Readers' Letters: Why you should should throw away your monitors and get Genelecs instead, and more...

David Mellor

David Mellor is CEO and Course Director of Audio Masterclass. David has designed courses in audio education and training since 1986 and is the publisher and principal writer of

Thursday November 30, 2006

In response to Why you should should throw away your monitors and get Genelecs instead, Rodger Prapukas writes...

This site is absolutely Ridiculous. DOES ANYONE ACTUALLY KNOW ANYTHING, or is this just a site dedicated to allowing people to SPEW TOTAL BULLSHIT.

The shape of the monitors has NOTHING to do with diffusion. ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH IT. Diffusion of the audio waves occur at the points of reflection. The shape of the loudspeaker has nothing to do with it, but rather the construction of the room you are using the monitors in.

How come the author still continues to live? By all rights he should be brutally destroyed for his or her total and utter display of stupidity.

RP response: Thank you for your opinion Rodger. By the way, the article is about diffraction, not diffusion.

In response to Admit it - do you always raise the microphone up and point it down?, Jay Bala writes...

Good points on mic placement.

Also, consider the quarterwave distance of the center frequency and the fs or the resonant frequency of that instrument.


Jay Bala.

In response to Giant-killing $5 mic preamp - its secrets revealed, Ingvar Hellsing writes...

Seems a bit strange to me that you use elctrolytic capacitors on the way in. You should be far better off with polycarbonat or polypropylene. It would certainly sound even better. (mic preamp)

RP response: Ah yes... the sound of capacitors. A whole new set of unknowns. It might be nice to open a debate. What harm can capacitors do? Factors might include frequency response, distortion, noise, resonance, microphony. There might be others. We are open to suggestions (and audio demonstrations!)

In response to What is the difference between an effects unit and a processor? Or are they the same?, Gerald Lopez writes...

Sometimes when mixing bass its gives good results to blend some amount of uncompressed bass with the compressed, and then your dynamic processor becomes a dynamic FX unit.

They are all processors, but some allows you to maintain some amout of the unprocessed signal at the output they are usually referred to as FX.

In response to Does the order in which you connect your electric guitar effects pedals matter?, Wess writes...

This is one of the most straight forward no B.S. articles! I loved it! It is really frustrating when you don't know what to do and to get an easy answer that makes sense is great. Thanks, Wess.

In response to Why are you recording at home when a pro studio would do a better job?, Josef Horhay writes...

Seasons Greetings,

I'm Josef Horhay and I play the acoustic guitar professionally. In the studio, or at home it takes a lot of time to produce quality results.

In my experience, there's always a heavy cost incurred in recording/creating release quality music. Even when you do it at home.

The journey is long but rewarding.

The music industry is ON!

If you wanna get good home recordings, besides using hi-end audio tools, try not to overlook the importance of great sounding instrument.


Josef Horhay

In response to Question – "Can I record audio by plugging into my computer's audio input?", Bryan Black writes...

It seems like the computer line input may be set to expect a mic level input instead of a line level. I am not familiar with the particular motherboard, so it could be a software setting, or possibly a hardware setting making this happen.

While pro gear should indeed help make recordings better, even that will not help if it is not set up properly. And the sound quality that the computer offers may be all that is needed for this particular project. Spending hundreds or even thousands to do a project that has little or no budget will put a true professional out of business in a hurry. Indeed, investment is often necessary, but you need to make sure that you balance that with what you will be able to do with it.

In response to Why are you recording at home when a pro studio would do a better job?, Russ D writes...

I have been recording for several decades. I too have encountered the "communication problem" between engineers and clients. From both sides!

I think part of the problem is that every project studio owner fancies themselves Martin Hannett or George Martin. And many artists are not open to constructive criticism!

So basically it boils down to egos. We all have our egos invested in the process. The trick is to be professional about it and just work towards whatever is best for the song.

In response to Why are you recording at home when a pro studio would do a better job?, Tsilis writes...

