84: Our Favorite Audio Tools

Plugins, microphones, outboard gear. These are the tools of our trade. 

If you fancy yourself a craftsman, then you probably love tools of your craft. You probably watch videos and get served ads. You probably pay attention to what others are using. You’ve also probably amassed a hefty collection yourself! We know we have. 

On this week’s episode we do some soul searching on why we love some tools and why our relationship with others didn’t quite pan out. 

You will learn:

  • How to categorize and think about tools you already have or are considering getting
  • Good and bad reasons to consider new tools
  • How to make sure you’re reaching for the “right” tool for a given a job
  • Why you may want to avoid “Swiss Army Knife” tools
  • What are some of the key tools that Ben and Vadim love in their studios
  • Questions to ask yourself when considering new tools

Where to Find the Guys
Free DIY Recording eBook: https://www.howtorecordyourband.com
Vadim’s Studio Site – Get your FREE test mix today! – https://www.calmfrogrecording.com
Benjamin’s Studio Site – https://www.dreamloudstudio.com
Leave a rating. Be a friendhttp://www.getpodcast.reviews/id/1494761702

You know those tools that just grew with you and you still love? We got a few.

First things first! If you haven’t already noticed, you can now see the stupid faces we make when we record podcast episodes because episodes are available as videos on YouTube. Viewers beware!

OK. Back to business. 

If you love a craft, you find yourself spending a lot of time thinking about tools.

Thinking about tools leads to researching tools…which leads to buying tools…which leads to being served ads for tools….which leads to researching more tools…you see where this is going.

This is as true for audio as it is for anything else.

We have SO many tools available to us and, unlike crafts that require manipulating objects in physical space, many of our tools can be obtained with the click of a button thanks to the magic of digital signal processing (read: plugins).

In fact, Ben and I spend a lot of time offline talking to each other about tools.

What are you using for EQ now? What’s your favorite bus limiter? Any favorite saturation plugins?

These discussions and some non-audio reflections (you’ll see what I mean in the episode) have inspired this week’s podcast episode.

We break down our audio tool sets into three categories:

  1. The Old Friend: Tools that you’ve used for a long time, grown with and continue to reach for with pleasure.
  2. The Ligament You Didn’t Know You Had: These are the tools that you don’t even realize you rely on until you find yourself having to do something without them.
  3. The Shiny Object: Tools you got suckered into buying or were excited about at first, but have slowly found yourself shying away from or abandoning entirely.

We dive into specific examples and also explore what it is about tools that make them fall into one of these categories and how to better guide your decisions for future acquisitions.

P.S. One of my recent favorites is a free plugin called TDR Nova. It’s a 4-band parametric EQ and each band has a dynamic EQ section (similar to the coveted but pricey Pro-Q plugin). It also has a VERY usable frequency read out that helps you identify resonant peaks in your audio. There’s a paid version that offers more bands. I’ve found this to be an extremely usable plugin for quickly correcting resonance issues on anything recording with a mic. 

Vadim Kharaz

Vadim Kharaz mixes and produces music through his studio Calm Frog Recording.

He co-hosts the DIY Recording Guys podcast with Benjamin Hull because he knows that with a bit of knowledge and minimal gear, it’s possible for DIY musicians everywhere to get pro-quality recordings.