Tuesday, June 30, 2015

HSS Screencast 007-Putting Your Bass on Busses

Yes, I have been on a kick to help you "Tame" those Bass frequencies in your mix. I recently gave several tips in a previous post "Taming The Bass Beast" . In this screen cast I share another quick tip to help get those Bass notes to shine through your mix. This will not work on every mix and is not even needed on every mix, but it is another great tip to get add to your bag of tricks. Enjoy!


HSS Screencast 006-Adding "Glue" to A Mix

In this screencast I give you a quick tip to add some "glue" to a mix. This is not for every mix, but can be useful at times.


Friday, June 26, 2015

Cutting Through The EQ Myths

One of the Mixing Engineers best friends is the trusty EQ. It is one of those mysterious elements that can't immediately be heard, whether it is right or wrong, that is unless it is horribly wrong, or incredibly right. It also is one of the areas of Mixing that requires the most patience and training. However, there are a lot of myths surrounding EQ that I would like to dispel.

Myth #1

EQ Can Fix Anything

This is an obvious lie. Yet, so many individuals have this mindset at first. The fact is a bad recording cannot be EQ'd into perfection, and there are times when we just have ti cut our losses and re-record that take. I will never forget the time I spent a week on one mix trying to get the Bass to set in it properly. After many late nights of me banging my head off the desk, and pretty much wanting to throw my computer out a window, the thought hit me.... "Maybe I should just re-record the Bass?"
One take later, I mean literally 5 minutes later, and I had a Bass track that set perfectly in the mix!


Myth #2

You Can Add Bass Later

I have been on a Bass kick here lately, and so here I go again. My recent post was spun to help tame that beast, and this portion of the article is to make sure that beast is still in the cage at all. Thinking that you can add Bass back into a track after you have recorded it is another fallacy. Once a track, especially a Bass track, has been recorded you cannot add anything back into it (using EQ) that you have cut out before the recorded finale. So many have tried, in futility, to add Bass back into a track that they have already removed. You cannot boost or even cut anything that isn't there.


Myth #3

All EQ's Are The Same

If this were the case, why would there be so many? The fact is there are no two alike! Every EQ regardless of its designer has some sonic difference from another. Through trial and error you can pinpoint which one really works for you. The differences in most EQ processors, whether they be outboard gear or plug-ins, are not incredibly noticeable to the untrained ear, but all of them do boost and cut differently for sure. One of the biggest differences is that each one has a different interface and some contain extra elements that others do not. (i.e. frequency spectrum analyzers, limiters, etc.)

Myth #4

You Have To EQ Every Track

When I first started recording, this was my thought. Then I had this revelation one day while recording an acoustic guitar. I went to place it in the mix, going through the usual measures, when I noticed that it fit perfectly. It fit perfectly! No EQ, no compression, no clever mixing tricks, just an amazing recording! Now, I can't say that I didn't still take the preventative approach, (HPF @ 80 hz) but I didn't have to do anything else to it!

This is the EQ I use and love, it is the Sonitus:Equalizer. it's a part of the Sonar x3 DAW.

I am sure there are more myths that could be disproved. Can you think of something you'd like to add? What is your favorite EQ? Send me an email or comment below. Have a blessed day!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Taming The Bass Beast

The bass! That Crazy bass! It seems to be the one element that is hardest to tame, and even harder to set properly in the mix. Yeah, it's there... and yes you can hear it, but if not mixed right it can quickly over power everything and cause your levels to peak on the master bus. This in turn causes the dreaded "clipping".
Clipping in the analog realm was not such a bad thing. In fact many an engineer used it, and are still using it beneficially. Clipping in the digital realm is a whole new story though. Nasty! Just nasty!

Luckily there are ways to take care of these issues. As with most recording tips, these are purely subjective. But as one who has tamed this beast on several occasions, I will share with you what has worked for me.
First things first though, it must be made known that every mix is different and there are no X,Y, & Z solutions. These tips will merely give you another ace up your sleeve, a proverbial trick in the bag, a... Well, you get the point.