This is absolutely right. But I would like to stretch another important point: In your home studio you feel very familiar with the environment, it is your place. Another thing is that you rarely get your good performance in a studio. At home you feel relaxed and you have the facility to record anytime your mind is up for it, anytime you feel inspired. Big thing if you are a musician unless you are a drummer and you decide to record something in the middle of the night. This is gonna be an experience....

And anyway, music is not good recording quality, presence etc music is above recording processes

In response to Why are you recording at home when a pro studio would do a better job?, Ryan writes...

I completely agree with your views in this article.

When I first went into a recording studio with my band the music sounded lifeless and lacked the energy of our live performances and it was because we couldn't convey our ideas to the engineer coherently.

After spending years learning to record at home on a laptop and headphones interspersed with regular visists to a studio we can now convey our ideas to engineers to get a better product, I think all serious musicians should at the very least take a look at the very basics of the recording process as well as looking at the construction of their instruments and/or microphones to understand how to use them to the best effect.


In response to Why are you recording at home when a pro studio would do a better job?, Sergio A writes...

Thats why the best artists want to be in the process and almost do it themselves all the time. The engineer is just another (very worthy) point of view.

In response to When your equipment breaks down, should you be able to get it repaired?, Dries Pauley writes...

I think its unreasonable to take ONE guy's view and make Behringer the culprit! I use Behringer equipment and I recently serviced my Mixer of 6years at a very low cost in South Africa! Why dont you rather mention SONY as the company that cannot even repair a video camera whos heads got dirty. And if they replace is at 50% of the price of the camera.If you publish articles like these(based on ONE persons view)you are compromising the integrity of all your other (valuable)articles.

RP response: The article was based on a conversation with a maintenance engineer who referred to Behringer equipment specifically.

In response to Record any song you like - even if it's someone else's copyright. Make and sell CDs - make lots of money!, Jim Hewitt writes...

OK, but your process does not include purchasing the license, and when. You need the license before you start manufacturing.

A mechanical license can be obtained in the U.S. from agencies such as Harry Fox for around $40-50 per song flat rate for up to 500 copies. The typical home studio/project studio release will usually be small in quantity, unless you want lots of coasters over the years, or unless you work through a distributor or music publisher that wants 1000's of copies.

So if you cover 10 songs, your up front cost will be around $450-500 for licenses, on top of the manufacturing costs of $500-$1500.

From a return on investment perspective, unless you are better at the performing the cover than the original artist, you should look at writing your own material, or performing public domain or traditional material, hopefully with your own unique arrangements.

Many artists I know who perform locally and make their own CD's neglect to purchase the mechanical license for their covers, for financial reasons. While they may get away with this by staying "under the radar", if your release gets picked up by a label, you could be in trouble for copyright infringement. To be honest I have not heard of anyone doing a small release getting dinged this way, but it is just a matter of time. Look at the RIAA and their pursuit of illegal downloaders as an example of the grief this can cause.

Perhaps the best avenue if you want to record a cover is just to record one or two, and write the rest of the material yourself.

RP response: The Harry Fox Agency has a handy calculator here...

In response to Why are you recording at home when a pro studio would do a better job?, V-man writes...

Hi everybody,

I run my recording studio in Greece and the first 2 things i would advice all aspiring musicians is to decide about the tempo and key of each song before entering the studio. That is because tempo changes is difficult to perform without entering that "digital distortion". The same applies to key changes.

Many times after i have finished a recording in my studio the musician says "Oh, it sounds a bit slow", or "can we spped it up?". Well, those are things to be considered in the pre-production stage and not in the production stage...So. get prepared before entering the studio!


In response to A big fat mic for a big fat instrument?, Agustin Espina writes...

Hi, I'm new to the Record-Producer forum and I find it very very usefull. I've been involved for about 20 years in recording business in my country, Venezuela.

