Learn How To Master Songs Like A Pro All From Home With Young Guru | Young Guru | Skillshare

Learn How To Master Songs Like A Pro All From Home With Young Guru

Young Guru, Grammy-Nominated, Legendary Audio Engineer

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10 Lessons (41m)
    • 1. Introduction

      1:21
    • 2. Contest: Enter by December 22, 2015!

      0:42
    • 3. Class Project

      1:39
    • 4. Working with Your Room

      4:44
    • 5. Sound Conditioning Part I

      4:27
    • 6. Sound Conditioning Part II

      8:10
    • 7. Controlling the Frequencies Inside Your Studio

      9:48
    • 8. Equipment

      5:19
    • 9. Mic Placement

      4:30
    • 10. Thank You

      0:18
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About This Class

Go behind-the-scenes with Jay Z’s audio engineer Young Guru as he breaks down how you can capture professional sound quality in a DIY recording setup. In this 45-minute class, you’ll learn how to identify your audio needs, set up your space, avoid common mistakes, and create a great track.

This class is perfect for aspiring audio engineers, producers, musicians, and enthusiasts. Learn what you need — and what you don’t — so you can make the music you want.

As an added bonus towards building the ideal home studio, students who submit their self-recorded tracks have the opportunity to win a microphone and pair of headphones courtesy of Audio Technica and a personal consultation with Young Guru himself! Check out the "Class Project" tab for details.

