#1
Hey guys -- let's just get one thing clear up front -- I'm pretty much a noob when it comes to music production. I have learned a lot over the past year, but the amount I still don't know is staggering. Audio engineering is a whole new language to me, basically.

Here's what I'm working with: I've got a Presonus Audiobox USB, with Studio One II software. I'm getting a (hopefully) better mic next week (a GLS ES-57), so I'm eager to complete at least one song that I've been working on. I will re-record the guitar parts to see if, indeed, the GLS provides a more faithful reproduction of what I'm hearing in the room.

Anyway, I've got a drum track laid out on this song. I've also got a bass part and several guitar parts. I've got it sounding pretty good already, and haven't even done any EQing to the guitar parts.

My question is, should I be tweaking the sound yet, considering I'm still in the mult-track recording phase? I don't really know the steps to all of this yet. If I'm not mistaken, the next phase in production is the mixdown phase? Correct? Is that where I should be focusing my final tweaking of the sound? Because I've already been playing with the mix in the phase I'm at. At what point in production should I be adding effects like reverb, delay, compression, and EQ? I just need a little guidance on how to go from recording to mixing to finally burning the song onto a CD or sharing it on Soundcloud. Step-by-step, basic procedures would be appreciated.

And extreme layman's terms are also appreciated.
Atmospheric dark metal w/ black and death metal influences:
(My Soundcloud page):

Pestilential Flood
Last edited by KailM at Mar 1, 2015,
#2
Quote by KailM
I will re-record the guitar parts to see if, indeed, the GLS provides a more faithful reproduction of what I'm hearing in the room.
Unless you're gonna place the mic in the same place where your ears are and the mic has a frequency response accurate enough you'll not get a recording of what you hear in the room.
Quote by KailM
My question is, should I be tweaking the sound yet, considering I'm still in the mult-track recording phase? I don't really know the steps to all of this yet. If I'm not mistaken, the next phase in production is the mixdown phase? Correct? Is that where I should be focusing my final tweaking of the sound? Because I've already been playing with the mix in the phase I'm at. At what point in production should I be adding effects like reverb, delay, compression, and EQ? I just need a little guidance on how to go from recording to mixing to finally burning the song onto a CD or sharing it on Soundcloud. Step-by-step, basic procedures would be appreciated.
It all comes down to preference, there's no rule.

Do what works best for you - if you want to tweak your sounds when recording by any means do so (it may help you working on the song arrangement), and if you don't then record everything and then mix everything.

As a common practice, people usually work on the mix when everything has been recorded so they can focus on the mixing process only, but before the whole thing may have been tweaked to sound a bit more pleasant to whoever's recording.

So, no "step by step basic procedure", simply do what works for you.
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#3
A good point of reference would be "Recording For Dummies" or any of the other recording books available for sale or at your local library.

The thing is, there really is no right or wrong way to record, mix and master. There are so many different paths - all of which can lead to the same acceptable result. Recording to a DAW allows you to track everything dry - in other words, with no EQing or effects/processing. If you record using that technique, it allows you to come back later and start adding effects, EQing and processing the various signals.

Just remember that's one method. There is nothing that says you can't do it the other way and EQ while laying down the tracks, or even recording wet signals, or those that have been processed or altered.

Pick up a book or two. I have a couple of books here on the topic and you really can learn a lot from these guys. However, like learning to play guitar, it all takes time. You won't become a pro recording engineer over night.
#4
^^Thanks for the responses. So if I'm adjusting levels, panning, EQ, compression, and effects on the individual instrument tracks right now, there's no downside to that?

I just didn't know if, when I select "mixdown" and get it ready for a final mix, some of that tweaking would get lost and/or change in the process. Because I can get it to sound good just by adjusting the individual tracks right now.
Atmospheric dark metal w/ black and death metal influences:
(My Soundcloud page):

Pestilential Flood
#5
I usually get everything recorded before I really start bother mixing and adding effects. However, when adding EQ, Comp, ect in the mix I will listen to both how the track sounds alone as well as mixed with the rest.

For example, If I have 2 or 4 guitar tracks I will listen to each one and pull out the bad frequencies with EQ. Then I will listen to all the guitar tracks together without bass, then with the bass track, and so on, repeating as necessary and adjusting each track as needed.

