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Music Production and Mixing Tips & Tricks

What makes a pro recording pro? Is there a "sound" that the pros get and just how can you build your recordings sound more professional?

The easy answer is - there is no simple answer. Though careful listening and a little experience you could make excellent results with modest

Good mixing starts ear

The first and most significant item of kit is - that knows? Anyone? It's your ears! Sorry to inform you this, but playing ten hours of Rave at 110dB is going to do nothing for the kids and you will probably also give your mix with a turtle as try to mix with misused ears.

Pay attention to commercial recordings of mixes you want, analyse them, listen for the effects and get to know what constitutes the sound you're after.

Mixing secrets

There is no hidden secret for you to get a good sound, however, if we had to sum up the trick of blending in 2 words it would be this - EQ and compression. Okay that's three words.

These are probably the two most important tools used by professional producers. However, like every tools, if you do not understand how to use them you will be carving Habitat tables rather than Chippendale chairs. mastering

That is where your ears and experience can be found in. Here we have assembled some production ideas, suggestions, guidelines but they are only able to be guidelines and require to become adapted to suit your material. There isn't any presets you are able to switch directly into create a bad recording sound good. And when your original material has been poorly recorded not even Abbey Road could salvage your mix. But follow these suggestions and find out that your mixes improve.

Get the level right

You can not push the degree when recording digitally as possible when recording to tape however, you still need to get the maximum amount of signal to the system as you can. This implies watching the levels meticulously for clipping, and recording in an even and constant level.

Some recording software lets you monitor and hang up the input level from within. Some require that you use the soundcard's mixer while some don't have any facility for internally adjusting the input level and require that you set this at source.


Your ears are just as good as the monitors they listen to. Usually do not be prepared to make a good, pro mix on tiny computer speakers. It appears fine over a laptop or computer, but try it on a hi fi, in a disco and thru a vehicle stereo.

Curiously, you do not necessarily require the most costly Mic. Many top artists use what some might call "average" Mics simply because they work well and obtain the work done. Possibilities are a wad on a large diaphragm capacitor Mic (yes, they're good for vocals) if you possess the lolly but take a look at dynamic Mics which can be much more affordable and is looked to several tasks.

Mixing MIDI and audio

One of many important things about computer-based recording is that the parts can so be changed, edited and processed. It is also really easy to blend MIDI and music and several musicians use a mix of sample loops, MIDI parts and audio recording.

Audio recordings are often guitar and acoustic instruments including the sax and vocals. Incidentally, the simplest way to record guitars is by sticking a Mic in front of its speakers. It is possible to DI them and process them later which may be cleaner but also for an all-natural guitar sound a Miced amp is difficult to beat.

You don't need to record drums live and, actually, it's hard to complete and retain a modern sound. You can purchase off-the-shelf MIDI drum riffs and audio drum loops, or program your own personal. The caliber of the tools making drum noises nowadays is such that anyone with a good riff can appear to be a pro.

Mixing MIDI

As MIDI and audio parts be visible on exactly the same screen in modern sequencers, it is easy to prepare them into a song. However, whenever you arrive at mix everything down there's another consideration. If you are recording to DAT you can just route the audio and MIDI outputs via a mixer and in to the DAT machine.

However, if you want to develop a CD you have to first convert the MIDI parts to audio data. The complete song are able to be mixed to hard drive and burned to CD. Converting MIDI to audio might have an additional benefit and that's a chance to process the MIDI tracks using digital effects.


You can find three positions for effects referred to as Master, Send and Insert. Make use of the Master for effects you want to apply to the whole mix. These will often be EQ, compression and reverb.

Although giving each channel its own Insert effects is kinda neat, each one of these utilizes a corresponding level of CPU power. Therefore your pc is struggling if you are being utilizing the same effect on more than one channel, result in the effect a Send effect and route those channels with it.

Many texts let you apply an impact Pre or Post fader. With Post fader, how much sound provided for the effect is controlled from the fader. With Pre fader, the whole volume level of the signal is distributed. Post fader may be the usual default and also the one you'll use one of the most.


EQ is easily the most popular as well as the most over-used effect. Yes, it can be used to attempt to "fix a mix" however, you can't produce a silk purse out of a sow's ear as me Gran utilized to say along with what she didn't know about mixing could be designed in the margin from the book of honest politicians.

Before you commence messing with EQ - or any other effect for instance - ensure you have a decent set of speakers. Are we declared already? Oh, must be important, then.

You will find plug-in effects including MaxxBass which can psychoacoustically enhance the bass frequencies to really make it sound better on smaller speakers. However, this can be certainly not exactly like finding a good bass sound to begin with by observing good recording principles.

EQ can enhance a mixture to add gloss, fairy dust, shimmer, sheen, a sweetener or whatever you desire to call it towards the final production. Easy it really is with enhancers and spectralisers, too, although these often play around with the harmonics which some producers dislike. However, don't dismiss them beyond control.

General EQ lore states that you ought to cut rather than boost. In case a sound is top-heavy, the temptation would be to boost the mid and bass ranges. But then what usually happens is you start boosting the top of range to pay and you simply wind up boosting everything and you're simply back in places you started - only louder!

Exactly why cutting is preferred is that boosting also boosts the noise within the signal that isn't what you want. Try it. Boost every frequency and pay attention to the result. If you think it may sound okay, fine. What do we realize?

However, if you're fiddling, do keep an eye on the output meter. Boosting EQ inevitably means increasing the gain and it is so-o-o-o easy to clip the output causing distortion which doesn't sound good.

Finally, check EQ changes to single tracks while playing back the entire piece. Put simply, tune in to the tracks in context with the other tracks. It may sound fine in isolation however, many frequencies may overlap onto other tracks making the piece frequency rich in certain areas and frequency poor on other occasions.


Reverb creates space. It offers the impression that a sound was recorded inside a hall or canyon instead of the broom cupboard. Recording lore suggests that you record everything dry, without reverb, so that you can test out a choice later on. You can not un-reverb a track once it's been recorded.

The more reverb are applying, the further away sound will seem. To make a vocal up-front, use only enough reverb to take away the dryness. Vocals don't want to be mushy (lyrics may be mushy) so utilize a bright reverb.

A standard novice error is always to swamp everything with assorted kinds of reverb. Don't - it sounds horrible!

Mixing down

You must have done all of the recordings, done the edits, applied the consequences now you need to mix everything right into a Big Number 1 Hit! Before you decide to do, return home this will let you good night's sleep. Have two. In fact, sleep for a week.

Yes, we realize you're hot and raring to go your ears are tired. They're dropping off to sleep. Listen carefully and you will hear then snore!