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

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.

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 To Mix In Mono – 3 Easy Steps to Outstanding Mixes

How To Mix In Mono – 3 Easy Steps to Outstanding Mixes

On my previous post, I talked about one concept that every music producer should know before diving into the world of mixing – which is to mix in mono.

It is imperative to understand the psychology behind this concept before anything else. The reason why I am sharing this with you is because I want you to start your mixes right, especially when you are still at the initial stages of your development as a mixer.

New to the music production world, my difficulty lay on training my ears to identify equalization, compression, reverb, and delay. During that time, I somehow had a skewed perception of my mixing ability.  Apparently, my brain tricked me into believing that my mixes had superb sound quality, which resulted into undesirable consequences. A repercussion from this belief that I could easily identify with, and maybe, just maybe, that you could also relate to as well, is negative reception to constructive feedback. Haha!

Since I thought my mixes were up to par with the big honchos of the mixing industry, this thought process greatly impacted my skills as a starting mix engineer. Instead of growing beautifully and gradually in this field, it evidently hampered my progress. For a time being, I was doing the work without any references at all; hence, relying on what I hear alone.

Let me repeat that – relying on what I hear alone.

Why It Is A Problem

Psychoacoustics, the study of sound perception, touches on the physiological manifestations of sound to the human nervous system and how we interpret sound. The brain, as the largest organ of the nervous system, relates to sound in various ways. As mix engineers, music producers, and musicians, we need to have a better understanding of recognizing sound. How so?

It is because you cannot believe everything you hear.

We all have different perspectives when it comes to hearing sound sources. One good example is the difference between loudness and volume. There’s a term called “perceived loudness,” and that is subject to interpretation.  A music playing in the background may be loud to me, but not to you. Notably, volume is entirely different, as it is used to denote the power of a signal or sound source. As an illustration, when you increase the volume knob on the radio, it just means that you are augmenting the amount of power of the sound signal, thus, telling your ears that you can already hear the sound coming through the speakers.

This is how our brain tricks us, specifically when we are mixing.

Let me demonstrate this further. Do this in one of your mixing sessions – listen to a mix using headphones, and then, try to listen to your monitors. Listening on headphones gives you a more pronounced stereo effect compared to listening through the monitors because of the closeness of the sound source to your ears.

Understanding Stereo Separation

Stereo separation can either help us mix or fool us. In the context of mixing, it denotes the spatial attributes it brings to the mix, likewise contributing to the shape of the sound. To achieve width and depth to a mix, stereo separation is the key. However, in this stage of the mixing process, problem areas pop out due to our brain’s judgment. Obviously, at this point, you think that you’ve already achieved clarity and balance because it sounds epic; on the other hand, when you listen to your rendered mix on other platforms, it seemingly sounds dull, dry, and muddy.

mix in mono

The brain uses more processing power when listening in stereo because it doesn’t precisely gauge the truth behind the volume, clarity, and balance of the mix.

In other words, mix in mono.

How To Mix In Mono

To accurately hear the differences in leveling and volume of your mixes, reference your mix in mono. Not only that it works wonders on your tracks, but also speeds up the mixing process.

Here are the steps to mix in mono:

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Check if your DAW has a mono/stereo button. If not, use a plugin that is able to check your mixes from stereo to mono. Insert the plugin on the master fader.

Here are free plugins to use:

It is a complete stereo imaging and analysis tool by Flux

Upstereo by Quikquak

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EQ in Mono – check if you can hear all your instruments in mono. When every track is centered, all the sounds come out from the left and the right speakers. This way, you can concentrate on adjusting the balance, clarity, and level of each track as well as arrange the proper EQ adjustments. If you cannot hear a specific instrument, it tells you that your EQ is not right. This gives you the ability to make the proper EQ decisions. Without stereo separation, you can straightaway identify if there are phase problems, too.

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Adjust accordingly – After making the necessary adjustments in mono, go back and hit the stereo button. Listening to the mix in stereo gives you a spatial context in depth and width. Check the delays and the reverb effects. So, it is extremely important that you go back and forth in listening to the mixes in mono and stereo.

In conclusion, learning how to mix in mono is not just an old school procedure, but a process that allows you and your ears to have laser-like focus and avoid analysis paralysis due to overthinking. After all, our goal is to make your music creations get better each time, right? So, go ahead and mix in mono!

What I Learned to Be Successful as a Home Music Producer

What I Learned to Be Successful as a Home Music Producer

 

Hi, I am Gelot Macaranas and I am the founder of Mixingmastermind.com.

Today, I want to share with you how I became a home music producer, successfully doing my passion at the comfort of my home.

