Microphones & AcousticsWith a little acoustic theory and some rules-of-thumb, you can get the best sound out of any recording situation.
November, 1995 On-line version.
Editors' TricksBetter tracking with less hacking... just one of the things you can fix with these voice trax trix.
Ground LoopsYou've got to have the right connections. Here's how to look for that pristine sound of silence.
Casting & Paying VoicesYour video needs to talk. Here's the best way to find a narrator... and get them paid.
Sound Effects Sources & LibrariesBuzz, crackle, zap. Here's how to get the most bang! for the buck.
Sample Rates & Bit DepthsChoosing an audio format? More isn't necessarily better.
Lossy Compression & ConversionHow to get the most sound for the least bits... and the least effort.
Voice ProcessingCan't afford a big-time narrator? Use these big-time tricks to make any voice -- even your CEO's -- better.
Original Music & MIDIAny production can benefit when you know the score.
Outboard EquipmentWant the best digital sound at a reasonable price? Your best bet might be some Analog Helper.
The Joys of SFXHere's how the pros use sound effects to add impact to a video.
Speaker's NotesNeed a tv or intercom on-camera? Here's how to make it real... even after it's heard through the listener's tv.
Say What?The voice-over session can give you just what you're looking for. Here's how to keep costs and tempers down.
Mix MastersWhat can you do once your audio's mixed up? Techniques forfixing the mix.
The Great EqualizerYou know what an equalizer does, but do you know how much it can really do for you?
Things that go bump in the studioCreating your own sound effects or Foleys can use everything including the kitchen sink...
Off the Walls!Can you trust your control room for mixdowns? Here are some acoustic tips that might also improve your studio or v/o booth.
By the NumbersDF? NDF? VITC? SMPTE? We crack television's often-secret code.
You Can't Always Fix it in the Mix... so here are things you can do to keep your soundtrack from getting broken in the first place.
Off the RecordStock sound effects can save lots of time. Here's how the professionals make them sound real.
In Your FaceTv sound should be up-front and personal. Here's how to make it that way.
Mac Audio FAQIt was the first computer to talk. Here's how to make it sing.
Taking StockLibrary music hath charms to sooth the savage video.
The Kindest CutYou can edit music. Really you can.
Instant StudiosRecording perfect tracks in a less-than-perfect world.
Talk the TalkAudio-speak for video editors.
New Ears ResolutionsMake this your best-sounding year ever.
Outstanding in the FieldBring that sound back alive.
If You Ask Me...Audio-using readers want to know.
Mouthing OffOne of your best sound-effects devices has teeth and a tongue.
Cutting RemarksProfessional tricks for dialog and voice-over editing.
Digitize with DignityHow to make your desktop editor sound like an online suite.
Prepare for the EndAn out-of-house audio sweetening session may be just what you need to finish that desktop project. Here's how to do it cheaply and efficiently.
Over the TopWhy waste data on sounds that'll never be broadcast? Here's how to manage those mangy bits.
Read Online: GadgetsGot ten bucks? Here are some easy-to-build audio circuits that can make your sessions go a lot easier.
Toy StoryThere's a reason why a $50k audio workstation sounds better than a $50 sound card. Here's how to make the most of whichever you're using.
Voice-Over RecordingFeature length article on the art and science of making announcers sound good.
What to get a Sound Designer for ChristmasHandy stuff costing between $10 - $300.
Make Room!A good mix keeps everything in its place.
Comp TimeCompressors can be incredibly useful... once you understand what all those knobs are really doing.
The Art of the PickupIt's shoot time. Do you know where your microphone is hearing things from?
Fool the EarsA little art, a little magic... and your track can sound better than it really is.
How to Waste Money on SoundHere are the tricks beginners use to waste time and cash. Try to do the opposite.
Getting Small with MP3 and AACHow those algorithms squeeze sounds down to a few percent of their original size.
Active 'VerbsReberberation: how it works, and how to pick the best settings for video production.
Hard Effects are EasyBang! Crash! Kiss! Bring your track to life with sync sound effects.
MixmastersHere's why those multimedia speakers that came with your NLE will ruin your project... and what you can do about it.
Hooked on PhonemesLearn to spot the tiny sounds that make up speech, and you'll be a much better editor.
The Myths of AnalogIs digital better? Is analog? Here's the scientific truth... and ways you can prove it to others.
Sounds of Christmas PastClassroom films, old radios, telephones: recreating an analog century.
Read Online: Got to Lav It!They keep getting smaller and keep sounding better. Here's how to get the most out of those tiny mics.
