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5 of the Most Important Studio Upgrades

Pro Tips Guides

No matter how big or small of a studio you are running, you have one main goal: make the best sounding mixes you possibly can. There is tons of gear out there that can add different colors and cohesion to your mixes. Unfortunately, this can give any engineer a serious case of GAS, or Gear Acquisition Syndrome. Depending on what stage you're in, getting tons of outboard gear and third party plugins might not improve your mixes as much as you think they will. We're here to help you find the gear that will take your studio to the next level.

1) Computer

The vast majority of modern studios are using computers equipped with DAW's (Digital Audio Workstations). Many posses the latest editing capabilities and have a wide array of clean plugins (compressor, EQ, delay, etc.) to complete a mix. By the end of a mix, it's pretty easy to have loads of tracks. So many records these days have over 200! Even having 24 audio files plus the processing takes a lot of power. That's why having a solid, reliable computer is essential. If you are looking to purchase or build a computer, we recommend the following specs:

  • At least 4 GB of RAM (definitely higher if possible)

  • i7 or equivalent processor

  • SSD

  • 1TB HDD for storage

  • Connection for your interface (USB, Firewire, Thunderbolt)

2) Better Instruments

Every great recording starts by having a great source. If you record a great drum set that is tuned properly, that will most likely lead to a great drum mix. The opposite is also true. If you have a horrible sounding kit that is not tuned, you can't expect to have great sounding drums. That doesn't mean that you have to spend $5000 on the spot. Upgrading in small steps proves to be very effective.

3) Microphones

The microphone is the next part of the signal chain. It is going to capture that drum kit you just tuned, that guitar amp you just perfectly dialed in, or that vocalist with great tone. Having microphones that properly capture sounds are a must. Different microphones are made for different applications. Drum microphones are typically dynamic to handle high SPL's while the most common vocal microphones are sensitive condensers made to capture every detailed nuance. Having a versatile mic locker will let you achieve great sounds the day of recording so you don't need to spend hours trying to fix bad tones in the mixing stage. Here is a small list of our standard recommendations for different applications:

Drum Kit: DP7 Drum Microphone Package

Guitar Cab: Audix i5, Sennheiser e609, Warm Audio WA14

Vocals: Aston Origin, Warm Audio WA87, Neumann TLM-103

 

4)  Accurate Monitoring

What good does an awesome signal do if you can't hear it properly? Having accurate monitors will allow you to hear all aspects of your mix so you don't over-do EQ, compression, reverb and the like. There are lots of great options out there because so many companies like Neumann and EVE Audio know how important it is to make your music be heard the way you intended it to be.

5) Recording/Mixing Skills

We can talk all day long about Manley Labs incredible stereo compressors and the way certain preamps add harmonics. But the one thing that matters most in the studio is your skill level. Whether you're recording your band or getting paid by clients, people will compare your mixes to the standards of professional songs that they listen to on a daily basis. No matter what gear you have, keep practicing and improving your product.

If you haven't gotten into much digital recording, we offer a Recording Essentials class that can teach you the basics to get started. We also offer 1-on-1 private lessons after you complete the class. Learn more about our Recording Essentials class here.

As always, enjoy FAST and FREE shipping on any order in the continental US. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to give us a call at 855-269-0474 or stop in our store in Downtown Appleton!

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