Enhancing The Sound of String Recordings

Upon occasion I will use a digital software instrument to create string recordings, but nothing beats the sound of real strings (in my opinion).  Before applying any enhancements to acoustic string recordings, you should make sure that you start off with a really good raw recording.  For solo instrumentals, I recommend using either one or two condenser microphones for the best sound quality.

Below is the ‘Before’ recording which hasn’t had any work done to it:

      Before - Audrey Williams

Now, here is the ‘After’ recording which has been enhanced:

      After - Audrey Williams

The changes are very subtle between the before/after recordings, and it can be very subjective when it comes to what each individual thinks sounds good.  My goal was to make my cello sound more vibrant and 3-dimensional.  These are the steps that I took to achieve that end:

  • On the channel EQ, I cut the 3kHz frequency to help reduce shrill.
  • I cut 120Hz and below to reduce muddiness of sound.
  • I boosted 2kHz to improve clarity.
  • I boosted the frequencies between 400 – 600Hz to help make the sound more lush and full.
  • I boosted the frequency at approximately 8kHz to improve the sound definition.
  • I added some reverb to polish the sound by using the AVerb plugin with the default settings.AVerb
  • I used the AdLimiter plugin to make sure that none of the sound in the more intense portions of the recording got clipped or distorted.AdLimiter
  • I navigated to Sample Editor –> Functions–> Normalize in order to normalize the region.

Again, I want to reiterate that enhancing sound can be a very subjective task.  The above list of action items just represents what I thought made the sample recording presented here sound better.