Cover image for Sound advice : the musician's guide to the recording studio
Sound advice : the musician's guide to the recording studio
Wadhams, Wayne.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Schirmer Books ; London : Collier Macmillan, 1990.
Physical Description:
xxii, 357 pages ; 26 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
TK7881.4 .W33 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



This guide to the recording studio provides all the information necessary to making a successful recording. It traces the artistic processes from raw material to the making of master tapes. It explains the basic techniques employed in the studio and discusses various sound sources, microphones, basic room acoustics, consoles, recorders and signal processors. The appendices include some tips and advice from 14 top producers and engineers and also from the A&R department of CBS.

Author Notes

Wayne Wadhams has produced rock, jazz, and classical records for CBS, Portrait, and other labels. He is a professor at the Berklee College of Music, where he designed the curriculum and studios for the Music Production and Engineering Department, a program that has been awarded three consecutive Mix magazine "TEC" Awards (1985 through 1987) for Technical Excellence and Creativity. He is the author of Dictionary of Music Production and Engineering Terminology (Schirmer Books, 1987) and Sound Advice: The Musician's Guide to the Record Industry (Schirmer Books, 1990), as well as a frequent contributor to Mix, downbeat, and other magazines.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Wadhams (Berklee College of Music) is succeeding admirably in his attempts to reveal the mechanics of audio engineering to practicing musicians. Like his Dictionary of Music Production and Engineering Terminology (CH, Apr'89), the present volume is chock-full of useful information presented in a lucid, nontechnical style. The details of circuit design are intentionally omitted in order to focus on more general aspects of the recording process, i.e., the history of the recording studio, major components of the studio and control room, session planning, problems in the recording process, recording individual instruments, mixing techniques, and demo tape production. A selective bibliography and more than 80 illustrations are included as well as 15 interesting interviews with well-known engineers, producers, and musicians. A double CD set including 160 digitally recorded examples may be purchased separately. In fact, the CDs should definitely be acquired. The recordings are superb and their use will significantly enhance the effectiveness of the text. A good basic description of a potentially complex topic is hard to find. As such, Wadhams's book (and the companion CDs) should be considered by all libraries supporting collections in music technology. W. J. Waters Pensacola Junior College

Table of Contents

Illustrationsp. ix
Prefacep. xiii
Acknowledgmentsp. xv
Introductionp. xix
Part I Introduction to the Recording Studiop. 1
1 A Brief History of the Multitrack Recording Studiop. 3
2 Sound Sources and Microphonesp. 9
Studio Instruments
Microphones and Direct Boxes
Stereo Miking Techniques
3 Consoles for Recording and Mixingp. 24
Major Components
VU versus Peak-Reading Meters
Console Structure or Architecture
Important Factors for Your Session
4 Multitrack and Other Tape Recorders, Noise Reduction, and Studio Acousticsp. 39
Tape Recorders and Noise Reduction
Two-Track Recorders and Digital Mixdown
Studio and Control Room Acoustics
5 Reverberation and Digital Recordingp. 51
Artificial Reverberation Systems
Digital Recording and Its Offshoots
Digital Effects Devices and Toys
6 Outboard Signal-Processing Devices--Analog and Digitalp. 63
Expanders and Noise Gates
7 Equalizers and Special Effects Processorsp. 75
Aural Exciters and Sampling Devices
8 Console Automation, Smpte Synchronization, and the Basics of Midip. 83
The Advantages of Automation
The Disadvantages of Automation
SMPTE Interlock Systems
MIDI in the Control Room
Part II Mind Over Meters: Preparing for the Collaboration With Engineer and Machinep. 93
9 Session Planning and Engineer Communicationp. 95
The Purpose of the Master Tape
How Many Songs to Record
Session Scheduling
Intended Instrumentation
Choosing the Most Crucial Sounds
Recording Order
Selecting Recordings for Studio Reference
Arranging the Players in the Studio
Acoustic Isolation
Arrival and Equipment Setup
Effects Boxes and Accessories
Planning for Problems
Budget Planning with the Studio Engineer
The Production Grid: A Planning and Money-Saving Tool
10 Developing Studio Ears and Common Sensep. 116
Trend Avoidance in the Recording Studio
Productive Monitoring
Tubes, Transistors, and Integrated Circuits
Digital Versus Analog Recording
Studio Maintenance
11 Basic Problems in the Recording Processp. 123
Instruments, Voices and Spaces
Close Miking
Local Resonances
Close-Miking and the Order of Signal Processing Devices
Recording Decisions
Adding Effects
Part III Recording Individual Instruments and Sectionsp. 133
12 Drumsp. 135
Basic Problems
The Kick Drum
The Snare Drum and Hi-Hat
Drum Kits and Cymbals
13 Acoustic and Electric Bassp. 175
Basic Problems
Acoustic Bass
Electric Bass
14 Vocalsp. 195
Lead Vocals
Group and Background Vocals
15 The Grand Piano and Fender Rhodes Electric Planop. 208
The Grand Piano
The Fender Rhodes Electric Piano
16 Stringed Instrumentsp. 220
Basic Problems
Acoustic Stringed Instruments and Magnetic Pickups
17 Guitarsp. 229
The Acoustic Guitar
The Electric Guitar
18 Woodwinds and Reedsp. 244
Basic Problems
The Organ Pipe and Flute
The Woodwinds
The Reeds
19 The Brass Familyp. 261
Basic Problems
Techniques for Miking Brass
20 The Stringsp. 267
Basic Problems
21 The Tuned Percussionsp. 274
Basic Problems
Techniques for Miking Tuned Percussions
22 Percussionsp. 280
Basic Problems
Techniques for Miking Percussions
23 Recording "Live" Ensembles, Bands, and Orchestrasp. 285
Primary Miking
Reinforcement with Close Mics
Control Room Decision Making
24 Sampling Live Soundsp. 291
Sampling Suggestions and Precautions
Part IV Molding, Shaping, and Packaging the Song Before and After Recordingp. 297
25 The Mixdownp. 299
The Rough Mix
Problem-solving Techniques
26 Producing Records and Tapesp. 318
The Traditional Relationship between Producer, Label, and Artist
Obstacles in the Relationship between Artist and Audiences
The Producer's Role
How to Search for and Find a Producer
The Producer's Compensation
Finding Help for Producing Your Demos
27 A Producer's "Toolkit"p. 327
Appendix A. The "Great Sounds": An Industry Surveyp. 333
Appendix B. Painting with Sounds: Recording and Producing Full Circle for CBS Recordsp. 338
Suggested Readingsp. 343
Indexp. 347