Thursday, June 25, 2020

HSS Episode 051- 7 Tips For Mixing Better Music


  • Quarantine Song Challenge Ends

Welcome back my fellow fader finaglers! Well, The Quarantined Song Challenge has officially come to a close and the results are in, Chris Sanders was voted as the winner and had a ton of support from the community over on the YouTube channel as well as in the live chat. With a towering amount of vote his submission "The Garden Song" won out over everyone else! Stick around to the end of the podcast, I'm going to play you the song that won!

After the closing of the challenge I held a poll to see if anyone would be interested in another, and the results were highly in favor of actually hosting another song challenge! So, the folder for upload is available in the description of this podcast/video and if you would like to get in on the fun, just upload your song submission there.

I am including a few rules that previously did not apply as I have learned from the last song challenge that I should've placed a few stipulations on the legal side of things. Now, thankfully the music police are not knocking my door down but I did have to battle it out with some copyright claims on the YouTube channel as some of the songs that were submitted were already released and held under copyright laws.

So, due to this, the rules will be a little more stringent so as to keep things streamlined and also to avoid copyright strikes on the channel. Details will be released about this on the channel and the Facebook page soon!

  • New Merch Available

In other announcements, I have populated the merch store with several more designs at the request of some awesome people within the community. Keep in mind that when you go to the site to check things out that there are a ton of variations available other than just size and color. For instance, you can get you favorite design on a coffee mug, a sticker, a skateboard, or even a shower curtain! Just look around and find something that suits your needs and help support the channel.

  • New Ways to Support The Channel

I’ve had a lot of people reaching out asking how they can support the channel and compensate me for the time I’m investing into helping others. So, I held a poll to ask what they would feel comfortable with - (what platforms, donations amounts, that kind of thing)

Although most were very willing to go direct through PayPal there were still some who thought it would be nice to utilize the Patreon account as it has extra members perks built in. In light of all of this, I really aim to be as flexible as possible and at the end of the day people want to use what they are comfortable with.



1- Wampler Terraform-

Everyone who knows me, knows that I am a huge Wampler Fan. I had the privilege of interviewing Brian on the YouTube channel some time ago and not only is Brian an exceptional guitar player but he's also just an all around nice guy.

Recently, he broke into the digital realm by releasing some FREE, yes you  heard me right FREE plugin emulations of Wampler Pedals! Currently the Wampler TerraForm pedal is available as a FREE download for both Windows and Mac users.

Not too long ago Wampler Pedals did not have a multi-effects pedal in their arsenal and focused more on the individual boutique style that most companies have adopted over the years, however in November of 2019 Brian and his team unveiled the TerraForm Multi-Effects pedal. Since then it has been received very well.

Now, in typical Wampler fashion, when they release something it usually exceeds the expectations of potential customers and long time users alike. The Terraform is no exception!

When Wampler decided to jump into the multiFX market, they did it in style.

This beast of a pedal comes equipped with 11 custom designed effects blocks, from Flanger to Phaser, Chorus to U-Vibe, Harmonic Tremolo to Envelope Filter, etc.

Now, in one incredibly small package, you can control any of the 8 presets via midi, you can assign an expression pedal to control ANY of the main five controls, and you can run it in full glorious stereo or keep it in mono... you can even split that mono signal to route some effects to go before your drive pedals, or amp gain, and have the rest follow behind or in your effects loop!

When you put the Terraform into your rig, you know that not only will you get that legendary Wampler tone, but you will get the most easy to use, hugely versatile and best sounding collection of modulations you could ever want. So, with all that being said, NOW you have the option to download it for FREE as a plugin!

2 - Cypress TT-15 -

Black Rooster Audio‘s guitar amp head emulation meticulously modeled after a very versatile, yet uniquely sounding low wattage amplifier the Black Rooster Audio Cypress TT-15 comes to you at an unbeatable price point: It‘s free! With its no-nonsense approach and only six intuitive controls, the Cypress TT-15 will help to get the job done right away, no matter if you‘re looking for clean through crunchy guitar tones or if you want to achieve biting, distorted lead sounds. We also included a simple 2x12 cabinet simulation that can be bypassed if you prefer other solutions or if you‘re feeding into an external power amp/cabinet stage.


3 - Steven Slate Drums 5.5 -  

Get the fully-functioning, never-expiring SSD 5.5 demo with one incredible Deluxe 2 Kit, as well as a Classic “mix-ready” processed Slate snare, and three unique kit presets including “Deluxe 2 Free”, “Hugo”, & “Dry n’ Tight” for FREE.


When I first started mixing it was rough to say the least. I was poking around in the dark trying to blindly find my way through this maze of technical jargon and new computer programs that felt very intimidating.

I don’t want that for you. That’s why this brand exists. The YouTube channel, this podcast, the website, the Facebook page and the Collab Group we’ve started, it all revolves around helping people. Why?

Because as I look back on my life I realize that the times I was the happiest were the times that I was helping people. Today is no exception. 

These tips I’m going to give you today are things that will dramatically improve your mixes right out of the gate and once you get the principles behind these tips, you can then apply the same things learned here today,  to every mix thereafter.

Quick side note before I start, I will include the same list I’ll be covering today as a PDF download in the description of this video, so if you’re on your commute or just broke your favorite number 2 pencil, I gotcha covered.

Here we go!

Home Studio Simplified exists to simplify the complexities of the Home Studio and to help you make professional music in a less than professional space. We can Dream alone. We can Create alone. But Together we can achieve so much more.


Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Aux Tracks versus Patch Points in Cakewalk by BandLab

Cakewalk has had a lot of innovative ideas over the years. Aux tracks and patch points are no exception. These powerful tools can be used for a lot of creativity. However the question that keeps coming up is, "What is the difference between an Aux track, a Bus, and a Patch Point in Cakewalk. Well, in this video I hope to explain just that and show some practical applications of how to use them in Cakewalk by BandLab!

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

5 Tips For Realistic MIDI in Cakewalk by BandLab

Creating MIDI in Cakewalk is a breeze. Getting it to sound realistic takes a little more finesse. In this video, I give five tips for a better MIDI sound. Remember, these tips are applicable to any DAW on the market so share these tips with your producer buddies!

👉Recommended MIDI Controllers:

Monday, June 1, 2020

Melodyne Tutorial

In this brief overview of Melodyne 5 Essential. I cover the most basic controls as well as give a couple practical examples.

Melodyne, the Grammy Award-winning audio software, is famous for detecting single notes in chords and letting you edit them in a very musical way. The new version 5 offers you a chord track that is linked to the Pitch Grid in the Note Editor. It analyses your recordings and fills in the chords automatically. This makes working with them far more enjoyable and harmonies more transparent. Because you can see at any time which pitches are compatible with the current chord and can adapt the notes.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Cakewalk by BandLab Install Error Fix

If you're having problems installing or updating Cakewalk by BandLab this video is going to cover some of the most common issues I've seen and get you up and running with the best FREE DAW on the market.

This list it going to actually be in order of which steps you need to try first, the old process of elimination. This should keep you from downloading unneeded software and save some time. Likewise it is notable to mention that after each step is taken, it is in your best interest to do a full restart just to allow for any changes to take effect.

First on the list is to:

  1. Ensure that all of your drivers are up to date for any of the software or hardware that you're using. I've included a link in the description of this video to a free software that will run a systems check for any drivers that may need updated.
  2. Another common problem is that you're version of Windows is not currently up to date.
  3. Try opening the program in Administrator Mode as well. In fact, I am going to take you a step farther and show you how to set it up to ALWAYS open in Admin mode! 
  4. Make sure that your Windows Firewall Settings are allowing the program through the Firewall.
  5. Ensure that Windows Defender isn't hindering the program from running.
  6. Disable your Anti-Virus when updating or installing or you could even go a step farther and save yourself more time by creating an exception for the program.
  7.  In some cases you may see an error similar to this (Dia. 1) This is especially prevalent on Windows 7. The solution is to install Windows Updates. Go into the Windows Control Panel under Windows Updates, and make sure all of your Important updates are installed. I have includeda link below this video for the VS2013 redist and the  Microsoft Visual Studio 2015 update and although I am not saying its a fix all, it may help to install it.

Diagram 1
(Diagram 1)

Recording A Singer-Songwriter

Recording an acoustic guitar can be tricky. Add a vocalist to that equation that wants to sing and play at the same time and now you have a post apocalyptic situation. Well, it could be if you're not careful. I am gonna give some tips for this scenario that could be a lifesaver, and as usual there will be a video to go along with it. (I love audio/visual, it's how I learn best)

Comfort Is King

The very first thing we need to accomplish is to make the vocalist comfortable. This can make or break your recording session. An uptight singer will not deliver their best performance. Here are a few things you can do for the artist to make things go a little smoother.

• Set the vibe (i.e. Lighting, aroma, and temperatures to name a few)
• Ask the artist if their more comfortable without you in the room
• Make sure to have room temperature water on hand
• Singers are the most vulnerable to self esteem issues so tread lightly

The Obvious Is Often Overlooked

These things are blatantly obvious, and so for whatever reason, they seem to be overlooked more than  not. (I am guilty!)

• Place the artist in a chair that doesn't make noise, or have them stand
• Have them remove rings or any other jewelry that may cause noise while performing
• Tune up, tune often, & between every take
• Use a pop filter on your vocals
• Monitor on good headphones and record a few practice takes before ever committing to a real take

Mic Placement

One of my mentors conveyed to me a great tip for approaching mic placement. He said, "Think of the microphone as a flashlight. Wherever that beam is pointed, is the area that will be recorded." So a pencil condenser will give you a narrow "beam" and a large diaphragm will be more like a regular flashlight beam. The farther back you move it the wider the beam will get and vice versa.

It also should be duly noted  that depending on a microphones polar pattern it will have area of rejection, where sound will not be picked up as much. (That is unless it is an omni-directional mic)
These areas of rejection can be utilized to your advantage. For instance, with a cardioid pattern microphone you can aim one mic with the "beam" facing down and away from the vocalist toward the guitar, and the other pointing straight up just under the vocalists voice. This will accept and reject exactly what you want it to with minimal bleed.

We Got A Bleeder!

One of the biggest issues with recording a singer-songwriter is that horrible bleed. Unfortunately, there is no way to effectively remove all of it. Don't let this detour your session however. Some of the tips that have already been given will dramatically improve your recording. I am a realist though, and so I wanted to make sure you knew that this issue will not go away. It doesn't have to stop you either. In fact with just the right amount of bleed you can achieve a more natural sound. This is where making the vocalist comfortable really come into action, you can't tune vocals that have even the slightest amount of guitar bleed without them sounding awful.

Experiment With Everything

I love to get out a mic and move it all around a room will listening to a performance. I love to move the pencil condenser all around an acoustic guitar to get that time I am looking for. I even like to have more than one mic on an artist at times to get two of the same take with different mics to pick which one works best. In short, I love to experiment! It is through this avenue that you will learn more than what a video, a blog post, or a podcast could ever teach you. And I'm my opinion it's fun! I hope this article has helped, if it has let me know. If you have a tip or two that you'd like to add to this list, leave it in the comments section below. Have a blessed day. Later!