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

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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