-mic drum mix, with video

Joe Clancy plays drums in Abbey Road Studio 3. Audio Masterclass is there to make the multitrack recording.


Is it time to reinvent the physical mixing console?

Although the mouse and keyboard interface works and is cheap, many of us yearn for something more like the traditional analog console interface. But is it time for a complete rethink?


How much should you charge for your audio services?

You've been asked to make a recording of some local musicians, and they expect to pay you. Wow - you're a pro! But how much should you charge?

Q: Can I use a low-pass filter to remove noise from my recording?

An Audio Masterclass student has a problem with acoustic noise. Is it an acceptable solution to filter it out?


What basic equipment do you need to make professional recordings?

You can't make recordings of professional quality with substandard equipment. So what is the basic level that you need, to achieve professional standards?


How complicated do your monitors have to be?

Do your monitors have digital FIR filters; digital fine-tuning for volume, trim, bass and treble settings; soft fade-in and Crimson Aramid fibre drivers? Your listeners' loudspeakers don't.

What is production? Part 5: Mastering

When the mix engineer has squeezed every last drop of perfection out of the original multitrack recording and turned it into a stereo mix, the mastering engineer will attempt to perfect it even more…


What is production? Part 4: Mixing

Mixing can be the process of getting the best out of your original multitrack recording, or it can be an amazingly creative process in its own right. But first you'll have to fix the faults…


What is production? Part 3: Recording

Of the five stages of production - A&R, arrangement, recording, mixing and mastering, clearly recording is central. And there is a lot more to it than choosing and placing microphones.

Audio problems at the BBC - TV drama audiences can't understand what the actors are saying

The BBC's recent broadcast of Jamaica Inn has drawn comments and complaints. "The actors are mumbling", "The sound track is faulty", "Like listening through mud". So what has really gone wrong, and who is to blame?


When using a drum virtual instrument, should you record each drum to its own individual track?

You can use the stereo output from a drum virtual instrument just as it is, or you can record each drum, the hihat and overheads to individual tracks. Which is the better way of working?


New vs. old guitar strings: Part 1 - The case for new guitar strings

This is an age-old debate in the world of music making. Is it OK to use old guitar strings, or should you change them often?

New vs. old guitar strings: Part 2 - The case for used guitar strings

For recording, sometimes it is better for your guitar strings to be used rather than new. When would used guitar strings be more appropriate?


New vs. old guitar strings: Part 3 - The case for conditioning your guitar strings

If new guitar strings are too zingy for the sound you want, and used strings too variable, then perhaps there is a case for conditioning new strings, so they have exactly the sound you require.


How to set a graphic equalizer

The graphic equalizer is a very popular tool for live sound. You can also use it in the studio. But why would you use a graphic, and how should you set it?

What level of background noise is acceptable in a recording?

An Audio Masterclass student lives close to a busy road. Is it acceptable to have background noise in his recordings?


What is production? Part 2: Arrangement

Good musical arrangements don't happen by accident. Either the band can arrange themselves, or someone else can take charge of the orchestration. Either way, it is the producer's job to make sure that everything sounds great before the microphones are positioned and plugged in.


What is production? Part 1: A&R

If you spend a lot of time reading and viewing videos about professional audio on the Internet, then you could easily get the idea that production is all about having the right equipment and software, particularly plug-ins. It is very true that getting the right sound is an important part of production, but there's a lot more to it than that. In this series, I will take a look at the five major components of production. A&R, arrangement, recording, mixing and mastering.

Recording a cymbal from different mic positions (with audio)

An interesting audio comparison of microphone positions on cymbal, sent in by an Audio Masterclass student. The choice of mic is interesting too...


How not to run a recording session!

Make your performers comfortable, find the best microphone positions, run the session smoothly and record clean signals. But not in this session...


How much mastering does a Pink Floyd soundalike band need?

If you want to sound like a 1960s psychedelic band, are 21st century mastering techniques appropriate?

Q: Why do I have to record acoustic guitar twice?

An Audio Masterclass visitor would like to record his acoustic guitar just once and not have to double it. And he thinks he has found an easy way...


