Music Production and Mastering Tips

As we gear up for this new year and start considering all the things we are getting involved in we wanted to share a few things with all of you that might help you all in your production and music creation.

Mastering is often considered to be something of a dark art, being thought of as almost unattainable. Although it is a complicated process it is not something that is not  unattainable and it is not an unlearn-able skill. A few places where you can find help would be ; Computer Music Has a bunch of tools available as well as a beginners’ guide to mastering. You can also visit http://www.recordingmag.com/ For a LOT of helpful tips and video links and articles to get you going.

Now, lets look at the things that we have found to be very helpful…..

Notch the kick

Try not to use shelving EQ to boost your kick. For you do this, and you are going to be boosting all the harmonics in there as well. Start by notching the EQ with in the freq of the Bass Drum, so you can just control the thud of the kick. I have found that if I just tweak the lower end of the EQ I can get that DEEP thud effect that hits you in the chest but sits right in the mix.

Ramp up the vocals

If the vocal track seems dry or is not cutting through, I will use EQ. I go to the center and add some mids in a bell shape all the while being mindful not to change the dynamic of the track. I boost around the 2, 2.7, 3kHz range , depending on the vocal tone. I will also use a mid/side processor to make the center channel louder or send it through a plug in that makes it spread out a bit I know I am weird but one thing is just because your plug in may have preset that says it is made or designed for this or that instrument does not always mean it is the best. Explore your sound and try to find those dynamics that make your track jump out and grab you by the throat and say “HEY LISTEN!” You understand do not limit yourself by what others put on you.

STAY BALANCED!

Now just because you may have these great tools and plug ins does not mean that you have to use them on everything. If the track or instrument is well-balanced, maybe you do not need a compressor. It is all about the gain structure and tone. You may want to turn your track up but you don’t want to ruin the vibe, so use wisdom. I always say STAY BALANCED Do not let your A.D.D get the best of you stay on track but at the same time explore your options. For some of the best tracks have been found totally by accident by exploring but you should always back up EVERYTHING and always save the original un the event you make a mistake.

Compression can affect the width

A narrow mix can be widened using mid/side processing, as compression and gain on the outer frequencies will accentuate them. Just be careful not to hid or cover up the important parts in the center, like bass and vocals. If your mix is too wide you may be able to bring it in by compressing the center signal, then raising its level back up. Always try to find a perfect place for every instrument, this is another beast all in itself though right?

Lower the output

When you are ready to make a mp3 from your mix you will get a better result by converting a WAV that has been mastered to a slightly lower output level than 0dB. Some engineers will recommends starting with a WAV that is about -0.5dB or -1.5db Try it out and see for yourself the difference is unbelievable.
If your mix is still some what not where you want it despite your best EQ efforts, you might want to try an exciter or enhancer. Where EQs can accentuate noise, and only amplify what’s already there. Exciters raise the harmonics of the fundamental tones found in the recording, brightening dull mixes. As with everything in mastering, though, don’t overdo it remember STAY BALANCED!
Do not forget to visit the websites and dign up for email list. Big news coming in a bit so if your looking to maybe find placements for your music be sure to stay connected. Things have been so busy it has been hard to stay up to date with everything. Please be patient.
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