Mixing and mastering is simple especially if you know what the instruments should sound like in specific genres. However, if you do not know the genre, you might end up making a too-energetic mix and master, or a very soft loud mix and master for the genre itself. Listening to different genres can help you hear the different energy levels of mastering, as well as how instruments should really sound.
Compression is an important tool nowadays especially if one wants to make a loudness-competitive mix. However, some genres, specifically jazz, acoustic or folk music, would sound better if some dynamics bounced off instruments. Lay off the heavy compression for a while. Try to focus on bringing out the changing volumes and dynamics in the instruments.
Guitars sound thicker and powerful in most rock music, but making a jazz guitar sound powerful despite its smooth and creamy sound can bring out clarity in a jazz mix and master, but could sound too overpowering or energetic. Making a jazz guitar thinner or an acoustic guitar livelier is crucial in getting the right sound for the genre.
A solid bass frequency always goes for RnB music, but for acoustic genres, clarity and a clear vocal track is more important. Certain frequencies may make a song sound awkward, especially if some of the instruments that are essential to the song gets muddied.
In audio engineering, your ears and what you hear is what counts. When your ears are trained, you might think that the mix you just made in your default studio monitors is already the best, but no, it is not. It might sound great with your monitors, but it does not guarantee a perfect sound with consumer grade speakers, headphones and earphones.
It is also important to hear the music in different spaces. With your studio monitors step out of the room and observe the details you’re hearing. Then step in the middle of the room with your back turned against the speakers and again observe the details. At some point, you might find that something is off with your recording, and you can adjust it again to find the right sound you were looking for.
A different pair of speakers emphasizes certain frequencies in a mix. From here, you can gauge if certain frequencies are clipping, or if everything is in the right levels.
Wearing headphones or earphones can make you hear specific details you couldn’t hear through a very accurate set of studio monitors. However, never mix audio with headphones or earphones alone; you could end up with a mix that disregards headroom.
Audio mixing and mastering is an art. Every accomplished song that translates very well to consumer speakers is a footstep in your professional capability. However, this means listening to these music in loud volumes, even when inside your car.
I have a fellow audio engineer who has mixed audio for many local UK acts and musicians. She certainly loves her work. Every day, she pops a newly-mastered CD in her car and she listens to it and once she arrives in our studio, she dissects the parts that need improvement in the mix.
However, it was because of this that she got hit by a speeding truck. It was the truck driver’s fault because he beat the red light in the fast traffic in an intersection. My audio engineer friend ended up in a hospital with a fractured neck and a dislocated shoulder.
Her family turned to no win no fee accident claims experts to help sort out the mess. The authorities have ruled out the fact she was listening to loud music as she was in fast traffic because she was following rules. The truck company provided for her medical bills as well as other miscellaneous bills for temporary impairment because of her fractured shoulder.
The lesson for me and other audio engineers like me reading this is that as much as we love work, there’s a time for work and there’s a time to pay attention to things right in front of us. We could always listen to lower volumes and keep it a priority to keep our eyes on the road rather than concentrate our ears and leaving the driving to our bodies in ‘autopilot mode’.
As a producer, I value my ears as my greatest assets. Taking care of them is important because without hearing, I wouldn’t have a job. Hearing is important, but it is more important that your ear knows the sound that it is looking for working in conjunction with your analytical skills.
Oscillation meters can tell you lots about the frequency of a musical instrument when recorded. Your knowledge of condenser and dynamic microphones and identifying phases when using them is also important, but you could only tell the difference of subtle sound changes with trained ears.
A simple way I do to train my ears is to scoop up a frequency gain and move it all around the equalizer while a single polyphonic note is playing. I would identify the note’s frequency range in the basic meter, then hear its character changes as I pass the gain frequency from one side to the other.
A chart like this is useful in training your ears and even in mixing and mastering the instruments in your song. These will help you improve on your usage of the most basic of all digital audio workstation plugins, the equalizer.
However, you will need to invest in mentorship and good monitors if you want to train your ears effectively. I can coach people but only through posts such as these, but the final say depends on whether your ear determines a sound to be “sweet” enough or needs more tweaking.
If you have ever listened to classical music, you can clearly distinguish the different instruments, their sound and the swelling and shrinking dynamics of the instruments, giving it its organic and refreshing feeling. In today’s modern music, particularly in pop and rock songs, dynamics could not be felt, except for a perceived loudness of the percussions and lifeless melodic instruments.
Compression is useful during the traditional days of music production because it helped avoid destroying early radios with weak circuits. High volumes were too high for some radios to contain and a compressor helped to ensure a pure signal seemed to increase in volume without actually increasing in amplitude.