Transcripts

1. Introduction: Hi, how are you doing? I'm Young Guru. I've been an engineer in the music business for over 20 years. I've worked with a lot of different people in the R&B and hip hop world. Some people have this idea that I do all of my work in a professional studio but I'm here to tell you different. Some of the projects that I've put out recently, most of them had been done in my own home personal studio, and yes, I have recorded Jay-Z in this exact same set up that we're going to do today. We're going to give you enough information so that you can release commercially viable music straight from your bedroom. Today, I'm in Brooklyn, in a place that I've never been before, and I wanted to walk in fresh just to show you guys how easy it is to set up your room and to deal with some of the common problems that happen when recording in a bedroom. Now, my hope for this class is that the students walk away having a greater understanding of how to rearrange your room so that, acoustically, you can get the best sound. This class is equally viable for artists, musicians, and engineers. The tricks that we give you will help you to make better recordings and to help you come out with a better final product. Take the class, upload your projects, nothing is better than Young Guru and Skillshare. 2. Contest: Enter by December 22, 2015!: So, with this Skillshare class, we decided to do something different. Instead of just taking the class, this time we're going to run a contest. The winner of this contest is going to win their own pair of Audio- Technica headphones. They're also going to win a microphone and best but not least, you're going to win 30 minutes with me to go over your project. So, I want you guys to do your best job and to hand in the best projects that you can. We're also going to pick two people at random and you guys are going to win product. So, there's no reason for you not to take this class. Take the class, upload your projects, and win product. Nothing is better than Young Guru and Skillshare. 3. Class Project: So, your project for this class is to upload some music that you've either recorded or mixed in your home bedroom studio. We'd love to hear the music, we'd love to actually see your studio. So, if you want to include it picture, that will be great too. You can also give us a list of your equipment. This will help us better understand exactly what conditions you were in. We'd like you to use this class as a resource. You don't have to immediately upload your project. We'd like you to watch your project, and help you with your mixes and your recording. So, you can upload some of your music. Use some of the other students resources. Use Skillshare as the resource. That's the whole purpose of this class. We want to make sure that you get the most out of what you're doing. We get a lot of questions about how much time should put into this, or relatively how long will this take. We want you to take your time with this. This project is so involved and so important, that we want to make sure that you get the best recording. Some of my advanced students, it may only take you a couple of minutes to get up to speed. Even if you're on a basic level and don't understand some of the concepts that I'm saying please, take the time to look them up. It will help you that much more in the process of recording. I want you to do your research, look up as many companies as you can think of, that can help you understand exactly what you need to get your project done. For that very reason, we've included a ton of resources for this class. Please, take the extra time to look through them and to do your own research. You may ask yourself, when I'm looking through the project, what am I looking for? What's going to make a project stand out? Just as much as a song being good, we're also looking for how much you used our tips and our tricks to improve your recording and your mixing. So as much as you concentrate on the song please, concentrate on the techniques that you're using. That's what I'm going to be looking for. 4. Working with Your Room: So, the first thing that we want to talk about today is the actual room that we're in. We're in a bedroom which is obviously a square. That happens to be the worst place to record and mix music. But, there are some things that you can do to make the best of your home situation. Why is a box the worst place? Because you have perfectly parallel walls, and that's a no-no in most professional studios. The reason being, is that you create standing waves. Standing waves are waves that when they bounce off the wall and hit each other, cancel each other out. What this means in the real-world situation is that, your sound is going to be colored. The sound that's coming out of your speaker is not going to be a true representation of what's actually going on in your door or on your computer. So, how do we fix this? How do we address this? These are the things that we're going to go over today. But it's important for you to understand the science behind what we're doing. When you're in this perfectly square room, you're going to have to unbalance the room. Most professional studios don't have any 90-degree angle walls. They also don't have parallel walls. The reason for this is so that they can unbalance the sound. What you're trying to achieve is a perfectly flat room. What does that mean perfectly flat? It means that your room and your equipment is not affecting the frequency. This is impossible in the real world, but we try to control this as much as possible in a recording situation. So, we want to unbalanced the room. There's a reason why we have a bookshelf on this side and not on the other side. There's also a reason why we have a couch here and a bed here. What this does is absorb some of the frequencies and allow us to bounce the frequencies around the room, spreading them out, and making the room more flat or as flat as we can get it in an actual bedroom. You're also going to have to think about the height of your room, and also the material that the room is constructed of. I know you spend a lot of money on buying equipment and things that make sound, but you need to think a little bit about the things that don't make sound that can