Author: Bruce Bartlett

Recording the Electric Guitar

You can record the electric guitar in many ways: With a mic in front of the guitar amp With a direct box Both miked and direct Through a signal processor or stomp box   Use whatever sounds right for the particular song you’re recording. Mike the amp when you want a rough, raw sound with tube distortion and speaker coloration. Rock ‘n’ roll or heavy metal usually sounds best with a miked amp. If you record through a direct box, the sound is clean and clear, with crisp highs and deep lows. That might work for quiet jazz or...

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Recording a Piano

by Bruce Bartlett Recording a Grand Piano This magnificent instrument is a challenge to record well. First have the piano tuned, and oil the pedals to reduce squeaks. You can prevent thumps by stuffing some foam or cloth under the pedal mechanism. One popular method uses two spaced mics inside the piano. Use omni or cardioid condensers, ideally in shock mounts. Put the lid on the long stick. If you can, remove the lid to reduce boominess. Center one mic over the treble strings and one over the bass strings. Typically, both mics are 8 to 12 inches over...

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The Recording Coach: EQ & Vocal Effects

by Bruce Bartlett EQ QUESTION Hey Bruce, how have you been? I have a quick question: When separating instruments in the mix, does it sound better to have them slightly overlap or make sure that the frequency ranges are separated completely? Thanks –Nick Papps Hi Nick, Each instrument produces a wide range of fundamental frequencies and harmonics. All the frequencies that an instrument makes, and their relative levels, are called the spectrum of the instrument. It’s impossible to separate the spectra of the instruments completely because each instrument covers a wide range of frequencies. So there always has to...

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Causes and Cures of Electric Guitar Hum

You’re recording an electric guitar, and you hear a buzz or hum. Here are some causes and cures. Magnetic Hum Fields AC in a room’s power wiring generates electric and magnetic fields that oscillate at 60 Hz and its harmonics. When the magnetic lines of force cut the conductors in the guitar and its pickup, the conductors generate a 60 Hz signal, which is amplified by the mixer or guitar amp. Cure: The amount of hum generated depends on the angle between the pickup coil wires and the magnetic hum field. At certain angles, a lot of the hum...

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Phantom Power Explained

by Bruce Bartlett Most condenser microphones need phantom power to operate their internal circuitry. Let’s explain what phantom power is and how to use it. Phantom power is electrical power that is sent to a condenser mic through its mic cable. The cable must have XLR connectors to pass phantom power. Each of these devices can provide phantom powering: a mic preamp with phantom power built in a mixing console with phantom power built in a stand-alone phantom power supply In each device above, a female XLR mic connector supplies the phantom power to operate the mic. The microphone...

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