How To Get Great Recordings In Your Bedroom Studio

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  • @jacobmorales  Feb 2017

    I don't normally have all of my gear out during the year but when FAWM rolls around, it all comes out. I have a 2 mic setup for stereo recording and a mic shield for when I do vocals. To further reduce room sound, I hang a jacket above my mic shield and make sure to get real close to the mic. Today I stumbled upon this video about techniques on how to get great sound in your home studio. He's got several really great tips.


    I like for my recordings to sound as polished as possible so this appealed to me because my setup is temporary. If I had a permanent space to write and record, I'd have the room treated much better to avoid room reflection. Anyway, I know none of this matters for quick and dirty demo recording but for those who are trying to achieve good sound, what tips do you have? What works for you?

    By the way, the youtube channel in this video, "The Recording Revolution" has so much good stuff there.

  • @michaelbone Feb 2017

    I just close mic / DI everything so the bedroom shape isn't an issue. Sm57 ftw

  • @michaelbone Feb 2017

    Thanks for the link that's great!

  • @pumpkinhead Feb 2017

    I totally use the room except for som electric guitar for which I've put the amplifier in the closet. ยง:โ€ข)~ย 

  • @jacobmorales  Feb 2017

    @michaelbone same here. Aside from vocals and guitars, everything is done by DI and in editing so that helps.

  • @radioovermoscow Feb 2017

    I've spent yonks fretting about mic positions, the room, padding things etc. In the end, I realised any benefit I was getting wasn't audible - like many others here, I DI/programme most stuff, and close mic everything else. I find it much easier to get a good performance (well, by my standards) if I'm not worrying about other things.

    That said, I got a damn awful-sounding acoustic guitar recording this evening, so grain of salt...

  • @b00n  Feb 2017

    I found this to be a tremendously helpful read:
    The infamous "Why do your recordings sound like ass?" thread.

    Basically it comes down to two things:
    -Most bedroom studio listening environments don't allow proper judgment on the tones you are getting while recording, so you end up with a crapshoot guesstimate of what you really want to achieve.
    Imagine technical drawing with floppy rulers.
    And now you are even mixing it on monitors that lie to you.

    - You can't undo space. Once you've recorded spatial information you have to deal with this. If your bedroom sounds like a damp pillow acoustically, then you'll recordings will necessarily have the same 'quality' no matter what.

  • @boyatheart  Feb 2017

    I have never had big sound issues recording at home.

    Dynamic mics work well for picking up less room, but I can't ever remember recording in a room that sounded so bad that I couldn't use the recorded sound.

    I find the balance to be: the better the mic, the more the flaws in the room sound are highlighted. I can't spend money on proper acoustic treatment, so I decided not to spend much on a mic either.

    I record my vocals these days with a ยฃ20 Behringer mic (basically an SM58 copy). I'm happy with the results and so are clients who I've done voiceover and singing work for.

    I do have a decent and calibrated monitoring setup though and I've had it for over 15 years. I know exactly how things should sound coming out of those monitors now. That's the biggest factor IMO.

  • @oddbod  Feb 2017

    Like lots of others, my "studio" is a dual purpose room so it's not practical to have it all properly prepared.
    The way I look at it is - it's only "bedroom" production. You can't expect it to have fantastic fidelity. It's not like I'm putting music out professionally. Sure I want it to sound as good as possible but for me, it's just not necessary to get all obsessed about perfect sound if you're putting out MP3s online for FAWM and similar.

  • @adforperu  Feb 2017

    @oddbod, you're possibly the only person on FAWM that I picture having their own professional studio to hand, so kudos to your production skills sir!

  • @oddbod  Feb 2017

    @adforperu Why thank you sir, but I have a basement store room with a ceiling height of about 1.80m (about 5'11" in old money). It's full of boxes, books and other tat. I did try hanging an old duvet on one wall as an experiment but I didn't notice much difference *shrug*

  • @lvgd09 Mar 3

    Thanks, I like Grahm....the recording revolution.

    I'm thinking, "point the mic at the closet?"

