DiscoverMy Take on Music Recording with Doug Fearn
My Take on Music Recording with Doug Fearn
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My Take on Music Recording with Doug Fearn

Author: Doug Fearn

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Doug Fearn draws on his 50+ years as a recording engineer, record producer, studio owner, and pro audio equipment designer to explain the art and science of recording for the audiophile, music lover, and people in the music recording industry.
82 Episodes
What if you were suddenly confronted with recording an instrument you had never had in the studio before? Or one you never heard before? Or one you never knew existed?How do you figure out how to capture its sound? Where do you place a microphone? What microphone will you use?In this episode I suggest various ways to evaluate an unfamiliar instrument or sound, using some examples from my own experience, and a few rules of thumb to get started.This topic was suggested by a listener. If you have ideas for a episode, let me know. dwfearn@dwfearn.comemail:
After three and a half years of producing the “My Take on Music Recording” podcast, I thought it would be useful to review the 80+ episodes and point out some of the interesting topics you might have overlooked.You might have missed some of the earlier episodes, or skipped over them because they did not interest you at the time.The most popular episode of all is the very first one, from March 2020, called “Your Hearing is Amazing.” Everything we do depends on our hearing and in this episode, I give a simplified overview or how our hearing works, and what makes it amazing. It is our most complex sense, in terms of resolution, dynamic range and frequency response. It is subject to all sorts of strange defects, like our varying sensitivity to many frequencies, depending on the loudness.That’s one example of many that I hope help you to be better at what we do.In this short episode, I point out some of the most popular topics, and several of the episodes that never received a lot of downloads. Perhaps my explanation of the contents will suggest that there are some topics you might now found more interesting and helpful.Thanks for listening, subscribing, and commenting. And your suggestions for future topics are always
My conversation with musician, producer, mixer, and mastering engineer Justin Gray continues, in this second of two parts. In this episode, Justin discusses how to provide optimum tracks for an immersive mix. He also talks about the minimum immersive monitoring system needed and why it will improve your tracks for remix into Atmos or another format.We explore loudness and how it affects an immersive mix.You can learn more about Justin Gray at his web sites:  www.SynthesisSound.comAnd  www.ImmersiveMastering.comemail:
Justin Gray is a musician, producer, mixer, and mastering engineer based in Toronto. His credits include many major artists.He was fascinated by immersive formats long before they became mainstream.In this first part of a two-part series, we talk about the various immersive formats, of which Dolby Atmos is best known. Justin explains how they differ and what they have in common.He talks about how immersive audio can enhance the listener experience, and provide the artist with an improved palate to present his or her work.Justin discusses the challenges and rewards of re-creating a classic song in the new format.You can learn more about Justin Gray at his web sites:  www.SynthesisSound.comAnd  www.ImmersiveMastering.comemail:
Most people have time conflicts between what they do for a living and the rest of their lives. That includes time for family and friends, hobbies, obligations, and exploring new directions.Musicians also must confront these same issues. It is often more difficult for a creative person because music and any art not generally lucrative, especially for those starting out.In this episode, I talk with singer-songwriter Corrie Lynn Green about how she manages her obligations with her family life, including a teenage daughter, her day job, which is her own business, her extended family and network of friends, while pursuing her musical career.She also talks about other challenges for the independent artist, including managing social media, choosing the right gigs to accept, travel, and keeping in touch with her fans.At the end of our conversation, one of Corrie’s songs is included.This episode was entirely spontaneous, recorded one night after two very long days of sessions.Thanks for subscribing, commenting, and helping others find My Take On Music Recording. I can be reached at dwfearn@dwfearn.comemail:



Studios are complex technological environments and it is common for problems to arise. But a problem in the equipment might be a minor inconvenience if you have the skills to quicky determine where the trouble lies and understand how to fix it. Most problems in a studio are human errors.There are often ways to work around the problem. That keeps the session going and you may be able to solve or bypass a problem without anyone else even knowing. There is already enough pressure in most recording sessions, and no one needs to have the mood of the session disrupted by a problem.In this episode, I talk about the most common causes of problems and offer tips for determining the cause. I give several typical session problems and ways to address them.This isn’t the most exciting part of recording for most people, but troubleshooting is a skill you can develop and utilize when necessary.Thanks for listening, commenting, and subscribing. I can be reached at dwfearn@dwfearn.comemail:
Dave Hill

