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My Take on Music Recording is a podcast that covers many different aspects of the recording process, with a focus on the intersection of art and technology. Although recording is a technical process, it also involves music and musicians, working with engineers to create a satisfying experience for the listener.

Doug Fearn has made his living from professional audio since 1966 as a recording engineer, studio owner, record producer, and pro audio equipment designer and manufacturer.

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Your comments and suggestions are always welcomed

Updated 26 November 2021

copyright 2020-2021 Douglas W. Fearn


#51  What Is Audio Quality? with George & Geoff Hazelrigg             July 29, 2021

Geoff and George Hazelrigg are not only my business partners, but also superb musicians with decades of studio experience.

We seem to always agree on what makes a compelling recording. In this informal conversation, we talk about how artifacts of any kind will detract from the listener’s enjoyment. We share what we have discovered to be the best combination of gear and technique to make recordings we are pleased with.

The second part of this conversation, where we discuss DSD high-resolution recording, will become an upcoming episode.

Your comments, questions, and suggestions are always interesting and helpful to me. You can contact me at dwfearn@dwfearn.com

If you enjoy this podcast, please subscribe through any of the 30-plus podcast providers that carry it. Leave a review if you like. Reviews help new listeners find podcasts they like. Thanks.

 

#52  DSD Recording with George & Geoff Hazelrigg             August 12, 2021

Direct Stream Digital (DSD) is a different way to record music in a digital format. The concept goes back to the 1930s, and it has been used to record music for at least 20 years. But DSD has not been widely accepted in music recording because it has some serious limitations, which require changes in our normal workflow habits.

This conversation with George and Geoff Hazelrigg is a continuation for the previous episode on audio quality. We do not get into the technical details of how DSD works, which will be the subject for a future episode.

Your comments, questions, and suggestions are always interesting and helpful to me. You can contact me at dwfearn@dwfearn.com

If you enjoy this podcast, please subscribe through any of the 30-plus podcast providers that carry it. Leave a review if you like. Reviews help new listeners find podcasts they like. Thanks.

 

#53  Studio Drummer John O’Reilly Jr.             August 26, 2021

John O’Reilly Jr. is a studio drummer who spends most of his time recording drum tracks for clients in his studio. He talks about his experiences leading up to his business, “Boom Crash Drum Tracks.”

Our conversation covers much more than that. We talk about his philosophy of drumming and music, the challenges and rewards of providing drum overdub tracks, and his commitment to teaching. We discuss the state of current music, and music of the past.

 You can visit John’s web site at https://www.boomcrashdrumtracks.com/

 John is also the drummer with the  Hazelrigg Brothers Trio.

Thanks for listening, and please tell others about this podcast if you think they would find it useful.

You can subscribe at any of over 30 podcast providers who carry My Take On Music Recording, including Apple Podcasts. Your comments and suggestions are always welcome. Send me email at dwfearn@dwfearn.com

#54  Chuck Anderson, Guitarist, Teacher, Performer, Author       September 8, 2021

Chuck Anderson is an amazing musician. Not only is his technique on guitar remarkable, he is also a solid businessman who has made his living from music since he was a teenager. Over his long career, Chuck has worked with the top singers in the music business.

But his steady passion is teaching. Since he was 16, he has taught thousands of students. He instructs them not only on the technique of the guitar, but also how to pursue their musical dreams, whether it is becoming a rock star, a studio musician, or just playing for a lifetime of enjoyment.

In addition, Chuck has written 26 books, the first when he was 21 years old.

I first met Chuck in 1974 when we recorded his first jazz trio album. That was my introduction to the serious jazz idiom. Since then, we recorded a couple of other albums, and recently we did a session where Chuck recorded an entire album of wonderfully improvised compositions in two hours. It’s called “Spontaneity” and it will be available by the time you hear this.

In July 2021, Chuck called me to ask if I had any photos from the first project we worked on, a jazz trio album called “Mirror Within a Mirror,” recorded at my studio in 1974. I didn’t, but after talking for a bit, we came up with the idea of recording a new album of solo guitar, entirely improvised in the studio. You can hear a sample from the album here.

A week later, we recorded this interview, using a pair of AEA R44 mics. For Covid safety reasons, we were well separated in the studio.

In this wide-ranging conversation, Chuck talks about his career, his philosophy, and why he still works 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, teaching, composing, and exploring the world of music.

Our conversation will continue in the next episode, where discuss his early albums, the beauty of silence, and some practical advice for people who want to make a living in music.

You can learn more about Chuck Anderson at his web site, https://chuckandersonjazzguitar.com/?v=757e5b5109ed

There you will find interesting information, samples of his music, and links to his social media.

