Recording Techniques I & II
MUS 337 and MUS 338 are taught in the studio on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11:00am and 2:30pm respectively. These courses involve frequency-specific ear-training, hands-on music lab exercises, and exposure to the complete process of arranging, pre-production, recording, mixing and mastering a song for release on M-Track Records (part of the Murray State University Music Business program). The studio houses a drum kit, a variety of instruments and amplifiers, and a wide selection of microphones. The “green room” is the primary studio and runs Pro Tools HD with an Avid S3 control surface. The “red room” runs Logic Pro X with two Slate Raven touchscreen control surfaces. Every semester is a little different as we choose a new artist to work with, but there are always lots of opportunities to learn!
Recording is exactly that process that comes to mind when you hear the word: microphones in front of a sound source. It is also called “tracking” – as it sometimes involves capturing multiple tracks of audio (16, 24 or even 48) at the same time. Much of our time is spent recording live events in the Performing Arts Hall, Farrell Recital Hall, and Lovett Auditorium. From the Symphonic Wind Ensemble to visiting country swing bands, Recording Services captures dozens of live, diverse events. Two or three times a year we take on special projects in a studio environment. One of our most recent studio sessions saw duplication of 15,000 units!
Mixing is an altogether different process. It involves the balancing and the applying of effects to all of the individual tracks of a recording session, and ultimately creating a 2-track stereo master recording that can be played on consumer equipment. Often a project will be mixed by a different individual, someone who specializes in mixing. However, the volume of projects at MSU, limited funds, and a need for speedy turnaround has made it necessary for us to do most of our own mixing. We mix and track with Apple’s Logic Pro X. You may hear several of our mixes on WKMS or Kentucky Educational Television.
Similar to mixing, mastering is it’s very own art. The most critical studio projects usually see 3 different engineers: tracking (recording), mixing, and finally mastering. The mastering process seeks to add the final tweaks to the master stereo recording. This may involve gentle equalization, compression, reverb or other types of subtle enhancements. Recording Services uses software by Slate Digital, Izotope, EastWest, and SoftTube during our mastering process.