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Virtual Mixing
Guerilla Recording

GUERILLA


Guerilla = someone who operates in an independent and irregular manner.  Often a guerilla is not well funded, and must make do with limited resources without making compromises in quality and effectiveness.

Guerilla Recording = Recording in an independent and irregular manner using limited resources without making compromises in quality and effectiveness. 

If you are a minimalist recording engineer who is capable of capturing good sound from an instrument with only a few microphones then working on a Guerilla budget should not affect the quality of your work that much.

OK, you need certain minimal things in order to be able to do this.

That’s it.  Granted at this level of technology you are going to be limited.  You will only be able to record 1 or 2 sound sources at a time, but if you properly consider WHERE to put the mic and are well prepared with WHAT you record through the mic you can do great things. 

The quality of the sound you will record depends on the quality of the microphone you are using and the quality of the A/D converter the sound is being processed through.  While the A/D (analog to digital) converter built into the sound input and output jacks of computers are good for getting sound in and out of the computer, the sound quality may not be as good as an external USB or Firewire device.

Microphone quality varies as does which microphone will be the right choice for a particular instrument or voice.  However with Guerilla Recording you often have only one microphone, so it becomes a matter of placing it where it will be most effective for each thing you are recording.

There are other pages in this course with more information regarding microphone placement and recording techniques, but in general there are some things to keep in mind:

  1. Never be afraid to experiment with a microphone position.
  2. When in doubt as to where to put a microphone, listen while moving your head around the sound source and put the microphone where the sound is strongest.
  3. If you notice a particular microphone sounds bright and you are recording a bright sound such as a hi-hat, use the bright sound.  Use similar matching logic for other sounds and microphones but keep in mind that some bright sounds (vocal, piano, acoustic guitar) need more bottom than you may realize.
  4. Be careful not to process any sound too much when recording with compression, gating or EQ unless you REALLY need to.  You can ALWAYS add the effects later but can never remove them.
  5. Do not compress too much when recording.  Use the headroom to capture the dynamics of the instrument or voice.  Use compression to keep the louder sounds under control (for example a 3:1 ration where the gain reduction is set to happen only when the performer is the loudest) but do not overly compress the sound unless you specifically want a particular effect.

As long as you follow these guidelines, then even if you only have a single low budget microphone you can record high quality audio that can be mixed effectively and expressively.