also affect your room. This is why we're here today. One of the other considerations that you might think of is your electricity. Most of the time when you're inside of your home personal studio, you don't have the ability to isolate the electricity, which means that your equipment can be on the same line as your neighbor's washer and dryer, or the air system of your building or apartment, or just your home. So, it's important for you to go out and get something that will make your electrical system pure. They're very simple solutions for this, but also a consideration that most people don't consider. In America, we've run on 60 hertz. In Europe, we run on 50 hertz. So, just so that you can keep that in your mind, these are audible signals, that if they leak into your music, it's something that can become a problem. Yes, there are plugins to take it out, but we want to eliminate this before we even get into our recordings. So remember, your electricity is also a thing that doesn't make sound that you want to take control of before you set up your home studio. So, one of the first things you want to do when you walk into your room is to analyze your room, and to see what problems you're dealing with. Obviously, in this room itself, I have a couple of problems. One, is that I have a brick wall on one side, and I have a plaster wall on another side. It's going to give me a completely different sound. So, I'll figure out some ways on how to deal with that. We'll make some suggestions on acoustic treatment, but we'll also give you an overall view of what the difference is between these sounds. Along with analyzing your problems, you're also going to analyze the strengths to your room. Sometimes by accident, the room is designed that actually helps you acoustically. Having beams and things of that nature breaks up the sound. It allows the sound to be reflected, or should I say reflected all over the room, which again, is all going to our purpose of giving us a flat frequency response. We'll try to address all situations. Now, there are some situations that can be corrected if you're living in a home when you can make decisions to actually physically change your room. But, a lot of the students that run across are living in apartments, and they can't change their rooms. So, we'll deal with those limitations as well, but the end result will give us the best situation in which to record and mix our music. Let's remember that you are the reference. At the end of the day, it's about you learning your room, you learning your speakers, so that you can present the best mixes. Let's remember that all of these are just tips. There are no specific guidelines. We're dealing with the best situation that we have. But, it's all about you learning your room, learning your speakers, and learning your equipment. The more that you do, the better you'll become at it. The more that you listen to commercial music inside of your room, you get a greater understanding, and this is what we call learning your room. Then, you'll be that much closer to releasing commercial music in your own room. 5. Sound Conditioning Part I: So, as we begin this journey, for you to have the best room to mix and record your music in, there's a vital topic that we need to discuss that I find a lot of people are confused about and that's the difference between soundproofing and acoustic treatment. In a general statement, soundproofing has to do with sound isolation. When we're talking about sound isolation, we're dealing with the frequencies getting out of the room and the frequencies coming into the room. Obviously, we don't want any ambient noise from outside to come into our room and to affect our recording. We also have to control how much noise we're making and how much noise gets outside. This is a great concept for you to understand because if you're in an apartment situation or house situation, you have to take into account how much noise you're making and how that can bother your neighbors. These are real-world situations that we have to deal with. Whereas, acoustic treatment has to do with what we hear inside of our studio. Acoustic treatment is about controlling the frequencies inside of our monitoring room. If you're in an acoustically treated room, your monitors are going to sound more accurate than a room that's not acoustically treated, i.e. your mixes will translate better in the real-world. They may sound great in your one particular room, but the idea is to have such a solid sound that it will translate everywhere. That means that it will sound good in a club, that it will sound good in a car, someone's home stereo, or on an iPod. One of the other common mistakes that I normally see is that people think this mystery of putting egg crate all over the room is soundproofing the room. That has nothing to do with sound proofing and in essence, does nothing to help you keep frequencies out or keep frequencies in. One term that we use a lot inside of engineering is the term attenuation. What does that mean? Don't get scared about the word. It simply means to quiet a sound, to lower a sound. So, when you hear me say attenuation, that's all we're talking about. We're talking about quieting the sound, making the sound more quiet, so that we don't have sound leaving our room and we don't have sound coming in our room. The best way to do this is with mass. Mass of a wall or mass of a floor, mass of a ceiling, mass of your windows, are all things that we have to take into account. So, we have a general rule that when we double the mass of something, we have the amount of sound that's transmitted through that thing. Again, as a general rule, the more dense the material that we're dealing with, the better that it can attenuate the sound. Soundproofing is something that we consider first when we build a studio. Most people are in a situation where they cannot change the already done structure of the room that they're in, i.e. in apartment or a home where you can't change the walls. If you are in a situation where you can consider this beforehand, there are some things that you can do to avoid the normal traps of home studios. One of the greatest things to do is to build a room inside of a room. What do I mean by a room inside of a