High Pass Filters are Your Friend

Ok, so in order to tame this beast you must first know where it lives. The human ear can only hear so far down on the hertz spectrum, and once you get to a certain point you simply "feel" those low notes. Though debatable, 20hz is considered to be the lowest frequency a person can hear. (Debatable because super heroes are real) Therefore one could deduce that anything below that is useless and can be extracted via the trusty high pass filter. Now, while we are on that subject, in would behoove you to throw that HPF on every track in the mix and remove any low end content that is not needed. (i.e. 100hz HPF on Vocals, 37hz on Bass, etc.) This will eliminate a cumulative bass build up over the course of several tracks. Now, you can't remove all you low end, otherwise you will be left without punch and feel, but if done right you will already have a good starting point to taming the beast.

Wooly Mammoths are Extinct

There is an area of the bass guitar that just doesn't sound right. It varies, but usually it is around 500hz. This is an area that is regularly described as sounding "wooly", or muffled. With some gentle EQ'ing one can remove the blanket off the speakers. I like to use a wide cut of about -1 or -2dbs at a Q of -0.5 to -1.0 in the 450-500hz range to remove those "hairy" sounds.

You Gotta Keep Em' Separated

Your humming that right now... Sorry. But seriously, another way to keep all that build up from, well building up, is to use your Pan pots to separate other instruments that are bass heavy. This will leave that center area that the Bass plays well in, less cluttered with other low overtones. (Note: I don't recommend panning out though until you get a decent sounding EQ in mono)

3 Heads are Better than 1?


Another way I have got a great Bass sound in a less populated mix, is to create 2 busses just for my Bass. (Hold on now! Don't crucify me yet) I know, here I am talking about taming the beast, and now I am saying make it a 3 headed Hydra. Give me a minute here though! So here's how it would look. You have your main Bass track right, now create 2 sends that go to 2 separate Busses. Each bus will have the same settings but one will be panned hard right and the other hard left. Now, with your favorite EQ, take away all the low end from those bus channels and throw some saturation/distortion on them. Start with your faders all the way down and blend in the two side channels, just enough to gain a little extra clarity. Though this does not work on every mix, it is yet again another option.

Hawaiian Punch!

Now, you want a punchy Bass do ya? Yeah, we all do at times. This can be easiest to achieve from carefully selected compression and even some multi-banding.

These are just a few tips to get you there. If you'd like to see some of this in action, sign up for the email newsletter. My subscribers receive FREE stuff in there inbox from time to time, stuff that really matters! I don't spam! And I only send out product reminders monthly, or before they are released, to share with my buddies.





Have a blessed day, and I will talk to you... Later.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

HSS Screencast 005-Creating More Natural Sounds

So recently in a screencast about saving on CPU/RAM usage, I said in passing how that I thought by utilizing the methods I covered that the processing sounded more natural. I had a lot of good feedback on that topic and a gentleman on the YouTube Channel had commented that he would have liked a demonstration of what I said in passing. So here it is! Enjoy!







Wednesday, June 17, 2015

5 Tips Every Mixing Engineer Should Know

While it's true that there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to mixing, there are some common grounds that nearly every engineer can meet on. Though this list could be exhaustive, I have tried to narrow it down to just five. (I don't know why I like five so much) Ok, so here we go!

1) EQ- Most any engineer will agree that a narrow cut, as well as a wide boost, will sound the most natural. Although, every engineer has a different taste when it comes to the mix as a whole. (I.e. Some mix "darker" than others) A great tool I have used is the interactive frequency chart found here: EQ Chart


2) Room Trearment- Though the brand, amount needed, and such, is a topic of debate, the one thing everyone can agree on is that you at least need something. Whether you are mixing R&B, Rap, Rock, Pop, etc., you still will need some kind of treatment for your room. There are many options to choose from and really it depends on what you are working with, but there are definitive ways to know what you need, and where to put it. One such resource that I have used is the Room EQ Wizard. It is free and there are extensive tutorials on YouTube. Another great tip is the "Mirror trick", which will help you to pinpoint your areas of early reflection. You also need a good balance of treatment when it comes to treating for frequencies. Tom much can kill a rooms natural sound, and not enough can play tricks on your ears. There must be a yin and yang of bass treatment as well as mid and high frequencies as well. Click the picture below for some great deals on name brand acoustic foam. You can also check out this cheaper alternative Foam By Mail. They offer cheap acoustic open cell foam for a fraction of the cost!