If you also want to know the story about what Mixing Mastermind provides, go to the About Page.

Here’s My Story

 

THE JOURNEY BEGINS…

In the early 2000s, I, together with my cousins, had the privilege and pleasure to perform on stage. For four times a week, we played at different venues and wrote songs during our days off. Around 5 albums worth of original songs resulted from our weekends. Certainly, the original compositions connected with our audience, resulting to requests for song recordings. They wanted to listen to them on their Walkman, cd player, or mp3 player, which were the popular modes of listening back then. As a result, it prompted us to start recording our songs on a professional level and venture out the mysterious world of the recording arts due to the requests.

To be heard on the radio is one of the ultimate goals of an amateur band. With this in mind, our focus was unimaginable. Armed with determination, we scoured several phone directories for recording studio information and relentlessly drove through busy streets to search for a reputable recording studio that could help us become famous one day. It is not like today that as soon as you type your query in Google and press enter, the list pops up. Not only that it was time-consuming, it surely burned a hole in our pockets. Imagine the countless days of searching for the perfect studio that suited our budget.

After several tries, we found the best recording studio upon the recommendation of a friend. Oh man, not only that it was reputable, and expensive but also far from home. We didn’t have the money to record one full album but a small amount fit for two songs.  However, it was one of the best recording studios for amateur bands. So, we thought, “Oh well, it is a starting point.” Without any sound advice from a professional, we proceeded in recording the songs.

We paid the recording studio a whopping $200 (P10,000) for two tracks. The songs turned out good, but, we still felt that they lack the radio-ready luster we aimed for. Although we still wanted to perfect the recordings, unfortunately, we could not push through because of budget constraints.

How I wished that we had more time to practice, had the freedom to record without worrying about the bill, and had the availability of a recording studio near our area. This experience planted the dream in my heart that one day, I’d own my own recording studio.

How I wished we had more time to practice, freedom to record without worrying about the bill, and had the availability of a studio near our area.

Problems, Issues, and Concerns. Just Name It.

Let me talk about the issues that sprouted from the experience.

First, financial instability hindered us from getting recording time. We couldn’t save money as quickly as we would like to. We couldn’t finance any activities beyond band rehearsals and gigs.

Second, the studio’s accessibility made it harder for us to record. The studio’s location was far from where we lived. The time and money spent for traveling could be time allotted for practicing.

The third concern was the band’s practice time. Had there been a recording studio near our place, we could have had more practice time.

We found it difficult to practice our demo songs at home because we didn’t want to disturb our neighbors.

 

We didn’t have a basement or a sound-proofed room to use since our garage was the only place available.

Lastly, the band consisted of family members who all lived in the same house. Ooooops! Wait a sec? You might want to ask me at this very moment why it became a dilemma. As a matter of fact, that could have had given us a better avenue for practice. We struggled due to personal priorities despite of us situated in one area. Our difficulty lay on our personal schedules, thus affecting practices. In other words, we didn’t have the time.

We kept our chins up under those circumstances. On a positive side, we were all aware of the predicament we faced as a group.

 

 

And yet, we pushed ourselves to discover ways to resolve the concerns we had at hand. After all, our dream to reach the world through our songs burned incessantly in our hearts.

Problems Solving Tactics

Our drive to successfully make it in the music industry resulted to different approaches in solving our issues. We worked on adding more gigs on a weekly basis to gain extra funding for our recordings. Our manager hunted for events, bars, clubs and acoustic lounges that held auditions. Stressful as it was, we took every opportunity that came without having any plan of attack.

As a result, we gained more gigs but lost practice time. Consequently, we never got to write songs like how we used to before. As much as we wanted to rest, we opted to keep taking more events, thus, giving us a steady flow of income. Being profitable became our top priority. Besides, we desperately needed the moolah, as well as the exposure. True enough, as what the great Napoleon Hill said, “Strength and Growth come only through continuous effort and struggle,” held truth in our lives at that time.

We almost had a breakthrough when a record producer gave us a recording stint in an audition we joined! Why almost? Hold your breath. We thought that our efforts paid off because we landed a recording contract with the producer, in which would lead us to stardom. After a few meetings, unfortunately, the news faded like a fleeting moment in time. The contract didn’t push through and it was a major disappointment for the band.

Afterwards, we began to miss gigs and other opportunities as our priorities led us to different paths. As for me, personal gratification led me to miss our band’s first major concert gig. Yes, I am honest enough to say that I also have my own misses.

After the successful concert, we disbanded. We tried to regroup but failed on every attempt. We all lived different lives and for some years, I forgot about my passio

How I Quit My Job And Pursued My Passion

From the bottom up!

