The Weak Link In Your Audio Chain Is...You

2015 Feb 23, 2015

Did you know that my first few recordings were absolutely horrific?

More specifically my first few YEARS of recordings were mind numbingly bad. Down right awful stuff people. The kind of stuff you would listen to in order to instantly feel better about your recordings.

But then I bought a really nice mic preamp and some acoustic treatment and my recordings improved a hundred fold overnight.


Haha. What a joke. A sad joke, really, because we’ve all believed it at one point or another.


Via Hernán Piñera Flickr

Forget The Magic Bullet

The home studio (and pro audio) culture tends to perpetuate the myth of the magic bullet. That there’s some piece of gear out there, either hardware or software, that is the missing link for you.

What exactly that piece of gear is depends on who you are talking to at the moment, but the world view behind it is always the same. We like to believe that we are one purchase away from better recordings.

But please take my word for it. There IS NO magic bullet. 

I honestly wish there were. If so, I’d work hard, save up my money, and buy that sucker! Then life would be simple and my audioquest would be complete.

But because it doesn’t exist, I had to find another way.

I Have Good News And Bad News

You can’t give a guy like me (whose recordings were pathetically bad) an expensive piece of gear and assume my recordings will improve drastically, if at all. It makes no sense.

Why? Because the gear wasn’t the weak link in the chain. I was.

And that’s both good news and bad news.

The bad news is that if your recordings sound terrible (or just not as good as you’d like) then, as Hoobastank would argue, the reason is you.

It’s not because of what DAW you record with, or what microphone you use, or what converters you own.

No, your recordings (and my old recordings) are bad because you haven’t developed enough in your craft.

You Can Stop Debating Gear

But therein the lies the good news. You don’t need any more (or different) gear to improve your recordings.

You can stop entering into pointless debates about what gear you really need to get a pro recording, and instead funnel all that energy and effort into doing more recording and improving your craft.

(One of my readers, Josh, gets this concept perfectly.)

Since YOU are the weak link in the chain, every moment you spend practicing and honing your skills, the better your recordings will become. Even if you never buy a new piece of gear again.

Why Do You Think My Recordings Have Gotten Better?

Going back to my point about my early recording days. They were horrible remember?

When you look at the progression of projects (both personal and for clients) that I have recorded over the past 15 years, what is the fundamental reason my recordings are (literally) 100 times better than they used to be?

The simple fact that I’ve done a ridiculous amount of recording for 15 years.

Like virtually every other skill out there, the more you practice it, the better you become. It’s inevitable! And that’s really good news!

You don’t need anything special. You don’t need a fancy recording room. You don’t need more money.

You just need to get to work, make a bunch of bad recordings, hone your skills, and watch things improve over months and years of doing this.

In fact, let’s test this right now. If you can listen to your most recent recording and say with all honesty that it is better than anything you’ve ever done in the past, let us know below.

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