Recording studios have many buttons for a variety of reasons. While these can seem arranged arbitrarily, there’s a logic behind them.
Here are 8 reasons why recording studios have so many buttons:
- To add effects like compression, reverb, and delay
- To change the sound of an instrument
- To adjust volume levels in the parts of a track
- To control playback speed when recording
- For input channels
- To play audio
- To rewind audio
- For stopping playback
The rest of this article will explain these features in detail. Read on for information and helpful guidelines to make the most of your recording sessions.
- 1 1. To Add Effects Like Compression, Reverb, and Delay
- 2 2. To Change the Sound of an Instrument
- 3 3. To Adjust Volume Levels in the Parts of a Track
- 4 4. To Control Playback Speed When Recording
- 5 5. For Input Channels
- 6 6. To Play Audio
- 7 7. To Rewind Audio
- 8 8. For Stopping Playback
- 9 What Makes a Recording Studio Great?
- 10 How Can I Record My Own Music at Home?
- 11 Are Recording Studios a Good Investment?
- 12 Recording Tips for a Smoother Session
- 13 Sources
1. To Add Effects Like Compression, Reverb, and Delay
Recording studios have many buttons to allow audio engineers to add compression, reverb, and delay effects.
A compression knob allows for a stronger compression of the sound, giving it a more uniform tone.
A reverb button applies artificial reverberation to the sound–the effect that makes things like rooms or halls sound like large spaces.
Delay is used to playback an instrument’s signal after a short delay, making it sound like it’s coming from far away or behind other instruments in the mix.
These buttons come in handy when recording different instruments. Engineers can choose to record an instrument dry or with effects to give it a unique sound.
In general, fading in and out these effects can change the instrument’s tone or timbre, which is important for giving the music its own feel.
Check out my article about how to recording a song at home from scratch.
2. To Change the Sound of an Instrument
Recording studios have many buttons to allow engineers to change the sound of an instrument.
Different instruments sound very different when they’re recorded without any changes made to them.
However, changing each instrument’s EQ (equalizer) settings will make them sound much more similar in terms of their volume and tone.
Engineers typically find that closely-miked recordings are too “boomy” or “tinny.” Engineers can equalize an instrument using the equalizer buttons to reduce these tones using filters.
This allows engineers and producers to mold the sound of each instrument so that it fits better with the other instruments in a song’s mix.
Engineers can also use the different reverb types and delays on their instruments, as described earlier, giving them an even more finished quality. Without these features, the music would sound flat and lifeless.
3. To Adjust Volume Levels in the Parts of a Track
Large studios have many buttons to adjust volume levels in the parts of a track.
It’s crucial when recording more than one instrument at once, that each part is audible but also doesn’t overpower the other parts of the song.
Engineers can decrease or increase the volume using faders found on mixers and some soundboards to get around this.
They can also change panning, where instruments are placed in different sections of an imaginary circle between left and right speakers.
By moving panning knobs, engineers can make instruments sound as though they are positioned on different parts of a stage or song. This is especially useful in acoustic recordings with multiple instruments playing.
Check out my article about whether you can produce music on a Chromebook.
4. To Control Playback Speed When Recording
Recording studios have many buttons to control playback speed when recording.
Audio engineers can adjust how fast or slow they want their instruments played back when recording them by using different types of tape players (such as analog reel-to-reel players), recorders, or digital ones–changing these speeds allows for more control during playback and editing.
Alternatively, engineers can change the pitch of an instrument using a button on their recording studio, slowing down parts of the song while raising others’ pitches.
For example, if an artist’s vocal track is too low for their range, the engineer can slow down the playback of this track to give it a deeper sound without having to re-record it.
It would help to note that this technique is not without its own issues, however; playback speed can make instruments sound much higher or lower than they should if the engineer isn’t careful.
5. For Input Channels
Recording studios have many buttons to allow for input channels.
Engineers can work with multiple microphones (or instruments) at once; these are enabled through different input channels found on soundboards or mixers.
For example, a singer-songwriter with a guitar would need two separate inputs, one for their voice and one for the instrument.
Similarly, a live band with several instruments would also need multiple input channels activated (this is common practice with pop and rock musicians, who play with a band in the studio).
Engineers can listen to different inputs through monitor speakers or headphones, allowing them to record parts for each instrument at the same time. Doing so allows for a more efficient recording.
6. To Play Audio
Recording studios have many buttons to playback audio.
Engineers can use the play function on their recording studio equipment to quickly listen to parts they’ve already recorded without having to go through the entire process again.
This saves engineers time if they want to make changes or redo something that has been recorded before, making it more efficient overall.
It would help to note that this technique is also sometimes used by artists or producers when auditioning different takes of a song or part–showing how an artist may do this during live performances if they mess up a specific part of their song.
7. To Rewind Audio
Many recording studios have buttons to rewind and forward audio. The rewind knob allows engineers to go back in the parts of recorded tracks to fix mistakes or switch patches.
On the other hand, forwarding the audio button is useful when you are trying to pinpoint a certain spot in a song.
8. For Stopping Playback
Recording studios have many buttons because some are used just for playback–these allow engineers to stop audio whenever they want to make edits or changes.
Engineers might do this if one of the musicians wants to stop and re-record a particular part of their performance.
