Why do your recordings sound like ass?
Nothing personal, if the title does not apply, please ignore. But if you have ever asked yourself some variant of this, or if you have ever tried to figure out the answer on web forums, I'm here to help. This is in part a spin-off of some of the ideas explored in the acoustics thread, so there is some overlap.
Here's the scenario: Joe Blow, proud owner of a Squier Strat, an SM57, and a Peavy amp, buys an MBox so that he, too, can "produce professional-sounding recordings on his computer," just as it says on the box. He makes recordings. They do not sound professional. He goes to the makeprofessionalrecordingsonyourcomputer.com forum and asks why. Responses include:
-Mbox sucks and you can't make good recordings on an Mbox
-I make recordings on Mbox and they sound pretty good
-You need a tube amp to record guitar
-You need a POD to record guitar
-You need an API preamp to record guitar
-You need two mikes to record guitar
-You need to get waves plugins to make good recordings
-Waves suck, you need UAD plugins to make good recordings
-I like Peavy amps
-I used a firepod and it sounds good
-What kind of speaker cables are you using?
-I use an all-analog boutique amp emulator pedal and it sounds just like Slash
-Strats suck, you need a vintage Gretsch guitar
-Pros use mastering to get good sound
-I also have an MBox but it doesn't play MIDI, please help
-Copy protection is evil.
Just in case those answers didn't clear things up for ol' Joe, I am endeavoring to create a thread of specific, practical, gear-generic methods for evaluating recording techniques and approaches, and yes, making purchasing decisions, all with an eye towards identifying weak links in terms of gear, acoustics, techniques, and methods.
What is the single biggest thing you can do to improve your recordings?
Fix the weakest link.
Okay, wise-ass, what's the weakest link?