Dewald Pretorius

Dewald Pretorius

Dewald Pretorius

Dewald Pretorius has been a lecturer at EMENDY since 2012, teaching the fine art of recording, music production and music business. He gained experience as a lecturer at the Campus of Performing Arts, where he delivered courses in guitar, bass and music business. Dewald is a qualified Pro Tools Instructor and holds a Waves user certification.

Dewald owns “Earthtone Creative” production studio, where he has engineered and produced more than 60 albums from local and international artists. “Die Gees” is an accomplished guitarist and bassist, and passed Trinity College of Music’s grade 8 exams with distinction. He performed, toured, and sessioned with some of the biggest acts in the South African Afrikaans Contemporary market - including Steve Hofmeyr, Kurt Darren, Mel Botes, Louis Britz, Nianell, Riana Nel, Jak de Priester – also featured as session guitarist in Idols 8. Dewald currently plays in the phenomenal Liezel Marshall Band, and is musical director at Lewende Woord Brummeria.

1.

Always remember that a real drummer only has 4 limbs with which he/she is able to play the drum kit. One foot for the kick drum, which controls the groove for the song, the other foot controlling the hi-hats, or the openness of the hi-hats. One hand for mainly hitting the hi-hats, and the other for mainly hitting the snare drum - obviously the drummer also uses his/her hands to hit the toms, cymbals and the other nice toys.  The main idea is to remember that a drummer can't play more than 4 objects  at the exact same moment.

2.

Drummers aren't robots, and won't EVER hit the drums exactly at the same velocity. Even though the levels are relatively equal, it is impossible for every hit to sound exactly the same, so spend enough time playing around with velocities on all the different drum elements, making some hits louder
and others softer than the actual loudness you are looking for.

3.

Regarding the statement that drummers aren't robots, real drummers won't play exactly on the grid or click, and have the tendency to be either slightly in front or behind the click. Although this might sound
problematic, it's this push and pull of the beat that actually gives it a very human sound element and feel. Move your drum hits around, for example a little behind the click for a verse to make the song feel like it's pulling a bit, and in front of the click for choruses to give it energy and drive.

over 2000 years old. Richard McClintock, a Latin professor at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia, looked up one of the more obscure Latin words, consectetur, from a Lorem Ipsum passage, and going through the cites of the word in classica

 
l literature, discovered the undoubtable source. Lorem Ipsum comes from sections 1.10.32 and 1.10.33 of "de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum" (The Extremes of Good and Evil) by Cicero, written in 45 BC. This book is a treatise on the theory of ethics, very popular during the Renaissance. The first line of Lorem Ipsum, "Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet..
 

Here's an article from Loopmaster regarding Common Mistakes Made In The Recording Studio

Link to original page - http://www.loopmasters.com/articles/2346-Common-Mistakes-Made-In-The-Recording-Studio

Beginners make newbie recording mistakes, and it is up to those who know better to offer them some solid audio recording tips. But to some experienced sound engineers it’s not always so apparent what is easy to follow and what isn’t - like a teacher that is so familiar with a subject he expects the students to see how easy it is immediately.

Sometimes the most common mistakes are the simplest to overlook and the ones engineers don’t bother to tell you. They just expect you to know why that’s wrong and how to do it right.

So without further ado, here are a few ways NOT to record your audio.

1. Don’t Record At 16bit If You Have 24

We have 24 bits now, and we want all the headroom we can get. Use 24 bit audio and record at lower levels, that way you don’t have to worry about putting your recording into the “red”.

2. Don’t Record In The Red

Back in the analog days people used to overload their pre-amps a little. Just to get that sweet sound you know? Well, there is nothing sweet about digital clipping. Don’t record in the red when you are recording digitally; digital clipping sounds horrible and you can’t fix it. Like I said, record at 24 bit and enjoy recording at lower levels.