3) Mixing Desk Placement- Yet again, this is a tip that is generally know by all, but for those who may not know, it really matters where you place your desk in the studio. The rule of thumb is to place your desk along the longest wall in the studio so as to minimize EQ anomalies. But for some of us, myself included, that is simply not an option. My plug ins will not allow me to put my desk where I want it, so now what? Well, that will be covered in the next tip!



4) Mixing Levels- Did you know that there is a sweet spot for mixing levels in terms of loudness? Yep, even some of the "greatest" engineers have stated that the ideal listening level is close to 85dbs! Or, another way to know how loud is to loud, is to get your listening levels to the point where you can still have a normal conversation with someone in the same room and not have to yell at them. Think I am making this up?! Here is the same thing I just said from Chris Lord-Alge, I think he's famous or something. So, as stated above, if your desk is not in the prime position in the room  by simply listening to your mix at lower levels you can drastically improve your EQ decisions. This also helps to combat a lot of the issues of a room that's either not treated at all, or treated very poorly.Then of course there is always the option to mix on headphones! Yes, I said that! Believe it or not there are quite a few industry leaders with some clout that are promoting this idea as well! I am sure you've heard of FocusRite?! They actually developed a VRM headphone monitoring system which emulates the sounds of several famous reference monitors wihtin your headphones! Pretty cool!




5) Get It Right At The Source- One of the best ways to get great mixes is to record great sounding takes. The cliche of "Fix it in the Mix" is a fallacy! You cannot polish a turd, and you can't fix some things no matter how good you are! This has been shouted from the rooftops and yet still people are trying to take average recordings and turn them into polished Masters. The reason why the "big studio" guys can get such great sounding mixes and masters is because their tracks were recorded well. It really comes down to about 20% gear, 20% engineer, and 60% captured sounds. My mixing mentors have told me time and time again to get it right at the source before you do anything else! Also, just take a moment to watch some Pensado's Place and just listen to the tracks he is working with. It will open your eyes, and your ears to a whole new world of thought.




Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Old Guitars, New Life

Yesterday was eventful! Two guitars refurbished, and one started. I love seeing an old guitar that was discarded as junk, given new life. Two with "heel lift", and one with an over tightened neck. All of them however, were regarded as useless. Yet, in the hands of the right person, someone who can refurbish these gems, they become an object of desire again.


Already one of these restorations has found its way into the hands of an individual in need. The other two will be given away later this week to a father and daughter that cannot afford an instrument. Putting music in the hands of people is a good thing! 

So what about those guitars you have laying around that seem like they've given up the ghost? Is that family heirloom collecting dust? How would you like to know how to take that old guitar and give it life anew?! Maybe you'd like to start a side business working with the things you love?!

Coming soon: "The Guitar Refurbishing Workshop"

A two hour long video in HD, well recorded with professional audio. This video goes in depth on how to take that fixer upper and turn it into a work of art. What to look for in a "good deal" and what is not worth your time or money.

The first 10 people to sign up for an email subscription on the sidebar will receive a hefty discount when it comes out! Just send us an email after subscribing with the promo code "HSS-Refurb" in the subject line.

On your marks, get set, ...........GO! 



Monday, June 15, 2015

HSS Screencast 004- Save On CPU Usage

In this quick screen cast I cover a way to save your computers CPU/RAM usage. Try this easy trick to keep that beast from catching fire!


Saturday, June 13, 2015

HSS Screencast 003-Adding Ambience to the Mix

In this screencast I go over some great uses for ambience when mixing. This mix in particular uses  the sounds of nature to enhance the "feel" of the song. How are you using ambience? Are you using it at all?


