Tips for making better home recordings

Always experiment! The only way to know what sounds good in your home studio and what to avoid is to try different approaches to the same thing you have always done. So much of your ability to create comes from trial and error and constantly honing your ears and your technique. As well as your skills of engineering, producing, and listening to other recordings you have done. So do not be afraid or as I say LAZY to try new things you maybe surprised at what you find.

Markallanwolfe.com

markallanwolfe.com

Focus on your instrument.
If you’re a vocalist preparing to record, warm up and do your vocal exercises. Maybe a throat spray to lubricate your vocals will help (though be wary of the sprays that desensitize your throat). Wear a scarf around your neck for a couple of days prior to entering the studio to help keep your pipes warm. And just do the basic stuff (avoid smoking, no dairy) to keep your throat moist and phlegm free.

If you’re a guitar player, change your strings before going into the studio – especially if it’s an acoustic guitar. If you’re a bass player and you don’t change your strings once a month, you need to change those strings before you bring that bass into the studio. It’ll help the tone, the output, and you’ll stay in better tune.

If you’re a drummer, change the drum heads. If the heads have been on for too long, they’re going to sound dull and they’re not going to stay in tune. Also, take time to tune the drums correctly – you may even want to tune the drums differently for different songs.

Move around the room
Physically move the instrument or amplifier to different parts of the room. It can make a big difference in the tone you get. If you’re recording an acoustic guitar, violin, piano, sax, or any acoustic instrument, and you have it up against a wall with a lot of glass and wood, you’ll get a more reflective sound than if you’re up against a baffle. If you’re recording an amp, don’t just turn the amp on, stick a mic in front of it, and hit “record.” The amp can sound totally different in different parts of the room, so play around with different spots until you get the right tone for the track.

For any performer, vocalist or instrumentalist, lighting control can also help set a mood. Recording a slow, sultry track? Dim all the lights, light up a candle, and get in the groove.

Move around the room
Physically move the instrument or amplifier to different parts of the room. It can make a big difference in the tone you get. If you’re recording an acoustic guitar, violin, piano, sax, or any acoustic instrument, and you have it up against a wall with a lot of glass and wood, you’ll get a more reflective sound than if you’re up against a baffle. If you’re recording an amp, don’t just turn the amp on, stick a mic in front of it, and hit “record.” The amp can sound totally different in different parts of the room, so play around with different spots until you get the right tone for the track.
Angle your amp
Raising an amp off the ground or angling it so the face of the amp is at 45 degrees can have dramatic effects, depending on the room and the amp. If you’re angling the amp, essentially you’re decoupling the amp from the floor. The floor may be wood, and it may have a resonant cavity below it that’s sucking away your low end, or adding more low end because it’s vibrating. By pulling the amp off the floor, you’re decoupling it. Even if you’re angling it, only part of the amp is touching the floor, so you’re basically removing the floor from the equation in terms of the tone you’re getting.Also, if you have an amp perpendicular to the floor, all the energy is going forward, and low to the ground. Let’s say you’ve got an 8′ ceiling. You’ve got many more options if the amp is kicked up at a 45º angle. Now you can put a mic up in the corner to get a little more of the room. If you’re going for a really tight sound, you might just want to leave it on the floor. Remember, in a studio they’re going to have a dead floor. They’ll have that under control so you wont have these pockets of resonance under the floor. Chances are, your home studio won’t be as predictable.

Mixing board

mixing board

Play with mic placement and angles
Mic placement and mic angles go a long way toward capturing different tones from the same source. For example, to help record a very sibilant vocal performer, try angling the mic up toward a 45º angle and you might find a lot of that popping and hissing goes away.

Mic placement

It’s been said before, but bears repeating—the best way to find the optimum placement of a microphone is to find the spot where the instrument sounds best. Do this by putting a finger in one ear and listening to the instrument with the other, moving around until you find the spot where it sounds best to you. Then put a mic in that spot.

