Balancing Act

Balancing Act

This is a video exploring another side of the music of Mark Allan Wolfe. Noted for Rock, Indie, and New Age music, here is a cinematic piece. The song opens with soft piano, that is haunting and is joined by guitar and cello and culminates in a balancing act of a variety of musical instruments. The swelling of cymbals, orchestral elements, and traditional island percussion. For more music and licensing information please visit markallanwolfe.com
If you are interested in licensing music immediately you can start by visiting the online music licensing store located at
http://markallanwolfe.com/License Music.html

Equalizer

Equalizer

A modern rock with a bit of swing and a great hook. Guitars and thunderous drums make this a great choice for your high energy, tough gritty, get the job done type of vibe. The song is also good for commercials video games and reality shows. Composer Mark Allan Wolfe has several 1000’s of songs readily available for just about any job you need music for. Visit markallanwolfe.com and /or wolfiesmusicpublishing.com to contact them to learn about what they can do for you or your clients needs.

Mixing Video Series: How to use Compression with the CA2A in SONAR X3

I use this software a lot and I found Cakewalk Sonar X3 to be one of the best recording software out there. You may like something different but this is a great tool for recording your music at home and in the studio

Mixing with Compression is an essential part to shaping and creating a great sounding track. In this video series I take you through a track-by-track video that shows you how to use compression on various types of instruments in SONAR X3 with the CA-2A T-Type Leveling Amplifier. You can use compression to control levels, enhance dynamics, and much more. Subscribe to our YouTube Channel and check out this series today.

 

Part 1 of 7 – Introducing the CA2A and all of it’s parameters in SONAR X3.

The CA2A is available separately on the Cakewalk Store

Check out SONAR X3: http://www.cakewalk.com/Products/SONAR/

Check out the CA2A Leveling Amplifier: http://www.cakewalk.com/products/CA-2A/

about the music licensing process

A little about the music licensing process

In the USA Copyright law states that in order for someone to use music synchronized to a picture requires them to gain the permission of the copyright holder or owners of the music.  The main job of the music supervisor is for them to locate music and gain the permission from all copyright owners to use that music in film or TV production. Thisprocess is call “clearing” music, or ”music clearing”

There are two different copyrights in any piece of music

The music itself has a copyright and then on each sound recording of that piece of music

Music Copyright 

Typically owned by a music publishing company

A license between a music copyright owner and a film/TV production company for use

of music in a production is called a Synchronization License (aka “Sync License”)

Sound Recording Copyright

Record labels typically own and there may be many recordings of the same work, each with a different sound recording copyright owner

 

A “Master License” is used for a recording in any given production it is the license between a sound recording copyright owner and a film/TV production company.

I would also like to add that there is so much information on this process that it will take a bit more than just one or two postings. I am working on trying to help my fellow musicians and artist in their quest for fame and stardome but you must do the homework. You must be the one to do all the studying.

Nothing good comes easy it will take determination, perseverance, talent and luck. You are on the right road though for you are researching and trying to educate yourself in this matter. Please visit back often for more updates and ask questions. We are working on a program that may help you and others that has helped me in this process. So hang in there and keep on keeping on.

For more info you may also look at wolfiesmusicpublishing.com and / or markallanwolfe.com We also have a handy glossary which will help many of you becoming familiar with the process visit Music Licensing Terms

Mark Allan Wolfe and Wolfies Music radio interview

Be sure to tune in this evening at 9 pm est for a very informative and fun time!!

Life has ups and downs, highs and lows yet it is the music we follow within our heart that will ultimately define who we are and what we become. Tonight, we present to you, the gifted composer, Mark Allan Wolfe.

Mark Allan Wolfe is a composer and an artist in the truest sense. His film and TV compositions run from thought-provoking, high energy, laced with adrenaline and  atq times sincerity. Combining heart-pounding Rock ‘n Roll with tributaries of Electronics, World, Hip-Hop, Pop and Americana, Mark’s songs draw on his 25 years of striving for professionalism and musical merger of sound and genre.

His fans span the world and the 1500+ compositions verify that diversity on TV, internet, film and commercials. You may have hummed one of Mark’s tunes not even realizing the tunesmith behind the music. Web site: MarkAllanWolfe

Grace Peterson is an author, garden columnist and blogger. Depending on the weather, she can be found either pecking on her laptop or puttering in her garden. She is a member of the National Association of Memoir Writers and the Association For Writing Excellence and her work has been published in several anthologies.