Friday, June 12, 2015

Five Things Every Home Studio Needs

    There are few things that the Home Studio hobbyist doesn't want in their arsenal. However, if we had our way we'd be over stocked and packed into a tiny corner surrounded by gear. Yet, of all the things we want, there are truly only a handful of things we truly need. I am a big fan of lists, and a huge fan of simple. So, I have compiled a list below of things that every Home Studio, regardless of their genre or size, really needs. Also, if you have listened to the podcast at all, you would know that I recently made a confession. That being, I am a "cheap-skate". I love FREE but cheap is my second favorite. So included in the list are links to good products at a cheap price!

1) Pop Filter

If you have ever heard a recording without one, you remember it, but it's not a good memory. The plosives are annoying, unprofessional, and unable to be removed from a recording. Whether your artist is male or female, if they are laying down a vocal take, this is a must! Click this pic below to get a great pop filter at an amazing price!


2) A Good Set of Headphones

When it comes to hearing the nuances of the acoustic, and making informed EQ decisions, I love to reach for my headphones! In fact, I even do quite a bit of mixing in my headphones! Yes, I said that. In fact I covered this in a previous post here on the site. (Mixing With Headphones) I personally use the Audio Technica Art Monitor Headphones but am really wanting to get my hands on these!



3) An Audio Interface

Getting your music into a digital format has never been easier for the Home Studio hobbyist. There are so many options, and most are very reasonably priced. I personally use the BOSS BR-800 as it has so many options and is loaded with extras, but there are cheaper alternatives. If you are only recording yourself, this item should suffice.




4) Good Cables

When it comes to creating a good signal chain, your cables are key. You don't have to go broke getting them however! There are some really "good" cables out there, and there are some REALLY "bad" cables. I have bought both and can honestly say that the best bang for your buck, in my opinion, are the Hosa Brand Cables. They are of commendable quality and rugged, as well as cheap. (I love cheap!)




5) A Good Condenser Mic

Now I have been rather partial about this mic, but I am just so sold on the quality and versatility that this mic brings to the Home Studio that I can't quit plugging it. It is cheap, it sounds great on a wide variety of sources and it is USB. When your first starting out, this mic will get you up and running quickly! Four polar patterns, excellent sound quality, gain and volume knobs, and latency free headphone monitoring are just a few things to name. I highly recommend this mic!




In fact, I used this mic to record all of the vocals and all of the acoustic guitar on my first album! I hope this helps! If you'd like more great tips like this and videos related to the Home Studio please sign up below for my bi-weekly email list!



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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

A Great Product for the Home Studio


A great Home Studio addition and one of staples of my Home Studio has been this little gem!



 This my friends is the Boss Br-800 and it is loaded with goodies! On top of being able to jam with your headphones for late night sessions you also get to turn that guitar into a bass, and many other things, to numerous to mention. I have been able to use this to take a song from start to finish all the way through the Mastering process with this bad boy! Included within the Boss Br-800 is a huge variety of completely customizable presets for vocals, guitar, bass, and even some excellent drum patterns. The drum patterns contained within are also customizable with the included drum map manager. As if that wasn't enough, there is an LE version of the Cakewalk Sonar Music Production  Software!

Literally, I brought this thing home, plugged it in and produced a song in under 4 hours! A one man bands dream come true! I was able to pick a drum track, lay down my guitar, put a bass track behind it, and perform the solo guitar after that. Throw in some great sounding vocal effects and ta-da!

If you are in the market for an excellent audio interface that can take your recordings to the next level, and especially if you are a solo artist, the Boss Br-800 is for you! Here are the specs below. Happy recording!

BOSS BR-800 Specs


Monday, June 8, 2015

Blue Yeti Review

I recently covered this topic on a podcast. But I wante to revisit it because I have a confession to make. Are you ready?! I love this microphone! Not only is the Blue Microphones Yeti USB  Microphone very versatile, but it is very cheap as well! I used this mic exclusively on my first full length album with great results. Now, as I have upgraded a little (or so I thought) I decided to use the modified  MXL 990 I spoke of in another podcast.

