There are so many ways that technology can help. And so many ways that it won't. I'm learning lots about each of these.
I've already told a story about the ways that tech doesn't fix anything. Though I had tools that could have helped, I rushed through the first version of “Magic” to meet a deadline — even though that deadline was only in my head.
Learn Technique over Technology
Experience and training are things you can never replace with technology. No matter how much gear or how many plugins you buy, learning to work well with audio is crucial to recording. No software can overcome bad decisions in the process of creating a recorded song.
There's also no trade-off for performing techniques. A poorly performed track cannot be fixed in the mix. It can be masked or disguised, but that won't change the original performance. My vocal performance in the earlier recording of “Magic” was a big part of why this track did not meet my own standards.
I have a lot to learn — and always will — when it comes to technique. As I've noted, this applies to both the performing and the recording (and arranging) process. I'm grateful to all of my mentors in so many fields who have taught me along the way. And, of course, I still have a lot to learn…
When my trusty R0de NT2 microphone bit the dust, I had to get something in my studio for acoustic recordings — notably vocals. At the time, my cash flow was rather tight, so I ended up getting a microphone on sale.
When I picked up the Sterling SP150 I had lots of trepidation about using a mic I had purchased for $50 in my studio. As it turned out, that condenser microphone has already provided me with some good service including the vocal tracks on “New Magic“. You can read my review of the SP150 including comparison recordings here.
Reverb Plug-in Fun
Plugins are the thing with digital audio. And as any listener knows, the sounds of a room — or a plugin that makes you think there's a room — can be the signature of a song's sound. On this recording, I used a reverb plugin for the first time: bx_rooMS from BrainWorx.
One of the ways that this reverb unit is so cool is that it uses two mono reverb emulators to create the stereo image. This allows for truly expansive sounds. Plus, it has some excellent nuances such as a brilliant EQ section for tuning the sound of the reverberations. One of my favorite things about this plugin is that it sounds very musical.
For quick access to sounds, there is a list of 189 presets or you can simply select the room type (Ambience – Church) and size (Small, Medium, or Large) to get started. The “Reverb Section” and “Pre-Delay” section provides a set of very familiar, large, and easy to use (and hear) controls. You can learn a lot about this plugin by exploring these options.
But wait, there's more
For those of us who want to tweak the parameters to our own liking, there is much more in bx_rooMS. First of all, there's that expansiveness I mentioned earlier. You can easily take advantage of the dual mono and hear the results by adjusting the “Stereo Width” knob.
Another gem within the controls of this plugin is the EQ section. Under the “Equalizer” heading, you'll find a set of controls that will easily allow you to shape the sound of the reverb to fit your song and your musical wishes.
I hope to do a review of this plugin in the near future. Please let me know in the comments if that's of interest to you (because if it is, that gets it higher on my priority list).
Learning Through Experience
I learned by re-recording “Magic”. As often happens in the process, I also realized that I still have a lot to learn. While I'm really happy with the results in this song, I'm also more aware than ever that each experience will bring its own learning. My job is to be open and ready to accept the lessons each moment brings. Thanks for reading and listening.