Practical Recording Techniques: The Step- by- Step Approach to Professional Audio Recording, 6th Edition (Paperback) book cover

Practical Recording Techniques

The Step- by- Step Approach to Professional Audio Recording, 6th Edition

By Bruce Bartlett, Jenny Bartlett

© 2013 – Focal Press

516 pages

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9780240821535
pub: 2012-08-06
Save $11.99

Look Inside Comp Exam Copy Companion Website

About the Book

This hands-on, practical guide covers all aspects of recording, perfect for beginning and intermediate recording engineers, producers, musicians, and audio enthusiasts. Filled with tips and shortcuts, this book gives advice on equipping a home studio (both low-budget and advanced), suggestions for set-up, acoustics, choosing monitor speakers, and preventing hum. This best-selling guide also instructs how to judge recordings and improve them to produce maximum results.

New in the sixth edition:

* Complete update of digital media material, including updated equipment and microphone descriptions

* Digital performers and computer DAWs

*Additional material regarding ProTools ability to let owners choose other interfaces with their software

* More information on how the hook-ups in a studio work, with more advice on setting up a home project studio, and expansion of location recording material

* Further information on things like Auto-tune and multiband limiting, a useful plug-in round up

* Further information on workflow, addressing issues like file formats, uploading & downloading of songs and materials, and use of a computer as a recording device

* Expansion on Internet issues

* Updated home studio setup information, including the workflow with Windows 7 and Mac OSX

* Expansion of technicalities of MIDI, including data structure and controller codes

Companion website can be found at


Praise for the 5e: "…packed with well-illustrated graphics and pictures and gives extensive guidance on everything from studio and location recording techniques through to publishing your sounds on the web."-- James Eade, Lighting and Sound International

Table of Contents



1 Music: Why We Record

Increasing Your Involvement in Music

Different Ways of Listening

Why Record?

2 The Recording Process

Types of Recording

Pros and Cons of Each Method

Recording the Mixes

3 Sound, Signals, and Studio Acoustics

Sound Wave Creation

Characteristics of Sound Waves

Behavior of Sound in Rooms

How to Tame Echoes and Reverb

Making a Quieter Studio

Signal Characteristics of Audio Devices

4 Equipping Your Studio


Setting Up Your Studio

Hum Prevention

Reducing Radio Frequency Interference

5 Monitoring

Speaker Requirements

Nearfield[tm] Monitors

Powered (Active) Monitors

The Power Amplifier

Speaker Cables and Polarity

Control-Room Acoustics

Speaker Placement

Using the Monitors


The Cue System


6 Microphones

Transducer Types

Polar Pattern

Frequency Response

Impedance (Z)

Maximum SPL



Signal-to-Noise Ratio


Microphone Types

Microphone Selection

Mic Accessories


7 Microphone-Technique Basics

Which Mic Should I Use?

How Many Mics?

How Close Should I Place the Mic?

Where Should I Place the Mic?

On-Surface Techniques

The Three-to-One Rule

Off-Axis Coloration

Stereo Mic Techniques

8 Microphone Techniques

Electric Guitar

Electric Bass

Synthesizer, Drum Machine, and Electric Piano

Leslie Organ Speaker

Drum Set


Acoustic Guitar


Grand Piano

Upright Piano

Acoustic Bass


Mandolin, Dobro, Bouzouki, and Lap Dulcimer

Hammered Dulcimer

Fiddle (Violin)

String Section

String Quartet

Bluegrass Band and Old-Time String Band





Harmonica, Accordion, and Bagpipe

Lead Vocal

Background Vocals

Spoken Word

Choir and Orchestra


9 Effects and Signal Processors

Software Effects (Plug-Ins)




Noise Gate

Delay--Echo, Doubling, Chorus, and Flanging




Octave Divider


Vocal Processor

Pitch Correction

Tube Processor

Rotary Speaker Simulator

Analog Tape Simulator

Spatial Processor

Microphone Modeler

Guitar Amplifier Modeler


De-Click and De-Noise

Surround Sound

Multi-effects Processor

Looking Back

Sound-Quality Glossary

10 Mixers and Mixing Consoles

Stages of Recording

Mixer Functions and Formats

Analog Mixer

Digital Mixer

Software Mixer

Control Surface

11 Mixer Operation

Session Preparation





Composite Tracks

Getting More Tracks

Drum Replacement



Automated Mixing

Lo-Fi Recording: How to Trash Your Tracks

12 Judging Sound Quality

Classical versus Popular Recording

Good Sound in a Pop-Music Recording

Good Sound in a Classical-Music Recording

Training Your Hearing

Troubleshooting Bad Sound

13 Digital Recording

Analog versus Digital

Digital Recording

The Clock

Digital Audio Signal Formats



Digital Transfers or Copies

2-Track Digital Recorders

Multitrack Digital Recorders


14 Computer Recording

Basic Operation

The Computer

Audio Interfaces

DSP Card

Analog Summing Amplifier

Recording Software

Optimizing Your Computer for Multitrack Recording

Using a DAW

Audio for Video

15 Session Procedures, Mastering, and CD Burning


Setting Up the Studio

Setting Up the Control Room

Session Overview



Breaking Down



Transferring the Mastered Program to CD-R

Master Log

Copyrights and Royalties

16 MIDI and Looping

MIDI Components

Recording Music Made by Soft Synths

"No sound" MIDI Troubleshooting

Recording with a Keyboard Workstation

Recording with a Drum Machine and Synth

Using Effects

Loop-Based Recording


17 On-Location Recording of Popular Music

Record Off the Board

Record with Mics and a Portable Digital Recorder

Record with a 4-Tracker

Connect the PA Mixer Insert Sends to a Recording Mixer

Splitting the Mic Signals

Multitrack Recording in a Truck

Preparing for the SessionPreparing for Easier Setup

At the Session: Setup

Mic Techniques

Sound Check and Recording


18 On-Location Recording of Classical Music


Selecting a Venue

Session Setup

Microphone Placement

Setting Levels

Recording a Concert


19 Web Audio and Online Collaboration

Streaming versus Downloading

Data Compression

Web-Related Audio Files

What You Need

How to Upload Compressed Audio Files

Putting Your Music On Your Website

Collaborating by Sharing Files

Finding Studio Musicians, Producers and Engineers

A dB or Not dB


Sound Pressure Level

Signal Level

The VU Meter, Zero VU, and Peak Indicators

Balanced versus Unbalanced Equipment

Interfacing Balanced and Unbalanced Equipment

Microphone Sensitivity

B Optimizing Your Computer for Multitrack Recording

Speeding Up Your Hard Drive

Increasing Processing Speed

Preventing Interruptions

Setting the Buffer Size

Minimizing Latency

Other Tips

Windows Vista and Windows 7

Optimizing MacIntosh for Multitrack Recording

C Impedance

What is Impedance?

I'm connecting two audio devices. Is it important to match their impedances? What if I don't?

What about microphone impedance?

I'm connecting a mic to a mixer. Is impedance a consideration?

Should I consider impedance when I connect two line-level devices?

Can I connect one source to two or more loads?

Can I connect two or more sources to one input?


D Phantom Power Explained


Using a Stand-Alone Supply

Cautions for Use

DC Bias

E Where to Learn More

Books and Videos

Recording Magazines

Pro Audio Magazines

Consumer Audio Magazines

Guides, Brochures, and Other Literature

Guides to Recording Schools

The Internet

Recording Equipment Catalogs


Starting a Career as a Recording Engineer


About the Originator

Bruce Bartlett

Weaverville, North Carolina, USA

Learn more about Bruce Bartlett >>

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