3. Don’t Record With Shoddy Cables

Cables matter. They might not matter as much as the microphone or type of pre-amp, but they certainly have a say in the overall sound.  Don’t use a shoddy “the cheapest I can get from Radioshack” type cable.

4. Don’t Record Wet

If it’s absolutely crucial to the sound and you know 100% that you won’t want to change it during mixdown then go ahead. But if you are not sure if that specific effect works, or if you don’t think it will fit with the arrangement then consider recording it dry. If someone can’t play without it then add some to the headphone mix from your software to compromise.

5. Use the Right Microphone

If possible, don’t use a cheap dynamic to record vocals and then wonder why the vocal track sounds so bad. Even though dynamic microphones might work for some vocals and styles, chances are you need a decent condenser instead. Use the right microphone for the job, and if you have access to a few, try them out.

6. Position Yourself Correctly

Before I knew anything about recording I stood in the middle of my bedroom and sang into a cheap dynamic microphone I held in my hand. Not the most ideal situation for a great vocal performance, since not only was the microphone wrong (and bad)  - standing in the middle of the room AND holding the microphone was a recipe for disaster. I still wondered why my vocals sounded so bad. Well, now I know! Acoustic treatment and a great sounding room are a must, as well as positioning the microphone correctly.

7. Waves of Phase

Are you recording with two microphones? Make sure they are not causing extreme phase problems. Phase cancelations weaken the audio signal and make your signal sound thin and well….bad. If you did this mistake already most DAWs have an “inverse” setting where you can flip one of the tracks 180°. Try that to see if the signal gets stronger. If it does then you were having some phase problems during recording and should probably try to get better at recording with two microphones in the future.

8. Don’t Record Tracks In A Hurry

Some artists work well under pressure. Most don’t. Don’t expect a singer to be able to belt out all the vocal tracks to an album in 2 hours. Don’t plan for efficiency, it never works. Things will go wrong, people will show up late and you won’t be able to record everything you wanted. Get used to it and don’t record in a hurry.

9. Don’t Record At The Highest Possible Sample Rate

Rather, record to the one you can handle. Higher sample rates mean more space and the difference between 30 tracks at 48kHz or 30 tracks at 192 kHz is a whole lot of hard disk space. With many people recording to their laptops the highest sample rate and the most ideal sample rate might not be the same.

10. Don’t Record Bad Instruments

If an instrument is faulty, out of tune or needs new strings or heads then replace them before you record. Drums that have old heads sound worse. Replace them and tune them before you track your drums. Old guitar strings, at least to me, sound bad. Restring your guitars to get a more vibrant sound. Trust me, it will shine through on the recordings.

Here's an useful article from Loopmasters on how to get your mixes ready for mastering

Link to original article - http://www.loopmasters.com/articles/1893-5-Common-Mixing-Mistakes-To-Avoid

As a mastering engineer I hear a lot of mixes. Some are great and some really aren’t so great. While it’s now true that anyone can create a good mix with almost any gear it’s still easy to mess up a mix and betray the fact that you didn’t spend thousands at a top studio.

Frustratingly, the same errors crop up time and time again and it’s these that separate the greats from the not-so-greats. Mastering can be the stage where the final layer of magic is applied, but mastering is always the stage where any mix problems will be ruthlessly exposed.

Think of mastering like holding up a big magnifying glass to your tracks… there is nowhere to hide! What follows is a small list of the most common mix errors I see, how you can avoid them and give your mastering engineer the best possible chance of creating an awesome final product. So let’s look at some useful music mastering tips and common mixing mistakes to avoid.

1) The Bass and Kick are too loud

Without doubt the biggest error I see is the low frequencies being pushed to a needlessly loud level. This is a misguided practice for one main reason – overly loud bass eats up headroom and makes it harder to get a loud master.

