5 Top Mastering Tips

5 Top Mastering Tips

Now it’s important to understand that mastering is a separate process from mixing. You need to approach it from a different mindset and perspective to get the most out of your mastering. Here are my top 5 tips when it comes to mastering your own songs.

 

1. Make sure you’ll super happy with your mix before moving into mastering.

The best masters are ones where the mix has done most of the job for you

2. Start Mastering with Fresh Ears. 

Don’t dive straight into your mastering after mixing. Give your ears a rest with the song before mastering. Or better yet go take a walk and then start mastering. Or even better yet, start mastering the next day and get a good night’s rest for your ears.

  1. With mastering don’t make any big drastic changes

On the effect processors that you have added to your mastering chain, make sure the edits you do are subtle. A little goes a long way in mastering. If you’re doing any big EQ adjustments rather jump back to the mix and fix it there.

  1. Don’t Try Win the Loudness Wars

With limiters you can increase the overall level of your songs to match up with other commercial releases. But don’t push them up so far that you lose the dynamics that worked so hard to achieve in your mix.

  1. Harmonic Exciters and Stereo Wideners are your best friend

These tools can make big changes to your master. They can hype up specific frequency bands in a pleasing and interesting way to really make your masters stand out. The excited harmonics add some subtle rich tones to your sound. And the stereo widening helps improve the stereo image of your songs.

That’s my 5 top tips on mastering your own songs. Mastering is a very different process. And clearing your head and ears before beginning your master really helps. And then adding these extra steps will help you get the most out of your mastered songs.

 

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5 Top Mixing Tips

5 Top Mixing Tips

When I go from audio & MIDI recording and editing into my mixing there’s a few things I like to do that really help me get the best mix out of my songs. I follow these steps each time, honing my mixing skills. I thought I’d share my top 5 mixing tips, and maybe they can help you when you start mixing your next hit.

 

  1. Before starting your Mix, zero all your faders

You’ll find that while you’re tracking and editing you’ll probably make adjustments to the levels. But rather zero your volume faders and center your pan pots and start with fresh ears and build up your Mix.

  1. Add an EQ and Compressor on every track

Yes, even if you don’t initially plan on use them. But it’s likely that every track will need some EQ adjustments and even the smallest amounts of compression can help gel the tracks together and tame any big spikes and peaks.

  1. Create gaps and space for each track in the mix

So if your Snare sounds more prominent in the 250Hz area, cut something back here like dip the Kick at 250Hz to create space for the snare. Making space for each element will make your mix shine.

  1. Use Reverb Sends to help give all the tracks a sense of space that they belong in

Sending tracks to the same reverb will help gel them together. And you don’t need to only use one reverb. You can have one short reverb and one long reverb to help even further give your mix its own space.

  1. Create interest in your mix with delays and modulation effects

They don’t have to be applied across the whole length of the track. You can automate delay times, and chorus amounts in sections of your song, or even automate the reverb wet amounts for dramatic effect in the song.

That’s my 5 top tips on mixing your songs. I find that these steps always help me get the most out of my mixes, and I hope that they help you too. Try them out in your next mix, you never know you might get some different results you weren’t expecting.

5 Top Tips: Audio Editing

5 Top Tips: Audio Editing

When it comes to audio editing, it can be quite a tedious job. But I’ve put together some tips to help you with your audio editing so that it doesn’t feel like such a task. These are my 5 top tips and I hope that they can also help you with improving your music production workflow.

 

  1. Learn the shortcuts for Cutting, Pasting, Trimming and Duplicating Region/Parts

This will really help speed up your workflow, plus help you to get through your audio editing parts smoothly.

  1. Also, Learn the Shortcuts to your different Audio Tools

So instead of having to navigate for these different tools, learning the shortcuts will take out this extra step and allow you to quickly and easily go between the different tools.

  1. Trim Unnecessary silent sections on your parts

Tidy up your parts by removing these bank spaces. It will also help make your arrangement more visually clearer.

  1. Or Use the Strip Silence Tool

Another great way to trim silent bits out of your audio regions is to use the Strip Silence feature in your DAW. Which normally is in the Audio Editor window section of your DAW. This can save you a lot of time, even hours if you’re editing tons of tracks!

