[This article was written by guest contributor Pat Walsh, lead guitarist of the band .]
As most of us are well aware, we’re now living in the age of the home recording studio. An old laptop with some inexpensive gear can now produce high fidelity recordings that can rival those made in expensive studios. Still, many musicians who aren’t engineers (me included) can find the task of recording and producing a great track a little daunting. Through a lot of trial and error I have learned a few things over the years while producing tracks for my band, Chaser Eight. Here are 5 tips that home recording enthusiasts can employ right now to start getting more polished recordings.
1. Get a Preamp
Plugging a guitar or microphone directly into your recording interface can often produce a very transparent sound that lacks the warmth and volume that a great track requires. There is an easy and inexpensive way to get a better source sound: plug the guitar or microphone into a preamp first.
A decent preamp one can be obtained for as little as $50 and will immediately add volume and warmth to everything that you record. A few technical things to note: First, if you buy a tube preamp, it’s best to junk the tube that comes with it and replace it with a better one (doing so requires nothing more than a screwdriver) which you can buy at a guitar shop.
Secondly, keep in mind that the output of the preamp will require a balanced audio cable such as a TSR or XLR cable. Don’t try and connect the preamp to your interface with just an instrument cable, even though it will fit into the input.
First plug your guitar or microphone into a Preamp, like The Tube MP pictured above, rather than directly into the Interface for improved sound quality.