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Discussion in 'Recording' started by Kurt Foster, Mar 5, 2003.

  1. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    What is the most important thing a newbie needs to do / learn to get them off to a good start?
  2. HiString

    HiString Guest


  3. Ethan Winer

    Ethan Winer Active Member

    Mar 19, 2001
    New Milford, CT USA
    Home Page:

    > What is the most important thing a newbie needs to do / learn to get them off to a good start? <

    1. Understand audio signal flow, which really is no more complicated than house plumbing.

    2. Learn to take audio manufacturer's claims with a grain of salt.

    2a. Don't believe everything you read, even if said by a famous engineer and printed in a big name magazine.

  4. jaredbyline

    jaredbyline Guest

    Don't believe everything you read, even if said by a famous engineer and printed in a big name magazine.

    Ha thanks a lot. Where was that a month ago? :)
  5. lessthandmb

    lessthandmb Guest

    what are some of the first steps? I just started getting into recording and there are a a few things that I dont totally understand. I dont know why but I find MIDI to be very confusing. Can someone help me out on this topic? snyths? controllers? what are these?
  6. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    This particular thread is more of an opinion poll rather than a thread for questions. That question would be better suited for Nate in the keyboard forum. I'm a guitar player myself and am not totally versed in the ways of MIDI and controllers. If you like you can post other questions here at "Small Steps" on a separate thread. Don't be afraid to start a new one. Kurt
    To help keep this site alive and growing, please show your support by purchasing one of our caps, studio clocks, T-Shirts etc. Banner ads too!
  7. jimistone

    jimistone Guest

    im kind of a newbie and i think the some important things i have learned are...

    to make the sound source you're recording sound as good as possible before you record it, be it guitar, percussion, drums, or a voice

    to have the signal you're recording as hot as possible without clipping

    to erase all the junk like room noise out of the spots where there is supposed to be silence on a track before you mix.

    and finally, when you are monitoring a track you just recorded, with a mic that is in the same room with the recorder........don't forget to turn off your monitor speakers before you hit "record" again!
  8. jimistone

    jimistone Guest

    one thing i forgot to add...
    when you put a mic in from of something to record it, if the results are not what you desire, don't immeadiatly assume that you have the wrong mic. Try playing around with distance and positioning and sometimes you will get stellar results.
  9. Mark Burnley

    Mark Burnley Guest

    Just a few thoughts...

    1. I agree Jimistone, get the sound good at source, it makes life much easier.

    2. Take time to learn- listen to what you do and keep a copy of all your work. Listen to the stuff you did a year ago and be amazed! (hopefully :D but it makes you understand how your tracks will travel.

    6. It's not all about gear. You've only got one mic. But there's a million ways to use it. You've only got a few types of reverb. Dive into the menus and learn how to tweak the ones you've got. As you learn, you'll understand what you need more, and you'll make better purchase decisions. Having lower spec gear doesn't mean you'll make bad recordings. You'll just have to learn its' limitations and work with it. Lower spec gear is usually less forgiving, so get to know it well! Which brings me on to...

    7. Gain structure...making the most of it! In a signal chain between for example the mic and the recorder, there will be at least one gain control, maybe more. If you optimize these levels, you'll have a recording without hiss and noise due to a too-low level setting, and without distortion/clipping due to too-high a level. This is even more important with digi. equipment because you have 0dB headroom, and lower level signals are using less available resolution.

    8. Listen to other peoples records and be critical...just because it's been released doesn't mean it's well recorded! :roll:

    And enjoy your work :tu:


    "Oscillators don't, amplifiers do....."
  10. spratz

    spratz Guest

    Listen. Listen to the sound, your gear, your environment, and everyone who listens to your product (good and bad).

    Understand signal flow. The ability to troubleshoot is a great asset. It also crosses over into other parts of life.

    Enjoy it. Don't plan to get rich at it. My advise is to do it because you love it.

    Be a life long learner. The moment you think you know it all it's over for you.

    Listen some more. Figure out what you like and don't like. As someone once told me... Take your least favorite song and listen to it 100 times in a row. Once you think you know it really well, listen to it ten more times.

  11. spratz

    spratz Guest

    I forgot something.

    It is all about the music. Not the gear, not the studio, not the reputation, not the money.

