This Is What Happens When You Improve Your PC for Music Recording

This Is What Happens When You Improve Your PC for Music Recording

Recording, as well as mixing music, eats up a lot of the performance power from your laptop or PC. Because of this, it is a must to improve your PC for music recording.

This way, not only that you have a seamless workflow during the extensive process; but, also assures you with a fast and reliable tool that gives you outstanding results.

Use Solid State Drives

For musicians like you and me, if we rely only on traditional hard disk drives for processing and rendering, we are not guaranteed of a smooth workflow all the time. 3 years to be exact, is the amount of time that I waited before deciding to do an upgrade for both my PC and laptop. After installing a 250 GB Samsung EVO Solid State Drive to both my PC and laptop, I began to experience the following:

 

Fast Load Time

I used to wait for minutes to load sample libraries and samples on Mixcraft Pro Studio 8 using the traditional HDD. But with the SSD, it only takes around 20-30 seconds to load a significant number of instruments. Because of the upgrade, it enabled me to start working on projects much faster than usual.

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Better Music Playback

I found no errors nor glitches during playback. You need to understand that your projects contain several samples that require performance power for the tracks to play. Sometimes, as you work on your tracks, you find yourself adding more instruments as you change the song arrangement. This extensive process demands more spinning power from the hard drive; thus, creating glitches and errors along the way. Because of the upgrade, it enabled me to start working on projects much faster than usual.

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No Data Losses

     The HDD installed in my ACER Aspire V was loaded with 1 TB of storage which is already significantly great for music production. However, with the traditional drive, I experienced multiple crashes which resulted to data loss as well as projects without any samples written on them. After the upgrade, I have not experienced any crashes anymore. In other words, I’ve been working seamlessly ever since.

Installing a SSD is an immediate solution to a faster, more productive, and more creative workflow for your musical pursuits. I recommend installing a Samsung EVO 250GB SSD drive for your upgrade. It is the best in the market.

The video shows how fast it is to load a 55 – track session in just a matter of seconds!

Double Your Ram

Better yet, max it out. For a few bucks, you can upgrade your RAM to increase your computer’s functionality. I’d say 8 GB of RAM is typically okay, but if you want to be really be so sure, 16 GB of RAM is enough.

Computer Power Set Up

Set your computer’s power to High Performance Mode. If your computer’s setting is to conserve energy, that will create problems as the computer runs the audio files.

Do Not Record and Mix on the Same Hard Drive

This is a huge no-no. Doing this is actually common sense. If you record and mix on the same hard drive, the hard drive will both do the same actions that require more spinning power – which is taxing for the computer. Instead, run the OS, DAW, and plugins on the SSD; then, store your projects, samples, and sessions on an external hard drive. This setup allows your computer to do the processing much faster; thus, creating more space to do more. As for me, I also store the plugins on a separate hard drive for much more space and processing power that I can have.

Great tip: Use the HDD you replaced for storage as an external drive, instead of throwing it away. I house all my files on the 1 TB HDD.

Use Submix Busses and Send Tracks for Plugins

improve your pc for music recording

Plugins are the biggest drainers on your CPU. It may be good to put plugins for each track, for organization and sound effect purposes; however, this method might produce glitches and playback errors because of the amount of power the plugins utilize. A great way to utilize the effect of a plugin is by using submixes and send tracks especially for global effects such as reverbs, delays, compression, and side-chain. Grouping tracks by putting them in a submix and then adding one effect to the submix is the best way to go about it. Please see the image above.

Try to strategize when using effects. Sometimes, an instrument track doesn’t need EQ or compression. If it sounds good, let it be. Less is more, as the saying goes.

Close All Other Applications When Mixing

The computer has limitations. Inspite of the upgrades that you already made for your PC to be optimized, you may also want to have as much power as you can when running your DAW. Closing all applications in the background frees up a lot of space and resources; thus, giving you the extra punch of power to use for your plugins, effects, and samples.

Close out the following – everything except your DAW!

In addition to this, turn off your internet connection as well as your background applications.

Bounce Out!

Bouncing out stems (mix to a new audio in Mixcraft) is a good mixing practice especially when you’re preparing the tracks for mixing. This is a process in which you mix or bounce the track to become a new track with the effects printed to it. This way, the plugins are not running on the bounced track and you can still hear the effects on it.

So by upgrading your PC to perform better is also one way of making music recording affordable to you. Think of it this way, you may be shelling out some money at first: but imagine the profit and outcome that you’ll get out of it, right?

improve pc for music recording

Can My Songs Sound Epic With Inexpensive Gear?