room? Well, most studios have an existing wall on the outside. There's plaster, probably three levels of that on that particular wall, there's a space of air which will help into deaden the sound and then another frame is built inside of that frame that will then become our actual studio. The reason for this is we're increasing the mass double fold by creating two walls. We're also leaving air which will allow us to deaden the sound. In a professional studio, these two walls don't touch and we make sure that sound transmission is isolated, thus, giving us a perfectly done room that won't allow sound to come in or sound to go out. This is the general idea of creating a studio, but obviously, we're adjusting this for our home bedroom. It's important for you to understand these concepts so that you can know the best way to address your own issues of sound isolation. It's important for you to also know that sound isolation tends to fall with frequency. What do I mean by that? I mean that are frequencies that are in the high and mid ranges are small enough that we can sort of control and capture those frequencies. But when we're dealing with bass waves, things that are actually 20 foot waves, it's harder for us to isolate those. In a real-world situation, you can understand this. Plenty of times, you've been outside of a club and you can still hear the bass although you can't hear the highs and the mids. This is because those bass frequencies again are so long that they reach outside and they're also transmitting through the wall. 6. Sound Conditioning Part II: I'm trying to make this concept as simple as possible, and I understand that some people are new to these concepts. So, to give you a general idea of what you may expect, a general brick wall, like the one behind me, may have an SRI or what we call a Sound Reduction Index of 45 decibels. What that means, is that if you play sound at one level here, on the other side of that wall, it will be 45 decibels less. A common door may have a sound reduction of 10 decibels. Just so that you have a general overall idea of the difference in the mass of the material and how that affects the sound. Again, this is not evenly spread out amongst all the frequencies. I have to reiterate that because your base is going to be your main problem. So, if you want to evaluate your room, you would play music at a given level and measure the decibels. You then walk outside, close the door and measure it again. This will tell you the reduction, or overall level attenuation that your room is giving your music. Again, we're dealing with the real world. There's no way to have a completely isolated room, it just doesn't exist, sound is going to leak out from somewhere. But, our general idea is to attenuate the sound as much as possible. So, by doing this measurement, you can get a general idea of how much work you have to do on your room. One of the great things about the time that we live in now, is that you don't need a lot of external equipment to measure your room. There are plenty of apps available to you, no matter what format of phone that you're using to measure your sound. So, pick your best one, some are free, some are paid. So, you've addressed your walls in your room, but obviously, most people have windows in the room. This can be one of the hardest parts when we talk about sound isolation or sound proofing. Again, we go with the rule that doubling the mass will help us reduce the sound. So, how do you do that with windows? One of the best ways to do this is to buy double-sided glaze glass. You may say, "Why am I spending money for extra glass?" Well, this becomes one of the biggest problems in your studio, so why not address it early. Also, you want to seal your windows. Not just for energy conservation, but for sound conservation. Because even when you buy these double-sided glazed windows, if you don't seal the edges, the sound will just leak through the edge. Let's remember, sound permeates everywhere, just like air. Another great solution for dealing with windows while you're recording or while you're mixing, is to actually stick some material inside of the window. It's your choice as to how dense that thing can be. But, you can find some really good solutions with really common household things. One is sand bags. Sand bags are great because you can adjust the size of them, they're very dense, and you can add and remove them very easily. Some people like to use mattresses. A mattress is another generally available thing to you. This doesn't have to be a new mattress, you can buy a used mattress, find a mattress on the street, something that you could cut up and fit into the frame of your window. But this goes a long way in reducing the amount of material that leaks outside of your studio, and leaks into your studio. Again, just think about things that have a general mass that can fit inside of the window and be removed when you're not recording or mixing. So, you've dealt with your windows, but now, it's time to deal with your door. Unlike the windows, the door is something that constantly has to be opened and closed. You have to get in and out of your studio. So, how do you address this. The best way is to go out and buy the thickest door that you can find. Spend a little bit of extra money on buying this thick door. It will go miles in saving the acoustics of your studio, especially, from leakage. This is the general place where everything gets out of your studio. Number one, because the door has to constantly be opened and closed. Number two, is because at the bottom of your door, there's always space. So, the best thing for you to do after buying that thick door is to buy a stopper for the bottom of your door to address that space. Then you can deal with all the leakage that comes in and out of your studio. Now that you've addressed your windows and your doors, it's time to think about your floors. If you have a concrete floor, you're in the best situation, because that's going to give you the most mass to deaden the sound. But, if you have wooden floors, there are some things that you have to do, because no matter what you do, if you're tracking drums on a wooden floor, your neighbor underneath is going to hear you. Matter-of-fact, just