I rarely use eq when tracking acoustics—so many tones can be achieved by placing the right microphone in the right spot that electronic equalization is usually unnecessary. For example, you might put a microphone 6 to 8 inches from the guitar, pointing at the neck about mid-way between the sound hole and the 12th fret.

When you listen to the signal, you may decide that the mic is picking up too much of the guitar’s low end—it sounds boomy. If this is the case, you could either point the mic farther up the neck and away from the sound hole (where a lot of the low end comes from), or you could pull the mic back another 6 or 8 inches (which will lessen the proximity effect of the mic). If the sound of the mic is too bright, you can move the mic closer to the sound hole or closer to the instrument. This isn’t an either/or choice; the character of the low end created by proximity effect is different from that attained by moving the mic closer to the sound hole.

Another approach is to use the off-axis frequency response of a mic to your advantage. Earlier I mentioned that cardioid microphones are more sensitive to sounds coming from in front than from the side; that’s true as an average, but many microphones exhibit a decreased sensitivity to certain frequencies as the source is moved off axis (that is, away from the front of the capsule). As an example, at 30 degrees off axis, a specific mic may be 2 dB less sensitive at 1 kHz, and 4 dB less sensitive at 10 kHz. For the user, this means that one way to change the sound captured by that mic would be to point it slightly away from the sound source.

Studio Mic

Studio Mic

Using Mic patterns to your advantage

Most microphones sold these days have a cardioid pickup pattern, which means that the mic is most sensitive to sounds coming from in front of the capsule, and is less sensitive to sounds coming from the sides and the rear. Most cardioid mics have a pronounced proximity effect, which means that the low end response of the mic is increased as it is moved closer to the sound source. But don’t forget that both omnidirectional mics (which are sensitive to sounds coming from all directions) and figure 8 mics (bi-directional mics which are more sensitive from the front and back and less sensitive to sounds coming from the sides) can be enormously useful, as I’ll detail in a bit.

Studio ambiance

You know, we’ve all read about those singers who recorded their hit song while surrounded by their necessities—their lava lamps, their incense, their ginseng tea and their aromatherapy candles; they want the darkened room, along with (I suppose) their bunny slippers, their spiritual adviser and the studio to be at 71.5 degrees and 42% humidity. Although this is cool to a degree somethings need to be and others are just personal preference. like if your just recording the music portion then yes I totally dig the whole lava lamps and stuff. I have them as well as different things to help stimulate the whole atmosphere.

With the singer I want light—enough light so that the singer can see their words, and, if they’re singing with a band, enough light so that all concerned can see each other. I’ve never been able to see that building a womb for the singer results in a performance any better than their performance while standing in the middle of a well-lit recording studio.

During the course of my years of recording I have taken a slightly different approach to things by experimenting in many different ways and encourage you to do the same.  I have sang and recorded my guitar in closets, bedrooms, laundry rooms and bathrooms. And you know what? They sounded great! I pretty much make sure that the vocalist has someplace to set their water (tea, coffee, or whatever), a music stand, a chair to sit on while they listen to playbacks, and off we go. Don’t misunderstand, though—I will try to make myself comfortable, but I have never seen the need to be straight by the book always. Sometimes the best recordings come by accident as well.

I will post more on this subject as time goes by, in the meantime I would be thankful for you to share some of your experiences if you would? What works for you? Where have you found the best ideas that work? Why not share them with the world for maybe someone can benefit from your experiment make a hit record and owe it all to you. Also all of the tracks submitted on this blog were recorded in my home studio,

Mark Allan Wolfe–www.markallanwolfe.com —wolfiesmusicpublishing.com

Mark Allan Wolfe

Mark Allan Wolfe

ASCAP Initiates Multiple Infringement Actions Against Nightclubs, Bars & Restaurants to Heighten Awareness About Performing Copyrighted Music Without Permission

NEW YORK, NY, Jun 25, 2012 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) — The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) announced today that it has filed multiple infringement actions against nightclubs, bars and restaurants in several states across the nation.

