A few days ago, I attended an event hosted by the Recording Academy featuring Bob Power. With an original and captivating teaching style, he bestowed some unusual advice upon the audience. Some of the things he said were a complete opposite of the common wisdom in the recording industry. Here’s two of my favorite nuggets:
1. Your microphone is not the most important thing in the vocal chain. The mic pre is. With a good mic pre, you can make any microphone sound good. The second most important component is the A/D converter. Pretty unusual opinion. Not sure if I agree with this one, but hey, intriguing food for thought coming from one of the greats. Bob followed this opinion up by sharing some cool tips on mic technique which assures a good vocal sound on cheap mics. He played us a track that he recorded with a 57, and it did sound really good.
2. The first two vocal takes are almost always unusable, so don’t have the vocalist do the difficult passages which might blow his/her chops in the first few takes. Wise advice, although it does contradict the million times I’ve heard people saying that the first take is often the best. Personally, I know of at least one artist who I record on a regular basis, whose first take is always magical, and subsequent takes usually end up being used for small patches of just a few phrases that may have been a miss in the otherwise amazing first take. But for most singers, yeah, that’s good advice.
And here’s my favorite Power’s truism of the night: The more expensive and fancy the studio is, the more problematic the HVAC system is. So true!
Check out Bob’s cool site: bobpower.com