4 Ways To Get A Better Recording

By George Howard
(Follow George on Twitter)

Paul Kolderie is one of the best and most successful producer/engineers in the business. He’s worked with everyone from The Pixies to Radiohead. He’s run and owned studios and labels.  Most importantly, even while achieving tremendous success, he’s never stopped working with young, developing artists.

In this video chat, I pick Paul’s brain to discover some key takeaways for artists who are attempting to make great recordings in the post-studio world.

1. Analog around a Digital Center

Remember, people are not digital, and voices are not digital. And so, what you do on the front-end makes all the difference. Everyone has the same basic digital set up and the same basic plug ins.  The key to distinguishing yourself is through analog elements that feed into the digital center.  This means spending as much as you can afford on a things like good quality microphones and good quality speakers.

2. Two Microphones

With the right two mics, you can accomplish just about anything.

Get one microphone that is the best you can possibly afford, and use it for a variety of things. If you want to set yourself apart, and be better than everybody else’s ProTools system, you must have ONE killer mic instead of five OK mics.

For your other mic, make sure you have a great workhorse. For Paul, this is the Shure 57.  It’s a mic that can accomplish virtually anything in terms of recording things like drums or electric guitars.

3. Make sure your instruments have great intonation.

It’s crucial that your instrument have good intonation. Almost any instrument can be set up in the best way possible in order to be in tune, and it’s imperative you do so.  This does not mean that the instrument has to be expensive, but rather that you must ensure that it’s set up right.  There’s no plug in to fix the intonation of a guitar or bass.  These instruments—the bass in particular—are the foundations of the tonal stack, and therefore must have solid intonation.

4. Be cognizant of your workflow.

Don’t change every variable of the recording process.  For instance, don’t change the guitar, the amp, the pre-amp, and the mic every time you need a guitar sound.  Instead, get a great guitar amp sound, and have that be your constant—don’t change it; instead, change the guitars that you input into that fixed sound.

Related to this, just because ProTools allows you to do hundreds of takes, be careful to listen, and not just create a pile of gratuitous takes.  Doing so results in people not thinking about the music itself.  Remember to take a listen and not look at the screen.

As we learn from Paul, like so much throughout the music business today, the key is to marry your digital and non-digital wolds. Just as I encourage you to Straddle your online (digital) and offline (non-digital) worlds with respect to things like promotion, as we see from this video, you must think that way in terms of recording as well.

[Editor’s note: Use these tips to make a great recording and sell your music online.]

_________________________________________________________________________________________

George Howard is the Executive Vice President of Wolfgang’s Vault. Wolfgang’s Vault is the parent company of Concert Vault, Paste Magazine, and Daytrotter. Mr. Howard is an Associate Professor of Management at Berklee College of Music

  • John Malkovich

    I am also john malkovich

  • John Malkovich

    And that was a brilliant podcast.

  • John Malkovich

    And that was a brilliant podcast.

  • Chrissen Brand

    Very helpful thanks;)

    http://labelmenow.blogspot.it/

  • Audrey LGreen

    Thanks for the info. I’m learning everything by myself and appreciate the wisdom shared. Audrey L Green
    Music from A Jewish Carpenter

  • http://twitter.com/Dark_Blu1 Daemon Blak

    It’s good to know that in already doing these things, I was doing the right things from the start. I don’t have to change anything, and that is good to know. THANKS>

  • Englewood

    Don’t change the guitar-sound, change your guitar!? haha, that is bs

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  • http://www.facebook.com/born.vj Born VJ

    Leonhard Recordings / Italy

    http://www.facebook.com/LeonhardRecordings

  • http://www.facebook.com/peterdonna.hoffman Peter-Donna Hoffman

    Great info I appreciate the interview guys.

  • http://twitter.com/Female_CEO_OSC O.S.C Records

    YEA I AGREE WITH HIM AND APPRECIATE IT CHECK OUT MY ARTIST JUST GOOGLE US OSCRECORDS AND LOVE TO WORK WITH ANYBODY COMING UP

  • http://www.facebook.com/rubenlo81 Ruben LoPresti

    Extremely helpful video blog, from one of the Industry’s best!

  • Marley Magner

    1) Microphones
    2) Microphones
    3) Intonation
    4) Flow

    sounds good!

  • Liv
  • William M. Cooper

    I kind of instinctively knew already the things he was talking about, especially the bass guitar being set up properly to cause the song to flow along its designed score. The information on mics was good, if I were planning on doing it myself from A to Z. However; I chose to go to a recording studio down in Corpus Christi, TX who recorded my vocal and then subcontracted the music through a group in Nashville, TN. When the music came back, I studied the arrangement and then sang to it. Not pleased with the outcome, we subcontracting a fiddle player to come in and study the song and then recorded him playing along with the score, finishing the song out perfectly. The total cost for the instrumentals on one song was 600 dollars. Had I a whole album to record, it might had been wiser just to buy the equipment. My first and only release thus far is, Lisa Moo Moo Marie and can be heard on jango.com. I tried posting it on youtube and facebook but couldn’t figure out how to do it. I use cdbaby.com, jango.com and linkedin.com because those sites are user friendly and I can take responsibility for making sure my data is posted efficiently/effectively.

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    I quite agree with the information that have one hit Microphone is better than having 5 Ok microphones.

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  • Norm1975

    HMMM. I can’t view it. It says the video is private.