What makes a great recording?

If you are a music producer that uses electronic equipment only, you are in the lucky position that your acoustic environment doesn’t really matter at all for creating music. If you are a singer, rapper, or play an acoustic instrument, the story is completely different, and many people struggle with getting good results at home. The three things you need to pay attention to, in order of importance are: your ROOM, your MICROPHONE and your PREAMP/INTERFACE. If you have audible room noise in your takes, nobody will be able to salvage them. Use thick blankets in the room, roll out a carpet or maybe open your closet while recording. The less echo the better, and every soft material like fabric or foam helps to reduce it. Having a vocal booth is usually not ideal, because having walls close by creates even more resonance, and if your vocal booth is not perfectly planned and built to sound good, you are usually better off without one. Did you know, that vocal booths where invented in order to seperate the vocalist from the band acoustically, because they had to play in the same room at the same time? Before modern recording techniques were around, that was the only way to get a clean take of each instrument, without hearing every other instrument in it as well.

The choice of microphone (and preamp) plays an important role as well. There is a plethora of choices out there when it comes to equipment, so it is important that you do your research and dilligence. I would recommend up and coming artists to spend at least 500-1000€ on an interface an mic, because everything much cheaper than that, will dissappoint you in the long run. Dynamic mics like the Shure SM7B are often recommended if you are unable to improve your room, because they don’t pick up room echos as much as condensers. The truth however, is that that will come at the price of less detail and fidelity, and works well on screams or certain raps, but shurely 😉 not on everything.

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