Tonight we will speaking of her first book, Reaching. Is it Demon possession or mental illness. A personal descent into cult extremism and the aftermath,.

Grace lives in western Oregon, sharing a home with her husband and four furry felines while their four grown children come and go. REACHING is her first book. Her gardening memoir is slated for publication later this year. Web-site: Gracepete.com

Music Fans Are Prepared To Spend Up To $2.6 Billion More Annually For Premium Content

Nielsen has unveiled the findings from “The Buyer and the Beats: The Music Fan and How to Reach Them,” an unprecedented music study created especially for the 2013 SXSW conference attendees that provides beneficial insights about music fans, defined as those who are passionately invested in music. Co-presented by Nielsen and SXSW during this year’s conference in Austin, the report explores how music listeners engage with music and technology, utilize their smartphones, tap into free content, and engage in crowdsourcing; as well as how companies, artists and fans can be better served.

“The Buyer and the Beats: The Music Fan and How to Reach Them” reveals that 40% of U.S. consumers � those classified as “Fans” � are responsible for 75% of music spending. These Fans, who spend between $20 billion and $26 billion on music each year, could spend between $450 million and $2.6 billion more on music if compelling content is made commercially available. Additionally, the study finds that that the most avid of “Fans” have downloaded the most tracks for free–approximately 30 digital songs per fan over the course of a year.

“It’s encouraging to see such strong demand for content from music fans,” says David Bakula, SVP Client Development & Analytics for Entertainment, Nielsen. “We are finding that there’s a lot of untapped demand for additional content, which can translate into beneficial and profitable opportunities for artists, labels, and advertisers.”

A majority of “Fans” want greater engagement with their favorite musicians and would be willing to pay considerably for that access. They want to know more about what they’re like as people, and get a better understanding of the creative process. These “Fans” are prepared to pay more for exclusive or premium content, autographed products, and special merchandise. In addition, these fans would consider paying about $30 for an “online ticket” to view an exclusive live webcast.

Neilson data on music fans

Nielsen identifies the difference between a casual music consumer and a music “Fan,” and the best way to reach them. The core music fans include “Aficionado Fans,” “Digital Fans,” and “Big Box Fans.” Fans who don’t meet the criteria to be classified as one of Nielsen’s core music fans are the “Occasional Concert Consumers,” “Ambivalent Music Consumers,” and “Background Music Consumers.”

* Aficionado Fans (14% of respondents) – the most avid and engaged music fans are spending about $400 per year on music, concerts and artist merchandise through retailers such as iTunes, Amazon and independent record stores. These fans prefer alternative rock, are active social network users, attend live concerts and listen to music via computer.
* Digital Fans (13%) � the smartphone is the entertainment hub for these fans, who discover music via technology and listen to music via Facebook. They spend over $300 per year on music and share music more than other fans, giving music as gifts and sharing their playlists.
* Big Box Fans (13%) – these fans shop at mass retailers, are partial to pop and country music, and listen to music through a CD or mp3 player. They are highly influenced by bargains, respond well to brand endorsements, and spend about $200 per year on music.
* Occasional Concert Consumers (14%) and Ambivalent Music Consumers (22%) are less engaged with music than the “Fans,” and they spend less (about $100 and $70 per year, respectively). Nonetheless, the Ambivalent Music Consumer is open to discovery (60% use Pandora) and expressed some willingness to pay for exclusive content.
* Background Music Consumers (24%) are the least engaged of all music consumers, spending only $40 per year on music.

sxsw LOGO

“The Buyer and the Beats: The Music Fan and How to Reach Them” presenters included Barbara Zack, Chief Analytics Officer, Entertainment Measurement for Nielsen; David Bakula, SVP Analytics for Nielsen; Benji Rogers, Founder & CEO of PledgeMusic; and Shawn O’Keefe, Interactive Festival Producer, SXSW. During the panel, Bakula projected On-Demand streaming to exceed 100 billion by the year’s end.

Data for “The Buyer and the Beats: The Music Fan and How to Reach Them” was collected via 1,000 consumer surveys using Nielsen’s proprietary, high-quality ePanel in the United States; 1,800 PledgeMusic contributors; and 1,200 SXSW attendees.