Even the best sound engineers in the world can't be trusted - apparently

The reason that the Red Hot Chili Peppers mimed their performance in the Super Bowl half time show is that the NFL were worried that something would go wrong with the sound!


Q: Should I upgrade my Shure SM58 and use technical solutions for noise and ambience?

An Audio Masterclass visitor wonders what the next stage in his journey towards pro audio should be.

Recording acoustic guitar in stereo - should you use spaced or coincident mics?

Spacing your mics can create a rich open sound. But can there be too much of a good thing?


How to get started quickly in home recording

Do you need to wait until you have a fully-professional studio setup? Or can you start recording tomorrow?


The professional way to make sure your mics are connected correctly

Get your microphone connections wrong and you have a huge problem, possibly bigger than you think. So how can you be sure you have got them right?

Setting the recording level control in GarageBand

Several Audio Masterclass students have used Apple's GarageBand DAW and achieved excellent results. However, GarageBand's recording level control can be confusing. Other DAWs don't have one.


Who should be responsible for the fade at the end of a song - the producer, mix engineer or mastering engineer?

Who should decide whether a song needs to fade out at the end? And who should do it?


Buy an SSL mixing console for a quarter of its price when new!

If you're in the market for a quality post-production console, this might be of interest to you...

What is this strange-looking piece of equipment?

An Audio Masterclass student spots a strange piece of equipment in a photo. What could it be?


Click removal at the start of a track

It's always good to have a clean start to a track, and removing even a tiny click can make a significant improvement.


Setting microphone preamplifier gain to achieve both adequate headroom and a good signal-to-noise ratio

Demonstrations of preamplifier gain settings showing the importance of headroom, the consequences of too low a gain, and that raising the gain does not increase acoustic background noise.

How to become a better singer

To improve as a singer you need better tuning, tone and emotional communication. Here's how...


The Making of a CD - FREE DOWNLOAD

How up-and-coming band SinFiction financed, produced and brought to market their first CD album, 'Led By Verses'


Can you hear the difference between a square wave and a sine wave?

A comparison between square waves and sine waves of various frequencies, displayed on an oscilloscope, with commentary.

How to double track easily and efficiently

Double tracking is a powerful technique to create a rich texture in vocals and instruments. You can do it the hard way - or do it the easier way...


Make your recordings richer with double tracking

To achieve a richer sound from vocals, guitars, and even drums, the 'old school' technique of double tracking is extremely effective. And it costs nothing but a little extra dedication to your craft.


One simple step you must take to make sure your masters sound really great

How do you know for sure whether your master is an improvement on the original mix? Here's a simple way to tell...

"There is background noise in my studio. Should I use a noise-reduction plug-in?"

An Audio Masterclass student asks whether it is OK to use a noise-reduction plug-in instead of proper sound insulation.


Q: "Why is the signal from my microphone low in level and noisy?"

Sometimes a perfectly adequate microphone connected to a perfectly adequate audio interface will sound pretty bad. But there's an easy explanation...


The importance of monitoring in the recording studio

When you make recordings, you will be *monitoring*, not merely listening. Monitoring is vital to the recording process all the way from basic tracks through mixing, mastering and quality control of the finished product.

A brief introduction to acoustic treatment

When you have achieved good soundproofing in your room, you will need acoustic treatment to make it sound good both for recording and monitoring.


A brief introduction to soundproofing

You don't want background noise on your recordings, and you don't want to annoy your neighbors. But you don't want to spend more money than you have to, and you definitely don't want to waste money on soundproofing that doesn't work.


A brief introduction to working in professional audio

In nearly all cases, Audio Masterclass students want to be able to work to a professional standard. They may want to become employed in the industry, write and produce their own music, or do unpaid work as well as a professional would do it. This introduction will help you to understand the ways in which you can work with audio professionally, or to a professional standard.

A brief introduction to mastering in the home recording studio

The process of mastering has changed a lot over the years. In the days of vinyl records, the object of mastering was to transfer a finished mix on tape to a lacquer master disc, which could then be processed to form the metal stampers that would create the records the public would buy.