Well... Guess what?! I went back to the Blue Yeti after only the first song. Why? Well, for me the Blue Yeti just seemed to work better on that particular song. Now granted, I may go back to the MXL at some point, but as of now I am loving the sound of the USB  Mic over the other. If you have something that is working why do something else right?

If you are in the market for a good sounding, affordable microphone, you will not be let down with the Yeti! For more info on it, including an in depth review, checkout the HSS podcast episode 003. Here's to happy recordings, simplified!


Now Available! HSS-Guitar Purchase Guide

WAIT! Don't buy that guitar just yet! There are some things you need to know first, things that could save you a ton of money, and set you up for a better outcome. 

Wanna know some things that dealers don't want you to know? Wanna utilize the same techniques that have saved me from making big buying mistakes, and kept a little green in my pocket for some accessories?

Check out the "Guitar Purchase Guide"! The first in a series of workshops from Home $tudio $implified. The price is low enough to still make that purchase you're wanting to make, but walk out of the store without regrets!

Listen to HSS Episode 007 found here  (iTunes or RSS Feed) for a promo code!


Sunday, June 7, 2015

Mixing and Mastering, What's the Difference?

This question has been posed on numerous occasions by many, and with good reason. The general consensus within my sphere of friends was that Mastering audio was some magical practice that required super powers like “golden ears” and a billion dollar studio. The truth is, when armed with enough know how, one can effectively master their own works at home. In fact they can use the very same equipment that they have been using all along. So what is the difference then between the two?

Mixing
Mixing takes the raw form of audio files (recordings, loops, etc.) and manipulates them in such a way that they merge beautifully. This is obtained by utilizing tools such as panning, volume levels, EQ, and various other methods that make all the audio tracks “play well” together.

Mastering
During the mastering process, the engineer will now be looking critically at the whole mix.  Whereas, in the mixing process, each track was critically examined, now the final mix as a whole is under the engineers examination. This means that any EQ decision made will affect the entire mix. This is why the mastering process is not only different, but a little more tricky. Mastering can also get even more tricky when an entire album is in the making. This means that ALL the final mixes have to fit into the mastering sound frame. 

Mixing is not: 
Fixing bad tracks, making a bad performance sound great, or fixing all of the problems during the recording process.

Mastering is not: 
Just making everything louder, fixing a bad final mix, or something that a machine can do. While the mastering process is intended to make the the volumes compete with the industry standards, it is not supposed to squash everything, and over compress the life out of a song. The plug-ins used for mastering are usually different than those used in the mixing stage, and are lightly touched to present 
the most subtle changes, otherwise sacrifices to quality are made. 
One engineer had said that mixing was a gift and mastering was the bow on that gift that creates the “wow” factor  when presented to a listener. 

I hope that this has helped to clear up any confusion on the matter. If you have any thoughts please reply below! Thanks!


Saturday, June 6, 2015

Great Guitar Care Kit

I clean and refurbish a LOT of guitars. Just this week I have revived 4 guitars that were otherwise cast off as useless. One thing they all have in common however, is that all of them were cleaned using the Dunlop 65 Maintenance Kit. (Disclaimer: I am not endorsed, sponsored, or anything else by the aforementioned company)

Each one of the sprays and oils have their own strengths and all of them do exactly what they say. I have developed a method by which I can turn a flea market cast away into gem, and this 65 system makes it easy! 


My personal favorite is the deep conditioner. On a rosewood fretboard, this oil causes the deep richness of the wood to breath again. If you are in need of a great cleaning system, give this a try!

