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The most common mistakes?

Discussion in 'Recording' started by ffynnon, May 22, 2002.

  1. ffynnon

    ffynnon Guest

    I'd love to know what the pro's here, consider the most common mistakes that they hear new and inexperienced engineers making. Also what's the worst recording of a big name act you've heard? Sorry if this has been discussed before. I did do a search, but it's a difficult one to get the right keywords for.

  2. OTRjkl

    OTRjkl Guest

    Probably the hardest thing for aspiring engineers to grasp is at what level to mix the LdV. The tendency is to mix it too low.
  3. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    •The one that comes to mind is mixing so it sounds really great in the mix room on those speakers, but not checking against reference CD's and trying it out elsewhere.

    •In a related area, thinking that it is a good idea to mix and master in the same room, unless the engineer is REALLY good and really knows what he/she is doing.

    •Another one is overcompression, especially with inferior compressors orplug-insto achieve a super-loud CD.

    •Then there is over use of fx and processors in general. Too much reverb. Boosting EQ all over the place (instead of cutting). Overcompression of individual tracks. Just cause you got it, doesn't mean you have to use it. Especially if the track was recorded well and sounds decent already.

    •Overproduction in general. Does the song really need all those synth strings, the Mormon Tabernacle choir, and 14 tracks of hand percussion? "Less is more" works far more often than not.

    As far as commercial CDs, I know a lot of times my main objection is with reverb. Not so much with hip-hop, which avoids it, but with Adult/Contemporary and Jazz vocals. Especially when esses are hyped as well. I've heard some Shirley Horn and Ray Charles recordings, e.g. where the reverb choices really distracted from the music, at least for me. I'd have to go digging for the specific CD titles.
  4. hargerst

    hargerst Distinguished Member

    Pretty much what littledog said.

    1. Most new recordists don't seem to realize that most of the available eq also has a cut control, which usually goes unnoticed.

    2. Miking the soundhole of a guitar is usually not a good idea.

    3. There are other microphone designs other than 1" cardioid condenser mics. Some actually work better for some applications.

    4. Just because a particular mic works well on your voice or your guitar, it doesn't mean that it will work well on every voice or every guitar.

    5. Microphone placement is more important than the actual choice of microphones.

    6. The placement of the microphone is more important than which microphone you use.

    7. Different microphones "hear" sounds in different ways. Once you understand that completely, everything else gets much easier.
  5. ffynnon

    ffynnon Guest

    Thanks all, for taking the time to reply. It's been so slow around here since the subscription came in I'd started to regret spending that $24.
    Receiving well thought out and courteous replies from knowledgeable folk like yourselves makes it feel worthwhile again.

  6. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    I have a slight issue with this much professed statement. If your after a really full & woody A-gtr sound (like a good ryhtm sound lets say), then a '57 through a 1073/1176 combination any where near 3/4 tpo a foot in front of the sound hole is amazing...but this is off topic.
  7. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    How about this one:

    Don't try to mix the same day you've been tracking. Especially if you've had the cans on for six hours.
  8. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    ..oh...btw...everything else you said hargerst was absolutley on the mark/words of wisdom (in my, again, humble opinion)
  9. hargerst

    hargerst Distinguished Member

    Well, I did include the word "usually", meaning YMMV, but I haven't been able to achieve good results with an SM-57 pointed at the soundhole from 8" away. I suppose it depends on the sound you're trying to get, the particular guitar, and the player.

    If I were advising a new recordist on how to mic an acoustic guitar, I would still warn him away from that positioning. "My guitar sound is boomy" is one of the major complaints I hear, over and over.

    But I'm glad we agree on some of the other points.
  10. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    If I were advising a new recordist on how to mic an acoustic guitar, I would still warn him away from that positioning. "My guitar sound is boomy" is one of the major complaints I hear, over and over.