A brief introduction to mixing in the home recording studio

The function of mixing has changed since the beginning of the modern era of recording techniques in the late 1960s. In earlier times, the band and vocal would be recorded all together simultaneously, directly into mono or stereo. Mixing therefore took place actually during the recording session. But as multitrack recorders developed, eventually it was possible to place each instrument and vocal on its own track, and leave the mixing until later.


A brief introduction to reverb and effects for the home recording studio

It's a rare recording that sounds great without reverb, natural or artificial. Reverb and effects are an important part of modern recording techniques.

A brief introduction to compression for the home recording studio

The original purpose of the compressor was to reduce the difference between low-level signals and high-level signals so that equipment from an earlier era of recording, broadcasting and public address could handle them more easily.


A brief introduction to equalization for the home recording studio

Equalization, or EQ, is one of the most basic yet most important tools in recording, live sound, and all other activities of sound engineering. Equalization is used to repair problems, to make individual instruments and voices sound better, and to help instruments and voices blend together in the mix. It is also used to improve the mix, and to make tracks on an album flow seamlessly from one to another without sudden changes of frequency balance.


A brief introduction to microphone preamplifiers for the home recording studio

Any professional microphone must be connected to a specialized microphone preamplifier to function correctly. The preamplifier will boost the signal voltage from the microphone anything up to 1000 times so that it can be handled correctly by the following circuitry.

A brief introduction to microphones for the home recording studio

Understanding the various types of microphones is key to successful recording. There are four basic types of microphone that are in regular use in professional recording, and other types that are significant, but used less often. The most important types are these...


A brief introduction to microphone techniques for the home recording studio

Microphone technique is the art and skill of selecting an appropriate microphone for the job in hand, in terms of type, model and sometimes even the individual microphone, as microphones that were identical when new can come to sound different as they age.


Does inverting the phase of one channel of a stereo signal always sound bad?

The two channels of a stereo signal need to be in phase with each other. But are there times when it doesn't matter?

Do some microphones respond to EQ better than others?

Conventional recording wisdom says that you should choose the mic that sounds right in itself, rather than expecting EQ to solve any problems. But do some mics work better with EQ than others?


This ultimate vintage collector's item gives you bragging rights that almost no-one else has

You might buy a piece of vintage equipment to achieve a vintage sound. Or you might buy it for the simple pleasure of ownership. Enter the Studer D820X *digital* reel-to-reel recorder...


Spot the Stradivarius violin - REALLY test your ears [with audio]

Can you tell a priceless Stradivarius violin from a $5500 copy from a $60 chain-store clunker?

Is there such a thing as Photoshopped audio?

As a major fashion chain ditches the use of Photoshop for a more natural look, should we do the same in audio?


How to insult a sound engineer [with video]

Sound engineers are normally a pretty thick-skinned bunch. So what is it that really riles them?


A heroine for live performance on TV?

Viola player Natalie Holt throws eggs at Simon Cowell on Britain's Got Talent. She protests at having to mime playing her instrument.

Why won't publishers listen to your music?

It's one thing being rejected. But when publishers won't even listen to your music, what could you possibly be doing wrong?


Have your music recorded by a real symphony orchestra

If you have a spare 665 euros among your loose change, you could have 60 seconds of your own music recorded by a 70-piece orchestra! For real.


Which came first - Pirates of the Caribbean, or Gladiator?

An eagle-eared RP reader spots similarities in music for the movies.

What is the easiest way to convert watts to decibels?

An Audio Masterclass visitor wants to convert watts to dB. Is this even possible?


If you had no dangly thing at the back of your throat, how well could you sing?

That dangly thing at the back of your throat, properly called the uvula... Could you sing without it?


An interesting example of miking for TV

If you're recording in the studio, you can put your mics anywhere you like. But for TV, it's a little different...

What information do you need on your CD (to make money)?

Getting the music done is one thing, getting the artwork finished is another. But what about all the other information a CD needs?


Is it possible to *produce* classical music?

Classical music just needs to be recorded, doesn't it? Well in some cases it really can be produced.


