Blogs and Articles

Double Compressions Changes Everything

This is a technique that will boost your engineering skills through the roof if you master it.

Discovering the SSL Listen Mic Compressor: from Curiosity to Creation

The Talkback Limiter began as bunch of parts soldered up and sitting on a workbench at my studio. Here’s the tale, from why isn’t this working to can I have a lot more, please.

Ears, speakers and mixing

Everything is digital but not your ears or physics. Here are some ideas about mixing with multiple speakers and your ears.

Drum Recording Mastery with Pierce the Veil

Pierce the Veil’s latest features fabulous drum sounds. Here’s a run down on how how Dan did it.

Radiohead and Karma Police and the Drums

Kama Police was an instant classic by Radiohead. Great drum sound with a twist: three overheads!

The Greatest Christmas Song?

There’s more to the guilty pleasure that is Slade and Christmas songs than meets the ear.

Recording live in the studio with John Densmore and The Doors

In the 60's there weren't a lot of tracks to work with and not a lot of equipment. The best bands of the era had great, imaginative players. John Densmore made magic with a 4 piece kit and some great playing.

I Can See Clearly Now - it’s a masterpiece

This song was a huge hit in the early 1970’s and for good reason. It’s a great song with great performances and a killer arrangement.

What’s going on in Season of the Witch?

A psychedelic pop song from the mid-60’s is a masterclass on simplicity, lyric writing and making the best of what you’ve got to work with.

Stereo? Point Source Mono!

Not a lot of tracks used, and not a lot of stereo either. Some ideas for you on stereo, mono and recording.

How to Choose a Mentor

Finding a mentor is an important choice. Here’s advice from Dan based on decades in the studio and the business.

Mentors Kick Your Ass with Love and Other Thoughts

If you’re lucky, you’ll have mentors at all stages of your life. If you’re really lucky, they’ll give you exactly what you need at exactly the right time. I was, and continue to be, very very lucky.

My First Mentor

If you're lucky, a person will come into your life and change it forever in a good way. I was lucky.

Changing Short Term Dynamics

A video on poke and hang, using pink noise to show how compression can reduce masking.

What the Heck is Up With Transformers?

The physics behind a transformer are complex, but the effect they have is pretty simple to understand.

Poke, Hang, Compression and Saturation

Here’s a different way of thinking about how to get something to “sit” correctly in a mix: Is it poking through? Does it need to hang around longer?

Trouble Shooting: Ideas and Expletives

Troubleshooting problems in the studio is an essential skill. Here are some ideas on how to approach it and how much you should curse.

Compression, Saturation and Distortion

Engineers use terms like Distortion and Saturation almost interchangeably. This post discusses that, and offers ideas on how to think about this stuff while recording.

At Last! Gain Staging

Gain Staging is actually a no brainer. Here’s how to do it for tracking.

Nominal Level and Meters

You must understand the relationship of nominal level to the meters on your equipment.

Dynamic Range, Headroom and Nominal Level

This is the Ultimate Audio Treasure, in terms of knowledge. If you get this stuff you can solve any audio recording situation or problem. Knowing this will improve everything.

Noise in Audio Engineering

Noise is anything you don’t want to hear. But in terms of how audio gear works and audio engineering, it’s not quite that simple.

What Causes Harmonic Distortion

Understanding what causes harmonic distortion is essential engineering knowledge.

Harmonics and Harmonic Distortion

A simplified explanation of harmonics and harmonic distortion. Knowing this stuff is essential if you want to up your engineering game.

What the Heck is Bias?

Bias is a critical adjustment that often makes all the difference in the proper operation of analog audio equipment. This article is a non-technical explanation of bias and demonstrates how it is implemented on Korneff Audio plug-ins.

Hearing Different Reverb Types

If you can hear the difference between different reverb types, it is much easier to make decisions on your recordings.

Do You Put the Damn Compressor Before or After the EQ?

Compressor before or after the EQ? Here are some ideas and guidelines to help you develop your own thinking about this.

Use the Pawn Shop Comp Backwards

Dan approaches using the Pawn Shop Comp from a very different angle. Here’s why he does it, and here’s how to do it.

The Three Reverb Set-up

Nailing the reverb and ambience on lead vocals can be really tricky. This is a fast way to do it that is nearly foolproof for any genre of music

A Cool Snare Trick

A really useful mixing trick for snare drums using two instances of the Micro Digital Reverberator. This one is courtesy of Dan Korneff.

Pumpkin Spice Compressor?

It's fall! Need some spice in your audio life so it goes well with your pie? Then the PSC is your guy.

Practical and Impractical Reverb

Dan Korneff shares his thoughts on using reverb in a mix to create space and as a special effect.

Write in Character

Some ideas on how not to write the same old thing you usually write. With some guest appearances by David Bowie, the 10CC and the incomparable Nina Simone.

How Not to Wreak Your Mix

Wanna wreak your mix? Spend a lot of time on one stupid aspect and lose your view of the whole thing. Read this to find out how NOT to do something that damn dumb.

30 years of music: by Dan

30 years ago Dan was a kid who loved music, but had no idea where it would lead him. 30 years ago he took the first steps on a journey that brings us all here.

Fix that Dumb Love Song’s Ass Right Proper

Even a dumb country love song can have cool lyrics. This post is the start of a bunch on production ideas, starting with songwriting and lyrics. 8lbs 4oz Baby Jesus, try not to make it all about you.

Masterfading 2: Riding the Masterfader

Improve the interest and dynamics of your song by moving the masterfader a little bit here and there during your mix. It’s easy. It’s fun. It won’t stunt your growth.

Talkback Limiter = Bass Amp???

It’s all about breaking the rules. Dan K. shows you how to do it for bass sounds in this short video.

Masterfading 1: Better Fade Outs

Fadeouts on a record can be a work of art, or they can sorta suck. Here are a bunch of ideas on how to up your game at the end of the song.

How to Win

Much can be learned when an unpronounceable hurricane takes out your power and you need to get your generator fixed. And it applies to audio! Surprise surprise!

How to Screw-Up

Mistakes will be made, in the studio and in life. Get beyond them. They mean you’re moving up and forwards in your career. Learn the lesson now!

Ye Shall Be Released... Understanding Compressor Release Time

The release is the hardest parameter to set on a compressor, making it just as hard to explain what it is and how to set it - but here we do just that.

Slap, Punch, Transients, Compressors, Oh my!

Having issues getting your mix punchy? You probably aren’t setting the attack time right. This article covers exactly that, with a really clear explanation of how to do it, and some video examples.

Limiters, Compressors and Walking Dogs

We are talking about compressors for the next few weeks. It all starts with understanding the differences between Compressing and Limiting. Not as it is described in text books, but as it occurs in the studio.

Working Studio: block capitals, neat handwriting, Sharpies

You should get in the habit of labeling everything with a piece of Artists Tape and writing in block capital letters with a Sharpie.

Drums, Limiters, Gates, Hugh, Pete and Phil, etc.

Drum bus compressors have become a big deal. What follows are some ideas, some things to try, and some history to know about drum bus compression.

The Book that Changed my Life

Books can change your life if you read the right ones. Home Recording for Musicians changed Luke's life in the late 1970's.

Eddie Kramer's Drum Sound Secret

Engineering God Eddie Kramer is in the studio down the hall, but he won't let anyone see his drum mic set-up. What's an up and coming engineer to do? Sneak in, of course!

How the Pawn Shop Comp Came to Be

People love the Pawn Shop Comp, and they keep asking Dan, "How did you ever come up with this thing??" Read about the Pawn Shop Comp's labor and eventual birth!