Wessel Wessels

Author Archives: Wessel Wessels

Home recording studio owner, music and audio enthusiast and researcher for 30 years. Always trying to stay on top of new development and news in the industry.

What Is The Difference Between A Midi Keyboard And A Synthesizer

MIDI Keyboard vs Synthesizer

When we hear the words "MIDI Keyboard" and "Synthesizer" we often think they are one and the same thing. Only when we need one for our home studio, do we find out it's very far from that simple.

To make things more complicated, what if I tell you sometimes it can mean the same thing and sometimes not. Surely enough, when you have quick look at the two, a midi keyboard and synthesizer look almost identical. They both have a basic piano key layout with additional controls on top of the instrument. But that is where most of the similarities end though.

A MIDI keyboard is essentially keyboard with black & white keys which act as a controller to send the signals of which note is played to an external device through the MIDI cable. It is unable to produce sound on its own. A synthesizer is also a keyboard with black & white keys, but it's a complete standalone musical instrument. It is able to mimic and produce piano and a variety of other instrumental sounds, as well as applying a wide range of effects to the sounds you produce.

This is a very basic and simplistic explanation of the difference between these two instruments. If you start looking at them in more detail, the differences, similarities and even overlaps can be quite confusing. To best understand all of this, we need to take a closer look at how similar, but yet fundamentally different they really are.

What Is The Difference Between A Midi Keyboard And Synthesizer

A MIDI Keyboard (also commonly referred to as a controller) is only capable of sending the data the key being hit to the synthesizer or sequencer. In most cases modern day synthesizers (or sequencers) come in the form the DAW software on your computer, so this should not be a drawback. This is normally achieved by connecting your keyboard to the MIDI port of your computer's sound card or the more popular audio interface. 

MIDI stands for Musical Instrument Digital Interface, a protocol designed to allow electronic musical instruments and devices to communicate with each other. It was established in 1983 with the added advantage of allowing instruments and devices from different manufacturers to effortlessly communicate with one another.

(New MIDI Controllers / Keyboards are increasingly moving away from the MIDI protocol and making more use of the USB interface, mostly because the USB protocol is now supported across the board by almost every single device, making connecting different components easy and relatively painless. 

An added advantage of USB is that it is able to transfer multiple streams of data simultaneously, compared to the single bit of data a MIDI connection is capable of.  This becomes fairly important as more expensive Midi Keyboards have more data to transfer than a MIDI interface are able to cope with. I will explain this in detail in the next section.

Fortunately for any of you still owning an older device with only a MIDI interface, almost all modern keyboards still support MIDI, as well as the vast majority of audio interfaces. This means you will be safe on the output and input side for the foreseeable future with your MIDI connection. Just be aware of this shift towards USB that is gradually taking place.)

As with synthesizers, MIDI Keyboards come with a variety of key sizes and have models with a different number of keys present on each instrument. (Normally they come in combinations of 25, 32, 49, 61 and 88 keys.)

A Synthesizer (also sometimes referred to as electronic keyboards) as we know it, has all the functions and features of the Midi Keyboard I just mentioned. The biggest difference is that a synthesizer has all the electronics and functions needed to produce and output sound build into the instrument itself. This turns it into a fully functioning standalone instrument, capable of producing sound by itself.

Not only can they produce their own sound, the build-in synthesizer functions allow them to mimic almost any possible instrument available, They can also add special effects and a multiple of other features to the sound they produce and output.

In this sense the Keyboard Synthesizer has already many of the functions, normally only available in DAW Software in many cases, available on the keyboard itself. The importance and relevance of these build-in functions will become clear when specifically looking at the use of synthesizers later on in this article.

When Will You Use A MIDI Keyboard

Before you start wondering what all this MIDI Controller and Synthesizer talk has to do with your home recording studio, this is what I am getting at. At some point on your home studio journey, chances are very good that you will not only have to deal with some kind of piano style keyboard, you may just end up finding the need to start using one for your own personal needs. The information in this article will suddenly become very helpful.

(Guess, what I am in that process of purchasing right now?  And a year ago I would have laughed at anyone telling me I will be looking for a keyboard for my own home studio.)

MIDI Keyboard

And this is exactly where the MIDI keyboard comes in. The main reason most of you may purchase a MIDI keyboard is for recording & mixing purposes. Whether you are using your home studio for vocal work or adding some instruments like an acoustic guitar - at some point you will want to start to start adding a melody. A simple tune at first that may develop into a complex composition over time.

The beauty about your keyboard is that you can make it sound like any instrument you want using your DAW software. And even if you don't know how to play a keyboard, you can slowly learn the right notes and sequence you want for your melody.

You can start out by hitting one key at a time until you have your basic melody. Then just use your DAW to organize and space your notes together until you are happy with the basic tune. (You will be surprised how quickly you learn the keys on a MIDI Keyboard and before long you will be hitting the right ones to create the melody you have in your head without even thinking about it.)

This just the very basic basic capabilities of the MIDI keyboard, but you will be amazed how quickly you start depending on it as you realize the speed and convenience with which you can input a tune to insert into your composition. You will actually start wondering how you ever managed without one!

There is another big advantage I haven't mentioned yet and that is price. For fraction of the price of a fully featured standalone synthesizer, you can purchase a keyboard that will do all you require of it with the help of your DAW software that can turn these simple notes into almost anything imaginable, very often producing results a standalone synthesizer can only dream of. 

When Will You Use A Keyboard Synthesizer

But what if you are and actual keyboard player or an accomplished pianist and you want a keyboard to play during live performances, but also need to use it to record the music played on your keyboard. Enters the Keyboard Synthesizer...

As a standalone musical instrument, you can use your synthesizer during live performances and simply run it through the amplifier all other instruments are connected to. You also have the freedom to practice anywhere you want without being restricted to the confines of a recording studio.

The amount of features you have available on your synthesizer will depend from model to model, as well as how much as you are willing to spend. I will go into more detail on some of these more advanced features shortly, but just realize that some of today's  high-end synthesizers are capable of producing almost any sound imaginable and you are only limited by your imagination.


When it come to recording, almost every Keyboard Synthesizers support multiple output ports. Output support range from the traditional MIDI, to RCA stereo outputs, or a USB interface. Many support all 3 in one instrument. As a result, recording can be done in exactly the same way as with a standard MIDI Keyboard / Controller.

There is an important difference that should be considered when recording from a synthesizer though. Remember when MIDI is used, only data of the note being played can be transferred, not the actual sound produced by the synthesizer.

Fortunately, almost every synthesizer has RCA stereo output ports or an USB interface. This will allow you to connect through any of these connection to your audio interface or DAW computer. This way the exact sound produced by the synthesizer is fully captured by your recording software.  

Before moving onto deciding which is best for you, I feel a special section should be set aside for a surprisingly large portion of you who don't want to, but are "forced to use a keyboard". What one earth am I talking about...

For The Accomplished And Aspiring Pianist

Many of you reading this, are already accomplished or aspiring piano players, and the chances are pretty good that part of your current or future plans involve recording your piano performances on your home recording setup.

Some of you may be lucky enough to own a piano at home. If you are very lucky, the room your piano is standing in has good acoustics. This means you can position your condenser microphone at the right position next to the piano to record every detail of every key being hit and record it through your audio interface.

Unfortunately, I know for most us, the reality is actually far removed from the scenario I just described. In fact, most of us don't even have access to a piano at home, nevermind in an acoustically optimized space.

Luckily this is where your more dedicated and higher-end synthesizers come to the rescue. Positioned in a higher price range than the standard synthesizer, these "electronic pianos" are still a fraction of the cost of a real full-size piano, while still being able to mimic most characteristics of a piano.

The synthesizers that fall within this category are well within the means of a serious pianist unable to afford or have the space to accommodate an actual piano, and are willing to spend that little extra. But what do these synthesizers look like and how do they bridge the gap between a normal synthesizer and real piano?

Piano style synthesizers address these differences on four levels:

1) Duplicating The Feel Of A Piano Key

Lets first look at the feel of the actual keys. If you haven't experienced hitting a key on a piano and budget synthesizer respectively yet, do yourself a favor and pop into the nearest music shop when you're in town again and try it. This will make the following explanation much easier to understand.

When you hit a key on a "normal" keyboard, it gives way without any resistance until it reaches the bottom and pops back with the same amount of ease. The experience when hitting a piano key is quite different. You feel like you are hitting something with some weight to it, which necessitates some effort to be pushed down. This is called a "hammer action".

These differences in feel between the two instruments can be very disruptive for a pianist who develop a rhythm and use the keys' natural weight to develop their style and play. Trying to play on a synthesizer with no feel or feedback can make it almost impossible for a pianist to perform optimally.

"Digital pianos" compensate for this lack of feel by creating "semi-weighted" keys that provide almost the same weighted feel of a real piano. Higher up in the price range some manufacturers make use of fully-weighted keys to simulate the "hammer action" of a real piano. This makes it much easier for pianists to perform more naturally on a these keyboards.

2) Key Stroke And Volume

Secondly, the issue of velocity sensitive keys has been addressed. (Theses features are already available on much more affordable "synthesizer keyboards.)

"Velocity sensitive" keys simply mean that the harder you hit a key, the louder the sound it produces. This is just a natural function of any piano key. Luckily this is not a very complex function to duplicate on a synthesizer, which means most higher-end keyboards have this function already build in.  

3) Key Size

In general, most synthesizers have much smaller keys that are also more closely spaced than the standard full-size keys of a piano. This place absolute havoc on a pianist's ability to hit the correct key on a normal synthesizer. They are used to the spacing between the keys on a piano, where they instinctively can place their hands on the right keys without even looking down. This ability was developed through years of training and experience.

To address this problem, most high-end keyboards with the other piano style functions already build-in, has scaled up their keys to full size as well. Pianist can now feel at home on these keyboards, knowing the rights note will be hit using the same hand and finger positioning that they use while playing the piano.

4) The All Important Sustain Pedal.

No need to explain this very important function to a pianist. For the rest of us, the sustain pedal, when suppressed, keeps the note being played to be sustained and fade away slowly without being cut off abruptly once the keys are released.

This is a an essential part of a piano that helps to create the notes and music that are so unique to pianos. A normal MIDI Keyboard will simply cut off this sound being played as soon as the keys are released, loosing the whole effect of a sustained note.

Luckily, producers of synthesizers or "digital pianos" are very aware of this important function and include a foot (sustain) pedal with the keyboard which perform exactly the same function as on a piano. (This pedal comes standard or at the very least as an option on all higher-end "digital pianos.)

So what is the whole experience like? Most piano players will quickly tell you that nothing can replace the feeling of sitting in front of an actual piano and experiencing the sound and feel of the real thing.

In the same breath, the majority of users will admit that on a good enough high-quality "digital piano", they will be able to perform just as well as they would on a piano.

Sound will always be a debatable issue, but with modern advanced synthesizers, amplifiers and high-quality speakers/studio monitors, the quality has achieved such a high standard that it will be almost impossible to tell the difference between a synthesizer and real piano on a recording (or even during a live performance to all but the most highly trained ear).

A final word on "piano emulating" synthesizers: Just remember that all the sound these digital pianos provide, needs to be recorded in its totality to capture the tone, volume and every other nuance produced by the synthesizer.

As a result, you need outputs like RCA ports or a USB interface to transfer the entire sound signal to the recording device. (A MIDI connection will only be able to transfer the basic data of the note being played.) Luckily all synthesizers at this level supports at least one or both of these connections.  

Which One Is Right For You

From everything you just read, and while probably still busy processing all the information, you should have been able to form some kind of idea of which type of keyboard you will need for your own unique personal requirements.

Lets just sum everything up again to get a comprehensive overview of what you will be using for each different circumstance.

MIDI Keyboard and Synthesizer

The MIDI Keyboard (or controller) in its simplest form, is a keyboard with a piano style layout, which main function is to simply transfer data to the sequencer/synthesizer. If you are using a keyboard to just input data of what note is being played to your DAW software to be interpreted and modified anyway you see fit, a very simple entry level MIDI Keyboard is all you need.

Just make sure the output ports on your MIDI Keyboard and the input port on your recording device (computer or audio interface) have the same adapter type. This might be MIDI, RCA ports or a USB interface.

If you are a keyboard player and use your device to produce sound as a standalone instrument during live performances (for example on stage) or away from the studio, you need a completely independent keyboard synthesizer.

As already mentioned, a synthesizer is a standalone keyboard with all the electronics and additional components to produce sound, build into one unit. The price and features (including the amount of instruments it can emulate, as well as special effects) will be determined by your own personal requirements.

At the most advanced tip of the scale, you get the pianist who need all the capabilities that a piano can provide, but which also can recorded on a home recording setup. What you are looking for is a full digital piano.

In the previous section we already went into extensive detail about a synthesizer that can fulfill the requirements of a piano, so there is no need to repeat everything again.

Obviously a synthesizer with these capabilities come at a premium price, but is also aimed at a select group of users who need all this functionality. Yet, this price is still a fraction of the cost of a real full-size piano.  


This is a lot of information to process, I know. (You may have to read through this article a couple of times to make sense of all the similarities and differences.) Just remember the basic difference: 

The MIDI Keyboard is unable to produce sound by itself and only supply data of which note is being played to a synthesizer or recording software.

The synthesizer is a standalone musical instrument with build-in electronics and components able to produce a variety of sounds on its own.

Both these devices look almost identical and come in a variety of sizes. Both also have models available with a different amount of keys, keys with a different type of feel and touch (non-weighted, semi-weighted and fully-weighted) Both also have models available with key sizes varying from compact to full-size,  Finally, both also provide some models with velocity sensitive keys.

No, the goal here is not to make your head spin and confuse you. It is simply to let you know that there are so many options available in every category, not matter which type of keyboard you choose.

So, do your homework when choosing your keyboard and make sure you are aware of each one's capabilities and limitations before making a purchase!

I hope this post helped to provide you with some more insight and guidance when you start looking at keyboards in more detail and feel confused by the similar looking, yet vastly different models available to you.       

As always, feel free to leave me any comments or suggestions you may have, and I will respond and try and get to them as soon as I can.

Remember to join my  Mailing List  to be informed whenever a new article is released, and share new developments and helpful hints & tips.

Catch you in the next article and happy recording!


What Is Sibilance In Audio And How To Avoid Or Remove It

What Is Sibilance

The spoken word, in our case English, is probably the most important and extensively researched "instrument" in the recording industry. Hardware and software have been specifically developed to allow vocals to be recorded in the most accurate way possible.

Ironically some of the sounds we produce while speaking or singing,  are the cause of some of the biggest headaches during the recording process. The two main culprits here are the plosive sounds and sibilant consonants our mouths produce. 

The plosive sounds we make with consonants like the P's and B's  cause unpleasant popping distortions in the recording. This led to the repositioning of the mouth in front of the microphone, as well the popular pop filter we see in front of microphones in so many studios, to deal with the issue. 

The second big problem is the vocal sibilance that is responsible for some serious recording issues. But what exactly is sibilance?

Sibilance is the unpleasant distortion and harshness in a sound, often caused by the overemphasis of consonant syllables (for example T, S and Z) during a vocal performance. This results in the unwanted "hissing" or "popping" sound in a recording that can negatively impact an audio track.

There are a variety of ways to prevent vocal sibilance, but we first need to better understand exactly how it works before we can look at ways of controlling it. 

Why Do Vocal Sibilance Occur

Using consonants like T's, S's and Z's when communicating verbally, is part of everyday vocal conversations and discussions. It occurs naturally during vocal communication and normally never sounds unnatural or out of place in almost any situation.

However, the problem occurs when these sounds are perceived or captured by recording devices which have a much smaller dynamic range than that our ears are able to perceive.

vocal sibilance

When too much emphasis is put on pronouncing these syballic consonants, especially in the upper mid-range frequencies, the dynamic range of these sounds often exceed the capabilities of the recording equipment.

As a result, these sounds that fall outside the dynamic of the recording device, get "clipped" (abruptly cut-off) resulting in the familiar and unpleasant hissing or popping sound. 

It should be noted that this not an indication of an vocal problem from the performer's (speaker or singer) side. Trying to change the way in which a vocalist perform to address the issue will be a very bad idea, as you will be interfering with the style and uniqueness of the artist's voice.

This simple discrepancy between our vocal range and the that which we are able to record, should and can be addressed in a different way.

How To Prevent Vocal Sibilance

The are 2 ways of getting rid of vocal sibilance. The one is during the recording process and the second while doing your mixing.

You know the saying, "prevention is better than cure". Well this is very true in the case of eliminating sibilance. Addressing the issue during the recording stage is much easier and more effective than trying to eliminate it later on while mixing.

Lets take a look at the 2 different approaches:

1) Eliminating Sibilance While Recording

The first and easiest way of addressing the effect of vocal sibilance, is by re-positioning the microphone. By increasing the distance from your microphone to your mouth, you allow the the peak volume of your sound to die down a bit before reaching the microphone, decreasing the effect of sibilance.

By also placing the microphone slightly to the side of your mouth at the same time, the full force of the sound produced by your mouth is also not directed straight at the microphone, which can drastically further reduce this sound distortion.

Dynamic Microphone

By choosing the right microphone for a specific type of sound, you will be able to completely eliminate the problem. Although the condenser microphone is normally the microphone of choice for vocal performance, it's extremely sensitive diaphragm make it very susceptible to vocal sibilance. Making use of a less sensitive microphone like a  dynamic microphone  will reduce the harshness of the sound and create a more pleasant listening experience without any sibilance impacting the sound quality.  

(Please note that using a pop filter will not help in the case of vocal sibilance. These filters are designed to effectively deal with plosive sounds produced by P's and B's. The high-pitch sounds from consonants like T's, S's and Z's will not be effectively addressed by pop filters.)

2) Eliminating Sibilance While Mixing

De-essing is one of the most widely used techniques employed by your DAW Software during the mixing stage to deal with vocal sibilance on a recording. (Simply put, de-essing is making use of a combination of compression, equalization and gain reduction to eliminate sibilance.)

It comes in the form of third-party plugins, or many DAW software has it build-in as part of their compression functions. The fact that the type of sibilance can vary from one source to another, means you sometimes have to do some playing around with the settings to get the right result.

You can also manually reduce the effect of sibilance by using the fader on your software. This means you have to go through the whole recording and manually reduce each instance where sibilance is found. This can be an extremely time-consuming and cumbersome task.


As we have seen in this article, vocal sibilance is not a fault or mistake on the vocalist part. It is simply a natural sound we use while communicating verbally (talking or singing), which pitch and volume can fall outside the dynamic range of a recording device, resulting in this harsh unpleasant sound.

You now also know that there are a variety of ways to limit or completely remove sibilance, on both the recording and mixing side.

And finally we now know that preventing vocal sibilance from happening in the first place, is much more effective than trying to deal with it during the mixing stage.

As always, feel free to leave me any comments or suggestions you may have, and I will respond and try and get to them as soon as I can.

Remember to join my  Mailing List  to be informed whenever a new article is released, and share new developments and helpful hints & tips.

Catch you in the next article and happy recording!


What Is Audio Compression And Why You Should Use It

What Is Compression

Most of today's music use some form of compression to improve overall sound quality. Many users apply compression while recording or mixing without even knowing exactly what compression is and why it is used.

Audio compression is the reduction of the dynamic range of an audio track by attenuating the loudest parts and raising the volume of the quietest parts of the audio signal. This is often used to smooth out instruments that are too loud or too soft or fall outside the recording equipment's dynamic range.  

Although Compression is a common feature in every major DAW Software Suite, great care should be taken when using it, as it can't be undone once it has been applied to a piece of audio. That is why it is so important to understand exactly why compression is used and when to use it.  

When And Why To Use Compression

audio compressor

Compression can be used during various stages of your audio production for different reasons and to construct a specific outcome or add a specific characteristic.

To better understand this "broad definition" we need to take a more detailed look at each.

Making A Recording Fit

It can be used during the recording stage when the dynamic range of the instrument is much wider than that of the recording device. A recording of a loud drum performance is a good example of where compression can be used to reduce the dynamic range of a much louder instrument and prevent unwanted distortions like clipping within the recording.

Making Tracks Play Nicely Together In Same Dynamic Range

Compression is also very useful to allow recordings from different devices to "play nice together". Sometimes different instruments or vocals are recorded on different devices which have to be added together in a single mix.

(Without compression, you will end up with one ugly mess of different tracks trying to co-exist, with certain instruments sounding overwhelmingly loud next to another one that was recorded so softly that it is completely inaudible.) 

Using compression will allow you to set a certain threshold that will force each of the individual sound tracks to fall within the same dynamic range, sounding balanced and in-tune together on the same mix. 

Adding A Distinct Flavor

Traditional analogue compressors also used to add their own unique characteristics and a specific flavor to a mix. Many digital plugins emulate these characteristics to add the same "flavor" to a digital soundtrack. 

Sometimes referred to as the "Big Four", there are basically 4 types of compressors that all have their own way of operating and compressing sound, resulting in the output sound to have a unique character. We take a brief look at each one.

Tube Compression: Also called valve compression, it is generally considered to be the oldest form of compression. Its unique ability to produce smooth and silky sounds, with a distinct vintage flavor, makes it a very sought after sound.

Optical Compression: This type of compression uses a light source that produces different intensities of light that gets transmitted to an optical cell that reacts to the amount or strength of the light. This type of compression is very popular for vocal and mix bus compression among many sound engineers.

VCA Compression. VCA (Voltaged Controlled Amplifier) makes use of an integrated circuit that allows it a very precise control over compression. Since they are less "colored" and more precise, making them less prone to distortion, they can be used for a variety of different applications.

FET Compression: FET (Field Effect Compressors) use transistors to very accurately emulate the valve/tube sound. This makes them popular for vocals, but especially suitable for drum compression.

