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Practical Recording Techniques

The Step- by- Step Approach to Professional Audio Recording, 5th Edition

By Bruce Bartlett, Jenny Bartlett, Bruce Bartlett

  1. ISBN: 9780240811444
  2. Publication Date: October 2008
  3. Format: Paperback
  4. Pages: 656
  5. Price:
    • $46.95 (USD)
    • £29.99 (GBP)
  6. Buy Direct
  7. or buy from
    Amazon.com
    BN.com
  8. Sample Chapters

Description

Hands-on practical guide covering all aspects of recording, ideal for beginning and intermediate recording engineers, producers, musicians and audio enthusiasts. Filled with tips and shortcuts, this book offers advice on equipping a home studio (both low-budget and advanced), suggestions for set-up, acoustics, choosing monitor speakers, and preventing hum. This best-selling guide also tells how to judge recordings and improve them to produce maximum results.

New material covered in the 5th edition to include:
* complete revision and update of digital media sections
* new section on mixing tips
* new section on podcasts and file sharing
* new section equipment and connector levels
* new section function and connector types
* new section on digital metering
* new section exporting projects from other studios
* new photos

Reviews

"…packed with well-illustrated graphics and pictures and gives extensive guidance on everything from studio and location recording techniques through to publishing your sounds on the web." -- James Eade, Lighting and Sound International

Contents

Preface
Acknowledgements

1 Music: Why You Record
Increasing Your Involvement in Music
Different Ways of Listening
Why Record?

2 The Recording Chain
Types of Recording
Live Stereo Recording
Live Mix Recording
Multitrack Recorder and Mixer
Stand-alone Digital Audio Workstation (Recorder-Mixer)
Computer Digital Audio Workstation
MIDI Sequencing
Pros and Cons of Each Method
Recording the Mixes

3 Sound, Signals, and Studio Acoustics
Sound Wave Creation
Characteristics of Sound Waves
Amplitude
Frequency
Wavelength
Phase and Phase Shift
Phase Interference
Harmonics
Envelope
Behavior of Sound in Rooms
Echoes
Reverberation
Diffusion
How to Tame Echoes and Reverb
Controlling Room Problems with Recording Techniques
Controlling Room Problems with Acoustic Treatments
Controlling Standing Waves
Making a Quieter Studio
Signal Characteristics of Audio Devices
Frequency Response
Noise
Distortion
Optimum Signal Level
Signal-to-Noise Ratio
Headroom

4 Equipping Your Studio
Equipment
Recording Device
Microphone
Phantom Power Supply
Mic Preamp
Direct Box
Monitor System
Effects
Miscellaneous Equipment
MIDI Studio Equipment
Setting Up Your Studio
Cables
Equipment Connectors
Cable Connectors
Cable Types
Rack/Patch Bay
Equipment Connections
Hum Prevention
Reducing Radio Frequency Interference

5 Monitoring
Speaker Requirements
Nearfield[tm] Monitors
Powered (Active) Monitors
The Power Amplifier
Speaker Cables and Polarity
Control-Room Acoustics
Speaker Placement
Using the Monitors
Headphones
The Cue System
Conclusion

6 Microphones
Transducer Types
Traits of Each Transducer Type
Polar Pattern
Traits of Each Polar Pattern
Frequency Response
Impedance (Z)
Maximum SPL
Sensitivity
Self-Noise
Signal-to-Noise Ratio
Polarity
Microphone Types
Large-Diaphragm Condenser Microphone
Small-Diaphragm Condenser Microphone
Dynamic Instrument Microphone
Live-Vocal Microphone
Ribbon Microphone
Boundary Microphone
Miniature Microphone
Stereo Microphone
Digital Microphone
Headworn Microphone
Microphone Selection
Mic Accessories
Pop Filters
Stands and Booms
Shock Mount
Cables and Connectors
Snake
Splitter
Summary

7 Microphone-Technique Basics
Which Mic Should I Use?
How Many Mics?
How Close Should I Place the Mic?
Leakage (Bleed or Spill)
Don't Mike Too Close
Where Should I Place the Mic?
On-Surface Techniques
The Three-to-One Rule
Off-Axis Coloration
Stereo Mic Techniques
Goals of Stereo Miking
Types of Stereo Mic Techniques
Comparing the Four Techniques
Hardware
How to Test Imaging

8 Microphone Techniques
Electric Guitar
Miking the Amp
Recording Direct
Electric Guitar Effects
Electric Bass
Synthesizer, Drum Machine, and Electric Piano
Leslie Organ Speaker
Drum Set
Tuning
Damping and Noise Control
Drum Miking
Drum Recording Tips
Percussion
Acoustic Guitar
Singer/Guitarist
Grand Piano
Upright Piano
Acoustic Bass
Banjo
Mandolin, Dobro, Bouzouki, and Lap Dulcimer
Hammered Dulcimer
Fiddle (Violin)
String Section
String Quartet
Bluegrass Band and Old-Time String Band
Harp
Horns
Saxophone
Woodwinds
Harmonica, Accordion, and Bagpipe
Lead Vocal
Miking Distance
Breath Pops
Wide Dynamic Range
Sibilance
Reflections from the Music Stand and Ceiling
Vocal Effects
Background Vocals
Spoken Word
Choir and Orchestra
Summary

