Tracking Techniques – Working With Your Space

So we’ve been going through a few different techniques for making sure you’re doing the best job possible when tracking your music.

There’s a lot of decisions to be made in terms of the style of the production, but what about the physical space you’re recording in?

A lot of times, productions can be won or lost based on the space they were recorded in. A large, reverberant church may not be the best place to record a tight, 70’s style drum kit. On the other hand, a bedroom isn’t the best place for a lush orchestra.

We’re going to look at the biggest limitations we often run into when recording in our home studios and ways to get around it in order to make the most out of the space we have.

The first thing to consider is the amount and quality of space you have. If you’ve treated your room acoustically, you’re on your way to creating great productions. Check out this amazing article by Sound On Sound in order to learn the basics of acoustic treatment.

But acoustic treatment isn’t absolutely necessary in order to make great recordings.

For example, if you’re looking to record tight pop vocals and are already working with a quiet space (meaning there isn’t A/C, loud neighbors, etc.), an SE Vocal Reflexion Filter will do wonders for your recordings.

Be honest with yourself and rate your space. Determine whether or not you’ll be able to stick a mic in the middle of the room and record or if you’re going to need to use a reflexion filter instead.

Next, determine what is and is not possible in your home studio space. If you’re trying to record massive rock drums in a tiny dry space, consider blending in sampled snares, kicks, and toms in order to beef up your sound. If you’re looking for pop vocals that sound very clear and direct, a small dry room would be a great place to start. Consider outsourcing your room by taking your studio on the go and recording your instruments in better sounding spaces.

Your mic placement is key when working with your space. If you’re trying to cut down on the amount of natural reflections, place your microphones rather close to the source. Sing directly in to your mic, and make sure it is as close to the acoustic guitar as possible (while still being comfortable to play). If you’re trying to create an ambient recording, experiment with moving the mic further from the source in order to pick up even more room ambiance.

One final tip – consider using carpeting, rugs, or soft furniture to absorb sound in your space. Unless you have a professionally crafted acoustic space, chances are you’re going to try to get the most dry source possible. Using these decorative elements in your studio can make it sound even better while adding a nice homey touch.

Remember, you can always add space, ambiance, and reverb in the mix. There are some incredible tools available – and if you know how to make them sound realistic, you’ll be well on your way.

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