The Roger Nichols Recording Method from Alfred Music
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by Barry Rudolph

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he Roger Nichols Recording Method from Alfred Music

Eight-time GRAMMY® award-winner, "The Immortal" Roger Nichols presents his art, science and process of music recording, mixing and mastering in own inimitable style. A style that shows off his unending quest for sonic perfection he pursued over his four-decade career as a recording engineer in the music industry.

Filled with the Nichols' unique anecdotal advice and stories, "in studio" pictures, charts, even schematics from his early days working at a Southern California nuclear power plant, reading this book feels like you are there with him during one of his famous master classes. Nichol's had a special knack for explaining complicated, scientific concepts in layman's language and with just the minimum of math and science knowledge required. From briefly knowing Roger myself, he seemed always ready to poke fun at himself or the situation in a humorous way by dropping a pun or making a joke right at the most poignant moment(s).

Chapters are arranged in a fluid, practical way: initially the science, every concept and technical word is defined simply for teaching yourself everything you need to know to succeed in the studio as an engineer. Chapter 1 has a three-page list of fields that "deal with audio in one form or another"--some areas of endeavor I've not thought about as being connected with audio engineering.

Very practical subsequent chapters go through, in considerable detail, subjects like: determining your recording needs and planning your sessions requirements. There is an especially well thought out treatise on microphones and their placement and usage. Chapter four, probably the most technically deep is about noise induced into your studio from electrical power connections. Here, he presents the case for clean electrical power obviously written by someone who has done the homework and experienced the fruits of that labor.

I liked his explanation pros and cons of digital audio with his own personalize story of his very first experience with digital audio recording. Roger goes on to discuss both hardware and virtual (plug-in) signal chains and how to get the most out of both.

The remainder of The Roger Nichols Recording Method uses an included DVD Pro Tools session to put into action--let you learn, 'hands on' his ideas and methods concerning microphone techniques, deriving headphone mixes, gain structure, recording alternate takes, overdubbing, pre/post roll, non-destructive versus destructive recording, crossfades, Quick Punch, loop recording and more.

A Roger truism--one of many: "Everything that was ever mixed was recorded first!" And a lot of this book is devoted to music mixing in an almost Zen or holistic way. Roger breaks down every step in the mixing process as a way to continuously check in an honest way--to gauge if your mix is improving or not. It's a classic, scientific method for quality assurance and improving the artistry of your mix work product. Awesome!

For beginners to pros, I highly recommend The Roger Nichols Recording Method--there is always something to learn and Roger was a great teacher. By Roger Nichols and compiled and edited by Mike Lawson. From Alfred Music Publications, it comes in paperback w/Pro Tools Session/Audio DVD) $29.99. For much more check: www.Alfred.com.


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