9 Digital Recording
Analog versus Digital
Digital Recording
Bit Depth
Sampling Rate
Data Rate and Storage Requirements
Digital Recording Level
The Clock
Digital Audio Signal Formats
Converting Signal Formats
Dither
Jitter
Digital Transfers or Copies
2-Track Digital Recorders
Portable Hard-Drive Recorder
The Digital Audio Workstation
CD Recordable
Flash Memory recorder
Multitrack Digital Recorders
Hard-Disk (HD) Recorder
Recorder-Mixer (Personal Digital Studio)
Pros and Cons of Three Multitrack Recording Systems
Backup

10 Effects and Signal Processors
Software Effects (Plug-Ins)
Equalizer
Types of EQ
How to Use EQ
When to Use EQ
Uses of EQ
Compressor
Using a Compressor
Connecting a Compressor
Suggested "BallparkĀ” Compressor Settings
Limiter
Noise Gate
Delay--Echo, Doubling, Chorus, and Flanging
Reverberation
Reverb Parameters
Reverb Connections
Preverb
Enhancer
Octave Divider
Harmonizer
Vocal Processor
Pitch Correction
Tube Processor
Rotary Speaker Simulator
Analog Tape Simulator
Spatial Processor
Microphone Modeler
Guitar Amplifier Modeler
Distortion
De-Click and De-Noise
Surround Sound
Multi-effects Processor
Looking Back
Sound-Quality Glossary

11 Mixers and Mixing Consoles
Stages of Recording
Mixer Functions and Formats
Analog Mixer
Input Section
Output Section
Monitor Section
Additional Features in Large Mixing Consoles
Digital Mixer
Digital Mixer Features
Software Mixer
Control Surface

12 Mixer Operation
Session Preparation
Set Up the Mixer and Recorder
Assign Inputs to Tracks
Set Recording Levels
Set EQ
Recording
Playback
Overdubbing
Punching-In
Composite Tracks
Getting More Tracks
Drum Replacement
Mixdown
Set Up the Mixer and Recorders
Erase or Delete Unwanted Material
Panning
Compression
Set a Balance
Set EQ
Add Effects
Set Levels
Judging the Mix
Changes During the Mix
Record or Export the Mix
Summary
Automated Mixing
Types of Automation Systems
Snapshot vs. Continuous Automation
Automated Mixing Procedure
Lo-Fi Recording: How to Trash Your Tracks
Lo-Fi Frequency Response
Distortion
Noise
Leakage
Room Sound
Lo-Fi Aesthetics

13 Computer Recording
Basic Operation
Recording and Playback
Editing
Mixdown
The Computer
Audio Interfaces
Sound Card (PCI audio interface)
FireWire or USBAudio Interface
Audio Interface Features
Control Surface
Alesis FirePort
DSP Card
Analog Summing Amplifier
Recording Software
Features
Plug-Ins
Pro Tools
Optimizing Your Computer for Digital Audio
Using a DAW
Connections
Software Settings
Editing Tips
Maintaining Audio Quality
Audio for Video

14 Judging Sound Quality
Classical versus Popular Recording
Good Sound in a Pop-Music Recording
A Good Mix
Wide Range
Good Tonal Balance
Clean Sound
Clarity
Smoothness
Presence
Spaciousness
Sharp Transients
Tight Bass and Drums
Wide and Detailed Stereo Imaging
Wide but Controlled Dynamic Range
Interesting Sounds
Suitable Production
Good Sound in a Classical-Music Recording
Good Acoustics
A Natural Balance
Tonal Accuracy
Suitable Perspective
Accurate Imaging
Training Your Hearing
Troubleshooting Bad Sound
Bad Sound on All Recordings
Bad Sound on Playback Only
Bad Sound in a Pop Music Recording Session
Bad Sound in a Classical Music Recording

15 Session Procedures, Mastering, and CD Burning
Preproduction
Instrumentation
Recording Order
Track Assignments
Session Sheet
Production Schedule
Track Sheet
Microphone Input List
Instrument Layout Chart
Setting Up the Studio
Setting Up the Control Room
Session Overview
Recording
Relating to the Musicians
Overdubbing
Breaking Down
Mixdown
Mastering
Burning a Reference CD
Sending Out Your CD for Mastering
Mastering Your Own Album
Transferring the Mastered Program to CD-R
CD-Text and ISRC Codes
Master Log
Copyrights and Royalties