At the mastering stage an overly loud bass can make it very difficult to achieve the holy grail of “LOUDNESS” as the highs and mids won’t get to be that loud before the bass or kick starts clipping or distorting. Not cool if you want your track to be as loud as the vast majority of commercial releases. So why do so many mixes have this issue? When speaking to people who have submitted tracks where the bass has been mixed too loud the answer is either, “We wanted the bass to sound really big in the club” or “We didn’t realise it was so loud”. To deal with the first point, if you are making music that will be played in clubs remember that club sound systems will already be designed and calibrated to make sure that any bass frequencies are amply represented. Mixing should be a time to balance levels, sculpt tones and get your music sounding good, not loud. The second point, however, needs a slightly more complex answer…

How to avoid it:

Bass frequencies are hard to accurately reproduce in listening environments and if it was easy to fix then this mistake wouldn’t be a common one! However, the best thing you can do is ensure that you have the most acoustically neutral mixing environment that you can get. It is not possible to overstate the importance of this. You can have the latest plugins or most expensive hardware but if you’re using them in an untreated room then you’re mixes are always going to struggle. You can achieve this through use of acoustic products such as diffusers, absorbers, and bass traps, and you can even use well placed blankets and duvets if money is tight. Get used to your space and listen to plenty of reference tracks.

Using acoustic products will not only improve bass reproduction but, done properly, you will notice improvements in stereo imaging and reproduction in the highs and mids.  Another way to improve here is to periodically check your mix through a frequency/spectrum analyser. It may take a bit of time to get used to an analyser and learn what you should be looking for but the rewards can be huge. Again, listen to plenty of reference tracks while watching the analyser and start to piece together how the producers and mixers got their track to “look” like that.

2) The mix disappears when checked in mono

Hang on, mono? Didn’t that die in the 1970s?? No! Many places and items use mono – stadiums, clubs, shops, TVs, cell phones… the list goes on. Lots of electronic items use mono speakers as a convenience or for cost reasons, but systems in big spaces will use often use mono to ensure an even sound across a location. As part of the mastering process I’ll sometimes check what I’m doing in mono and when I hit that button elements of the mix just disappear! So why does this happen? The main reason I’ve encountered is misuse of stereo widening effects. Many widening effects work by adjusting the phase of a stereo signal (phase is too big a topic to try to explain in this article but there are good articles and resources all over the net) and when pushed to the extreme the signal disappears in mono.

How to avoid it:

This one is easy – check your mix in mono! Nearly all DAWs have a Mono switch on the master channel (if you lack this function then Brainworx do a great free tool called BX Solo which allows summing of all incoming signal to mono, amongst other things). Quickly checking in mono will immediately tell you if anything’s wrong and you can do something about it there and then. If the offending cancellation is coming from a part that has been recorded in from a real world stereo source then you can use your mixer’s polarity inversion switch to counter act. Another thing that may help is to grab one channel of the stereo recording and nudge it forwards or backwards until it starts sounding good. This approach can also help if you have a multimic’d source like a drum kit. If the offending cancellation is coming from an effect then ease it off until it’s sweet, or find an alternative effect. Bear in mind that not all stereo widening effects are equal and you may get results close to what you want without phase cancellation using a different plugin. Experiment and see which works best for your track. Phase monitoring plugins are also available to help give you a quick visual aid with any phase issues.

3) Mix is too bright

Making audio sound bright is a big temptation when mixing. Lifting up the high frequencies can be a great way of adding extra sheen to a production and making your music sound “big money”. Also, human hearing is particularly sensitive to frequencies between 2kHz and 5kHz, and it is a great temptation to load up this area with information in an effort to make parts stand out or have presence. But what can happen is the highs are inundated with extra additive EQ, extra energy and extra bite and it all turns into one big spiked brick of harshness.

How to avoid it:

Subtractive EQing is your friend here. If you have a part that you want to stand out carve out some space in the other tracks that occupy the same frequencies. Automate your EQ to give space to the main lines when they appear and let that shine. You can achieve the same effect with a dynamic EQ if you have one available. Compression can also help if the offending part is percussive in nature or has a spiky edge so experiment with faster attack times, or even with a transient processor, to tame high energy spikes. Try to avoid EQing parts in solo as it’s all too easy to mix a part to sound great on its own and lose sight of the overall picture. If you want to add more to a part remember that with additive EQing less is more. Use your ears and don’t be afraid to back off if you’re unsure – at the mastering stage it’s much easier to add a touch of “something special” than to remove a problem.

