Production Tips Part 1

Vocals – From a production and performance viewpoint it can be good idea to split the vocal recording monto seperate tracks

ie 1 track for verse and 1 track for chorus.

This will help in controlling volume differences and will also help with allow you set different levels and fx.

It can also help on the performance side – mistakes can take up so much time -vocal cords get fatigued.

—-> be aware though. Record verses first then chorus and make a note of all your settings.

If possible record on the same day.  Differences will show…

Vocals 2 – Double up vocals –

  1. Record the vocal once then copy onto another track, leave one track alone and then compress the help out of the other track and mix together. Experiment with adding different eq’s.
    Record perfrmances on two tracks of the same vocal and do as above.
    As above using both techniques, auto tune/pitch correct one track only.
  2. Both of these ideas can help thicken a vocal track – be careful though it can have the effect of sounding cheap  – it’s good to mess around and experiment…

Compression – Try to avoid overdoing the compression, compressing everything will as well as killing the dynamics of your track will bring up noise levels.

Reverb – Setup one reverb for whole production. Too many different reverbs can make it difficult to get each instrumentsit properly in the mix.

Guitars – Mushy guitars can be cleaned up by pulling back on the gain or by mixing in a clean channel of the same recording. Also don’t be scared of bringing the guitars down in a mix. If mixed too loud they will cloud everything.

  1. Record the same guitar part on 4 seperate tracks – mix full left and full right for a big stereo sound. Really useful on chorus’s if during the mix you have a simple arrangement of bass and drums.
  2. Get the distorted sound you want and half the gain – record the guitar part 4 times and mix together.
  3. Use different guitars. In the past I’ve used a cheap £30 nylon strung 3/4 guitar for palm muting. It’s not always the best guitar that is best for the job – experiment with sound. Acoustic guitars can sound as heavy as electric.
  4. Different strings, amps, settings – mixing these up through a song can bring a peice of music to life but too many effects can lessen the impact of good music. Less is more soemtimes.
  5. DI’d guitar in my opinion sucks – mic it if possible or mix the two sounds together.
  6. Always experiment try different sized amps – a battery powered practice amp with a 50% battery has a tone of it’s own so mic it up. A twenty quid steel strung guitar with the worst action can make a great slide guitar. It’s all how you approach things. Cheap karaoke mics can sound nasty as hell so use that – buying expensive toys is nice but sometimes buying cheap and messing about can bring it’s own reward.

Remember recording and production as a hobby is about experimenting not about reading and following manuals. All the truly great producers were innovators and whatifs people.

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