Friday, December 29, 2006

Studio Tips from David Pell

Judy would like to thank David Pell for guest posting these studio tips. You can find David on the internet at Now here's David's post:

"So let's make some history today".

Twenty years from now or the day the recording session is completed that recording and performance will be the same. Every session is history. This should motivate not discourage.
You really can't explain to the producer and or recording engineer what you like or dislike unless you have some understanding of the recording process.

I've always recommended that singers invest in themselves not only in vocal lessons but learning the studio since it is an extension of their art.
  • Take a recording class.
  • Read liner notes on the LP,s, CD,s, magazines that describe what microphone, mic pre-amp, recording console etc. were used for that artist. That combination in conjunction with your voice makes a performance average and or special for the yourself as well as the listener / fan.
  • Go and book some time in a studio that has a good microphone collection. Sing the same verse, lyric melody into every mic the studio has. Yes, this is expensive and boring but you will truly hear the difference from microphone to microphone. The expense is well worth it since you'll learn a lot about microphones and studio session time plus a networking opportunity. Who knows who might be in the studio that day.
  • Judy can recommend the best way to chose a verse and or melody to best represent your vocal range for this testing. Make notes of which microphone made you sound good, great or bad. Make notes on what microphone pre-amp, EQ, compressor / limiter they used as well.
  • Regardless if the studio is recording into a DAW or to tape, what you sing into before the recording device makes a difference. Many artist will go out and purchase this equipment and travel with it from studio to studio. Always trying new stuff along the way. I hear the same thing from all artist when they are in the studio for the first time. "Boy, that microphone hears everything"

Other helpful hints:

  • Wear comfortable clothing that is not to tight. cotton is always a good choice. When you move as you are performing your clothes move as well and ruins many a take. You'll find yourself disrobing to lower your acoustic nonmusical noise. This can be a good or bad thing for the recording staff. (Judy agrees enthusiastically!)
  • Jewelry rattles so take it off.
  • Please let the recording engineer know how you hear the track / band and your voice in the headphones. If your voice is to loud, you'll sing too soft and thin. If your voice is mixed way-back in the headphones, you'll sing too loud and you lose the magic of your voice, plus blow it out which in turn cuts the recording day short.
  • P-Pops are bad: Big rush of air before your voice comes out resulting in a big ugly bump or thumping sound on the recording. Consult with Judy on how to correct. (Check future posts for solutions, Judy says)

There is much more to this process and of course it is all subjective. That's a good thing because recording is an art form in its own right. Remember it needs to sound good before it hits the microphone. Don't trust "Fix it when you start mixing." In most cases it can't be fixed in the mixing process if it wasn't there to begin with.

Hope this helps you get a start on better understanding of the recording process.
Go out and make some history! -dp

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Resolutions for the Best Voice You Never Had!

Ok, why not harness the power of the New Year's Resolution to give you the best voice you never had?

FACT: your body/mind/voice are all connected. THEREFORE: if you'd like to be able to take your voice to another level this year, here are some choices, if you follow through, that will really help you gain significant vocal ground:

1. Take better care of your body-

  • DRINK MORE PURE WATER- Half your weight in ounces is a good goal. To limit toxic pcbs, buy one of those thick, ridged, quality bottles to carry with you and don't re-use those thin plastic pre-filled ones.
  • EAT NUTRIENT-RICH FOODS YOU CAN ACTUALLY DIGEST Read books and search internet on nutrition. Schedule an appt to get tested for YOUR optimum diet with a doctor of naturapathy or other trustworthy holistic practitioner (ask around for recommendations).
  • ESTABLISH AN EXERCISE ROUTINE Join a gym, hire a trainer. Buy some inexpensive equipment and a good work-out video. Walk/run regularly with a buddy.
  • GET MORE SLEEP- Find a wind-down routine that you can habituate. Make yourself get 8-9 hrs sleep almost every night, remembering one hour sleep before midnight equals 2 hrs after midnight. Schedule a doctor's visit to deal with insomnia issues and rule out or deal with sleep apnea. Consider a new pillow or a new bed!
  • GET OUTSIDE- Unless you have seriously limiting allergies, (the rest of this list should help with those) turn off your computer & TV - get out in the fresh air and sunshine, there's no substitute for this.
  • GET A CHECKUP- Besides medical docs, try a naturapath, chiropractor, masseuse, accupuncturist, etc. Amazing what may clear up- and your voice will benefit from it all.
  • GET HELP FOR ADDICTIONS- Whether it be food, anorexia, smoking, alchohol, drugs, overwork, pornography, or anything else, admit when it's too big to handle by yourself. Your voice, along with your body, will reward you, I promise and it's NEVER TOO LATE OR HOPELESS! You'll have a lot better songs to sing, too. If you are a family member of an addict, try ALANON meetings. And furthermore...

2. Take better care of your mind

  • LEARN SOME NEW MUSIC- sing something you've never tried before. Take a course in music history, business, or other interest. Explore new cds or dvds by other artists. Analyze why you like or dislike what you hear in their melody, groove, lyrics, production, and vocal performance. Find a new outlet for your creativity... painting, clay sculpting, acting, etc.
  • TAKE TIME FOR SPIRITUAL GROWTH- A closer connection with the Creator of your voice can do more for your singing than any other suggestion I could make- and you're heart will be singing better songs, too!
  • CREATE - your own songs, stories, poems, movie scripts... even just journalling will inform your voice for performance.
  • TAKE ACTING LESSONS- truly incredible help for vocal performance. Try out for a part in a play, TV show, movie or commercial. Even auditions help you learn to communicate and perform authentically.

3. Take better care of your voice -

  • TAKE VOCAL LESSONS- Find a good teacher who can assess your strengths and weaknesses and quickly help you make improvements and vocal goals for yourself. (For help choosing a teacher, see my earlier post).
  • BUY GOOD VOCAL TRAINING MATERIALS- There's no substitute for one-on-one teaching, but there are products out there than can really make differences in your technique. I have 6-cd package available at and a new single-cd training course you can purchase by calling 615-834-4747.
  • ATTEND A VOCAL SEMINAR- Check out the credentials of the speaker, then go and participate!
  • ASK QUESTIONS ON THIS BLOG- Put them in the "comments" link on my posts and I'll try to answer your queries!
  • RECORD YOUR VOICE- In my experience, there's no substitute for recording in the studio. You learn so much every time you go in, but even the first one should find you pleased. There are all kinds of projects in all kinds of price ranges- everything from a piano or guitar vocal demo to full tracks master ready for sale. Research reputable producers and studios so you don't fall for any scams.
  • CONTACT ME via email,, phone 615-834-4747, or website for more info & to schedule lessons or recording productions with me.

AND one more thing... have a safe, warm and HAPPY NEW YEAR!! :)