4) Mix is muddy or excessively thick

Odd rumbles, lack of definition, bass fighting kick, kick fighting bass, bass and kick fighting a weird energy that’s pumping in time with the pad or lead or high hats… Low end can come from anything, and from many places you don’t expect. If there’s an excess of low frequency energy it can cause all sorts of problems at mixdown and mastering by eating up headroom, interfering with compression, and generally being a PITA. This is a big problem if you’re working with audio that’s been recorded through microphones as they tend to pick up all manner of bumps, knocks and rumbles. Synths and samples also contribute to muddying mixes as their sounds can be very full sounding which, in the context of a mix, can be inappropriate as you may only need a section of their frequency content to get the effect you’re after.

How to avoid it:

One of the first things you can do is identify which tracks should contain the low frequencies (e.g. kick, bass, that tuba freakout in the breakdown, etc…) and then put a high pass filter on every other track to completely remove any rogue frequencies that may otherwise be free to roam. This will free up all of the low end space for the parts that actually need it. Then, with the parts that you’ve identified as needing the low end, sculpt individual pockets in the mix for them all to live in. An obvious technique is sidechaining the kick to duck the other parts when needed. This doesn’t need be an obvious “Eric Prydz” effect but can be as subtle as you like. Don’t be afraid to get really surgical with cutting out low frequencies, as many instruments can be brutally hacked at before sounding odd in the mix. Additionally, and maybe counterintuitively, setting a high pass filter on these low end parts can also clear up a mix in certain situations. I’m not talking a high value here, but cutting out the super low end can give extra room for the vital low frequencies to operate. As always, experimentation is key as techniques and final settings will always depend on the source material.

5) Too much processing on the master channel

For better or for worse it’s become very common to mix with lots of processing on the master channel. Nearly all modern music demands a certain sound that can only be achieved through master channel processing but care must be taken as it can be a double edged sword. Too much eq and you skew the tonal balance of the whole track, too much compression and you squeeze the life out of a track, and too many “audio candy” processors will drag in tonal issues, phase problems and all manner of oddities. Many times I’ve had to send a mix back and ask for a version without master channel processing as it’s been used in an inappropriate way and ruined most chances of getting a good master.

How to avoid it:

When approaching a mix resist applying master channel processing until you’ve achieved a mix that’s tonally balanced across the frequency spectrum, has an appropriate dynamic range and, put simply, sounds good. Once you’ve got your mix structurally developed then start adding small amounts of processing on the master channel and tweak your individual channels accordingly from there.

Special Note – Limiters

Many people will have different ideas as to whether limiters have any place at all on the master channel when mixing. There’s definitely a spot for them when you’re referencing your mixes against commercial releases or if you need to give a preview of your un-mastered track to anyone but it’s probably a good idea to avoid them during mixdown and there are two reasons for this.

1) If you’re using a limiter on the master channel to increase loudness and energy take it off immediately. Mixing is about getting your track to sound good, not loud. Mixing into a limiter used in this way will rob you of a chance to hear how your track actually sounds as you’ll be a getting a wonky image of everything that’s going on – dynamically and tonally. Loudness should come at the mastering stage – if you need more volume when mixing turn up your speakers!

2) If you’re using a limiter on the master channel to catch peaks or stray transients that are making your track clip take it off immediately as your individual channels are too loud and they should be adjusted. In this wonderful world of computer based DAWs we don’t need to worry about noise floors or signal to noise ratios in our mixers like they did in the days of analogue desks so there’s no excuse to be mixing your channels at levels where they might be clipping, or clipping the master channel when summed together.