About the Pro Tools discussion... when I was a student I asked to Mr. Gerry Weill, one of the music "gurus" in Venezuela, what was the best sequencer to use? And he answered: "The best sequencer is the one that you already use. No matter what it does or how it does it... It's the sequencer you know the best". I think that this apply the same way for audio software.

I am a big fan of Pro Tools... It's a standard in the pro audio industry and it suits my needs as a producer... I have heard a lot about how great Logic is, but I don't have the time to check how it work vs. Pro Tools... maybe I'm loosing a lot of stuff I don't have in PT, but being attached to PT all this time has worked for me. And, at the end of the line, that is what counts.

No matter if you go for Logic, Cubase, or even a HD recorder... Get the most you can of what you already have... Don't let the lights of the advertisements make you think that you are "out". Master the art of recording, at the end of the line, it's the sound quality what counts, not what software you used to get it.

In response to How much does a TV music composer get paid?, Stephen Doctor writes...

I'm in the same boat of production music as you and I agree that an artist does need to see the value of making lots of high quality music all the time, and becoming a member of a PRO [performing right organization] is essential. No PRO = No royalties. Do the math.

I get a lot of usages of my music in Film & TV.

(I've got lots of credits listed here, but tons more that I haven't even listed on the site yet)

I also got paid from the Oprah show also. Thanks Oprah !

Keep in touch. I really like your site.

Stephen Doctor

In response to Mastering at home - an oxymoron?, Denis writes...

I really think that everything is possible and you can master your own recordings at home but I know it's a lot of work but I'm sure everyone can do it.

In response to Why are you recording at home when a pro studio would do a better job?, Richard writes...

Well I wouldn't classify myself as a pro at recording but I can leave some advice that helped me clarify a lot which is.....

Read a BOOK!!! Anything recording related. It would open your mind up to the process and lingo so you won't feel so ignorant or disappointed in the end.

Plus nothing beats your own home studio, endless hours of experimentation to develop you as an artist....and thats just priceless.

Have a good 1.

In response to Why are you recording at home when a pro studio would do a better job?, FOJEBA writes...

Thanks for this very helpful post. I did experience the same disappointment a few months ago. Now, I even feel more comfortable with my own recordings in my small home studio.

I know I still have a long way to go,but i'm slowly getting there.

In response to Why do small PA loudspeakers sound so bad?, Michael Miller writes...

I can't agree that small speakers don't sound good. It really depends on the size room & crowd as to whether or not they work well. Our band uses a pair of JBL Eon's (10" G2 series). And for the size venues we play, they work well. Vocals have great clarity and a nice tight bottom end. The music we play during breaks sounds great. Plenty of bottom end. Now your not going to get the massive bottom end that rap music demands, but for the majority of the genres out there, small works pretty well for us.

In response to to be sued over article on mastering, Chad Stewart writes...


You've made my morning. The article "I'm being sued" (or something like that). . . Wow, I don't know what to say, other than this is strong evidence for those against computers in junior high school classes. Is this guy for real?

Thanks again, and keep up the great work.


RP response: One day I might tell you about the time I was sued by Metallica... DM

In response to Why do old people listen to old music?, Tommy Dolan writes...

I think the reason that people prefer the music that they grew up with is because through each new generation pop music has got simpler with less real musicianship. Jazz was once popular music. Musicians don't need to be musicians anymore. Listen to the interaction between players from motown to rock. Great session players creating magic. This doesn't seem to happen much these days with electronic music. Most modern guitar bands can't really play their instruments. Years ago session players would have been brought in, but now our ears are used to dodgy guitars.

In response to How can you record a whole band at the same time?, Peter Davies writes...

For 1/2 the price of 8PRE get a Behringer ADA8000 Ultragain Pro 8-Channel A/D D/A Converter and connect it to a suitable optical ADAT input on the PC. Personally I have an EMU-1616M and use it for portable live recordings of bands which works really well, as it also gives me the other 8 channels (making 16 in total) as well as powerful processing. HTH, Peter

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