RECORDING 101 – Panning Your Mix
Great stereo mixes are made by panning certain elements left and right to create width and separation. Panning can be just as essential to a mix as volume levels. There are no rules of course, except for whatever sounds best! However, there are some standards that most professional recordings follow: Lead vocals, bass, kick drum and snare drum are in the center. The standard rhythm guitar part is doubled (recorded twice, not copied) and panned wide left and right. The cymbal overheads are panned wide left and right, and the toms and any close mic’d cymbals are panned as they sit on the drum set (from either the drummer’s perspective or the audience). Lead guitars, vocal harmonies and texture parts can be panned to preference. These can also be doubled and panned separately for a big wide sound. Also, be sure to track piano, keyboards and synths in stereo whenever possible for the fullest sound. If something is fighting for room with the lead vocals, try panning it away from center to make room for the vocals to be clear in the mix.
MODERN MUSIC TECHNOLOGY
Yamaha Subkick – “What is that thing?”
A lot of our clients are curious about the Subkick and wonder what it does, why we use it, and what exactly is it. The Yamaha Subkick is a reverse wired speaker mounted into a drum shell that functions as a microphone, and records very low frequencies that normal mics can’t. We (and many others in the industry) like to use it on the kick drum to capture the deep bass tones. We recommend to also record with a standard kick drum mic, and blend the signals for a full, powerful sound!
– Full Circle has been busy recording some exceptional talent recently. From the catchy hooks of A Collegiate Affair, the brutal breakdowns of Greater Is He and BoughtxBlood, the heartfelt melodies of Destination Worship and To Send With Love, to the pounding rhythms of Boxwave, the screaming guitars of Rosie Soul and the Rock and Roll Cowboys, and the country twang of Red Neck Pool Party, Reeve Stimpson and Brittany Marie, Full Circle is home to many of Richmond’s top artists across multiple genres. Be on the lookout for some great new music coming your way from all of these talented artists!
– Check out this article from VCU on alumni and Full Circle owner Dan Uphoff – Living The Dream.
– Several of our clients have taken advantage of Dan and Matt’s musical talents by hiring them to perform on their project. At Full Circle, we can add any additional instrumentation you need to make your song or album complete. Dan is a professional drummer and Matt is a professional guitar player who both have experience in many stringed and percussive instruments. We also use professional virtual instruments to create any sound you can imagine and can additionally hire session players when needed.
Many artists use what are called “Backing Tracks” to enhance their lives shows. Backing tracks are essentially audio or MIDI recordings that musicians play or sing along with in order to add parts to their music which would otherwise be impractical to perform live. These can be anything from keyboard and synth sounds to added vocal harmonies and MIDI samples. When using backing tracks the band must play to a click. We can provide these tracks for our clients who have recorded with us or recorded elsewhere in a professional sounding studio. A common way of incorporating these tracks live is to pan the click to one side and the backing tracks to the other side. The click will be sent to the drummers earphones and the tracks will be sent to the front of house soundboard (FOH).
Our schedule is getting filled for the summer so if you’re interested in getting into the studio by the fall please contact us to set up dates as soon as possible. Also, we still have time-slots available for drum lessons. If you’re interested, simply reply to this email for more info.
We use a variety of mics when recording drums in our studio. There are plenty of different styles and brands used to capture the sounds of each individual piece of a kit. Here are the most commonly used mics for drums within the industry. Typically for a snare you will find studios using the SM57 on the top. For toms, the Sennheiser 421 is the staple. The kick drum can be captured using a AKG D112, Shure Beta 52, Audix D6, Shure Beta 91, Electro Voice RE20, and the Yamaha SubKick. A common choice is to use a pair of AKG 414’S, Neuman KM184’s, or Shure Sm 81’s for micing the overheads. Whenever possible, 2 large diaphragm condenser stereo mics should be used at room mics for drums.