Obviously, apart from being very scarce and expensive nowadays, analogue compressors have been largely replaced by digital compression. Still, these popular types of compression are still very much sought after. As a result, many plugins are available for DAW software that very successfully emulate the sounds these analogue compressors are able to produce.  

How Compression Is Used

To be able to get the desired result from your compression, most digital compressors give you a variety of setting you can adjust to fine-tune and output the audio mix to your taste. (This will be determined to a large degree by the type of sound you are compressing.)

We take a look at the 6 most common settings that can be adjusted to affect the way in which compression is applied:


This is the trigger for compression to be applied. Here,  you as the user set the loudness level at which compression kicks in. For example, you may set the threshold at -15 dB. This means that all sound levels under this threshold will remain unaffected, but all sound levels above -15 dB will be compressed.  

Input Gain: 

Since compression brings down the overall loudness of your sound signal, you can set the input gain (also called make-up gain) to increase the overall volume of the signal to match the rest of your audio mix.


You can set the amount of compression that takes place by setting the ratio. For example, setting a ratio of 5:1 means that once a sound signal exceeds 5 dB, the output signal will be reduced to 1 dB. (And a ratio of 7:1 will reduce any sound signal exceeding 7 dB to 1 dB etc.)


You can set the amount of time (from the moment the threshold for compression to be applied is exceeded) before compression kicks in. This is usually a very small amount of time, normally measured in milliseconds. 

Through trial and error, but mostly experience will you be able to judge how to accurately and quickly choose the correct attack setting.  


You can also set the amount of time before compression is disabled (after the sound signal has dropped below the threshold set by the user). As with attack, this is also a very small amount of time, and also normally measured in milliseconds.


Not to be confused with Attack or Release, Knee refers to the way in which compression is applied (and not the set time before it is applied or disabled).

There are basically 2 types of knee that are used, and the type of knee is normally determined by the type of sound that is compressed.

Soft Knee produces a very gently and gradual compression, making it almost inaudible. Vocals and acoustic guitar are a typical examples of when a soft knee will be used. 

Hard Knee produces a much more sudden and audible compression. Drums and bass are typical examples of when a hard knee will be used. 


As you can see, compression is a very important and powerful function of audio recording and mixing. It has a big effect on the final mix and output.

It is quite a complex process with many variables to take into consideration, and is therefore a task that should not be taken lightly, especially for the novice user. A fair amount of experience is required for a proper and accurate compression of any recording or mix. 

Don't be afraid to experiment though. It's the only way you will really learn. (Just keep an original copy stored away safely!)

As always, feel free to leave me any comments or suggestions you may have, and I will respond and try and get to them as soon as I can.

Remember to join my  Mailing List  to be informed whenever a new article is released, and share new developments and helpful hints & tips.

Catch you in the next article and happy recording!



What Is Clipping? – And How To Prevent It While Recording

What Is Clipping

We all heard this many times before. A commentator gets overexcited during a game on television when a goal is scored and starts screaming, or you turn up the volume of your car audio system to its maximum - both resulting in a screechy harsh distorted sound exploding from the speakers. This brings me to the question which many users new to home recording often ask: What exactly is clipping?

Clipping is a type of distortion in the sound waveform that occurs when an amplifier is driven too far beyond its maximum output capacity by a much higher voltage or signal. The resulting harsh and distorted sound is called clipping.

Understanding what clipping is, already helps. I think it is necessary to really find out why exactly this happens though, so that we can all better understand it and know how to avoid it. 

Why Does Clipping Occur?

First, it is important to note that clipping does not happen due to an overload of just an amplifier's capacity, but in many cases a speaker or studio monitor as well. Both have a certain capacity with which they can handle the signal strength, and once this capacity is surpassed by a stronger signal strength, clipping can occur.

The best way to describe how clipping occurs, is by looking at the sound signal as sine wave.

No Clipping

In the diagram above, the dynamic range of the amplifier (recording device) is indicated in green, and the minimum and maximum limits of the dynamic range are indicated by the red lines. The blue wave represents the actual sound wave and strength.

The blue wave stays within the green area, so no clipping will occur as the signal strength stays within the dynamic range of the amplifier.


In the diagram above, the signal strength (blue line) exceeds the capacity of the amplifier's dynamic range  (green area) and cross the minimum and maximum threshold (indicated in red). As a result some clipping will occur.

The parts of the sound wave outside the red lines will be clipped. It is during this part where you will normally hear the harsh distorted sound.

This is a fairly simplistic explanation for a more complex situation, but in principle exactly how clipping occurs when an amplifier or speaker is overloaded.   

Not all forms of clipping are the same. The two most important forms of clipping are referred to as analogue (or soft) clipping and digital (or hard) clipping.

As the name suggests, soft (analogue) clipping takes place when an analogue system's capacity is exceeded. The transitional sound is very brief and fairly smooth. Sometimes analogue clipping may be so subdued that it can almost be inaudible.

On the other hand, hard (digital) clipping takes place when a digital system's dynamic range is exceeded. This form of clipping is a lot more abrupt and disruptive. As a result the sound produced is much louder and harsher noise than experienced during analogue clipping.

(A third form of clipping, called limited clipping should also be mentioned. This is not an unintentional result of signal overload though. This is a more controlled process where the loud signal is very briefly reduced to avoid clipping. Even though some form of clipping technically still occurs, it is so short and harmless that it can't even be picked up by the system or heard by the listener.) 

What Can Be Done To Prevent Clipping?

The first and most obvious way to prevent clipping from happening is to carefully monitor your recording levels. Basically all audio software have onscreen meters showing the level at which the source is being recorded. It is normally color-coded, with green, orange and red indicators.

volume control

The green indicates that the recording is taking place within the "safe zone" where the signal strength is not too loud. When the peak signal strengths starts jumping into the orange, it is an indication that volume may be peaking close to the limit of the recording device.

Red is a very clear signal that your signal strength is too strong. If the volume is peaking in the red on a regular basis, clipping is a big possibility and you need to reduce the the gain of your amplifier. By turning the gain down until the peak signal strength is not surpassing the yellow indicators, you will prevent clipping from taking place.

Alternatively, there are plugins available for the majority of popular DAW software to deal with clipping. Mostly this only deals with the effects of clipping once it already occurred. Although helpful, it is not nearly as effective as stopping clipping from happening in the first place. 

There is a much more practical way of preventing clipping though. A common mistake that many artists make is by placing their mouths or instruments far to close to the microphone.

A dynamic microphone during a live performance may still be a bit more forgiving, but placing your mouth or instrument right up to a sensitive condenser microphone's diaphragm in a studio, is asking for trouble.

Apart from not allowing the natural sound to naturally develop over distance, your microphone also bears the full brunt of your voice. This can very easily result in clipping if you raise the volume of your voice or instrument.

By putting a distance of around 8-12 inches between your condenser microphone and your mouth, you lessen the impact a change in volume has on a microphone. The added space provides some form of buffering where the peak volume can be dispersed and slightly reduced. As a result the danger of clipping will be reduced to some extend.

The best way of preventing clipping though, is by both setting your gain at an acceptable level where the strongest signal will not overload your amplifier or audio device, while at the same time keeping your mouth or instrument at a safe distance from the microphone to further protect against any possible clipping. (The recommended 8-12 inches).


Clipping is problem that can cause a lot of headaches during recording. Luckily, as we discovered in this article, it can easily be controlled or completely eliminated by following a few simple rules. There is  no real need to subject yourself to that harsh unpleasant distortion.

I hope the explanation and solutions provided in this article will help you get rid of any unwanted clipping once and for all.

As always, feel free to leave me any comments or suggestions you may have, and I will respond and try and get to them as soon as I can.

Remember to join my  Mailing List  to be informed whenever a new article is released, and share new developments and helpful hints & tips.

Catch you in the next article and happy recording!



Is It Ideal To Record Vocals In Stereo Or In Mono?

Mono Vs Stereo Recording

I was reading through an interesting article about recording techniques, which made me wonder: What is the ideal way to record vocals, in mono or stereo? Even after countless recordings I sometimes still wonder which one really is the preferred technique for the best results, which made me decide to go and do some proper research. The answer may be surprising, but also makes sense.

In general, a single voice should always be recorded in mono, as your mouth is effectively a mono device. The recorded mono track can then be panned (placed) anywhere on the stereo field within your DAW audio software. This will enable the recorded voice in the final mix to sound centered, or offset to the left or right to the end user, listening through any commercial stereo device.

To find out how and why mono recording works that much better for vocals, we need to break it down into more detail.

Why Should You Record In Mono

As I already mentioned, you have one mouth and one voice, meaning a single sound source. But it is not just your source that is mono. The majority of microphones are also only able to record in mono. They have only one diaphragm meaning only one track can effectively be recorded.

old radio

Even if you set your recording settings to record in stereo, both tracks will pick up the same sound. Some users still prefer to record vocals in stereo to create a fuller sound that can be used during the mixing stage. This is practice is not just very ineffective, but place limitations on vocal tracks during the mixing process. (More on that later on.)

Recording short vocal sessions will not have too much of an effect on file size, but long recording sessions will dramatically increase your file size when recording in stereo. Mono recording on a single track will decrease file size, which will become especially beneficial when working on big projects and you start adding all the tracks together.

Even if you use a stereo microphone for stereo recording, this creates another problem for vocal recording. The slightest movement of your head to either sides of the microphone will cause the sound of your voice to "wonder around" in the stereo field. As a result your vocals do not remain perfectly centered when the stereo sound is played back. This creates a distracting and unpleasant experience for the listener. 

Another way some users are trying to use a stereo recording, is when recording more than one instrument. This scenario is addressed by using two separate microphones for each instrument in stereo. This means that one instrument is panned to the left channel, and one instrument to the right channel. This sounds like a perfect solution in theory and there are some instances where this works very well.

Unfortunately this practice creates another negative side effect called phase cancellation, where all the different pieces of audio starts cancelling each other. When two or more microphones are used together are used together, the resulting sound can sound be negatively effected with the audio sounding very thin and hollow. Rather making use of two separate mono recordings for each the instrument and them combining them in your DAW  software will eliminate this problem.

One scenario that have both pros and cons for mono and stereo recording, is where a singer/songwriters more often than not make use of their voices as well as an instrument, very often a guitar. In most instances the sound engineer will often prefer the two sound sources to be recorded separately on two mono tracks. 

These two mono recordings allow the sound engineer the maximum amount of control over each track to adjust and place each one correctly in the stereo field. This can be very inconvenient and difficult for the single artist to achieve though, which brings us to another approach which I will address in the Stereo Recording section.  

How A Mono Track Gets Edited In DAW Software

When a vocal track, recorded in mono is inserted into the stereo image of your DAW software, you have full control over the placement (panning) of the track in the stereo field. It can be placed in the center, or slightly to the left or right depending on the effect you are after. (The center is always preferable when the vocal track is the primary track.)

Moving the track around in the stereo field would have been nearly impossible if it was already recorded in stereo.

Audacity Interface

The intended fuller sound that is the reason many users record in stereo can be achieved through more efficient ways on a mono track. The stereo recording will not result in a fuller sound at all. 

Some users try and achieve the fuller sound by simply duplicating the mono track in the audio software. This too will not result in a fuller sound, as the two identical tracks combined, will simply sound a few decibel louder.

The only effective way to create a fuller and richer sound by combining to mono tracks, is to create two separate recordings of the same vocal piece. As the the two mono recordings are not identical, combining them in the stereo field will result in a much fuller and richer sound. (What you were after in the first place.)

One of the best way to create a richer and fuller vocal sound though, is by applying the correct adjustments and effects to a track recorded in mono. By adjusting the gain, equalization but especially the reverb of the vocal track, you will be able to create a more prominent and richer sound. All while still maintaining the advantage of a mono track by placing it anywhere you want on the digital sound stage.

When Recording In Stereo Is Justified

A very good practice where stereo recording plays an important role, is the use of stereo microphone to to record a single "overall" sound. Everything else gets recorded in mono.

Choosing what to record in stereo is important. When you want to record a vocal or instrumental performance, but also capture ambient noise of the surrounding area in which it is recorded, it is pretty obvious. You record the vocals in mono as usual. Then at the same time or later on with similar sounding surroundings, you record the ambient noise in stereo.

When added together in you software's stereo field, you have all the advantage of a mono vocal track, combined with stereo recording of the ambient noise. This creates the perfect strong solo performance with all its benefits, accompanied by the ambient sound in full stereo. The result is a very pleasant listening experience where the vocal performance is surrounded and filled out by the natural ambient sound.

Choosing which sound to record in stereo differs, depending on the situation and instruments. In a band performance, where vocals, multiple bass guitars and drums are used, the overall presence of drums make it the ideal sound to be captured in stereo. The rest gets recorded in mono and everything mixed together in your software. You will have to experiment in different situations to find out which sound should be recorded in stereo.

Near Field Studio Monitors

Another way in which a stereo recording can be used to create a fuller and richer sound, is by using two mono mics. Yes, I have been talking about creating a fuller and richer sound before, but this is a completely different approach to create this effect. Let me explain:

Instead of using a single microphone and simply duplicating the track in the software, or making two separate recordings of the vocal performance and combining them in the software,  you are are actually using 2 mono microphones to record exactly the same vocals, with a difference...

By placing the 2 microphones at different distances from the source while also changing the angle at which the microphones are facing the source, the sound reaches the one microphone fractionally quicker than the other, and the different angles also create a slightly different character and color captured by each microphone. The one microphone is fed to the left and other to the right channel of the stereo recording. The listener is hearing the same recording, but with different characteristics and fractionally apart in time. The result is the much fuller and richer sound you were looking for. 

The scenario mentioned in the Mono Recording Section where there are both pros and cons for mono and stereo recording, is where is vocalist with a single instrument like a guitar are recorded. Especially where there is just one instrument involved, the whole recording can sound a bit thin or scarce. Using a mono recording combined with stereo recording can address this problem:

You start by using a mono microphone for recording the vocals. Here it would be a good idea to use a high quality dynamic microphone (like Shure's SM7B) to isolate the vocals and pick up as little as possible from the guitar sound. At the same time you place two condenser microphones at different distances and angles from the guitar and proceed to capture it's sound in stereo (one mic on the left, and one mic on the right channel).

By following this practice you allow the vocals to be recorded in mono, and the guitar in full stereo. The stereo recording allows the sound to fill out the stereo space. Combined with the vocals it creates a pleasant listening experience and avoid the potential thin/scarce sound a single mono recording can produce.


By now it should become clear to see why individual vocals should be recorded in mono in the majority of cases. There is the odd exception where recording in stereo will be more practical.

In some cases, it is not as clear-cut and black & white as one would like, as was illustrated when we were looking at the advantages of recording in mono and stereo. Sometimes a combination of mono and stereo produce the best results, depending on the situation.

(Yet, when you speak to a sound engineer, in the vast majority of cases a mono recording of each sound is preferred, allowing the maximum amount of control and placement in the stereo field stage during the mixing process.) 

So in summary, the best way of controlling your final stereo output, is to record your vocals in mono, and do your mixing in your DAW software, where you have the most control over the placement of your vocals, instruments and ambient noise on the digital sound stage for the final audio output.

I hope this article managed to shine some light on the best way to record your vocals. Yep, it's not as as simple as it seems, as we all discovered. 

As always, feel free to leave me any comments or suggestions you may have, and I will respond and try and get to them as soon as I can.

Remember to join my  Mailing List  to be informed whenever a new article is released, and share new developments and helpful hints & tips.

Catch you in the next article and happy recording!


Why Doing What Works For You Will Improve Your Home Studio Recording

Do What Works For You

When starting out your home recording studio, you will rely on a lot of help and advice from experts. This is probably the reason why you are reading this article. It will be foolish not to get all the expert information before building or expanding your home studio. What will be just as foolish, is not doing what will work best for you.

This may sound a bit like a contradiction for you, but its actually a very important point that needs to be understood to help you make the most of it.

Like most of us do in modern times, you get online to find any specific information you are looking for quickly and easily. The same applies when you are doing some planning on starting a new project, like building or expanding your home recording studio. 

Unless you are in the fortunate situation where you personally know a friend of family member in the recording industry, the web will probably be your first and only source of information. Even if you know a specialist in the industry, it is still a good idea to do your own research to get a more balanced and complete picture of what your options are and needs to be done.

decide for yourself

As important as it is to get the right advice and expert opinions from experienced professionals in the industry, you have to keep an open mind and keep your own requirements at the back of your head.

One thing you will find during your online research are diverse opinions and guidelines, but also a certain trend that many articles follow. In some cases it's as if everyone jumped on the same bandwagon when it come to specific equipment or some practices.

This means one of two things. Either what you are reading is a proven and tested fact, or some influential publisher put out a powerful and convincing post which then plays a big part in influencing other bloggers while researching their content. (Yes I do it as well, as I find it unethical to base an article completely on my own experience, without doing some research on trusted professionals' opinion on equipment and practices.)

The latter can result in a snowball effect where more and more users are reading the same "facts" or opinions, and incorporate it in their own articles. This does not necessarily mean it's wrong, as long as you understand a lot of information you find online are based on personal opinions.          

At this stage you are probably starting to wonder what all of this has to do with "doing what works for you". The reason is that so many users believe what they read online is a fact or a set of rules that must be followed down to a tee. And that is the point I'm trying to drive home.

As much as you can gain from the experience and knowledge of others, theses experiences are based on what works for the authors in their own personal environments. 

And that, my friends, is where you come in. Your situation, requirements and end production may be very different, meaning you have to do what works best for you.

Off course you need to take and use all the information you gathered during your research. But work carefully through it, determining which information is relevant to you and needs to be applied to your unique setup and goals.

This ability to determine what works best for you can be a difficult to achieve at first and be a case of trial and error in the beginning.

The best way to explain this, is to illustrate how it works in practice by using examples of how this has worked for me personally and hypothetical situations where it may be relevant to you and your situation.

By going through the following list of real and hypothetical scenarios, you will be be able get a much better understanding of how you can research and get new information and use it in such a way that will best suite your own personal needs and requirements.

1. A Smaller Studio For Personal Use

When I first started setting up my home recording studio, I was in the fortunate situation of having different size rooms to choose from. I had an outside apartment with a fairly spacious room with a size of  20 x 13 feet. Another room inside the house with a size of 10 x 10 feet was also available.

recording studio

If you read any article on room size for studio use, you will know that a bigger room is always advocated, not only to reduce reverberation, but also to allow enough space for the amount of people and instruments that the studio will have to accommodate. (You can read more about room size and how to set up a studio in this article.)

Personally I didn't require much space at all. I was just going to use my studio for voice-overs, vlogging and on the odd occasion maybe use one instrument.

The bigger room was empty with a wooden floor, meaning a lot of acoustic treatment would have needed to be applied to get rid of reverberation. It was also surrounded by outside noise interference from three sides, which meant quite a bit of sound insulation would be needed as well to isolate the room.

Although much smaller, the room inside the house was already converted into a study. This meant quite bit of furniture like desks and bookshelves were already in place. Normally the square hard surfaces would pose a reverberation problem. 

The amount of different shape and sizes of books and objects on the shelves helped to act as a sound diffuser though. This helped to scatter the sound waves in different directions. The desks were placed in a corner with the sound directed away from them. The tiled floor was also already covered with a carpet, absorbing any sound waves reaching it.

On top of that, a big screen with a textured blanket over it (to act as background for my vlogging), was placed behind my chair. This acted as big acoustic panel. The result was that I needed absolutely no acoustic treatment of any kind. I confirmed this with some testing.

Needless to say, the study turned out to be just perfect for my needs, without having to spend a penny on any additional treatment or installations.

Your requirements can be completely different. You may be looking for a bigger empty room to set up a studio from scratch, which also need to accommodate multiple instruments and artists. In this case, the bigger room I mentioned would have been the preferred choice.

The point here is that your requirements my clash with accepted standards and norms, which no doubt would have been reinforced by most of the information you got online. This was definitely true in my case, but turned out to work out perfectly for my personal needs.

2. Bucking The Trend When Choosing My Audio Interface

As with all devices, I did some in-depth research and testing when it came to deciding on the right audio interface. I was looking for something in the sub $200 range. Immediately the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 jumped out as the favorite by far. It was a best-seller on Amazon, recommended by everyone I came across and was priced very reasonably at around $150. It is also very solidly build and sounds great, with more features than I would ever need.

U-Phoria UMC204HD

Just before purchasing, I came across a review of the Behringer U-Phoria UMC204HD audio interface. At half the price and after watching many raving reviews, I wanted to take a closer look. (For those of you not familiar with the Behringer brand, this audio hardware manufacturing company is known for producing high-quality products at surprisingly low prices.)

After having a close-up look, I was thoroughly impressed. I honestly could not hear a difference in sound quality between the Behringer and Focusrite, even though the spec sheets showed a clear difference.

I ended up with the Behringer U-Phoria and I cannot be happier. Even after purchasing the U-Phoria I still kept on going back to Youtube to listen to high-definition comparisons and I still couldn't tell the difference. (I will be the first one to concede that my hearing may not be as fine-tuned as a top professional sound engineer, and there may be definite audible differences in sound quality.)

The big takeaway for me here, is that you don't need to spend a small fortune on a piece of audio equipment. Getting a quality product for much less than I would have spend, without being able to tell the difference is big win for me.

Your standards may be much higher than mine, which will require you to spend a bit more on an audio interface that will satisfy your personal needs. (Your requirements may even outweigh the capabilities of the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2.) This is just another example of where deviating from the popular online recommendation produced a very satisfactory result.  

3. Superior Microphone, Less Work

Many of you who already read some of the posts on this site, will know how much I emphasize the importance of a high quality microphone. There is just no substitute for a good recording, just as there is no way of removing all the flaws and  poor quality of bad recording, even with the most advanced DAW software.

This principle of "Garbage In Garbage Out", was drilled into me long ago, so I am very glad when I followed this advice when deciding on my studio microphone.