It’s important to stress that none of these tips on their own will propel your tracks on to MTV and they’re definitely not rules that can’t be broken, but being aware of common pitfalls is half the battle already won. Keep experimenting, keep cranking out the tunes and practising your mixing and, as you may have already guessed, the best thing you can do to make great master is have a great mix. Get mixing!

Here's an article from Loopmasters on how to Improve Your Productions.

Link to original article - http-www-loopmasters-com-articles-2031-10-ways-to-improve-your-production

1. LEARN ABOUT COMPRESSION TECHNIQUES

A common mistake that prevents amateurs from getting a full sound is not filling the “box” that is volume, panning, and frequency. The typical dilemma is this: as more sounds are layered together, the audio may start to clip. And so you turn the gain down on the each channel of the mixer. But then it sounds quiet. In order to fix this, you need to learn about compression and mixing. If used properly, compression reduces the variations between one audio channel’s highest and lowest gain levels throughout the track, which allows you to turn the volume up without clipping.

2. REDUCE MUDDY SOUND WITH EQ

Removing the frequency below say 30-40Hz on your track's elements is a good idea. This frequency range essentially offers nothing to your mix other than a low end rumble which will quickly clog up your mix as you add more and more elements within this frequency range. By using an EQ to "roll off" this range on each element in your track you'll end up with much more space and clarity.

When too many frequencies are overlapping in a mix, the result is also “muddy”. To prevent mud, you must consciously keep in mind what range of frequencies you are adding with each new part. Inevitably, frequencies will overlap, no matter what instruments you choose. For example, two bassy sounds on top of each other will interfere, resulting in weird phasing issues. If you want to use two instruments that use up the same frequency spectrum, you’ll want to carve out the highs on one and carve out the lows on the other (through the use of EQ, you will eliminate too many overlapping frequencies and clear up your mix). The end result should consist of many different parts that all cover different ranges of frequencies, which all add up to a full, clear sound.

Learning to "roll off" where necessary and "notch out" space in the mix for each element is something that takes time, and it's a good idea to learn the process with the help of a Spectrum Analyser. By adding one to each channel of your mix, you'll see where things need to be rolled off, and where that specific element is most prominent in the frequency spectrum. Then you can EQ out the other elements in that range, allowing it to breathe in the mix. By doing this for each mix element, you'll end up with a cleaner mix.

Most DAWS come with adequate spectrum analysers, but many plugin companies also make their own which often offer improved visual feedback and other features.

3. BEWARE OF STACKING BIG PHAT PRESETS

Presets are a great place to start and some of them are ready to slot right into a track with great results. However, many VST instrument plugins have presets that are designed to sound fantastic on their own, but can create problems when thrown together with other big phat sounding presets.

This is because many of these presets fill up much of the low and high end as well as often unnaturally filling the stereo field (for example, big wide bass sounds). Unless you carefully carve out the clashing frequencies in these big phat sounds using EQ, you may get a muffled, muddy sound when throwing these types of heavily processed presets together. Alternatively, you may get an unnatural sounding stereo spread.

As a result it's also useful to learn to modify the presets by taking the time to learn how to program a synth. I find myself dividing music-making time into at least two different tasks: patch programming and sequencing. Programming can consist of long hours in front of a synth, twisting knobs (or virtual ones) and fine-tuning the sound to perfection. It may seem boring to some people, but one of the keys to succeeding in your music is to be original and find your own sound. Taking the time to create your sounds from scratch (or at least modifying presets to suit your track) can make all the difference.

4. DON'T END UP AWASH IN REVERB

A common mistake amongst novice producers is to use too much processing and overload on the effects. While this can yield creative results when done methodically, slapping on the effects heavy-style can eventually lead to a muddled and hectic sound.

Reverb is a very commonly abused effect. If you do use reverb, a good general rule is to tone it down so you can’t really notice it’s there. The key to knowing if you’ve got it right is when your average listener WILL notice when you take the reverb away, but they won’t notice it's presence until you do. Tracks that are drenched in cheap reverb almost always sound amateurish.

