Modern Recording Techniques
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Modern Recording Techniques

David Miles Huber, Robert E. Runstein

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eBook - ePub

Modern Recording Techniques

David Miles Huber, Robert E. Runstein

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About This Book

Modern Recording Techniques is the bestselling, authoritative guide to sound and music recording. Whether you're just starting out or are looking for a step-up in the industry, Modern Recording Techniques provides an in-depth read on the art and technologies of music production. It's a must-have reference for all audio bookshelves. Using its familiar and accessible writing style, this ninth edition has been fully updated, presenting the latest production technologies and includes an in-depth coverage of the DAW, networked audio, MIDI, signal processing and much more. A robust companion website features video tutorials, web-links, an online glossary, flashcards, and a link to the author's blog. Instructor resources include a test bank and an instructor's manual. The ninth edition includes: Updated tips, tricks and insights for getting the best out of your studio; An introduction to the Apple iOS in music production; Introductions to new technologies and important retro studio techniques; The latest advancements in DAW systems, signal processing, mixing and mastering.

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The world of modern music and sound production is multifaceted. It’s an exciting world of creative individuals: musicians, engineers, producers, managers, manufacturers and business-people who are experts in such fields as music, acoustics, electronics, sales, production, broadcast media, multimedia, marketing, graphics, law and the day-to-day workings of the business of music. The combined efforts of these talented people work together to create a single end product: music that can be marketed to the masses. The process of turning a creative spark into a final product takes commitment, talent, a creative production team, a marketing strategy and, often, money. Throughout the history of recorded sound, the process of capturing music and transforming it into a marketable product has always been driven by changes in the art of music, production technology and cultural tastes.
In the past, the process of turning one’s own music into a final product required the use of a commercial recording studio, which was (and still is) equipped with specialized equipment and a professionally skilled staff. With the introduction of the large-scale integrated (LSI) circuit, mass production and mass marketing (three of the most powerful forces in the Information Age) another option has arrived on the scene: the radical idea that musicians, engineers and/or producers can produce music in their own facility or home … on their own time. Along with this concept comes the realization that almost anyone can afford, construct and learn to master their own personal audio production facility. In short, we’re living in the midst of a techno-artistic revolution that puts more power, artistic control and knowledge directly into the hands of artists and creative individuals from all walks of life … a fact that assures that the industry will forever be a part of the creative life-force of change.
Those who are new to the world of modern digital audio and multitrack production, musical instrument digital interface (MIDI), mixing, remixing and the studio production environment should be aware that years of dedicated practice are often required to develop the skills that are needed to successfully master the art and application of these technologies. In short, it takes time to master the craft. A person new to the recording or project studio environment (Figures 1.1 and 1.2) might easily be overwhelmed by the amount and variety of equipment that’s involved in the process; however, as you become familiar with the tools, toys and techniques of the recording process, a definite order to the studio’s makeup will soon begin to emerge—with each piece of equipment and personal approach to production being designed to play a role in the overall scheme of making music and quality audio.
The goal of this book is to serve as a guide and reference tool to help you become familiar with the recording and production process. When used in conjunction with mentors, lots of hands-on experience, further reading, Web searching, soul searching and simple common sense, I hope this book will help introduce you to the equipment and day-to-day practices of the studio. Although it’s taken the modern music studio over a hundred years to evolve to its current level of technological sophistication, we have moved into an important evolutionary phase in the business of music and its production: the digital age. Truly, this is an amazing time in production history, when we can choose between an array of powerful tools for fully realizing our creative and human potential in a cost-effective way. As always, patience and a nose-to-the-grindstone attitude are needed in order to learn how to use them effectively, but today’s technology can free you up for the really important stuff: making music and audio productions. In my opinion, these are definitely the good ol’ days!
The historic (but newly renovated) Capitol Records Recording Studios, Los Angeles, CA. (a) Studio A control room. (Courtesy of PMC Ltd., (b) Studio A. (Courtesy of Capitol Records, www­.ca­pit­olr­eco­rds­.co­m)
One of the many, many possible examples of a project studio. (Courtesy of Bernd Scholl Musikproduktionen,, © foto by