Types of Music License

.Types of Music License

Well once again we have compiled a little more info on some catagories of music licensing. we are trying to help promote music and the education of our artist. If you would like to collaborate maybe share some thoughts feel free to add a comment.  Would love to hear from our fellow artist, music libraries

Master Use Sound Recording Licenses
Usage: License master audio recording with no use of visual synchronization.
License Types:

  • Audio Projects
  • Composition and Sound Recordings
  • Master Ringtone (Pre-Recorded music which play actual clips from sound recordings.)
  • Music Compilation (CD, DVD, PC Audio)
  • Public Space (Restaurants, Trade shows, Retail spaces)
  • Radio Ad or Production
  • Sampling, Remixes, Covers and Derivative Works
  • Telephone or Music On Hold

Print Rights Licensing
Usage: Generally sheet music, song folios, scores or notation in any printed or digital form released for sale. Once sold, printed music earns royalties from the print rights license which the publisher negotiated.
License Types:

  • Scores or notation
  • Sheet music
  • Song folios

Sync and Master Licenses
Usage: Use of master in synchronization with visual for film, games, video, etc.
License Types:

  • Corporate, Theater and Competition (unless no visual media is used)
  • Film Sync License
  • Games and Software
  • Internet Website, Flash
  • Products and Toys
  • Single Units (Wedding video, small quantity for profit)
  • Slide Show or PowerPoint
  • Software – Multimedia, All platforms, any use
  • TV Advertising
  • TV Show Sync License
  • Video (Music for Video, DVD or CDROM)

Composition Licenses
Usage: No sync or master, only license to record and sell the song’s composition.
License Types:

Basic Mechanical Royalty application: A mechanical right is the right to record and distribute (without visual images) a song on a phonorecord (e.g. CD) for private use. Mechanical rights or a mechanical license must be obtained in order to lawfully make and distribute records, CD’s and tapes.

  • Phonic Ringtones – Ringtones using standard MIDI sound files

There are two basic types of ringtones:
Phonic Ringtones and Pre-Recorded Ringtones.

  1. Phonic Ringtones are (most commonly) standard MIDI sound files that are either monophonic, where the ringtones are recreated using standard single notes, or polyphonic where notes can be played simultaneously creating harmony and/or counterpoint.
  2. Pre-Recorded ringtones play actual clips from sound recordings. It should be noted that the term ‘Pre-Recorded ringtone’ is not the standard (industry wide) term. They are also known as Trutones, Songtones, Master Ringtones, etc.

Personal Use Licenses
Usage: Non commercial usage, may be sold as retail product, offered for promotion or evaluation for commercial licensing purposes.
License Types:

  • Free Demo – for promo or commercial project evaluation only.
  • Personal Use – typical retail sales application. May not be used for any commercial projects OR purpose requiring other kinds of licenses.

Performance Rights Licensing
Application and Usage: The public performance rights most commonly collected via the Performance Rights Organizations such as ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, SOCAN, PRS and other PROs around the world. Their fundamental job it is to keep track of every single performance or broadcast of all works protected under copyright. Common uses include Film, TV and Radio broadcasting among many other public and live audience venue performances.

Mixed Usage, Special Licenses

  • Custom License – publisher/buyer negotiated according to exact usage, for example, blanket, per-program, exclusive or foreign rights deals, etc.
  • Stock Music License – some restrictions normally apply and vary according to publisher

If your looking to get an idea on some music to use feel free to visit one of the many places to utilize our music. There is a small guitar oriented library and catalog as well as a larger cata log to sample thru with more genres. Please also feel free to add your thoughts, comments and ideas that might help your fellow musical brothers and sisters in the journey to get their music out there.

Wolfies Music Publishing Store

 

EZ Drummer Drums for your DAW!!

EZDrummer Drums for your DAW!!

This is a product that I highly recommend. I used this and other variations of it in a lot of my productions. I like it so much i thought i would let you know about it thru a friend of mine. If you would like to hear some samples of it visit markallanwolfe.com and sift thru some music samples or click here as well as this  click here

This is a classic and timeless piece of software regarded by many professionals worldwide as a ‘must have’ in the staple diet of any music producer’s plugin menu.

EZDrummer from Toontrack is a fast and ultra reliable way of creating professional sounding drum grooves for your production tracks straight out of the box.  As a drum sampler –  EZDrummer sounds fantastic, the GUI is top notch, looks great and there is nothing complicated about the way EZDrummer works at all.  Getting started, in simple terms, is as easy as loading the plugin into a host channel – choosing a preset kit – selecting a groove from the midi pattern window and pressing play to audition the sounds.