Can My Songs Sound Epic With Inexpensive Gear?

Without any hesitation, the answer is YES! Your songs can sound epic with inexpensive gear. How so?

Mixing engineers of today will always recommend that we get the best equipment for our home studios. Correspondingly, we think that we must purchase an expensive gear because of its quality. As consumers, we are taught to believe that if a product is expensive, the quality is at its best. Although this may be true; basing it from experience, it is not always the case.

Delayed Projects Due to Overthinking

Songs Sound Epic Inexpensive Gear

Man, before I started with music production, my desire was just to have a starting point. Since I didn’t know anything about it yet, my goal was to have just one gear – one gear for me to get going. As soon as I finished setting up the studio at home, with all the equipment in place, I began to do the work. I thought I’d be able to make gazillions of songs out of the mini space that I have. As I worked on my projects, I found myself not satisfied with my output. My mind began to wander and searched for alternatives. Doubt entered my creative atmosphere – I doubted my skills, workflow, and most especially, my equipment!

To demonstrate this, imagine having workdays asking yourself, “why is the sound different from what I hear from the reference track?” Imagine the frustration that I was experiencing along. Because of this, I thought that my gears, which were mostly budget gears, were the culprit.

Oh well. It really came to a point where I didn’t want to proceed anymore. However, a part of me still wanted to go on because of the time that I already allotted for this endeavor. So, one day, I came to realize that it is not the gear, but it is the lack of knowledge and application that hindered me from creating the best sounding projects.

It is how you use the gear – that makes your sound epic!

My Home Studio Set Up

As music producers, we live and breathe by our creative artwork.  If you are relatively new to the music production world, one guiding principle that you must live by is that your gear is an essential fragment to the music creation process.  And the good news is that it is 100% guaranteed that you can get a home studio set up running within an affordable budget range.

Without further ado, this is the home studio set up I started and still the set up I have until now. Observe all the prices listed here. They are all priced mid-range and working great for me for years.

Computer – I have two computers that I use for music production. My PC that I use for my home studio set up is an Intel i5, with 10 GB RAM, with 7200 RPM with 1 TB HDD Space. For mobility, I use an ACER Aspire V laptop, which is one of the best purchases I made.  It runs on Windows 10 Pro, 8 GB RAM, 256GB SSD; however, I made initial upgrades on my laptop already. When it comes to music making, the ACER Aspire series is bang for the buck! Here are two laptops that I recommend for music production:

ACER Aspire V13

ACER Aspire V3

For the rest of my equipment, head straight to Resources, where I list all the gears that I use for music making.

Oh! But Expensive Gear is Nice, Too!

Hey, if you want to buy expensive gear, there’s no one stopping you. One or two of those in the studio is certainly nice to have! In fact, I bought Izotope Neutron, Izotope’s flagship mixing plugin which is truly an outstanding tool for mixing. In this case, I saved up my money to buy this baby. So really, there’s nothing wrong with purchasing this. All I am saying is, your sound doesn’t on the price point of your equipment or plugins, but heavily relies on how you use them.

Here’s A Video on Using Neutron in Mixcraft:

So, what do you think? Send me a comment below and let’s talk about this. 🙂

Please stay tuned for the next read which will cover improvements that you need for your PC. You will get a lot of ideas from there!

How To Make Music Recording Affordable To You – Easy!

How To Make Music Recording Affordable To You – Easy!

Have you ever wondered how you can make music recording affordable and easy at the same time? Find out how I managed to make it happen for me. If I did it, then it means that you could make your music dreams come true, too!

If you read the story behind Mixing Mastermind, you’d probably have an understanding why I am keen to sharing what I know in helping people record their music at home. Notably, there are two questions that we need to answer today regarding music recording. And these are:

Is it affordable?

And if it is; then, how can you make it affordable?

Is Home Music Recording Affordable?

The music industry today has totally evolved into what we call “the new music industry.” In general, the old music industry practices the traditional way of dealing with artists and music labels. One way that is constantly done by bands and artists is submitting a demo cd to a recording label and hope for the best.

When my band recorded our first demo cd, we submitted our portfolio to one of, our should I say, the best music recording labels in the country. If I remembered it correctly, we got an immediate answer that our demo cd didn’t have the quality they were looking for. Yeah, as an amateur band, with little knowledge of the recording arts, we recorded the demo in a shabby studio that offered cheap rates.Only good for band practice, the studio didn’t have the set-up for recording music. Although the studio owner knew that his 4-track mixer would just produce so-so results, we found him very helpful by offering to record us at a very low price.

