Advanced Audio Engineering
Course 7: Basic Instrument Overdubs

In course seven, you will be covering the art of overdubbing, which can be thought of as creating a space for all of your song’s track elements. Since sounds fill areas in your song’s stereo spectrum, understanding how to balance all tracks so that they each have their own space and affective sound element is important.

As the recording process progresses, it’s like the instruments have to take their turn entering an ever-shrinking room. When tracking drums and bass enter the mix, they automatically take up a larger proportion of the space compared to later layers. First layers of overdubs can utilize all this room and might decide to fill up more than necessary, leading to limited headroom for other instruments. This is why on many records overdubs are often quieter than the initial recordings – because those extra instruments are in such close proximity to one another there’s very little space left!

You will find out how to make the most of the available space you have for all of your musical elements. The more tracks that are in a song, the less noticeable each track in that song will be. Your mentor will instruct you and explain one-on-one how to make the best mixing and overdubbing decisions for your song and give you a guideline for the rest of the projects you will do as a recording engineer.

You’ll also learn a technique known as Performance Composite. This technique uses playlists in Pro Tools to allow for recording multiple takes and then piecing together the cream of the crop for an eye-opening result. It’s a great way to keep the flow from verse to chorus to bridge seamlessly as if it was a single take from beginning to end. Performance composites bypass any hiccups by giving you full control over the outcome – so get ready for some seriously sweet sound.