As you would have gathered from the previous section, I can be quite frugal and would take advantage of a more affordable product anytime as long as it is not at the expense of quality.

However, I was not willing to sacrifice anything on a microphone which didn't deliver 100%  of the sound quality I was looking for. With the amount of condenser microphones flooding the market in the sub $100 category where a number of models got very good reviews, I was very interested to hear how well they performed. 

It was Audio-Technica AT2020 that really grabbed my attention, with its crisp and clear sound, solid feel and the company's reputation for producing high-quality products. At around $100 it was more than reasonably priced.

Dynamic Microphone

I was about to proceed with the purchase when I happened to come across a comparison between the AT2020 and its bigger brother, the Audio-Technica AT2035 on Youtube. Although the spec sheets showed almost identical performance figures, the AT2035 somehow sounded just that little richer and fuller. After some closer personal investigation, this slight difference in performance was confirmed.

At around $150 the AT2035 was quite a bit more expensive, but still relatively inexpensive, (especially compared compared to some high microphones more than double the price.) I decided on the AT2035, as I wanted the best microphone I could afford. I can honestly say that I don't regret this decision for a single day.

This slight jump in performance means that, after setting up my microphone and software levels for my studio environment, I didn't have to do a single adjustment in post-production for normal vocal recordings. The amount of time and effort that it saves me, make the little extra I spend on it completely irrelevant.

Here, the general trend and recommendation while I was doing my research, were to go for the very popular and more affordable Audio-Technica AT2020. I am pretty sure that had I not followed my gut and went for the slightly more expensive AT2035 due to its slightly better performance, I might have felt that something was missing from my recordings. This would have resulted in wasted time fiddling around in DAW software post-production, costing me valuable time and effort.

The most important lesson I learned from this exercise, is that really is no right microphone for everyone. This is a very personal choice where I would recommend you do the most amount of research, as the microphone best suited for your needs may definitely not be the most popular and recommended one.

(At the time of purchase, the Audio-Technica AT2020 was the most recommended microphone in the price range, as well as an Amazon Choice with over 450 reviews. It will definitely be a great choice as the ideal microphone, just not the one that works best for me.)

4. High-Definition Speakers And Studio Monitors

I know this is a very divisive issue. On the surface, high-definition speakers and studio monitors look the same and consist of the same core components.

Both vary in size, and both handle low-frequencies and mid-to-high frequencies through two main drivers respectively (woofers for low frequencies and tweeters for mid-to-high frequencies). This where the similarities end though.

Hi-fi speakers are made to make your audio sound good, while studio monitors are designed to give sound engineers a very accurate and honest representation of the created audio, even if it doesn't sound very flattering.


Where the controversy arise though, is the argument among many studio engineers and users that hi-fi speakers can not be used to monitor recordings and mixing sound in a studio.

As a home user, If you already are serious audiophile with a home theater system with very high-quality speakers, I find it difficult to find a compelling enough argument to necessitate the purchase of an additional set of studio monitors. There is a simple but logical argument for this.

The problem with mainstream and fairly inexpensive hi-fi speakers, is that they are are made to make all audio sound good by adding their own "color" to the music and boost the bass of their drivers to produce a rich sound that also serves the purchase of masking flaws in the mid-to-high range frequencies. The result is great, but not accurate sounding audio.

As you start investing in expensive high-fidelity speakers, the whole picture changes. The speakers that fall in this category is set apart from their inexpensive siblings, not just by the superior sound quality they produce, but with the authenticity and accuracy they are able to reproduce the originally recorded audio.

This means that, although not being as "raw" and able to expose every little flaw as pair of dedicated studio monitors will, they are still able to give you a more than adequate indication of what your audio will sound like on most commercial devices.

This another instance where you will have to decide for yourself whether you will follow the popular opinion in the recording industry, or decide for yourself what will works best and what is good enough for your own needs.  

5. Dismissing Free Software? Don't Be In Such A Hurry

This is one I heard over and over again. The common consensus among most serious studio users is that free software is not even worth considering in the first place. And most experts feel very strongly about this, to the extend that many consider the free and popular Audacity software tool unworthy to be even called a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW).

And I get it, With all the powerful functions, filters, virtual instruments and ability to perform extremely complex audio tasks, make them unmatched compared with any lessor software. To be able to handle different aspects of multiple tracks simultaneously, the ability to edit and modify every possible aspect of the smallest sound, while still easily managing big projects, consisting of multiple smaller projects with ease, puts them in a league of their own.

However, I think I speak for many of you when I say that many of us do not want or need the power to produce a full Hans Zimmer or Ennio Morricone movie soundtrack.

Audacity logo

Sometimes you just want to add a few vocals track together, add some background music and do some basic cleaning up. A "simple" piece of audio software like Audacity will be more than capable to perform all these functions with ease.

(I am actually starting to wonder if many of the critics of this humble piece of software have actually kept track of how much it has grown and evolved over the last couple of years, enabling anyone new at audio software, not to just get started and learn the basics, but proceed to put together rather impressive audio projects with the help of Audacity. You can read more about Audacity in this article.)

Off course, as you needs and expertise grow, you are going to have to take that step up to advanced fully featured DAW software. And here you are spoiled for choice, with the added advantage of already getting your feet wet with audio software, making it easier to decide which of the professional tools will be right for you.

The big names like FL Studio, Presonus Studio One, Cakewalk Sonar, Ableton Live, Cubase Pro and Pro Tools - all have the power and ability to handle your most complex audio project. Just know that most them have quite a steep learning curve, so it will take some time but worth it to master the important features.

I went into a lot more detail than I needed to in this section. I just believe there is much confusion among beginners as result of very divisive views when it comes to DAW software.

If you are still starting out and uncertain which software to choose, why don't you start with downloading the free Audacity software. It won't cost you anything except a little bit of time playing around in it and following tutorials to find your way.

You will soon enough find out whether you would rather want to move up to an established professional DAW, or whether you have more than enough to keep you satisfied and going for quite some time.

This is one case where you should definitely decide for yourself what will be best for your requirements. By all means, do all the research to find out as much as you can to make an informed decision. But try the simple options first. After all, this is an important (and rather expensive) decision.

6. When A Pair Of Headphones Will Be Good Enough

In many of the articles on this site, I have put emphasis on not relying on just your headphones when monitoring and mixing your audio. I always believe the combination of studio monitors/speakers and a quality pair of headphones is the best and most accurate way to get the best representation of what your audio sound like.


I will have to admit though that there are some instances where it is not practical or achievable. Some of you may have no choice but have to make space in noisy environment to set up your studio. Even if you are able to secure a separate room, there may simply be too much external noise entering the studio to justify a pair of studio/monitors.

Then there are always other factors like a limited budget. Many of you starting out are on a very tight budget, and a quality pair of studio monitors is simply not an option.

Practical limitations like space also play a role. Make-shift studios in bigger rooms or a separate small room may just not have any space for a speakers. In such a case you really have no option but to rely on just a pair of good quality headphones.

As you probably have noticed in other posts as well, if you have to choose between speakers and headphones, always go for headphones first. It picks more sound detail than the best pair of studio monitors, are able to allow you to listen to your audio in a fair amount of isolation and finally, headphones do not take up much space.

Even though I still believe in using the two different sources for the best means of monitoring your recording and mixing, I must admit that there are clear exceptions where it is just not possible and you have to rely on your headphones for the time being. You alone will be able to determine what will be best suited for your unique setup.  

7. Do You Really Need All That Acoustic Treatment?

Like most of you who already experienced working in a commercial recording studio or already set up your own large home studio, I know how important acoustic treatment is to get your studio as silent as possible without any reverberation. (I even already dedicated a whole article to room setup and acoustic treatment. If you need more detailed information, you can find it here.)

acoustic panel

If you plan on using an existing room that is already furnished, maybe a study or lounge, don't be in any rush to and get those acoustic panels and bass traps.

Start by doing a clap test first to test the room's acoustics. (If you are unfamiliar with the clap test, simply stand in the middle of the room and clap your hands together. If you hear an immediate sharp and harsh noise from the clap, the sound is reverberating from the walls and you may need some acoustic treatment. If your clap produces a "dull thud" though, you already have enough natural acoustic treatment and your room do not need any additional acoustic treatment!)

As was the case with my study I already mentioned earlier on, you may already have enough furniture like curtains, carpets, cloth furniture with different shapes - all acting as natural acoustic panels and sound absorbers. Adding shelves with differently shaped objects on them to the equation, and you also have a sound diffuser that scatters the remaining sound waves in different directions. 

Again, this will be different from person to person. Some perfectionists may still not find a setup like the scenario described in the previous paragraph to be satisfactory and rather throw everything out and start with a blank slate.

My best advice for you in a situation like this to do the research to know what the advisable thing is to do, compare that with what you will be happy with and make a decision that will result in the best environment for you to work productively in.


From  all these 7 scenarios just portrayed, it is very clear that there are times to follow the general trend and tried-and-tested practices, and times where your own unique situation will force you to adopt an approach or choice in equipment that will better suit your personal needs.

The biggest takeaway here, is to do as much research as possible, then evaluate you own situation and goals, and finally proceed with the solution that will work best for you.  

As always, feel free to leave me any comments or suggestions you may have, and I will respond and try and get to them as soon as I can.

Remember to join my  Mailing List  to be informed whenever a new article is released, and share new developments and helpful hints & tips.

Catch you in the next article and happy recording!


What Is A Mic Activator: Giving Your Dynamic Microphone A Boost

What Is A Mic Activator

The numerous advantages of dynamic microphones make them the unquestionable favorite for artists and sound engineers on stage and during live events. Their construction exposes one weakness though. Due to the robust diaphragm with which they operate, many dynamic microphones produce a very weak signal. In the past a high-gain preamp was required to provide a significant boost to make these microphones work efficiently in the studio. A relatively new development is making the process a lot easier. The mic activator.

To best understand why the dynamic microphone is so prone to producing such a weak audio signal in the first place, as well as the importance of boosting this signal, a brief look needs to be taken at the construction of the microphone.

Unlike the sensitive and easily moved diaphragm of the condenser microphone, the diaphragm of the dynamic microphone requires a much larger sound volume to move. As the amount of movement of the diaphragm produce the electrical signal, the smaller movement produce a weaker signal. (This is a very simplistic explanation, and much more complex in reality. You can read a much more comprehensive comparison between a dynamic and condenser microphones in this article.)

The reason why this weak signal is so significant, is the fact that most audio equipment communicate with each other at a certain signal strength. This standard signal strength is called line-level.

While most electronic audio input devices, as well as amplified condenser microphones produce a signal at line-level strength, the strength of the signal produced by a dynamic microphone is too weak to be directly connected to standard audio devices.


Traditionally some type of amplification, normally in the form of a high-gain preamps are used to strengthen the signal to line-level strength, enabling it to be used in other audio devices. It is this handicap that is being addressed by the mic activator. Compared to many other audio equipment, the mic activator is fairly recent development.

Cloudlifter CL-1

Simply put, a mic activator is a compact device inserted between your microphone and audio interface, boosting the microphone's signal strength substantially. The signal strength is now strong enough to be connected directly to an audio interface without any additional amplification.

In practice, the mic activator is a compact amplifier that draws its power from the phantom power provided by the audio interface. The dynamic microphone is connected via a normal XLR cable to the mic activator. The device amplifies the sound to line-level strength and connected directly through another XLR to the audio interface.

The result is a clean, amplified sound that can be directly connected to audio interfaces or mixers without the need for any additional cables or power sources.


This big advantage for us home owners, is the ability to connect dynamic and ribbon microphones directly to our audio interfaces without investing in a very expensive high-gain preamp. These amplifiers are fairly common in commercial studios, but are quite costly and take up a fair amount of desk space - 2 things the home user don't have a lot of.

The Cloudlifter CL-1 is probably the most well-known and popular example of a mic activator. With single input and output XLR ports, this device is ideal for a home recording studio where a single microphone needs a signal strength boost to connect to the rest of the recording setup.

Mic activators are not limited to single-input devices though. Devices like the Cloudlifter CL-4 are designed to cater for the expanded home studio and also make it appealing to the commercial recording industry.

The CL-4 allows up to four independent input sources.  The versatility of this mic activator is further enhanced by adjustable gain and impedance controls. The impedance can be adjusted from 150 Ohms to 15 kOhms. The gain can be adjusted from 12 dB to 25dB.  

Already other companies are producing competing products like the Radial McBoost and TritonAudio's Frethead. As the popularity of these devices grow, more companies will soon follow suite, and I am pretty sure it won't be long before established big names in the industry start to produce their own versions of this technology.

This is also good news for popular microphones traditionally used in broadcast studios. Well known models like Shure's SM7B, the Sennheiser MD 421-II and Electro-Voice RE20 are now within reach of the home user without the extra expense normally associated with these high-end dynamic microphones.


The mic activator is not just good news for the home user, but the recording industry as whole. New developments don't only allow previously unattainable technologies to become available to wider audiences, but allow the audio industry to stay on top of the latest technological advances.

We can be looking forward to many more new developments in the future that will help to keep revolutionizing technologies and equipment in the world of recording.

Remember to join my  Mailing List  to be informed whenever a new article is released, and share new developments and helpful hints & tips.

Catch you in the next article and happy recording!


18 Audio Mixing Tips And Tricks For Your Recording Studio

18 Mixing Tips And Tricks

Specific mixing norms & practices are followed in the recording industry. Unwritten rules determine the sequence of performing tasks, addressing problems and which functions to use for a certain outcome. Sometimes you just want to browse a random set of mixing tips and ideas that may help you solve a certain problem.

From personal experience, there are 2 instances in which browsing through a random list of tips and techniques on any broad topic can be very helpful. 

  1. On the one hand, you have exhaustively been searching for for a solution online to find a solution for a specific problem. No search, no matter what keyword combination you used, gave you a clear solution. By taking a break and reading through a list on the broader subject, you can actually stumble across the solution unexpectedly.
  2. On the other hand, you may not be searching for anything at all. You can just be doing some online reading, find an article with a random list of tips and techniques like this this one. While browsing through it, one of the subjects may just give give you a brand new idea, or a better way of performing a certain task you always battled with in the past.

Whichever the case, the whole idea of putting a random set of helpful information together like we did in this article, is to provide informative and helpful information to any reader, which can be applied in any recording studio environment.  

On the odd occasion it may spark some innovative ideas or help to solve a long standing problem. So what follows below is exactly what I just described, a list of 18 ideas and techniques that you will find helpful or at the very least, hopefully make life in the recording studio a little bit easier for you.

1) Don't Mix The Character Out Of The Audio

When you finished recording your audio, the post-production process takes up most of your attention. Most of us like everything to sound just right. Great care is taken that the notes are optimized, every flaw is corrected, and all noise and distortions are removed. And it is exactly this meticulous process of editing and correcting, that may actually diminish the character and uniqueness of a piece of music.

Mixing Audio

Obviously, you need to correct obvious mistakes and unwanted noises. But sometimes that one note just being a little out of sync, or the vocalist not quite hitting the "right" pitch, actually creates the perfect authentic and unique combination you were looking for.

Sometimes some of the best audio productions are created by "accident".  This simply means the "flaws" can sometimes result in authentic sounds with a unique character which never would have been possible if you didn't leave these technical mistakes in place.

The takeaway here is that you don't have to get everything perfect in post-production during the mix. Unpolished and a bit raw can sometimes be just perfect.

2) Accept The Fact That Mixing Can Not Fix Everything

No experienced professional in the recording industry will doubt the power and features of modern day DAW software. Their ability to edit, manipulate and correct audio files have opened a whole new world for new and existing users and artists.

Unfortunately, this created the false impression that almost anything can be fixed while editing and mixing your audio project. This is simply not true. You can correct recording flaws and mistakes to a certain extend, but some errors are just impossible to eliminate.

To be honest, some recordings are just too bad to be salvaged. A poor performance (by the artist), too much background noise, microphone bleed from nearby sources or just a plain badly recorded track, are all factors that can make a recording unusable. 

So make sure you know the capabilities of your DAW software, but also know its limitations. This way you will save yourself the time and frustration of trying to achieve a result that is just not possible.

3) Record And Mix Your Audio At 24-bit

The dynamic range of your audio production is largely determined by the bit depth at which the audio is recorded and mixed. Most music CD's use 16-bit depth and a big debate is raging as to using a higher 24-bit depth is necessary at all. Many users claim there is no real audible difference between the 2 bit depths.

However, recording at 24-bit still provides you with the biggest dynamic range, which is why this bit depth is recommended for the recording and mixing phase of your production. Yes, the file size of a 24-bit recording is much larger than a 16-bit recording, but with the increase in hard drive capacity at a very low cost this should not be an issue.

Since the standard for DVD quality is 24-bit, it is even more reason to start with best dynamic audio range possible. If file size becomes an issue or 16-bit is required at a later stage, you can always export your audio at a 16-bit depth.

4) Be Careful Of Too Much Bass

Too Much Bass

If we are all honest with ourselves, we sometimes enjoy how convenient and helpful bass can be. This low-frequency sound adds a rich and full character to your audio that immediately makes it sound more dynamic with that "extra punch".

Sometime users go overboard and add too much bass. This may be a simple mistake or an deliberate attempt to mask a flaw in some of the other sound frequencies. The result is an overbearing bass that can make your audio sound "muddy" and distorted.

Try and avoid this temptation and rather aim for a balanced sound. (If you are trying to mask a flaw in your audio, rather fix that piece of audio.) If your audio is naturally bass heavy, that is perfectly fine. Just don't add bass for the sake of adding bass.

5) Address Flaws And Mistakes Immediately

Whenever you come across a flaw or make a mistake in your audio during a mixing session, address it immediately. (At the very least, make a prominent note of it to get it sorted out.)

When you are entrenched in your work, there is a lot going on and you have a lot to concentrate on. You have to listen to many different aspects of your audio, monitor different settings and may be busy planning so many future adjustments, it is extremely easy to forget about a mistake/flaw in the audio you just picked up.

The important thing to remember is to stop immediately and address this flaw/mistake in some way before continuing. This way you ensure a flaw or mistake gets sorted out and not get lost in the small mountain of information you are busy working on.

6) Watch Your Recording Levels While Mixing

Setting your recording levels up correctly can not be emphasized enough. Setting your microphone's amplitude levels too low can still be rectified, but recording levels that are set too high will cause clipping on your microphone and cause an unpleasant distorted sound that is impossible to rectify.

Monitor and adjust your recording levels during your microphone and mixing setup. Even relatively simplistic audio software like Audacity are able to monitor and indicate your recording levels (normally with green, yellow and red bars). As soon as your audio levels start jumping into the yellow and red area, turn down your recording levels. Stay safe and stay in the green.

7) Remember To Leave Some Headroom When Mixing

While you are mixing your audio, it is always a good idea to limit your track's dynamic range. Leaving your peak output at -6 dBFS will allow the mastering engineer with enough headroom to work to equalize, normalize and compress your mix for final output. Sounds confusing?

In plain language, your digital dynamic range of amplitude tops out at 0 dBFS ( This means 0 dBFS is the maximum possible digital level of amplitude/loudness that can be reached). Anything louder than this ceiling will cause clipping (the sound will simply be cut off and cause an unpleasant distortion.)

If you lower your mixing level to 6dB below this peak digital output, you are effectively mixing at -6 dBFS. Luckily your DAW software measures and shows you your levels in real-time. You can always keep your eye on your mixing volumes to make sure you stay within these limits.

8) Save Your Files Often!

While are you spending very long periods of time in your studio editing and mixing on your computer, you can easily lose track of time. You may be forgetting to do something extremely important. Saving your files!

Audio File

There are few things so frustrating and give you that helpless sinking feeling, than when your computer freezes or gets shut down due to some unforeseen incident, and you realize with a shock that you just worked for two hours straight without saving your file.

This happens to thousands of users all over the world every day, so develop the habit of saving your work often. If you have to, force yourself in the beginning by setting a timer that goes off every ten/fifteen minutes to remind yourself. It will become second nature very quickly. Just get in this habit as soon as possible.

9) Use Reference Tracks For Mixing

Working for long hours every day for years will always reward you in some way. You develop and fine-tune your mixing skills, train your ears to pick up the finest detail and know exactly how you want your end mix to sound like.

With all this experience come a little bit of a risk though, especially if you work mostly on your own. You will probably be working in isolation for weeks without any external guidance or feedback.

When working on your audio for extended periods of time, you tend to rely mostly on your own experience and judgement to monitor and adjust your mix. The danger of this is that you end up working "in a vacuum", and can venture in the wrong direction without anyone to correct you.  

There is a direct way of constantly monitoring your mix and make sure you keep working in the right direction. Making use of reference tracks can help you stay on course and make sure you are constantly judging your own audio against industry standards.

A reference track is a song/audio track that is already a commercial success and from an established artist. This not enough though. Make sure this song sounds good to you in a variety of different scenarios and over time. Also, make sure it's in the same genre and style you are aiming to make your own production sound like.

Having a recording ready on your system to play back at a moment's notice will help you judge your own attempts objectively. This will also guide you to make sure your audio "sounds right" and the overall feeling, rhythm and mood you are trying to create, is on par with industry standards and norms.

The aim is not to copy the reference track in anyway. It is there to hold your hand and act as a guideline. Left to your own devices for too long, and you may end up very far from where you need to be. Only after comparing your attempts against a reference track will you realize how far off-target you have gone. 

Always keep a reference track or two ready and make sure to compare your own mix on a regular basis, especially if you are still finding your way. You will save yourself a huge amount of time and gain a lot of invaluable experience.

10) Do Not Do Your Equalizing In Solo

If you recorded all your instruments (and vocals) in solo, it only seams logical to equalize and fine-tune them in solo. After all, you need to make sure each instrument sounds perfect before adding them to the mix, correct? Not quite.

Your audience are going to listen to your entire mix, with all your instruments and vocals playing together. They will never hear or care what each individual instrument sounds like on its own. And this is something you should always keep in mind.