16 The MIDI Studio: Equipment and Recording Procedures
MIDI-Studio Components
Recording Music Made by Soft Synths
The MIDI Signal Chain
MIDI Recording Procedure
Recording a Hardware Synth
"No sound" MIDI Troubleshooting
Recording with a Keyboard Workstation
Recording with a Drum Machine and Synth
Using Effects
Loop-Based Recording
Making Your Own Loops
Types of Loops
Working With Loops
Loop Libraries
Loop Creation Software
Summary

17 On-Location Recording of Popular Music
Record Off the Board
Record with Mics and a Portable Digital Recorder
Gear
Preparing for the Session
At the Gig
A Recording Session with No PA
After the Gig
Record with a 4-Tracker
Connect the PA Mixer Insert Sends to a Recording Mixer
Connections
Monitoring
Setting Levels
Splitting the Mic Signals
Using Splitters
Multitrack Recording in a Truck
Preparing for the Session
Preproduction Meeting
Site Survey
Mic List
Track Sheet
Block Diagram
Equipment List
Preparing for Easier Setup
Protective Cases
Mic Mounts
Snakes and Cables
Rack Wiring
Other Tips
At the Session: Setup
Power Distribution System
Power Source
Interconnecting Multiple Sound Systems
Connections
Running Cables
Recording-Console Setup
Mic Techniques
Electric Guitar Grounding
Audience Mics
Sound Check and Recording
Teardown

18 On-Location Recording of Classical Music
Equipment
Selecting a Venue
Session Setup
Mounting the Mics
Connections
Monitoring
Microphone Placement
Miking Distance
Stereo-Spread Control
Soloist Pickup and Spot Microphones
Setting Levels
Recording a Concert
Editing

19 Surround Sound: Techniques and Media
Surround Speaker Arrangement
Setting Up a Surround Monitoring System
Bass Management
LFE Channel Filtering
Surround Mixing Equipment
Connections
Calibration
Recording and Mixing Pop Music for Surround
Panning
Using the Center Speaker
Using the LFE Channel
Downmixing
Surround Mix Delivery Format
Surround-Sound Mic Techniques
Soundfield 5.1 Microphone System
Delos VR2 Surround Miking Method
NHK Method
The KFM 360 Surround System
Five-Channel Microphone Array with Binaural Head
DMP Method
Woszcyk Technique (PZM Wedge plus Opposite-Polarity 180-Degree Coincident-Cardioid Surround Mics)
Williams Five Cardioid Mic Array
Double MS Techique
Surround Ambience Microphone Array
Chris Burmajster Array
Ideal Cardioid Arrangement
The Holophone H2-PRO Surround Mic
Sonic Studios DSM-4CS 4-Channel Surround Dummy Head
Slotte Method
Martin Method
Mike Sokol's FLuRB Array
Stereo Pair plus Surround Pair
Surround Media
Compact Disc
DVD
Blu-ray Disc (BD)
Super Audio CD
Encoding Surround for Release on Various Formats
Surround Encoding for CD
Surround Encoding for DVD-Video
Surround Encoding for DVD-Audio
Summary of Media Formats
Encoding Hardware and Software for CD and DVD-Video
DVD Premastering Formats
Dolby Units for DVD Mastering

20 Web Audio and Online Collaboration
Streaming versus Downloading
Data Compression
Web-Related Audio Files
What You Need
How to Upload Compressed Audio Files
Putting Your Music On Your Website
Flash Animation
Collaborating by Sharing Files
Sharing Multitrack Projects
Finding Studio Musicians, Producers and Engineers

A dB or Not dB
Definitions
Sound Pressure Level
Signal Level
dBm
dBu
dBv
dBV
Change In Signal Level
The VU Meter, Zero VU, and Peak Indicators
Balanced versus Unbalanced Equipment
Interfacing Balanced and Unbalanced Equipment
Microphone Sensitivity

B Optimizing Your Computer for Multitrack Recording
Speeding Up Your Hard Drive
Increasing Processing Speed
Preventing Interruptions
Setting the Buffer Size
Minimizing Latency
Other Tips
Windows Vista
Optimizing MacIntosh for Multitrack Recording

C Impedance
What is Impedance?
I'm connecting two audio devices. Is it important to match their impedances? What if I don't?
What about microphone impedance?
I'm connecting a mic to a mixer. Is impedance a consideration?
Should I consider impedance when I connect two line-level devices?
Can I connect one source to two or more loads?
Can I connect two or more sources to one input?
Summary

D Where to Learn More
Books and Videos
The Library
Pro Audio Books Plus
Music Books Plus
howaudio.com
Focal Press
Amazon.com
Recording Magazines
Pro Audio Magazines
Consumer Audio Magazines
Guides, Brochures, and Other Literature
Guides to Recording Schools
The Internet
Recording Equipment Catalogs
Experience


Glossary