Recording Engineers Handbook Archives - Bobby Owsinski's Music Production Blog

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Checking Drum Phase By Using Your Ears

drum mics phase

The chances for a phase problem are far greater on the drum kit than in almost any other band-level situation because it usually has more mics on it than any other instrument. That said, there is a simple technique for checking for a problem as outlined in this excerpt from the 4th edition of my […]

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Drum Tuning Techniques Every Engineer Should Know

drum tuning techniques

There’s no doubt that getting a drum sound is the number one priority for any recording that has a drummer. Sometimes you luck out and the drums sound great by just putting the mics in front of them, but other times they require more care in order to make them sound the way you want. […]

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8 Things To Check Before You Push The Record Button

Record button

“Everything set up? Cool, let’s record. Oh, wait, it doesn’t sound like I think it should.” At this point you can continue to record and deal with the consequences later, or stop and troubleshoot, but you might be chasing your tail and it could take longer than you want to get to where you want […]

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6 Techniques For Miking A Drum Kit With A Single Mic

single mic triangle setup

Just because you have a lot of mics and tracks at your disposal, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll get a great drum sound. Sometimes, the simplest methods can provide a realism that you just can’t get from close-miking every drum. Here are 6 techniques culled from my Recording Engineer’s Handbook that show how you […]

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6 Steps To Troubleshooting Distortion When Recording

troubleshooting distortion

There you are in the middle of a perfect take when you hear the audio cracking up. It’s distorting but you don’t know where. Before you pull your hair out, check out these 6 steps that will help you track it down in a quick and methodical manner. 1. Is the microphone preamp overloading? Is […]

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3 Techniques For Recording Acoustic Guitar

recording acoustic guitar

Acoustic guitar by nature varies so much from instrument to instrument that one miking style definitely won’t work on everything. Luckily, there are a lot of different techniques available, and while all the others might let you down, one of the following 3 techniques from my Recording Engineer’s Handbook is sure to work. Considerations • […]

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Mack On Recording Queen And ELO


With a who’s who list of credits such as Queen, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, The Rolling Stones, Black Sabbath, Electric Light Orchestra, Rory Gallagher, Sparks, Giorgio Moroder, Donna Summer, Billy Squire, and Extreme, the producer/engineer who goes simply by the name Mack has made his living making superstars sound great. Having recorded so many big […]

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The 8 Constants Of Vocal Recording

vocal recording distance

By my count, there are 8 “constants” that we find in vocal recording. These are items or situations that almost always prove to be true. Just keeping them in mind can save you a lot of trouble in the search for a sound that works for you and your vocalist. Here are a few tips […]

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3 Techniques For Recording Bass Guitar

2 mics on bass cabinet

Just like the acoustic bass (and just about all instruments), a great bass sound is dependent upon the instrument itself, the player, the amp, and the room. The player has to be able to achieve the tone you’re trying to record with his fingers first and foremost. This excerpt from the 4th edition of my […]

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5 Easy Steps To In-Phase Drum Mics

drum mics phase

Phase is important to a great drum sound, but often overlooked. That’s why some drum recordings just don’t sound right, and no amount of processing can make them sound better. Here’s an excerpt for the 4th edition of my Mixing Engineer’s Handbook that outlines 5 easy steps to getting those drum mics in-phase. “The chances […]

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7 Simple Tips For Improving Your Drum Sound

drum sound - parallel room mics

When it comes to a live drum sound during a tracking session, sometimes the smallest details can make a big difference when you consider that there are usually multiple mics involved. Changing one thing can sometimes make a difference, but sometimes it’s the fact that many small adjustments have a cumulative effective on the overall sound. […]

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Mic Placement Tips To Help You Find The “Sweet Spot”

Finding the sweet spot

Mic placement may be the most important part of recording since a change of half-an-inch can sometimes make a huge difference in the sound. Finding that correct placement isn’t always easy though, so here’s an excerpt from my Recording Engineer’s Handbook 4th edition to give you some easy tips to find that “sweet spot” quickly. “Quickly finding […]

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The Pre-Session Recording Checklist

One of the keys to an initial basic tracking session running smoothly is the information that you receive pre-session. Here’s a recording checklist from my Recording Engineer’s Handbook 4th edition that shows the some of the info that really helps to receive in advance of the session. This will usually be provided by the producer, artist or band […]

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Easy Edits For That Distorted Guitar

Distorted guitar editing

Here’s a great distorted guitar recording tip that I got from Richard Chycki, engineer for Rush, Dream Theater, Aerosmith and many more. I liked it so much I’ve used it on every session since, and included it in the latest version of my Recording Engineer’s Handbook as well. Distorted electric guitar is notoriously difficult to edit, […]

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