What Makes a Recording Studio Great?
Numerous buttons with various features make a recording studio great because they enable sound engineers to control and monitor audio during recording sessions. These buttons allow engineers to adjust and manipulate sounds as they record, producing a better quality sound.
Large mixers are often found in recording studios because they allow engineers to see and adjust each signal running through their board.
Having a big mixer allows the engineer to have easy access to every set of inputs, making it faster for them to toggle between sounds being recorded.
Recording studios have many buttons so that sound engineers can control several features related to audio playback and recording at once. This is important to monitor changes as needed during the recording process- whether those changes need to be made or not.
You can record your music at home by using an all-in-one audio interface/mixer, which has various tools built into it, such as microphones and mixing boards. Also, there are software applications available online.
Here’s a YouTube video that explains how an audio mixer works:
How Can I Record My Own Music at Home?
You can record your own music at home by using an all-in-one audio interface or mixer with various tools built into it, such as microphones and mixing boards. Also, you can use software applications available online to record your music.
Here are some of the best software to use:
- Ableton Live: A powerful and versatile music creation and performance software that includes a range of unique audio effects and instruments
- Cubase: This digital audio workstation allows you to record, edit, and mix music. It’s an excellent option if you want complete control over your sessions.
- Digital Performer: This versatile DAW allows you to edit sound easily, compose scores, and mix audio for film or video projects.
- ProTools: This is another digital audio workstation that comes in both the standard and HD versions. It has an extensive range of editing features, so it’s often used for professional-grade music creation, production, and mixing.
- Ardour: Ardour is a free digital audio workstation with professional capabilities. It offers unlimited multitrack recording along with MIDI features if needed.
These are just some of the many software options available.
Key Takeaway: You can use a recording studio to record your music at home if you have enough space, an appropriate room with acoustics suited for this purpose. You’ll also need the right equipment to produce high-quality music.
If you’re in the market for quality recording equipment, I recommend this PreSonus AudioBox (available on Amazon.com). It features a condenser microphone, HD7 headphones, and Ableton Live recording software, making it an excellent value for money.
- Everything you need to record and produce at home in a single purchase.
- Rugged AudioBox USB 96 audio/MIDI interface for recording vocals and instruments.
- Versatile M7 large-diaphragm condenser microphone; ideal for vocals, acoustic instruments, and more.
Last update on 2022-01-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Are Recording Studios a Good Investment?
Recording studios are a great investment if you want to have a space to create and produce music professionally. You can use the tools and equipment in a recording studio to produce high-quality songs and sell them online or otherwise.
In a nutshell, recording studios help individuals create music, but they’re also great for bands, as having a dedicated space to practice and record music is invaluable.
Note: Many recording studios are expensive, and it can be challenging to find the right one to use, especially if you don’t know where to look.
Recording Tips for a Smoother Session
Now that you have a better idea of why recording studios have so many buttons, it’s time to look at some of the ways to ensure your studio sessions run more smoothly.
For a smoother recording session, you should:
Start With a Plan
Before you even touch the mixer or any other equipment in your studio, you should plan how you want to record and arrange your tracks.
This includes knowing which instruments you’ll need, where they should go in the final arrangement, and what effects each instrument should receive to match your song’s genre and tone.
Mix As You Go
As you’re laying down parts of individual track performances, consider adding some plug-in effects to those tracks too. If needed, use the mixer on your audio interface to control the amount of each effect being applied.
Minimize Your Plug-Ins
When you have all your tracks recorded and have started adding effects, take a moment to ask yourself if you’re using too many plug-in effects on one track or section of the song.
If you’re just starting out, I recommend between 2 and 3 different types of effects on any given track to get a good sound out of it. Any more than that, and you may start losing clarity and quality.
However, if you plan ahead while recording (or are an expert), this shouldn’t be an issue at all!
Limiters allow you to keep your tracks from getting too loud or distorted.
You’ll want to set the threshold so that the compressor brings down the volume just enough, but not too much.
This will ensure that your tracks remain distinct, so you won’t have to worry about them bleeding into each other or creating a cluttered sound.
Use Equalizers To Fine-Tune Your Recording
Once all of your tracks are recorded, you can use an equalizer to balance out each element in terms of frequency response. This includes making sure each one is loud enough so that listeners can hear both instrumentation and vocals clearly without them getting drowned out by other parts.
Use Reverb and Delay Sparingly
As previously mentioned, you can apply these effects during the recording process if needs be. One exception to this would be reverb- you should only use it at the end of your mixdown process because too much can make a song sound muddy or messy.
Use Monitor Speakers
Using monitor speakers is necessary to get a sense of how any recordings will sound in the real world after they’re released! However, when in the mixing process, always use headphones in addition to monitors so that you can zero in on sounds with more detail and accuracy than you’d get from just speakers alone.
- Quora: Why Do Sound Engineers Need So Many Knobs and Buttons To Record a Song?
- Reddit: ELIF: Why Do Soundboards in Recording Studios Have So Many Knobs and Switches?
- Pennsylvania State University: Audio Digital Signal Processing in Real Time
- SteinbergAbleton: Music Production With Live and Push
- Steinberg: Your Guide to Music Production
- Ardour: The Digital Audio Workstation
- MOTU: Digital Performer
- Avid: Pro Tools – Music Software