I started working in an international call center company back in 2005 as a sales agent. Despite of having no knowledge in selling, it didn’t crush my spirit. I told myself if I didn’t make it in the band, then, I would have to make it in the job.

Armed with that mindset, it took me 8 months to become a sales supervisor. Moreover, the job gave me opportunities including management trainings and leadership events that any person without a college degree couldn’t get a hold of.

As a staunch believer in hard work, I made my way to the top. Promotions came in handy as bigger and more challenging responsibilities started coming my way. Enthralled with the success of my endeavors, I decided to focus on pursuing the corporate ladder, thus becoming one of the top managers of the company, which gave me a 6-digit monthly income, plus huge benefits for me and my family.

Recognizing Top Performers

Halloween Rodeo Party with the Training Team

A Deep Compelling Decision To Make

It was when the family found out about my mom’s medical condition that I remembered who I really was. For years, work consumed my time and energy that I didn’t get to play any instruments nor wrote any songs. When I heard the word “cancer,” I knew it I had to make the decision.

There’s a deep compelling connection between this sad moment and my passion for music. My mom constantly bugged me with a gentle push to follow my heart, but I just didn’t listen to her. I didn’t want anything to do with music anymore due to the failures I experienced from the past. It took awhile but my mom made me realize that I was just wasting my life for nothing. During her battle with cancer, my mother and I gifted the world with three beautiful songs. It was my dearest memory of her.

Fun TImes With Mom and Sis

Before she passed on, I promised her that I’d record the songs professionally. Not knowing what to do, my failures reminded me not to trek the same route again. Recording the songs scared the hell out of me especially knowing that music production was an unknown territory.

Because of my desire and intention to honor my mom by keeping my promise, all the actions I took led me to becoming a music producer and an audio engineer. I enrolled in sound engineering, songwriting, and music production courses. Little did I know, I was building my home recording studio piece by piece, equipment at a time. The dream I thought that was far-fetched, became a reality.

Mom, diagnosed with Cancer June 2012

Audio Engineering Class 

home music producer

How I Started My Journey As A Home Music Producer

Mary J Blige said, “My Journey continues, because I’ve, you know, conquered a lot. And I know how to conquer the rest.”

I definitely can relate to that.

Resiliency and resourcefulness – these are the two attributes that helped me trek the road to where I am now. Let me proceed with my storytelling by taking you on the high road.

One challenge that I conquered was building my home studio from scratch. Yes, on the courses I enrolled in, there were but a few details on how to build one. I also found it difficult to apply what I learned from my courses because I had nothing to reference my learning with.

Learning blindly, I didn’t have any concrete directions or goals. Mind you, It took me years to build my studio as I spent countless hours in the net trying to find the most affordable ways to do it. I also spent endless hours watching YouTube videos to improve my mixing skills only to confuse me with the number of techniques different coaches teach. In reality, not all those who teach in Youtube have certification, which creates credibility issues on the methods they share through the platform.

Reflection and Outcome

 I had to learn the wrong ways for me to know the right ones. I had to go through different routes to learn different concepts for me to realize that there’s just one principle that we need to understand in our lives to make things work for us. Although the journey was long, it was also a blessing. I feel like I have figured out the solution and know the best way to do it, and I’d really love to share what I know to someone who is struggling to record his songs at home and use the needed platform to make it happen.

Today, a recording studio is available to me 24/7. It is where I spend quality hours making music, producing videos and honing my craft. I am a music producer and audio engineer who mixes and masters music at the comfort of my home. This was my dream. I am now living it.

What Can You Get Out Of My Story

This is my story. My utmost desire is to share what I learned with you. All the long years of hunting for information, hours of studying, countless days of training, mixing, and not sleeping are all packed here – just for you. If you want to record your music at home, be the best in what you do and be the master of your music, then take the next step with me today. Here’s to making it all happen for you. Become a Mixing Mastermind today!

Make Your Music Creations Better Everyday!

Become a Mixing Mastermind Today.

Learn More

How Mixing In Mono Remarkably Improved My Mixes

How Mixing In Mono Remarkably Improved My Mixes

mixing in mono

One learning I had during my first few years as a home music producer was to mix in mono. Mixing in Mono literally changed my perspective on the mixing process.

Say what?!

I feel you. That’s my first reaction, too. Man, I could hardly stand up from my seat while I watched Graham Cochrane, a freelance music producer in Florida, tackle the subject with gusto. How did I even get ahold of that video in YouTube?

