Making your mixes sound good is sometimes hard work. Here is a way to make it slightly less hard. Its an oldy buy a goody.
– Get a reference track and try to match it sonically. Copying things is one of the fastest and simplest ways of learning and reproducing the same results.
Sometimes your tracks might not want to be forced to sound like the reference track, but you can go crazy (and learn a lot) trying to make them. It will help u set levels and set eq rather than shooting in the dark. By using this method often you will get to know how to get certain sounds off by heart. There’s a chance you will make your mix sound worse if you manipulate it too much, but i’d say you’d have more winners than losers.
– Start by importing your reference song onto its own new track.
– When listening to your reference either bypass any master track plugins or make a pre master aux track that everything else except your reference track goes to. You then move all your master track plugins to the pre master aux. This leaves the reference track unaffected by plugins. If this didn’t make any sense to you don’t worry, just move on.
– Lower the volume to match the volume of your own mix as well as u can.
– Start matching.
– Listen to the big picture and the separate instruments. Sometimes try playing your song and the reference song at the same time. Its a bit messy but can be helpful. For instance you might focus just on both snare drums whilst playing both songs at the same time. Yours might be dull and its level might be too un even so you may want to do some volume automation and/or compression. Then you might want to start adding some high end eq until it gets closer to your reference snare. When you start to get confused and find it hard to differentiate between your snare and the ref snare then your probably doing alright.
This method of mixing might not be for everybody, but it might work for some of you so give it a go. It can also teach you how to record better tracks in the first place because you will have a better understanding of what to capture sonically before it even gets time to mix. In mixing you may realise your snares are always dull – solution: Capture a brighter snare. Good luck 😉 Tim.
7 Pro Tips For Getting Your Music Heard
This is a nice little article with some pretty useful tips to help you get your music out there. I don’t do it enough with my band, but i will tomorrow i promise. 😉 Oh and also learn some SEO (search engine optimisation) tricks to help your stuff come up in searches. Check out my tags. I wonder if it will work.
This is a pretty common scenario. You write some cool riffs, maybe even record them and add some other tracks so now you have a complete section. You have good intentions of making it into a full song but part of you knows it will probably sit there incomplete for another month or year or multiple years or…
Well there are only so many years, unless you intend on passing it on to some younger person to take over? Is that your plan. If so, then thats pretty weird but you can do whatever you like, it’s your music. Personally i would rather finish the stupid thing off and share it around, or at least have it as a finished song for myself to listen to. Theres a good chance it won’t meet the expectation you had of it in your head, thats because your imagination can make it sound perfect. Thats ok, each time you finish a new song it will get closer to that ideal production you had in your head.
I’m in the same boat, i have many riffs all over the place with some potential but incomplete non the less.
So how to we change our ways?
A bit of focus goes a long way. Write down somewhere which song you intend to finish This holds you to it in some respect. Now go into your daw or whatever your using and start doing what you have to do to make it happen. This doesn’t mean you should stop writing other stuff at the same time it just means get one at a time done fully.
– Make a decision to produce one particular song (well).
– Write some different sections like into or some joining parts.
– Figure out where or who or what you need to make it happen.
– The song is more important than the recording tools, so focus mainly on the song writing.
– Put in some markers for sections
– Click track or no click
– make a scratch track
– Don’t mix until you’ve finished recording!
Kick yourself in the ass and finish the song.
Mix it and mark it off the list. Go and record your next song.
Every time you hit record your habits determine the quality of the recording.
If you get good habits you will get good recordings. The small steps you take add up and make a big difference. You probably know most, if not all of what you have to do already, its just a matter of actually doing them.
– Things like tuning (no brainier)
– mic choice (try at least 2 on each source)
– acoustic space (could it use a blanket to kill some reflections?)
– mic/instrument position (listen on headphones and move things around until its good/suitable)
– is it clean (any hiss, buzz or hum, or unwanted background noise? Do all u can to minimize these.)
– Does the polar pattern suit? (Learn this)
– Don’t clip
Something that is probably the most important thing is the actual playing or musicianship but this post is just focused on the engineering side of things.
Pretend post processing is not an option, get it right on the way in. If you’re using outboard eq or compression on the way in its better to be conservative in most cases (unless it calls for it) you can’t undo it later.
Have a reference track whilst recording. Does yours sound as good as the reference? If not, why?
This might sound like a lot of work but it only takes a few minutes. You might have to push yourself in the beginning but once it becomes habit it is no longer an effort. So get some good habits and start recording better.
If your a person then this might be for you.
For a long time I have been tapping, humming, and singing (arguable) into my phones voice recording app. I usually do it when I’m driving so i will probably kill myself and others very soon.
It has been great for recording musical riffs and ideas that would otherwise be forgotten, which may be for the best for a big chunk of them, but lately i have been wanting to expand into extra tracks, so i downloaded an app called “multi track song recorder” for iPhone, I’m sure you could find the same thing for android easily.
I had tried it out years ago but then never really used it for some strange reason. Its free and and works great.
You get 4 tracks to play with. So u could beatbox the drums, hum the bass and then sing over the top of it all which would give you a fairly complete reference if you wish to record later with real instruments into your DAW or onto your multitrack tape machine if your kinda awesome. You can also record real instruments into the app as long as you don’t overload your phones mic input by playing too loud.
I found myself doing Do0-wop harmonies which was a bit weird but fun none the less. The only thing to note is that you have to wear headphones if you want to avoid the previous track from being layered (with slight delay/echo) onto the new track, if that makes sense. If it doesn’t make sense then just take my advice and USE HEADPHONES!
This is nothing new, but is definitely a useful and practical way to quickly catch musical ideas when they pop into your head and in my opinion should not be underestimated.
Hope you found this helpful. Seya next time.
by Lynn Fuston. Posted at Prosoundnetwork.com
Right when i’m on a bit of a gear splurge too. Nice reality check. Thanks.
Not everyone is a perfectly trained musician and therein lies the point of this post. Use that to your advantage. I don’t always wanna hear the same guitar lick or drum fill over and over with robotic precision. I want you to press humanize. Do the wrong thing and do it well. Your quirks could be the mutation that leads to new sounds.
Maybe you already do or have read some books on audio production, but there are probably some more you haven’t read yet.
There is million places you can find info on the internet, but sometimes the best place to start is in a book. So take a break from the hectic world of your computer for a few minutes a night and absorb the tried and true method of information sharing.
Here are some to take a look at:
Mastering Audio, The Art & The Science by Bob Katz
Total recording by David Moulton
Mixing engineer’s handbook by Bobby Owinksy
The Daily Adventures of Mixerman
Mixing With Your Mind by Michael Stavrou
Sound Recording Handbook by John Woram
All You Need Is Ears by George Martin
The Microphone Handbook by John Eargle
Audio Cyclopedia by Howard Tremaine
The Sound Reinforcement Handbook by Gary Davis and Ralph Jones