In each of the cases filed today, the business or establishment has publicly performed the copyrighted musical works of ASCAP’s songwriter, composer and music publisher members without obtaining a license from ASCAP to do so. These establishments then refused to acquire a license and continued to perform ASCAP members’ music without permission, resulting in the filing of the infringement actions.

ASCAP manages the rights of its members by licensing and distributing royalties for the non-dramatic public performances of their copyrighted works. Those licensed by ASCAP include any establishment or business that wants to perform copyrighted music publicly.

“Music plays a crucial role in attracting customers to restaurants, bars and various other establishments. Our membership of songwriters and composers are, in essence, small business people, who must invest in the tools of the trade that allow them to create music the world loves. They deserve to be fairly compensated when others benefit from the fruits of their labor and talent,” said Vincent Candilora, ASCAP Executive Vice President of Licensing. “It is both ASCAP’s right and responsibility to collect licensing fees from these venues in order to protect the livelihoods of our members.”

Any business using copyrighted music has the opportunity to obtain permission to do so lawfully, through acceptance of a license covering the use of the more than 8.5 million copyrighted songs and compositions in the ASCAP repertory. Nearly 90% of the license fees ASCAP collects are paid as royalties directly to songwriters, composers and music publishers. The balance covers ASCAP’s operating costs, which are among the lowest of any performance rights organization in the world.

“ASCAP only takes legal action as a last resort — after several attempts to provide the necessary permission have failed,” added Candilora. “Like a liquor license, establishments require a license to play copyrighted music. This is a basic cost of business recognized in hundreds of thousands of venues across the country. By filing these cases today, we hope to raise awareness among music users and the public that it is a Federal offense to perform copyrighted music without permission.”

Frequently Asked Questions about licensing can be found on ASCAP’s website at http://www.ascap.com/licensing/licensingfaq.html .

The establishments that have performed publicly the copyrighted musical works of ASCAP’s songwriter, composer and music publisher members without receiving their permission to do so, resulting in lost income for these music creators, include:

Establishment, City, State Anthony’s Lounge & Ristorante, Murrieta, CA Romeo Cucina, Laguna Beach, CA Smuggler’s Bay Restaurant, Fort Lauderdale, FL Younger’s Irish Tavern, Romeo, MI Coyote’s, Hillsboro, OR Bud’s Sports Bar, Chattanooga, TN Ixonia Pub, Ixonia, WI

About ASCAP Established in 1914, ASCAP is the first and leading U.S. Performing Rights Organization (PRO) representing the world’s largest repertory totaling over 8.5 million copyrighted musical works of every style and genre from more than 435,000 songwriter, composer and music publisher members. ASCAP has representation arrangements with similar foreign organizations so that the ASCAP repertory is represented in nearly every country around the world where copyright law exists. ASCAP protects the rights of its members and foreign affiliates by licensing the public performances of their copyrighted works and distributing royalties based upon surveyed performances. ASCAP is the only American PRO owned and governed by its writer and publisher members. For more information, please visit http://www.ascap.com .

        
        Press Contacts
        Tim Hayes
        ASCAP
        (212) 621-8414
        thayes@ascap.com

        Bobbi Marcus
        Bobbi Marcus PR & Events, Inc.
        (310) 889-9200
        bobbi.marcus@bobbimarcuspr.com 

SOURCE: ASCAP

Ideas to help in your music career?

Hello again everyone, here are a few ideas that I recently shared with a few people looking to broaden their horizons and are pursuing a career in music. I thought wow I should share these thoughts with all of you as well, maybe you already know these, maybe you do not but felt it worth the time for many people who contact me do not have some of these basic concepts down and wonder why things do not change. So lets dig on in.

As I try to move ahead in this wonderful world of music I have discovered some basic truths that if put into practice will help you immensely, if left behind or laid aside can hinder you in your progress.

