There’s a reason why a lot of recording newbies think that the secret to a good tone is “effects.” A compressor isn’t magic. It won’t turn your shitty, boxy snare drum into the one from Botch’s An Anthology of Dead Ends. Yet, everyone wants to believe that the right tweak of the knob will give you the tone you seek. Why? Because it means you don’t have to worry about it now. No one wants to believe that they permanently fucked up their recording by taking the lazy route and throwing the microphones up willy nilly. It’s comforting to think that you can just have fun and eventually fix it later, or pay someone to remix once you eventually scrape up the cash.
No. That’s not how you record. The earlier in the signal chain, the more important. Good performance, good tone, good mic technique. If you ace those three steps you will always end up with a great track. It will mix itself. Everything else is just gravy.
Aratech Labs want to help you find that sweet spot to stick your mic in. They’ve created an iPad app called Arapolamic. It’s a pretty nifty combo of analysis tools layered VR-style over the camera display, designed to teach you where the optimal placement is for mics of multiple polar patterns.
All this science don’t come cheap. You can download Arapolamic from the iTunes App Store for 99€. To read more about it, and watch the more in-depth tutorials that follow the overview I embedded above, head to Aratech’s website.