SFX Machine Pro for Windows (VST), 64-bit version

The Sound Guy, Inc. has announced the release of a 64-bit compatible version of SFX Machine Pro for Windows. SFX Machine, a flexible multi-effects and sound design tool, will now work with 64-bit VST host programs...

M-Audio Studiophile AV 30 monitors - Could they be Auratones for the digital age?

Can an $89 pair of monitors really be an effective tool in the recording studio? Or are they only good for 'media creation?


Can a pianist's wrong note played in 1962 be fixed in 2013?

A wrong note that has resonated for more than half a century is fixed - without the aid of a time machine.


Are certain mic/preamp combinations special?

An RP reader finds that a certain combination of microphone and preamp works much better than he expected...

Why haven't you had a Hot 100 hit yet?

Anyone with a home recording studio now has the means to create a hit. So why haven't you yet?


Can guitarists be trusted with their own equipment?

What sounds good to the electric guitar player doesn't necessarily sound good to the audience. A live sound engineer explains...


What is your main concern if your interest is voice over?

So you're setting yourself up in the voice over business. What should you think about before anything else?

Can you print a vinyl record on a 3D printer?

Amazingly, the answer to this question is - almost - yes!


An interesting microphone setup for violinist Nigel Kennedy

If you're miking one of the finest violinists in the world, should you point the mic at the double bass instead?


To mic or not to mic the backline? That is an interesting question raising fascinating further possibilities

An RP reader fears losing cabinet resonances if the backline of his band is miked up through the PA. But perhaps it is innovation in live sound that has been lost over the years.

When working in a new theatre, always find out where the tielines go

Any theatre would have tielines from the stage to the sound control booth. But from one side of the booth's window to the other?


Top producer 'steals' song as part of massive publicity stunt

A major producer has 'stolen' a song from a pair of unknowns. A crime, or normal everyday life in the music business?


If AKG makes a USB microphone, does it mean that the time has come for USB mics?

AKG makes some of the best mics in the world. AKG also makes a USB mic. A great USB mic?

Would you record vocals like this?

Two singers, one microphone. Could it cause an Internet sensation?


Hum - Can you hear it, even if you can't hear it?

If a tree falls in the woods, does it make a sound (if no-one is around to hear it?) If you can't hear hum, then is there no hum?


Preparation for mastering: Don't do any mastering yourself

Are you planning on getting your tracks mastered? Then the first rule of preparation is not to master the tracks yourself.

A hum generator plug-in? We want one!

You can get a plug-in to emulate virtually any analog audio process these days. But what about hum? Where's the plug-in for that?


An inside view of the weirdest recording session ever, at the BBC!

Take a 300-year old bass line, a cello player with just seven days' experience, and some highly uncool-looking musicians... and make a recording that is really top of the pops for weird!


Would you put your head inside a piano? No? Then why place a microphone there? [with video]

Sometimes unusual microphone placements can capture an interesting sound. In this instance, the sound is completely wrong.

When is a click not a click? When should you fix a click, and when should you leave it alone?

Clicks occur for all kinds of reasons - imprecise editing, random noises, gremlin infestation. But when do you need to do something about them?


Should you make decisions as you record, or keep your options open until later?

There are so many decisions to be made during the process of recording. Should you make them one at a time as you go along, or let them pile up so that you have a mass of decisions to make in the mix?


Is Pro Tools 11 really the 'new standard for audio production'?

Audio production - it's all about the DAW isn't it? Well that's what marketers would have you believe.

Avid's new upgrades - great for mere 'content production'

Content can be art. Art can be content. But when content is just a commodity, there is surely something going wrong.


This composer was so obsessed with his image, he posed for his own deathbed photo while still alive

We think of image-obsession as being a feature of the the current media age. But Sir Edward Elgar was at it 80 years ago...


Manchester United's fans are too quiet. Quick! Call an acoustics expert!

Manchester United's fans are not normally known for being a timid lot. So why can't they be heard at the other end of the stadium?

An asymmetrically biased microphone with a really fruity tone [with audio]

Do you like your microphone to produce a clean, accurate sound? Or do you like your vocals rich and fruity?


