67

Consider the wise words of Ira Glass: Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing ...


62

If your aim is to record smooth performances without having to do too many takes, the simple answer to that is to perform pieces that are comfortably within your capabilities, rather than pieces where you're pushing the limits of what you can do. This is generally what you are seeing when you watch an impressive performer playing live - however complex the ...


52

If you look closely at the picture, you'll notice that pieces of tape are placed in very specific positions: one in the middle of speaker cone and the second one on the edge of speaker cone. Furthermore, look at where microphone is positioned - it directly aims the piece of tape. This technique is commonly used in recording - tape is used to mark microphone ...


45

Wave is an uncompressed or lossless format, whereas MP3 is compressed or lossy. Technically .wav is just a container format and can hold various types of compressed or uncompressed audio, but typically you'll see it containing LPCM uncompressed audio (the same as on audio CDs). With .wav files, you are essentially getting a raw bitstream representation of ...


41

'In general' is pretty hard to nail down. There is so much to say about this era I could write a book - perhaps I should ;-) Late edit - Let me add a quick TL:DR Hardware sequencers were such a pain to programme is was simpler just to play it most of the time. One good bit of diddley-diddley sequence could make the whole track sound "electronic". It didn't ...


40

It's kinda problematic. Devices already play music. The player piano was already automatically playing music on rolls before 1910. There are pieces with musical notation written for player piano--what looks like Marc-Andre Hamelin's original manuscript for his "Circus Galop" for player piano survives today. I suspect part of why people still like hearing ...


32

"Worth the money" is very subjective. Let's instead talk about the various factors you have to consider. Fitting A into B Good quality microphones usually have XLR connectors. These have three wires arranged so that any interference picked up in the cable is cancelled out. Many USB audio interfaces have XLR sockets (but check that the one you choose does)....


32

Types of connector Acoustic instruments, of course, don't have any kind of electrical audio output. For these you need a microphone. For the purposes of this answer, a microphone is just another instrument. Electric instruments have a socket in them through which an audio signal is output. There are various kinds of connector: 3.5mm phone – the same ...


31

Well, ok, I see what you're saying. Keep that record button down all the time then. If that makes you suck all the time, then so be it. Suck and slowly improve. If your music is only being listened to by you, how do you really know it's any good to begin with? You can't judge yourself while practicing. That's a skewed view. You have to judge yourself ...


31

Tentatively: Yes. As medium for final delivery, I've not yet seen any strong evidence that a well-designed 16-bit, 44,100 Hz system can be significantly improved on as a vehicle for listening to the final mix (and therefore, from a musician's perspective, as a vehicle for presenting the final mix.) When I looked into this a few years back, I was ...


30

So, I work in live production, specifically in audio. With very, very few exceptions the mics themselves and the mic cables have no immediate redundancy other than someone being ready to deal with a problem should one occur (though if a lead vocalist is using a wireless mic, there may be a wired mic tucked away someplace on stage the talent can get to ...


27

Collective improvisation doesn't mean "everyone plays at the same time". Playing jazz is as much about listening as it is being able to play your instrument. In that kind of situation, a player isn't thinking about "what should I play next", but rather "what is the music, at this moment in time, missing that I can provide?" Cacophony is more likely to ...


25

A balanced setup prevents electro-magnetic interference from corrupting an audio signal, such as one going between a microphone and a preamp, for example. Cables themselves are not balanced, but an audio signal carried by a cable might be balanced. Cables which carry such signals normally have three conductors. Microphone cables are a typical example. The ...


24

As you probably know, there are many non-human devices that play music. Dekkadeci has mentioned some historical examples; today, a typical workflow is to feed MIDI (or MIDI-like) data to a computer or synthesizer which renders the desired notes. If you think of MIDI as a kind of musical notation, the answer to your question is just "...but devices do play ...


23

Tuning forks, invented in 1711, standardised tuning. (A student of mine used to call them pitchforks...) Trouble was, there was no standardised pitch for the note,that came much later. So various forks ranged from 400 - 450Hz, depending where they were made/used. I guess musicians didn't travel too far for engagements, so discrepancies in 'concert pitch' ...