We have been active over here at Full Circle working with all types of new artists and genres. From CNU’s 20 person a cappella group, USounds, to the solo hip-hop mastery of Deadrong, we get an eclectic mix through our doors! One of our recent favorites is a progressive art rock band called “One Truth” hailing from Richmond, VA. One Truth are finishing up their full-length album in our studio and it’s very colorful and diverse in sound! Here’s the video for the single “Inferno” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7RAY8iMy7Kg) , creatively filmed by RVA based Altimira Film Co. (http://altamirafilm.co/)
We are happy to be working alongside some very talented female artists lately. Rosie Soul and the Rock & Roll Cowboys, voted Richmond’s Best Rock Band 3 years in a row , have started recording tracks for their new record at Full Circle. We recently linked up with the award winning, Nashville recording artist Katelyn McCarter and have been working on live music production for her upcoming summer and fall shows.
Here are some tips for recording vocals. In our experience, a vocalist usually sounds better later in the day. This is because the vocal chords are warmed up after a full day of activity and talking. Lukewarm Ginger Tea can help loosen up the esophagus for better vocal takes. Some people add honey to their tea or warm water. A singer must be well rested and psychologically ready (ie. know all the parts including harmonies, low stress level etc). It’s a great idea to have the singer run through a few sections while you are dialing in their settings in order for them to warm up. To get the best out of a vocalist, we recommend recording the vocal lines in separate sections. Also, record doubles for choruses to add bigness and double all vocals for aggressive vocal styles. A tip for a vocalist struggling to hit a harmony is to record the line as a piano or synth part, play it back in the mix for them and after a few times they will be nailing it. Lastly, a great way to expand your mix is to double all harmonies and pan them wide for a really big sound. This tip works especially well for creating a bigger chorus.
Many artists seek out CD duplication and digital sales when they finish recording. We get asked quite often on which services and companies are the best to get an album pressed in physical copy and where to sell music online. Both engineers at our studio have played in bands, recorded, and sold music in physical form and online. We prefer to use DiscMakers.com (http://discmakers.com) for CD Duplication and Replication. The company’s prices are some of the lowest around and we personally know that the quality of their products are top-shelf and worth it. If you decide to use DiscMakers, you can input our customer number upon check-out and get free merchandise such as a framed copy of your album! Our Partner CT# is CT90390881
When it comes to selling music online, we believe TuneCore.com (http://tunecore.com) is the best avenue to getting your music on all the familiar digital music retailers such as iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, Xbox and more. You simply pay a nominal fee for their service, upload your music and album artwork to their servers, select which stores nationally or internationally that you want your music on and once your music is launched, you start collecting money from your sales!
There’s a ton of great music coming out of Full Circle right now and we couldn’t be happier! RVA recording and musicians has stepped up the game over the past few months!For some local news, check out this video cover of Lorde’s “Royals” by local RVA rock band DNA. This song is featured on their new record “Stranded”, and the album was tracked, mixed and mastered here at Full Circle Recording. If you are into good quality covers you need to hear local RVA band Silver Bullets. They finished recording 12 songs with us and you can hear their awesome renditions of TOP 40 HITS HERE!
This past month we were fortunate to get our hands on a very large collection of sound FX for movies, games and music. Our studio is fully equipped to provide you with any sound you can think of! We offer a broad spectrum of sound effects – including Animals & Birds, Construction, Crowds, Fire, Household, Industry, Military, Office, Sports, Transportation, Weather, and also include long ambience tracks from around the world! If you have a sound idea or are in need of some foley for any project, contact us and let’s create something together!
The local Chesterfield YMCA’s are conducting an instrument and donation drive for public schools called “Strike A Chord”. The drive is accepting any instrument that you are no longer using and will be donated to the Chesterfield Public Education Foundation. The instrument drive starts March 28th and goes through April 14th . Simply bring your instruments or money donations to any of the Chesterfield Y locations to help share music in our school system. Our public schools can use woodwinds, brass, strings, guitars, recorders, and drums (no electronic instruments). For more info go www.cpefound.org or call 379-1551.
