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Recording Audio Equipment

Lesson 34 from: Songwriting in Logic Pro X for Electronic Music Production

Tomas George

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Lesson Info

34. Recording Audio Equipment

Next Lesson: Recording Audio


Class Trailer

Writing Drums and Bass Part Introduction


Making Drums Beats with Ultrabeat


Beats with Ultrabeat and Drummer


Writing Bass Parts - Part 1


Writing Bass Parts - Part 2


Writing Drums and Bass Parts Assignment


Writing Chords Introduction


Writing Chords


Lesson Info

Recording Audio Equipment

Hello and welcome to this lecture where we're going to be looking at microphones and setting up before you actually record. So if you do want to record any vocals, if you do want to record any real life instruments, you will need a microphone for some people. This might be quite basic, but I'm going to go over some essential gear so you can get started ready to record. You will need an external microphone. I do recommend not using the one that's built in on your Macbook because these are pretty bad. I also recommend using an XL R microphone. So not a USB mic. These are OK for voice overs. But if you want a really high quality recording, you will need a XL R microphone. So you need a microphone that gets plugged into something called an audio interface. So what an audio interface does it converts the analog signal from the microphone into a digital signal. So you can record it in a digital audio workstation such as logic pro. You can also use something called a preamp. So this is basica...

lly like an amplifier to boost the gain of the microphone and you can also get some preamps that will add some color and will actually add some effects to the microphone. Let's first of all have a look at microphones. So the one I'm using right now, the one I'm speaking in now is called an electro voice re 20 microphone. So this is great for voiceovers. It's great for lower vocals or male vocals. It's also great for electric bass guitars. It's quite a, a low end Basie microphone. These are about $550. I personally really like these for voiceovers, they're pretty good for singing, but for voiceovers, this is kind of the typical microphone that you will hear. It produces kind of radio style sound. So if you look at a lot of radio shows a lot of the time they're either using this microphone or another one called the Shaw sm Seven B. This is also great for voice service. It's also great for rock vocals and male vocals. I know Bono from U two actually uses a SM seven B to record his vocals. This one is about $400. Another microphone is the A KGC 414. This is kind of the jack of all trades. It has the interchangeable polar pattern. So you can use it as a figure of eight microphones. So it picks up sound from both sides a room microphone, omni polar pattern. It can be cardioid hyper cardioid. So it really allows you to use this mic in different situations. So if you're recording a live band, recording vocals, you're recording, singing, you're recording, say percussion. This mic is really great. The only thing I wouldn't really use it on is a kick drum. This one is a bit more expensive. It's around about $800. But if you want a microphone that can record loads of different things including vocals, I do recommend having a look at the 414 and this is the XL S model, another microphone which is fantastic for recording. Nice rich vocals is the Newman TLM 102. This is really great for female vocals. If I'm recording a female vocalist, I would normally use the Newman TLM 102. This one is about $650 you'll probably recognize it. It's kind of a classic vocal microphone. So these are kind of the main ones that I would use for recording vocals. If it's a lower male vocal or a voiceover, I'd use the electro voice re 20 for a male rock style vocal. I would use a short SM seven B if I just need one mic if I'm out and about from recording a band. If I don't know what I'm going to record, I'd take the 414. And if I'm recording Rich female vocals, I'd use the TLM 102. If you're on a bit of a budget, I'd recommend having a look at the shaw sm 57. This is kind of a jack of all trades microphone as well. It doesn't have any interchangeable polar patterns. So it's just this microphone really, but it's pretty good at everything. It's about $100. This is a good one to start with. If you don't want to spend too much money on the microphone. Have a look at the short sm 57. You'll also need something called a pop filter or a pop shield. So the hard P sounds you really want to shield these with something called a pop shield. These are quite inexpensive. They're between 10 and $20. I've heard stories of people creating their own pop shields with tights, but I would just buy a pop shield. They're quite inexpensive. They're very useful. The last thing you want really is to have a really nice vocal recording and it been ruined by these, the breath sounds from the pa pa pa, it's that breath sound, it tries to actually filter out. And like I said, you will need an audio interface. There are a few different audio interfaces you can use. The one that I'm using right now is the focus, right? Scarlet two I two. This allows two inputs. It can be jack, it can be XL R. It's just a very useful inexpensive audio interface that in my opinion sounds great. I've gone through loads of different audio interfaces in the past and this one just works well. It's inexpensive and I just really like it personally. I have no affiliation with focus, right? I just like this audio interface. I use audio interface on the go as well. Travel audio interface, which is actually the Shaw X two U. This is a very lightweight audio interface. So if I'm recording, say a conference, if I'm