Andy Johns Engineering Tips

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| By Wcc_music_tech
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Andy Johns Engineering Tips - Quiz

He has worked with many rock luminaries, including Led Zeppelin.


Questions and Answers
  • 1. 

    Why does Andy like to keep his drum sound 'centralised' in the mix?

    • A.

      Because he has not worked out what pan does.

    • B.

      Because live drums sound too diffuse.

    • C.

      Listening to drums live, there is no wide panning in the sound. It allows you to place the other sounds in the mix.

    • D.

      To mask all the other sounds

    Correct Answer
    C. Listening to drums live, there is no wide panning in the sound. It allows you to place the other sounds in the mix.
    Explanation
    Andy likes to keep his drum sound 'centralised' in the mix because when listening to drums live, there is no wide panning in the sound. This allows him to place the other sounds in the mix effectively.

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  • 2. 

    The drums are described as providing the 'Hi-Fi' element to a recording.  How does he suggest bringing this out?

    • A.

      Adding some 'Air' (10 - 12KHz)

    • B.

      Heavily compressing them

    • C.

      Cutting the volume of the kick drum

    • D.

      Making the snare louder than the vocals

    Correct Answer
    A. Adding some 'Air' (10 - 12KHz)
    Explanation
    To bring out the 'Hi-Fi' element in the drums, the suggestion is to add some 'Air' in the frequency range of 10 - 12KHz. This means boosting the high frequencies in that range, which can enhance the clarity and brightness of the drums in the recording. By doing so, the drums will have a more crisp and detailed sound, contributing to the overall quality of the recording.

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  • 3. 

    When recording bass guitar, Andy uses a combination of an AKG C414 mic and a DI.  How does he tackle phase problems between the 2?

    • A.

      Mutes the DI

    • B.

      Mutes the mic

    • C.

      Gates the DI by triggering it from the mic channel using the gate's Key input

    • D.

      Pulls the mic back about 4 feet

    Correct Answer
    D. Pulls the mic back about 4 feet
    Explanation
    By pulling the mic back about 4 feet, Andy is effectively changing the phase relationship between the mic and the DI. This helps in minimizing phase cancellation issues that can occur when recording the bass guitar with both a mic and a DI simultaneously. Adjusting the distance between the mic and the DI allows for a better blend of the two signals, resulting in a more balanced and cohesive sound.

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  • 4. 

    How does he mic a guitar amplifier as to negate having to find the 'Sweet spot'?

    • A.

      Using a Ribbon mic

    • B.

      Using 2 SM57 mics on a speaker. One pointing at a 45 degree angle to capture the warmth/bass. Another pointing straight on to pick up the brightness.

    • C.

      Using a Decca Tree configuration

    • D.

      Employing Binaural recording - A Neumann KN Dummy head 4 feet away from the speaker

    Correct Answer
    B. Using 2 SM57 mics on a speaker. One pointing at a 45 degree angle to capture the warmth/bass. Another pointing straight on to pick up the brightness.
    Explanation
    The correct answer suggests using two SM57 mics on a speaker. One mic is positioned at a 45-degree angle to capture the warmth and bass of the guitar amplifier, while the other mic is placed straight on to pick up the brightness. This technique allows for a balanced and comprehensive capture of the guitar amplifier's sound, eliminating the need to find the "sweet spot" where the sound is optimal.

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  • 5. 

    When producing vocals when should compression be used?

    • A.

      At both the record and mix stage

    • B.

      At mix stage only

    • C.

      At the mastering phase

    • D.

      Don't use at all

    Correct Answer
    A. At both the record and mix stage
    Explanation
    Andy suggests to record vocals with a little compression to aid Intelligibility.

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  • 6. 

    How can you create a little space for the vocals at mix down?

    • A.

      Turn all the other sounds down using the vocals to trigger the side-chain of the guitar compression

    • B.

      Add a 28ms short ADT delay to thicken them and a longer 300ms+ to mimic reverb without clouding the sound

    • C.

      Use a long plate reverb with a 100ms pre-delay

    • D.

      Use a phase effect

    Correct Answer
    B. Add a 28ms short ADT delay to thicken them and a longer 300ms+ to mimic reverb without clouding the sound
    Explanation
    Adding a 28ms short ADT delay to the vocals will create a little space for them at mix down. This delay will help thicken the vocals, making them stand out more in the mix. Additionally, adding a longer delay of 300ms or more will mimic the effect of reverb without muddying the sound. This combination of short and long delays allows the vocals to have a sense of space and depth without overpowering the other elements in the mix.

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  • 7. 

    Why does he put lead solos to one side of the mix?

    • A.

      So that they don't clash with the majority of instruments in the centre of the stereo field

    • B.