Today, compression is useful for tying together instruments to sound as if they are in a single room, especially for multi-tracked recordings. Being tied together, some of their transients and dynamics are lost as they hit the compression gate.
Indeed, it sounds organic when you hear musical instruments change in dynamics and volume in the process and while it sounds clearer in a compressed mix, your ears may get tired of hearing the same sound, which can make the music dull and lifeless.
While some music are suited for loud compression, such as dance and rock music, other types of music may benefit from retaining dynamics and a low compression setting.
It’s not how good you are at ensuring the competitive loudness of your mix. It is also not because of the way you could make something that sounds so raw sound really loud and powerful. A music producer is someone who does these things; a successful one does more.
You are a music producer, but if you haven’t built your network of talents that could make use of your talent and capabilities, you are not yet successful. If nobody had ever heard of your prowess in editing and ensuring the beauty of the audio you record, you are far from successful. Marketing and advertising your work through word of mouth or accomplished projects is crucial for gaining success in the music industry.
While you are doing your marketing, it is also important to increase your portfolio. It would be painful to take on some pro bono jobs, but it could build your experience with your clients, work ethics and other details that help build your professional edge. Be sure to show these portfolios to your clients.
At one point, musical directors or a band will want to go a shift in detail and work. As a music producer, having the resilience to adapt to this new direction and scrap previous work. Surely, you could charge extra for your efforts in resilience, but getting the right kind of people to work for you as you make the shift also takes extra effort.
Being a listener, you can’t help wonder how perfect an album’s quality truly is. Music production had evolved to levels unimaginable and the processes undertaken are not the conventional “plug-and-play” and record to recording systems. Music producers won’t tell you the following during production.
1. The Sound is Made up of Different Sounds
You might think that a guitar or a piano sound is just made up of one microphone put in the direction of an amplifier or the “sound area” of a piano. The truth is that multiple microphones are used to get the right phase for the instrument and the room sound. You might think it sounds simple on the record, but in reality, it looks more complicated.
2. Chop Chop
Today’s recording technology allows Digital Audio Workstations to snip records of audio and do a song piece-by-piece, contributing to more accurate timing and faster recording. Snippets could also be adjusted to get into the right amount of tempo without compromising the “human” voice in an instrument.
3. Electronic Instruments
You might wonder why the sound of a bass drum sounds massive compared to your home recordings and a snare sounds very big even if your snare is of the same brand and style on record compared to yours. These instruments may have been “replaced” by the producers using triggers. Triggers allow proper drum replacements to ensure a “cleaner” sound on the drumset to make a more crisp and clearer sound.
Payment protection insurance is designed to repay your loans, mortgages and credit repayments in case you get sick or have an accident. However, many banks, financing companies and building institutions have mis sold payment protection insurance to consumers. An average PPI costs £3000.
To get your refund, you will need to make a PPI claim against your bank. Confirm with your bank through a call that you own and are paying for a payment protection insurance in the financing you currently have. It would be wise to check all your financing to see if you have the insurance.
Next, collect all the billing statements you received upon paying for your loan. Ensure that these billing statements are dated properly. You could get a rough estimate of the total amount of insurance refund you are owed. If you want a precise calculation, you could work with a free PPI calculator most claims companies provide.
You could also be due compound interests. Compound interests are increases in interest rates with your payment protection insurance as the possible reason. If proven to be true, you could reclaim these repayments as well.
Allow a PPI Claimback Company to handle your claim on a no win no fee basis if you have a free schedule, when the bank rejects your claim or you are not satisfied with the banks decision.
Either you work independently or you eventually get signed to working with a record label, you will have to work with a music producer. Sure, today’s technology allows virtually anybody to record music at home, but nothing beats the ears and skills of a music producer.
1. Composition and Arrangement
You might be greatly confident with your compositions and arrangement, but the ears of a music producer had listened to countless kinds of music and your genre is possibly on the list. They will point out to you which sounds awkward, too repetitive and other criticisms with your music. Don’t fret, they have fixes for such, trust them.
2. Recording Engineer
Part of album preproduction is choosing the kind of sound you want your album to have. Your music producer will work alongside engineers to envision the type of sound he or she wants for your album. You also have your say in this process but the music producer could improve the sound you actually want.
3. Post Production
Your album needs its competitive loudness to compete with mainstream standards and your music producer will also direct the post-production of your album. This means he or she will mix your audio and make sure it sounds according to what you and he or she actually thinks is right for your kind of music.