Week 1: Improve your Recording Skills

Join me for an exciting two-week intensive designed to enhance your recording skills, regardless of your starting point or the equipment you have at hand. Whether you're using a smartphone or a professional studio setup, this series will empower you with practical techniques and insider knowledge to achieve the best possible recordings.

What to Expect:

  • Hands-On Experiments: Each assignment includes interactive experiments that focus on different aspects of recording— from mic placement to lighting. Learn by doing, and discover how slight adjustments can make a big difference in your final result.
  • Expert Guidance: Led by Martin Zimny, the nerd behind all European tonebase productions, seasoned musician and audio-video professional, these sessions offer personalized tips and tricks tailored to the varied equipment setups of our participants.
  • Community Interaction: Share your experiences, receive feedback from peers and your instructor, and engage in a supportive community of fellow music enthusiasts and aspiring producers.

No special equipment is needed to get started; just bring your enthusiasm and whatever recording tools you have—your journey to better recording begins here!

Timeline:

  • Sign-Up : April 26th
  • Course Period: April 29th - May 10th
  • Optional check-In via Zoom: May 7th

 

Assignment Week 1

Understanding your room, understanding your Instrument, understanding the ambiance and reverberance!

Conduct these three experiment with your recording system:

  1. The Position of the Instrument within the Room
    Record yourself in three  different positions in the room, move the recording device with you and keep it stable relative to yourself
  2. The relative position of the Microphone
    Stay in one position in the room, but change the position relativ to your instrument. Keep the distance between the instrument and the microphone/smartphone the same. Choose three different mic positions.
  3. The Distance of the Microphone to the instrument
    Stay in one position in the room, keep the relative recording angle, but change the distance of the microphone three times.
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    • Debbie
    • Debbie
    • 2 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    Thank you for having this course, Martin. I enjoyed your intro video. Your enthusiasm for recording is always contagious! I’m most looking forward to the lighting and video portion of the course but for the first week I won’t bother with video because syncing nine videos to the sound recording take more time than I have. So I will be uploading audio files. I look forward to everyone’s contributions. I’m sure we will learn a lot!

    Like 1
      • martinTeam
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      • martin.3
      • 2 mths ago
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      Debbie Brilliant, looking forward to your audio files, comparing the different recording scenarios will be super educational!

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  • Thank you Martin. I enjoyed your week 1 video,  and it was very helpful. I will be using my smart phone for this intensive.

    Like 1
      • martinTeam
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      • martin.3
      • 2 mths ago
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      margaret macarthur Brilliant, can't wait!

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  • martin

    Hello Martin, 

    My guitar is a Cordoba C7 - CE equipped with a Fishman preamp that I have been using for most of my videos so far. I connect the preamp to an audio interface and into my cellular phone.

    I am definitely not an expert and not sure if this is the best way to record myself. Should I consider just using my phone's microphone or just buy a good quality microphone that I can connect to my phone via the audio interface.

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      • martinTeam
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      • martin.3
      • 2 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Andre Bernier Hi Andre! I'd recommend using your smartphone for this one, as the acoustic experiments wouldn't work with a guitar preamp, as the sounds gets always picked up at the same spot (there is usually a piezo pickup right underneath the bridge)!

      Like
    • martin  I will do Martin. However, my question is:

      Based on your knowledge or experience; is it better to record a nylon string guitar from a microphone or from a preinstalled Fishman preamp.  🙂

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      • martinTeam
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      • martin.3
      • 2 mths ago
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      Andre Bernier it is super simple to record just from the fisherman preamp. However, you will get a more natural sound if you record through a microphone! 

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    • martin  Thanks Master Martin 🙏 I will do the exercises with both the phone and the preamp. We should be able to hear the difference 😉

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      • martinTeam
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      • martin.3
      • 2 mths ago
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      Andre Bernier That's the idea!!

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    • AL
    • Andrew.14
    • 2 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    Thanks Martin! Can you share a screenshot of your preferred/bonus mic set up, as discussed in the video? Andrew

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      • martinTeam
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      • martin.3
      • 2 mths ago
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      AL I don't know exactly what you mean, but I prefer (from your perspective) roughly 30° angle to the right, a bit below eye level, pointed towards the bridge of the guitar!

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  • Hi Martin, really grateful for this course. I have a few questions beforehand. Besides, mic placement, distance and room, are we also going to talk about the technical aspects like editing and how to control and adjust inputs on an audio interface? I'd be really delighted if you cover these topics as well.

    Btw, after watching the previous recorded livestreams on recording and editing on TB, I bought an AT2020 MIC and an audio interface. I'm a bit confused about the controls on the audio interface ( mine is a knock-off of Scarlett called Audio Array). I have attached a pic. What is a hi-z knob? I'd experimented with it and the volume is louder than on the other input. Also, I want to know how to control the gain knobs.

    Like 1
      • martinTeam
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      • martin.3
      • 2 mths ago
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      Nijwm Bwiswmuthiary Hi! Great questions! I have not planned to venture into editing and controlling audio interfaces, as everybody's configuration will be different. I will focus on the basics that are crucial no matter what gear everybody is using!