The downside with trying to EQ or add other effects to a track before the other tracks are ready is that you can end up with tracks that sound good soloed but not in the mix.

For example, it seems to me that a common mistake with home recording is having guitars that are too bassy. If the tracks are soloed they sound decent, but when the rest of the mix is added, it gets muddy. When the guitar tracks are adjusted to sit well in the mix with the bass and kick chances are they aren't going to sound so hot on their own anymore.

Just speaking my from what I've learned. I'm having fun recording because with each little thing I record I can tell I am getting better. It's a great way to learn. Sometimes I like to just record a generic metalcore breakdown and see what I can do with it from the production end to make it sound sweet.

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#6
Well, there's no hard rule. Best practice is to get sound at source, so instead of swing and trying to fix later, adjust the mic or tweak the amp to get as close to what you hear.
Since you're bound to increase latency the more effects you add it is better to add processing after you've completed tracking, unless the system can handle the load.
When I'm tracking guitars direct and using amp simulation to monitor with, the less load the better.
Sometimes I use lighter CPU load with more simple effects and substitute the with heavier processing later, like convolution reverb which tends to be particularly heavy on CPU cycles.
#7
Quote by Tremolo Bum
I usually get everything recorded before I really start bother mixing and adding effects. However, when adding EQ, Comp, ect in the mix I will listen to both how the track sounds alone as well as mixed with the rest.

For example, If I have 2 or 4 guitar tracks I will listen to each one and pull out the bad frequencies with EQ. Then I will listen to all the guitar tracks together without bass, then with the bass track, and so on, repeating as necessary and adjusting each track as needed.

The downside with trying to EQ or add other effects to a track before the other tracks are ready is that you can end up with tracks that sound good soloed but not in the mix.

For example, it seems to me that a common mistake with home recording is having guitars that are too bassy. If the tracks are soloed they sound decent, but when the rest of the mix is added, it gets muddy. When the guitar tracks are adjusted to sit well in the mix with the bass and kick chances are they aren't going to sound so hot on their own anymore.

Just speaking my from what I've learned. I'm having fun recording because with each little thing I record I can tell I am getting better. It's a great way to learn. Sometimes I like to just record a generic metalcore breakdown and see what I can do with it from the production end to make it sound sweet.


Yeah, I should probably just record a simple 30 second track with a variety of riffs and just practice with that. The song I have going right now is quite complex, so maybe overly ambitious as a first attempt at production. In my head, it's epic though
Atmospheric dark metal w/ black and death metal influences:
(My Soundcloud page):

Pestilential Flood
#8
Quote by diabolical
Well, there's no hard rule. Best practice is to get sound at source, so instead of swing and trying to fix later, adjust the mic or tweak the amp to get as close to what you hear.
Since you're bound to increase latency the more effects you add it is better to add processing after you've completed tracking, unless the system can handle the load.
When I'm tracking guitars direct and using amp simulation to monitor with, the less load the better.
Sometimes I use lighter CPU load with more simple effects and substitute the with heavier processing later, like convolution reverb which tends to be particularly heavy on CPU cycles.


That's kind of what I was worried about, the latency -- or at least having something I've carefully tweaked change when I go to the mixdown phase. I don't use a lot of effects, per se. But I've got different reverbs on the drums right now than I do on the guitars. Maybe it would be better to take the reverbs off for now and put them back in once I've mixed it down? And I hear ya on getting the best sound at the source. I'm hoping my new mic will provide a better sound (I realize everybody seems to use SM-57s; I couldn't afford one of those so I bought a clone). The mic I've been using is a cheap Peavey PVI 100. We'll see if it makes a difference. So far, the only way I've been able to get close to what I hear even with my ear up to the speakers is to record two tracks and pan them left and right. Seems like there's a lot of audio information that gets lost between the speaker, mic, and computer. Maybe that's just the nature of the beast. FWIW, I've placed my mic about 3" away from the grillcloth, on-axis, and about 2" from the center of the dustcap.
Atmospheric dark metal w/ black and death metal influences:
(My Soundcloud page):

Pestilential Flood
#9
The Presonus has input monitoring so you can monitor via that and disable input monitoring in S1.
That's quite helpful as you can stop worrying about latency and bump it up to max.

The issue is that I record direct so I have to use amp Sims, and then reamp the final track.