Building a linear drum part for your song using EZDrummer involves:  Auditioning and choosing your grooves, intros, outros, fills e.t.c.  then use a drag & drop method to flesh out the midi files as an extended drum part in your DAW.  You can then edit the midi parts to create variations if need be – mix the kit parts using EZDrummer’s dedicated mixer and you’re done!  EZ!  Of course, there are many more dimensions to explore in EZDrummer especially its custom kit design options and multi-outputs for processing the individual drum sounds through a host DAW mixer, but in essence, that is the workflow in a nutshell.

Kit Pieces:  EZDrummer as a VSTi is reflected through 3 feature user interfaces:  Default Drum kit  window –  Grooves Window, which stores the midi groove/pattern lists – and the plugin’s Mixer.  When first loaded  the default kit consists of 5 drums 4 cymbals with room and overhead mics.  Individual kit pieces are auditioned by clicking in the instrument areas and on the edges of kit pieces to audition rimshots and sound variations where applicable.  Or, by pressing the relevant key on a midi controller to trigger the drum sounds.   EZDrummer allows you to create custom kits  by changing the sounds of individual kit pieces and saving them as user presets.  On the edge of each kit piece in the interface is an arrow which indicates a drop down menu.  Use this menu to choose the different sounds you want on each drum.   For the kick drum, for example,  you could choose a different size of drum using a different type of beater.  The enhanced professional sound quality of EZDrummer is  generated through the several thousand expertly crafted multi-velocity samples of kit pieces taken from leading brand names, like:  Rogers – Tama – Ludwig – Sabian –  Zildjian (and more) – which provide a full and complete dynamic range to this remarkable VSTi instrument.

Grooves: In the Grooves interface of EZDrummer there are a whole bunch of midi pattern libraries representing thousands of captured professional performances translated into midi files.  There are a host of different genres in each midi library, and, depending on the EZX(Expander) packs  you own, the range of genre varies from Pop/Rock – Funk – Ballad – Metal – reaching across into the fields of  Electronic and  Latin percussion.  The detail of the midi patterns comprising the EZDrummer midi library is a producer’s dream.  Each pattern pays close attention to the dynamic in the rhythmic phrase and towards a performance nuance by including ghost notes and live performance hit velocities.  There are a refreshing amount of different time signatures with many different interpretations of the groove, such as: 6/8, 3/4, 7/8 – either played straight, with  swing or with shuffle.  Each EZ midi library is completed with tons of fills to decorate the phrase endings.

EZDrummer also provides 2 sweep dials at the foot of the interface: Humanize & Velocity dials.  The setting of these dials introduces a random element to the number of ghost notes and additional hits included in the rhythmic cycle of a midi pattern while also increasing or decreasing the hit velocity density and amplitude of the hits.  Again, these sweep dials add further detail and production options when working with EZDrummer.  Finally, when you drag and drop the midi patterns from EZDrummer to the DAW channel – all velocity information you program with a midi pattern is fully retained ensuring total replication of the performance.

The Mixer:  EZDrummer has a dedicated mixer interface which provides 9 mixer channels for all kit pieces including seperate channels that adjust the ambience of the room and overhead mics.   Interesting to note that the snare sounds from the default kit in EZDrummer have 2 dedicated channels (top & bottom)  with an adjustable mic bleed control affecting the amount of bleed from the bottom snare sound and from the overheads.  There are a limited number of mixer presets available from a drop down menu to the upper left of the mixer interface that switches the mixer interface into a variety of different panning and mix states.  However,  you can randomly generate mixer states by clicking the ‘randomise’ button –  useful when looking to get a feel for a final mixdown.

The mixer also allows channels to be grouped together by a simple shift & click on the number of channels required to form the group.  Once created, the actions applied to a fader on one channel will affect all faders  within the group.  However, the pan of each channel within a group remains independent and can be adjusted seperately, which is cool.  Finally, the mixer channels can be  assigned to 8 seperate stereo outputs and routed to the mixer of a host DAW where the individual kit sounds can be processed using the host DSPs or third party plugins.  All in all, EZDrummer’s mixer is detailed enough to create a flexible mix environment.

As a drum sampler/VSTi plugin –  EZDrummer, with its ready to go finished drum sounds, provides an incredibly simple creative workflow for drum part tracking.  The immediacy and speed of workflow enhances its qualities as an excellent song writing tool.
Further, all of its samples load into memory so there no clicks or pops on playback and the sound quality will always sit well in any professional mix.   For those in need of more processing power within the plugin itself I would recommend you check out Toontracks big brother of drum sampler/romplers – Toontrack Superior 2.0!  Either way, EZDrummer is a cool piece of kit and coupled with the numerous EZX expansion kits supplemented by Toontrack over recent years it could easily develop as THE ultimate ‘go to’ plugin in your production tool kit.

