6. GET IT RIGHT AT THE SOURCE.
Just because we can do so many things with digital
audio, doesn’t mean we should—it doesn’t relieve
us of the responsibility to capture great sounds at
the source. Life is so much easier, projects come
together so much faster, the process is far less painful, and the final product is so much better when
the original tracks are in tune, are tonally solid, are
recorded well, and aren’t plagued by background
noise. “Fix it in the mix” is just as much of a negative with digital as it was with analog.
7. UPGRADE THE RIGHT STUFF.
I’ve been covering this in recent installments of my Guitar Tracks column here in
Premier Guitar, but it bears mention in this space, as well. Upgrading or improving certain things in your signal path will make more difference than others. For
example, I’m a firm believer in having the best monitors you can afford. You hear
everything through those speakers or headphones, so you have to be able to trust
them. I’m also a firm believer in capturing with the best quality possible at the
source. This means great mics and preamps. And a few key pieces of processing
gear, such as a nice analog compressor, can go a long way toward making the later
digital representation of many of your signals that much better.
Looking to upgrade your studio? There are many possible ways to do it, but we recommend starting with great monitor speakers—you can’t
make it sound great if you aren’t hearing it accurately. After that, we recommend boosting the quality of your microphones, preamps, and
compressor. Here are a few suggestions for each in three different price ranges.
Samson MediaOne 3a pair $99 street
M-Audio AV 40 pair $149 street
Alesis M1 Active MKII pair $239 street
$500 to $1,000
Tannoy Reveal 601a pair $499 street
Focal CMS40 pair $790 street
Dynaudio BM 5A MKII $998 street
JBL LSR4328P $1,559 street
Neumann KH 120 $1,499 street
Sonodyne SM 200Ak $1,590 street
Shure SM57 dynamic $99 street
Audio-Technica AT2035 large-diaphragm condenser $149 street
Rode NT1-A large-diaphragm condenser $229 street
$250 to $500
Sennheiser MK 4 large-diaphragm condenser $299 street
Blue Microphones Baby Bottle large-diaphragm condenser $399 street
Shure KSM32 large-diaphragm condenser $499 street
Mojave Audio MA-201fet large-diaphragm condenser $695 street
AKG C 414 XLII large-diaphragm condenser $999 street
Neumann TLM 103 large-diaphragm condenser $1,099 street