going abroad, if I'm going on an airplane, I would normally take this audio interface with me just because it's a lot lighter. It only allows you to plug in one XL R mic. But a lot of the time this can be very useful. Another thing that I use is a preamp. So the one I'm using right now is the DB X 286 S microphone preamp. So this is specifically designed for microphones and it's great for voiceovers. It's great for recording vocals, has a few different settings on here such as a compressor ad ser a noise gate. So you can cut out some of the background sounds. This is great if you don't want to spend too much time mixing. The main reason I've got this is because of this microphone, the re 20 it needs a lot of gain and the Scarlett Two I two doesn't really provide enough gain for this microphone. So what I do is I go out of the microphone into the mic preamp pump up the gain, use some of the effects on here as well to improve the sound before it goes into the audio interface and then into logic pro and that's really it, it's set up, it's quite inexpensive. This preamp is about 100 and $50. It depends how serious you want to take your recordings. I personally think it's makes my recording sound a lot better. It just allows you to actually improve the sound of the microphone. Before you go into the digital audio work station. Really, you want your mic sounding as good as possible before you mix mixing can only do so much. You really want your sound to be as high quality as possible. And then you can just tidy up a little bit in logic pro you don't want to have a poor quality sounding recording and then you have to do a lot of work whilst mixing. It just saves a lot of time to get your mic sounding as good as possible. I'd also look at room sound. Think about what room you're recording in. You don't really want to record in a room that's too big. Cos you will get a lot of reverb. Reverb is caused when you speak into the microphone or sing into the microphone or instrument. The sound wave is traveling into the microphone, not all of this sound will go into the mic, some of it will go around the microphone and then it will go around the room and bounce off the surfaces and then eventually come back into the microphone and this time delay of bouncing around the surfaces will cause reverb, the bigger the room, the longer the time will take and the bigger the reverb. So really you want to record in a small dead room, there's a few little tricks you can do to make your room dead. I like to record in a room that's got carpet rather than a hard wooden floor because the surfaces aren't as reflective. If it's carpet, it deadens the sound same with curtains. You want heavy curtains on the wall, you can even record it in a bedroom because the bed will absorb a lot of the sound. A walk in wardrobe with a lot of clothes around is great for vocals just because it will just deaden the sound. You don't really want a big room unless you're recording. Say rock drums, you want that big natural reverb sound, but generally vocals, you want to have a dead sound. So if you ever go into a vocal booth, if you clap your hands in there, you'll notice it's quite a dead sound. You can get mini portable vocal booths or reflection filters. I use one by se electronics. I don't use this for my voiceovers because it does actually cover the screen. I can't see what's going on on my Mac. However, if I'm recording a singer or if I have a script that I'm reading, I will use this reflection filter or vocal booth, it just deadens the sound it stops, the sound bouncing around everywhere. It just goes straight into the filter and then stops all this reverb. A lot of the time these are about 100 and $50 you can get a lot of this equipment. Second hand, you don't necessarily have to buy it all new. But I generally like to buy electrical products new because I know they're gonna work other tips when recording vocals is the position of the microphone. Really? You want the mic pointing at the mouth, it's quite obvious, but you want the sound to go into the microphone because like I said before, if the sound doesn't go into the mic, it will just bounce around the room. So point the mic at your mouth and not too far away because you will get more of that reverb, more of that sound waves that bounce around the room. If the mic isn't directional or isn't pointing at you, it depends on what sound you're after. If you want a big echoey natural reverberated sound place, the mic further away, record in a bigger room. But generally you want to record in a dead room, you can always add reverb on later on. Also when recording, you don't want to go into the red, which basically means you don't want to have your level going above zero DB or zero decibels. If it's above zero DB or zero decibels, it will peak, it will distort, it will ruin the signal. So always make sure your level is below zero DB. If you use a microphone preamp, like the one I mentioned before, the DB X 286 S, this actually has a built in limiter which stops the signal going above zero DB actually limits or puts the signal below zero DB. So it can't actually clip all distorts. But if you don't have a vocal preamp, if you're not using a limiter before you go into the audio interface, I recommend just turning down the signal, practice beforehand, sing as loud as you're going to sing in that song or ask the singer to sing as loud as they're going to sing in the song and make sure it's always below zero DB. And that's my main tips for recording vocals in Logic Pro 10. I hope you found this useful. The next lecture we're going to be looking in Logic Pro and I'll show you how you can quickly set up a microphone, ready to record your vocals or an instrument.

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