Whether professional or hobbyist –  since the  launch of the product in 2006 you must have of heard of EZDrummer? – if you haven’t –  welcome to planet Earth!

EZdrummer® Facts & Features
• 7000 sound files at 16-bit / 44.1kHz equivalent to 5Gb of uncompressed wav files.
• Instant access to more than 8000 midi drum patterns with prelistening, quick browsing and drag’n’drop functionality.
• Same extensive layer depth on all drums and cymbals as in EZdrummers big brother Superior Drummer®.
• EZdrummer® ranges from entry level usability to pro handling
• Features multiple microphone control
• TPC II reduces system requirements to a minimum
• Operates in General MIDI
• Internal mixer allows stereo and multitrack routing into the host through one single plug in
• Preset mix modes for quick sound changes
• Interface visualizes the drums loaded and combines auditioning and kit construction
• Drums recorded at Avatar Studios, New York by worldclass drummers and producers
• The humanizer function combines drum hit randomizing and non-cycling
• Velocity sweep allows instant changes to MIDI data, extending groove context relevance
• Possibilities for the user to add their own MIDI files to the library

For more information about EZDrummer go here…

Brought to you courtesy of Soundwrx Digital

Music Production and Mastering Tips

As we gear up for this new year and start considering all the things we are getting involved in we wanted to share a few things with all of you that might help you all in your production and music creation.

Mastering is often considered to be something of a dark art, being thought of as almost unattainable. Although it is a complicated process it is not something that is not  unattainable and it is not an unlearn-able skill. A few places where you can find help would be ; Computer Music Has a bunch of tools available as well as a beginners’ guide to mastering. You can also visit http://www.recordingmag.com/ For a LOT of helpful tips and video links and articles to get you going.

Now, lets look at the things that we have found to be very helpful…..

Notch the kick

Try not to use shelving EQ to boost your kick. For you do this, and you are going to be boosting all the harmonics in there as well. Start by notching the EQ with in the freq of the Bass Drum, so you can just control the thud of the kick. I have found that if I just tweak the lower end of the EQ I can get that DEEP thud effect that hits you in the chest but sits right in the mix.

Ramp up the vocals

If the vocal track seems dry or is not cutting through, I will use EQ. I go to the center and add some mids in a bell shape all the while being mindful not to change the dynamic of the track. I boost around the 2, 2.7, 3kHz range , depending on the vocal tone. I will also use a mid/side processor to make the center channel louder or send it through a plug in that makes it spread out a bit I know I am weird but one thing is just because your plug in may have preset that says it is made or designed for this or that instrument does not always mean it is the best. Explore your sound and try to find those dynamics that make your track jump out and grab you by the throat and say “HEY LISTEN!” You understand do not limit yourself by what others put on you.

STAY BALANCED!

Now just because you may have these great tools and plug ins does not mean that you have to use them on everything. If the track or instrument is well-balanced, maybe you do not need a compressor. It is all about the gain structure and tone. You may want to turn your track up but you don’t want to ruin the vibe, so use wisdom. I always say STAY BALANCED Do not let your A.D.D get the best of you stay on track but at the same time explore your options. For some of the best tracks have been found totally by accident by exploring but you should always back up EVERYTHING and always save the original un the event you make a mistake.

Compression can affect the width

A narrow mix can be widened using mid/side processing, as compression and gain on the outer frequencies will accentuate them. Just be careful not to hid or cover up the important parts in the center, like bass and vocals. If your mix is too wide you may be able to bring it in by compressing the center signal, then raising its level back up. Always try to find a perfect place for every instrument, this is another beast all in itself though right?

Lower the output

When you are ready to make a mp3 from your mix you will get a better result by converting a WAV that has been mastered to a slightly lower output level than 0dB. Some engineers will recommends starting with a WAV that is about -0.5dB or -1.5db Try it out and see for yourself the difference is unbelievable.
If your mix is still some what not where you want it despite your best EQ efforts, you might want to try an exciter or enhancer. Where EQs can accentuate noise, and only amplify what’s already there. Exciters raise the harmonics of the fundamental tones found in the recording, brightening dull mixes. As with everything in mastering, though, don’t overdo it remember STAY BALANCED!
Do not forget to visit the websites and dign up for email list. Big news coming in a bit so if your looking to maybe find placements for your music be sure to stay connected. Things have been so busy it has been hard to stay up to date with everything. Please be patient.

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