Obviously, we knew that we didn’t have a studio-grade demo. However, armed with confidence that the music producers of the label company would hear the genius in us, we proceeded with submitting the cd. Regardless of what they might say, we decided to give it a try. Unfortunately, we didn’t make the cut.

The New Music Industry

The first time I heard the term, “New Music Industry,” it made perfect sense. I heard this from Leah McHenry, an online international recording artist who makes Celtic and Fantasy inspired music. She said that we are now in the new music industry, which has given musicians plenty of opportunities in the online world. It has broken the barriers of music creation – which means that you don’t have to go to a professional music studio to have your song recorded. And because of the environment of the new music industry, the opportunities are limitless.

music recording affordable

To point out, the old music industry, which very much happens today, entails a lot of actions and requirements to be done such as:

Auditions

If you want to get famous, audition for the Voice!

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Demos

Likewise, a studio-grade demo cd is a must here

Touring

You’ll be traveling a lot! (which is not a bad idea!)

Talent and Guts

If you’re shy and suffer from stage fright and don’t that stage presence, this isn’t the career for you

new music industry mixingmastermind

The new music industry; however, gives you the opportunity to create your songs, album, and even start a very successful music career – at the comfort of your own home.

So, to answer the question, is music production affordable, the answer is YES!

How Can It Be Cost-Effective?

As soon as I found out that having a home studio could be a reality for me, I spent a lot of time researching on the subject. After a great amount of time spent on my own studies; surprisingly, I realized that having a home music studio wasn’t that complicated at all.

Cost-wise, a home studio saves you a ton of moolah in the years to come compared to recording in a professional commercial studio that burns a hole in your pocket.

In reality, it took me three years to build my home music studio because I did it on my own.  In fact, if you combine the time in which I built the studio and studied music production, that is about 5 years in total.  As a result of this, it is with my intention that I do not want you to do the same thing.  With proper guidance and coaching, you’d be able to start creating your own music in no time.

How To Make it Within Your Budget Range?

Having a home music studio is not as expensive as you think it is. Nevertheless, you can definitely buy the most expensive gear for your studio if you want to. It is up to you. But honestly speaking,  the results are not dependent on how expensive your gear is.  It is how you use the gear that will make or break you in the music creation process.

Think about it, having to record using your own equipment compared to recording in a professional studio is already a big jump on savings. In order for you to make sure that you get the most affordable finds in building your studio, you must have these 4 Decision making principles in mind to help you.

Recognize what you need

Determine what you need or want that you must satisfy. For example, list down all the things you need for your home studio.

For example:

✓ Computer

✓ DAW

✓ Audio Interface

✓ Mic and Mic Stand

✓ Studio Monitors

✓ Headphones, etc

Learn from the Experts

Experts in the field of music production can help you tremendously on what to buy or not to buy. To demonstrate it, I am here sharing what I know and works best to you. But, I also recommend you do your own research for validation. 

Make Your Music Creations Better Everyday!

Become a Mixing Mastermind Today.

Learn More

Have Alternatives

As a consumer, you always think about getting the best deals for the products you want to buy. With this in mind, check for reviews and testimonials on products and services that you are interested in as well as compare prices. Choose the product that fits all your parameters.

Evaluate

So, ask the question to yourself before buying, is it a want or a need? Does it match my expectations?

3 Easy Steps to Make Music Recording Affordable

Here are the steps to start creating music at home without burning a hole in your pocket:

1. Buying Equipment – it is very important that you have the right set up for your home studio. The things that you need for your studio may be a lot for you at first; however, it is imperative that you look at everything holistically. By starting with the end in mind, you will not think of buying gear as a tedious task. You may think of it as expensive at first, but as you tick off your checklist, you’d soon realize that you have already completed the necessary requirements for your home studio.

2. Buying the right gear – having the most expensive gear can help you create the best sounding song you could possibly record; however, this isn’t the case most of the time. Likewise, you can produce your best album just by a mid-range priced equipment. It is just how you use it that makes the difference.

For example, the industry-standard tool for recording is Pro Tools. Inasmuch as I want to have a license for its latest version, I still find the DAW expensive for me, eventhough they have monthly terms. That’s why I am using Mixcraft Pro Studio 8 because this power-packed DAW has everything I need that Pro Tools can give.

