Marquette Audio Labs Helpful Hints
If Martha Stewart had a Recording Studio she might...
Speaker Stands - "Quick and Easy"
I needed some surround sound speaker stand a few years ago and came up with this... It can also be used for studio speakers behind a console or whatever. I made this into a father and son project which made it fun, My son was 8 yrs old at the time. We started with $29.00 Black Microphone Stands (round weighted base) and Atlas surface mount "gooseneck fixtures" (like for a goose neck on a Podium, part# AD-11BE). I then cut several 12" peices out of a 1" x 8" (really 7 1/2") 'stick' of pine (1"x 8" x 12", but you can make these whatever size needed for your speakers). We then painted the wood peices Black. After they were dry we screwed the black "gooseneck fixture" to the bottom of the wood peice, centered. Stands came with a wire clip to hold the speaker wire against stand which was a bonus. It is cheap, looks better than something from Ikea, its versatile (height changes easily) and it works!
XLR Cable Caddy - "Rockin' and rollin'"
I went to a Troy Luccketta's studio and saw a great idea they came up with. There was a Garden hose reel in the corner that allowed them to reel in the XLR cables. You would connector the cables together and reel the up after a session. It does three great things: 1) lets you take cables as needed 2) makes breaking down a session easier - you do not have to roll up cables and 3) replace the messy cable hangers all over the studio - storage of cables is easy. This might not be for everyone but it is a good idea!
Studio Window Defogger - "Dont throw those little bags away".
Silica Bags that is... Hang Silica bags behind carpet or cloth between your studio windows to absorb moisture thus no foggy windows. Piano stores have large bags when the pianos are shipped and may have extra they throw away.
Small Room OverHeads - "UnderHeads"
If you are recording in a small room (low ceilings) try pointing the "Overhead" mics down towards the ground, between the floor and the cymbals, front of capsule pointing up at about a 45 degree angle. All things dont always work everywhere but this is a good trick my buddy Chris Fudurich showed me.
Signal Chain Priority - "Micpres, Micpres Micpres!"
Consider this, if you are on a budget and dont know what to buy. Especially if you have a small budget and your purchases are few and far between... Micpres are your best bet to get better recordings. A Shure SM57 or SM58 will sound like GOD through a great micpre if you only have a cheap-o console. Record straight to ? and you will at least have a good start. Remember it is better to have a little great gear than rack full of crap. You can always record fewer tracks a one time to get a better over all project.