How To

  • A Glossary And Guide To Sound Check

    A lot of work goes into putting on a great concert. It can take days, weeks or even months of preparation to make sure that everything goes smoothly. When it's time to sound check a band through a venue's live sound rig, it's important that you have a solid grasp of what's going on and the day's schedule. 

    While every show is different and some have more moving parts than others, there are some basic terms that apply to all levels of gigs. Check out our Live Sound Glossary below and learn more about a few of the key elements of sound check that will help you get each act sounding just right. Continue reading

  • How To Get Gritty Rock Vocals Like Metallica And Foo Fighters

    When you think of hard rock music, you probably think of roaring guitars and thunderous drums, but one of the most important parts of any song is the vocal. Think of what Metallica would sound like without James Hetfield's signature, growling "YEAH!" beckoning you to bang your head. It just wouldn't be the same.  

    The key to getting a gritty, in-your-face vocal tones like Metallica, Foo Fighters and Red Hot Chili Peppers all starts with finding the right mic. Read on to learn about some of the gear used by these rock heroes and work on bringing powerful vocals to your next session.  Continue reading

  • The Do's and Don'ts of Being an Assistant Engineer

    Before bedroom producers and YouTube videos took over the music business, there was a clear path to success for aspiring audio engineers. When you think about it, it's kind of ironic, because there was no formal training like there is today.

    Instead, those interested in the craft of audio engineering would go into apprenticeship mode. They would start as interns or runners and learn on the job, eventually working their way up to an assistant engineer position. Continue reading

  • Getting The Washed Out Vocal Sounds Of Kurt Vile And The War On Drugs

    A while back on the blog, we covered how to get huge, breathy, colorful, rich vocal sounds like Damien Rice, Ray Lamontagne and Beck. It inspired more than a few people to send in questions to Vintage King and we're super excited to start doing more blogs where we break down how to get the sounds of your favorite artists.

    For the next blog in this how-to series, we're taking a look at the sound of the current class of indie rockers who are riding high on the charts. A question submitted by Carlos R. asks, “How do you get that warm, spacey, washed-out vocal tone you hear from artists like Kurt Vile, Courtney Barnett, The War on Drugs and Bon Iver?" Continue reading

  • The Best Books On Recording And Mixing

    "Books are for nerds. I haven't read a book since high school. Why would I read a book when I could just watch tutorials on YouTube?”

    — An unsuccessful audio engineer

    Successful engineers in the music industry are lifelong learners. It doesn't matter if you have a degree in the recording arts and sciences, or even if you've cut 100 records — there's always room to learn something new. Continue reading

  • Techniques For Dampening A Kick Drum

    Drums are something you want to get right the first time. You never want to say the phrase, “We can fix it in the mix,” at any point during the tracking process. Everything from the size of drums, tone and amount of sustain should be well thought out before you start recording.

    One of the most important elements to discuss when it comes to drums is the kick drum. Even if you're limited to a smaller selection of kick drums in the studio, there are a handful of techniques that can be used to give each their own unique feel for every song on the record. Continue reading

  • The Basics Of Miking A Kick Drum

    Depending on what source you’re recording, there’s a million different ways to mic it up to reach the final tone you’re looking for. The kick drum is no exception, and in most music genres, it’s one of the most important elements within any song.

    Every drummer has a different way of setting up their kick drum. Variables like the drum's diameter, batter head, resonant head, port or no port, style of pedal and internal dampening will determine what microphones to choose and techniques to use.

    In this blog, I’m going to go over a few examples where the miking technique changes depending on the resonant head on the kick drum. I’m not saying these techniques are the gold standard, but something to have in your back pocket if a situation arises where the drummer has a setup you’re unfamiliar with. Continue reading

  • The Basics of Gain Staging Explained

    Ever hear the phrase, “You can’t fit 10 pounds of stuff in a five-pound bag?” Well, gain staging is literally the art of doing just that. It’s the process of combing dozens, if not hundreds of channels together, without causing any clipping at all.

    There's a finite amount of space in a mix, and it’s your job as the mixing engineer to make sure you fit all of the tracks within that space. That’s where gain staging comes in. But to understand gain staging in a DAW, you’ve got to understand the basics of digital audio. Continue reading

  • Selecting Microphones That Flatter Different Sources

    When it comes to selecting microphones in the recording studio, it may seem intimidating for those who are new to the process. There are so many mics regarded as studio essentials, where do you even start? With that being said, there are some tried and true microphones that are known to flatter specific instruments.

    In the first part of our new video series entitled "Selecting Microphones That Flatter Different Sources," Vintage King's Bryan Reilly will walk you through the many different types of microphones that are available. Watch below to learn what makes dynamic, large diaphragm condenser, small diaphragm condenser and ribbon microphones special in their own individual way. Continue reading

  • How To Start A Career As A Freelance Engineer PT. II

    A few weeks back on the blog, we talked about the basics of starting a career as a freelance studio engineer. Some of the things we covered were selecting your niche, setting your rates and finding your first clients. Congratulations if you took our advice and are on your way to your first freelance session!  

    While it's not as exciting as recording or mixing, Part II of this blog series will talk more about ensuring that you are compensated for your work and time investment. Read on to learn about collecting deposits, invoices and work-for-hire contracts. Continue reading

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