Music Production Beginner Guide: What Affects The Sound Quality Of Your Recordings The Most? 2021

We get a lot of great questions from our readers. The variety & scope of the questions is amazing, and every day it’s something new.

From time to time we ask some of our friends who work in the recording industry to give us their perspective on some of the more common questions. It’s a great way to see what the guys and gals who are “in the trenches” think. And it’s a great way for you to learn more about the art of music recording and music production.

Once again our friend and mix master extraordinaire Mike White of answers a common question that many aspiring recording engineers and producers ask-

What Affects The Sound Quality Of My Recordings The Most?

Mike White- “Great question. For acoustic recordings, it’s almost always the room itself, and the position in the room from where you record. When recording instruments or vocals, go around the room and find the best place to record. Not every one place in a room is equal. Each one will be different and vary slightly. You want to find a placement for your instrument or your vocal that best accentuates what you want out of the sound source. Generally, for vocals you should never sing directly into a hard surface, you should always be pointed towards the middle of the room or to the far end of the room. With other instruments, you just need to experiment by moving things around.

The next most important would be the microphone and the microphone placement. Obviously, the quality of the microphone itself has an effect on the quality of the recording. In addition, if you find a nice placement in the room, then a quality microphone will best capture both the placement and the performance. The way that you set up and place the microphone in relation to the performer can also have an effect on the performance. You never want the microphone to be in the way of the person performing.

Next to the microphone and mic placement in importance is the preamp and/or the recording interface. For most home studios the recording interface will come next since the preamp is usually part of the interface. When your budget permits, however, the addition of a quality preamp will help to get the best out of your microphone particularly if you’re using a ribbon mic. In fact, there are preamps that are specifically designed to work with ribbon mics.

As for the importance of software and the monitors in the chain, they are all after the fact i.e. once the sound reaches the interface and is converted to digital, the software and the monitors have no effect whatsoever on the quality of the recording. However, if the monitors you use are inaccurate or poorly placed, or the acoustics of your monitoring room are not very good then that can skew your ability to judge the quality of the recording space and therefore the quality of what you’re getting at the microphone. So in that regard, they do have an effect on the quality of the recordings. Having a set of headphones can come in handy to help you eliminate the problem.”

Editors note- Be sure to visit Mike’s incredible site to learn more about music engineering and producing!

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