Live album review: Sparks - Two Hands One Mouth

If you're a Sparks fan, you'll want to own this live album. If you're a live album fan, you'll want to show your support for the format. Are live albums about to make a comeback?


A rare Telefunken ELA M 251 E - for sale on eBay ('only' $19,999.00)

If you have a classic vintage vacuum tube, chances are you don't want to sell it. But someone does (for a price)...

A rare Neumann U48 - for sale on eBay

It isn't often that a Neumann U47 or U48 comes up for sale. But you can grab one now if you're quick...


Sequence THAT!

We live in a precisely-ordered digital world these days. But what did music sound like when it used to be played by musicians? Perhaps something like this...


Can you record a drum kit entirely with Shure SM57 mics? Barry Rudolph can.

If you record an entire drum kit with SM57 mics, the total cost of the mics is around $300. That's pretty cheap, but is the sound cheap too?

A Neve mixing console with built-in turntable

If you're in the mood to add some vinyl scratches to your track, what could be better than having a turntable right there in your console?


Another amazing bargain keyboard instrument

What kind of keyboard instrument can you buy for £20? You would be amazed...


How to connect a turntable to a mixing console

An RP reader has a turntable and a mixing console. But they are not sounding good together...

The sE Electronics Reflexion Filter in a noisy environment

Is your computer noisy? Do you think the sE Electronics Reflexion Filter will help? Think again. (With audio)


YouTube Review - The Pulse: You won't find me there

Take a trio of rhythm guitar, bass and drums. Add a vocal, add some overdubs. Oh, and someone find a lead guitarist for the solo...


This woman nearly gave 'Yesterday' an electronic backing!

We know very well the most-covered song of all time, with its lush string quartet backing. But it was nearly given the electronic treatment.

Avid and Abbey Road fall victim to surprisingly bad web audio

Avid's recent webinar about Abbey Road's upgrade to Pro Tools HDX featured the worst audio I have heard for a long time. Who is to blame? is giving up music to learn computer programming

Many aspiring producers admire for his musical success. He admires Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg.


Can a $1599 microphone match up to an undisputed classic? Hear it for yourself...

For many engineers, the Neumann U47 is the undisputed champion of microphones. Here you can judge it against the $1599 Lauten Audio Atlantis. You might be in for a surprise.

How to edit out pops in speech or singing

Microphone pops are an unpleasant side effect of recording. It's best to avoid them in the first place, but what if someone sends you a poppy vocal recording to fix?


An interesting phase problem in drum overheads

Using microphones in a stereo pair always raises a good question - are you SURE they sound right?


Does microphone preamplifier gain increase the proximity effect?

A interesting question asked by an Audio Masterclass student. Well does it??

To impress a client, your work needs to be IMPRESSIVE

One of the fundamental principles of Audio Masterclass is that if you want to get work in the audio industry, you have to be able to impress potential clients. If your audio or music is not impressive, then the work will go to someone else whose audio or music is impressive.


Universal Audio Twin Finity combined tube/transistor mic preamp

Is this dual tube/transistor preamp the ultimate in preamp flexibility? Or does it completely miss what could have been its finest trick?


Can you now use nearfields to completely replace your main monitors?

Any pro studio would have both main monitors and nearfields. But now you can have both in one package.

Do plug-ins sound like the analog equipment they emulate?

Everyone would like an 1176 or LA-2A compressor in their studio. But the originals cost so much that plug-in emulations are usually the only viable alternative. But do they sound the same?


How to compress a bass guitar that varies in level

It's a rare bass guitar recording that doesn't vary in level to some extent. In most cases, this adds nothing to the musicality of the recording and just makes the track harder to mix.


Why your studio door should not have a latch

How do you keep your studio door closed? If it uses a latch then you may be slowing down your sessions.

How to pan an acoustic piano

Should the bass notes be on the left and the high notes on the right, or the other way round?


The X-ART tweeter of ADAM Audio loudspeakers

Q: When is a ribbon tweeter not a ribbon tweeter? A: When it's an eXtended Accelerating Ribbon Technology tweeter in an ADAM Audio loudspeaker.


