Bad recording advice please read before recording - by AndrewSpence

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Written by AndrewSpence on 5th May 2010
Ok, so I've been present at a number of colleges, music wotnots, uni courses etc etc as well as reading numerous forums and even some magazines claiming to give professional advice and one thing I repeatedly see/hear is the bad advice that you should get signals into the computers/daw as hot as possible (as close to 0 without clipping as they can)

Please don't!!!

I'm not sure why these so called "music courses" teach in this way as it's completely wrong and it leaves the person mixing or mastering the track with nowhere to go.

Music dynamics is all about having "room" in your mix, that is, make sure theres enough space left after you've done your recording for the person mixing it (me) to be able to utilise this "headroom" to get the best from your sound.

Ever wondered why there's such a big argument over why mixes don't sound as good in the computer as they do when mixed on a big outboard desk etc etc blah blah.

The reason being that on a traditional analogue mixing desk, when you get to 0 on the desk, you still have a good bit left to go over and above that magical number because analogue distortion is nothing like digital distortion and the available headroom does not stop at 0.

if you set an analogue desk to be just touching 0 on input and then route your signal out to a daw (digital audio workstation) you will normally (working on the assumption that the desk is calibrated correctly) see roughly -20 rms and -12 ish peaks on the recordings.

This way, when it comes to mixing and mastering your work, the engineer will still have enough bit depth (getting geeky now) and headroom left over to make the most of any processing that he/she does.

There's a huge thread on the subject over at Gearslutz for anyone who's got the time and is interested enough to read it.

Anyway, the point of the blog is.....


try and leave enough headroom when tracking(recording) your work so that us as engineers can make it sound as good as possible for you the artist.

Cheers,

Andy.

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