Dave Hill


Most of you in the professional audio world have learned that Dave Hill, founder of Crane Song, died in February.Dave and I were friends for over 30 years. In this episode I tell some stories about our interactions over the decades. Not only was Dave an amazing engineer and designer, but he was also a wonderful human being.There is a terrific documentary about Dave, made by French filmmaker Alain Le Kim. It is now available on YouTube. Here is the link: comments are always appreciated. You can reach me at dwfearn@dwfearn.comemail:
How do you decide what microphone to use for any instrument or voice you will be recording? All microphones sound different from one another, which is a wonderful tool at our disposal. Making the right choice will improve your recording, eliminate many problems at the mixing stage, and minimize the amount of processing you need.In this episode, I talk about why I chose the mics I did on two very different projects. One was a punk session and the other an acoustic singer-songwriter project. I explain why I decided to use a particular microphone, and sometimes suggest alternatives.Of course, this reflects my style of recording. I don’t expect my choices to be your choices, but perhaps this explanation will help you when it comes time to make your decisions.In this episode, I talk about microphones from AEA, BeyerDynamic, Flea, Neumann, Royer, and Shure. To be clear, I have no connection with these companies except that I love the mics they make. And I have friends at some of the companies. There are mics from many other manufacturers in my collection, but in these examples, those were the mics I
Headphones for Mixing

Headphones for Mixing


The typical music consumer these days is listening on earbuds or headphones. Or maybe on the tiny speakers in their smartphone. Few are listening on speakers, at least none of any reasonable quality.It makes sense for us to take this into consideration when we mix a song.Engineers have always had to make adjustments and compromises in order for their mixes to translate well for the public. Since most of your work will be heard on some sort of personal listening device, it is often good to either mix using headphones, or at least check the mix that way.In this episode, I talk about my personal preference for headphones for mixing and listening, which goes back decades. Sure, I use the studio monitor speakers as another reference, but when it comes to details, I just hear more with the headphones. This is especially true when editing.Everyone has to develop their own approach to this, and I expect many people prefer monitoring and mixing through their expensive monitor speakers. And there are times when speakers are the way to go, such as when more than one person has to listen, or when you want to get that visceral experience of feeling the bass. Many people in the world of recording were saddened to hear of the death of Joe Tarsia, founder of Sigma Sound Studios in Philadelphia. Joe was a pioneer, always on the forefront of new technology. Many successful engineers came up under Joe’s mentorship. I know I will miss the interesting conversations I had with Joe, going back to the late 1960s.You can listen to my conversation with Joe Tarsia from 2020 in episode 26. Here is the link: is also a YouTube video of the same conversation, with some extra content, including a series of photos from Joe’s career:
Recording is a technological endeavor, but it also invariably involves people. The psychology of recording sessions has always fascinated me, so when a listener suggested that I have Terri Bright on an episode, I was intrigued by Terri’s dual career as a singer-songwriter, as well as a someone with a PhD in Applied Behavior.In this interview, we discuss how behavioral science can be applied to a recording situation, from Terri’s unique perspective as an expert in both worlds.Thanks for listening, commenting, subscribing, and sharing this podcast. I can be reached at dwfearn@dwfearn.comemail:
What makes one piece of studio electronic gear sound different from another, similar piece?When it comes to the physical gear we need to record, there are only a few basic categories. You probably use microphones, mic preamps, equalizers, compressors, converters, reverb devices, delays, monitor amps and speakers.And for each of those categories, there could be dozens of manufacturers, and hundreds of choices. How do you choose one over the other?And why would they sound different from each other, anyway? They are fulfilling the same function, so you might suppose that the sound of each would be the same.But they are not the same.In this episode, I delve into this and explore why things sound different going through different boxes.Technical Note: This episode was recorded with an AEA KU5A cardioid ribbon mic, through a D.W. Fearn VT-2 mic preamp and VT-7 Compressor. No eq was used. My KU5A is a passive version (the KU5A is normally an active mic). I use a lot of AEA mics in my recording, but except for being friends with founder Wes Dooley, I have no affiliation with the company. email:
Ribbon Microphones

Ribbon Microphones


If you have listened to this podcast for any length of time, you probably know that I am a big fan of ribbon microphones.In this episode, I talk about my introduction to ribbon mics while I was in high school, and how over the years I tried to make them work for me. Eventually, ribbon mics became my favorite, and now I often do sessions that use only ribbon mics.I explain the characteristics of ribbon mics, good and bad, and suggest ways to get the most from this type of microphone. I compare the sound and pickup pattern characteristics with condenser mics, and suggest techniques for several common recording situations.I mention a video showing how we mic a grand piano with a stereo ribbon mic. Here is the link to that video: always, thanks for listening, commenting, and subscribing. Your feedback is valuable to me, so let me know what you think of this episode or any other. I can be reached by email at dwfearn@dwfearn.comAnd please help this podcast grow by suggesting it to your friends and sharing it on social media.
For this 70th podcast episode, things are reversed and I am interviewed by singer-songwriter Corrie Lynn Green. Corrie was curious about how I got into recording, and later into studio equipment manufacturing. We also talk about my views on what makes a successful recording, and what I look for in a recording artist.You may recall Corrie from the 3-part series we did earlier this year called, "Studio Technology for Musicians."Thanks for your support. Please share this and any other episode with anyone you think would find it useful. "My Take on Music Recording" is carried by all podcast providers. And you can reach me directly via email: dwfearn@dwfearn.comemail:
You may remember Chuck Anderson from a 2-part episode we did in 2021, where Chuck and I had a wide-ranging discussion on many musical topics.  You can listen to those discussions here: is a jazz guitarist, composer, and studio musician who has played with many prominent people during his long career. He is also a life-long teacher and lecturer.Today we talk about how the various musical genres evolved and interconnected to form pop music over the past 100 years. Chuck starts by explaining where music came from in the first place. Chuck will be back at a future time to discuss another aspect of music.Thanks for listening, and please share this podcast with anyone you think would be interested.I can always be reached at for your comments and suggestions for future