Apogee Duet audio interface features soft limiting to prevent clipping

Should a pro engineer prevent clipping through correct gain setting? Or can soft limiting be relied on to save the day?

Avid is wrong. You need more than great Pro Tools plug-ins.

Avid says that what you need for great mixes is superior plug-ins, to achieve the polish you crave. I disagree.


To impress a client, your work needs to be IMPRESSIVE

Can you get by with decent-but-plain production values. Or do you have to go the extra mile to win clients?


Does microphone preamplifier gain increase the proximity effect?

Can the gain control on your preamplifier increase bass boost due to the proximity effect? Can it increase the level of acoustic background noise in your room?

How to edit out pops in speech or singing

If someone gives you a vocal recording to work with that has pops burned in, what can you do?


As a producer, what should you really worry about in your work?

So many bloggers and commenters encourage fear, uncertainty and doubt about audio. But what should really be taking up your attention and time in the studio?


Should your singer clearly pronounce every consonant?

Is it always necessary to pronounce the final consonant of each and every word? Or would that just get too irritatin'?

Responding to a client's requests for changes - a vital skill in audio

To succeed in audio, clearly you have to satisfy your client's requirements. But what if the client wants changes? Can you do that? Or will you be too stubborn to achieve long-term success in the industry?


Should sound be described in hertz and decibels, or boom, snap, scoop and smack?

The new Stagescape M20D live sound mixer from Line 6 allows novice users to shape sound in subjective terms rather than scientific measurements. Is this a good idea, or does it merely ring-fence ignorance?


Should you switch phantom power off if it isn't needed?

When phantom power was first invented, it was designed so that any mic that didn't need it wouldn't be affected by it. So why do we now worry about switching it off?

Pro Tools 101 Official Courseware is a little confused about decibels

The difference between sound pressure decibels and sound intensity decibels isn't all that difficult. Here is the real explanation...


Live sound: How to set the levels on the power amplifier

Nearly all power amplifiers used in live sound feature a level control. How should it be set?


The Mackie DL1608 - A digital mixer with iPad control

The Mackie DL1608 is a digital mixing console aimed at the live sound market. But would a beginner in audio benefit from iPad control?

A microphone for the kick drum: Is the AKG D12 the only valid choice?

There are fashions in microphones just as their are fashions in clothing and interior design. But the AKG D12 and its successors seem to have stood the test of time.


Microphone preamplifiers: Do they really make a difference?

There is much talk about microphone preamplifiers on the web and in recording magazines. But do they really make that much of a difference?


What are you scared of in the recording studio?

Do you ever avoid a certain audio technique because of fear? Fear of failure? Fear of bad sound? Fear of... the unknown...?

How waterproof is your microphone?

Rihanna performs live in a rainstorm. She gets wet. And so does her microphone...


The Beatles original audition tape - is it a fake?

The tape that got The Beatles rejected by Decca Records in 1962 has unexpectedly been rediscovered. But is it just a (money-making) fake?


Pandora Internet radio - artists get less than previously claimed

A blog post from a senior representative of Pandora claimed that 2000 acts will earn more than $10,000 each next year. He actually meant $4500.

Why do mixing console preamps have high-pass filter buttons?

Look at any decent mixing console and you will see high-pass filters in each and every mic preamp section. Why is this, and what are they used for?


So Mr. Bond... Who really did write your theme music?

As the new James Bond movie Skyfall opens, it seems an appropriate time to revisit the question of whether the 'James Bond Theme' was actually written by Monty Norman or John Barry.


Build a working turntable from CARDBOARD, courtesy of Kid Koala

Kid Koala's new CD, 12 bit Blues, comes with a cardboard turntable that you can build yourself, plus a flexidisc to play on it. Want one? You really should!

What is the Low-Z button for on the Golden Age Pre-73 microphone preamplifier?

Ask a number of preamp users what each of the controls on the Golden Age Pre-73 does, and the 'Low-Z' control will probably cause the most scratching of heads. So what is it for?


Can you make significant money as a middle-class musician?

The money in music is divided like this - the top 1% get nearly all of it! But soon it might be possible for the 'middle-class' musician to make a decent living.