23

The short answer: 16-bit 44.1 KHz PCM encoding, when properly sampled and played back, is close enough to perfect reproduction for human hearing in virtually all situations that it's unequivocally "good enough." The main caveats: The material must be recorded and reproduced with properly engineered sampling and playback systems. While this is not ...


21

This is a really broad question, so I'll touch on all the parts only briefly. The assumptions I'm making are: by complete beginner, you mean a beginner at recording, not playing piano you want to make a high quality recording of an acoustic piano performance you want the recording to be digital The minimum components you need to do this well are: a great-...


21

Before trying any effects at all, I should change that mic if I were you. The SM58 is an amazing live mic – not just because it's dead sturdy, but also because it has a very focused, direct, "shallow" sound. Great to make vocals come out in a live mix and to avoid feedback and other common trouble – but none of these benefits have any relevance for a studio ...


19

Practice it at a speed where you CAN play perfectly. If you can't play a section correctly however slowly you go, sort out why. Your fingers are moving to the wrong place. Move them to the RIGHT place! Yes, it really is that simple. Every time you 'take a run at it' and mess up you're practicing playing it wrong. Go slower and practice playing it ...


17

I know exactly what you mean and I've thought about it quite hard myself. Not everyone can do this, but as you attune to music more and get used to what a drum kit or guitar playing in a room sounds like, it's easier to pick out the characteristics of live vs. recorded. I think it's a mixture of things: The mix- sometimes live music isn't mixed as well as ...


17

Both XY and Mid-Side recording use two mono signals to create a stereo image, but they do this is totally different ways. XY is probably the more common method. It requires two matching microphones. They are set up somewhat like our ears; that is side-by-side, pointing in towards each other. In mixing, the two channels are usually panned left and right ...


16

What I've found is that the acoustic piano is the most expressive when played softly. We all like loud, but anything can be loud and the ear will tune loud OUT after a while. But it pays attention when things get quiet. And that's where weighted keys really help - on a digital too. If you don't have that weight, you'll get a more frequent oops-BANG ...


15

XLR connectors should be your preferred route, as balanced cables have a much lower noise level by their design - they are constructed such that noise induced by electromagnetic interference cancels itself out, whereas signal doesn't. If you want stereo, you need to use two cables. As you can see 1/4" has a Left and a Right, and XLR has a Left and a Right. ...


15

No doubt both are used, depending on circumstances. Having done some recording in both styles (sequenced/synthesized and live-performance) even with my mediocre performance skills and low-quality hardware, I've still often found performing to be less-labor-intensive than sequencing (to my surprise). If you can find any random half-decent instrumentalist it ...


15

Well this is a big question, so let me start with a big answer: http://www.amazon.com/Mixing-Secrets-Small-Studio-Senior/dp/0240815807/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1426508544&sr=1-1&keywords=mixing+secrets Now for the smaller answer more approriate to this format. A good mix starts with the arrangement before you even record. If the ...


14

There are two (popular) types of microphones: dynamic microphones and electret/condensor mics. Dynamic microphones They work like a speaker in reverse. Sound moves a diaphragm/coil assembly. The coil moves over a magnet and a current gets induces. Hence we have voltage. Almost indestructible. YOu can literally pound nails with a Sure SM58 (fun abuse video ...


14

You should not use a pop filter when recording instruments, unless the instrument is air-powered and your mic is in the line of fire (and if that's the case, there may be better mic placement options). The pop filter is meant to be as aurally transparent as possible, but it is indeed an obstruction that you are introducing between the instrument and the mic ...


14

I think this is more a matter of perception/gratification. Before the days of YouTube & instant vanity publishing, it would take people years of practise before anyone other than family & close friends would be willing to listen to them at all. Many people never reached the stage where people would actually specifically come to hear them; maybe they ...


13

Well, there are a few options, but there are considerable limitations. First, copyright. The instrumental backing tracks for popular music are usually the property of the producer or record label, so finding these on the internet for free is of questionable legality. Some labels do provide licensed CDs for exactly the purposes you require (or karaoke, ...


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