5. BE AWARE OF OVER-LIMITING

While limiting is a valuable tool, it's often something that the novice will abuse. This has become even more of a problem with the "loudness wars", where everyone is fighting to get the loudest track out there. The result of over-limiting a track is that the bounce ends up in a file that looks like a brick wall, with no peaks and troughs and very little dynamic range. It may be loud, but to the brain it sounds unnatural. Learning to achieve a balance between loudness and dynamic range is important.

6. LEARN HOME MASTERING BASICS

The opposite of over-limiting is a weak and low-volume track, another sign that the track is not properly mastered. A weak sounding track is going to struggle to excite the listener so it's important to get a grip on the basics of making your track relatively loud and punchy.

7. TIGHTEN UP YOUR TIMING

If you aren't the tightest at banging out beats, basslines and the like, you'll probably end up with slightly loose rhythm parts. This problem is amplified if the latency on your audio interface adds a delay from when you hit a pad or key to when the sound is generated. In this case, it's probably a good idea to turn to your friend "Quantize" and also a good idea to look into the best way to minimize and account for latency in your set-up. Each DAW will have a section on this in your manual, and while it might be a little boring, getting this sorted out in your auto-load template will save you plenty of trouble down the line.

Regarding quantization - I’m not saying that you should quantize everything, unless you are going for a mechanical, computerized drum track. In order to retain the human feel, many people only quantize to 75%-90% and you should be able to find how to set the quantize value fairly quickly in your DAW's manual.

Also, sometimes you may need to quantize certain groups of midi notes on their own, apart from the whole drum truck. You’ll need to do this when you have triplet notes, for example. Some quantize menus will have “1/16 + 1/16 T”, which means it will quantize to the nearest 16th note or the nearest 16th triplet note. If you have this option, you can apply quantization to the whole track.

8. DON'T GET STUCK IN THE LOOP

Loops have become an integral part of modern music, and there's no doubt that some of the most memorable tracks in the past few decades have been the result of that oh-so-addictive loop!

However, the repetitive overuse of loops in your tracks can lead to a stale, uninteresting track if the loops aren't used properly. If you want to use the same sample over and over, consider looking into ways to transform it, modulate it or shape it somehow so to get some variation and keep things interesting for the listener. Slice it, dice it, pitch it, reverse it, flange it, phase it, you name it.

9. TREAT YOUR ROOM

One of the most common problems for bedroom producers is a room that lacks any accoustic treatment and includes things like bass traps. It's something we'll all deal with to some extent if you're making music out of your home and not in a top end studio. However, there's plenty of information online about how to improve the accoustics of your room with simple and cost-effective accoustic treatment. You'd be surprised what a few carefully placed rugs, hanging blankets etc. can do to help you get the best mix out of your space.

10. MASTER WHAT YOU HAVE FIRST

We live in a world of abundance when it comes to audio production tools and software, but sometimes the choice can be paralyzing. Part of becoming a better producer is mastering your kit - and that's nearly impossible to do if you are constantly moving on to the next big thing. Learn to use your gear inside and out and when you do you'll realize what you actually need to take it to the next level. Consider starting out with some of the great free software out there to learn processes, and then as you improve your knowledge consider moving on to more premium versions with a strong foundation of knowledge

Feedback is probably the biggest fear for any live mixing engineer (there's a song in there), and here are 4 tips on helping you eliminate feedback before it happens and get you fired.

1. Make sure that you have gates on your toms and that they are set correctly, this will get rid of that nasty bottom-end feedback.

2. Using high-pass filters (or low-cut if you prefer) on the vocal microphones. You can filter everything below 90Hz and sometimes go as high as 160Hz if it's a big sound system.