the creaking of a pedal can be annoying to a neighbor underneath. And again, you want to set up the best situation so that you can record music without people knocking on your door and telling you to turn it down. If you do have a wooden floor, immediately get a carpet. A carpet is the best way to deaden the sound of the wooden floor. Also, in today's DIY culture, it's very easy for you to create what we call risers. What are risers? These are things that we put in between the floor and the instrument that we're putting on top of it for this specific purpose, to deaden the sound. Again, when you're making these selections, make sure you get the most dense material that you can afford. The denser the material, the more that the sound will be deadened. You can create these rises for anything, I used drums as an example because it's probably the loudest instrument, but you can put anything on risers. If you can't afford to make risers, then you can go out and buy a phone. The phone that will allow you to sit something on top of it, where it won't fall, but it will also deaden the sound. What's the thing that you concentrate on the most? Well, you should start with the doors and the windows. There's no point in worrying about your walls if you haven't isolated your doors and your windows. This is where most of your leakage is going to happen. So, sealing your doors and sealing your windows are the first things that I would do. But that naturally leads us to the next question, of air ventilation. How are you supposed to breathe in the room that's airtight? Well, one of the great things is that you can turn your air condition off and on. You can turn it off when you're recording, turn it off when you're mixing, and turn it back on when you need some air ventilation. Don't forget to open the door from time to time. Now, depending on your situation, the amount of sound that comes into your room may be a problem. If you're in a rural area, this may not be such a big problem for immediate sounds, but you may have to deal with radio frequencies and things of that nature. They can become a problem when you have a lot of equipment and a lot of wires that can pick up those noises. If you're in an urban area, sounds like trains passing by, or people screaming on the street, or loud honking of cars can always be a problem. Sometimes there's no way to get around that other than to time your takes in between when the train passes. But, for you, this is the type of decision that will make your recording that much better. If you understand when these sounds are coming and how to avoid them. Also you may want to consider the time of day of which you record. Obviously, if you're in a busy metropolitan city, you don't want to record at Five O'clock when everyone is going home from work. This is when the most sound is outside, but then you're faced with the problem of most people being asleep at night, and people not wanting to hear your noise late at night. This is the reason why you must choose your recording time accordingly. If you're thinking about recording or producing commercial music that you want to release, which most of you are or at least that should be your goal, then you may want to also hire a professional. You may say to yourself, "Well, I'm hiring a professional to come in and look at my bedroom." Yes, you are. Because they have a lot more knowledge than you, and they can show you the cheapest way to achieve the best goal. Based on your budget, they can show you which things to move around the room, and which things you may need to buy. But always having a professional opinion will help you make better decisions and not waste money, which is our purpose here. You're putting your money into your room, just as much as you're putting into equipment, microphones, pre-amps or anything else that you want high-quality, think of your room as that last component that will allow you to have greatly produced material. The worst part is for you to go out and buy all this expensive equipment and to be in a room where you can't utilize it. 7. Controlling the Frequencies Inside Your Studio: Now that we've dealt with the sound proofing of your room, it's time to deal with the acoustic treatment. As we said before, the acoustic treatment is about controlling the frequencies inside of your studio. So, what does the optimum situation? Well, in the best scenario, you would have a room that allows your speakers to be even across the frequency spectrum. What that means, is that there's no frequency that's getting bumped up, or being deducted inside of your room. The reason for this is so that your mix can translate into a bunch of different areas, and that your mix is what we call true. It actually sounds the way that it's going to sound in a bunch of different environments. One of the first major problems that we deal with an untreated room is the reverb of that room. The reverb should be even across the entire spectrum as well. Well, what is reverb? Reverb is simply a measurement of time. It's the time that it takes for some sound to leave a sound source, bounce off of a wall, and come back to your ear. That is what we perceive as reverb. This is what allows us as human beings to know what type of room we're in. We can tell if we're in a metallic room, or we're in a room with bricks, or we're in a room with wood, all of these sound different. We also have cues that let us know how big the room is. The longer that it takes that sound to hit the wall and come back to our ears, will give us a perception of how big our room is. We as human beings do this naturally. But inside of our room, we want to control this so that when we're listening to our speakers, we can understand our source that much better and know that it's true to the room. One of the great things about this problem is that it's probably the easiest to solve. What you want to do is absorb those frequencies from hitting the different sources. One of the best ways to do this is to unbalance your room. Now, when I say unbalance, I mean physically. There's a great thing that we can do in terms of putting furniture in an unbalanced space, or having absorbing furniture in the back of our room. This is where our couch comes into play. The couch