Got to Love It!Jay's valentine to a creative way of thinking about projects
Shhh...Noise can sneak into any recording. Here's how to tame those tarnished tracks.
Boom Mic Basics FEATURE ARTICLEThe fine art of hanging around.
I See What You're SayingIf you want to talk about production issues, it helps to know how your client's brain is wired.
Un-Absolute ZeroA simple calibration tone can be anything but...
Off TapeThere are plenty of ways to convert old analog tapes to digital, but only one way to do it right.
Read Online: Meet MikeKnowing what's inside a microphone will help you choose the right one for the job.
Ransome Note RulesIf you edit voice tracks properly, nobody will know you've done anything at all.
See What I HearHere's some eye candy for your ears.
Read Online: Scout's HonorTo find the best locations, you have to use your ears as well as your eyes.
Dialog Unplugged FEATURE ARTICLEThe Art of Wireless Mics. Written with G. John Garrett, CAS
On Golden EarsWhen you're working with video sound, knowledge is more important than great hearing.
MD in the HouseThere's nothing Mickey Mouse about MiniDiscs.
EQ IQHow to get the most out of an equalizer.
Kids' StuffChildren can be heard as well as seen, if you follow the tips in this article.
A Place to Play, part IHow to soundproof an edit room or studio.
A Place to Play, part IIGetting the room quiet is only half the job.
Say What? Editing voice tracks like a pro FEATURE ARTICLEHere's a little ear training to help you become a better dialog editor.
When Worlds CollideHow to make digital video sound like film.
Shooting Yourself In The FootThe best place to fix bad dialog tracks is at the shoot.
Sfxual HealingTurn wimpy stock sounds into sonic perfection.
Say it Again!If dialog is hard to understand, try getting looped..
StereotypesTV may have two speakers, but it's not your father's stereo.
A Delicate BalanceA hundred-year old technique can quiet your wiring.
Thanksgiving HymnWe have a lot to be thankful -- and to watch out -- for.
Multiple ChoicesBoom or Lav? DAT or MiniDisc? Stereo or Mono? Decisions, decisions...
BeachTek DX6A Phantom Power XLR AdapterREVIEWA useful gadget with significant improvements over previous BeachTek adapters... and a possibly fatal flaw.
Working with Music Libraries FEATURE ARTICLEStock music doesn't have to be boring...
Bah: HumThe worst electronic noise may be the easiest to fix.
SpeakeasyKnowing how the voice works can make you a better narrator or director.
Elementary, My Dear WattsImpedance? Power? Voltage? Life shouldn't be that complicated.
The Space Between the WordsBackground sounds can make or break your soundtrack. An April Fool's column, as well.
April, 2002 There was no article for May, 2002. They sold more ad pages than expected, and I got bumped.
The Wrong LineLearn the nuts and volts of equipment interconnection.
Big MistakesTen audio blunders that can hurt your video.
Walk This Way: The Art of FoleyHow to create those little sounds that mean so much.
Comb NeatlyTurn a precise delay into a filter that virtually eliminates hum and buzz.
Medium WellThe sound of a track depends on where they’re listening.
Somebody Isn't ListeningThose cute little speakers bundled with your NLE can hurt. Here's how to choose better ones.
DV Camera Audio: Real Numbers, Real Recommendations FEATUREWe (Dan Rose and I) took some popular cameras into the lab and measured their true audio performance. Here's what we found... and how to make them sound their best.
Somebody Isn't Listening!Those speakers that came bundled with your NLE might be damaging your tracks. Here's why, and how to select better ones.
DAT's NiceThinking Double-System? Here's the best recorder for it.
2003 Columns January '03: No column, but reviews of the Marantz CDR-300 portable CD recorder and Metric Halo's Mobile I/O multi-channel laptop recording interface. Also some predictions for the next ten years in film and video sound.
Pattern RecognitionHow a directional mic really hears the world... and why sounds coming from the sides often get distorted.
The Pad, and How to Use ItSome simple, easy-to-build gadgets for interfacing different audio levels.
Vox MachinaPresenting the Vocoder: a device invented for telephones in the mid 1930s (and not practical until modern cellphones)... and an important sound design tool.
Ratio ShackDecibels aren't like volts or watts or degrees centigrade... but they are perfectly understandable. Here's the story.
Lies, Damn Lies, and Product SpecsWhat you see on websites and equipment catalogs is frequently, well, exaggerated is puting it mildly. Learn to tell when a manufacturer is stretching the truth.
Sunk!No lipsync, no reference, no slate? Here's a procedure for making things match again.
Copy RitesWhat's the real deal on copyright infringement, Fair Use, and other things that can put an unwary filmmaker out of business? One of my attorney friends* was VP of Music Business Affairs at Paramount for 12 years, and is now in private practice as an entertainment lawyer in LA...