    I'm not very active this month but I know this stuff...being doing it for years (bedroom recording). I never needed more than a couple dynamic mics for what I do. One mic in my face, and one mic in front of my guitar amp....worked out ok. That said, most of my recordings over the years were DI with amp simulators, and those were ok too. The condenser mic does pick up more noise and perhaps Grahm's tips are more helpful if you are doing vocals with that type of mic. Thanks for the tips. I like learning and discussing audio recording. I constantly experiment inside the CPU box using every technique I can think of using. Trade secrets. ๐Ÿ˜€ I experiment because I want to come up with something, A sweetening system that nobody else knows or can do. Anybody can make it sound louder. But can they make it better? Better than it was is good, eh? Thanks

  • @ajna1960  Mar 3

    The Recording Revolution is excellent, I agree.
    I also have this book which was recommended to me by a friend:
    'Guerrilla Home Recording - How to get great sound from any studio (no matter how weird or cheap your gear is)'
    by Karl Coryat
    pub by MusicPRO Guides

  • @sph  Mar 3

    I like Mike Senior's books
    His mix critiques of commercial productions are well worth a read
    Though I must add that reading and applying those techniques are two pair of shoes.

  • @tcelliott  Mar 3

    People laugh at me (for various reasons) but I put up those huge egg cartons (the 2.5 dozen squares) on my walls to help control flutter echo and it helped enormously. I went waaaay overboard (I'm on a low carb diet so I eat more eggs in a week than most families.)

    You do what you can do with what you have to get a good sound. And it isn't always worth the time/effort/money to improve the sound if it is negligible. Of course your ears are the most important part of the mixing process. But it is definitely true that your mic and your monitor are the most important parts of the recording process. What goes in and how you hear it coming out.

  • @scottlake Mar 3

    @oddbod tour boxes and books and other tat is actually partially responsible for breaking up room mode formation. An empty room with parallel walls and no furniture is the bane of recording. Breaking up the amount of parallel wall surface area is a great start to smooth out strong room modes. Some absorption in the room is a next step.

  • @scottlake Mar 3

    *your not "tour"

  • @caseewilson  Mar 3

    I've been really lucky for the last four years in that my studio has been a tiny attic room with wonky walls, slopey ceilings and funny corners, so the ambient space is actually very good for recording. I DI the piano so that's not an issue anyway, but now that I'm moving and the room is so much larger and more square I'm going to need to have some ideas on hand to help manage the new issues. *digs out the egg boxes, bookshelves and duvets*

  • @spinhead  Mar 3

    @scottlake Rats. I thought you knew about an @oddbod tour and I was all excited and stuff.

    We moved from a house where my music room was partially underground, the rest facing a small lake and woods, so a nice space to record.

    Now it's an upstairs bedroom where there is apparently a guy at the corner directing traffic this way anytime I start recording. Planning a thick towel window treatment. Or a roadblock.

  • @izaakalexander  Mar 3

    I have a really bad empty-ish rectangular room in the basement with hard floors, near the furnace room (air-conditioning for 50/90), and of course I play all these live acoustic instruments so D.I. isn't an option. Anyway, it's a nightmare, but at least I don't have decent monitors yet, so I don't hear all the details, and the devil's in the details... at least when it comes to quality recordings. I sort of feel bad for subjecting critical listeners to what I figure are obvious problems, but like others have said, it isn't about the recording at FAWM.

    Still, I really appreciate the links, @jacobmorales !! And this is an area that I want to continually improve in, one baby step at a time. There are so many variables in a musical recording.

    I'm happy to learn that I couldn't even stand up in @oddbod 's studio, though... I had imagined a state of the art studio designed to exacting acoustical standards... ๐Ÿ˜€

  • @ustaknow Mar 4

    Ah, great thread, -- can't wait to have time to review the sources. I like sources with the results, experience, for how deployed.

  • @njihe Mar 4

    I like recordings with realistic spatial sound (like, if you're recording in a basement it sounds like a basement). Nothing is neutral anyway. I know many people consider distinctive, natural room reverberation as bad sound, but I skipped those lessons in the school of listening to music.

    However, I usually record in my ridiculously echoing bedroom (when I kiss my lover or eat something in a certain spot the echo is crushing). I have got a big floormat, padded walls with curtains and tried to figure out the best spots to record. It really is a matter of 10 cm and EVERYTHING sounds different. This is why my demos have a variety of guitar sounds even though I only have one acoustic guitar. I just wish I could take advantage of this mysterious spatial sound. With my current skills and gear it just sounds funny.