Your instruments may sound great when you equalized them on their own, but you may be in for a very unpleasant surprise when you add all the instruments together in a mix. Some may sound completely too loud, harsh or not in sync at all with the rest of the mix. You just wasted a lot of time fine-tuning one instrument, just to find out it does not work at all in a mix.

Rather start by adding and listening to all the instruments together in one mix. You can then identify any individual tracks that are not sounding right or needs extra work. You will now be able to work on this track in solo and re-insert it into the mix until everything is working well together. You can repeat this process with each track that does not "fit" until you are happy with the way the whole "compilation" sounds.

At this point, with all your tracks in sync and sounding well balanced together, you can start equalizing the whole mix to optimize and get the best possible quality. You would have saved a lot of time and be able to achieve much better overall result.

(This does not mean you can never mix a track in solo. Over time you will gain enough experience to know right from the start when a track does not sound right and how to correct it in solo to work well in a mix. This ability comes with years of experience though.)      

11) Don't Overdo It With Effects

We are spoiled for choice with countless effects available in our DAW software. This makes it very tempting to "overload" our audio project with special effects. This can and very often do more damage than good to a recording.

Remember, your effects exist to complement your recorded audio or vocals (not the other way around). As soon as your effects start taking center stage instead of your recording, you are going off-target and setting your audio project up for potential failure.

12) Use Your Software's Shortcuts

Keyboard Shortcuts

Learning your DAW software's shortcuts, or even better, creating your own will be a huge advantage. Not only will you save a lot of time, you will also be able to work more productively.

Having a proper full-size keyboard is almost a must for using shortcuts, as its size will make it easier to quickly and accurately hit the right key when needed. Your DAW software also makes use of your Function Keys on the top of the keyboard which is also a lot more easy to access using a full-size keyboard.

13) The Importance Of Track Alignment

It is very important to make sure all your tracks are aligned at all times. It sounds obvious, but for some reason, not enough attention is given to it more often than you think.

When recording different sound sources on different tracks, they needed to be combined and synchronized in your DAW. Track alignment means these different tracks starts exactly at the right moment, stay synchronized and ends exactly where they should.

If your different tracks are not 100% aligned, even by milliseconds, it is immediately noticeable and just sounds very unprofessional. With DAW software being extremely accurate to make adjustments to 1/1000 of a second, there is no real excuse not to have and keep everything aligned. Most high-end DAW software has built-in tools to assist you with this as well.

14) When "Good Enough" Is Really Enough

It is "blessing" to be a perfectionist, but sometimes it can also be a bit of a curse. Whenever you are recording or mixing, you should strive to get the best possible result in each stage. Checking and double checking your settings and refining your audio to be as close to ideal as possible is a good practice. But only to a point.

Going over a piece of audio mix, or the same take over and over again because you can't nail the audio to your satisfaction, can result in you wasting precious time and productivity. This is where the perfectionist in you must take a backseat.

After a set number of attempts, you must accept the fact that what you have is good enough, for the time being anyway. When worst comes to worst, you can always go back and redo some parts that remain unsatisfactory. But in most cases, you will find that your attempts turned out to be more than good enough.

To stay disciplined and keep yourself from getting stuck in this endless loop of trying nonstop to get the perfect result, use a deadline or set yourself a limit on the number of attempts to get a recording or mix right.

I know its a compromise in a way, but in time you will learn that there is no such thing a the "perfect sound". 

15) Use The High-pass Filter

This is one of the first filters you can use to start cleaning up your recording. Especially if your recording is especially bass heavy or all the low frequencies on your track sounds a bit "muddy" and distorted, a high-pass filter will help tidying things up.

In case you are unfamiliar with a high pass-filter (or some referred to as a low-cut), it basically attenuates low frequency below  a certain level, while allowing low frequencies above this level to pass through untouched.

This is one way of getting rid of unwanted frequencies at the very low end of the scale, which can be especially helpful if you are trying to balance your track. It will also tidy up your lower frequencies and make it sound more punchy.

Just remember that different tracks have their own characteristics and the same amount of filtering can not be applied to all. When applying a high-pass filter, make sure you adjust the level of low frequency detail that will be removed so that it only removes the unwanted low frequencies.

In the eagerness to tighten up your track and make the lower end sound more punchy, it is easy to overdo do it and too much low-end sound gets cut away. Some lower frequencies may be a vital part of the track, making it sound balanced and complete. 

Always listen to the overall track, and keep adjusting the filter until just the unnecessary parts at the lower frequency range are removed, while preserving the valuable parts of the lower frequency that contributes to the overall quality of your track.

16) Focus On The End Result When Starting Your Mix

I only started realizing the importance of this practice fairly recently. When you know you are going to add a certain amount of compression, balance and effects to your whole project at the end of you mix, you will save yourself a tremendous amount of time by doing this right from the start, and continue applying it as you work your way throughout your audio project.

This approach will help you set the correct tone and balance right from the start, and you save yourself the time from doing everything twice. You spend days and weeks making sure every note sounds right, the volume is set correctly and all track works nicely together. You may be undoing all this hard work if you only add all the compression and balance to your whole project afterwards.

By applying these effects to your audio afterwards, you will potentially be changing the whole tone and dynamics of your audio you have been working so hard and long to get just right.

By applying these effects you were planning on adding to your finished mix, right from the start you make sure every note and track sounds correct right from the start. By the end of the mixing process, you end up with a final audio product you are happy with and safe in the knowledge that no unpleasant surprises are waiting for you.

(If you are still unhappy with your audio after finishing you mix but not sure how to round it off and make it sound just right, just leave it in the capable hands of an experienced mastering engineer. He will know exactly how to turn your final mix into a well polished and superior end product.)    

17) Always Trust And Rely On Your Ears

Your DAW software is extremely powerful. They not only allow you to adjust almost every possible aspect of your track, but also measures and give you a readout of every note's volume, balance and tone. 


It is only normal to start relying more on what your software is telling you, than what you are hearing and what you ears are telling you. Your DAW may tell you a track is out of sync or too soft in comparison with the rest of the mix you are working on. A dangerous habit can develop where you start disregarding what you hear to fix a "potential problem" and make sure everything looks "right" on screen.

One of your biggest assists in the recording studio are your ears. Especially if you already started developing a trained ear from months/years of critically listening to your audio, this should be you most trusted "instrument".

You know the saying, "your ears don't lie", and that is mostly true in the recording industry. What this means is you should trust your ears, even when your DAW's settings are indicating something else. Just remember, your software can only measure, analyze and give your feedback on data of your audio. It has now way of telling you if it sounds right, unique and create that special feel you were looking for.

Finally think of it in this way. Your ears are the final judge of your audio work, and your DAW is just a guide and tool to help you mold and fine-tune the sound you want to create and hear. (Not the other way around where you create something through listening, and then letting the settings and measurements on your DAW tell you whether what you are hearing is indeed correct.)

18) Learn A New Function Every Day

By now you probably realize how packed full of features most DAW software packages are. In fact, chances are pretty good you will spend a lifetime extensively using the software without even touching many of the functions and tools available to you.

This is perfectly normal, as you will only need to make use of a specific series of tools to get your desired results and finish your audio project, depending on your own personal needs.

However, you may be missing out on some functions and tools in your software that will help you in a variety of ways. It can help you achieve difficult results with more powerful and easy-to-use functions you didn't know were available all the time. You may also discover tools that can enhance the overall quality of you audio.

It is good practice, and I would like to challenge, you to learn at least one new function of your software each day. It will not only deepen your knowledge of the software but can also reveal a very valuable tool or function. (And it will probably take you 15 minutes at most to discover and master.)    


By no means a comprehensive or exhaustive list, these 18 tips hopefully proved to be helpful for the majority of readers of this article.

There are countless more helpful information that can be learned. I will revisit this article at a later stage and add some more tips and techniques if necessary. You can also let me know in the comment section below if you want a more comprehensive list and I will make it a priority.

As always, feel free to leave me any comments or suggestions you may have, and I will respond and try and get to them as soon as I can.

Remember to join my  Mailing List  to be informed whenever a new article is released, and share new developments and helpful hints & tips.

Catch you in the next article and happy recording!


Best Headphones For Home Recording and Mixing: Choosing What Works Best For You

Headphones For Recording And Mixing

When it comes to recording and monitoring your audio, choosing your headphones will be a very important decision. Alongside your studio monitors/speakers they will help you make crucial decisions based on what you hear. With so many different types of headphones available, should you be looking for something specific? Absolutely. 

Just remember right from the start, you are choosing studio headphones to give you accurate feedback from your audio. Their purpose is to give you a honest representation of what your audio really sounds like.

To be blunt, they are not there for your music enjoyment. To further my point, we are discussing proper over-the-ear headphones, NOT earbuds. You are adding a valuable tool to your recording studio to help you produce the best audio production. Once you realize and make peace with this fact, it will already start making your decision making easier.

Still, you are left with many options to consider, so that is exactly what we will be doing in this article. We look at all the different options and help you decide which one will be best for you.

Before we start analyzing each one in more detail, just know that you will read about various different descriptions like closed-back headphones, open-back headphones and and semi-open-back headphones. Then you will also have to deal with wireless and wired headphones. Don't let this confuse you. As we will go through each different type of headphone individually, these terms will start to become more clear and start making sense pretty soon. 

Different Headphones For Different Functions

The best way to start understanding the different types of headphones for the recording studio, is to look at how they are defined in terms of what their main functions are.  

Most studio microphones are divided into two categories, but I added a third one for a very practical reason. We take a look at closed-back headphones, open-back headphones and semi-open-back headphones.

Closed-Back Headphones

These are the headphones of choice for recording. The reason for this lies in the design of of the headphone. They are designed with the maximum amount of isolation, meaning you can monitor your recording live with the headphones without any of the sound escaping the headphones and accidentally being picked up by the microphone.

Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro

Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro

The escaping of sound from the headphones is called "bleed". This means your voice or instrument gets recorded twice. First from the the source, followed a few milliseconds later by the sound from your headphones. As you can imagine this is one sure-fire way of ruining your recording.

(This is very similar to the "feedback effect" created while listening while recording over your studios monitor. If you are unfamiliar with this unpleasant sound it, simply place your microphone close to your speakers with both switched on. You will soon hear the loud unpleasant sound from the speakers. This is "feedback" and why you use headphones and never speakers to monitor your recordings.)

As a result, closed-back headphones are completely sealed around the back, allowing the sound to only reach your ears. (The cushions of the headphones basically provides a thorough seal around the ears.) At the same time it also isolate your ears from outside noise.

The reason for isolating the headphones, is not just to interfere with your listening experience. During the recording process you also need to be able to pick up the smallest amount of sound detail. Blocking out external sound makes this process a lot easier. 

Unfortunately, while this stops any sound "bleeding" from your headphones, pressure is trapped inside the headphones. This means the sound is unable to "breath" and naturally develop. This results in the creation of some false low frequencies which have an overall negative effect on sound quality.

The more isolation your headphones provide the more your sound quality will suffer.  This is the inevitable price of the complete isolation that close-back headphones provide.   

Good examples of closed-back headphones are:

  • Sennheiser HD280 Pro
  • Audio Technica SonicPro
  • Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro
  • Sony MDR-7506

As with all other products these headphones vary in price from affordable to very expensive. Go with what best suits your budget. You will be able to find a good quality pair of headphones at almost any price range. Just don't forget to do some thorough research before making a purchase.  

Just a final important note. Although these headphones are most suited for recording purposes does not mean they can not be used for listening as well. Just be aware of their intended use and limitations.

Open-Back Headphones

These are the headphones of choice for mixing. As with closed-back headphones, the same reason for mixing in this case, also lies in the design of the headphones. They are designed to provide the best possible sound quality, which means sound isolation (both in the from of bleed from your headphones,  and to external sources noise interfering with the headphones) is not the biggest priority. 


Shure SRH1840

This emphasis on sound quality is very evident in the design of open-back headphones. The open back allows a much better and precise frequency balance. The sound is also given space to "breath" and develop naturally. The result is a much better sound quality than a dedicated closed-ear headphone are able to produce.

Naturally the big drawback here, is what you gain in sound quality you are loosing in sound isolation. (Basically exactly the opposite of the advantage and trade-off of the closed-ear headphone.)

When monitoring a live recording with a pair of open-back headphones, especially at a fairly large volume, the chances are very good that a fair amount of headphone "bleed" will occur which will almost certainly ruin your recording.

Good examples of open-back headphones are:

  • AKG K240
  • Shure SRH1840
  • Sennheiser HD 800
  • Audio-Technica ATH-AD900X

By now, it should start to become clear why you will find a professional sound engineer in a commercial recording studio using two sets of headphones. One for recording and one for mixing.

There are a few reasons why using two sets of headphones are not possible or even preferable. This brings us to a third type of headphone.  

Semi-Open-Back Headphones

It will be ideal to have a separate pair of of headphones for recording and mixing respectively. Unfortunately very few home recording studio owners have the financial means to afford two separate headphones. Their budget simply does not allow it.

Many users get used to and enjoy using one pair of headphones for all purposes. You get used to the sound and feel of specific brand and model. Constantly swapping headphones is not just inconvenient, the different sound characteristics of each one can be more of a hindrance than a help.  

Technically you can use a high quality pair of headphones (either open-back or closed-back) for both recording and mixing. If you are aware of the limitations of your chosen headphones, you can make the necessary adjustments during each session to compensate for any limitations.

Samson SR850

Samson SR850

If you want the best of both worlds however, there is a third option available. Making use of semi-open-back headphones will be a good compromise for both recording and mixing.

 This means it my not have a complete open back, but have some openings to allow some sound waves to escape the headphone and potentially produce a better sound quality than closed-back headphone.

Similarly, it may not have a complete closed back, but limit the amount of the openings at the back to allow very little sound to escapes the the headphone, providing more isolation in the process than open-back headphones.

Like I said, this is a compromise, meaning you are never going to get the best possible sound quality or best sound isolation. This does no mean a semi-open-back headphone will be a bad investment or be a poor quality headphone. It simply means you will be able to use the headphone for both recording and mixing, but it will be slightly compromised on both fronts.

Good examples of semi-open-back headphones are:

  • AKG K240
  • PreSonus HD7
  • Samson SR850
  • Beyerdynamic AK T1p

Just please beware. The topic of semi-open-back headphones is a very divisive one and is highly debated. Many users believe these headphones are just a marketing gimmick and are so compromised that it will be a waste of money.

At the same time, there are plenty of reviews from respectable sources giving many of these headphones very high marks. Personally I do not have enough experience to make any kind of final judgement.

As a result the best advice I can give you, is to do as much research as possible. If possible try and get hold of a demo pair that you can listen to and judge for yourself. 

Another Option When Your Budget Will Allow It

There is a fourth forth category, well sort of. I am a bit hesitant recommending, as I don't see it as a real solution for a home studio user. Some other leaders in the field has mentioned it as one-size-fits-all solution though.

After looking into it, gone through countless of reviews and opinion posts from professionals I really respect, I just feel I will do you disservice if I don't at least mention it, so here goes...

If you are in the fortunate position of having a really big budget and you determined to use just one set of headphones for both recording and mixing, while at the same time you are not willing to really compromise on sound quality - there is another option.

AKG K872

AKG K872

At the very high end of the price scale, you do get a couple of headphones (normally in the closed-back headphones category), that is engineered in such a way that they are able to deliver sound quality far superior to any "normal" closed-back headphone.

These headphones will easily set you back three times as much as very high quality close-back or open-back studio headphone set. The last time I checked the price of the AKG K872 closed-back headphones was in the $1500 range.

From what I experienced thus far , I would say that these microphones come very close to delivering open-back sound quality performance. At this price range they are also very comfortable and you can easily enjoy them all day long.

Do I think it is worth it? No, absolutely not. Where you can get two top-end headphones for less than half the price of one of these super expensive headsets, I find it really hard to recommend.

This is a personal opinion though. Like I already mentioned, if you are able to  purchase any of these premium headphones, you will be happy and content using them all day long. With that said, here is a list of headphones that falls within this category.

  • Shure SRH1540
  • beyerdynamic DT 1770 PRO
  • Sony MDR-V700DJ
  • AKG K872

We have now extensively covered the main types of headphones used in the studio, as well as their variations. One "recent" development we haven't discussed yet, and is a question many home owners would like answered, is the emergence of high-quality wireless headphones.

Wired Vs Wireless Microphones

Wireless headphones have been around for quite a few years and are certainly not new. It is during recent years though, that high-quality professional grade headphones started becoming more readily available.

The biggest advantage of wireless headphones is the freedom that they provide. Being able to move around freely without the restrictions of a cable and over various distances within a given space, has greatly contributed to their growing popularity.

With these recent developments, the inevitable question among studio users, is whether a wireless set of headphones can replace a quality pair of wired studio headphones. Yes, it is definitely possible and the quality of wireless headphones have improved by leaps and bounds over recent years.

The more important question to ask is whether the wireless headphones are good enough to replace their wired counterparts while still being on par in terms of sound quality and overall performance.

In order to do this, we need to take a look at the 3 relevant types of wireless headphones available and analyze their overall performance. The three types are:

  • RF Headphones
  • Bluetooth Headphones
  • WiFi Headphones

The best way to best understand the pro's and cons of each type of headphone is to take a closer look at each one.

RF Headphones

By far the oldest and most established type of wireless headphones available on the market, these headphones make use of the RF (radio frequency) radio signal to connect the base with the headset.

Sound quality has vastly improved over the years, to such an extend that it can very easily be used for casual listening. (I have personally been using my Sennheiser HDR120 with great satisfaction for years now.)

Sennheiser RS120

Sennheiser RS120

The freedom that these wireless headphones provide makes life a lot easier, and the reason why RF and all other wireless headphones are so popular and widely used.

This freedom comes at a price though. The first big drawback is headphones technology. RF (radio frequency), exactly as the name suggests use radio frequencies to communicate. The amount of radio waves present in most spaces means interference with the headphone signal is almost inevitable.

With almost every second electronic device generating some kind of electromagnetic signal, getting a clear signal can sometimes be real challenge.

Even having your base station next to or behind a computer, can badly interfere with the signal to your headphones. Combined with the different electronic audio equipment in a recording studio, the potential problems become obvious. 

This RF signal has a secondary effect. A higher noise floor is produced by RF headphones, meaning more background noise is picked up, even at very low decibels. Although this may not have much of an impact for commercial use and in noisy environments, it has a much more pronounced effect in the quiet and controlled studio environment. 

Bluetooth Headphones

Over the last decade Bluetooth has firmly established itself as the wireless protocol of choice. From connecting components to devices, smartphones to car audio systems and headphones to home theater systems - basically every type of wireless connection happens via Bluetooth.

Basically Bluetooth is a wireless communication technology that connects a wide variety of devices over a relatively short range, with the aim of removing the need for cables and special interfaces.

It creates a small wireless personal network called PAN (personal area network) in a radius of roughly 33 feet (10 metres) around the main Bluetooth source. The process that is used to connect two devices is called pairing. (A process that used to be a big headache and struggle during the early years of the implementation of the technology.)

One more feature that sets Bluetooth apart from other wireless technologies like the RF Wireless protocol, is the fact that it allows for a secure connection to be established between devices. (One device has to give permission for another device to be connected.) This is not really relevant to headphones in the recording industry, but still worth noting. 

Master & Dynamic MD60 Wireless Bluetooth

Master & Dynamic MD60 Bluetooth

As I just mentioned, headphones haven't escaped the mass adoption of Bluetooth. It has been embraced to such an extend by leading-edge companies like Apple, that they have done away completely with the standard stereo headphone jack in its latest iPhones, which has been the standard for audio devices as far back as I can remember. 

The result is that thousands (or millions of standard headphones) have been rendered obsolete in an instance. To what an extend the rest of the audio industry will follow, only time will tell. Luckily it is very unlikely that components in the recording audio will follow this trend very quickly.

The reason for this is simple. For general commercial use and casual listening, Bluetooth is perfect and very convenient. As convenient as Bluetooth technology is however, it still has a few limitations that makes it highly unsuitable for use in the recording industry. 

First it has very low bandwidth compared to wired headphones. To understand this in practical terms, is like comparing a 2 inch water pipe to a 50 inch water pipe. The amount of total water able to flow through the smaller pipe at any given time is so much less than the larger pipe. The Bluetooth data is like the water traveling through a small pipe. 

To compensate for this smaller bandwidth and resulting smaller amount of data that can be transferred via Bluetooth, a fair amount compression has to be applied to allow sufficient data through. This results in a clear loss in audio quality. (Comparative tests between wired and Bluetooth headphones showed a clear audible difference in sound quality.)

It has to be noted that Bluetooth 5 has been introduced which will result in a vastly improved speed. (Much faster than the current Bluetooth 4  average speed of below 25 Mbps). This will result in much faster transfer rates and address issues like bandwidth and latency. This technology is still some way off from being adopted by the industry. 

Latency is another big Bluetooth problem. It can take a signal up to to 150 milliseconds to reach the headphones. This may not sound like much, but when monitoring a live recording or doing post-production mixing, this delay in sound is clearly audible and can have a very negative impact on your audio production.

One more potential problem that has to be mentioned is the issue of connectivity. Establishing a stable connection between two Bluetooth devices used to be a very common problem in the early stages of development.

This problem has been resolved to a large extend, but it still remains an issue, where the pairing between devices can take some time to be established and this connection still gets lost too often. This has a negative effect on time and productivity. (Compared to a wired set of headphones that just needs to be plugged in without any further actions and works right away.)

WiFi Headphones

WiFi Headphones are very similar to Bluetooth headphones, with a few fundamental differences. Like Bluetooth, it makes use of a network to operate.

Unlike Bluetooth though, it uses your computer's local area network to connect your headphones through your router to the target output device. With this type of connection comes a couple of advantages.

