Music Recording?

I’ve been trying to record music through Audacity that incorporates guitar/keyboards/vocals all recorded directly and I’m relatively happy. I just don’t really know a lot about recording and i feel like my songs could sound a lot better. I mean besides adjusting the gain on things and maybe having some duplicate tracks with one track having some effects to get a fuller sound, i don’t do much more than that.

I tried to find a good tutorial but i didn’t seem to find one easily. I know about making sure not to clip the sound but i hear some people talk about compressing and doing other things to their files but i have no idea how to do that or what the advantages of that would be.

Really I’m just looking for more info and techniques on what i can do to make things sound better, since im kinda a noob any help would be appreciated.

The most important step in recording music, is to start with a good quality recording. If using “real” instruments (rather than synthesized), then using suitable microphones, microphone placement, and the recording environment are hugely important. have some excellent articles about microphone recording for various instruments. There are also many other on-line resources for home studio recording techniques. Just this one aspect of recording is a huge subject, and vitally important for making really good recordings. Some reading and lots of practice and experimentation will pay dividends.

Next up is setting your levels.
This is not just one setting.
In a typical home studio setting, the level needs to be set in numerous places:

  1. Pre-amp gain (this may be at the top of the channel strip if you are using a mixer).
  2. Mixer/pre-amp output level.
  3. Sound card input level.
  4. Sound system record level (this may be controllable from within Audacity, or may require using the computer sound system settings. Depending on the sound card and operating system, there may be more than one setting.

The signal path from microphone to hard disk can be looked at as a “chain”. For best sound quality, the level needs to be correct for each link of the chain, starting with getting a good sound signal into the mic. “Clipping” (overloading distortion) at any point in the chain will ruin the recording. Too low a level at any point in the chain will cause the recording to have more background noise. “Clipping” is the deadly one.

“Post processing” (what you do after you have recorded) is the icing on the cake.