What if I told you there was a way to make all of your current gear immediately sound better? No I’m not talking about getting new converters or upgrading your DAW (like that will instantly make you sound better). Rather I’m suggesting that if you tighten up the sound of your room with a little speaker adjustment and acoustic treatment you’ll get better performance out of all your current stuff. Let’s examine this theory shall we?
Via Taco Ekkel Flickr
Better Recordings With Your Current Microphones
When you’ve considered your room’s sound and treated it with with some simple acoustic panels, you’ll hear immediate improvement in your recordings. Your microphones aren’t that smart. They hear everything and anything that is happening in your room, for better or for worse. If your room sounds untreated, that’s what your mics will pick up.
However, if you’ve tightened up the slap back and that nasty ring we’re all so familiar with, then what your mics will “hear” is likely what you want them to “hear”, your source. Your acoustic guitars will resonate better, vocals will be clearer, and of course, percussion will be more crisp. It’s amazing what modestly priced microphones can do if you just put them in a decent sounding room!
Better Mixes With Your Same Speakers
Mixing is hard. I get that. But why do we think that better, more expensive speakers are the solution? I guess the logic goes that if they are more expensive, they will reveal the sound of our tracks more accurately to us, thereby giving us an edge when mixing. It’s so funny though, because some of the best pro mixers in the world mix primarily on very “inaccurate” and overly mid rangy Yamaha NS10s. And their mixes sound great!
The reason? Talent of course! Oh, and experience! And… a solid mixing room. Hopefully you have talent. And likely you’re getting more experience with each mix you do. So why not improve the sound of your room with solid speaker placement and basic acoustic treatment? It will immediately let you hear what’s coming out of your speakers more accurately, getting you one step closer to better mixes.
Don’t Waste Anymore Of Your Money
If you have a solid studio setup in place (and you can get one for only $300 US) and you’re starting to make some decent music with it, do me a favor. Don’t waste any more of your hard earned money on additional gear until you’ve tackled your room. No more preamps, converters, plugins, DAW upgrades, microphones, expensive cables (what?!), studio monitors, audio interfaces, etc. Just don’t.
It’s not that you can’t benefit from some of those upgrades one day, it’s just that you’ll never hear their full potential if you can’t hear things clearly in your room. Your money is valuable and I want you to spend it where it counts. Tighten up the sound of your room and you’ll see instant improvement in your current setup. Then you can assess what you need (and don’t need) from there. Deal?