    Your right. I bow to your experiance. My technique (as described) is a bit from the advanced side (Pete Anderson'esq). It really works well though, the response of the '57 cuopled with the 1073/1176 takes care of the "boom"....tight and in your (or my) face.
  11. droog

    droog Active Member

    insightful as ever, rm, but let me get this right, you mike the 'boom', and run it into a compressor, via a preamp

    is that correct?

    is there any eq in the chain (eg, low cut?)

    is the compressor clamping down?

    interesting idea,

    newcastle, oz
  12. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    It's easiest to where cans, move mic around, out in front of sound hole (sm57-neve1073-1176) till you find the best sounding spot (your call). I get by with no eq, I hit the 1176 fairly hard (7-10db of gain reduction), attack is fairly slow (9 or 10 o'clock) although some times I may move the attcack all the way to 2 o'clock, Release: almost always fully clockwise (fast). Ratio? 8:1 sometimes 4:1.

    Foe a completely different thing, try the sm57 up some where around the 5th fret or so, about 8" out mic initially parralel with the neck facing towards the body; once it's there, angle the mic to face towards the sound hole (about 40 degrees I think away from the original parallel position). SM57's are great!


    The BIGGEST mistake I see (pretty rare, I usually only "see" me mic'in') is the quickness with wich eq (and for that matter compression) is used when recording.

    Hypothetical Scenario.
    Engineer throws mic's up on an instrument. Comes in, listens, sit's down and starts to "eq" the sound.

    instead. Start in mono. Move instrument till it sounds good in room. Move mic position, and/or change mic&position untill it sounds as good as possible, then add eq. Like Al Schmitt says (and unless your going for a "radical" sound) if you need more than a cuople of db on an eq, you've either got the wrong spot or the wrong mic; or both.
  13. droog

    droog Active Member

    thanx, rm

    i'm going to give it a try
  14. themidiroom

    themidiroom Active Member

    Hmmmm, I don't know if I officially qualify as a pro or not. I do have a studio, know a few things, and receive money for my services.
    One mistake that I see a lot from newcomers is they want a "catch all" answer to various situations. Knowing how you'd like something to sound is half the battle. Once you have that, working out the details of making it happen isn't as difficult.
  15. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    I don't know about anybody else but I nominate you to "pro" status with that answer.

    That's my biggest frustration with all newbies. thinking that it's any particular piece of gear or technique. The whole is bigger than the sum...so to speak. It's the collection and mastery of all your knowledge and experiance, and hoe oyu adapt and use the tools with the situation your in...within the time and budget constraints allowed.
  16. themidiroom

    themidiroom Active Member

    Why thank you RecorderMan. I'm quite honored (sniff sniff)
    Technically speaking, I'm still a low man on the totem pole. I don't think my many years with a four track and 6x2 mixer count for a whole lot.
  17. hargerst

    hargerst Distinguished Member

    Hey, working with minimal gear forces you to come up with unique and innovative solutions to common problems. Experience is still the greatest teacher.
  18. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    I would almost never (i just can't say never) mic an acoustic guitar in front of the sound hole. That would be the same as micing a bass cab in front of the port. The sound from an acoustic guitar mostly eminates from the soundboard. cedar flat fats
  19. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    never say never. I do this quite often with a 57-1073(or 1272)-1176 thing. Great for rythm A-gtrs with lots o'body and bite). It's not the only way, by a long shot.
  20. e-cue

    e-cue Active Member

    Most common mistakes? Autotune. Phasey drums. Overcompressed / Wrong attack/released times on compressor. Levels. Use of the Sony EQ. Poor or lack of documentation during the TRACKING stage (overdubs happen). Underestimating Beatles/Beach Boys records. Blaming bad engineering on the medium (analog/digital/protools/tape/etc) they are working on. Boasting EQ instead of cutting EQ. Doing drugs/booze while engineering. Not listening to the instrument in the live room before trying to get a good sound in the control room. Not 'saving' and then having a crash. Working 3 days straight during the mixing stage (counterproductive). Assuming that because a peice of gear is cheap that it sucks. Not printing drum samples to a drum's dat.

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