The first big advantage is speed. With modern LAN (Local Area Network) reaching speeds of up to 250 Mbps, it eclipses the comparatively slow Bluetooth connection (with Bluetooth 4 running at less than 25 Mbps).

As a result a lot more data can be transferred at the same time and also be delivered much more quickly to the headphones. This means both the bandwidth and latency issues that are negatively influencing Bluetooth have largely been addressed by WiFi headphones.

The one big drawback however, is that WiFi based headphones haven't really taken off yet. Very few big players in the market have really embraced these headphones and produced almost no headphones based on this wireless protocol. As a result there is still a very small selection of these headphones available. (To be honest, none that I could find that will be in any way suited for recording studio use.)

It is still very unclear as to what direction the adoption of WiFi headphones will go in, if it will be widely adopted at all. The best thing to do here is to adopt a "wait and see" approach.

Wired Headphones

The historic and current standard in headphone technology, the fixed-wire technology, still remain the most superior and widely accepted one used in all commercial and professional home studios.

The sound quality, zero latency and reliability that these headphones provide, can simply not be matched by any current wireless technology.

The advantage that wireless headphones provide is also fairly irrelevant in the studio where sound engineers and recording artists are relatively stationary, and not such a lot of freedom of movement is required, as is the case of consumer use with potable audio devices. 

This does not mean that this is the way things will stay. At the rate with which technology advances, some revolutionary technology may be developed, rendering the use of any cables or wires obsolete.

For the time being though, wired headphones reign supreme and no current wireless technology are able to compete without sacrificing one more very important requirement (such as sound quality and latency).

What Is Best For You

By now you cannot be blamed to think that wireless headphones are the worst piece of equipment to ever be developed. This was not the intention at all. It is just their current drawbacks make them unsuitable for practical use in the studio.

Like I said, I still use my own Sennheiser HDR120 wireless headphones and get hours of satisfaction from their high-quality audio. Watch this space, as various current and future wireless technologies may start advancing so quickly, that they may become a viable alternative to current studio headphones.

For the time being though, rather stay away from wireless headphones for serious studio use.

This brings us back to the two different headphones for recording and mixing. I will still recommend using closed-back headphones for recording and open-backed headphones for mixing, if your budget allows it.

If you can only afford one set of headphones to start out with, use a closed-back set of headphones, but since you will be doing mixing with them as well, spend some time doing some thorough research.

The fact that they are optimized for sound insulation, does not mean all of closed-back headphones produce a compromised sound. You may be pleasantly surprised with the surprisingly accurate and high-quality sound some models can produce.

Then as soon as you can afford it, I would still highly recommend to start looking out for a second pair of dedicated open-back headphones for mixing.

If you are in the very fortunate situation of having a really big budget, you have the ability to spend the money necessary to buy closed-back headphones that produce both great insulation and accurate sound quality as well.

(Personally, I would still go for two separate pair of headphones. To be honest, with the amount of money you will spend on such an expensive set of headphones, you will be able to buy two separate high-quality headphones, as well as a pair of good quality studio monitors/speakers to complete your monitoring setup. Having said that, I realize it is a personal preference and there may be very legitimate reasons for choosing such a high-end product.)

But what if you don't have any headphones and are unable afford any at this stage. Maybe you just have the earbuds from your old iPod or the ones that came with your smartphone. You know what? That is just fine!

They produce sound which provide instant audio feedback to your ears, and are able to differentiate between different instruments and changes in your vocals, don't they? Yes, they will not be nearly as accurate or provide the sound quality of professional studio headphones. 

We all have to start somewhere though, and if it takes a pair of cheap earbuds for recording and mixing your audio, so what? At worst you may have to do a few more recordings or do a few more tests on different devices outside the studio to get an accurate indication of what your audio production will sound like.

(By the way, the sound quality from those cheap earbuds is still much better than the "professional" headphones, used in studios 50 years ago. And from what I can remember, they still managed to produce some pretty legendary records and songs during those years.)  


With all the options available in the headphone market today, you really are spoiled for choice, to such an extend that it can sometimes be more confusing than anything else.

The aim of this article is to clear up most of the confusion and help you make the best possible decision for your own personal needs. Hopefully you now have a much better idea of how to proceed when you start looking to add those important set of headphones to your home recording studio setup.

No matter what your situation, you will be able to find some kind of headphone that will help you get started or continue with your home recording journey. Yes, even those temporary earbuds will do the job! 

As always, feel free to leave me any comments or suggestions you may have, and I will respond and try and get to them as soon as I can.

Remember to join my  Mailing List  to be informed whenever a new article is released, and share new developments and helpful hints & tips.

Catch you in the next article and happy recording!


101 Home Recording Studio Tips And Techniques

101 Tips and Techniques

Sometimes you need specific information on a certain subject like how to correctly place your microphone and speakers respectively. You may want to learn how to solve a certain problem in your DAW software. Or maybe you are not searching for anything at all, and are just looking for some fresh ideas and techniques. This is exactly the goal of this article.  

The following is a selection of 101 tips and techniques related to all things home recording studio. You will notice that the different sections follow no specific chronological order. And that is the whole idea.

This collection of facts and techniques is randomly thrown together on purpose, where each section can be used as helpful piece of information on its own without having to read the rest of the article. 

You can study the whole article or just skim through it at your own leisure when looking for something new or different:

1. Plan And Research When Starting Or Expanding Your Studio


Set enough time aside to properly plan how you are going to set up your home studio. You know the saying, "Failing to plan is planning to fail". It applies just as much to building a home studio than it does to any other endeavor you undertake in life..

Set aside as much time as you think you will need, depend on your own personal requirements. Then learn as much as you can during this period and make notes of important things you want to include in your plan.

Just make sure you read enough different sources of content to have a basic understanding of how exactly everything works and fit together,when you start building your studio.

Now, set yourself a deadline. This is very important. Whether it is 2 weeks or 2 months you set aside for your planning, stick to this deadline. (One or two extra days to tie up some loose ends won't kill you, but limit it as much as possible.)

2. Before Buying, Determine Your Budget And Break It Down

This will be one of the first important considerations of your planning. You are the only one who will really know how much you can and are willing to spend on your recording setup. Not only does this depend on your financial position, but more importantly what your goals are and how urgently you need to achieve them.

Once you decided on your budget, you need to break it down for yourself before you start spending. Factors to take into consideration, are equipment, acoustic treatment and your recording space (depending on what you have available or have to make available).

Whatever your personal needs and requirements, you do need to budget! (You don't want to run out of money halfway through setting up your studio.)

3. Consider The Size & Location Of Your Recording Space

Apart from your budget this is probably the most important factor to consider after you decided to set up your home recording studio. It is actually surprising how many people jump straight into buying equipment and only after a small mountain of boxes are delivered and piled up next to their front door, do many start thinking about where all this equipment will actually be set up.  

studio plan

The space, preferably a separate isolated room, is essential to provide enough room for setting up your equipment while isolating yourself from exterior interference. Insulating yourself from exterior noise is vital, as is the ability to have a controlled environment for the correct placement of components for optimal sound quality.

Once you established the space for your studio setup, it will also be easier to apply acoustic treatment for the best audio quality possible.

No matter whether you are using a separate room or creating an isolated space in a much bigger room, make sure you address this issue before doing anything else.

4. Always Plan Ahead With Your Future Goals In Mind


By doing your planning and having a clear understanding of your goals, you make sure you have a solid framework in place to help you through every step of setting up your studio. You can also ensure you save money in the long run and stop yourself from incurring unnecessary expenses later on when expanding or making changes to your setup.

For example, with condenser microphones available from less than $100 to well over $5000, and audio interfaces available from less than $50 to over $1000, you can see how big the impact on your choice of equipment can be.

As a professional busy building up a system that you will expand fairly rapidly and end up needing a very high end system, you may be prompted to save a little extra for a higher quality microphone that will be able to grow with your system. (Saving you the expense of having to upgrade fairly quickly to a more expensive microphone to perform with a higher end system.)

A "weekend podcaster" on the other side, just wanting to have decent sound for his audience, may be satisfied with an affordable USB condenser microphone and happily use it for the lifetime of the microphone.  

As you can see, it works both ways. You can overspend on a device whose full potential you will never need, or waste money on equipment that you will outgrow within months, when you could have waited a bit longer for a higher quality component that would have lasted you much longer, and potentially saved you a small fortune.

The key is having a good idea what your goals are and plan accordingly to make the best and most cost effective decision.

5. Don't Be Afraid To Experiment

It is always advisable to learn from the experts, use tried-and-tested methods and follow the right procedure. 


But sometimes, trying your own ideas or experimenting with something completely new can solve a problem with your home recording studio you have been battling with for weeks. It may even open up a whole new world for you.

From equipment placement, acoustic treatment to software settings, the norms and guidelines may be a good place to start off with, but may not be ideal for your unique studio setup. You may find or stumble across placements or settings that work much better for you by simply using your own intuition or playing around with your own ideas.

As with many other fields, its easy to box ourselves in and be very cautious to venture outside the norms and "rules" of the recording industry. You will soon see the advantages of trying out your own ideas and exploring new avenues, especially in the privacy and freedom that your home recording studio provides.

6. Choosing Expensive Equipment Is Not Always The Best Choice

It is always tempting when your budget allows it, to look at a more expensive and prestigious piece of equipment. This may not always be necessary and can sometimes cause more difficulties than advantages.

As an example, you can produce audio quality on a good $300 audio interface that is basically on par with an interface more than double the price. The untrained ear, and even some seasoned professionals will never be able to tell the difference.

It really is best that you choose audio components that fits in best with your actual needs.

7. Don't Be Stingy When Purchasing Your Microphone

condenser microphone

Many novice users believe anything can be corrected and cleaned up by DAW software, no matter how bad the quality of the source. You cannot be more wrong if you believe this.

The quality of sound captured by the microphone will largely determine the overall quality of the recording. Bad source audio quality can never be completely cleaned up, no matter how good your DAW software.

Therefore, always be willing to spend that little bit extra on the best quality microphone you can afford. (And waste less time in post-production software.)

8. Never Neglect You Cables

We all make this mistake. We all focus so much on the equipment we use, we pay little or no thought to the cables connecting them. As long as everything is connected, you are satisfied.

Good quality cables with solid connectors can make a bigger difference on sound quality than you think. For example, a $20 cable can make a bigger difference to your sound quality than upgrading to a $500 audio interface. (That's how badly a poor quality cable and connection can impact sound quality.)

You don't have to spend a fortune, but always invest in a good cable. You won't be sorry.

And always make sure you understand your cables and which ones to use.    

9. Get Your Microphone & Instrument Positioning Right.

Sometimes you just can't get the right sound from your voice or instrument. No matter how much you change equalizer settings in your software or change the gain on your microphone, the sound quality remains poor and distorted. 

All the while, your microphone was just placed incorrectly. Placing it a few inches farther or closer, a little up or down, and you would have gotten the perfect sound right from the start.

When a piece of audio remains problematic, experiment with you microphone placement in front of the sound source. You will be surprised how often that is the root of the problem.

10. Do Not Overthink Things, Get Started!

Here you find in the opposite position as those users who do not do enough planning. In fact you do so much planning, you never get started.

You are constantly watching and reading new articles, trying to find the best way to implement an idea, what equipment to choose or how to upgrade your setup. As soon as you start getting to the point where you can make a decision, you came across new information that make you second guess yourself. You start doing more research, and the whole process starts all over again.  

Getting stuck in this endless loop of not being able to decide on which equipment to buy, how to upgrade your studio, which piece of audio to use, etc etc - is a vicious and dangerous cycle.

You end up procrastinating, putting off actually doing anything for weeks, months and sometimes years.

Avoid this by also setting a deadline for yourself and stick to it. Do as much research as you can during this time, then make a decision and move on.

11. Play With Lighting To Keep Things Interesting

You will most probably be spending many hours in your home studio. Especially if you have no window (which is probably not ideal for good acoustics anyway), things can start feeling pretty boring and mind-dulling after hours of work, specially when you are working on something not very stimulating.

The lighting in your studio can have different effects on your mood and productivity, so it will be a good idea to experiment a little and see what works for you.

With the continuing growth of LED lighting, you get a wide variety of lights available with different intensities and different colors. Some even allow you to adjust the intensity levels and color, all within one light source.


Just to give you an indication of the effects lighting can have on your mindset, here are two examples. Very bright lighting conditions have shown to keep you alert and increase productivity, while very low conditions create a more relaxed mood which can be beneficial if you need to wind down.

The color of your lighting on the other hand, have a substantial effect on your mood. A light producing a blue tint have shown to have a calming effect on the user, while a red tint can induce emotions of excitement.

These are just broad generalizations, but you can already start to see what a big role lighting can play in how you experience and perform in your environment. There are too many different light sources and options available to even begin discussing it in detail. Just know this powerful option is available to you to keep studio life interesting, so start doing some research. 

12. Don't Wait Until You Can Afford It All Before Starting

You may have seen a Youtube video or finished a comprehensive article explaining in detail how to set up your home recording studio and everything you need to create the perfect sounding setup and environment.

Many users make the mistake of believing that you need all the equipment, all the acoustic treatment, the right DAW software, and exactly the right room before they can get started.


Apart from the fact that most of us don't have the budget to instantly have access to all these elements, its also not necessary. If you have the basics ready to start recording, start right away. Even if you still need better equipment, lack acoustic materials or don't have the perfect room, that's fine. You add it as you go along and get the necessary funds or the right space becomes available.

The important thing is that you get started and gain knowledge and experience as quickly as possible. This is more valuable in the long run and something money cannot buy.

The truth is, you will never be finished. There will always be equipment that can be replaced with better ones, newer versions of software becoming available and changes in acoustics to be made. This is a never ending process, so don't wait for something that will never happen.

13. You Don't Need To Know Everything To Run Your Own Studio

I am pretty sure when Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking reached the end of their lives, they were left with more questions than answers. If these brilliant men were unable to get many of the answers they were looking for throughout their lives, what chance do we have?

The answer is simple, we will never know everything or enough. The sooner you make peace with this the better. Even in the very unlikely event of you learning everything that is possible to be learned, within days (if not hours) new information will become available at the speed of light. It is livelong exercise, so embrace it and don't let it hold you back.

Learn as much as you can within a set period of time and then get started. If you get something wrong, don't be hard on yourself and beat yourself up about it. We all get things wrong. It's the only way we learn and grow.

14. Keep Your Audio Equipment Clean And Sanitized

One of the most neglected parts of running a recording studio is keeping your audio equipment clean and sanitized. Over time dust, dirt and sometimes more unsavory materials start building up on our equipment and components. The importance of keeping them clean goes beyond aesthetics. There are a few other benefits you may not be aware of.

Microphones are by far the biggest culprit when it comes to collecting dirt. In commercial studios it is handled by dozen of hands, exposed to just as many mouths with everything from saliva and any kind of other "foreign objects" accumulating.

The issue of hygiene is obvious from what was just mentioned. But all the dust and dirt can also degrade the performance of a microphone over time.

The same applies to studio monitors, audio interfaces, desktop computers and cables and connections. Especially with devices like audio interfaces and desktop computers housing delicate electronics, layers of dust and dirt can cause severe degradation in performance and even long term damage.

There are a variety of ways to keep your different equipment clean. You can read about it in detail in this article. However you choose to keep your equipment clean is up to you. Just don't neglect this seemingly insignificant but important habit.

15. Leave Space Between Your Speakers And The Back Wall 

The position and height of studio monitors/speakers in your room are crucial to getting the right feedback for properly monitoring your audio recording. When placed closed to a wall, there is another important factor to take into consideration.   

Kanto YU2 Speaker

Even though studio monitors are facing away from the wall they are placed against, the low frequency sounds (bass) from the speakers travel in all directions. This sound is reflected off the back wall and clash with the sound travelling in the direction the speakers are facing.

By placing the speakers at least 2 feet away from the wall, you can keep this effect to a minimum. You can further lesson the effect by applying acoustic materials to the back walls behind the speakers. Bass traps are ideal to be use for this. 

By using just these two techniques, you will already make a huge improvement to your speakers' overall sound quality.

16. Use A Closed Controlled Space For Your Studio

Beggars can't be choosers. As a home recording studio user, we realize this too well. Wherever we live we have to use what we have available in our homes to convert into a recording studio. This may vary from having a whole granny flat, a single room, to making space in the confines of a studio apartment or bachelor flat.

Whatever your situation, you can turn almost every space into a studio. There is just one requirement. You need to create a closed controlled space within which to set up your recording studio.

This may take many forms. From using the multiple rooms of a separate flat/apartment, the natural barriers created by the walls of a spare room, to using acoustic curtains to create an isolated space in a larger open area. Just make sure its closed off to allow you the best possible control over your audio. 

17. Never Place Your Microphone Directly On Your Desk

In the controlled environment of the studio, condenser microphones are very popular due to their ability to pick up the finest detail. Their added sensitivity means that extra care should be taken when deciding as to where and how they are placed. (Many manufacturers ships their mics with a small tripod or stand that you can place directly on your desk. Unfortunately, this is recipe for disaster.)

Your microphone is sensitive enough to pick up the slightest knock and movement on the desk. Placing a microphone stand directly on a desk without any shock absorption means any sound from the desk gets transferred straight through the microphone stand and still gets picked up by the microphone.

To make things worse, sound from your voice also get reflected off the hard surface of the desk, and also gets picked up by the microphone.

You need to create some space and shock absorption between the desk and the microphone, as well as avoid directing your voice at the desk. The best solution is using an adjustable boom with a shockmount attached to it, that you can place at the right height and distance from your mouth.

This way you avoid any direct contact with the desk, and the height of the microphone allows you to keep your voice directed at the mic and away from the desk.

18. Don't Forget  About Acoustic Treatment

Many home studio owners look at the extensive use of acoustic treatment in high-end commercial studios, thinking it is too complex and expensive to apply in their own studios. This is one misconception that must be debunked as quickly as possible. Actually the direct opposite of this way of thinking is true.

You are already handicapped by a small recording space in a rectangular room with directly opposing parallel walls, causing the effects of reverberation (echo), amplification and the distortion of sound to be that much more severe. This makes the use of acoustic materials that much more important.

It is also not nearly as difficult or expensive as you may thing. If you would like to find out more, I am covering acoustic treatment in detail in this article.

Just never neglect acoustic treatment in your home studio. It is not that difficult if understood correctly, quite inexpensive, and will make the world of difference to your sound quality.

19. Do Not "Eat The Microphone"

When you see a photo of an artist performing on stage, in many cases its with the lips pressed right up against the microphone, and in some extreme cases with the mouth wide open and the microphone "shoved" halfway into the mouth.

And there is some method in this madness. Artists performing at a live event, especially in a noisy environment like a rock concert, don't have much of a choice. They are competing against some very loud instruments, fellow vocalists and a very noisy crowd of thousands.

That is why they are often told by their sound engineers to actually "eat the mic". The only way for the sound engineer to capture and isolate the sound in such a noisy environment, is to have the performers mouth and sound directed at the mic in the closest possible distance.

They cannot just turn up the gain (volume) to capture more of the sound, as this raises the noise level and possibly capture other unwanted sounds as well. Dynamic microphones with their relatively simple and robust design are ideal tor this purpose.

In your home studio, the chances are pretty good you are using a condenser microphone. Combined with the controlled quiet environment of a studio, your approach should be almost the exact opposite. Condenser microphones are active (powered) and its much more sensitive diaphragm makes it very sensitive to the smallest noise.

As result, you need to create some distance between your mouth and the microphone to produce a recording that is clear and not distorted. (Up to a foot in distance, depending on the microphone and studio.) Not only will this allow the sound to develop and sound natural over distance, it will also help to protect the microphone. Condenser microphones are very sensitive and are prone to be damaged or completely destroyed by a very loud sound.

To find out more about condenser and dynamic microphones, you can find it in this article.

20. Don't Rely On Just One Source To Monitor Your Sound

We often see sound engineers sitting behind a mixing console with a pair of headphones on, as well as music videos where artists are "staged" performing with their trendy looking headphones in a "studio". This creates the misconception that a good pair of headphones is all you need to produce a good recording.

However, all professional studios have at least two or more studio monitors as part of the permanent setup, and with good reason.

Your headphones may be able to pick up the smallest detail that some other sources are unable to. However, you still need to get a more realistic indication of what your recording will sound like in an open space to an audience. Only studio monitors can give you a realistic feedback for this purpose.

You simply can't rely on just one source to monitor and judge the overall performance of your recording. Only by using both sources to evaluate your recorded audio will you be able to get the best possible result.

21. Don't Use Software To Compensate For A Bad Recording

DAW software are very powerful and getting more powerful by the day. It posses an impressive set of tools to correct and adjust recorded audio. The downside of this, is that all these tools can create bad recording habits.

You probably heard the saying, "Garbage In Garbage Out". This simply means if the original source "recording" is of poor quality, the final product will be sub-par as well. Your DAW software can be powerful and versatile, but it can only correct or improve a poorly recorded piece of audio so much.

And why waste so much time in the first place when the problem could have been avoided in the first place during the recording phase? By simply moving microphones and instruments around for the best recording quality, as well as adjusting the gain and other input functions on the audio interface, many of these issues can be addressed and even completely resolved during the recording phase.

Always pay attention to setting up everything in the studio to sound at their best during the recording stage, and use your DAW software to only fine-tune and put the final touches on a recorded sound.

22. Keep Your Studio Dry

One of the biggest dangers to your studio is damp. Especially when it comes to your equipment and connections, damp can be deadly. It get's into your electronics, especially circuit boards and can cause oxidation and rust (on metallic parts) which eat away and shorten the life of your equipment. 

Too much moisture can also result in an electrical short (electrical current is forced down an unintended path)  inside and between equipment, which can lead to complete equipment failure. Connectors at the end of cables are especially prone to electrical shorts due to the amount and proximity of pins grouped together, and how easily moisture can interfere with their connectivity.