3. Master your gear/plugins/tools – after buying one equipment, master it. Consequently, there are those who buy a lot of gear, having that mindset that they get the best sound out of those. Reset your mindset regarding that theory – best gear equates to the best sound. You can mix your tracks using stock plugins that come with the software you have. If you are not satisfied with your plugins, you can find a lot of free plugins around. After all, those free plugins bring out the best in my mixing.

There you have it! I hope this helps anyone who is thinking of building their own home studios or planning to record music at home.

What are your thoughts on this? Please comment below! I’ll happy to know what you think!

How I Found the Secret to Be Successful in Mixing Music

How I Found the Secret to Be Successful in Mixing Music

Most successful people in any career, whether it be in business or the music industry, attest that they have found the secret to their achievement from a mentor – who have influenced their lives, thought processes and principles by leaps and bounds.

mixing music

True enough, I found mine; surprisingly, on YouTube and the internet.

They’re Graham Cochrane and Joe Gilder – two exceptionally talented musicians who inspire thousands to make great music at home.

Moreover, their mixing principles and methods have greatly influenced the way I mix now.

For these two guys, mixing is not complicated, but a fun and creative process; not to mention, a way of making things easy.

How To Be Successful In Mixing Music

These two mix engineers’ technique that makes their mixes outstanding is mixing in mono. They have been vocally straightforward in saying that mixing in mono is the secret to achieving clarity and balance to any mix. By this, it facilitates in opening the ears to help in the decision-making process. As a result, you can make the necessary and proper adjustments that are essential for the tracks.

Certainly, I have been writing about how mixing in mono changed the way I deal with my mixes. This is to emphasize that I got this technique from them, followed their recommendations, and applied the teaching to my tracks.

Graham and Joe are among the successful freelance mix engineers and home music producers that are utilizing this great technique, thus, resulting to amazing and epic mixing projects out of their home studios.

Graham Cochrane and the Importance of Mixing in Mono

Graham on his mixing desk

Graham Cochrane is a freelance recording and mix engineer from Tampa, Florida, who founded Recording Revolution, a very successful blog that helps anyone to make better sounding music at home. His passion paved way to creating the blog in educating musicians all over the world and inspiring them to make music with what they already have.

He significantly turned my mixing skills around 360 degrees just by one concept alone – and that is to mix in mono.

Emphasizing the importance of mixing in mono, he reiterates that it is not every day that we hear our music in stereo. As mix engineers, we are but to always check our mixes in the worst-case scenario.  If we go back to the history and evolution of the music production process, albums and songs were recorded and mixed in mono – having in mind that the speaker system at that time were built mono. It is only up to the present day that we are factoring stereo separation and panning because of the emerging music genres of today.

3 Mixing In Mono Pointers

 

Here are three pointers for mixing in mono that Graham wants us to always bear in mind:

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Getting The Appropriate Balance

Since all the tracks are in the center, it forces the brain to analyze the volume balance.  Can you still hear the guitars aside from the piano? What about the other instruments? Do the violins somehow get covered by the pads?  Do the tracks sound muddy?

We can make the right EQ decisions based from the information we get listening to the tracks in mono.

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Phase 

One important aspect of the mix is all the tracks are coherent in terms of phase. Listening to the mix in mono allows you to gauge whether the instruments are out of phase or not. An example of this is when you recorded a piano piece that sound great and clear in stereo, but disappears in mono. How’s that possible? Graham has mentioned that this instance can be a result of the piano has been recorded. The mics could be out of phase of each other. Therefore, it is a must to listen in mono to check phase issues.

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A Focused Approach

Graham points out that this method is an opportunity to limit our options, simplify our thought process, and gives us a more focused environment in evaluating our mixing decisions.

Joe Gilder and His Steps in Mixing in Mono

Joe Gilder is the founder of Home Studio Corner, an outstanding blog that helps home studios excel. A songwriter/musician who is passionately in love with the recording process, and shares his knowledge to the world.

He, as a mix engineer, encourages us to mix in mono because of its benefits!

Aside from using the method for phase issues, he also wants us to check our mixes in mono to deal with low end problems.  Mixing in mono helps us to identify any bass issues and fix the issues with corrective EQ.

These are his steps:

First, pan the Left and Right sliders of the master fader to the center

Second, use a plugin that changes a stereo track to mono. You can also use a monitor management box for this as well.

Lastly, switch back from mono to stereo and check the mix.

There you have it. By listening to Graham and Joe and applying what I’ve learned from them, my skills improved dramatically. As one of their students in Dueling Mixes, I’d say that you should do the same – Mix in Mono.

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