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Recording Synthesizers
Articles for Home & Studio Users
Articles for Home & Studio Users

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Recording a synth is essentially a no-brainer. So much of the sound is "designed" by the player, that you don't really have to do much else to the signal other than avoiding peaks that will break up your mic pre or distort the tape (if you're using tape). It's definitely a good idea to have the player run down the entire part so you can see where the peaks are, and set your threshold and compression ratio accordingly.

If you're recording a bass synth part, you may want to compress it much more than you would a string part. I also recommend using a tube limiter if you have one to warm up the synth.

If you're recording a synth organ (B3, etc.), you may want to set the compressor's ratio at 5:1 but keep the threshold fairly high. By doing that you'll get some nice "natural" dynamics, but be able to slam down any excessive peaks that could cause distortion in any number of places in the recording chain.

Now for the fun stuff. Recording synth strings? Try running the signal out of the control room into the studio or another room, and into a pair of stereo speakers. Then mic the speakers at a distance as if you were miking a real string section. This will give your synthesized strings an airier sound. You can take it a step farther by slightly detuning one side of the signal that goes to the speakers to imitate the natural pitch variances that happen in real string sections. Experimentation is a wonderful thing.

A similar technique can be used to get a more authentic Hammond B3 sound. Place two speakers back to back (or even better, two guitar amps) in the studio. Send the stereo synth signal to the speakers/amps, and mic each side. This will give you the ability to add some "air" to the sound, and if you desire, you can overdrive the amps to add some distortion.

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Dear Passengers,

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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