But before we do our deep-dive, I want to point out a few things. This is targeted to:

1. You, who are starting out recording at home, working on your first project

2. You, who have the experience in the recording process.

3. You, who know music production but want to find out how to make your mixes sound better.

You need to know this concept right at the beginning of your mixing career. You’d know why as we move along

The First Time I Heard of Mixing In Mono

My main issue at that time was I couldn’t get my mixes to sound great. Devotion to practice was my number 1 rule. In addition to the hours spent in mixing, I also made sure that I had my attention to every detail. Definitely, I was learning a lot. However, it still didn’t make my mixes sound like the tracks I hear on the radio. The mixes were crappy, and likewise, I was totally getting desperate. Most of the time, I was exasperated figuring out what was wrong.

I knew the different approaches behind the principles of mixing, but it seemed everything was not turning out the way I wanted.

Please do not get me wrong. The learning I acquired from sound engineering school and music production classes were totally great. In fact, they are my core foundation.

You wouldn’t be a music producer unless you’ve gotten the depth of knowledge in the technical aspects of sound production, as well as the artistic and creative prowess in making music. You must possess the passion and understanding in these areas. I absolutely have all of these. However, there’s a perspective I didn’t learn from school. I didn’t know that point of view until I found myself banging my head on the wall, trying to figure out what was missing. Desperately, I searched the net for the answer.

To tell you honestly, I’ve already forgotten how I ended up watching Graham’s video. But, what I do remember is that I saw his channel’s subscriber count and the title of his videos. Interestingly, I began watching his most popular videos. As a result, I stumbled upon his video entitled,    5 Minutes to A Better Mix: Mixing in Mono, which really grabbed my attention. That literally was a light bulb moment for me.

Why Mixing In Mono Is My Aha!

The usual technique that mix engineers do is stereo mixing. Of course, the result of all mixes technically, is stereo. Nonetheless, what we don’t realize is that when we listen to the radio, car speakers, small room speakers, in the club, and even at the mall, we listen to the music in mono. Let me expound on this.

Mono simply means one channel. Stereo just means that the mix has two channels which are left and right. When you listen to music playing in the background inside the mall, you wouldn’t know if what you hear comes the right or the left speakers, and most probably, you wouldn’t even know where the speakers are. Even though that there are two speakers inside your car, if you are at driver’s seat, you are most likely listening to the sound emitting from the left speaker rather than the right, or vice versa. You are almost never in the proper listening position in a club. That’s why most of the time we are listening in mono, except when we are in the middle of two speakers or using headphones.

Most of the time, we are fooled by the stereo separation that we hear from our tracks. Our brain is telling our ears that our mixing is great because it sounds acceptable already. Then, when you listen to your track using a different set of speakers or your phone, you’d find that the mix sounds dull and muddy. This was my problem and it could be your issue, too.

As I listened to Graham explain the concept, it all made perfect sense to me. I immediately went to work and applied what I learned and voila, the result was mind-blowing!

 

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The Revelation

 

Here are the things that I found out while I was mixing in mono:

It reveals phasing issues – phase issues are often not heard in a stereo mix due to stacking of instruments in the track. The instruments will take up the same space in the frequency spectrum, thus, working against each other. This causes the phenomenon called phase cancellation. An example of this is two guitar tracks, one panned to the left, and the other, to the right. Sounds great in stereo, but hollow, thin, and dull in mono. In simple terms, if your recorded tracks sound good on its own but sound bad, flat, and dull together, that could be a phase problem.

mixing in mono

It tells you that your mix is not ready – every producer and mix engineer’s aim is clarity and balance. If it doesn’t sound punchy and clear in mono, it just means you need to work on areas like EQ, compression, gain staging and automation, etc. Mixing in mono reveals problem areas instantly. By this, you would know which area that you need to work on and fix.

It is harder to mix in mono – bluntly speaking, yes, but it’s worth the effort. Why? Mixing this way, your ears work harder to distinguish the differences in leveling and space the instruments are taking up in the spectral context. Separation is much tedious in this process, but this allows you to make the necessary EQ fixes and achieve the right balance. Spatial positioning or panning is what I found tough to execute. Switching the mix back and forth from stereo to mono helps to make sure the panning is correct. Despite the difficulty, once you get used to the process and make it a practice to mix this way, you’d mix better and end up with radio ready mixes.

To Sum It Up

If it sounds good in mono, then it will definitely sound great when you put the mix back to stereo.

So for epic recordings, listening and mixing in mono in the initial stages of your mixing session is good practice that you need to start doing.

Now that I have explained how mixing in mono dramatically took my mixes to the next level, I’d be happy to share the process of mixing in mono on the next read. I assure you that when you start applying this concept to your mixes, all you can say is, “Wow!”

Are you new to this concept? How do you think mixing in mono can help you? Please share your thoughts and comment below! I’d love to hear from you!

 

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