      Because his mixes are always lob-sided

    Correct Answer
    A. So that they don't clash with the majority of instruments in the centre of the stereo field
    Explanation
    He puts lead solos to one side of the mix to prevent them from clashing with the majority of instruments in the center of the stereo field. By doing so, he ensures that the lead solos have their own space and can be heard clearly without competing with other instruments for attention. This technique helps to create a balanced and well-defined mix where each element has its own place in the stereo image.

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  • 8. 

    When does Andy suggest using room (ambience) mics on guitars?

    • A.

      During sparse, slower sections of songs, where the guitar needs to occupy a lot of space.

    • B.

      All the time in fast paced songs

    • C.

      Never use them as they cloud up the mix

    Correct Answer
    A. During sparse, slower sections of songs, where the guitar needs to occupy a lot of space.
    Explanation
    Room (ambience) mics are suggested to be used on guitars during sparse, slower sections of songs where the guitar needs to occupy a lot of space. This is because during these sections, the guitar may sound too dry and lack depth. By using room mics, the natural reverb and ambience of the room can be captured, adding a sense of depth and space to the guitar sound. However, it is not recommended to use them all the time in fast-paced songs as they can cloud up the mix and make it sound muddy.

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  • 9. 

    When mixing, Andy will sometimes put a compressor then an EQ over the entire mix.  Why must it be in that order?

    • A.

      EQ only works with a strong input signal

    • B.

      If EQ then compressor, boosting bass will cause the compressor to over act, ruining the mix

    • C.

      An EQ would reduce the dynamic range, preventing the compressor from functioning properly

    Correct Answer
    B. If EQ then compressor, boosting bass will cause the compressor to over act, ruining the mix
    Explanation
    Boosting the bass with an EQ before applying a compressor can cause the compressor to overreact, resulting in an unbalanced and distorted mix. Compressors work by reducing the dynamic range, which is the difference between the loudest and softest parts of the audio. If the bass frequencies are boosted before compression, they will become louder and may trigger the compressor excessively, causing it to squash the entire mix and lose its natural dynamics. Therefore, it is important to apply EQ before compression to ensure that the compressor acts in a controlled and balanced manner.

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  • 10. 

    What doe he suggest boosting using the over all mix EQ?

    • A.

      250Hz for increased muddiness

    • B.

      50Hz for weight

    • C.

      10 KHz for Air

    • D.

      5KHz for Intelligibility

    • E.

      160 Hz for s**ts and giggles

    Correct Answer
    C. 10 KHz for Air
    Explanation
    The correct answer suggests boosting the 10 KHz frequency using the overall mix EQ in order to add more "air" to the sound. Boosting this frequency can enhance the high-end clarity and brightness, giving the audio a more open and spacious feel.

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  • 11. 

    For a 'dead sounding' kit, suitable for pop what is employed to deaden the snare during recording?

    • A.

      Moon gel

    • B.

      Toilet tissue

    • C.

      A tea towel

    • D.

      A snare ring

    • E.

      Electrical tape

    Correct Answer
    C. A tea towel
    Explanation
    A tea towel is employed to deaden the snare during recording to achieve a 'dead sounding' kit suitable for pop music. The thick fabric of a tea towel can be placed on top of the snare drum to muffle the sound and reduce the sustain, resulting in a less resonant and more controlled snare sound. This technique is commonly used in pop music production to create a tighter and more focused drum sound.

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  • 12. 

    Which type of reverb does he favour on drums?

    • A.

      Non-linear (gated)

    • B.

      Plate

    • C.

      Spring

    • D.

      Hall

    • E.

      Ambience

    Correct Answer
    A. Non-linear (gated)
    Explanation
    The preferred type of reverb on drums is non-linear (gated). Non-linear reverb, also known as gated reverb, is characterized by its sharp and abrupt decay. It creates a unique effect where the reverb is cut off abruptly after a certain threshold, resulting in a more pronounced and punchy sound. This type of reverb is commonly used in genres like rock and pop to add impact and definition to drum sounds.

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  • 13. 

    The Led Zeppelin song 'When the Levee breaks' is noted for its excellent drum sound.  How was this achieved?

    • A.

      Using many close microphones with no compression

    • B.

      Using a single dynamic mic positioned in front of the kit

    • C.

      Using 2 Ribbon mics positioned a distance away from the kit and the signals heavily compressed.

    • D.

      Utilising a single 'Soundfield' mic

    Correct Answer
    C. Using 2 Ribbon mics positioned a distance away from the kit and the signals heavily compressed.

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  • Current Version
  • Mar 19, 2023
    Quiz Edited by
    ProProfs Editorial Team
  • Jan 24, 2010
    Quiz Created by
    Wcc_music_tech
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