There are quite a few things you can do to damp-proof your studio. Using dehumidifier to remove excess moisture from the air is a very effective way of keeping your studio dry. They come in a variety of capacities and with different levels of automation.

Just remember that dehumidifiers normally create quite a bit of noise, so make sure you operate then whenever you are not recording or monitoring. This leaves more than ample time to let them work and effectively keep your studio dry.

Another long term solution, is to use a proper damp seal coating to apply to your walls and ceilings. Just a remember, in a place where high levels of moisture exist, like a basement, a lot of the moisture can be trapped inside the walls, which can leave to peeling of your coat,  fungus and a weakening of the outer wall structure.

The point of all these warnings is not to discourage you at all. It is just to make you aware of the seriousness of the dangers of damp. It is also to highlight the impact of environments that are naturally high in moisture. This includes areas like basements that do not just contain above average amounts of moisture in the air, but are also hiding a few extra dangers in the walls and other structures. These environments may require a lot more work to properly deal with damp and eliminate the problem.

23. Use An "Equilateral Triangle" To Position Your Speakers

The ideal position between you, the speakers and the distance between the two speakers, can be determined by using the dimensions of an equilateral triangle. An equilateral triangle has equal lengths and identical internal angles (60 degrees).

Just remember, it is not always the best position, especially the distance between the user and the speakers. Sometimes the "sweet spot" is closer or further away from the speakers, depending on factors like the length of the room and the power output of the speakers themselves.

Only by experimenting with different positions, will you be able to find the right position for your setup. If you are unsure about the ideal position to place your speakers, or your distance from the speakers, start by using the "equilateral triangle position" as a reference point.

If you find the information a bit confusing or need more comprehensive information on studio monitor/speaker placement, you can read all about in this article

24. Invest In A Good Quality Chair


If you are a serious home studio user, chances are pretty good that you spend hundreds of hours per month in your studio, and more specifically in your chair. Just taking this sheer amount of time you spend sitting into consideration, the importance of a comfortable and supportive quality chair cannot be emphasized enough. 

You most probably know the feeling of getting up from your chair feeling sore and stiff all too well. This means you are not getting up often enough to stretch your legs, but more often than not the real reason behind the soreness is using a chair that is not supportive or comfortable enough.

Not only will the right chair be comfortable and help you keep you active and productive, it will also support you in all the correct areas to promote a healthy body and good posture.

25. Always Choose A Desktop Computer For Your DAW

We live in a world where almost everything is getting smaller and more compact. A modern day smartphone carries more computing power than a state-of-the-art computer of the 1970's, that would literally fill up a whole room.

There are still many instances where the computing power and design of a tablet or smartphone still cannot even begin to compete with a "real traditional" computer. In some cases even a laptop are not able to replace the capabilities of a desktop computer.

In a nutshell, the advantages can be summed in 3 words: Power, Upgradibilty and Size

To function properly, DAW software requires a lot of processing power. A modern Intel Core i7  CPU used in a desktop computer provides the amount of power 50 smartphones combined will never be able to match. (Smartphones will keep on getting more powerful, but will never be able to compete with a CPU in a desktop computer of the same era.)

Size is actually very obvious if you think about it. A modern day DAW software interface sometimes mimic traditional mixing consoles. To properly view all the detail represented on screen you need a big screen monitor (or more). In most cases, a 23 inch monitor will be the smallest monitor recommended to accommodate all the onscreen information. (Just have a look at photos of professional recording studios and you will see 2 or 3 big screen monitors being used in the majority of them. Now you know why).

The ease of use a full size keyboard provides, not only helps you speed up your work but also make you more productive as well. Assigning shortcut keys to many important functions in your DAW software, is just one example of how productivity can be increased.

Upgradibility come in the form of additional memory slots, and space to add extra hard drives or sound cards - all which will be required at some point as your studio and hardware requirements grow. This is something only a desktop computer can properly address.

I just skimmed the surface of why a desktop computer is always the recommended choice. If you find this information a bit confusing or need additional information, you can read a detailed explanation of the advantages of desktop computers in this article.     

26. Invest In Affordable Mass Loaded Vinyl Acoustic Barrier

It is not just your speakers and microphones that are sensitive to vibrations and shocks. Vibrations and knocks to your desk can be disruptive and interfere with your computer and audio interface situated on your desk.

Whether you have a carpeted, tiled or wooden floor, you are still going to experience some knocks and bumps from sources inside or outside your studio. One way of making sure you isolate it as much as possible, is by using a thick sound-and-shock-absorbing material like mass loaded vinyl.

This 1/8 inch thick vinyl absorbs almost any notable vibrations that may be emitted through the floor, while providing some added stability and sturdiness to your desk as well. It is a very affordable material that can make the world of difference to your recordings.

27. Keep Your Cables Tidy And Organised Right From The Start

If you look behind your computer work desk right now, chances are pretty good you will find a nest of tangled cables that build over the years. In a recording studio you build and expanded over years, the situation might be a lot worse.

These cable are not only dangerous as it can cause electrical short-circuits and even result in an electrical fire. It also becomes a headache when it come to changing equipment and its cables. The time and effort wasted on this seemingly endless process, takes its toll on productivity. And even though it may be hidden behind a desk or another object, it doesn't make the problem disappear and will only get worse when not addressed.

Using a cable organizer like the Spiral Cable Wire Wrap Tube, is a simple but very effective way of keeping your cable together, neat and tidy without any tangling. It also also allows different cables in the "tube" to exit at any point to be directed to the appropriate device.

28. Use A Pop Filter To Protect Your Microphone And Recording

Chances are pretty good the microphone you are using in your studio is a condenser microphone. With its ability to pick up the smallest detail due to its sensitive diaphragm, the microphone is especially prone to loud sounds, especially explosive ones like pops and cracks. Not only can these pops and cracks overload the mic and distort the sound quality, it can actually lead to microphone damage over the long term.

One effective and affordable way of preventing this is by using a pop filter. This mesh covered circular filter helps to protect the microphone in more than just one way. The thin mesh material filters out the loud popping sounds while letting through almost all other sound frequencies, not degrading the sound quality in any way.

A condenser microphone is not only prone to loud sounds, but also the environment, especially moisture. And as much as some of us hate to admit it, we all produce some form of saliva or moisture when speaking or singing. A pop filter shields the microphone from any saliva or other airborne objects.

29. Use A Wall Mounted Clock

I already mentioned the importance of time when it comes to taking breaks, setting deadlines and overall planning. Yet despite that, we still get carried away with our work, no matter how religiously we are trying to stick to a schedule.

A good idea is to keep large appealing wall clock against your studio wall, specifically directly opposite you so that it is directly in your line of sight. You will find this method very effective, as it it will catch your eye every now and then, helping you keep track of your day and stick to your schedule.   

30. A Studio Monitor/Speaker Stand Makes All The Difference

You will only really appreciate the importance of studio monitor stands once you used them and realized just what a difference they can make.

 Freed from the reverberation and sound distortion caused by a desk or any flat hard surface, placed optimally at ear level and properly angled at the user/microphone - your speakers/studio monitors will really shine when properly placed on a pair of stands.

Make sure you choose a stand with all the attributes that is required for optimal performance. Providing a sturdy and solid base, an adjustable height with a platform that has a non-slip pad that prevents the speakers from moving around. All these features should also be available at a reasonable price as a good quality pair of studio monitor stands are normally affordable.

You can read more about proper speaker placement in detail in this article.

31. Back Up Your Audio Files On An External Hard Drive

western digital elements hard drive

Whether you are recording you audio in 16-bit or 24-bit depth, you will be surprised how quickly you audio files will fill up you computer's hard drive. Luckily hard drives with bigger capacities at affordable prices are widely available to consumers. When you are working on a desktop computer with additional open slots, you now have the option to upgrade your hard drive to a bigger capacity one, or simply add a second large capacity drive to your system.

But what if something happens to your computer? We don't think of backing up our data nearly enough. You may be sitting with months or years of work on your computer, and only realize the consequences of not backing up when an electrical power surge or computer virus destroys all the data on you hard drive. When your hard drive is destroyed, there is no way of ever getting your years of hard work back.

For this reason, I would not just recommend, but plead with you to invest in a separate external hard drive where you can keep a copy of all your data files. USB connected hard drives are affordable and you can come in capacities of up to 4Gb.

32. Use A SPL Meter For The Right Volume Level

Have you stopped and considered the volume at which you are listening to and monitoring your recording? There actually is a volume level that is considered by sound engineers in the recording industry to be the sweet spot when it comes to monitoring your recording to get the most accurate feedback.

In most recording studios, 85dB (decibels) is the magic number used to listen to recordings and monitor sound. It provides you with the flattest hearing curve, meaning "the listener perceives a constant loudness when presented with pure steady sounds" (also called equal loudness contour).

This is a general standard used in commercial studios. It is not set in stone though, and may vary according to the size of the studio. Some smaller studios may use a much lower volume setting of 70dB to achieve optimal results.

In order to achieve this volume, you need a measuring device, called a SPL Meter. This a handheld device with a microphone on top. The diaphragm in the microphone measures the air pressure produced by sound waves and display the result in decibels.

The best place to measure the volume, is the position in the studio where you are seated to monitor your sound. (Obviously with the studio monitors and acoustic treatment correctly set up.) It will also be useful to take additional measurements in other relevant spots in your studio to get a balanced indication of the overall sound volume. 

33. Record Your Audio At 24-bit

The dynamic range of your recordings is mostly determined by the bit depth at which the audio is recorded. Most music CD's use 16-bit depth and a huge debate is raging as to using a higher 24-bit depth is necessary at all. Many users claim there is no real audible difference between the 2 bit depths.

However, recording at 24-bit still provides you with the biggest dynamic range, which is recommended for the recording phase of your production. Yes, the file size of a 24-bit recording is much larger than a 16-bit recording, but with the increase in hard drive capacity at a very low cost this should not be an issue.

Since the standard for DVD quality is 24-bit, it is even more reason to start with best dynamic audio range possible. If file size becomes an issue or 16-bit is required at a later stage, you can always export your audio at a 16-bit depth.

34. Microphone Holder For An Uncluttered Desk And Safe Mic

You probably know the frustration of finishing monitoring your recording when you take your headphones off and try to find a place on your already cluttered work desk to put it down. Not to mention the irritation of constantly moving it around the desk to access other equipment it was left on.

Some people use the microphone and its boom arm to hang the headphone over, but this is not ideal and can have its own share of problems. Luckily, enough users all over the world are battling with this problem, which led manufacturers to start developing microphone holders.

A simple but extremely helpful accessory that you can hang your headphone over. It comes in a variety of shapes and sizes and can be fixed against a wall or, my personal favorite, bolted onto the side of a desk where you can easily hang and retrieve it. Your desk remains less cluttered and your microphone hangs safely out of the way on the side of the desk.   

The K&M Stands Headphone holder with table clamp is just on of a wide variety of different headphone holders available in different forms and shapes. What I like about the K&K holder, is that it clamps directly to the side of your desk, keeping your headphones within reach and neatly secured against the side of you desk.

35. Use Isolation Pads When Speaker Stands Are Not An Option

A good pair of studio monitor/speaker stands remain the ideal place to put you speakers on. There may be a few reasons though, that you simply are not able to place your speakers on separate stands. From budget restrictions, limited room space to just a strong personal preference to place your speakers on your desk or other surface, stands are just not working for you.

Luckily this is not a train smash, largely due to the availability of iso-pads (isolation pads). These firm but absorbent foam pads are the ideal alternatives to place your studio monitors on. They can be used on your desk, shelve, the floor or other solid horizontal surfaces.

They mainly serve to two purposes. The most important one being the ability to absorb vibrations and shocks effectively from the surface it is standing on. The foam used in iso-pads is still firm and flat enough to provide a stable surface for the speakers to safely stand on.

The second purpose and advantage is the ability of many iso-pads to to be tilted at an angle (or multiple angles) to allow the speaker to directly face your head. As a result, floor or desk standing speakers not at ear level, can easily tilted to directly face in the right direction.

Not all iso-pads provide a lot of flexibility when it comes to angling studio monitors in exactly the right direction. This is part reason why I am such a huge fan of the Ultimate Support MS-80 isolation pads. They may be a bit overkill and are not the most affordable options available to you. If a specific angle is not a priority for you, there are certainly much more affordable quality iso-pads available.     

36. Studio Case For Safe Equipment Storage

As your studio grows, you will be collecting a multitude of some equipment, like multiple microphones and specialty cables. Many of these microphones and cables will not be actively used for extended periods of time, and need to be safely stored.

This is where a studio case with protective foam interior comes in very handy. Most condenser microphones and some cables are sensitive and needs to be stored in a protective environment.

A sturdy studio case are able to safely store multiple microphones and other equipment, holding them in place, and protecting them from knocks, dust and other external forces. They also come in very handy if you need to transport your equipment safely.

37. Don't Dismiss Free DAW Software As Just A Waste Of Time

DAW software is the heart and soul of any commercial and home recording studio. They are involved at every phase, from recording, editing and processing, to outputting the final product. Deciding on the right software to suite your needs, is turning out to be a very important one. 

With many experts discouraging the use of free software, how do you learn the basics to make an informed decision when it comes to choosing more advanced DAW software? We take a look at Audacity, a popular free DAW to find out.

Audacity comes with a user-friendly customizable interface interface with a variety of toolbars available right from the menu. The interface is clean and pretty self-explanatory, making it easy to navigate your way around, which is a good thing when coming to grip with an audio interface for the first time.

It has a simple recording panel on the interface, allowing you to record audio and voice-overs directly in the software. The recording can be saved as a project file. Audacity also supports multiple tracks, which can each be import as separate audio files, effects and filters applied to, then exported as an audio file.

There is a number filters to apply to your audio, and I will just highlight a few noteworthy ones to illustrate their diversity: Equalization, Compression, Normalize, Reverb, Auto Ducking and the Silence Audio Tool are just a few of dozens of useful filter and effects.

Files can be exported in a variety of formats, the Windows WAV file being one of the standards you will probably use. You can even install and use the Lame MP3 Encoder to export your MP3 audio files. 

As Audacity is a "light" application, it does not take up a lot of your system resources, meaning any changes and effects are quickly applied. The user-friendly interface speeds up productivity as important functions can be accessed and executed quickly. The ability to customize and add keyboard shortcuts to often-used functions, adds to the ease of use and increase productivity even further.

To summarize, Audacity is a fairly straightforward no-thrills software suite that still covers all the basics of DAW recording software, and throws in some more advanced futures to make it more than just usable. For a beginner, Audacity definitely comes highly recommended, and it is really worth downloading and learning the basics of this "simple" but surprisingly powerful audio application.

If you are interested, Audacity gets covered in more detail in this article.

38. Don't Edit The Character Out Of The Music

When you finished recording your audio, the post-production process takes up most of your attention. Most of us like everything to sound just right. Great care is taken that the notes is optimized, every flaw is corrected, and all noise and distortions are removed. And it is exactly this meticulous process of editing and correcting, that may actually diminish the character and uniqueness of a piece of music.

Obviously you need to correct obvious mistakes and unwanted noises. But sometimes that one note just being a little out of sync, or the vocalist not quite hitting the "right" pitch, actually creates the perfect authentic and unique combination you were looking for.

Sometimes some of the best audio productions are created by "accident", which can result in authentic sounds and with a unique character.

The take-away here is that you don't have to get everything perfect in post-production. Unpolished and a bit raw can sometimes be just perfect.

39. Make Sure Your Room Temperature Remains Comfortable


I already pointed out the amount of time you are probably spending in the studio. Apart from seating and other factors, room temperature can play a big part in your productivity.

Being kept comfortable and alert by optimizing the room temperature to your liking and providing good air circulation, you will stay productive and be able to work for longer periods of time without getting fatigued.

Due too the amount of insulation and and acoustic treatment present in a studio, combined with the heat produced by equipment and the people present the studio, a studio can become very hot and "stuffy". This create uncomfortable working conditions and a lack of concentration. All of this can lead to much reduced productivity.

Air-conditioner of circulation vents can be used to address this issue. Just be aware of the noise it can produce. I address this noise issue later in this article. (Low-noise air-conditioners are more readily available nowadays which will be worth taking a closer look at.)

40. Catalogue Your Recorded Data

This something you should be doing right from the start. As important as naming your files correctly right from the start is, so is keeping a record of all your files.

Elsewhere in the article I mention how quickly your files accumulate. Naming hundreds or thousand of file simply is not enough. When you start looking dot an specific audio track, you need a proper list with file names, as well as a short description next to each to make things quick and easy.

This way you make sure you know exactly what to look for and where to look at. (You may not just have a large number of files, they may be spread over a number of external hard drives.)

A Microsoft Excel or similar spreadsheet file will be ideal to list the names, description and location of any given audio file. I know its a hassle in the beginning, but you will quickly get used to adding a new file to your catalogue. You will thank yourself later on.

41. Use An Angle When Pop Filters Are Not Enough

The use of a pop filter is great to reduce plosive sounds that causes your microphone to clip and create that ugly distorted sound. Sometimes, some condenser microphones are so sensitive or the reverberation in the room so bad, that the pop filter by itself is not enough.

This can normally be rectified by angling you microphone. If you tilt the microphone away from your mouth and even lower it slightly to not speak directly into the mic.

The amount  of tilt will depend on your own specific conditions. Experiment with the angle or tilt until you find a position where you get best results. (Another solution is to offset the microphone slightly to the left or right of your mouth to avoid speaking directly into the microphone.)

42. Remove Or Deafen Noise Sources From Within The Studio

There are a few equipment you will be using in your studio that will just make some kind of noise. They use movable parts like fans that generate noise that are simply impossible to eliminate. Air-conditioners, computer fans and the slight buzz generated by neon lights are just a few examples.

If you can, move the source of the noise out of the studio. Computer cases can be placed in an adjacent room with properly insulated cables connected to your monitors and keyboard in the studio.

Sometimes the sound source cannot be removed from the room. Air-conditioners are one example, Placing them as far away as possible from the recording source is a good start, as well as directing them to face away from the this position. Additionally, use acoustic treatment around these equipment and directly opposite them to lesson the effect of any reverberation they may cause.

Lighting can much more easily be solved by removing any noise producing light sources like neon lights, and use quiet lighting like LED lights.

It is a tricky problem that cannot always be fully addressed, but you can do much to lesson its effect on your room acoustics.

43. Save All Recordings For Later Use

It is very possible, almost certain that you have plenty of takes from a certain recording session. You could be recording some unique combination or sequence, or even use a very unique instrument in your recording.

Saving these unique sequences or instrument sounds may come in very hand at a later stage when you don't have access to the original sources. As good as DAW software and their virtual tools are, it is just not always possible to completely recreate that sound. Using samples from the saved recording to create new sequences and incorporate them into your current project will save you valuable time and money.  

You will need plenty of hard drive space to save almost every recording you made. As I pointed out elsewhere in this article, external USB hard drives are growing in capacity while becoming more affordable at the same time. It will be much less expensive spending time on an extra hard drive than having to source and and make another recording of something you could have had readily available.

44. Record Vocals Without Any Effects

The temptation may be very high to add effects in real time while recording vocals to hear what it will sound like in a mix or as a finished audio production.

Rather resist this temptation, as it can be difficult or impossible to remove the effect at a later stage if you don't like it. By recording "dry" (without any effects or instruments added), you don't limit yourself and can add all the effects at your disposal later on in your DAW.

45. Store Your Backups Away From Your Studio

We already covered making backups and its importance, so no need to go over it again. What is almost as important as making backups, is where you store them. If your hard drive or other storage medium fail, you are prepared. But what if your backups are stored in your studio?

This section is not aimed to make you paranoid. This is simply brought to your attention so that hopefully in the very unlikely event that it ever happens to you, you did prepare for it.

The worst case scenario is where you may loose your whole studio and house content in the case of a human action or natural disaster. You may just be unlucky and fall victim to a burglary where the whole contents of your house and studio are stolen.    

Electrical fires and flooding from a broken geyser or underground water pipe happens more often than you think.  As unlikely as it may seem, a natural disaster like a fire and flooding is not impossible. You get the point.

All these "doomsday scenarios" have just been sketched to emphasize the importance of keeping important backups stored away from your home. Obviously you cannot make a backup of every possible saved audio file, but you know which your most important and treasured ones are.

The home of a trusted friend, family member or work colleague will be the ideal place to store your backups out of harm's way. It won't be an inconvenience, as external hard drives with years worth of work can easily fit inside a shoe box. It can be safely placed in a closet out of the way, and give you that added security and piece of mind. 

46. When Possible Record More Than You Think You Will Need

Whatever you record, make sure you have enough material to work with. If possible, record a song or voice-over more than once with different variations if possible.

When you start mixing and editing your recorded material, you may discover several recording flaws, or parts of the audio just do not sound right. Having multiple versions of the audio will make it a lot easier to replace those pieces with different takes that do not have those specific flaws in them.

This will save you a lot of time and money, as you can address these issue immediately with readily available alternatives, and save you the time and effort of getting and artist in again to do another recording and try and simulate the original recording conditions.

47. Enjoy The Journey And Allow Yourself To Have Some Fun

There is no doubt about it. Your work is important and should be taken seriously. Even if it is not your main income and a just weekend hobby, you should still take pride in it and always try and improve.

The moment you stop enjoying yourself and your home studio becomes a mundane chore though, you are heading for trouble. If it is not a passion anymore and you feel more obligated to do it than looking forward to doing it, you need to stop and take stock.

Chances are very good that you haven't lost any passion or love for what you are doing. You may have gotten so stuck in the nitty gritty of grinding away at all the small details and getting everything right, you forgot to have fun.

Stop being so hard on yourself. Allow yourself to make mistakes and try something new and different any now and then, even if it feels silly and like a waste of time.

Most importantly, remember why you started in the first place. Every passion/job has its dull repetitive parts. There is no way of getting away from it. But always keeping the big picture in mind will help you keep the right attitude and inspiration.

