The most important factors in getting a well recorded sound are:
1. The sound of the source.
2. The sound of the room
IMPROVING THE SOURCE
Examples of ways to improve the sound of the source:
-Use the best, most well maintained instruments you can ie: well maintained string instruments with newer strings and accurate intonation
-Allow vocalist to “warm up”
-make sure electronic gear-amps/pedals/mic and guitar cables etc aren’t buzzing or shorting out.
IMPROVING THE SOUND OF YOUR ROOM
The sound of the recording environment is the next most critical factor in producing a well recorded track. Improving your recording room is usually a matter of solving problems for the home recordist.
Problems you may encounter in your “studio”
– outside noise sources: traffic, airplanes, kids playing etc.
-inside noise sources: air conditioning, computer noise,
TVs in other rooms, footsteps from the floor above etc.
-less than ideal acoustics caused by not enough absorptive surfaces
in the room creating a “ringy” room.
Control these noise problems as best you can:
-record in a quiet part of the house(basements, attics, corner rooms)
-record at a quite time of the day
-keep all doors and windows shut to keep outside noises to a minimum
-become aware of room noise. Put a mic up and record just the room for a minute and listen back in headphones. Remember, if you record 10 tracks in the room that noise will be adding up with each additional track.
Ringy or Echoing rooms
A room that is “ringy” or “echoing” can really hurt your recordings. Ringy rooms are caused by too many parallel surfaces and not enough soft, absorptive surfaces.
Cutting down on room “ring”
A)purchase and install room acoustic kits composed of sound absorbers that hang on walls and are placed in corners
B)And/or you can attack the problem with household items:
-large stuffed furniture, couches chairs etc.
-heavy blankets(in corners, over reflective surfaces such as windows)
-open closet doors with hanging clothes inside.
-Bookshelves are particularly good sound absorbers and high end diffusers
Still too much room ring?
“Make the room smaller” by recording in the deadest part of the room, with the padded area behind the sound source(to minimize reflections coming from behind the source)
-stuff a corner with blankets or stand a couch on end and record in front of it
-open a closet door that has hanging clothes and record in front of that. Or in it! Clothes closets are great sound deadeners. Leave the doors open.
-use a less sensitive mic such as a dynamic mic and record close to the source to lessen unwanted room tone and unwanted noises from indoors and out.
-Become aware of outside and inside noises.
-record in the quietest room available at the quietest times of the day.
-Add absorptive materials to your room if it is too live: either commercially available acoustic treatments or improvise with blankets, carpets
and stuffed furniture etc.
-use a less sensitive mic in rooms that are noisey or ringy and place the mic close to the source.