being in this room is acting as an absorber. It's actually breaking up those frequencies so that they don't bounce directly back to us. This is also the reason why things like bookshelves, or a bed if you're in an actual bedroom are great to absorb sound. This is the point where we do want to use our eggcrate. Now, we don't want to cover all of the walls in eggcrate, as I see so many people do. This defeats the purpose and really does nothing. Now, what we want to do is take the eggcrate, and put a small square across from our listening position on either wall. This helps to stop flutter echo. What this means is that, our frequencies will then be forced to bounce in other positions instead of coming back to our listening position. This is very key, because I find this to be a common mistake that most people make in setting up a home studio. Again, I can stress to you enough that it does nothing to cover your whole wall. You're actually spending more money than you need to spend, and you're getting a worse result. Another great common household tool that we can use is our bookshelves. Most people have bookshelves in their home, or in their room. Why do we need these? Is because it's great to separate the frequencies. If by placing this bookshelf behind me, what I can do is break up the the ways that the frequencies move around the room. In essence, I will be adding to the fact that the frequencies will now be directed away from my listening position. This is great, especially if you have records, books or anything else that makes a denser bookshelf. In the idea of studio design, you may see some rooms that have a live and dead end concept. Well, what does that mean? That means that in certain areas, I want to deaden the sound. The sound that is around me in my mix position. It's also important to point out that the unevenness of the bookshelf is actually what's helping us with the sound. The mass and the fact that it's helping frequencies move around the room and stay out of our mixed position, which is always what we want. Again, along with our acoustic treatment, it's important to note that the space, or should I say the placement of our furniture in the room makes a huge difference. So, in optimum situation, I would move this listening position from being over here in the corner, to being in the middle of the room. Why? Because I want equal spacing. I want to be able to know that when I'm listening in my mix position, that I'm not being affected by the actual size of the room. You'll find that when you put your speakers in corners, or anywhere next to places where base buildup can happen, you're going to get an uneven sound. So, the best solution for that would be to even out your mix position. You want to space yourself out so that you're equal distance from each wall. You also want to give yourself enough room to place your monitors behind your listening position. We normally would say, your mixing board. But in today's world, that mixing board may very well be your laptop, or your computer screen. The reason for this, is that you want to set up an equal triangle for your listening position. Now, traditionally, you would set your speakers up so that you create a 45-degree angle with your ears. What does that mean? That means that your speakers should be angled so that they come at your ears from a 45-degree angle. This is what we figured out as the best optimum position for your listening environment. You may also want a space your speakers out three feet apart. We have a very distinct rule that's called the 3-3-3 rule. You want the speakers to be three feet apart, and three feet away from you. This will give you the optimum space to minimize the effect of the room on your listening position. This is just a general rule. But you may want to adjust your speakers to your own taste and like. Again, let me remind you that the best thing here is to learn your speakers. So, I'm giving you the 3-3-3 rule, as a general overall starting point, but adjust according to your own taste and see what results are best for you. You also want your speakers to be an equal height with your ears. Now, you may need to adjust this depending on your height. In the best-case scenario, you will get speaker stands. But if you're on a desk that has to be against the wall, maybe you can prompt the speakers up on something, i.e. a shoe box, or a crate, anything that allows you to get your speaker to your listening level. But I can't stress enough that your speakers should actually be behind either your computer, or your mixer. What this is doing, is cutting off the early reflections. That's a big problem in home studios. If you take this into account, you can eliminate some of the big problems before you even start. Speaker placement is just as important as the type of speaker that you buy, almost more important. So again, let's learn your speaker and figure out what the best position for you is. Being that you're not an acoustic expert, how do you know where the best position is? Well, the common test is to take some commercially released music that you know yourself, or have listened to plenty of times and understand what that music sounds like, and to play it through your speakers' system. Now, if you have uneven bass notes, or uneven notes in the low mids, you can move the speakers around until you adjust that problem to it's minimal position, ie, to when all of the base note sound even. This will tell you what the best position for your speakers are in your given situation. Another position that we should think about, is how the sound reflects off of the ceiling that we're using. Sometimes, we're in very high ceiling rooms which gives us a lot of space for sound to bounce around and some mess up our mix. Some type of absorbing material, or something that will refract the sound so that it's not messing up our mix position. We can do this very easily by hanging things above our mix position. We can put eggcrate on the ceiling, if our ceiling is low enough, or again, if we're in the DIY culture, we can build something that will hang above us. That again will just help to refract the sound and get it out of our mix position giving us a cleaner position to mixing. It's important to stress here again, by