  1. Use Fades

Use Fade in and Fade outs on all your parts. Even if it looks silent before the beginning of the part, there still may be some low level noise in those parts. And by adding in fades will help remove that low level noise when coming in and out of parts. Plus, removing this low noise will give you some extra headroom in your mix.

That’s my 5 top tips on audio editing. I hope this helps save you some time when you get into your audio editing. Any time savings will help give you more time to focus on your mixing and mastering on your songs.

 

5 Top Audio Recording Tips

5 Top Audio Recording Tips

Before recording your audio I’d like to give you my 5 top tips on audio recording so that you can get the most out of your takes. Rather be prepared with the best tips before pressing the red button! Let’s go through them and get your audio recordings top notch!

 

  1. Make Sure your Audio Signal is not too hot

If you have turned the preamps too high, it will clip the signal. So make sure when monitoring your input signal that it’s not going into the red.

  1. Make Sure Your Audio Signal is not too soft

And this goes the same for it being too soft. If you record your signal too soft, you’ll find that you need to turn it up in the mix, and this will bring up the noise floor, which will be extra noise into your mix that doesn’t need to be there.

  1. Name your Tracks before Recording to them

Then the audio source file will have the same name. Better than keeping the default name like Audio-01. And then later trying to figure out what audio file is associated with which track.

  1. Record Two Parts of your Instruments or Source.

For example if you’re recording some guitars, record the part two. Both parts will be slightly different. And then you can pan the to different sides for interest in your mix.

Or if you record a vocal part, then second part you can mix in for extra interest in a specific section in the song. Like the chorus giving it a doubled effect.

  1. Use Punch-In Recording.

Use the punch in recording feature in your DAW. This is a great way to retain the energy and dynamics of your recorded part. Start playing with your audio before the punch in locator and then it can match the levels of your previous part.

That’s my 5 top tips on audio recording. I find these always work for me and keep me on track with getting the best out of my takes, so here’s to helping you do the same.

Have you Thought About Using AudioJungle?

Have you Thought About Using AudioJungle?

If you’re thinking of ways to get extra money or revenue for your music, a great platform service to look at is AudioJungle. Here you can upload your music to this music stock library, and interested listeners can purchase your music. What a better way to earn some extra cash with your music this way.

Now I know you’ve probably seen things like this before and it seems too good to be true. But it is really a great platform if you take the time to use it. A good friend of mine, and fellow music maker, Gavin Potter has had some success on this platform and I thought it would be interesting to pick his brain and ask him some questions about how he has used AudioJungle to boost his income.

Gary Hiebner: Hi Gavin, can you give us a brief history on yourself and when you started music composing and music producing

Gavin Potter: I started piano at a very young age and changed over to guitar in high school and played in lots of bands over the next few years. My interest in music was reunited when I started getting interested in music for media productions. To help with this I did my grade 8 exams in guitar and music theory and did an orchestration course, otherwise I’m pretty much self taught.

Gary Hiebner: Was there any specific media production that drew your interest back to music? A movie, a TV show, a game?

Gavin Potter: I got a call out of the blue from a commercials director to score a advert for her. From then on, I was hooked on writing to picture. Otherwise it was pretty much How To Train Your Dragon that made me want to write film scores.

Gary Hiebner: Nice, John Powell. He’s a great composer. Who are some of your other favorite media composers?

Gavin Potter: Mark Mancina, Harry Gregson-Williams, James Horner and who doesn’t like a bit of Mr John Williams.

Gary Hiebner: Yeah its hard to beat John Williams. So prolific. So many good childhood memories from movies he scored.

Gavin Potter: Yeah, and I remember listening to Superman for the first time and recording the audio off the movie onto a tape deck.

Gary Hiebner: Haha, that’s great. Good old tape decks. That might be giving away our age! Now what I’d like to chat about is the AudioJungle Platform. I know you’ve had some successes on it. I would just like to know how you found the platform, what you think of it, and what you’ve found works on it.

Gavin Potter: There are a lot of music libraries online, and I tried a few but AJ’s ease of use but still demanding quality what was attracted me to them. There are some libraries that don’t even review what is submitted by composers or their criteria is very low which I think doesn’t help anybody. They seem to be growing through leaps and bounds so it’s not a bad platform to belong too, however, as they grow, so does the competition, so one has to keep uploading quality content and pushing your profile as much as possible.