For anyone working in music recording, hearing is vital. But so also is our ability to listen.In this episode, I talk about the two ways of listening, and why both are important. Can you improve, even enhance, your listening ability? I offer some ideas on how you might do that.I also discuss how easily your hearing is damaged, and what you can do to preserve it.This episode does not go into details of how your hearing works, and how some strange anomalies in our hearing affect how we perceive sound. That is covered in the first episode of this podcast, called “Your Hearing Is Amazing.” I suggest listening to that one, if you have not done so. Here is the link: can access any of the episodes in this series at: you for listening, subscribing, commenting, and rating this podcast. It is carried by all major podcast providers. You can reach me directly at Your comments, suggestions, and ideas for future episodes are always welcome and
Your Recording Style

Your Recording Style


If everyone recorded music the same way, everything we did would sound the same. But we don’t record the same way, and those differences are part of what makes up our recording style.In this relatively short episode, I talk about how I developed my recording style, and outline some of the things we might do to help us each come up with our own style.I would like to hear from you how you developed your style. Has it changed over the years? Do you have a different style for different types of music? What was helpful in your quest for your style?You can email me at about this or any other topic.And thanks for sharing and subscribing to “My Take On Music Recording.” Your support is
In this third and final part of my conversation with Corrie Lynn Green, we deviate somewhat from the technology of the studio and discuss the role of the producer. There are plenty of additional topics that Corrie and I could discuss, and if there is sufficient interest, we can do more the next time Corrie is here for recording. Let me know if you found this episode helpful, and feel free to suggest topics for this or any other area of recording that you would like to hear about.You can reach me at dwfearn@dwfearn.comI am sure you know people who could benefit from this information. Please direct them to this podcast and share on your social media. Thanks.Here is contact info for Corrie Lynn Green's music:
In the previous episode, I had a conversation with singer-songwriter Corrie Lynn Green explaining some aspects of studio technology and how it applies to musicians. In this second installment, we talk about headphones and how they can affect a performance; what happens to the microphone signal after it leaves the studio and gets to the control room; consoles, mic preamps, and digital recorders; mixing and sound manipulation; loudness and what it means; and reduced file size formats like MP3 and how best to use those files. You can learn more about Corrie Lynn Green on her Facebook page: email:
For many musicians, recording in a professional studio can be an overwhelming experience at first. There is a lot going on, it’s all very technical and mostly incomprehensible. Jargon is thrown around. Things often move fast. For a while, I have been thinking about doing an episode that explains, in the simple terms, the recording process for musicians.To help me, I asked singer-songwriter Corrie Lynn Green to join me in a conversation. Corrie is relatively new to recording, and I thought her questions would be a useful way to cover these topics. Some musicians are very technically adept, probably because they have learned to do their own recording at home. But some may have misconceptions, or otherwise might benefit from a better understanding of the technology. Others don’t really want to know. They want to focus all their energy on their music and performance in the studio, and leave all the dull, technical stuff to others. But I suspect that most musicians would like to know more about what is going on around them. This episode is for them, although I suspect that even seasoned studio players might find some useful tidbits. For most people, the more you understand, the better you can use the technology of the studio. That makes better recorded music.You can learn more about Corrie Lynn Green on her Facebook page:
In the late 1800s, researchers were seeking a way to amplify an analog signal. The vacuum tube was invented in the early 1900s, but scientists were also investigating the properties of semiconductor materials. A very crude version of a transistor was developed even before the vacuum tube, but the technology of the day was better suited for tubes than transistors, and once the tube was widely available, research into the transistor was largely abandoned for the next 40 years. Tubes became the amplifying device that made radio broadcasting possible – and also ushered in the age of electrical recording.A practical transistor was invented by Bell Labs in the late 1940s, but it took another 20 years before it eclipsed the tube as the preferred technology for analog amplification. Further development of the vacuum tube came to a halt in the early 1970s, and by 1980, transistors had taken over all of electronics except for a few special purpose applications. In the world of music recording, many engineers, producers, and musicians still prefer the sound of tubes for audio.But what if the vacuum tube had continued to be refined? We might have much smaller tubes that might have amazing capabilities. We will never know, of course, because the demand is much too small to justify the investment in improved tubes.In this episode, I look at the history of tubes and transistors, and speculate on what might have been. I also explore the viability of the industry that continues to make high-quality tubes, and the impact on all the current and vintage tube gear we use.Thanks for your continued interest in My Take On Music Recording. Please share it with your friends and on social media. The audience is constantly growing, thanks to your
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