Just Two Broadband Panels

Sunday, December 11th, 2011

I’m amazingly lucky in so many ways, and one of them is my good fortune in having a dedicated recording space. I can leave mics and guitars out, decorate to my preference, put speakers in the middle of the room, and best of all, hang broadband absorbers all over the walls and ceiling and stuff them into every corner.

I found that installing these panels made a lot more difference in the quality of my recordings than upgrading a preamp or a/d converter, or even buying a new microphone. By improving the sound in the room, the acoustic treatment made the whole recording process much easier and more enjoyable. So when people ask me how to improve their recordings, one of the first things I suggest is room treatment. (more…)


Syncing Audio to Video in REAPER

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

I’ve been moving my audio processing to REAPER over the last year or so. It’s a powerful and reliable program in a fast moving package, with a very active and helpful user community. All these factors make it a real pleasure to use.

Now for the icing on the cake – the development team has linked in the FFmpeg video libraries and given REAPER the ability to do simple video editing. I’m totally happy with my video editing system since I moved to Edius Neo 2.5, but when I played around with video in REAPER I realized that this is a tool many musicians want and need. (more…)


Myth Busted – The Too Sensitive Condenser Microphone

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

I’ve read many times on the internet that condensers are too sensitive, they pick up the mouse in the next room, the refrigerator downstairs, the arm hairs brushing on the top of the guitar. People have suggested that a dynamic mic is better when there’s ambient noise, clumsy technique, or a bad sounding room. Have you heard this myth? Do you believe it? (more…)


Mic Comparison – a Tutorial

Thursday, June 25th, 2009

Mics are fun. They are a great gear fetish item, because they’re collectible, a bit esoteric but still familiar, come in a wide range of types and sizes, and most of them have a bit of a phallic quality (grin). Even better, when I read about microphones on the internet or in recording magazines it seems that each mic has a dramatically distinct personality, and a big part of the job of a recordist is choosing the optimal mic for any given source and style.

Sometimes when I’ve listened to mic samples I thought I heard these dramatic differences, but after a bit I realized that I was listening to different performances, not different mics. Sure the mics had been changed, but the player was hitting the strings differently and playing different riffs at a different volume – so how could I tell what part of the difference was the mic, and what part the player?

Since then I’ve tried to do some mic tests of my own, and I’ve tried to educate myself on audio testing. At this point I’m beginning to think that the differences in microphones are a lot more subtle than I had been led to believe, which makes a careful test even more important. As I’ve mentioned before, very small differences in volume are registered by our ear/brain combination as differences in quality rather than loudness. I’d like to demonstrate the steps I now take to try to make my mic comparisons, and preamp and a/d comparisons, meaningful. (more…)


About the Blog

    Howdy, my name is Fran Guidry and this is my Homebrewed Music blog.

    I play Hawaiian slack key guitar and recorded my solo acoustic CD at home. Most of the recording information I find on the internet seems focused on bands, drums, multitracking, and so on but my main focus is recording solo acoustic guitar. Lately I’ve been enjoying video recording along with audio, so that shows up in the blog as well.

    I’m also a guitar nut. I love big ones and little ones, handmades and factory guitars, cheap ones and expensive ones. So I’ll be sharing the fun of exploring guitars as well, along with the challenges of amplifying acoustic guitars for live performance.



    My recording philosophy is pragmatic, skeptical, not super critical. After all, the performance is by far the most important component of a track, and every aspect of any recording is a matter of taste.

    But I do like to know “about stuff.” Back in hifi days I learned about double blind testing. I learned that we humans can easily hear differences that don’t really exist. The more I’ve learned about our human auditory system, the more I’m skeptical of what people say they hear, especially if they claim that a particular microphone or preamp or cable has some magical property.

    I’ve only been recording since 2001, and when I started I found the usual places on the internet. I sought advice and accepted it, thought I would improve my recordings by using more expensive equipment. It didn’t work.

    Two things that did seem to lead to better recordings were experience and room treatment. Getting an appealing sound is the combination of many small details, and learning those details only comes from experience. Amd the sound of the recording space is obviously a big factor.

    I’ve only recorded seriously using digital technology, but I remember trying to record rehearsals and gigs back in analog days. I don’t have any nostalgia for analog recording and playback systems at all. I think even low end digital systems can capture marvelous recordings. So when I look at gear, I look for good specs: low noise, broad flat frequency response, wide dynamic range, low distortion. I’m not interested in colorful components, mics and preamps with a sound, I want the sound to be the sound of my guitar.

    But the last word is that I’m just learning and I hope you find something useful in my posts.