Tips and Tricks
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Tips and Tricks

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Reduce lavalier microphone noise by doing the “Broadcast Loop

If you’ve used a clip-on lavalier microphone, you know that wind noise isn’t your only worry. Contact noise with clothing and skin is also a big problem, but it doesn’t end there. Even the attached cable of the microphone itself can cause unwanted noise. When the cable gets pulled or rubbed accidentally, it can vibrate and cause a distracting noise. Over time sound people developed a little trick called the Broadcast Loop. The idea is to create a little slack in the cable right at the clip of the lavalier, so if the cable gets pulled or rubbed, the slack creates a buffer zone to diffuse the vibrations. Depending on your ingenuity, you can create a Broadcast Loop with a standard lavalier clip. Some manufacturers went ahead and have built microphone clips with multiple attachment points to fasten the cable into a loop. The model in the graphic below is a Shure RK307DB, and it will work perfectly with most lavalier microphones.

When you record the drummer. record the whole band

By no means is the following a rule of recording, it’s simply a tip. When recording a band with a drummer, or any group of musicians who routinely play together, it’s a good idea not to record them completely separately. You may be tempted to record each musician one at a time, in separate tracks, so you can get total isolation of their sound. What is lost here is the vibe of the musicians playing off one another. The real trick is to set up all of the players in a space so they can hear one another, and you can get a nice recording of all of their instruments. You may want to make some instruments more important than others that you may get to overdub later, but try not to make a less important instrument destined to be a "scratch" track either. Work it a little bit so you get a usable take from each player. The overall improvement in "vibe" is massively important.

The lowdown on TRS connectors

This is a little refresher for those of us out there that may need to brush up on the differences between balanced and unbalanced quarter-inch audio cables. The thing you need to look for in a quarter inch cable is the “ring.” If the connector has a ring in the middle of its prong, then it’s a balanced TRS cable. TRS stands for Tip, Ring, Sleeve. If there is no ring, then it is referred to as a TS cable, or Tip Sleeve cable. Guitar cables are TS cables. You can use a TRS cable with a guitar as well. For example, say you are connecting a microphone preamp to a computer recording interface. If the preamp has a “balanced” quarter-inch output, and the interface has a “balanced” quarter inch input, you would definitely want to use a TRS cable. TRS cables can create a ground between balanced inputs and outputs, so you’ll be able to record a cleaner, richer signal similar to using an XLR cable. If you don’t have a TRS cable handy, a TS cable will work and probably will sound pretty decent as well.

Don’t update your software until you know it’s supported

You may be familiar with that window that pops up on your computer from time to time and asks you if you would like to update to the latest version of iTunes, or other popular computer software. Your inclination may be to go ahead and click OK so you know you’re getting all of the latest features. But if you’re using audio/MIDI software you should be very careful about always having the latest and greatest software and operating system. It’s not uncommon for major audio software manufacturers to be somewhat behind the curve of the latest OS releases. It’s strongly recommended that you first investigate thoroughly that the software you rely on to do your creative work is compatible with the software and OS you want to update.

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