I’ve taken the title of this post from the brilliant ‘This Is Spinal Tap’. If you have no idea what I’m talking about then may I suggest that you get yourself a copy and watch in sheer delight at some of the brilliant lines!
Anyway… the reason I have chosen that as a title is that recently I have watched a number of people recording podcasts, shows and interviews at recording levels so high, that seagulls have been knocked out the sky.
It was in 2005 when I was still a whippersnapper in the radio industry and I met Elliott James Frisby, who to this day is still one of my good friends. We were recording some vocals for his music reel and was showing me a few tricks of the trade, and a phrase he used while we were recording has always stuck in my mind…
“It is always easier to make something louder…”
He’s right, and it’s something that I have adhered to ever since that day.
Once I have set my levels in the studio for a recording, I always take a few Db off to make sure that it doesn’t peak. It’s difficult to restore distorted audio, not impossible, but very difficult – so do yourself a favour the next time you’re planning on recording an item – set your levels and then lower them – it’s always easier to make them louder in the edit.