Gary Hiebner: Yeah the competition and quality has definitely grown. I remember checking it out about 3 years ago, but it has definitely become more popular since I first looked into it. Any advice for someone starting out and wanting to get onto Audio Jungle on what to do to have some success at it?

Gavin Potter: It’s exploded, I think they have done an excellent job marketing themselves. AudioJungle in itself is a great research tool to get started. Search for the best sellers, see what they have done. Also, if you have a particular genre you good at, see what others are doing similar and what is selling. But of course, with that, also see what the site is lacking, where could you fill a gap. I’ve had lots of success from non-mainstream stuff as well such as African and Irish music. The industry also goes through trends, right now happy claps and whistles dominate corporate music.

Gary Hiebner: Yeah corporate music definitely seems like the bestselling genre on the platform. Awesome, good advice. Find what’s popular but also look for gaps. So guess what you could make next is an African or Irish corporate track.

Gavin Potter: Hahah, there’s an idea. Yeah, learn the rules and then break them.

Gary Hiebner: Sounds like music theory. Learn it then break the rules

Gavin Potter: Hahah, I’m still learning.

Gary Hiebner: Do you do any marketing or promoting of your songs on AudioJungle. If so what have you tried?

Gavin Potter: AudioJungle is in control of any song or author marketing on their site (ie: get selected to be a featured author or a featured song which is a real win). However there are things one can do to try and boost their sales. Firstly, follow and make contact with VideoHive (their sister site) where video producers upload their content, sometimes you can piggyback on their projects or at least, people will hear your music over their productions. Also, it’s not really marketing but does have a direct impact on your sales is keep uploading new material, this improves your rankings plus, it’s a numbers game, the more tracks on their you have, the better your chance of selling.

Gary Hiebner: Wow, great advice. Awesome to cross market to one of the other platform service on the Envato community (AudioJungle falls under the Envato banner) like VideoHive. And yeah true, I found that you have to keep uploading keeps your tracks to keep your profile trending on the platform.

Gary Hiebner: Are there any other platforms or services that you use for your music?

Gavin Potter: I’ve got a couple of songs on other libraries, but they don’t sell well, but then again, I don’t put much effort into those. YouTube is a great way to get your music out there. I’ve had loads of request to use my music small productions. Most of the time it’s free, sometimes you get a bit of cash, but the more people that hear you the better, you can always ask the producer of the video to include a link to your website or your AudioJungle page.

Gary Hiebner: That’s what I like about AudioJungle. It’s a way to make money from your music. Even if you just have music lying around on your hard drive that you haven’t done anything with. You can upload it to AudioJungle and maybe get some sales. But yeah I’m not one for giving away music for free. So any service you can use to generate extra revenue as an artist, I’m a fan of!

Gavin Potter: That’s the thing. If it’s a commercial (business) production, I’ll charge, but sometimes if a guys YouTube channel but has loads of follows and likes, then you can generate some interest.

Gary Hiebner: That’s true. If you do use your music for free on a channel with a lot of potential viewers, then there is also potential to where it can lead to something else down the line. The power and potential of YouTube is also an interesting one for music makers and artists to spend time on.

Gary Hiebner: So what are you goals for the next year? Where do you want to take your music?

Gavin Potter: I want to continue building my AJ library. It’s also good to build a collection which you can group together on AJ which they tend to like and ranks higher. So writing a bunch of similar songs and that makes up an “album” is also a good idea. Plus, once you have the template, you can bash them out pretty fast. Other than that, I just want to continue learning. It’s a fast paced changing industry with serious competition and one needs to stay ahead of the pack.

Gary Hiebner: Awesome. That’s true. We have to stay ahead of the pack. Knowing what music software is available and what tools others are using to do their productions. My gear tech side is going to come out now. Can you give us a quick run down on what the tools are that you use?

Gavin Potter: I use Cubase 9 as my DAW with East West Composers Collection as my go to for orchestral samples and Native Instruments Komplete Ultimate for my more acoustic samples or sound design. All this is monitored through my trusty DT990 Pro studio headphones. Otherwise, a M-Audio Keystation MIDI Controller, Focusrite Scarlett audio interface, and a comfy chair.

Gary Hiebner: Haha, we all need a comfy chair, especially the amount of hours we spend in front of our DAWs. Thanks for your time, Gavin! Check out Gavin’s work on his website by clicking on the graphic below.

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