BY KEVIN SINCLAIR
POSTED JULY 15, 2008
If you want to successfully record a CD, you have to get the balance right. No matter whether you are recording, mixing, mastering or polishing up your production, you need to keep in mind the overall balance in order to create the best possible sound. This doesn't have to be a difficult process. You just need to keep some basic ideas in mind as you complete each stage of production. The following tips can help you balance your CD recording successfully:
1. Volume. The volume levels of the various instruments in your recording can impact the overall sound quality and effect. This means that if your end result doesn't sound quite right, you may be able to fix the problem relatively easily by checking the volume levels of each instrument component. These should be checked individually as well as in combination together and balanced accordingly. Certain waves can also have volume envelopes and these should also be checked.
2. Frequencies. Every sound wave has a different frequency and if they are distorted or too high they can affect the sound of the rest of the instrumentation. When you find unwanted sounds from the process itself in your CD recording, sound frequency levels may well be the problem.
3. Software Settings. A lot of music making software is designed with automatic settings for instruments to make it easy to make sound recordings without a great deal of experience. Unfortunately, this programming can also make it difficult to balance the recording. Many sound engineers struggle to create the right balance in a recording, not realizing that they are being sabotaged by a standard computer program. This problem is easily fixed by turning off the automatic settings. You will then more easily be able to find the right balance.
4. Waves. Balancing your recording is intimately involved with monitoring and adjusting the wave files in the recording. To balance the overall sound in a recording it is important to consider where the sound waves peak, where they trough, and how they can best be manipulated to achieve the desired sound. By ensuring that waves are balanced at each step of your recording process, you will maintain an evenness of sound from beginning to end.
5. Keep it Simple. Computerized recording software can encourage first recordings to experiment with new sounds and effects. Unfortunately, this temptation can often cause novices to create imbalances in the recording or to even to destroy the original sound of the song. The simpler you keep your recording, the more likely you are to get the balance and sound that you want.
6. Stick to the Middle. When considering the overall effect of your music, try to keep as close to the middle of the sound range as possible for each element of the recording.
7. Sound Check your Instruments. Sometimes the problems are with the instruments themselves. You can save yourself a lot of trouble later by checking that sound is even amongst the different instruments you are using. Sometimes, one instrument will throw all the others off causing a song to sound either too high or too low. Taking the time to get the balance right with the instruments before you start recording can make it a lot easier to get the right balance when the track is laid down.
At the end of the day, getting the right sound from your recording comes down to monitoring the balance of instruments before you even begin, checking the balance during the different recording stages and finally balancing wave files and the overall sound at the end of the process. If you take these steps, you will be able to create a recording with the sound you want.
About the Author
Kevin Sinclair is the publisher and editor of MusicianHome.com
, a site that provides information and articles for musicians at all stages of their development.