• Tristan Roberts

How to Communicate with your Audio Engineer in the Recording Studio (PART I).

Often when we speak we forget that the terms we use aren't term used in the every day English language or at least in what we are using them for. Audio Engineers have some very common words that we use daily that would be useful for your communication with them to get your point across, rather than fumbling back and forth trying to figure out what we are both asking, or to speed up the session or to understand what he/she means. Some of these terms may be how we describe music tonality, dynamics, pieces of gear, or just description of sound in general.


I have to start with the word Feedback because it is used wrong far too often. I hope this all helps!


1. Feedback

- This occurs when a signal is looped in a system for instance if you capture the sound in a microphone and play it out of a speaker, but place the microphone in front of the speaker it will continuously loop and get louder and louder.


2. Clip/Clipping

- Distortion of a signal when overloading a system. Clipping results in a cut off waveform resulting in a very undesirable recording sound and is a very early rookie mistake in recording.


3. Bar

- Synonymous with measure and often used in place of measure in music notation.


4. Comping

- After recording a track multiple times the engineer will cut and compile the best takes together.


5. Doubles/Double Tracking

- This means recording the same take twice to blend them or so that they may be panned left and right for effect. These are done typically with the same timing and often changing notes to create harmonies.


6. Overdub/Dub

- Recording over a previously recorded track.


7. Punch or Punch in

- A punch record is when you overdub over top of another track, however, only a portion is recorded the engineer will push the record button in and out for the problematic session.


8. Scratch

- Temporary recording to assist in recording the rest of the song properly.


9. Demo

- A rough recording or idea to show the direction the song could go. A demo usually isn't a perfect or fantastic recorded thing. Sometimes it is done on a tape recorder or phone voice memo of a band in a garage.


10. Mix

- Often referring to the song you are recording.


11. Mixing

- This is the art of mixing all of the tracks blending and balancing them to sound best. The engineer often uses equalizers, compressors, and effects such as reverb and delay. This is a large step after the recording process and sometimes the last step.


12. Reverb

- This is an effect that emulates a sense of space whether large or small. A very useful thing to know what this is called when you need more of it in your headphones


13. Delay

- This is a process that affects an audio signal that has been recorded, by duplicating and then delaying the signal. After the duplicated signal is delayed it is mixed back in with the original.


14. Dry

- This refers to a signal with no ambience or reverb applied to it.


15. Wet

- This refers to a signal with the full amount of an effect applied to it.


I hope you enjoyed part 1 of How to Communicate with your Audio Engineer in the Recording Studio. If you know any musicians or artists that could benefit from this blog post then please share it with them. Now get out there and create music!

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© 2019 by Tristan Roberts