And remember to celebrate small successes and breakthroughs. They all accumulate to result in one big success.  

48. Difference Between Soundproofing And Acoustic Treatment

These two sound treatments are often confused to be the same thing by many users. They are two completely different processes with different aims as well.

Soundproofing is the process of insulating and protecting the studio from any external sound sources. (Or the exterior from any sounds generated in the studio) Traffic outside the house, people's voices and television sounds are just a few sources that can interfere with the sound inside your studio.

Acoustic treatment is the process of treating the sound generated inside the studio, how it is perceived, absorbed and scattered to create the optimal environment for quality audio recording.

In most discussions and articles, acoustic treatment will receive preferential treatment, as it effects your sound more than soundproofing in most cases, especially in relatively quiet environments. Just be aware of those external sounds. Your microphone picks up everything!

49. Seal Your Doors And Windows

As you just saw in the previous point, there is quite difference between soundproofing and acoustic, with a little more emphasis on acoustics. Whenever a home recording studio gets discussed, room acoustics are also one of the first issues that are covered. This does not mean soundproofing should be neglected at all, especially in noisy environments.

There are two big culprits when it comes to externals noises penetrating the studio. The first one being your door. Although seemingly solid, the material used for the door may be less absorbent than you think.

Light composite materials used inside many doors, are more prone to conducting and letting sound through than absorbing it. And don't forget, the spaces above and below your door are also letting more sound through than you think. 

Apart from investing in a solid sound absorbing door, make sure to use acoustic panels on both sides of the door to absorb unwanted sounds.  Space underneath the door can be addressed by applying 1/8 inch thick mass loaded vinyl to seal any open spaces. (Yes, the same vinyl used underneath a desk or stand to absorb vibrations.)  

Windows are the second big culprit. Even sealed and closed windows allow sound waves to travel through their surface. The good news is that you don't have to get rid of your window. Treating windows with a special acoustic glazing like Glassflex will greatly reduce, if not completely eliminate any exterior noises penetrating he window.  

50. Remember To Take Breaks And Stretch Your Legs

I think we all know how quickly we can get engrossed with our work inside the studio, especially when it comes to mixing. It is easy to loose track of time and when you look again, more than three hours have flown past and you are so sore and stiff, getting up can be a painful experience.

Getting up every hour to hour and a half to take a break is very important. This literally helps to promote your health. By standing, stretching and taking a walk, you are not just working your muscles and joints that have been stagnated for more than a hour, you are also kick-starting and promoting blood flow. This stimulates and refresh your whole body and brain.

Speaking of the brain, taking a break is essential for optimal mental function as well. You can only perform mentally at your peak for so long. Battling to think clearly, solve problems and just getting that familiar "dull" feeling in your head are all indicators of mental fatigue.

You will not only feel more awake and be able to think clearly after some time and activity away from the studio. You will also find yourself more productive and able to solve some issues you were battling with before your break.

51. Keep Everything Tidy And In Place

Keeping you studio neat and tidy looks great and create a professional organised environment for you and potential clients. Studies have also shown that a clean and tidy environment promotes productivity, whereas a cluttered and messy environment can have a negative effect on your mindset.

During one of your breaks, take the time to do some cleaning up if your studio is messy. This way you are killing two birds with one stone. 

52. Remember To Save Your Files Often!

As you spend extended periods of time in your studio mixing away in front of your computer, you can easily loose track of time, as I already mentioned. Apart from taking a break, you may be forgetting to do something just as important. Saving your files...

Audio File

There are few things so frustrating and giving you that helpless sinking feeling, than when your computer freezes or gets shut down due to some unforeseen incident, and you realize with a shock that you just worked for three hours straight without saving you file.

This happens to thousands of users every day, so develop the habit of saving your work often. If you have to, force yourself in the beginning by setting a timer that goes off every ten/fifteen minutes to remind yourself. It will become second nature very quickly. Just get in this habit as soon as possible.

53. Get Feedback And Be Willing To Accept Criticism

If you listen to your own piece of audio long enough, you will start missing errors as you hear them so often you skip over them without even registering they are there anymore.

You may also get so accustomed and stuck in the groove of listening to your audio with your own perceptions and personal preferences determining your final product, objectivity and originality can get lost in the process

Asking someone else (preferably someone with a good ear and some experience) for help with listening and evaluating your piece of audio, will provide some fresh perspective and highlight some flaws/mistakes.

Just remember to this with an open mind and don't see any feedback as an attack on your style or abilities. From a helpful source, any criticism should be seen as just that, a genuine attempt to help and provide some fresh objectivity. 

54. Allow The Music "To Die Down" At The End Of A Recording

This is a common beginner mistake when recording. Whenever you reach the end of a recording take, a voice or instrument like electric guitar or snare drum may still be fading out after the last note is played.

In the excitement of the recording, it sometimes happen that you stop the recording immediately after the last note was hit before all the vocals and instruments have faded out. This creates a very audible abrupt end to your recording. This mistake can not be rectified post production.

Luckily, this is an easy mistake to correct. At the end of the song/instrumental or vocal performance, simply let the recording run out till a few seconds after you heard the last sound fade out. This way you make sure you catch all the audio, and even if you are left a few seconds of dead track, this can always be deleted in your DAW.

55. Stay Committed And Consistent

Starting, building up and mastering your home studio is a long marathon, not a short sprint. Just realize this right from the start, and this will mindset will serve you well.

You are definitely going to encounter some hard times along the way. From difficulties mastering your equipment and software, doing mind-numbing mundane repetitive tasks, financial difficulties to lacking motivation - these are all just some of the obstacles you are bound to run in. I can almost guarantee it. It is just part of any journey, no matter how appealing and glamorous it may seem in the beginning or from the outside.

The important thing is to keep going, especially when things are getting tough and you don't feel like it. Even if you feel you have lost your drive and inspiration, it takes just one small success, or overcoming one big obstacle to reignite everything.

As I said elsewhere in this article, whenever you feel like giving up, remember why you started in the first place. It's always good to take a break, refresh and get some perspective. Just remember, there is a difference between taking a break and walking away.

56. Make Sure Your Equipment And Computer Are Compatible

The rate at which technology evolves seems to be increasing by the day. With it comes the emergence of the new technology, as well as quick demise of out-of-date technologies, or those who failed to get a foothold in the market.

This can be bad news for audio equipment users. Many manufacturers are quick to adapt a new technology to get a head start or advantage in the market. It this does not work out and you unfortunately invested in expensive equipment based on this technology, this can be a very expensive loss.

Take the technology "FireWire" for example. When it was first introduced, FireWire showed a lot of promise. It was much faster than the USB2 technology of the time, promising to get rid of any latency issues and provide lighting quick connections between the audio interface and computer/laptop.

For a variety of reasons FireWire never manage to gain much popularity, and further development and support for this technology was also halted by its developers.

Unfortunately many audio interfaces, especially high-end devices already adopted these technologies. Owners of these devices are now sitting with a growing problem, as no new laptops or desktop computer come standard with a FireWire interface, meaning owners who need to upgrade are going to find it increasingly difficult, and will probably have to end up purchasing a new audio interface.

The best advice one can give is to stick with an established technology  that has been around for years and is constantly evolving. USB is now in its 3rd incarnation, with speeds exceeding those of the original FireWire connections. Being an established widely used interface, makes it a safe technology to invest in. (It is also backwards compatible, meaning different versions of USB can be used with each other, with a few limitations.)

The new kid on the block called Thunderbolt, is literally lighting quick and shows a lot of promise. Like FireWire in the beginning, is not established yet, and need to gain acceptance and popularity in the market. At the time of writing this article I will strongly advice against purchasing any equipment based on this technology, and rather use a "wait and see" approach to see if will be safe technology to invest in.

The takeaway here is to choose a device using established interface technology, especially if you need to purchase and build up a new setup. At the moment USB seem to be the safe bet.

You may not own the latest and greatest technology, but you will be sitting with equipment that you can safely use for a long time, knowing it won't get outdated and you will not battle connecting it to other devices now and in the future.

If you already own a device, make sure you know exactly what kind of digital connection it use. This way you can purchase a device with the same connection, and don't fall into the trap of trying to pair two completely incompatible devices. 

57. Count Your Sources When Choosing An Audio Interface

I already mentioned the importance of planning. This is especially important when investing in an audio interface.

For the beginner home studio user, investing in the popular sub $200 audio interface market is very tempting. You get exceptionally good quality audio interfaces in this price range. Very often, if you choose a quality interface, this audio interface will serve you well for years.

There is however, one very important factor to consider before spending any money. Take into consideration the amount of sources (vocals and instruments) you will need an input connection for on your audio device.

Most audio interfaces in the above mentioned category, have a maximum of two combo inputs for microphones and instruments. For most home studios this will be sufficient.

There are a few cases however, where you know you will be using three or more input sources (for example 2 vocalists and more than 1 instrument), either right from the start or soon after your studio is up and running.

In this case, don't make the mistake of taking the less expensive route in the beginning, just to be confronted with an expensive upgrade headache shortly after you get started. 

Rather wait a bit longer until you can afford an audio interface with at least two or more extra input ports than you will need. This way you ensure you have more than enough input ports available for your current and future setup.

Yes, it is quite a bit more expensive and you might have to wait a little longer, but you will save yourself time and money in the long run. 

58. A Carpet Can Make All The Difference

This is one for many of you on a tight budget. If you have all your equipment in place, the next logical factor to look at is your room's acoustics. Especially if your studio has a wooden or concrete floor, you are already sitting with a problem.

The hard surface of the floor, combined with the solid flat ceiling above it, is the perfect breeding ground for some major reverberation (echo) problems. Before you start budgeting for some acoustic materials to address the problem, just hang on.  

The chances are pretty good that you have a loose carpet lying around somewhere. You may even be lucky enough to have thick rug tugged away somewhere in a closet or the garage.

In a fairly small room where your carpet (or rug) may cover half the floor space, lay that carpet down on the studio floor before doing anything else. The soft absorbent material of a carpet spread over a big portion of the floor will do a remarkable job eliminating a lot of the reverberation. A thick rug will have an even bigger effect.

It may not solve all your acoustic problems, but will go a long way to eliminate much of the reverberation. So much so, that your studio will be more than suitable to start recording. And that all without spending a penny extra.

59. When "Good Enough" Is Really Enough

It is blessing to be a perfectionist, but sometimes it can also be a bit of a curse. Whenever you are recording or mixing, you should strive to get the best possible result in each phase. Checking and double checking your settings and refining your audio to be as close to ideal as possible is a good practice. But only to a point.

Going over a piece of audio mix or recording the same take over and over again because you can't nail the audio to your satisfaction, can result in you wasting precious time and productivity. This is where the perfectionist in you must take backseat.

After a set number of attempts you must accept the fact that what you have is good enough, for the time being anyway. When worst comes to worst, you can always go back and redo some parts that remain unsatisfactory. In most cases, you will find that your attempts turned out to be more than good enough.

To stay disciplined and keep yourself from getting stuck in this endless loop of trying nonstop to get the perfect result, use a deadline or set yourself a limit on the number of attempts to get a recording or mix right.

I know its a compromise in a way, but in time you will learn that there is no such thing a the "perfect sound". And sometimes a piece of audio production not refined to perfection can turn out to be exactly the right uniquely original sound that makes it stand out.

60. Prepare For The Worst

This sounds like a rather negative way to approach anything, but its just a way of being as prepared as possible for any event. You cannot be prepared for everything that can go wrong, but you can put alternative options in place to be ready if things go wrong.

Here are just a few examples of what you can do to be as ready as possible for a few scenarios.

When you schedule a certain amount of time for a recording, set aside an additional hour. Your recording may start later, run longer or be delayed due to some equipment malfunction. (The same applies to time for mixing.)

If you have been running your studio long enough and are in the fortunate situation to have a few extra microphones and audio interface available, make sure a backup is set up and ready to go in case your primary equipment fail at the last moment or during a take.

You may also have limited space available on your hard drive for recorded audio. The chances are more than likely that you will be using more space than planned as you will most probably do multiple takes of a recording or save more than one version of your mix. Having a spare external hard drive in place will always be a good option.

These are just a few example of how you can prepare for some unforeseen events. You can look into your own situation and see how you can best prepared for your own events.

61. Learn To Improvise Quickly

You know Murphy's Law. When things can go wrong, they most probably will. This is very true  in a recording studio, and especially during a recording session. And learning to deal with unforeseen events quickly and efficiently closely ties in with the previous session, "Preparing For The Worst".

When it comes to recording, having backup equipment ready is not enough, and neither is setting them up. You also have to have it connected and ready to be activated with the flip of switch or change of a cable.

This is especially important if you are working on a tight or set schedule with a client who has booked a session.

Having an external hard drive available and ready to go is also essential. Your internal hard drive may get full unexpectedly quickly, or start using "virtual memory" that takes up all of its space. Being able to quickly plug in the external hard drive and continue working will prevent you from wasting any time.

These are just few practical things you can do beforehand to be ready to improvise quickly when you need to. In time you will learn to make other quick adjustments when something is just not working.

Being able to move the  microphone around when the standard position is not producing the correct result, or adjusting the gain on your audio interface just a little to correct that one instrument with an unexpected big output that throwing off all the other instruments and vocals - are all skills you learn over time.

Try and make a point of mastering and remembering these skills and how to apply them quickly. This will not just improve your productivity in general, but will also be a lifesaver when something unplanned happens and you need to act quickly.  

62. Don't Use Your Studio For Storage

In a way, this was already covered in the section where the point of storing your backups away from your studio was made. This section goes beyond that in terms of acoustics.

If there isn't already storage space available in the shape of build-in closets (or shelves and drawers in your desk), be very careful to add any additional furniture for storage when your room is already acoustically prepared.

There are mainly two reasons for having to be very careful to add any big piece of furniture to your studio. The first and obvious on is that a big object placed in a room where optimal acoustics have already been achieved, will definitely have some kind of effect in the way sound travels in the room and my throw the acoustic balance off completely.

The biggest problem you can create though, is if you are adding objects with flat hard surfaces. A solid rectangular filing cabinet or bookshelf is the worst possible kind of object you can add to a studio. The flat vertical surfaces will almost certainly cause some kind of reverberation which will have a negative effect on your recording quality.

If you can't find storage for your equipment, documentation and accessories in an existing space in your studio, rather store it outside the studio at a location close-by where it is quick and easy to find.

63. Don't Go Overboard With Effects

Being spoiled for choice with the hundreds of effects available in your DAW software, makes it tempting to "overload" your audio project with special effects. This can and very often do more damage than good to a recording.

Remember, you effects exist to compliment your recorded audio or vocals. As soon as your effects starts taking center stage instead of your recording, you are going off-target and setting your audio project up for potential failure.

64. Purchase Equipment Suitable For Your Type Of Studio

As with many other choices you make, this one should preferably be made during the planning stage. Your studio space is also one of the first choices you have to make during the planning stage, making your equipment choice easier to be based on this studio space. 

Essentially, the type and quality of equipment you will purchase, should be determined the room or space you use as your studio. Using some examples will best illustrate this point.

In a very small studio, like a bedroom converted into a studio, you already have so much natural acoustic treatment that this should not be the your priority. A big empty lounge on the other hand, will require extensive acoustic treatment and should be one of your first priorities. You will obviously also need a bigger budget for acoustic treatment of a big empty lounge than you would for a small bedroom studio.

The same applies to high-quality speakers used for monitoring your sound. Spending hundreds of dollars on speakers with big diameter drivers to deliver powerful low frequency outputs, and at huge amplitudes in a small studio is just completely unnecessary. 

You will not be able to experience the full range of sound frequency as produced by such a large capacity speaker and the sound will also become distorted very quickly in such a small space. Using a small pair of near-field studio monitors will perform much better in the same space. (Obviously the opposite apply when using a very large studio with a small pair of desktop speakers to produce an accurate and realistic sound that will fill the room.)

These are just a few examples, but should give you an idea of how equipment chosen to suite their environment, will always give you the best performance.  

65. Acoustic Blankets And Windows


Elsewhere in this article, I discuss sound insulation and how windows and doors are prone to allowing external sounds to penetrate the studio. A special type of glazing can be applied to help prevent external sounds from entering the studio through the windows.

Not everyone likes the idea of direct treatment to their windows. There is another option for users who are looking for an alternative solution. This solution will also serve a dual purpose.

Acoustic blankets are described in this article to create an isolated space within a large open area for a studio setup. This same acoustic blankets can be used for your windows.

With a little improvisation, you can turn these blankets into curtains and replace the existing curtains in front of your window. By drawing these "blankets" close, you are creating a very effective acoustic barrier.

As the thick materials in the blankets are designed to absorb sound, it will help to absorb external sounds from outside the window, but also help to absorb any additional sound waves generated inside the studio. Basically a two-in-one solution.    

66. Use Reference Tracks For Mixing & Testing Room Acoustics

Working for long hours day in and day out for years will reward you. You develop and fine-tune your skills, train your ears to pick up the finest detail and know exactly how you want your end mix to sound like.

With all this experience come a little bit of a risk though, especially if you work mostly on your own. I already discussed getting feedback from outside sources when evaluating your work. Before getting to that point however, you will still be working on your own for weeks without any external guidance.

When working on your audio for extended periods of time, you tend to rely mostly on your own experience and hearing to monitor and judge your mix. The danger of this is that you end up working "in a bubble".  

There is a more direct way of constantly monitoring your mix and make sure you keep working in the right direction. Making use of reference tracks can help you stay on coarse and make sure you are constantly judging your own audio against industry standards.

A reference track is a commercial song/audio that is already a commercial success and from an established artist. This not enough though. Make sure this song sounds good to you in a variety of different scenarios and over time. Also make sure its in the same genre and style you are aiming to make your own production sound like.

Having a recording ready on your system to play back at a moment's notice will help you judge your own attempts, making sure settings like gain, balance and equalization are set correctly. This will also guide you to make sure your audio "sounds right" and the overall feeling, rhythm and mood you are trying to create, is moving in the right direction.

The aim is not to copy the reference track in anyway. It is there to hold your hand and act as a guideline. Left to your own devices for too long, and you may end up going in completely the wrong direction. Only after comparing your attempts against a reference track will you realize how far off-target you have gone. 

Always keep a reference track or two ready and make sure to compare your own mix on a regular basis, especially if you are still finding your way. You will save yourself a huge amount of time and gain a lot of invaluable experience.

67. Address Obvious Mistakes And Flaws Immediately

Whenever you come across a flaw or make a mistake, whether it is in the recording or editing phase, address it or make a very prominent note of it immediately.

When you are entrenched in your work, there is a lot going on and you have a lot to concentrate on. You have to listen to so many different aspects of your audio, monitor so many settings and may be busy doing and planning so many adjustments, it is extremely easy to forget about a mistake/flaw in your audio you just picked up.

The important thing to remember is to stop immediately, even if it is just to make a quick note before continuing. This way you ensure a flaw or mistake gets addressed and not get lost in the small mountain of information you are busy working on.

68. Evaluate Your Audio Outside The Studio

Monitoring your audio with both headphones as well as your studio monitors/speakers are a very good start. But even these 2 sources are not enough.

In order to get the best indication of what your audio will sound like and get it as compatible enough to sound good on all devices, you should test it on as many as possible devices. And that means taking it out of the studio.

Whenever you reach a stage where you feel your audio mix is at a point where it can be evaluated and you are happy with the way it sounds in the studio, make a playable audio file and put it on a flash drive.

With most modern day devices providing USB and MP3 support, test it on everything you can get your hands on. Play it on your home theater system, your car's MP3 player, through your television's auxiliary USB port and even download play it through your portable MP3 player.

Now you will have a realistic indication of what your audio will sound like on most devices. You may get a few (or many) unpleasant surprises, but this the only way to get a realistic view of your audio's overall performance.

Its important to note that it is very seldom that you will get your final audio production to sound great on every possible device. This is normal. As long as it performs well on the majority of devices, you know your audio is on target and no obvious nasty surprises are waiting down the road.

69. Watch Your Recording Levels

Setting your recording levels up correctly can not be emphasized enough. Setting up a microphone levels too low can still be rectified, but recording levels that are set too high will cause clipping on your microphone and cause an unpleasant distorted sound that is impossible to rectify.

Monitor and adjust your recording levels during your microphone setup. Even simple audio software like Audacity, monitor and indicate your recording levels, with green, yellow and red bars. As soon as your recording level starts jumping into the yellow and red area, turn down your recording level. Stay safe and stay in the green.

70. Leave Your Bookshelves Alone

When you convert any room into a studio, chances are that there may already be some furniture in it. If you are converting a study or bedroom, there is a good chance there are already bookshelves in place. Don't be in a hurry to remove them.

Especially if your bookshelves are already filled with books and other objects with different shapes and sizes, you already have some very good acoustic treatment in place.

As a matter of fact, your bookshelf with all the different objects on it acts as a diffuser, scattering the audio waves hitting it in all directions. This will dramatically reduce reverberation. All this effective sound treatment without any extra effort or spending one additional penny. 

71. Remember That Looks Aren't Everything

Obviously we would like our equipment and components to look aesthetically pleasing. Walking into your studio where everything is color-coded, looking professional and fitting together like every component was build for each other, is a very satisfying feeling. The reality is far removed from it however.

The important thing is how well equipment and components work together, not look together. You may be lucky and start off with most of your equipment fitting well together.

At some point you are going to upgrade or replace some component. And to be brutally honest, it is really going to be bit silly to purchase a piece of equipment based on it looks, not its performance.

Trust me, no one listening to your audio production or voice-over is going to be concerned about what your studio or the equipment in it looks like. They will notice however, when your audio sounds inferior due to a pretty looking but poor quality audio component.     

72. Set Deadlines For Every Phase Of Your Audio Production

The planning stage when you start out your studio, is not the only phase in which you should make use of deadlines. The advantage of setting a deadline is to help you stick to a schedule, finish projects on their target dates and helping you to pace yourself.