Thanks for listening, and please subscribe to this podcast, using any of the many podcast providers that carry it. Your subscription helps others find my podcast.

Your comments and suggestions are always welcome. And feel free to send me your ideas about future episodes. You can reach me at dwfearn@dwfearn.com

You can subscribe at any of over 30 podcast providers who carry My Take On Music Recording, including Apple Podcasts.

#55  Chuck Anderson, Part 2                                  September 23, 2021

My conversation with jazz guitarist, composer,  writer, and teacher, Chuck Anderson continues in this episode. We talk about  recording his early albums, his trio, solo guitar compositions, and practical advice  to aspiring musicians.

We discuss the value of silence, why we both  rarely listen to music, and details about the recording of his latest album,  “Spontaneity,” which is now available through Chuck's web site. You can hear a sample from the album here.

You can learn much more about Chuck Anderson at  his web site, https://chuckandersonjazzguitar.com  where you can also find links to all his social  media outlets.

Thanks for listening, and please subscribe to  this podcast, using any of the many podcast providers that carry it. Your subscription helps others find my podcast..

Your comments and suggestions are always welcome. And feel free to send me your ideas about future episodes. You can reach me at dwfearn@dwfearn.com.

#56 - Stereo Microphone Techniques                                October 7, 2021

Stereo has added new dimensions to our recordings, an effect that is difficult or impossible to achieve in monaural recordings. New immersive formats, such as Dolby Atmos, add even more dimensionality to music.

You can achieve a kind of stereo by panning mono recordings of various instruments into the stereo field, but that is not what this episode is about. I talk about how to use a pair of microphones to pick up sound.

I provide a very brief history of stereo to get started, and some simple concepts of microphone pickup patterns and why they are important in stereo recording. Then I delve into some of the more popular approaches to stereo recording, including spaced-omni mics, X-Y and its variants, M-S, Blumlein, and binaural recording using an artificial head.

Mono compatibility is less of an issue than in the past, but still should be considered. I compare the various techniques and what happens when the two channels are combined in mono.

Some other techniques I have used over the years include mis-matched mics in stereo, and what I call “incidental stereo,” which could be from bleed between various instruments and mics, or just recording an unused nearby mic in the studio for possible combination with a main pickup.

I conclude with my impression of each technique, which, of course is entirely subjective and will undoubtedly be different than what you find.

This topic was suggested by listener Bill Sallak. If you have any suggestions for topics, I’d like to hear them!

Thanks for listening, rating, and subscribing to this podcast. It is available on over 30 podcasting platforms.

Your comments and suggestions are always welcome. And feel free to send me your ideas about future episodes. You can reach me at dwfearn@dwfearn.com.

#57 - Recording Critiques                              November 4, 2021

Recently several people have suggested that I do a series of episodes featuring listener-submitted recordings for my critique.

At first, I was not particularly enthusiastic about this idea. Sure, I can make lots of comments on someone’s recording technique. But where do you draw the line between technical issues and more abstract creative decisions? I’ve thought about this quite a bit and I’m not sure there is definitive line between the two.

After all, we each bring our own aesthetic to our recordings. If we all did things the same way, all our recordings would sound the same. There would be no progress in the art of recording.

Despite my misgivings, I decided to go ahead with this and see what happens. This new episode introduces the idea, and includes instructions on how to submit your recordings.

I don’t know if this will work or not, but I am always willing to experiment!

This episode has a transcript,

If you have any suggestions for topics, I’d like to hear them!

Thanks for listening, rating, and subscribing to this podcast. It is available on over 30 podcasting platforms..

Your comments and suggestions are always welcome. And feel free to send me your ideas about future episodes. You can reach me at dwfearn@dwfearn.com.

#58 - Recording Critiques: The First Five                              November 4, 2021

In the previous episode, I asked listeners to send me their recordings for my critique. In this episode, I play five of the songs submitted and offer my comments.

I try to limit my remarks to things that the engineer has some control over, like the mic’ing, amount of room sound, any eq or compression, the mix, the use of processing and effects, loudness and levels, and how the engineer might interact with the musicians to help them get the best recording.

Of course, my comments reflect my experience and my taste, so they are not the last word on the work submitted.

The songs are embedded in the podcast, but since podcasting uses a low bit-rate MP3, the audio quality is quite poor, especially for music. Here is the link to the full resolution versions of this music,.

I look forward to hearing from listeners to determine whether this is a useful endeavor or not. If the response is positive, I will do more critiques as an occasional feature. You can send your full resolution audio file to dwfearn@dwfearn.com, using whatever large file transfer service you prefer. Please do not send MP3s or equivalent.

This podcast is carried by over 30 podcast providers. Your support is much appreciated.