What makes a great recording?

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What makes a great recording?

Postby chrisp » Fri Sep 08, 2017 10:10 am

Its a question I've been mulling as I am in the unusual position of having a (very) little pot of cash to spend but not really seeing how anything would add to my current setup - which isn't that flash but absolutely all I need to get my bottom-of-the-food-chain recording done.

So here's my top 10, for what it is is worth, in order

(1) Passion in the artist - someone who believes in what they are doing and can deliver emotion
(2) Talent in the artist - songwriting, musical ability
(3) A good producer - a clear vision for what the project is and what is expected
(4) A good space - so everyone is comfortable working there
(5) The right mic .... - get one that captures the performance
(6) In the right position ... placed to maximise the vibe
(7) Into the right preamp - match the pre's vibe to complement the mic
(8) Technical skills in recording, mixing and mastering - knowing what to listen for and how to fix it.
(9) The right mixing / mastering tools to get (5) done
(10) Money and commitment to see it through - prep, recording, mixing, mastering, distribution, promotion

Only four of these relate to gear (if, like me, you count the room as 'gear').

I'm a little conflicted about (10). In one sense, there is no recording without this so it should be higher up the list. I also think that (5) and (6) could be said to be captured by (8) - mic choice and placement are technical recording skills - but by (5) I mean having the actual mic and by (8) I mean for the sound engineer things like actually having hit record before the artist pulls some magic out of their hat.

As I ponder my gear list and setup, I would love to hear from wiser, more experienced heads about their list.
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Re: What makes a great recording?

Postby rowmat » Fri Sep 08, 2017 10:51 am

Primarily capturing a great performance of great material in a great environment without getting in the way or screwing it up. Beyond that is being able to appropriately 'ice the cake' with one's technical and production skills.
Still working on the latter! :)
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Re: What makes a great recording?

Postby rick » Fri Sep 08, 2017 11:59 am

The best sessions I have ever done had very little to do with my input
Other then I have spent my whole adult life working on the concept
That if i am the only one in the room that even knows what the equipment
Is and how it works thats the perfect scenario
You make your choice you work your gear and you make it
Invisble to the artist , when a great song with a great arrangement walks in
All you have to do is elevant the performer to the top of their skill set
And by default or design you get a great recording .

All things being equal ( time / talent/budget) you make better records with better gear
Shit gear can detract from the process pretty quickly so it is actually effecting performance
Elements In a negative way and obviously in a hearable way .
All that said we can only afford what we can afford , my brain has always erred on the
Side of buying things that really dont add up to any accountant
But the idea that all my stuff is an intricate and beautiful web of parts
Isnt in the accounants framework either !


If your ever stuck on what to buy next
Buy the very best vocal mic you can justify
The very best set of speakers you can justify
And the very best headphones you can justify .

You can make obviously great records with shit gear its a proven path
Time over .. but its harder

I dont want to spend my days knee deep in shit working hard
Rick O'Neil
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