      That being said, OF COURSE, I am more than happy to nerd out about specifics! The hi-z is a high-impedance input, so you'd use that if you want to plug in a line signal like a direct signal from an electrical bass or a synthesizer!

      The gain knobs control the amount of amplification of your microphone signal. I'd typically keep this around 50% if you have your guitar around 1-2m away from you! That being said, the lights on your interface should light up between green, orange and red when you have your mic plugged in and 48V activated and play!

      Like
    • martin  and fellow members, I desperately need some guidance 😔 I have very weak, fuzzy signals on Reaper, installed on my windows 11 laptop. A similar set-up seems to work fine on my desktop.

      Don't know what's wrong. I followed what I understood to be the correct process.

      1. Connected the mic through the interface to Reaper.

      2. Turned on phantom power

      3. Setup the gain on the interface about 50 percent.

      4. Set up preference on Reaper as shown in the attached picture. Vu meter at 0 dB and master meter at at the same mark.

      I just get a straight line of I record anything instead of the waveform that I should be seeing ( even my finger clicks don't register)

      Any guesses what I might be doing wrong? Is it something to do with the audio settings of my laptop? Is asio driver compatible/necessary for my interface and Reaper to work?

      I'm completely lost and utterly frustrated. 

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      • Nicholas
      • Nick.3
      • 2 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Nijwm Bwiswmuthiary Hi. Usual suspects are setting up the correct audio interface for recording (seems ok in your case), arming the correct channel (mic is in channel 2, did you arm channel 2), setting the channel preferences etc. Usually, in most hardware interfaces there are some LEDs that indicate signal and peak. 

      Like 1
    • Nijwm Bwiswmuthiary I expect someone smarter than me will give you a more comprehensive answer, but in the meantime, you might experiment with your "audio system" settings. Waveout is the default Windows driver and from what I understand it won't work with a lot of interfaces and ASIO like you mentioned is what many of them are looking for.

      Like 1
    • Steve Price Really grateful for your valuable suggestions. I'll try them. I bought my equipment and then adopted the hit and trial method, thinking I'll make it in the end. Watched many livestreams, YouTube videos, and still got stuck on something as basic as not getting enough signal. I suspect the problem is as simple as the set up and an expert walkthrough would solve it.

       

      Anyways, I'll try to solve it tomorrow and see what happens.

      Like
    • Nicholas hi, thank you so much for helping me. Channel 2 is input 2? I have two inputs- one has hi-z underneath it, which I think is for directly plugging in instruments like keyboard or electric guitar. I plug my mic into input 2, turn up the gain to 50 percent. I tried turning up the gain on the interface all the way up and the peak lights up to orange on the interface but barely registers on Reaper. I've reached a dead end at this point but I'll give it another try tomorrow.

      Apologies to fellow members for clogging up the forum with my issues and envious of their beautiful recordings 🙂Hopefully, I'll be able to contribute my own recordings.

      Like
    • Nijwm Bwiswmuthiary This may sound simple but is your gain knob on the audio interface at ''0'' - zero?

      Like
    • Andre Bernier It's at 50 percent. I've checked the input/output settings on my laptop. They seem fine. The interface peak light turns on if i turn up the gain. Strangely, it even picks up voices from a distance like my daughter speaking loudly in the background but won't pick up nearby signals, especially the guitar. I think there must be a simple solution and I've been scouring the internet for solutions to no avail. I might have to give up on it and try another way like buying a plug and play usb mic.

      Like
    • Nijwm Bwiswmuthiary 

      If your set-up works fine with your desktop you should not have to buy a new microphone. 

       1- Just to make sure you can check this again on your desktop.

      2- I noticed that at the bottom of your audio interface; it is written '' 24-bit/192kz USB Audio interface" and the picture of the Reaper setting is saying you selected a 16 bit sample format.  You could try the 24 bit format.

      3- You are connected using a USB connection. Do you have another USB connection available on your laptop. If so, you could try it.

      Anyway, good luck. I know well how it could be frustrating when we have that kind of stupid problems.. 😉

      Like 1
    • Andre Bernier Andre, can't thank you enough for trying to help me. I finally found a solution! 

      It's a bit of a personal triumph over my issues with recording. I scoured the internet- lots of forums and YouTube videos on recording. But the solution was in plain sight.

      The culprit was the NOISE CANCELLATION FEATURE on my laptop. As I was testing my setup, I could hear my the sound of my 5 year old daughter speaking to her toys and the DAW registered it. I tried clearing my throat, coughed and they registered too.

      Then, I tried recording on the inbuilt mic of my laptop ( played guitar, played music from YouTube). Nothing. Same with my wife's laptop, which was the same model. However, the mic registered voice signals.

      My son's laptop registered the voice as well as the guitar. Then I googled something on noise cancellation and something of an Eureka moment struck my head. 

      Turns out, the main culprit was the NOISE CANCELLATION FEATURE in my laptop. I disabled it, turned on my setup again, VOILA, it worked.

      Like
    • Nijwm Bwiswmuthiary  Bravo Nijwm, You must feel so good after that discovery.👍

      Like
    • Andre Bernier  I don't know what this is but some of my video and pictures ended up attached to this post 😂...... 

      Like
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