Recording 101: Are You Working Harder or Smarter?


As a young engineer coming out of school with little resources, every piece of gear I acquired took some serious consideration. console-2014Now, while I do believe that the skillset of an engineer is far more important than the equipment being used, it does help to have a few key tools in the toolbox.

Not having an arsenal of equipment at my fingertips during the early years of my career, forced me to work harder at learning the limitations of my equipment. Looking back, I’m grateful for this time in my career because I learned how to make something sound great without a whole lot of gear.

When resources became more available later on in my career, I was able to acquire some better gear. The immediate thing I noticed was that I could get to the sound I was hearing in my head way faster then ever before.

With the evolution of digital based systems today, it doesn’t take as much money to build an ‘in the box’ rig capable of going head-to-head with many major analog pro rooms. Plug-in manufacturers have really come a long way in emulating the analog components they’re modeled after. The best part is they cost a whole lot less!

In many ways, I wish I was starting my career now because you can pretty much start and finish a project in the box for a fraction of what it would cost to own the analog equipment.

And while I do think it was important for me to work my ass off to push the limited amount of gear I had back in the day, I appreciate so much more the ability to call up the sound I hear in my head in 10 minutes, vs. one hour.

If you’re a young engineer just starting out, do your research and test the plug-ins before you buy. Most if not all offer free trials. Finding some great dynamics and EQ is probably the most important thing to take your time with. Next, a good reverb and delay will go a long way in helping to create depth in a mix.

I’ve shaved some serious time off my workflow and achieve results in way quicker times than I ever have before. And it’s way more fun!

The moral of the story: investing in the ‘right’ gear (software) should help you work smarter not harder. This has proven true for my career.

Good luck and may the force be with you.

-Jeff Eden

Check back next month for another instalment of Recording 101!  

About the Author: Jeff Eden is an established Composer for Film & TV, and a 20-year veteran of the recording industry. He is the Owner & Head Engineer at Studio8.

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