Try This: Diggin’ Deep into the Web

This book, by its very nature, is an overview of recording technology and production. It’s a very indepth one, but there’s absolutely no way that it can fully devote itself to all of the topics. However, we’re lucky enough to have the Web at our disposal to help us dig deeper into a particular subject that we might not fully understand, or simply want to know more about. Giga-tons of sites can be found that are dedicated to even the most off-beat people, places, toys and things … and search engines can even help you find obscure information on how to fix a self-sealing stem-bolt on a 1905 sonic-driven nutcracker. As such, I strongly urge you to use the Web as an additional guide. For example, if there’s a subject that you just don’t get, look it up on or simply Google it.
Of course, there’s a wealth of info that can be found by searching the innumerable videos that relate to any number of hardware systems, software toys and production techniques. Further information relating to this book and the recording industry at large can also be found at Digging deeper into the Web will certainly provide you with a different viewpoint or another type of explanation, and having that “AH HA!” light bulb go off (as well as the “hokey pokey”) is definitely what it’s all about.
David Miles Huber (


The commercial music studio is made up of one or more acoustic spaces that are specially designed and tuned for the purpose of capturing the best possible sound onto a recorded medium. In addition, these facilities are often structurally isolated in order to keep outside sounds from entering the room and being recorded (as well as to keep inside sounds from leaking out and disturbing the surrounding neighbors). In effect, the most important characteristics that go into the making and everyday workings of such a facility include:
A professional staff
Professional equipment
Professional, yet comfortable working environment
Optimized acoustic and recording environment
Optimized control room mixing environment

The Professional Recording Studio

Professional recording studio spaces vary in size, shape and acoustic design (Figures 1.3 through 1.5) and usually reflect the personal taste of the owner or are designed to accommodate the music styles and production needs of clients, as shown by the following examples:
A studio that records a wide variety of music (ranging from classical to rock) might have a large main room with smaller, isolated rooms off to the side for unusually loud or soft instruments, vocals, etc.
A studio designed for orchestral film scoring might be larger than other studio types. Such a studio will often have high ceilings to accommodate the large sound buildups that are often generated by a large number of studio musicians.
A studio used to produce audio for video, film dialogue, vocals and mixdown might consist of only a single, small recording space located off the control room for overdub purposes.
Alicia Keys’ Oven Studios, New York. (Courtesy of Walters-Storyk Design Group,
Trilogy Studios, San Francisco. (Courtesy of Walters-Storyk Design Group,
Main hall at Galaxy Hall, Galaxy Studios, Mol, Belgium. (Courtesy of Galaxy Studios,
In fact, there is no secret formula for determining the perfect studio design. Each studio design (Figures 1.6 and 1.7) has its own sonic character, layout, feel and decor that are based on the personal tastes of its owners, the designer (if one was involved) and the going studio rates (based on the studio’s return on investment and the supporting market conditions).
Basic floor plan for KMR Audio Germany, Berlin. (Courtesy of KMR Audio,; studio design by Fritz Fey,
Floor plan of Paisley Park’s Studio A, Chanhassen, MN. (Courtesy of Paisley Park Studios)
During the 1970s, studios were generally small. Because of the new development of (and over-reliance on) artificial reverb and delay devices, they tended to be acoustically “dead” in that the absorptive materials tended to suck the ...

Table of contents

Citation styles for Modern Recording Techniques
APA 6 Citation
Huber, D. M., & Runstein, R. (2017). Modern Recording Techniques (9th ed.). Taylor and Francis. Retrieved from (Original work published 2017)
Chicago Citation
Huber, David Miles, and Robert Runstein. (2017) 2017. Modern Recording Techniques. 9th ed. Taylor and Francis.
Harvard Citation
Huber, D. M. and Runstein, R. (2017) Modern Recording Techniques. 9th edn. Taylor and Francis. Available at: (Accessed: 14 October 2022).
MLA 7 Citation
Huber, David Miles, and Robert Runstein. Modern Recording Techniques. 9th ed. Taylor and Francis, 2017. Web. 14 Oct. 2022.