Friday, June 5, 2015

20 Tips for An Awesome Mix

1. Reference, reference, reference...
Reference your mixes on as many different systems as possible. One can never stress enough how important it is to reference your mixes on a wide variety of playback systems. Yes, you come to know your regular studio and monitors very well, so you learn to trust them. Every time you reference your mix somewhere else however, you’re likely to learn something new about it.
2. Watch those levels...
Don’t monitor too loud during the audio mixing process! You shouldn’t really need to monitor at more than 90dBA because at about this level your ears are at their optimum listening capability. Go any louder and you start to tire your ears sooner and could even cause long term damage. What’s more, monitoring at levels of 100dBA and beyond will tend to give you a false sense that the mix sounds good because of the loudness!
3. Keep it quiet...
Listen to your mix at very low levels as often as possible. This tactic helps you identify general mix level problems and forces your brain to heighten your attentiveness. Get your mix to sound good at very low levels, and it'll probably sound good at higher levels. The opposite certainly can’t be said!
4. Close your eyes, open your ears...
Try to monitor with as little visual distraction as possible at least once or twice during your audio mixing process. So, turn your computer monitor off, turn the lights off, close your eyes and just listen.
You’ll be amazed at how much objectivity this can bring to the table. We tend to attach a lot of conscious importance to what we see, so when we take the visual stimulation away we allow our conscious mind to focus more on what we hear.
5. Mono check, still...
Mono reference your mix, always. There are of course fewer and fewer instances of mono playback in the world today. Mono is however still a reality, so at least make sure important aspects of your mix, like vocals, don’t get affected in unwanted ways when you sum your left/right channels. A mono check might at the very least help you spot a phase problem in your mix which could otherwise have slipped by unnoticed.
6. Stay in context...
Avoid working on an instrument in solo for too long. Whether you want to adjust EQ or compression, stay away from doing it in solo. Remember that the audio mixing process is about making many different instruments work together as one. Adjust one instrument, and you have an impact on the whole mix and the mix is after all what you want to pay attention to.
7. Step away from the L2...
Don't keep a brick-wall limiter such as the L2 on your master bus during the audio mixing process. You don’t gain anything when you limit your mix bus during the mixing process. The limiter makes it difficult to know if and when any peaks in your mix exceed digital 0dB.
A master bus compressor is fine and if it’s something you haven’t tried, I recommend you experiment with it. Master bus compression, when used right, can really help bring a mix together well.
8. Keep an ear on compression...
Avoid the overuse of compression. Too much compression on various tracks can quickly add up to a flat, lifeless and one-dimensional mix. Too much compression may also result in unwanted distortion to the final bus.
9. Group dynamics...
Try to compress instruments as groups rather then as individual seperate tracks. This can often help you achieve more natural and coherent results. There are cases of course where you want to add compression to individual tracks. I find you can often create more organic-sounding mixes when you compress instruments as groups.
10. Compress for dynamic range...
You can use a compressor to increase dynamic range of an instrument. A compressor with a slower attack time could help bring a dull instrument which lacks dynamics, back to life.
11. Think relationships...
It feels natural to turn something you want to hear more of up in the mix. This tactic may not always serve you well though. First try to work out what you should turn down in the audio mix in order to achieve the same result. This way, you keep better control of the overall levels and you also develop a more objective listening approach.
12. Pan apart...
Never have two instruments at exactly the same pan position. It becomes a lot harder to achieve good separation between two or more instruments if they are at exactly the same pan position.
13. Stereo reverbs...
Feed your reverbs from stereo sends. You’ll be surprised how much better a modern stereo reverb will work when fed this way. It can also help you achieve much more accurate placement of instruments in the stereo field.
14. Restrict the reverb...
Don’t use too many different types of reverb and effects in the same mix. Try to limit yourself to only 2 or 3 different reverbs. This way you will keep a better handle on the stereo image and spacial clarity of your mix.
15. Reverb returns EQ...
Equalize reverb returns on the mixer rather than in the reverb unit. Your mixer’s channel EQ will most often be of better quality than a reverb unit’s version. You may often also listen in a different way when you adjust EQ parameters on a reverb unit compared to when you adjust a mixer strip EQ.
16. EQ bandwidth...
Use wider bandwidths for boosts and tighter bandwidths with cuts. In general if you equalize along this guideline principle you'll tend to achieve more musical results.
17. Cut over boost...
It’s better to take out what you don’t want rather than boost what you do want with an EQ. This helps minimize distortion risks and also accomplishes more discreet and musical results.
18. High pass filter...
Apply a high pass filter to all your non-bass related instruments. This can help clean up your low end, especially with live recordings. Low pass filters are pretty much essential should you want to create a sharp, crisp and precise low-end in your mix.
19. Phase reverse it...
Don’t be frightened of the phase reverse button! Phase inversion on a particular instrument can at times improve the way the instrument interacts with the rest of the mix. This is very true for live drum mixes. Try to always listen to the effects of phase inversion on the relationship between different drum microphones in your mix.
20. Resolution...
Work at higher resolution wherever you can, as this will improve the quality and definition of the end result. You want to of course set this at the recording stage of the game, as increasing a session’s resolution after recording by converting all recorded media tends to waste time and processing better spent on other aspects of your audio mixing job.j
I hope you found these audio mixing techniques useful! Please share them on Facebook and Twitter with the buttons below should you think some of your friends or colleagues can benefit from these tips.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

