general question

Anyone can tell me how to get a decent quality recording using n track. you know like plug-ins, leveling, set ups. i’m trying to do it for my Pop Punk band and i don’t want an amazing recording or even a great one., I would be happy with a pretty good one or decent one. any questions you have i’m willing to answer cause i realize i’m being a little vauge about this but i’m not sure exactly what the questions are i want to ask.

I’d start be going to Audiominds and reading through the Getting Started, Recording, Mixing and Mastering Sections.

That should give you enough info to point you in the right direction to getting a decent recording.


what he said ^ :))

In order of importance:
1. Use good instruments through good amps, properly tuned drums, played well, in good arrangments. That is 3/4 of the battle.
2. Record in a good sounding room.
3. Use good microphones placed properly, into good preamps.

If you do 1-3, the rest will be much easier. It is a mistake to think that the program matters at all - the sound quality of n-Track is in the same league as programs that are much more expensive (although none of them will sound like tape!). Plug ins will never make a bad recording sound good. Levels - that is, “gain structure” - matters, but is very easy to deal with.

So, really, you might be thinking about it from the wrong end - the things people usually don’t think about matter much more than the things they do think about, at least when starting out.

Believe me, I know this from personal experience. If the band sounds good and plays well in a good space, you can get a good recording really pretty easily. If they don’t you never will.

Just like good cooking:

1) Start with good ingredients
2) Don’t ruin them


…and …it takes time to learn how to use the software (any software). I have only made three CDs so far…and I can listen to them and tell where I was at learning how to use any related audio software.

Follow most or all of the above suggestions and take your time. Think of it as a process. 1. get good performances recorded at good level. 2. tweak any tracks that need it. 3. mix the tracks 4. do minor mastering…5. burn a CD-RW to listen in a few different stereo systems. 6. do more tweaking…if necessary.

All of this takes more time than you realize. Don’t kill yourself over your first outing. If you keep at it, you will get better. But, be patient with yourself. I know, you want to get it done is a week. That can lead to getting burned out…trust me on this one. ???

Syn07 is right, but he left out two important steps: 1) composition, 2) arrangement.

Step 1 goes without saying, I guess. But lots of amateurs tend to underestimate the importance of the arrangement, and when a song sounds muddy they’re looking for the right knob to tweak when the real problem is the arrangement. If you’re getting decent recordings for each track, adjusting the arrangement should often be the FIRST tool in the box to clarify things, not the last!

I can’t stress this enough. Good arrangements are crucial for good results. Watch out for having too many instruments in the same sonic, harmonic, or rhythmic space. Listen to tunes you like in your genre for clues on when & how to separate instruments, versus when to blend them together.

Good arrangements use both techniques well: blending multiple instruments into a single “mega-instrument”, and separating instruments into different thematic parts. Also, good arrangements let one technique predominate in some sections and the other in the others, to provide more variety and dynamics.

If you’ve done a good job of arranging and recording, it will be very easy to dial up the first quick mix with pleasing results, before adding any FX or EQ. Sometimes, even with good arrangement & recording, two parts will interfere a bit – most notably, electric guitar and bass, so you just scoop away some lows from the guitar and/or lower mids from the bass (wherever they’re interfering) and it should sound pretty good. Then you get to apply lots of techniques to sweeten it up, adding ambience, drive, etc. But if a quick mix doesn’t sound pretty good with only minor intervetion like scooping, most likely some rearranging is in order. (Assuming each track sounds fine on its own.)

The first step I generally do after quick mix to check the recorded tracks is adding compression on vocals, bass, and acoustic guitar. Then I check for interference and scoop as needed. After that, I work on stereo image, usually using stereo reverb.

TIP: Be sure to check “expand mono track to stereo” on tracks where you’re using reverb, and learn to set left and right reverb settings differently to give stereo image. This is very important, but won’t be mentioned in the tips above that aren’t specific to n-Track. Rarely do we really want a mono reverb sound!

One final tip: start with your easiest tunes, not your best ones. Or maybe even an easy cover everyone likes. Because you’ll make a lot of mistakes and you’ll learn from them, but by then you’ll be burned out on the first song or two. Save your magnum opuses and best hits until after you’re getting good results with the easy ones!

Hmm, I missed Tom’s post earlier. I agree completely.

Isn’t amazing how much arrangement matters? It really is a mystery, too. In “classical” music composition classes, lots and lots of time is spent on things like: what instruments sound good together, in what registers, doing what, in what circumstances, etc. Is there a book for pop composers that is analogous to Walter Piston’s “Orchestration” (or whatever the newer up to date book on the topic is - Kent Kennan’s? I never studied the stuff so I don’t know really)? There ought to be.

Compostion and arrangements are very important…indeed! And there is so much more also. But I was aiming more at just getting the stuff recorded. He can worry about the big stuff after he gets his feet wet.