Even your spouse would like these lovely, polished walnut, LARGE loudspeakers...

Every home needs a listening room or home cinema with a pair of really big loudspeakers. And this pair certainly is big. And unusual too.

Does Adele hit a wobbly high note in the new James Bond theme song 'Skyfall'?

If as a producer you decide not to use Auto-Tune, then it's a judgment call whether your singer is in-tune, or in-tune enough. Like James Bond himself, Adele's producer lives life on the edge.


Why your voice-over recordings need to be FULLY professional

Voice over recording can be very lucrative. But only if your voice talent AND your recording techniques are of the highest standard. So what are the potential problems?


Can you use the classic AKG C451 on snare drum?

Ask any two engineers which mics they prefer for any instrument and you will soon be witness to a heated argument. But sometimes there might be a very good reason why a mic doesn't work.

Why does this loudspeaker have only one drive unit?

It is an accepted fact of audio life that a decent quality loudspeaker must have at least two drive units. But this only has one. Is it because it's old?


A $30,000 Neve Melbourn for $4000? Not quite...

The Neve Melbourn 12-2 mixing console is a classic in miniature, but now quite expensive to buy on the used market. But might this be an alternative?


Q: How can I insulate my room against heavy traffic noise?

It might be impossible to achieve perfect soundproofing against the sonic onslaught of heavy traffic, but small improvements can be gained quite easily.

As classic an example of compression pumping as you will ever hear...

One of the potential problems of compression is pumping. And in this example it's about as bad as it gets.


Silencing a crackly guitar volume control

One wouldn't expect a 50-year old potentiometer to be without a few crackles. But does a guitar used only for recording actually need a volume control?


Wouldn't it be nice to have deeply resonant vocals?

Some singers have deeply resonant vocals. Some don't. But how can you add deep resonance when it isn't there in the first place?

Do we really need 200 more features and 20 pages of tutorials?

Apple's new OS Mountain Lion apparently has more than 200 new features and you need 20 pages of tutorial to understand them. In what way is this a good thing?


Spend $3600 on a microphone, then find that your recordings are no better than before

Having great equipment doesn't always lead to great recordings. And how much will you regret wasting your money?


Wives in husband calling contest make Shure SM58 distort!

The Shure SM58 is normally regarded as an unburstable microphone. But these husband-calling wives have other ideas...

Can curtains provide good soundproofing?

Conventional wisdom says that soundproofing materials need to be heavy and thick. So how can curtains be expected to provide any degree of soundproofing at all?


How to earn royalties from your live gigs

If you write your own songs, you might be able to get royalties for your live performances. Why settle for just one income stream?


What is the difference between gain and level?

Gain... Level... Are you confused? And does it make any difference if you are?

How much would you like to play an amazing keyboard instrument like this?

You don't often see keyboards like this one. A delight to the eye as well as the ear...


Windows 8 brings performance improvements to Sonar

Lower latency, better CPU load balancing, reduced memory usage, better disk performance... Something to look forward to?


Your school grades you 0 to 100%. But what does a real-world client think of your work?

There is a big difference between a school or college, and the real-world working environment. One is helpful and supportive, the other is harsh and takes no prisoners. Guess which is which?

One song, arranged four ways

A good musical arrangement can make all the difference to the presentation of a song. Of course, it helps if it's a good song in the first place...


Does your studio need a ducker? A Neve ducker?

Everyone wants the famous Neve sound. But can you find it in a ducker?


How to collect royalties from your music

Is your music earning you money? Here's how it could earn you money while you sleep.

Jessie J steals Will Loomis's song. Or does she?

Will Loomis thinks that Jessie J's song 'Domino' is a ripoff of his song 'Bright Red Chords', allegedly. But how many notes does it take to be scoundrel in the music business?


Why delay is good for you (and how to set delay times)

Delay is one of the simplest yet (currently) under-appreciated effects available. But how do you work out the correct settings?


For beginners - Why do your loudspeakers have holes in them?

Take off the grille cloth of your loudspeakers and you will see that they have holes, with tubes extending inside the cabinet. Why? What would happen if you blocked them up?