* - Not an oxymoron.
September SongAdvances in computer technology make getting great location sound easier than ever... even if you don't want to take your laptop to the location.
Home on the Ranges 2004 Columns
Level Headed Producing Great Advertising Voice-Overs Digidesign 002 REVIEW Supersize! Making things bigger by compressing them Running Scared EDITORIAL PSC DV Pro Mix REVIEW Fair and Balanced In the Blink of an Ear Logic Pro 6 / Logic Express REVIEW Zapped Weasels Bias Peak 5.1 / SoundSoap Pro / SuperFreq REVIEW
My Brain Doesn't Work Right!
Free is Nice.
Fostex FR-2 REVIEW
Say it Ain't So!
— 2006 Columns
Read Online: What I Did Last Summer
Bonus: As a follow-up to last August's article, tips on how filmmakers can license well-known recordings for independent features and corporate projects.
Home on the RangesNot knowing what frequencies are critical to dialog or music can hurt you in production and post. Here are the real facts, along with graphic proof and downloadable audio samples.
Level HeadedA camera's or recorder's meter only guesses at what's going to cause distortion, and the accuracy of that guess depends on what you're recording. Here's why, and how to be smarter than your meter.
Producing Great Advertising Voice-OversIf you're just sticking a mic in front of an announcer and letting them go, you're doing your client and yourself a disservice. Here's how the Clio-winners (like me) do it. Also, some tips on writing great voice-overs.
Digidesign 002 REVIEWHardware controller bundled with ProTools LE. Bottom line: nice, but missing one vital feature and over-priced for DV production.
Supersize! Making things bigger by compressing themA compressor can make your tracks jump out of the speaker. But using the wrong settings - which includes using most factory presets - can turn good sound to mush. Here's the right way to do it.
Running Scared EDITORIALToday's economic climate can force you to do bad work... or give you an opportunity to do the best stuff of your career. It's up to you.
PSC DV Pro Mix REVIEWField mixer designed for the DV shooter. With a little level-tweaking, it's a great deaal for the money.
Fair and BalancedThere are plenty of ways to use pro XLR microphones with your mini-jack camera, and they don't have to be expensive. Here's what, why, and how.
In the Blink of an EarWhen editing dialog, little things - often less that a frame long - can mean a lot.
Logic Pro 6 / Logic Express REVIEWApple's new audio software is a wonderful environment for creative sound for video. Is it expensive? You bet, though not as much as some other programs. Is it worth it? Depends on what you're doing: read the article.
Zapped WeaselsA few guidelines for setting equalizers and compressors... and why you should take them with a grain of salt.
Bias Peak 5.1 / SoundSoap Pro / SuperFreq REVIEWA very powerful audio editor and nice parametric/shelving/cutoff eq for the Mac, and an intelligent and useful Mac/Win noise reducer.
My Brain Doesn't Work Right!Want better mixes? Learn to think like a sound designer.
Free is Nice.Got a few bucks for audio resources? Save them!
Little Bits.16 bit audio? 24 bit? Sometimes a trillionth of a decibel matters... and sometimes it doesn't.
Fostex FR-2 REVIEWReasonably-priced field recorder with some very nice features... plus one that's not worth wasting your time with.
Beep BeepYou don't need a synth to create electronic sounds... or to have fun with them.
Say it Ain't So!A lot of what you hear about audio can be just plain wrong. The truth about bitrates, single vs double system, mini-jacks, mp3s and more...
—No November column... I was busy doing sound design and dialog/music editing for a small Hollywood feature.
Read Online: What I Did Last SummerAh, the things they do in the movies! Some tips and tricks gleaned from the Hollywood pros.
Soundtrack Pro REVIEWIt's not a full-featured DAW like Nuendo or ProTools, but easily could be all a filmmaker needs... and it does some valuable things that those big boys don't.
Edirol R4 REVIEWPortable multitrack recorder; review by John Garrett, with tech measurements and analysis by me.
Tascam HDP2 REVIEWVery impressive stereo field recorder with DV-friendly features; review by John Garrett, with tech measurements and analysis by me.
Time PiecePrepare to enter another dimension... the one where sound lives.
Deconstructing JayLots of things are easier when you have a formula: writing a technical column, designing a soundtrack...
Disco DuckerA concept that helped radio broadcasters in the 1970s can improve your TV mixes today.
Read Online: DecapitationThere's an art to cutting talking heads. There are also some nifty tricks.
Read Online: Confessions of an AutodidactLooking for knowledge in all the right places.