Get Better At Shaping Sound With This Drill

So you’ve tried out all of your mic positions by doing yesterday’s challenge and you’re ready for more. Good. Let’s work on your ability to shape sound to make it exactly how you want it.

This skill comes in handy when you’re mixing – big time. Let’s say you have a snare drum that sounds a little too thin and lifeless, and you need to shape it into something fat and exciting. You’ll need to use different effects to do this, and will need to know how to shape the sound perfectly to get what you’re looking for.

So here’s the drill – the Sound Shaper.

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The challenge is to create an entire production using one instrument – your body. You need to include a full drum kit (kick, snare, hat, toms, and cymbals), bass, rhythm section, lead instrument, and lead vocal.

This may sound daunting, but it is actually really fun. Just make about a minute of music using only your body. Of course, you’ll probably want to overdub each part of the drum kit. You might even want to just record a single kick, snare, and hat hit and copy them throughout to make things easier.

You can sing, hit your chest, stomp your feet – whatever you like. Use any mic you like – a side address condenser or an iPhone.

Once you create your production, you’re ready to start learning. Apply effects, use time shifting as an effect, distort the snot out of the lead guitar solo – go nuts.

Try to make it sound as good as possible – almost as if it had been created using synthesizers.

You’ll probably get stuck a few times – that’s ok. Just keep your end goal in mind. If you can’t make a certain “snare” sound the way you like it, re-record it or try something completely different. Add a clap layer, or maybe a few snaps to add depth.

You’ll learn so much just by doing this drill – you’ll look at every mix with a different point of view and will definitely end up with better mixes overall.

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