This FAQ section should provide valuable information for your home recording so that you are able to deliver your tracks in state-of-the-art quality for every project independently from if you work with me or anybody else in the music business.

General Information

In which format should I record and deliver my files?

Wave files with 44.1 KHz sample rate and 24 bit are absolutely sufficient for mixing & mastering.

Is there a naming convention I can use for my files?

A good naming pattern is super important to enable your mixing engineer to work efficient and with a good creative vibe for your material. If he has to find out what the heck 'Marko_1' is at first then there will be much less creative energy he can put into your music. You can download a naming pattern I use myself ofton here.

How should I export the files from my recording project?

Please export in 44.1 KHz and 24 bit. Always export from beat 1 to the end of the song.

How should I provide the time signature & tempo information of my track?

If your track is a straight 4/4 beat with a constant tempo it is absolutely fine to just leave a note like e. g. 4/4 132 bpm. If your track has various time signatures and changes the tempo within the song please provide a midi tempo map.

What is Editing?

Editing is the process that takes part after you recorded your tracks. Dependent on the genre and other factors there might be more or less editing necessary to get the source material in a mix ready condition for the specific genre. While an indie band might need no or just very little editing, fast and technical metal has to be as tight as possible most of the time to be able to compete with other bands in the genre. Editing includes choosing the best performance and comping takes, tuning of performances, enhancing performances by time align them to the beat.

What is Reamping?

While in the early times of recording you had to commit every sound in the recording session nowadays thanks to modern technology it is possible to make decisions like amp or synth sound later in the production. In terms of guitar and bass recording this is achieved by capturing the DI, the unaffected signal of the pickups. In the process of reamping the pickup signal is sent through an amp or amp sim to get the sound you want. This has the advantage that you are able to choose what sound fits the production best without the stress and expenses you have while you are recording in the studio. This is especially nice for the home recording musician as he is able to record at home and get crushing sounds afterwards without any stress and at a much lower cost.

What is Mixing?

In the mixing stage all your raw tracks are melted together. The mix engineer uses tools like EQ, compression, saturation, automation and spatial effects to give your recording a cohesive, competitive and three-dimensional sound.

What is Mastering?

While mixing focuses on every single element of the mix, mastering focuses on the big picture of the whole song or record. Mastering takes care of the loudness of your tracks and that the playback sounds good on nearly any device. This process also takes care of that all songs on your record sound cohesive so that your record sounds like a record and not like a bunch of songs which were just randomly put together.

Is there a general guideline for working with you?

Yes! Just download the Mixing Requirements Guide! If you have any additional questions feel free to contact me.

How should I deliver my mix if I want you to master it?

Please deliver it in wave format and without a limiter on the stereo output. Please take care that your mix does not peak above 0 dbFS because otherwise you will have digital clipping which I can not fix.

Home Recording Equipment 1x1

How to identify a good DI Box?

A good DI Box is well built using quality parts and especially a high quality conductor. Cheap DI Boxes tend to muddy your signal which is not desirable and something which can not be fixed later in the production. If you want something great and that will last your whole life then invest in something like a Countryman 85, the Rupert Neve DI or a Radial JDI. The DI signals of a Kemper also work pretty well but you have to know how to set it so that your DIs are not clipping.

How to identify a good Interface?

The Recording Interface is the heart of your home studio. A good Interface for home recording has clean preamps and high quality transformers with enough headroom for hard picking and high output pickups. An example for a very good home recording interface is the Audient ID14. And even if this is a hot topic to touch... After in depth testing: The Focusrite Scarlett Interfaces are not good for home recording with a professional aspiration. Especially if you want to record metal guitars.

How to identify good instrument cables?

The quality and length of instrument cables has a high impact on the quality of your sound. The longer and thinner the cables are the more highs you will lose in your recording. The higher the wire cross-section the longer of a cable you can get away with. Best would be to use a cable between instrument and DI Box that is as short as possible. The Sommer Cable The Spirit XXL 3 m is a great cable for recording. It is short, has good connectors and a high wire cross-section.

How to identify a good microphone cable?

Microphone cables use symmetric wiring and because of this they are not so extremely affected by length like an instrument cable. Just use a cable with good connectors and you should be good to go.

Drum Recording Guidelines

1. Drums are the hardest instrument to record. If you are not 100% sure about drum recording and/or you don't have a good room please consider to use midi drums. 2. The key to a great drum sound are the performance of the player, the tuning of the kit and the mic technique. 3. The investment into a good studio and a good drum tech will always repay in sound quality.

Guitar Recording Guidelines

1. Always take care of the intonation of your instrument. A bad tuned instrument is not fixable and will always sound bad. 2. Fresh strings are the key to a crisp and clear sound. The number of sets you will need depends on many factors. My general approach is one set per song. It will repay in sound quality. 3. Use a fretwrap or tape to mute the parts of your instrument which you are not playing like the strings between the nut and the tuners and at the bridge. These will vibrate and create sympathetic dissonant resonances which will become apparent especially with high gain guitars. 4. Hardtail guitars are best suited for rhythm parts especially in heavy music because they keep the tuning better. 5. Try not to tune between two takes when you are recording doubles. Otherwise there is a good chance that you will get a chorus-like effect. 6. The sound is in your fingers. If you want to sound hard, play hard, but not so hard that you kill the tuning. Tune accordingly => Tune while you hit the string the way you would hit it while recording. 7. Different guitars for different parts. It will sound much better if you use a different guitar for lead and rhythm parts.

Bass Recording Guidelines

Most of the guidelines which are applicable for guitars are also applicable for bass. Additional to that: 1. Good tuning is absolutely mandatory. A out of tune bass will destroy the whole production. 2. The argument "Old bass strings sound better" is invalid 90% of the time. It just limits the possibilities in the production because of its tone. You can give fresh strings this kind of sound with an EQ but you can never let dead strings sound clear and crisp.

Vocal Recording Guidelines

1. A good mic technique will make it much easier to mix your vocals because they will be more consistent in their sound. 2. Don't smoke or drink sparkling stuff before recording. 3. Still water is your best friend while recording. 4. Use a mic that fits your voice. Some voices might sound great on 10.000€ microphones but there are also voices which sound horrible on this and sound great on a 500€ SM7B.