Audio - Studio and Home Recording - Mics
- Vocals - Part 2
Clipping is basically distortion
that happens when the audio gets louder than the highest allowed range of an audio input, output, channel, recorder, etc.
Visually, clipping looks like someone chopped off the tops and bottoms of the wave. Digital clipping sound bad.
Sibilance is an audio term used to
describe the exaggerated sounds of "s" in the words being recorded and/or played back. Normally, the recording and
playback of "S" sounds should be smooth and clear - not distorted or drastically louder than the rest of the audio
track. Particular mic choice, EQ and De-essers are used to control sibilance issues in audio production.
Latency is a term used to describe a delay in a system.
In digital audio recording, if there is a considerable amount of latency or delay, it can cause timing problems for the performer.
Timing is important to a performer's playing and singing. Latency can happen because of software settings, converters, buffering,
and interfaces. Latency in the system can affect the performers ability to perform in time because the performer will hear
a delay in the monitoring of their performance as they sing, play or overdub parts. This is also referred to as roundtrip
As mentioned earlier, technology has given musicians
a way to create and produce music more proficiently, and also a lot more affordably than the days of needing to buy a giant
audio console and 24-Track Reel-to-Reel tape machine. But, while sales of home and studio software may be up, the professional
knowledge standard that was once customary to make a professional broadcast-ready recording leaves a little to be desired.
This is mainly because a lot of people - especially up-and-coming artists and new producers are not really audio engineers...but
many are doing a lot of the recording and mixing of their music projects on their own. Most do the best that they know how
to do as far as recording goes, but sometimes their lack of engineering skills can adversely affect the recording. Some of
this is simply a matter of recording/mixing convenience, and to save money. Some of the reasoning behind this approach is
to have as much time as they want to work on their music recording without having to compensate a studio or professional engineer
(again to save money). But, sometimes this can backfire.
I recently got a demo package from an artist - an online
EPK with music, and it was very bad as far as quality. I told them it would be to their advantage to remove the online EPK
presentation until the sound of the music was better quality. The artist did a good performance of the song, but the audio
quality was so harshly distorted that it immediately made me want to stop listening. Possibly one of the most common problems,
and also one of the worst things that can't really be fixed in edits and mixing, is distorted recorded tracks - especially
distorted vocal tracks. And unlike analog recordings, digital distortion can be very unforgiving and harsh in how it sounds.
Important: If you are going in the studio to record your
project for an Indie release, or preparing your music to get to a label for some type of serious record contract or deal opportunity,
your recording - whether done at a "big-time" studio, or in your basement, or on your laptop, or in your granny's
bathroom...should be approached with trying your best to get a good, quality sound. This is especially true if the recorded
tracks will be used to do final mixes with a pro mix engineer. This (more often than not) means that you will need to take
the time to learn how to record on your own...in a knowledgeable way, or get someone to assist you with your tracking (recording)
that has some understanding and know-how about audio recording. Why? Because badly recorded tracks can sometimes dig into
your wallet when it's time to mix with a pro engineer and studio - because so much time will have to be spent fixing, organizing,
and cleaning up audio tracks. So for any of you who are at this stage, I am going to briefly make a quick list of things that
I believe new talent and producer/engineers doing their own tracking, should at least come into some awareness about before
taking their project to the pro mixing stage.
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