Building Quality Homes


Digital Recording

              In the early days of Tape recorders, Recording music or

voice or any type of sound for replay/ reproduction could be classed

as a fine art. Getting a signal onto tape was often a complicated process

involving mics , mixing desks, sound processes, Gates, Compressors

and many more outboard effects. This then became a balancing act

with signal levels against noise, tape saturation against Tape quality

and Tape speed, dealing with hums, sound on sound noise build

up etc etc


So there were many factors to consider when recording but

how is Digital Recording any different you may ask?


Well like Tape, Digital can also record noise with your sound

source if you have a noisy signal path! But generally Digital

sounds cleaner and crisp (perhaps because your ear is missing

the continuous noise when tape is playing back and not listening

to say 441000 snippets or sound in 1 second? [which is

44.1KHZ or CD quality]).


 When recording signal into Digital it is a good idea to

lower your anticipated recording level and leave plenty

of headroom, that is to say, unlike tape where it is generally

accepted to get as much signal down on tape as possible,

high signals being digitally recorded tend to break up into

unpleasant crackle which gets added to your recording.

Low recorded levels can always be raised later with effects

without introducing any more noise, but it's dam hard removing

Crackles from a recording (but not impossible in the

Digital World!).




Digital Recording and Playback Tips


I have found when in mixdown mode using DAW or

Software mixers on dedicated Recording programmes like

Cubase and Pro tools etc. there is still a biting point on Faders

(like with analogue desks) where just about pushing the level

into the Red brings out a punchy sound but anything less and

it sounds wimpy and weak!, if you get to many channels

into the red then you overload the Stereo Master bus and have

to start again with each channel's a challenge sometimes

and often not as forgiving as Analogue!


       When Playing back music using Software recording

programs such as Cubase, I always use the Timing Offset

tool to delay or advance each individual track to help make a

song groove better, eg. Try advancing a snare track by -0.200ms

this makes the Drummer sound right on top of the Beat and

pushing the song forward!, or delaying a guitar or Vocal track

by +0.300ms gives an interesting effect of dragging the song,

Experiment is the key word!


On my Master fader section I tend to leave EQ as is but always

use a VST Plugin effect like Stereo Tape Emulator then going

into a VST L1 maximizer which brings up levels and kind

of Compresses everything, I always set my Master Fader

about -3 DB to allow for Mastering in another Software

program like Wavelab where you would gently add a

bit of EQ and more compression etc.