putting eggcrate or something like that across the whole ceiling, you're defeating the purpose. You're really trying to absorb the frequencies that are above your mix position. One of our biggest problems about being in a square, is that sound builds up in corners. Now, there are a couple of great solutions that we can use to fix this. If you can afford it, I would suggest that you go out and buy bass traps. They've been specifically designed to address this problem. So, you should leave it up to the experts who know what they're doing, but you can build your own bass traps. Even if you can't build a base trap, by stuffing some things in the corner, it will absorb that sound. But let's remember the general principle, that sound builds up and corners, and we want to avoid that. By using whatever material we have available to us, we can address this problem. Again, bass traps are the best way to do it. So, one of the things that I'm noticing as I'm listening to the song, is that because I'm in this room, I'm getting a lot of extra reverb, and a little bit of my low mids are getting lost. So, I'll adjust for that in my listening position, and try to figure out the best way to deal with that, but constantly keeping that my mind would allow me to make a more even mix, because I'm just learning in this room, and actually trying to figure out some ways to fix the room. So again, it's great to play a track that you already know because then you're not guessing, and you're actually understanding what the room is doing to the song. 8. Equipment: One of the beauties of living in this time is that we don't need a lot of equipment in order to record music. I come from a time where you needed so many different pieces and it was so expensive that the access to actually record the mix music was out of most people's hands. This is the beauty of the time that we live in today. All you really need is a great computer, an interface, a pair of speakers, and a microphone. This is the basis of our normal recording setup at home. You can adjust and tailor this setup to your needs. Meaning, if you're in a band situation, you may need to focus on multiple microphones, but if you're an EDM producer or a hip-hop producer, you may want to focus on getting a faster or greater computer to handle your plugins or any tough DSP problems that may arise. But, you're choosing based off of your needs. Believe me, I realize that most people are dealing with the budget, so a common question that I get is, "Where should I focus my money?" I say, for me, the biggest thing that affects your recording is your converter. What type of interface are you using? The quality of your interface, i.e. your A to D and D to A converter, that's nothing but analog to digital, digital to analog converter is going to determine the quality of your setup. The more money you spend on a high-class converter, the better your sound is going to come out. So, my suggestion would be that, after you put all the money into your computer, worry about a great interface. As far as interfaces, they come in all shapes and sizes and again, it's something that's tailored to your personal taste and your personal pocket book. It's like buying a car, you want to get the most for your money, but you also want quality. But, I understand that everyone can't go out and just buy the highest converter, they can become expensive. So, a great entry level may be something like an Mbox or something that comes from Avid. But as more money becomes available to you, you may want to step up to something like the quality of an Apogee. This will give you so much more clarity and depth inside of your music. Let's remember, the converter is how we get information in and out of our computer, it is the most important link in the chain. Another normal question that I get is, "What type of speakers should I buy?" This is the ultimate question that comes down to taste. All speakers are designed different and sound different. What you should do, is actually go into the store, take your favorite CD, and listen to that CD across all these different speakers. What you're going to do is find the difference in each of the speakers and find what you like and don't like. But again, the stress should not be on the brand or the type of speaker, the stress should be on you understanding your speaker in your environment, there's nothing greater than that that will help your mixes. How did you get to that point? Listening, over and over and over again. You'll record something, you'll mix something, and you'll listen to it in your room. Then, you'll take it outside of your room to hear the difference when you're playing it on someone else's sound system. This is important, this covers the question that I get all the time, where "My mixes sound great in my room, but when I go play them in the club, they don't sound good" This is why we're here. The room is doing something to the frequencies, whether or not it's adding on or subtracting frequencies that is changing your perception in your room, this is why you need to learn your speakers. Another great way to test your speakers, that people don't often think about, is to compare your mixes in a pair of headphones. Why is this important? Well, because with a pair of headphones, we're cutting off the room, the thing that we're trying to fix with all of this acoustic treatment. So, when we place the headphones on, the room is no longer a problem. So, by listening to your mix through headphones and listening to your mix through your speakers, you can tell the difference of what the room is doing. Headphones in a home studio setup are extremely important. A lot of the times, you won't have the ability to turn your music up really loud, you're going to have to get used to mixing and monitoring through headphones. Also, when you're recording whatever sound source, be that a vocalist or be that an instrument, most of the times both of you, the engineer or the musician may be one and the same, a pair of great headphones is going to save you from bleed from your speaker. The point being is that, in a home studio setup, the quality of your headphones and you getting used to your headphones is just as important. We can think of the headphones as a second pair of speakers. Now, besides your headphones, another common thing that I see nowadays is that people using Nearfield monitors inside of their home studio like to add it so, because they want to feel the bass and they want to know what the bass response will sound like on a bigger system. This is a great idea, but we should also be careful, because sometimes that sub can introduce low frequencies that can ruin our mix, or this extra base can cause us to not put enough base in our track, so that when we play this out in a club or out in a car, there's actually less bass than what we thought of. So, be very careful with your monitor. 