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Pro Sounds


TyTe shows you how to make your recordings sound professional.

Beatboxers often tell me that their recordings sound bad. In this article, I will record a simple beatbox pattern on my PC using a Behringer XM8500 microphone. I will then use audio recording software to enhance the recording using simple settings.

For this example, I used Cubase. However, you can use any editing software, as most come with EQ, compressors and reverb - for example, Logic, CoolEdit, Audacity, etc.

1. Make the recording

Firstly, make sure you are recording in a quiet place. Background sound from PC fans, screaming children or passing trucks will not enhance your recording!

Secondly, make sure you use a good mic technique - i.e. hold the microphone correctly, and also, make sure that the recording is as loud as possible without going into the red.


Here, BeatmasterG is demonstrating good mic technique.

Here are two recordings of the same beatbox pattern. The first is made without using any microphone technique and the level is also too low. The second is made using microphone technique (fingers wrapped around the top of the microphone, lips pressed against the pop shield) and the level is good. Listen to the difference:

Example 1: Bad technique and low level


See from the waveform how all the sounds are low level.


See from the waveform how the loudest sounds, the kick drums are as high as they can be.

2. Add EQ

If you listen carefully to the second recording, you should notice that it is a little flat or dull. The snare drum does not sound very crisp and the kick drum lacks any power or thud. What we will do is change some of the frequencies in the recording using EQ (Equalisation). I will add two EQs to the recording:

1. I will add about 8dB (that's a lot) of gain at 4kHz (4000Hz). This should make the snare sound much brighter.

2. I will add about 3dB (a small amount) of gain at 150Hz. This should make the kick drum sound a bit heavier.

Be careful when you add EQ. Adding 8dB at 4kHz will make the recording 8dB louder at that frequency and you may have to turn down the whole recording to compensate.

Have a listen to the next example and go back and compare it to Example 2:

Example 3: Added EQ (4dB at 4kHz and 3db at 150Hz)


You can see from the waveform how the EQ has made the snare drums louder.

3. Add Compression

If you look at the waveforms of the examples so far, you can see that the kick drum { B } is much louder than the snare { ^CL } and hi-hats { t }.

We are now going to use a compressor to even out the levels between the sounds a little bit. The compressor turns down the loud bits and then we can turn the whole thing up a bit. So, the difference in level between the level of the kick drum and snare drum should not be quite so much.

There are two types of compressor. The most simple kind is a single-band compressor. It compresses the whole recording based on level. The more advanced kind is called a multi-band compressor and this divides the recording into frequency bands and compresses each band separately.

For more information on how compressors work, read our article on Audio Compression.

Example 4: Single-band compressor

Here are the settings used:



You can see from the waveform how the hi-hats and snare drums are louder (although what happened was that the kick drums were turned down and the whole lot turned up).

Example 5: Using a Multi-band compressor

In this example, the sub bass (under 150Hz) is compressed separately from other frequencies resulting in a much heavier kick { B } sound.

Here are the settings used:



Again, from the waveform, you can see how the snare drums are louder.

4. Add Reverb

Recordings made straight into the PC in an office or bedroom tend to sound very dry. This means there is not much ambience about them. Adding a little reverb can enhance the recording making it sound more natural. Compare this last example with Example 2. Which one sounds more professional?

Example 6: Added reverb

Here are the settings used:



If you look carefully at the waveform you can see how the sounds are slightly longer. Click on the image to see a larger version.

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