  • @raygungirls  Mar 4

    When I first participated in FAWM, I lived in a different place and my office/recording area was in an attic. When I recorded vocals, I would point my mouth at a heavily padded wall (padded for insulation from the cold rather than sound), and it worked okay...
    Then I moved. My office is almost a square box, but there's a walled off section for the house's fuse box, that I can use as an "isolation booth". I've only used it for that once, to record a female vocalist with a gigantic voice. Worked quite well.
    Otherwise, the carpet and the somewhat small area between walls prevents too much room noise, along with my AT2020 USB mic.
    I've tried micing my guitar, but I just like the thicker sound I can get going DI and using virtual amps and pedals.

  • @eargoggle  Mar 4

    I like to not stress about it too much because if the performance is there you can get it to sound good. I have a small room packed with crap, and I use an sm57 for almost everything- including vocals. I point it away from the monitors towards the source and whatever bleed comes through on the track (and there really isn't much, truthfully) sounds good to me and adds to the 'vibe'. I hate singing with headphones on so this year I tried my vocals with the 57 and the monitors turned up medium volume- I feel like my vocals improved about 1000% because I could hear so much better while I sang. I put so many effects on them to dirty them up that the little bleed there didn't matter anyway.

    I go direct on some stuff- my Wurlitzer, a synth, electric bass. I guess the only exception to using the 57 is the upright bass, where I use a decent-ish condenser (Shure KSM35) and use headphones.

    I just want everything to sound different and unique so I don't really care about the 'proper' way to do

  • @karlsburg25  Mar 6

    Yeah well usually I just have bedroom, c1000 for vocals and close mic acoustic . Sm58 for odd marshall amp recordings then DI everything else basically . I feel I can produce quality enough recordings from that set and I never spend large money on headphones , as being dead in one ear , is a bit pointless ๐Ÿ˜„@oddbod agree with Ads. That's fantastic quality from temporary bedroom set up. Good work matey

  • @tcelliott  Mar 6

    I spent hours yesterday looking at free VST plugins and grabbed another half dozen or maybe more. I've got like hundreds that I don't use. My goal is in the near future, to start going through and getting a set that I like and only add the rest when I'm needing to experiment or find something "else." But that's been an idea for years at this point. I still get the most mileage out of the stock EQ, two free and simple compressors, a limiter, a stock delay and a reverb (which isn't the best, I should try them all out for something better.)

  • @lvgd09 Mar 20

    @jacobmorales I was watching an older video from the recording revolution and it was regarding fixing vocal and guitar tracks In my opinion, Graham favors the SSL Channel EQ almost all of the time. He uses that plugin to "cut" frequencies that sound boxie and or harsh. Never boost always cut. In the video he describes finding the funky in low mid and high frequencies....cutting each by 3db. I've done this on full mixes and it sounds more like commercial CD. That said, the waves SSL plugins are outrageous highly priced.

  • @lvgd09 Apr 16

    Mixing in mono

    Of course, I agree with Graham here. He's not the first to tell me about this technique but he is the latest to remind me.

    One of the problems I use to have with collaborations was the guitar player sending stereo tracks. Yeah, it sounds itself, but the phase can destroy your mix and you may not even know what's wrong. My advice, take control of that guitar track whether they like it or not. You'll never get a good mix if you keys and guitars are all stereo. To be honest, this is one of the reasons I don't care for synths. It's about phase (details skipped). Oh, and it is not ok to turn it back to stereo just because you mixed in mono. You're better off using your own Automation, VST delays, and reverbs. I always prefer my collaborators using dry mono tracks (includes drums).

    Side note: Don't tell your collaborators what you have done with their stereo tracks. Let the mix speak for itself. If they noti

  • @lvgd09 Apr 16

    Side note: Don't tell your collaborators what you have done with their stereo tracks. Let the mix speak for itself. If they notice, and bitch, then you probably should tell them the truth about the phase problem. If they don't like it, then they can use their own mix. But if that happens over something stupid like that, I won't be mixing for them anymore. It takes time and time is money and I'm not getting paid. Yes, and some people have rejected my mixes. Their prerogative, and I usually only mix my own projects.

    Second Side Note: I'm not a recording or mastering engineer. I've always studied this as a hobby and for use on my own stuff.

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