Basically, what I'd like to ask is what influences recording quality. Well I know what, I just want to know how much.

For example in the guitar community there's somewhat of an agreement that, for example, the pickups give 20% of the tone, the wood like 5% and the amp 75%. I made those numbers up, but there's somewhat of an agreement on what influences the tone the most. So I sort of wanna find out the same about recording.

So out of these:

Recording equipment (interfaces, mic's, whatever)
Instrument Technique
Mixing quality

Which has the somewhat larger influence when it comes to good quality?
well if you have bad equipment you will have bad sound. Obviously if the people playing TOTALLY suck it will sound bad, but as long as they can play the songs well that is what matters.

But yea I would say It's a mixture of Mics/Interfaces understanding of how to Mic everything, followed by Mix quality, then technique (unless they really suck like I said earlier)
Technique (musicianship, production) are more important than gear quality, but gear quality is not to be neglected. A great performance of a great song will shine through some grimey gear, but all the polish in the world cannot make a turd into anything but a turd.

Evidence: Nirvana demos, Rebecca Black's "Friday"
Ibanez AS93
Fender Marauder
Vox Pathfinder 15R
Even if the artists have the perfect tones and perfect voices for the song (which is extremely rare with home recording...) there's still so many factors I really dont think you can say exactly what has the biggest influence.

Here's a few big ones:
Preamps - Similar to how guitar amps effect a guitar's tone minus the power amp.
Converters - To get the least digital sounding recordings, you need good converters to get the most accurate AD/DA conversion possible. They're a lot more important than most beginners think...
Mics - Just like a crappy guitar still sounds like a crappy guitar no matter which amp it goes through (might sound like a mighty fine crappy guitar, but it's still a crappy guitar...) so a source miked with a crappy mic will suffer.
Outboard effects/pluggins - A good transparent compressor will get you MUCH further in life than a Behringer rack mounted compressor...
Monitors - If you can't hear everything you're working with accurately, how are you supposed to make it sound good?
Acoustics - It takes some serious magic to make a bedroom recording sound like it was done anywhere besides a bedroom. If every other part of the equation is perfect, it might sound like a mighty fine bedroom, but it's still a bedroom...
Acoustics (part 2) - Mixing in a faulty room normally results in a faulty mix that's opposite of what your room sounds like (some odd boost at 500hz? you'll end up turning down 500hz in the mix)

That's a few without even mentioning mic technique, good ears, and good sources. I really don't see how I could pick out any one of those and say they have the biggest influence on quality.
I've found that how tight of a player you are really influences the overall feel of the song the most. A great player can make horrible gear sound good, whereas great gear will not instantly make a horrible player sound good.

After that, it's really the knowledge of the engineer. If you know what you're doing, you can make a recording on a M-Audio Fast Track, using Reaper with free plugins, sound professional, but if you don't, a huge SSL board with tons of outboard gear and the best plugins aren't going to mean anything. Obviously, some kind of decent interface is still key here though.

Good monitors also help A LOT. I just upgraded from a set of $300 monitors to a set of $1600 monitors and it's amazing how thin my old mixes (which sounded huge on the old monitors) sound on these things, when you can actually hear the entire sonic spectrum with nice separation.
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maybe you're not saying the right things? an amp likes to know you care.

Last edited by MatrixClaw at Aug 17, 2011,
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Good monitors also help A LOT. I just upgraded from a set of $300 monitors to a set of $1600 monitors and it's amazing how thin my old mixes (which sounded huge on the old monitors) sound on these things, when you can actually hear the entire sonic spectrum with nice separation.

I think it's pretty much impossible, but here is a list that probably pretty well represents - in order of importance - the things that lead to a great recording:

*great source material - if it sounds like crap in the room, the recording is dead even before it is born.
*the skill and knowledge of the person recording - You're capturing sound. To use a photography analogy, if the photographer doesn't know about lighting, composition, the affect of camera angle and distance to the subject, etc., then it will be hard to produce a great photo.
*microphones - Crappy cameras take crappy pictures. Great cameras take better photos.
*monitors - So, you've gotten a great subject, perfect lighting, and snapped with a great camera. Time to edit. Load it up on a computer monitor with 8-bit colour and the red adjusted too high, and your great photo comes out in the end looking like crap because you can't see it properly to prepare it for others.
*room - It's hard to take a good picture in a room with crappy lighting. It's hard to make a great recording in a room with frequency nodes and reflective surfaces.
*preamps - These are like your lenses almost. If your lenses are cheap, you will get images that, at first, look basically okay, but when you place those pictures against other photos taken with great lenses, all of a sudden, those taken with the cheap lenses look sort of washed and lifeless. Same with preamps.
*quality of effects and other software - So, you've got your great subject, and have taken a great photo with a great camera. The lighting is perfect, etc. Using a proper imaging program like Photoshop will give you much more power and performance over using, say, Microsoft paint. Of course, a crappy photo still looks crappy, no matter what you do to it in Photoshop, and a great picture can still look great after doing some simple retouching in Microsoft Paint. Keep in mind that, at this point, you are *manipulating* the recording. The recording has now already been made. It's either *already* good, or *already* bad.

Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.