Website

First you need to have some form of website or web presence in these days. If you are going to make any headway or gain some popularity you MUST have a website. They do not have from your wallet.e to be something costing millions of dollars but you need to have a .com It is a place for your fans to connect with you, a place to share links,videos band news, etc. Now I have listed a few examples to just show you of what I mean. You can have  have a FACEBOOK personal page BAND page or a MYSPACE page but always in the end you need to have your own little corner in the world that is your place, something like www.markallanwolfe.com

For something like your own URL (which is like your band name) it only cost a little bit of cash so it is not something that might break you. You can start here for possible URL. One thing I remember someone telling me early on was you need to spend a little money to make some money. so do not fear but also use extreme caution for their are folks out there who will take advantage and try to squeeze out as much as they can.

Why the need to get all of these places out there? Because part of this game called the MUSIC BUSINESS is the key word in that, BUSINESS! You thought well if I just make the music and tell people about it they will flock to me and demand, “DUDE! play on!” Just like in any other Business you will have to earn customers and build a name for yourself. The days of when you just had to play a song for someone and they would give you money to get a record deal, were blown away and wanted to make you a star are almost gone. There are times when some one comes along but even THEY need a place to start.

The music business has changed so much over the past few years that what was once a elite club to get into, is still somewhat elite, yet you have a better chance at getting to your set goals then before all because of the INTERNET. Which leads me to my next little step.

GOALS

You need to take sometime out to write out all that your looking for and what your trying to accomplish. For with out having a game plan your DOOMED to fail.As trivial as this sounds do not make haste at it. For what company ever succeeded without first having a goal to reach for. They can be anything you want but you need to devise a plan. That way when the time gets hard, and they will, you have something to go back to. When things seem to be going great and your head is int he clouds you can always comeback to your list to see if this is something that you wanted

I know many of you will probably read half way thru and turn away at some of these thoughts, but ask yourself this question, do you think Henry Ford just got together with those around him and said, “I am going to make a product that the WHOLE world will want to buy, that will make me billions, and change the WORLD!” I just want you bankers to give me all the money I need on this horseless carriage, (what cars were first called), NO!

He had to develop a plan and stick to it, by doing that as you can see they have been around for over 100 yrs if I am not mistaken.  You say, “Wolfie , dude that is cars this is different” How so? You want to change the world with your music, you need money form folks to help you realize this dream of yours. You need to surround yourself with those of like mind to achieve the goals you have set out for yourself. No matter if your looking to be the next best thing in music, acting, or any other business you NEED a plan that is solid. Nothing wrong with writing your dreams and goals out. It can be something as well to go back to when everyone around you thinks your crazy and a fool that you wont get it, it will never work. You can read your own words and find strength and comfort knowing YOU will make it if you faint NOT.

I will share a few more ideas perhaps tomorrow but definitely soon. I want you to be encouraged in this dream of yours. It is something that is birthed in your heart since who knows when. NO ONE loves your music MORE than YOU. Friends will not, family will not, your neighbors wont, only YOU. You need to believe in yourself a 120% all the time and you will make it. That is if you have got the talent, and determination. LOL Look at it like a marathon race of 26 miles. Many people will stop after 10-15 miles, faint after 20-25 but people who run say that after they hit the wall they STILL move on past it like they still have ANOTHER 26 miles to go. If you stop to look to your left or right your going to get tripped up and fail. DO NOT STOP KEEP MOVING! Wow I think I encouraged myself today.  :o)

More next time.

New Updates

Would like to announce to you and the world of the new updates and things now made available at the website. Recently been editing things over there and making some adjustments. Now you can search thru a small portion of the catalog and license the music right from the website. You can also find musical terms and songs ,videos and contact info available. If you would like to learn about how Wolfies Music can also provide you with music for your next multimedia production, or even provide you with songs for you or your artist to market themselves, record or perform.

There is also a place to learn about how to submit YOUR music to Wolfies Music for consideration to be placed into the catalog for future placements. When it comes to that do not be afraid to share or email your music. THe songs that many folks think are maybe not up to paar, is the songs others might think are perfect. As long as it is of good recording and all that you never know what may become of it.

Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from some of you out there who maybe will be reaching out to us. we are here to help and do what we can to help you succeed, make your projects shine above the rest.