HOW DO I MAKE MY MIXES SOUND UNIQUE?
By Michael Laskow
One way to avoid mixes that sound like every other project studio out there is to build your own echo chamber. This may seem like a ridiculous idea, given the home recording revolution that has put every imaginable effect and device into affordable little boxes. But to further abuse an already overused cliché, why not "think outside the box?"
Remember, the same recording gear you can afford is what every other project studio engineer has also just purchased. And most people never venture past the basic presets that come with this gear. So if you have the means, try something adventurous like building an echo chamber in your studio.
You don't a huge space, just a cool-sounding ambience that will help to set your mixes apart from everyone else's. Here's what you do. Run a patch from an aux send or buss on the console to a separate amplifier (any cheap stereo amp will do.) Then run a speaker off the amp to your designated chamber - it can be a bathroom, hallway, garage, attic, you name it. Then set up a cheap mic in that space. You'll want to put some distance between it and the speaker, but how much and where the mic is aimed is up to you. To do this properly you'll need an assistant. Have them move the mic around while you're in the control room listening for a sweet spot. Remember: the amount of reflections you get is determined not only by where you place the mic (straight at the speaker or up in a corner facing the opposite wall) but how much signal you send to the amp. The louder it is, the more times the signal will bounce around your newly created echo chamber.
Simply return the mic's signal back to the console using an open fader or an "echo return," and combine the signal with the original to hear the reverb. Obviously, the more of the chamber you mix in, the more reverb you'll hear. You can also use stereo speakers and two mics in stereo in your "chamber," and return the signals to two open faders and pan them opposite each other to get a stereo chamber.
The information above came from "Studio Buddy -- The Home Recording Helper." It's a self-contained, easy to use database of recording tips designed specifically for people with home studios. If you find this article helpful, you should download the FREE program at:
This series of recording studio and sound engineering articles are being made available courtesy of our friends at Taxi. The articles aim to help you make better sounding recordings in your home or project studio and will be available here or online at Taxi, complete with pictures using the link at the end of the article or better still - sign up to receive Taxi's Newsletters FREE and get them delivered straight to your inbox!
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