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The Importance of a Constant over Variables in the Studio!!!
When first starting out in this craft of recording, it is important to understand that while it does makes sense to try every option available when you’re still learning, it is also not the goal to continue that practice once you become a professional.
Pros in this business do NOT try every microphone, every mic preamp and every other variable when trying to capture a performance. We just don’t. A client does not want to sit around watching us learn our craft. And more importantly, the flow of a session is thrown off when you’re spending time figuring out these minute decisions.
When you spend decades recording, you learn about all the tools available. You figure out what tools work best for what application and you create your own toolbox or templates that you tend to stick with.
In my experience in working with some very great and accomplished engineers, they tend to stick with what works for them 95% of the time. There is an occasional “this mic isn”t working let’s try something else” but it’s an exception. Not the rule.
Professionals create a bag of tricks that they feel they can safely go to on a regular basis or when all else goes wrong.
For example, over the years I have purchased my own musical equipment that I know works. Even if the artist has their own, I feel more comfortable knowing that I have benchmark pieces to compare it to. Those include a Black Beauty snare (best money I’ve ever spent), a Fender P Bass, an assortment of Fender and Gibson guitars and even a few guitar cords that I know work every time they’re plugged in.
In addition, I have my templates in my DAW that already have my reverbs, delays and master buss processing already ready to go. I stray from this set up 5% of the time at most. I have folders of drum samples with maybe 5 – 10 options of each drum. I own thousands of drum samples but I’m not going through them each time I’m trying to create a track. That completely kills the vibe.
Plus, it makes it easier to find new tools to add to your toolbox when you have constants that you can trust. How do you know how good that mic is if you can’t trust the monitors you’re listening to it with? If you can trust everything else in your chain, you can more credibly test out a new addition to your arsenal.
Find things that work for you. A set of tools and choices that work most of the time and realize that that is how most professionals work. Learn to trust yourself and your craft and don’t caught up in the idea that you must try or buy new tools every time some manufacturer decides to make them.
I hope this message finds you. Well… Kenny
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