Kim Lajoie's blog

Category Archives: Technique

Put your sounds into an upside-down triangle.

by Kim Lajoie on August 25, 2014

Think of all the sounds in a mix being contained in a triangle with one point facing the listener. I usually draw it as an upside-down triangle, with the listener at the bottom. The louder (closer to the listener) a sound can be, the fewer sounds can fit alongside it. The quieter (further away from […]

Why I don’t worry about bleed

by Kim Lajoie on August 18, 2014

It’s a fact of recording studio life – bleed happens. ‘Bleed’ is the residual sound picked up by microphones placed around the studio to capture multiple instruments. For example, it happens when a microphone placed next to an acoustic guitar also records sounds from vocalists and other instruments being played close by. Many producers and […]

How loudness is measured

by Kim Lajoie on August 11, 2014

The meters on your DAW channels or your mic preamps aren’t telling you the whole story. When sounds are recorded, the microphone captures the continuous vibrations in the air and creates a continuously varying electrical signal that mimics the vibrations. Louder sounds have wider/stronger vibrations. When you have level meters on your gear, it usually […]

More about Mid/Side EQ

by Kim Lajoie on July 14, 2014

Mid/side processing is a different way of processing two audio channels. Most processors modify a stereo sound by applying the same modification to the right and left channel simultaneously. Some processors can have different settings for the right and left channels. Mid/side processors, however, work on the ‘mid’ and ‘side’ channel instead of left and […]

What is sidechain compression?

by Kim Lajoie on June 30, 2014

Sidechain compression is a special variant of regular channel compression. A normal compressor adjusts the output level of the audio based on the input level. Sidechain compression, however, adjusts the output level of the audio based on the level of a different audio channel. This means that the volume of a channel reacts to the […]

Microshifting

by Kim Lajoie on June 16, 2014

Microshifting is a way of using a pitch shifter to thicken a sound. The pitch shifter is set to shift by a very small amount (usually less than a third of a semitone). Usually the pitch shifter adjusts each side of a stereo sound by a different amount – for example, the left channel might […]

Pitch Correction Vs Expressive Control

by Kim Lajoie on June 9, 2014

Pitch correction is a funny thing. Sometimes it can improve a vocal recording. Sometimes it can make it worse. For me, the key to this is in understanding the interplay between pitch and emotion. For many inexperienced vocalists, pitch correction often improves their recordings. Their poor control of pitch results in performance expression that is […]

Saturation – transient sounds vs sustained sounds

by Kim Lajoie on June 2, 2014

Saturation is what happens when audio is turned up too much – so much that the next device in the chain can’t handle it. The result is that the loudest parts of the sound are distorted and the quieter parts of the sound are left unchanged. This dynamic behaviour is similar to a compressor, except […]

Give yourself an unfair advantage

by Kim Lajoie on May 26, 2014

It’s important to know your strengths and weaknesses. Technically, professionally and personally. On a technical level, you might consider areas such as musical styles, particular instruments, approaches to production and aesthetic. For example, my strengths include composition, keyboard, guitar, drum programming, mixing and mastering, clean to aggressive aesthetics, etc. My strengths don’t include recording large […]

When to use delay instead of reverb

by Kim Lajoie on May 19, 2014

Delay is, in essence, a very simple effect – it delays the audio so that you hear it later. When mixed with the original, you hear two versions of the audio – the original and the delayed version. Delay is often useful when set up on a send, similar to a reverb. Delay can sometimes […]