Category Archives: Music Production & Sound Engineering

DI Boxes: A Distinction Without A Difference..?

A good friend of mine recently purchased a new DI box; an Orchid Electronics Direct Inject box – an active DI that retails for about 40 quid. It looks like this: He excitedly proclaimed that for the money the sound was fantastic, enjoying in particular how it interfaced with his bass guitar. I was intrigued. […]

How To Make A Guitar Sound Like… A Guitar!

It may be an unfamiliar premise to some, but I am fervently of the opinion that the goal of recording audio is to accurately capture and faithfully reproduce a particular sound. Not to fuck around with it, contorting it into something that only dimly represents what was originally going on, but to trust in the […]

MOTU??! Urrgh… *Real* Sound Engineers Only Use Prism Converters, Dontcha Know? Hiffle, piffle, pibble and fwaf.

Earlier this year I visited Steve Albini’s Chicago studio, Electrical Audio, with the goal of not only recording some drums with the man himself, but also scrutinising his mic techniques in order to learn more about how such an incredible drum sound is achieved. The results were as fantastic as you would expect, and I […]

Crushed To Hell: My Thoughts About Mastering

For the second time in my life I have realised that reaching out to a mastering studio to put the “finishing touches” on my music is completely pointless. Allow me to explain… Mastering recorded audio became its own discipline after the Second World War, when a “dubbing engineer”, secondary to the recording/mix engineer, was tasked […]

The Bullshittery Of Audio Jargon

The topic of audio recording is vast and open-ended, and discussion about associated equipment in particular often gives rise to much heated debate with respect to perceived differences in the sonic performance between devices. It is not uncommon for hostile discussions to be waged pitting the minutia characteristics of this device against that, with all […]

Stereo Recording Techniques On Test

Often in recording scenarios it is necessary to implement a stereo miking technique. Usually this is employed to capture room ambience at a distance from the originating sound source, by which I mean the reverberant field of an acoustic environment – anywhere where the late reflections are of greater intensity than the direct sound. Whether […]

Comb Filtering In Drum Overhead Microphones

Recording drums in a small room is a problem that any engineer not blessed with an infinite budget must deal with at some point. Among the difficulties inherent in this scenario is the problem of comb filtering in the audio signal due to the microphone’s proximity to a boundary, i.e. the ceiling or a nearby […]

Impulse Responses & Convolution Reverb: How To Sample An Acoustic Space

Those familiar with audio production probably know that there are two types of digitally synthesised reverb effect. The first, and generally most popular given its byte-sized (heh) use of computer resources is known as “algorithmic” reverb, where the incoming signal is, sample by sample, multiplied by a factor dictated algorithmically by various twiddly knob-like parameters. […]

Binaural Recording

Have you ever wondered how it is possible for the human brain to so accurately detect the location of a perceived sound? We only have two ears, yet somehow we are able to discern the differences between sounds originating from any direction within our 3-dimensional environment – in front, behind, above, below, left or right. […]

Eliminating High-Hat Spill

When recording a drum kit one of the most perennial problems encountered is high-hat spill on the snare microphone. Some engineers claim to have made peace with this issue by utilising the signal as simply “part of the drum sound”. This doesn’t do it for me since, among other problems, it ruins my stereo image […]