True, entirely true, but perhaps also better not to start with the illusion that a good recording is done mostly on the technical end, IMHO. I was under that illusion for toooooo long… :(

I’m not as experienced as the others in this forum, and most of this is reiterating the advice they gave me but…

1. turn down the gain on distorted guitars. If you are like me, you’re at 8-10. Consider dialing it back to 6-8. The result will be much less “fuzz”.

2. move the mic around. don’t settle easily on placement. if you have to EQ like your carving a turkey, then your mic was in the wrong spot.

3. experiment with the settings on your amp. Those knobs actually do stuff to your tone! :D for example, if you hold your palm mutes (eg, a hardcore breakdown) and your lows are at 10, your head will explode when you hear that through headphones.

4. ignore number 2 for a second. Pass everything below 50hz, to get rid of the rumble. and pass everything above 10K to get rid of noise/fuzz at the top. a cut at 800 to 1K will "clear things up a bit"

To the others. Please feel free to correct me or comment if you disagree. :) Great question/thread.

Hi Starting Last,

to receive better / usefull information I’d suggest you to provide a little bit more information about your recording attempt for instance:

1) A description about the place where do you intend to do the recording session.
2) The avaiable equipment (amps / guitars / mics / mixer…)
3) The recording plan (everybody playing at the same time, individual recording, metronome use, guide track, etc.)


Good posts.

You can get a fairly decent recording of an electric guitar by just hanging an SM57 in front of it and taking what you get. But folks that get really good recordings usually spend a lot of time on it. There’s no end of fun you can have ( :;): ) trying different ways to mike a guitar amp to get really cool sounds. Such as:

move the amp
pull it away from the wall
face it into the wall
stick it in the middle of the room
lay it on its back, facing up
stick it in a stairwell (use 2 mikes!)
stick it in a small bathroom (door open, door closed, & in-between)
stick it in a small closet (door open/closed, varying amounts of clothes)

Along with each of the above, try various mike positions – popular favorites include:

pointing straight into the speaker, or various angles (45 degrees is popular)
at the center of the speaker
halfway between center and edge
near the edge
various distances


I totally agree.
And after the recording session you can expend about 2 centuries more trying different combinations with volume and equalization before insert the first plug-in.:smiley:

i’m recording in my bed room and i’m using my epiphone flame kat guitar, zoom 505II pedal, a fender princton 65 amp. a yamaha dtxpress III drum set a shure 8800 mic and a fender jazz bass. i’m doingt his for a punk band and i feel like the guitar sound i’m getting too high it’s not very natural sounding. Very digital sounding.and i’m doing it when everyone is playing seprerate prabably doing it with the drum track recorded first. then bass and so on. i’m really trying to get a sound like a basic demo. and i’m really having a problem with recording vocals i feel like it doesn’t have a well mixed in sound. And thanks to all of youi for your replys they are helping me some

You have just about everything you need to start make reasonable recordings.

How are you recording the guitar - direct in from the 505 or by micing up the Fender?

Here’s a thought… I’m assuming that you are a band (ie not one person doing all the tracks). If so, in my experience you get a much better performance if you record all the tracks playing together (with the exception of the vocal perhaps). Again an assumption, but you’ve only got a “standard” soundcard with mic-in/line-in? However, are you aware that you can record two separate tracks using the line-in? One for left and one for right. So at the very least you could record the guitar and bass together.

But there’s more. Assuming the dtxpress can do midi in/out, you could also include the drummer’s track while you play by sending the dtxpress midi to n-track and recording that instead of the audio. Then when you are done, have n-Track playback the midi file to the dtxpress and record the audio output back to n-track. Now you have seperate tracks for drums/bass/guitar but you played them together. A bit longwinded but you’ll get a better performance.

Then add vocal.

Some more thoughts… your mic is pretty low end. You might want to consider getting a large diaphram condensor. Whatever you do, make sure you are running the mic into the LINE-IN, not the MIC-IN. If necessary, use the 505 (with all effects turned off) as a makeshift pre-amp. (It works, I’ve done it!)

Finally, if you use a y-cable out of your electric guitar you could record a clean guitar while listening to your amp or 505. But then you can experiment with adding a VST amp sim, or sending the track out to your amp or 505 and play around as much as you like until you get a sound you like and that works.


problem with recording vocals i feel like it doesn’t have a well mixed in sound

This is probably one of the hardest things about recorind/mixing. Keep trying. When you’ve figured it out, come back and tell the rest of us!>



You know, re: vocals, I could not believe how much the Rode NTK helped things in that department for me. Things just sit better, without really any need to mess around with EQ or even much compression.


You know, re: vocals, I could not believe how much the Rode NTK helped things in that department for me. Things just sit better, without really any need to mess around with EQ or even much compression.

Doh! You know I just get to the stage where I think… “that’s enough toys, let’s get on and use them” and then you go and say something like that. :p