Category Archives for "Posts"

How to Fix a Mix That Sucks

This article is part of our FAQ series, published on our blog. Click here to view the blog archives.

Question: How do I fix a mix that sucks?

When it comes to art, sometimes you create something you’re unhappy with.

We’ve all been there.

So let’s say you finish your mix and it, for lack of a better term, “sucks”…

It’s natural to wonder if it can be fixed.

The good news is, YES, it can be… here’s how I suggest you go about it. Continue reading

How to Know If You’re Over-compressing (and How to Avoid It)

This article is part of our FAQ series, published on our blog. Click here to view the blog archives.

Question: How do I know if I’m over-compressing?

I spend a lot of time warning producers and mixers to avoid using too much compression.

Unintentional (not done deliberately for the genre or song) over-compression is an audio sin committed frequently…

Especially those who might be newer to mixing and music production.

That’s why I LOVE this question.

Now of course so much in audio comes down to personal opinion.

One engineer might find something over-compressed while another thinks it sounds great.

It’s important to have the knowledge to at least make those opinion calls.

So, here’s how to know if you’re over-compressing, plus a few tips on how to avoid doing it! Continue reading

How to Compress Vocals Like a Pro

This article is part of our FAQ series, published on our blog. Click here to view the blog archives.

Question: How do I compress vocals without ruining them?

Most people know that unintentionally over-compressing vocals ruins them.

Vocals are meant to be dynamic. They’re meant to sit on top of the mix but not be squished.

So it’s natural to wonder, given the significant risks, how you should go about compressing vocals.

Fortunately, it’s easier to compress vocals the right way than you might think.

Here’s how! Continue reading

How to Use an EQ in 4 Easy Steps

This article is part of our FAQ series, published on our blog. Click here to view the blog archives.

Question: How do I use an EQ the right way?

Equalizers or EQs are one of the most important tools in mixing.

To put it in simple terms, EQs allow mixers to emphasize certain frequencies (boosts) and deemphasize others (cuts).

Equalizers offer you control of the entire frequency spectrum.

Unfortunately using EQ while mixing isn’t always so cut and dry… which is why this is a great question!

Before I proceed, here are a few disclaimers:

  • Understand the settings on your EQ and how they work. If you’re unfamiliar, click here to get an EQ cheat sheet from AudioSkills to get you started.
  • Treat every mix and every track differently… an EQ technique that works on one track, may not work for another.
  • Your ears are key in using any mixing tool, so LISTEN and develop them.

So with all that said…

Here are 4 simple steps to follow to use an EQ the right way. Continue reading

How to Master a Song in the Box in 7 Easy Steps

This article is part of our FAQ series, published on our blog. Click here to view the blog archives.

Question: How do I master a song on my computer?

Many budding producers and engineers know that a song should be mastered before release.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a commercial release, or just something getting uploaded to social media…

Every song deserves to be mastered.

  • Unfortunately, mastering can be very intimidating, and seemingly impossible in a home studio.
  • Fortunately, it doesn’t HAVE to be intimidating and is actually VERY doable on a computer (“in the box”)

Now if you just want some quick mastering tips and techniques, you can grab a copy of the mastering cheat sheet here.

But if you’re interested in a more thorough step-by-step walk-through

Here’s how you can master a song in the box (digitally, with no analog equipment) in 7 easy steps! Continue reading

Should You Use a Free Mastering Service or Do it Yourself?

This article is part of our FAQ series, published on our blog. Click here to view the blog archives.

Question: Should I use a free instant online mastering service or master my music on my own?

When it comes to mastering your music, there are three options at your disposal.

  • Option #1: Hire a professional mastering engineer.
  • Option #2: Use a (free) instant online mastering service.
  • Option #3: Master it yourself.

Continue reading

What’s the Difference Between Mixing and Mastering?

This article is part of our FAQ series, published on our blog. Click here to view the blog archives.

Question: What is the difference between mixing and mastering?

This is a question I’ve seen asked A LOT… especially by those newer to this whole recording and mixing thing.

It’s a question I remember having myself.

The music industry is not the same as it once was, with more people than ever self producing…

As a result, the different stages of the process (recording, mixing, mastering) have become a bit blurred.

Still, here’s how to easily understand the difference between the two big ones… mixing and mastering. Continue reading

How to Program Drum Beats That Sound Realistic

This article is part of our FAQ series, published on our blog. Click here to view the blog archives.

Question: How do I program drums that sound realistic (and sound good)?

In many genres, especially hip hop, great sounding drum beats are essential.

Technology has come a long way, with producers having more options for drums than ever before…

Unfortunately, more samples, plugins, and options don’t protect you from poor sounding drums.

If you want to make sure YOUR drums sound great and realistic, here are some simple tips you can immediately apply.

First, some overall ideas to keep in mind:

  • You should program your drums like a real human drummer could play them.
  • The quality of the drum sound (whether it’s a sample or synth-based) matters significantly.
  • Consider drum beats like a fancy cake, with layers and variation that all work in harmony.
  • A lot of the magic can happen by focusing on the hi-hats (the listener is often drawn to them).
  • Don’t be afraid of shortcuts and “easy” ways to get better sound (if you haven’t seen this yet, here’s my Drum Mixing Cheat Sheet).

Now, some more specific tips to program realistic-sounding drums: Continue reading

Do You Need to Go to School to Record and Mix Music?

This article is part of our FAQ series, published weekly on our blog. Click here to view the blog archives.

Question: Do I need to go to school to learn how to record and mix music? Is it worth it?

This question hits close to home for me, because it’s one I asked myself long ago.

I was both unfulfilled working my 9 to 5, and frustrated with my progress with learning recording and mixing in my spare time.

There was so much to learn in audio…

I thought maybe the only way to see results was to drop everything, take out loans, and enroll in an audio degree program.

Before making a decision I decided to weigh the pros and cons.

Here they are as I see them! Continue reading

How to Use a Compressor in 4 Easy Steps

This article is part of our FAQ series, published on our blog. Click here to view the blog archives.

Question: How do I use a compressor the right way?

Compressors can be your best friend or your worst enemy in mixing.

To put it very (very!) simply, compression makes loud sounds softer, and soft sounds louder.

It brings peaks and valleys of the audio waveform closer together.

Unfortunately using compression while mixing isn’t always that simple… which is why this question is such a good one!

Now before I go further, here’s a quick disclaimer:

  • Understand the settings on your compressor and how they work. If you’re unfamiliar, click here to get a compression cheat sheet from AudioSkills to get you started.
  • Treat every mix and every track differently… a technique that may work for some tracks, may not for others.
  • Your ears are key in using any mixing tool, so be sure to really listen, that’s crucial.

Now without further ado…

Here are 4 simple steps to follow to use a compressor the right way. Continue reading