    Also the musicians can really make all the difference. Your job is to capture the music.

  12. Pez

    Pez Active Member

    Dec 27, 2002
    "What is the most important thing a newbie needs to do / learn to get them off to a good start? "

    To find knowledgeable people and then to fearlessly ask them questions. Humility was a great answer. Study your ass off. No formal training needed but it's nice if you can intern with an experienced engineer. Record as much as possible and you'll learn something new daily. Find good tools and then learn to use them properly. You can't tell if a mix is good unless you have a decent room and good monitors. Don't be afraid to try something different after you've learned the basic way things are usually done. Listen to the best mixes you can find and then try to emulate them. Listen to the panning, the eqs, the effects, stereo imaging, the changes in levels, amount of compression, the punch, the clarity, the beauty, and ask yourself how you can mix to make your product sound as good. Don't overdo reverb and learn subtractive eqing. Don't build your house (mix) on a weak foundation. If the basic rhythm tracks aren't right redo them until they are. If the band can't play in time or sing in tune then learn how to edit and fix what's broken or decide that life is just too short to waste your time recording crappy bands. Learn to do your best with what little equipment you may have. Your most valuable piece of equipment is your ears. Keep them protected and maintained. Most importantly learn how to cover your ass when you accidently erase a great take. ;)
  13. animatrix

    animatrix Guest

    When purchasing a studio item, consider what it does on that particular date, at that particular moment in time to be all it will ever be capable of doing.
  14. Pez

    Pez Active Member

    Dec 27, 2002
    Such as Paris perhaps?
  15. sign

    sign Guest

    Most important for a newbie is that he/she should understand that it's rather "clever" to ask a "stupid" question.

    A real pro will be happy to answer any newbie question. :p
  16. gambit

    gambit Active Member

    Dec 14, 2000
    Bristol, UK
    Home Page:
    "What is the most important thing a newbie needs to do / learn to get them off to a good start?"

    As a certified (certifiable?) newbie - things I would do different are:

    1. Start with a 4 track and mic (or 2). Wring every last drop of performance out of it, before you buy a desk/channels/fx/daw etc.

    2. Buy a decent set of headphones, not only will your neighbours thank you but your ears will to.

    3. Don't buy a rack full of gear and then have to work 10-15 hours a day in your regular job to pay it off, leaving no time to learn any of the kit. One piece at a time and learn it completely.

    4. When you do get a DAW or Desk/Recorder - get as many inputs as your budget will allow and then some - don't skimp - you can always leave i/o unused but when you run out its a pain.

    5. BUY A PATCHBAY - and get your studio organised. Only having to worry about one panel of cables is liberating.

    6. Don't forget its all about the music - you are capturing that, not the sound of a AKG C414 into a Avalon VT-737SP.

    7. Never stop listening to music.
  17. Don Grossinger

    Don Grossinger Distinguished past mastering moderator Active Member

    Jan 16, 2002
    just north of NYC
    Home Page:
    1) Listen to as much live music as possible. Even if you have no intention of recording string quartets, go & check out a clasical concert (string beds are popular in Hip Hop, etc....)

    2) Learn how to get along with clients. "Ease of operation" will have folks coming back. Keep a level head even when all else is falling apart around you.

    3) Try to be as open minded to new techniques as possible.

    4) Learn from the past experiences of other engineers.

    5) Have fun!!
  18. lambchop

    lambchop Active Member

    Feb 14, 2003
    New Jersey (right outside the Big Apple!)
    Home Page:
    Give up drinking and smoking! ;)

    I know it's already been said, but I feel strongly about it.

    Seriously, ask lots and lots of questions and apply what you've learned and then - ask lots and lots of questions again.

    Remember that everyone was a newbie at some point.
  19. note2scott

    note2scott Guest

    Ethan says:

    "Understand audio signal flow, which really is no more complicated than house plumbing"

    Sounds fairly basic but when I think about it, there are some steps im sure I don't understand as well as I could, is there a faq that covers this? or a particular forum that is really well suited for "audio signal flow"

    I'm working on the humility :p
  20. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    this is the perfect forum to ask these types of questions. But it is the wrong thread... start a new topic and I will be happy to answer any of your questions regarding signal flow / sound chain theory. Kurt

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