What Microphone Should I Use?

July 24th, 2013 Blog Comments Disabled

Gasoline Alley’s Chief Production Engineer, Jerry Gaskins, explains how to find the right microphone for your recording project.

I recently received a phone call from a potential client asking what microphone I used.  I asked him to repeat the question, thinking I may have misheard what was asked.  His question was repeated and I paused…..he truly wanted to know what microphone I used….not microphones, plural, but what microphone did we have at the studio.  I informed him that we had a variety of microphones to choose from, including tube microphones, ribbons, condensers and dynamics.  I also let him know that we could experiment with the microphone to find the best suited for his needs, be it for instruments or vocals.  He almost seemed stunned that there would be options for consideration!

This really made me think, though, about how many people are used to going to a friend’s place or a home/garage/bedroom studio and being told that there is ONE mic to do the sessions with!  Judging from my conversation it’s more common than I was aware.

Microphones are to a studio as construction tools are to a job site.  You can maybe build something with just a hammer and a wrench, but to get things done with a greater degree of quality, having the right tool for the job can make all of the difference.  A pair of pliers, a few screwdrivers, assorted power tools…..you get the idea.  Same idea applies to microphones for recording.  There are a variety of microphones available (as mentioned earlier), large diameter elements, small diameter elements, offering different sensitivities, dynamic ranges, and tonalities.  Not to mention different (and often, selectable) polar patterns, offering a variety of applications, feedback rejection, enhanced sibilance, etc…..

The point of all of this is to encourage folks to research a bit about microphones that they may want to use…..to record their acoustic guitar, their speaker cabinet, their saxophone, their voice.  Or, to ask the studio you wish to record at about the microphone selection they have to offer.  Explain what you want recorded, and let them explain the microphones they offer, and what they would recommend….and why!

Simply put, find a studio that has the right tools for the job.

Until next time……

Read more →

5 Things To Look For In A Recording Studio

July 12th, 2013 Blog Comments Disabled

Finding the right fit for your band/musical act/recording needs can be tough. Gasoline Alley’s Chief Production Engineer, Jerry Gaskins, gives us a few tips on what to look for in a recording studio.


1. A comfortable environment

          You are comfortable with your bandmates, your booked venues, and your songs.  You should feel comfortable with your studio/engineer/producer.  A good vibe and a great hang go a LONG way to making a better project.

2. An equipment list that can substantially separate the studio from a bedroom/garage recording set up

You should look for things like a Live Room, an Isolation Room, a Control Room, a healthy selection/variety of microphones, pre-amps and assorted hardware.

3. A clean, maintained, environment

You don’t want to be walking onto the set of “Sanford and Son” when you go to record.  If the place looks trashed, the gear probably is, too.  Conversely, if the studio is clean and organized, your odds are much improved that care has been taken with the equipment as well.

4. A safe/secure environment

If you plan on recording a few days and you bring in your drum kit or guitar rig, you may prefer to leave your equipment in the studio.  This minimizes set up time and eliminates the need to accurately re-place mics for consistency of recording.  You know you want to feel your gear will be there tomorrow when you return to track!

5. A certainty would be the sound quality being produced by the studio

You should ask to hear examples of material that has been recorded at the studio.  Even if the studio you are checking out has the coolest gear, and the greatest floor plan, and is the perfect photo op, if it can’t make good sounding recordings, you’re wasting your time and your money.

Read more →