We are now offering drum and guitar lessons at our spacious studio. Half-hour and hour long lessons are available with expert drummer Dan Uphoff and professional guitarist Matthew Seay… drum sets are provided so contact us for details if you are interested! (804)425-5317 or email FullCircleRecordingVA@gmail.com
Guitar players across the world are graced with new technology everyday. Sometimes that new technology is short-lived, other times it becomes a staple amongth the elite and trickles down to us consumers. One really interesting piece of gear is the EverTune guitar bridge by Cosmos Lyles. This bridge is an all mechanical guitar bridge system that keeps your guitar in tune under all conditions. It uses tension and a little bit of mathematics to keep your guitar in the tuning you choose to be in. The player sets the guitar un and EverTune keeps that setup no matter what kind of damage you do to the guitar (besides smashing it on the floor). The applications are endless for this piece of gear, especially in a recording environment because every note on the guitar remains in tune with the given tension… Check out this video from Cosmos Lyles that showcases the awesomeness of this piece of modern music tech! Click Here! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rAtnUz82HdY#t=185
The bridge is priced at $330 on average before installation. We hope to have one of these available in the studio one day soon!
** 2013 was a busy year for Full Circle Recording. We met some really amazing artists and recorded a large variety of styles throughout the year with a 100% customer satisfaction rate. The studio added an engineer, purchased new equipment like the Fractal Audio Axe-Fx, and recorded more than 50 different vocalists and groups. We can’t thank our clients enough, we are looking forward to hearing many more of you this year!
It’s hard to pick the top track to come out of our studio last year but one of our favorite tracks was a song called “So Sweet” by upcoming R&B artist Hakeem Romance.. check the song out right here!
“So Sweet” (http://goo.gl/2VHFZS)
We had a good amount of clients come through our doors with specific production jobs they wanted done. We always offer professional standard services such as recording, mixing, and mastering. If you record at home or another studio like many of our clients, we can hook you up with a professional mix and master no matter what software you recorded on. If you just want to take advantage of our pristine studio for something specific, like drum tracking or vocal tracking and record the rest yourself, we can do that as well. We pride ourselves in top quality audio production at Full Circle and we can offer drum quantizing, drum sample replacement, guitar/bass re-amping, vocal tuning etc… for those who have recorded elsewhere and need to take their music to that next level.
Our official Full Circle Recording gift cards were popular this past holiday season and were a great way to round the year out… they are available year round so please give the gift of professional recording!
We are now offering drum lessons with our very own engineer and drum expert Dan Uphoff. Half-hour and hour long lessons are available in the comfort of our spacious tracking room… drum sets are provided so contact us for details! (804)425-5317 or email FullCircleRecordingVA@gmail.com
It’s always best to be as prepared as possible when entering the studio. When it comes to recording guitars and basses, a great amp and a great guitar are ideal but half of the tone really comes from players technique. As in, the way your hands rest on the guitar, the way you hold the pick, and the way you fret and attack the strings all have great influence on your tone. When entering the studio, it is important to be well rehearsed and to have fresh strings on your guitar or bass. It is not unusual for some engineers to request that you change your strings after every hour of playing in the studio. Thicker gauge strings are ideal for lower tunings. When it comes to tuning guitars and bass, it is recommended that one person is responsible for tuning all the instruments with a 1 cent or better accuracy tuner. Check the tuning fretted (usually check around the 5th and then the 12th fret positions) to make sure the instrument is tuned to play in tune. Having open strings in tune doesn’t mean that the instrument will play in tune, especially with lower tunings. The open string usually has to be a bit flat to actually play in tune to compensate for the fretting and strike of the note (again, most often in lower tunings). Make sure to keep the tuner calibrated to 440Hz!
Studio Newsletter… Contains information from RVA music news, to industry news all the way down to recording 101 tips and tricks….Click one!