Professional Sound - Indepth

Creating the Mood in the Studio by Doug McCann

The studio control room environment can, is, and always will be one of the weirdest places to visit. It is amazing how many people go deaf, forget everything about good manners or just become brain dead the minute they walk through the door.

We all know that there are no rules when it comes to getting the magic to tape, drive, RAM or conductive jello. But there are some basic methods we all employ to capture a sound.

The hard part isn’t twisting the knobs. The really hard part is creating an environment conducive to inspired performance within the studio, and the trying to control all of the interference from the outside world. That outside interference can include overly amorous girl/boyfriends, band mates, managers, label execs, video producers, assistant engineers, photographers, other studio clients, other studio owners, delivery guys, meter readers, product reps, dogs, cats, telephones and airplanes. I have lost a lifetime’s worth of wonderful takes all because of ill-timed interruptions.

If you are not a part of the process, then just go away. I know that sounds rude, but it is frequently the best way for you to contribute in a positive way to the session. If you are asked or invited to stay, sit still, be quiet and LISTEN. By concentrating as hard on what you are hearing as those involved in creating the recording, you will avoid becoming one of those horror stories every producer, engineer, musician, etc., hates to tell.

Doug McCann – Producer/Engineer, Soundscape Audio Design; Co-owner of Beta Sound Recorders. Credits include Randy Travis, Patricia Conroy, Terri Harris and the R&B All-Stars.

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About Andrew King
Andrew King is the Editor-in-Chief at Professional Sound. He is also a co-host of Canadian Musician Radio and NWC Webinars’ series of free music and entertainment industry webinars.
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