The Recording Engineer’s Handbook 4th Edition
Book PrefaceThe Recording Engineer’s Handbook 4th Edition
When the first edition of this book was written back in 2002, the recording world was a different place. There were still quite a few real commercial studios available to record in, the old studio structure of master and apprentice engineer was still in place, and record labels were still where you wanted to be if you were an artist. Boy, everything has really changed since then. Now virtually anyone can have a pretty good sounding personal studio without spending a lot of money, record labels have lost much of their power, and since there aren’t a lot of commercial studios around any more, there are not many pro engineers to pass on the tricks of the trade. That’s what makes this book all the more useful.
The idea behind my books is to preserve the techniques of the recording masters for history and pass those techniques on to you, the reader. That might not be as hands-on or efficient as the master/apprentice (engineer and assistant) system used in large studio facilities for fifty years, but at least there’s somewhere to refer to if you don’t know how to record an instrument and there’s no one around to ask.
In this new era of samples, loops and modeling, a whole generation of engineers have grown up with little working knowledge of microphone technique, and that’s understandable when you can make great recordings without ever having to do much tracking in the first place. The problem is that sooner or later there’ll be a time when a question like “What’s the best way to mike the snare to really make it punchy?”, “How do I get a big guitar sound like (name your favorite artist) gets?”, or “How do you mike a piccolo?” can cause a mild panic. That’s where this book comes in.
While there are many books available that touch upon the basics of recording (especially stereo orchestral material), there aren’t many books that feature multiple techniques in miking a wide variety of instruments in the detail needed to achieve a reasonable and consistent result. And there is no book that concentrates upon this basic, yet all-important facet of recording in quite the same way as it’s presented here.
As you’ll see, there are many ways to get the same basic result. There’s no right way to mic an instrument, but some ways are more accepted than others and therefore become a “standard.” Whenever possible, I’ve tried to provide a high resolution photo or diagram of a described miking technique, as well as a written description of the theory behind it, as well as the possible variables.
For those of you who have read my previous books, you’ll notice that the format for this book is identical to those. It’s divided into two sections;
Part 1 takes a look at the microphone basics, the classic models frequently used, and the techniques used by the best tracking engineers in the business. And Part 2 is comprised of interviews with some of the finest (and in some cases legendary) tracking engineers in the world.
Keep in mind that whenever possible, I tried not to get too specific on the make and model of microphone to use. That’s because you probably don’t have access to some of the expensive vintage mics that are frequently specified in the various setups, but the fact of the matter is that it’s the placement that counts more than the mic, so feel free to use whatever mics you have.
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