3. Before turning up the gain because you aren't hearing a specific instrument, first check if the microphone hasn't accidentally been moved. this happens a lot with loud and energetic live acts - specifically the guitarists! ;-)

4. Watch out when using overly bright reverbs - a lot of sound engineers like using bright reverbs on vocals as it cuts through the mix without having to drench the vocals in reverb, but sometimes the actual high frequencies in the reverb can be what's triggering the feedback. 

1. The number one tip for mixing drums I can give you is to compress, and to compress intelligently. For sharp, punchy kicks, put the attack time between 3-6ms and a short enough release that the compressor is able to return to full volume before the next hit.

2. If possible, it's always useful to have all the drums on seperate tracks, even if you do plan to send them to a group or bus for more processing. You can then still adjust the relative levels and process each drum individually, making it a much more controlled mix.

3. For that Phill Collins-style gated reverb effect, try inserting a big reverb after your toms, and then insert a gate after it so that the reverb tail is quickly cut short.

4. You can give sharper and punchier attacks to all the different drum kit elements, snare, toms and kick by inserting a gate and then setting the threshold higher than it needs to be. With the attack set as fast as possible, the signal will burst through very quickly, and at a very high level, making the sound that bit punchier.

5. If you find that your rhythm section (drums, percussion and even the bass guitar) isn't gelling properly, you can try sending all of the different elements  to a separate group and compressing them all together. This will give you a much more coherent sound. Usually the kick drum will affect the compressors action, so try leaving it separate.

In this short tutorial I want to get into Parallel Compression, which might sound hectic at first, but it’s actually quite an easy way to get your overall drums or even bass, guitars and vocals to sound larger than life.

How it works is to create an Aux track (in Pro Tools or Logic, in Cubase you’ll need to create a Bus), and send your entire Drum Mix – from a Subgroup if you mix like that, otherwise send each instrument ie. Kick, Snare, Toms, OHs etc to this Aux Channel. I prefer labeling this Aux Channel – Drums Squash – as we are about to compress the living daylights out of this Submix.

Keep in mind to send a PRE-fader signal, otherwise if you decide to change the levels of individual elements later on, this will also affect the amount of signal you are sending to the Drums Squash channel.

Now add a compressor to any of the open Effect Insert Slots, and try to over-compress the channel completely, I usually set the Ratio as high as it can go, and the Threshold to the point that it’s compressing the entire mix. Set the Attack Time moderately fast, and the Release Time in conjunction with the tempo of the song. This shouldn’t sound great by itself.

But here’s the trick.

Drop the level of the Drums Squash level all the way, and start bringing it up slowly with rest of the drum mix, and suddenly your drums should start sounding gigantic! Watch out for not making the Drums Squash level too loud as this can adversely affect the effect we are trying to create.

Mess around with the same idea on other instruments, BE CREATIVE!

Whether you are recording vocals in your bedroom or in a professional recording studio, the concepts stay the same. The most important aspect that you would need to consider is your choices of microphone, if you are in the position to be able to experiment with different microphones, do so. The human voice is a very unique and dynamic instrument and varies immensely from person to person, so you would need to spend time and figure out which microphone works best for the artist you are recording. Usually a large diaphragm condenser microphone would be the best choice.

When recording vocals in a large space, it’s important to take the ambience and room sound into account. In a professional studio I would suggest setting up acoustic panels about 1,5 meters around the vocalist, in your bedroom you can use a simple mic stand with a thick blank hung over it.

Consonants like the letters ‘B’ and ‘P’ can be a problem while recording, as they move a lot of air from the singers mouth, and can cause a popping sound on the microphone. To stop the air from hitting the microphone diaphragm, put up a pop filter about 5cm, (4 fingers width) from the microphone, as this won’t affect the tone of the singer’s voice, and only block the air.

Another aspect to take into account is the Proximity Effect – a build up of bass as the sound source – in this case the singer – gets closer to the microphone, this can help add body to a thin vocal sound, or be problematic if the singer already has a boomy voice – in this case, move the singer a little bit further away from the microphone, keeping the room sound in mind.

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