9. Mic Placement: So, one of the main questions that I always get is how do I set up my microphone for recording especially in a bedroom situation where you don't have a booth. So, obviously, there's some problems that can occur. There's all different types of microphones and we can reference some other lessons for the different types of microphones. There's dynamics, there's condensers, you want to choose the microphone based off of this situation and whatever your need is. But regardless of the type of microphone that you choose, there's still some tips and some tricks that can help you get a better recording in your bedroom. One of the first things that you want to do is to make sure that you have the microphone at the correct height. You want to make sure that the diaphragm is right in front of the person's mouth and you want to make sure that you at least have some type of way of stopping the P's and the S's coming out of a person's voice. We also want to place this about three or four inches away from the microphone so that we have enough space for that to occur. One of the other things that we want to think about as neatness. I know a lot of times people don't think about that but having cables going all over the place is never a great thing. People trip over them and they get in the way. So, as neat as you can be with wrapping the cable around the stand will help you in your recording. At the end of the day, when you're problem solving and when you're running into situations where you don't know what's going on, the neatness of how you have your microphone cables really makes a difference. The main concern that we're going to have to deal with and most people have to deal with when recording in an open space is the reverb, or should I say ambient sound that can occur because we're in such an open room. So, the first thing that I would suggest would be to put a rug underneath of the mic stand. This not only helps us to deaden the sound, it also protects us against direct reflections coming off of the floor and it gets to tame some of the noise that you get from people's feet moving around and from the stand itself moving around. Now that we've dealt with the problem of the floor, the next suggestion that I would give would be to put a piece of egg crate behind us on the wall. What that does is allow us to tame the frequencies that will be bouncing off the wall, hitting our microphone, and in essence creating what we call flutter. We don't want that. We want to tame that sounds so the best way to do that would be to put a piece of egg crate. I would say only one block we'll do. Again, we don't need to do the whole wall, it's just the area that's directly behind us to absorb some of that sound. You'd be amazed at the results that you would get from this small piece. My next suggestion would be to move the microphone a little bit closer to the wall. You don't need to have so much space. What we're trying to do is to emulate the sound of a booth. We want a nice closed space. We can add reverb later to our taste but we want to make this signal as dry as possible. So, pulling the microphone closer will give us a dryer signal. The only thing that we have to worry about is something that we call proximity effect. That means that the closer that you get to the microphone, the more bass that will come in your signal. So, you want to keep in mind that you don't want that much proximity effect but you want to get the microphone as close as possible to get a nice strong signal. We can cut off some of the sound with the direction of the mic. We have different polar patterns on different microphones, but we still want to make sure that we eliminate the rest of the sound coming from the room. So, a reflection filter would be the best choice. So, as you can see, we've set up our filter and just from a visual, you can see how much this cuts off the rest of the room. Hopefully, when I speak into the microphone you can hear the complete difference from when we had a completely open room. One of the keys to this though, and I'll turn this around so that you can see, is that we need to place the microphone directly inside of the reflection filter. A lot of times I see people that get this and they pull the microphone out too far which is defeating the purpose. This is a major point when using this because if you use this correctly along with our rug and our crate that we will put on the back of the wall, we're getting as close as we can to emulating the sound of a booth where we're keeping our sound as dry as possible. Again, we can add reverb later, but we want to capture the sound as dry as possible on the input. Now, one of the things that I did want to show you and actually demonstrate so that you can hear it is the difference with this off and on. So, before I finish putting this reflector filter on, I at least wanted you to hear my voice in this open space. What I'll do now is I'll put it on, I'll keep talking so that you can hear what this is actually doing to our signal. It's very simple. I just place this in here. I'll make sure that my height is correct. I'll tighten accordingly and now hopefully you can hear the difference of what it sounds like when you're trying to emulate the sound of the booth. 10. Thank You: This is Young Guru signing off for skill share. I want to thank you once again for taking the class and I hope you guys have learned something today. But let's remember, it's not about how expensive your equipment is, but better yet, how you know what to do with your equipment. This is Young Guru I appreciate you, thank you for taking the class.