Awesome Online Training Resources for Home Studios

old mic

1. The Home Recording Show- Go listen to every episode.  Great.  Now do it again.  These guys make a fun show, are very knowledgeable, and talk about EVERYTHING.  I have learned so many things from them its crazy.  The best part is that its a FREE podcast.

2. Home Studio Corner- Joe Gilder amazes me with how knowledgable he is, and how much great work he does in a spare bedroom.  He is challenging and encouraging, and will inspire you to get more work done and keep learning.  He offers a free blog and email list, many free videos, but go ahead and pay the $10 a month to be a VIP member.  This subscription is full of great content, a private forum and a host of other perks.  For more in depth training he also sells a number of  video series.

4. Lynda.com- Lynda is a training resource for any type of creative or technology field.  There are hundreds of courses to choose from ranging from specific software to general audio theory and recording techniques.  Not so bad for $25 per month.

5. CreativeLive-  this is a newer site that also specialized in training for multiple creative fields.  They hold live training sessions with top notch professionals that are very detail oriented.  The best part is, if you watch the class live its absolutely FREE!   After the fact you can buy the videos for $75-$99.  Still well priced for a 10-16 hour course.

6. Duelling Mixes -  Joe Gilder and Graham Cochrane have put their heads together to create a great community of aspiring mixers.  For $27, every month you get a new song to practice mixing.  You can discuss it in the forum and listen to each others work.  At the end of the month Graham and Joe post videos about their own mixes and the techniques they used.  The community then gets to vote on whose was the best.  Lots to practice and learn.  Also lots of fun.

7. Recording Lounge-  this is another very in depth podcast, put out by Kendal Osborne from Oklahoma.  He offers lots of tips, theory and examples, all which are more on the technical side, which is fine by me.  This is a professional guy who works in a big studio as well as out of his own project studio.

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I'm sure this will be only the first of many posts about great training.  I will definitely add more as I find and dive into others.  Please comment with any you know and love.

Multiple Microphones On a Source

 MXL R40 and AT3525 on a Taylor 514

MXL R40 and AT3525 on a Taylor 514

I have found a lot of value recently to putting multiple microphones on a source in order to get a better sound for the mix.  I am not talking about  stereo miking a source for width, but blending two together as a mono signal.  There have been a few times where I thought I had a great sound, only to blend in a second mic to find that I like it even more.

In a home studio, when often you are working with a makeshift space, it can often be a challenge to get a good sound with just one microphone, I understand.  My room is not very big, which poses various problems acoustically.  I am not proposing a solution to this, you have to start by getting one microphone in the right place and chain so that is sounding great on its own.  Take the time and get it right at the source and you will be happy you did later.

After setting up my main microphone, I then choose a microphone that I know sounds different, often something that will sound darker like a ribbon microphone, and put it in a different position.  This could be anything from a foot away from the first mic, to behind the source, to positioning it as a room microphone.  Listen to your room and find a  position thats sounds nice in the room, and might add to the song.  Always be aware of phase issues.  If you aren't careful, another microphone will do nothing but hurt the sound, then it will be a waste.  Unless I am looking for something specific, I don't spend tons of time on the second microphone, since I know my source already sounds good.  I think of it as an added bonus that might create something I like in the mix.

Some applications that have worked for me:

1-2 feet from the main mic on Acoustic Guitar

Acoustic guitars are such a rich, harmonic laden instrument, and the sound comes from the entire length of the strings.  Point a second microphone at a different part of the strings for a second flavor of sound to blend in.  Pointing one at the fretboard can also get more natural fret noise- if you like that sort of thing.  I will often use a matched pair on acoustic to get the real song of the guitar, but a different microphone will bring out different tones and harmonics.

 Miking up a Fender 4x10 DeVille

Miking up a Fender 4x10 DeVille

On the Rear of a Guitar Amp

Depending on the style of guitar playing you are recording, you can use almost any type of mic on a guitar amp.  Standard form is to position it in front of the speaker, and it usually sounds great.  A few times when I was recording a richer guitar part, like a cleaner hollow-body I decided to put a large-diaphragm condenser behind or to the side of the amp.  

At the feet of a Piano Player

This can help pickup more low end, which may be desirable depending on the song.  It will also pickup more hammer sounds, and well as the pedal and dampening sounds.  These little noises can go a long way to making a piano sound more real.

Room Microphone

Take a secondary microphone and put it in a random spot in (or out of) your room.  Face it at the source or away from the source.  Put it a few feet away, on the other side of the room, or down the hall.  Any of these options can make for an added color that you may choose to add into the mix.  Try it especially on loud sources such as drums or guitar amps to get natural reverb from your room.

On Vocals

Put two different style micrphones right next to each other on a vocal.  Especially if you are can't seem to find a microphone that gives you what you want, you can blend two in order to get more options.  Try using a dynamic and condenser side by side.

As I get more experience I hope to try this on more sources.  Experiment and have fun with it.  You may just love the results.