Alan Parson's '10 things everyone recording music should know'

More from Alan Parsons (Part 1 was here), via MT reader Adam, his all time best recording tips:
1. Keep cable runs short particularly low impedance I.e. guitars and mics. It WILL affect the sound. Having said that I don't believe expensive cables offer significant improvement.
2. Even the best instruments and recording equipment will probably sound like crap in the wrong hands. The reverse can also be true.
3. Don't suck the life out of a recording by overuse of limiting and compression.
4. Go for performance not perfection.
5. Log EVERYTHING on a recording so that anyone can pick up where you left off. Particularly tracks that should not be used - better still, get rid of them.
6. Always consolidate tracks (in other words all tracks should have the same start and finish times) so that they can be loaded onto a different platform. Give every track a meaningful name.
7. Even if your ideas are making all the difference, make the other person think they were theirs.
8. The two most important things on a great record are: 1. The Song. 2. The Song.
9. Never trust anyone in the music business with a vowel in their name.
10. The check is NOT in the mail.
Thanks Alan & Adam. If you live round the corner from someone famous, why not ask them to write a list for Music Thing...


Comments:
"9. Never trust anyone in the music business with a vowel in their name."

How many vowels in "Alan Parson"?

& from the 1st part :"1. Neumann Km84 Microphone - good for anything except vocals."
He can't be serious! Ask "Classic sound London" what they think about it ... PFFFFffff

Sorrry couldn't login with my old pass & login so i just as anonymous - Purple
 
What if someone from the Republic of Georgia enters the music biz? Those people love thier vowels so much that they only bring them out for special occasions.

Would he trust a record company exec named "Tkxk Gshwnd?"
 
retards, it's sarcasm. he's saying never trust anyone in the music business. similarly, never trust anyone without a sense of humor and never trust anyone who doesn't get sarcasm.
 
Not that i want to doubt someone with such high credentials as Alan Parsons, but as anyone noticed that guitars generally have a high impedance output?..
having said that, everything else he has to say is invaluable!
 
Generally good stuff, but I disagree with 3. in particular - most amateur engineers shy away from using enough compression in my experience!
And who's got time to do 6. I don't do that unless some other person needs to mix it or use the tracks.

George Shilling
myspace.com/georgeshilling
 
this is a great help for everyone recording music
 
Being a recording and performing musician for my living and being signed to Warner Bros with my band, I do think I know a few things about recording music and while I don't have the cred of Alan, I don't think any these rules are always true.

1) No one cares b/c almost no one records in huge studios anymore.
2) Though good gear can sound bad, enough money can make good music. It's called paying people to do it for you and they are called session musicians.
3) Nobody who has access to an actual compressor/limiter has ever overcompressed or limited when they weren't going for that effect.
4) Duh usually true but in this world of polish, sometimes an "edited" sound is what you want. It all goes back to Edgar Varese and tape splicing.
5) This is irrelevant with computers.
6) This is also irrelevant.
7) This is something people say to make themselves sound important. This is crap. In the heat of a good session. No one thinks about where a good idea came from. If people are playing that game when it comes time to deciding on writing splits, good luck!
8) If Alan means, by "a record," a song and not an album (which is what I believe), then he is dead wrong. The KLF are excellent examples of a group that had just a melody idea, paid someone else to write the track around it, and made one million pounds. OFF ONE SONG!! I'm sorry but at the end of the day great songs are great songs and they come through but there are kids and adults all over the world writing great music who will never be discovered or paid. If you are in a studio, at the end of the day the most important thing is how many copies this is going to sell b/c otherwise you aren't coming back to the studio.
9) This crap statement is said about people in every industry. This is not an insight!
10) Refer to the above.

Alan has revealed nothing that isn't painfully obvious.
 
someone sounds a bit bitter....
 
the man engineered Dark Side of The Moon, have you heard of it? obviously you have because 1 in 4 houses in america owns a copy and at any one time there is a copy playing- fact. therefore his opinion trumps yours.
 
In that case I'm sure Dark side of the moon was written by him as well in light of #7. My point is that we shouldn't take everything he says blindly just b/c he's famous. Much of what he says is outdated -fact.
 
I think #7 is more about keeping your ego out of it and making everyone feel involved.

People will always follow their own ideas with more conviction, even if you suggested them in the first place ;-)
 
I used to over use compression and then I realized I had to just research a little more and experiment with some techniques. Consolidation is also huge in this hip hop world of sample cutting, grouping and looping.
 
Come on! This is the guy that gave us the Chicago Bulls theme music.
 
1) "No one cares b/c almost no one records in huge studios anymore."

--it makes a difference even in small home studios.

2) "Though good gear can sound bad, enough money can make good music. It's called paying people to do it for you and they are called session musicians."

--which means, even the best gear will sound like crap in the wrong hands, so hire the right hands to do it for you. Session musicians prove Parsons' point, not yours.


3) "Nobody who has access to an actual compressor/limiter has ever overcompressed or limited when they weren't going for that effect."

Unless they didn't know what they were doing...which in both home studios and big pro studios has been known to be the case.

4) "Duh usually true but in this world of polish, sometimes an "edited" sound is what you want. It all goes back to Edgar Varese and tape splicing."

--I'll concede that one.

5) "This is irrelevant with computers."

--Actually, with computers it's even more important--especially since you can now keep every take, every edit, every version. Communicating your intent with all those pieces lying around is crucial.



6) This is also irrelevant.

--You're clearly not an engineer. This is not only relevant, it's part of the AES spec for archiving DAW sessions.


7) "This is something people say to make themselves sound important. This is crap. In the heat of a good session, no one thinks about where a good idea came from. If people are playing that game when it comes time to deciding on writing splits, good luck!"


---FYP. Also, it's a good note about humility.


8) "If Alan means, by "a record," a song and not an album (which is what I believe), then he is dead wrong. The KLF are excellent examples of a group that had just a melody idea, paid someone else to write the track around it, and made one million pounds. OFF ONE SONG!! I'm sorry but at the end of the day great songs are great songs and they come through but there are kids and adults all over the world writing great music who will never be discovered or paid. If you are in a studio, at the end of the day the most important thing is how many copies this is going to sell b/c otherwise you aren't coming back to the studio."

--Wow, I think you missed the point completely.

9) "This crap statement is said about people in every industry.
This is not an insight!"

--no, but it is a bit of a joke. Lighten up.


10) "Refer to the above."

--Refer to the above.
 
i was going to write out a list for 'tom' pointing out how he was either missing the point or just plain wrong about every statement he made, but joe seems to have done a sterling job already :)
 
p.s. having just had to mix a 6 track ep, where each song had at least 30 tracks, most with a number of takes, all named 'Audio#...', i have to agree that keeping tracks and audio files well labeled is of utmost importance.
if the recording engineer hadn't have been in the studio to walk me through all the takes, i would have sent the whole thing back and told them to return when they had done the job properly.
 
"9. Never trust anyone in the music business with a vowel in their name."

Rick Rubin? Lol.

Anyway, pretty good article I think. Thanks.
 
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