Extraordinary stereo from your effects pedal

Do you always connect your effects pedals between your guitar and amplifier. Wow, that's just so retro!


How Isabel Fay got noticed on YouTube

The average YouTube music video gets a few tens of views. Isabel Fay's gets 683,649. How come?


An unusual pair of loudspeakers that fire UPWARDS!

Why have loudspeakers that fire sound at you when you can have loudspeakers that spray sound all around the room. Those crazy Swedes... :-)

Create real acoustic reverberation, even if your interface doesn't have multiple outputs

Real acoustic reverb has texture and character, and it's much more fun than using a plug-in. But how?


Should you optimize tracks individually or in the context of the whole mix?

You can make each individual track of your recording sound as great as you like. But will they all mix together successfully?


How photography can tell you something about the professional standard of your audio

Are you concerned about the professionalism of your work? Some photographers are, and some are not so much. The comparisons are interesting...

Why have a pair of speakers when you can have a quad (literally)?

If your living room is dominated by a gigantic pair of speakers, then why not dominate it some more?


An 8-channel preamp of SSL/Neve quality? Really?

An 8-channel preamp of apparently SSL/Neve quality is up for sale on Ebay. But can you really trust the seller's description?


Should we clean up old recordings, or keep their noise and distortion in all their glory?

We think we know everything these days. But are we getting a little too clever? Perhaps people in an earlier age of recording knew something that we don't.

A very unusual tape recorder used for mastering

If you look at the photo carefully, you will see that this Studer A80 analog tape recorder has several more tape guides than the norm. It's used for mastering. But why?


Do digital signals degrade at higher levels?

Do your recordings brush up against the full scale mark? If they do, might they be distorted or degraded in some way compared to lower-level signals?


Famous concert pianist plays a wrong note!

There are so many notes in a sonata or a concerto. Should we expect them all to be played correctly? Or is the occasional wrong note acceptable in the context of a performance of wonderful musicality?

Can you sing and hula hoop at the same time? Grace Jones can!

I never thought I'd see synchronized singing and hula hooping, but I have now. And it demonstrates an interesting scientific principle that relates closely to audio.


Are you quick-thinking enough to be a live sound engineer?

In the studio, you can work at whatever pace you like. But in live sound, or live broadcast, sometimes you have to think very fast indeed.


Do vintage musical styles benefit from modern mastering techniques?

Take some music in 1970s style, then apply mastering processes from the 21st century. Will it work? Or will the two eras clash horribly?

You don't need to be a good singer to succeed as a performer

To achieve success in music, you don't necessarily have to be able to sing all that well. Here's proof...


Is your mixing console noisy? Here's why...

If you have an old-style mixing console and you're suffering from noise, there's a reason for that.


How to start your recordings in a clean and professional way

Your recordings need to sound professional right from the first millisecond. Four audio examples demonstrate this VERY clearly.

Q: "Everything I record is out of phase. Is this a problem?"

An RP reader has an interesting phase problem. Is this something he should worry about?


In 5 to 10 years' time, computers might catch up with traditional technologies. Might.

Computers are cutting edge, right? Er, not quite so cutting edge as you might have thought...


Is the time right to buy Waves plug-ins at bargain-basement prices?

Waves currently has an offer on plug-ins - up to 50% off and more. Wow that's a lot - but is there something else you need to consider?

Should vocals be recorded in mono or stereo?

When stereo sounds so much better and more lifelike than mono, why would you ever want to record a vocal with a single mic?


Can you really *produce* using only virtual instruments?

So you record using virtual instruments. Can you really call yourself a producer?


The 10 rules of pan

An RP reader wants to pan, but doesn't know the rules. Do you have to know the rules before you break them?

How loud should the bass instrument be?

An RP reader wants to know how loud the bass should be, in percentage terms.


Retro recording: How to get more tracks through bouncing and track sharing

Many a great record has been made using only 24 tracks. But how can you expand a 24-track recorder to 25, 26 tracks or even more?


How to create a realistic bass drum with a lifelike texture

Bass drum samples tend to sound more like samples than the proper way a bass drum should sound. So how can they be given a more lifelike texture?