This is why it is important to set a specific time and stick to this time for each stage of your audio production. This applies to setting up, recording, mixing and mastering (if yo feel confident enough).

This will also have the added benefit to force you to work more quickly and improve your overall productivity.

One last point worth noting, is to remember that each phase of your production will take up a different length of time. Mixing for example, will probably take a lot more time than setting up your equipment and instruments. You will work out over the course of time the amount of time on average you should set aside for each stage.

The important takeaway is that you set yourself a deadline once you have worked out how much time you need for each stage, then be disciplined and stick to it. 

73. Stop Making Excuses

We all encountered this scenario at some point. We have recording project so big and complex, we chose to sidestep this daunting task by finding all kinds of excuses not to get started.

Typically, "you just don't have the time, need to plan properly and do some more research." These are just a few of many excuses we use, but sometimes just the sheer magnitude of your project has a paralyzing effect on you.

Interestingly though, as soon as you get started, it immediately get easier. So just start, even if it is with something small like taking out a notepad and start making notes of key targets you want to achieve. Write down a rough framework with its main headlines, then start filling in some smaller to-do tasks whenever you think of anything.

Even just start playing around and start setting up some equipment just to get you on the go. It can be the smallest little exercise, but jut start at some point and the rest will fall in line soon enough. 

74. Break Big Projects Into Smaller Sections

Building on the previous point, big projects can be made easier and manageable in several ways. Just getting started is one way of getting off the mark, but there is more structured way of making it more manageable and not seem so daunting.

By sitting doing down and literally breaking your audio project into smaller sections you are making it a lot more manageable and less intimidating. Breaking a big project up into six or more smaller sections, you can give you full attention to each section without worrying the whole project the whole time.

It is not always clear as to how to start breaking down something into smaller sections, and is also a skill that you develop over time as you gain experience. There are a few things you can do to get started though.

If you already have a vague idea of a song in your head and what you want it to sound like, you already have three separate sections to work with. A start, middle and ending. 

Even if you are not exactly sure what each will sound like, you already have 3 separate areas you can think about and define a but more for yourself. Once you start getting a clearer picture of what each part may sound like, you can start thinking about transitional areas in the music and how you may use them to tie the beginning to the middle and middle to the end together. Now you have five separate areas to work on.

(For all song writers and music composers having a heart attack right now, I know this not the way a song necessarily gets composed or written at all, and in many cases there are many different facets that cannot be defined in terms of beginning in middle and end. For the rest of us having to do pretty much everything by ourselves, it is a simplistic yet effective way of breaking a project down into workable pieces.)

Alongside working with these five stages, you can start thinking about other aspects of your project like rhythm and instruments.

What kind of rhythm do you have in mind? What mood do you wan to set and what should the pace of the rhythm be? What kind of drum set or other instrument will you using for keeping the beat?

The same applies when thinking about instruments in general. What are the main instruments (or virtual instruments) you will be using? How many will there be? At what stage during your track will each one be used? 

At his point you have 7 different areas you can work on. An you don't have to work on them chronologically. You can work on each on each one develop each area separately. Obviously you have an overall idea of what you are working towards, but you only really need to start thinking about this much later when you start fitting the different pieces together during the mixing process.

There are a wide variety of ways to approach and break down a big project and there is no real right or wrong way. Hopefully these few ideas and guidelines will help you get started. 

75. Analyze Your Room Using The "Clap" Test

Sometimes simple and free exercises can be just as valuable as the most expensive piece of equipment or sound measuring device. This is exactly what this section is all about.

When you set up your studio for the first time, you want to get rid of as much reverberation as possible. (This also applies to existing studios where you moved equipment around and need to optimize your room's acoustics.)

Using just your hands and ears, you can effectively test reverberation. When you clap your hands together in an empty room, the clap normally sounds harsh and sharp. This is the combination of of the sound source (your hands), and the the sound waves reverberating off the walls, ceiling and floor. This is normal for an untreated room and a good indication that you need some serious acoustic treatment.

What you are looking for is a dull "thud" when you clap your hands together. You can go ahead and start adding acoustic materials. After each application, do another clap test. Repeat this process until you get the desired results when doing the "clap test". Some rooms will require a lot more acoustic materials than others. It all depends on each room's size, dimensions and existing materials already present in the room.

If you need more information on how to apply acoustic treatment to your studio, you can read more about it in this article.

Also remember to do this test in various spots in the room, not just in one central position. This is not an exact science, but a very effective and tried-and-tested way of helping you create a studio with very good acoustics.

76. Get In The Closet During "Desperate Times"

This may sound very strange, but a closet can turn out to be a very handy make-shift studio if you are away from your own, and need to make a recording urgently.

No, I am not talking about a small little closet you cannot even stand upright in, nevermind holding and talking/singing into a microphone. I am referring to a convenient walk-in closet, or at least a closet which is big enough for you to stand in and hold a microphone at a comfortable distance. (If you are working with an instrument like a guitar, a walk-in closet will probably be your only option.) But why a closet?

A closet provides all the characteristics that helps to minimize reverberation. It does not have any big flat surfaces like walls that will cause a substantial amount of reverberation. It is surrounded though, by lots of clothes, which act as sound absorbing acoustic materials. With the closet doors closed, you also maximize any interference from outside sound sources.

The result? A pretty good small studio with surprisingly good acoustics. Please, don't try and turn this into a permanent solution.             

77. Keep Your Cable Shorts


Your cable loose signal quality as the length of the cable increases. Therefore, keep your cable as short as possible, the shortest practical length that a cable can be to connect two devices.

This also means removing any unused devices connected in the chain between your microphone and audio interface. Even though it may be switched off and not actively used, the extra path the signal must take through the device's circuitry will cause additional a loss in signal quality.

You can find more useful information and tips on cables and how to use them in this article.

78. If You Don't Need It, Don't Use It

The temptation to buy that newly advertised condenser microphone with awesome features and a stunning design, can be hard to resist. So is the urge to get the plugin with countless of effects and virtual instruments for your DAW software.

First, ask yourself if you really need it. If you don't and simply love the idea of getting the latest and most popular piece of hardware of software, you might be creating more problems for yourself than you might think.

New products, especially software, can come with a steep learning curve, which will take precious time away from you doing actual work. If it's not really adding any value or quality to your audio production, is it really worth it?

With new hardware, there is also always the potential compatibility issues. Its new drivers may not be compatible with your current operating system and may also clash with other equipment's software drivers. Then there is always the finicky DAW software that is notorious for not always playing nice with new equipment.

If you need or can really benefit from the new purchase, by all means go ahead. Just make 100% sure. You may just inadvertently en up causing a world of headaches for yourself.  

79. Beware Of The Proximity Effect

The distance between your mouth (source) and the microphone plays an important role in determining the quality of your recording. There is common tendency to stand as close as possible to the microphone to get a clear recording and cut away unwanted background noise.

Unfortunately, standing too close to the microphone will emphasize and increase the volume of low frequencies (the proximity effect). This cause the sound to get distorted and "muddied". Create more space between the source and mic to prevent this from happening.

80. Deciding Between "Mono" And "Stereo"

Basically all equipment and software used today allow you to record in either stereo or mono. It's sometimes just convenient for many users to record in the default stereo setting.

But just because you can record in stereo does not mean you always have to. There may be reasons to record a voice or instrument in mono to allow you more versatility to place it anywhere in the "stereo space" in your software where it will fit in best. 

(This does not mean at all that your final production will be in mono, just that the recorded instrument will be placed on a mono track in your DAW software. The final output file will still be in stereo.)    

81. Know Your Equipment

As you grow and expand your recording studio, you may reach a point where you start taking in clients (artists). At this point, remember you are now the producer. Apart from all the other abilities that an audio producer must have, a proper understanding of your equipment is essential.

You must know your equipment and component inside and out, be able to know how to make quick adjustments and set up everything in the right place.

It is not just unprofessional, but can be very embarrassing when you start fumbling around with equipment in front of a client, clearly not knowing how to solve a problem.

82. Accept The Fact That Mixing Can Not Fix Everything

I don't think anyone experienced in the recording industry will doubt the power and features of modern day DAW software. Their ability to edit, manipulate and correct audio files have opened a whole new world for new and existing users and artists.

Unfortunately this created the false impression that almost anything can be fixed while editing and mixing your audio project. This is simply not true. You can correct recording flaws and mistakes to a certain extend, but some errors are just impossible to eliminate.

To be honest, some recordings are just too bad to be salvaged. A poor performance (by the artist), too much background noise, microphone bleed from nearby sources and just a plain badly recorded track, are all factors that can make a recording unusable. ​

So make sure you know the capabilities of your DAW software, but also make you know its limitations. This way you will save yourself the time and frustration of trying to achieve a result that is just not possible.

83. Consistency Is Not Always Key

Your equipment change over the years, an artist's voice or the way of playing an instrument change. Therefore it is really unrealistic to expect to be able to replicate a recording and the environment it was created in. I would go as far as stating that it is probably impossible.

This should not be be seen in a negative light at all. Even if you trying to record a piece of audio in the same style and atmosphere as the original from a year ago, the newly recorded track will be familiar, but with a refreshingly different "color" and feel.

This natural evolution of music is so normal, most people don't even notice how their favorite artists' music change over the years. Only when comparing a particular artist's latest song from one produced ten years ago will you realize all of the sudden how much the style and overall performance has changed.

Embrace the fact that your music/voice-overs will evolve over time. You still have the style that is unique to yourself, and that will always remain if you stay true to yourself. 

84.  Name Your Files Poperly

The amount of audio files on your hard drive and external media will accumulate very quickly. Soon you will be sitting with hundreds or thousands of files. If you don't name them properly to be accurately identified when searched for, you may spend up hours looking for a certain audio track. In a worst case scenario you may not find the file at all.

A good practice when naming a file is to name it as soon as possible. Don't postpone! As soon as you start working with an audio file immediately save it. A good approach is to use the artist's name and the recording date in the file name. This will make it much easier to find.

85. Trust Your Ears


Your DAW software is a great tool, able to keep track of and and measure everything. It constantly monitors each and every track and shows you the level of each note. Sometimes, it doesn't tell the whole story however.

This is where your greatest asset, you ears, come into play. When you are unsure or confused by what you are seeing on screen and what your DAW software is telling you, use you ears to make final judgement.

In the beginning it may be hard to be able to trust your ears, but as time goes by and your are trained, you will find it much easier to use them to distinguish between what sounds right and what simply doesn't work. You will be able to make informed decisions based on experience and a pair of well trained ears.

86. You Can Create A Studio In A Large Open Space

Simply because you don't have access to your own multiple room flat or even a small room, does not mean you are not able to create your own enclosed recording space.

If you have a big enough studio apartment, find a spot, preferably in a corner where two walls meet. You can create a cubicle as big as you are able to, by mounting two railings on the ceiling from which you can hang acoustic blankets, which are specifically designed to absorb sound.

You have just created an isolated space where you can control your audio and isolate yourself to a great extend from external noises. It is not ideal, but will provide a more than suitable environment within which to get creative with your studio setup.  

87. Focus On The Recording, Not The Effects

Your original recording will always be your most important asset. Do your absolute best to enhance, clear up, balance and equalize your recording and the best out of it before even think of using effects and plugins. 

Even when you start adding effects, do it sparingly. They can be a valuable addition to your production and play a big part in enhancing your recorded tracks. Just always remember your recording and vocals should always take central stage and your effects should only be used to add and highlight your center piece.

Just simple thing to remember, Your recordings are the most important part of your audio production, not your effects or virtual instruments.

(Obviously none of this applies to any piece that was entire created from scratch in your DAW with virtual elements created for everything, from melody to the beats. This something entirely different.)

88. Take A Break To Get "The Big Picture"

It is very easy get bog down with all the details. This not so much an issue during the recording process, especially if you did you planned properly. This is more common during the mixing process.

Obviously it is important to focus on the details and make sure you get everything sounding right, synchronized, and all flaws are removed or reduced as much as possible. It becomes a problem when you spend so much time focusing one every possible detail right, that you loose track of the project as a whole.

Stepping back every once in a while and measure and judge your work against the "big picture" of what you trying to create, will help you to keep perspective, stay on course and focus less on the elements that not that important at all.

I mentioned the use of reference tracks elsewhere in this article, and taking a break on regular basis and evaluate your work against these tracks, will also be very helpful.  

89. Maintenance On A Routinely Basis

To keep your recording equipment functioning and operating consistently, develop the habit of getting into a fixed routine for general maintenance. Set aside a specific time (once a month or every six months for example) and stick to it. 

Although you can never be 100% sure that everything will always work and always perform consistently, maintaining on a regular basis will lesson the chances of any unpleasant surprises.

90. Use Your Software's Shortcuts

Learning your DAW software's shortcuts, or even better, creating your own will be a huge advantage. Not only will you save a lot of time, you will also be able to work more productively.

Having a proper full-size keyboard is almost a must for using shortcuts, as its size will make it easier to quickly and accurately hit the right key when needed. Your DAW software also makes use of your Funcion Keys on the top of the keyboard which is also a lot more easy to access using a full-size keyboard.

91. Beware Of The Basement

No need to dwell too much on this one. Many users turn their basements into studios, which is fine in principle. There are two factors to always take into consideration when thinking about converting your basement into a recording studio though.

The first is damp. Elsewhere in this article I already discussed the dangers of damp. One thing basements are notoriously famous for is the presence of moisture and a lot of it. Just be prepared to go to extraordinary lengths to remove damp from your basement. (It may be possible that you will never be able to completely get rid of damp, especially when present inside your walls.)

The second one is not that serious. Most basements have a low ceiling, which is not ideal for your studio's acoustics. If you look at most commercial recording studios, you will notice they have very high ceiling. This is because low ceilings do not allow sound waves to travel very far before hitting the horizontal surface and bounce the waves right back, resulting in a very unpleasant reverberation effect. Luckily most of this can be addressed with acoustic treatment to the ceiling itself.

Just be aware of these two potential dangers when you consider your basement and make sure they can be addressed effectively. 

92. Take A Break Before Mixing

It has been a long day in the studio. After an eight hour long recording session, you may just be more than physically tired. You are most probably completely mentally drained as well.

The worst thing you can do at this moment, is to jump in and immediately start mixing. Not only are you tired and as result unable to properly concentrate, you have also overworked two key assets you need when working on a mix: You ears and judgement.

Your ears have already been pushed to their limits concentrating on each take during the recording session. Like any other part of your body they need proper rest to function optimally. Getting a good night's sleep where your ears are also given a break and not exposed to any sources that will make them work, is always a good idea.

The same applies to your judgement. After a day recording in the studio, you have been listening to each session, judging what sounded right, what needs to be adjusted and what take should be recorded again.

There is no way you can move directly to mixing, thinking you will be able to think straight and make sound judgement calls. This is when you start making bad mistakes and actually end up wasting time, as you will probably listen your mix later on when refreshed only to realize how badly you judged and messed up your mixing attempts.

Do yourself a favor and go take a proper break after a day's recording. You deserve it.

93. Don't Get Back To Mixing After A Big Meal

Here's a small biology fact which many of you are probably aware of. Blood normally flows and concentrate around the area that needs it most at any given time.


When you exercise and you work a specific muscle, that muscles gets that "pumped" feeling after a while. That is the blood accumulating in your muscle to help repair and muscle damage and help with recuperation.

The same happens when you had a very large meal. Your stomach and digestive track is tacking a lot of strain and needs plenty of support. Which is where the blood rush to. 

And guess where there is not a lot of blood flow present at that very moment? Around your brain where it is needed, where proper blood flow is essential optimal cognitive function. Ever wondered why you feel so sleepy and lethargic after a big meal? Now you know.

That is where there is no way you can do some effective and productive mixing after a big meal. Your blood flow needed around your brain, is now busy helping you digestive deal with all the newly arrived nutrients.

You just won't be able to concentrate properly and have a clear mind to make good decisions. Give yourself a short break until you feel awake and alert again to hit the studio.

94. Beats First When Recording Multiple Tracks

When you plan on recording multiple tracks, it's always a good idea to record your beat and melody first. This will lay a good foundation for recording your vocals, and will allow the whole piece to have a better flow and your complete track will sound more coherent.

Obviously, you must have a complete understanding of your different tracks and how they will eventually all fit together. This task is also not that simple, so knowing your DAW software very well to seamlessly piece all the bits together, is a must.

(Needless to say, an artist playing an instrument while performing vocals are best recorded in one go.)

95. Remember To Leave Some Headroom In Your Mix

When you are mixing your audio, it is always a good idea to limit your dynamic range. Leaving your peak output at -6 dBFS, will allow the mastering engineer with enough head room to work to equalize, normalize and compress your mix for final output. Sounds confusing?

In plain language, your digital dynamic range of amplitude tops out at 0 dBFS ( This means 0 dBFS is the maximum possible digital level of amplitude/loudness that can be reached). Anything louder than this ceiling will cause clipping (the sound will simply be cut off and cause an unpleasant distortion.)

If you lower your mixing level to 6dB below this peak output, you're mixing at -6 dBFS. Luckily your DAW software measures and shows you your levels in real-time. You can always keep your eye on your mixing volumes to make sure you stay safely within theses limits.

96. Double Track If You Can

Double tracking is the practice of recording a specific track and then record the exact same track again. When combining is these tracks you get a much fuller and rich piece of audio.

Naturally, it is impossible to do this with every possible recording, and most of the time not necessary at all. Many instruments and vocals naturally sound full and rich, and as result do not require any additional work to produce a good quality track.

(Limitations on time and hard drive storage space also makes recording everything twice unnecessary and unproductive. Just be mindful of what you're recording and whether it really needs to be double tracked.

Sometimes you are recording vocals or an instrument that just sounds very "thin" for some reason, no matter how you record it. This is the perfect scenario where double tracking can make a huge difference and help you solve the problem.

97. Beware Of Too Much Bass

I think if we are all honest with ourselves, we all know and love how convenient and helpful bass can be. This low frequency sound adds a rich and full character to your audio that immediately makes it sound more dynamic with that "extra punch".

Sometime users go overboard and add too much bass. This may be a simple mistake or an attempt to mask some flaws in some of the other sound frequencies. The result is an overbearing bass that can quickly make your audio sound "muddy" and distorted.

Try and avoid this temptation and rather aim for a balanced sound. (If you are trying to mask a flaw in your audio, rather fix that piece of audio.) If your audio is naturally bass heavy, that is perfectly fine. Just don't add bass for the sake of adding bass. 

98. Track Alignment Is Important

It should be very important to make sure all your tracks are aligned at all times. It sounds obvious, but for some reason often not enough attention is given to it.

When recording different sound sources on different tracks, they needed to be combined and synchronized in your DAW. Track alignment means these different tracks starts exactly at the right moment, stay synchronized and ends exactly where they should.

If your different tracks are not 100% aligned, even by milliseconds, it is immediately noticeable and just sounds very unprofessional. With DAW software being extremely accurate to make adjustments to 1/1000 of a second, there is no real excuse not to have and keep everything aligned. Most high-end DAW software have build-in tools to assist you with this as well. 

99. Blankets And Curtains To The Rescue

What if find yourself on the road or on visiting family for the holidays? Some recording enthusiasts/artists always carry some portable recording kit with them just in case a "Eureka Moment" strikes, and you need to record before the idea and inspiration fades.

Unfortunately your hotel room or spare room you are staying in have horrible acoustics. There is also no big enough closet to turn into a makeshift recording studio. What now?

Time to get creative. One thing you most certainly will have access to is blankets and the curtains in your room. Make sure your curtains are closed to absorb as much sound as possible.

Next, get hold of as us much blankets as you can. (Ask the hotel staff or relatives for more if you don't have enough.) Hang the blankets over every piece of hard furniture in the room. If you have closets, open the doors and hang the the blankets over them.

The blankets will absorb much of the remaining sound and the open doors and exposed shelves will act as diffusers to scatter any sound waves reaching it. You will be pleasantly surprised with just how much these few changes to your room will enhance your acoustics.  

100. Headphones First For Monitoring

The ideal situation to properly monitor your audio, is to have good pair of headphones as well a good pair of studio monitors. Only by using both can you get a clear perception of what your audio sounds like.


There may be a few reasons why you can only make use of one source to monitor with. (Budget restrictions, room dimensions and acoustics can all play a role).

Whatever the reason, always go for headphones first if you have to choose. Headphones allow you to capture the most amount of audio detail.

Also, if you can only afford one source, chances are you are restricted in terms of room dimensions and proper acoustics as well. This will make studio monitors much less effective to use anyway, purely from an acoustics point of view.

All this reinforcing the choice of investing in headphones first. (As soon as you are able to, add a proper pare of studio monitors/ speakers. You do need them both for the best results.) 

101. Be Prepared  For Change And Keep An Open Mind

Everything in the recording industry is constantly changing. Just look back at the past two decades and you will realize how much technology, software and even techniques have evolved. Ant there is no indication of it slowing down.

This means you must adopt a willingness to adapt and learn. And don't see this as a bad thing because it is not.

You are working in an industry where things are not stagnating and definitely not getting boring. Once you got the basics down, it will be easy to keep up with gradual changes in technology an other new developments.

Just keep an open mind and enjoy the journey!


If you made it through the whole article. Well done! This was one hefty bit of text to get through. You would have noticed that the tips and techniques followed no specific chronological order, like I mentioned in the beginning. And like I said, that was the whole idea.

Anytime you want, you can read through the whole article or just skim through it if you are looking for something specific. I am sure you will find something new or useful to apply to your home studio to improve your recording experience.

As always, feel free to leave me any comments or suggestions you may have, and I will respond and try and get to them as soon as I can.

Remember to join my  Mailing List  to be informed whenever a new article is released, and share new developments and helpful hints & tips.

Catch you in the next article and happy recording!