How To Know When The Mix Is Done? (My Take)

Recently Grahm Cochrane over at the  RecordingRevolution.com covered this topic on Twitter with a link. To give you the brief overview, his method is to stop when your head is bobbing, when your feeling the music and not just analyzing the mix. For more insight and a ton of wisdom head on over to his website and give that post and many others a look.

Now, another method that I have learned is note taking. It is geeky, and thus why I love it! Joe Gilder over at the HomeStudioCorner.com kicked down this method (I felt cool when I said, "Hey, I've been doing that!"), but he went a step further to explain the whys of note taking to his listeners. Great stuff!

So my spin on all of this is...
What if you don't like the song? What if you LOATHE the song?! In this case it will be nearly impossible to bob your head, and note taking... Well, turns into doodles of you with a shotgun pointed at your computer.

So what do you do?! You've gotta make money right?! Or maybe this is one of your own. (It happens) Well here are some tips from some guy in a small town with big dreams.

1) If it is your mix and you don't like the song, move on. No one will be hurt and you may save yourself some embarrassment. You're actually doing yourself a favor, because the stuff you love to mix comes out WAY better anyway. If it is a clients, one option is to ask to hear the stems of the songs your asked to mix before you agree. This could save you time and money as well. Then you could work on something you like, get better results quicker, and move on to the next job. It's good practice anyway, considering most people like to give you recordings that are not useable.

2) If you can't bob your head, note taking is going to be the only way thru it. Listen critically, write down what needs changed (without touching a mouse or keyboard) when it's played through, make only the changes you've wrote down. Rinse and repeat till there are no changes left. Then run it to the client in a ziplock baggie with rubber gloves! 

3) The last option is to take breaks. Mix something else, then come back to it. Don't take so many breaks you conveniently forget to mix it and give your service a bad name.

4) Overall, your time is valuable, you only have so much of it. Don't involve yourself in things that will drain you of your time and happiness for the sake of making a dollar or two. It IS ok to say no to a client, if done with humility and kindness it may even make them come back with a better recording.

So in conclusion, the methods of reaching the end result of a finished mix are still the same as before. But, if you can't stand the mix, you still need to make informed decisions and give it your best shot, or simply don't take the job. It would be much better than producing work you're not proud of or could drive away work later. Be true to yourself and to your style. 

Monday, June 1, 2015

A Man Walks Into a Music Store...

Are you ready for this? Here's the punchline! He says, "Sure, I'll pay full price!" What!?! Hey, that's not funny! You're right, it's not, but it happens everyday. You see there are things these big music stores, and even some small ones, don't want you to know! Things like... Well, it's all covered in an hour long video entitled "Guitar Purchase Guide". It's the first in a series of workshops that will be rolling out. 

If you're in the market for a new or used guitar and you don't want to make a mistake that could cost you 10x the amount this workshop will cost, then order it today! Once you know these purchasing secrets, no one can take advantage of your wallet again! (Well except your wife...)

Sign up for an email subscription today, then send us an email and include the promo code "HSS-GPG" in the subject line to get a nice discount on the workshop.

You'll be glad you did!