I know a lot of you would love to start charging to record or mix bands out of your home or project studio. But you’re afraid. You’re believing some very common invisible scripts that act as barriers. They hold you back from actually branching out and starting a simple audio freelance business. Here are the three biggest myths I hear every week about getting paid to do audio.
For anyone who has ever wanted to make some money on the side with their home studio, today’s post is for you. After months and months of work in my secret lab (i.e. my office) I’m pumped to announce the most ambitious training product I’ve ever created. It’s called The Audio Income Project, and you’re going to love it.
Can I Really Make Money Doing Audio?
I seem to get this question on a weekly basis. The answer is a resounding “Yes!” But even for some of you who have already started to do a little bit of freelance recording or mixing, do you know how much you really should be charging? Do you know how to land more clients (and better clients)? Do you know how to run a smart, lean, and profitable business?
Starting (and running) a side business might seem scary at first, but what if you had a friend, someone who’s done it before, who has made all of the mistakes, learned the hard way and come out the other side successful? What if that friend were to sit down with you and give you a step by step roadmap to follow? Would you be interested?
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If there’s ever an elusive mixing question it’s this one: when is my mix done, and how can I know that for sure? If mixing were truly a technical endeavor (as many audio pundits want to make it out to be) then there should be an obvious end point. You’d stop when the mix is technically “finished” or “correct.”
Mixing Is Subjective
But you and I both know that this is a ridiculous way to think about mixing. Because in fact, mixing is purely an art form, and like just about every other piece of art in the world it’s subjective. That’s why finishing a mix is so hard. There’s no objective end, only a subjective one.
So where does that leave us? In utter frustration probably. But just because mixing is subjective, doesn’t mean there aren’t a few helpful principles to lean on when needing to know when your mix is finished. Here are some simple things I look for to know when my mix is “good enough” to be done.
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Struggling with a small and mediocre mix? Want it to sound bigger, wider, and larger than life? It’s time break it out of the confines of the mix box. In Part 1 of this little series we looked how to get more depth and width in your mix. Today I want to take things even further and show you how to get more top and bottom separation. The transformation at the end is powerful!
Take the band Porcupine Tree for example. These guys record and mix all of their albums in the lead singer’s parents basement and they sell well over 250,000 copies on their own.
It’s Not How Luxurious Your Room Is
Listen to what singer and Porcupine Tree frontman Steven Wilson has to say in this article from Sound On Sound:
It’s not how luxurious your room is, how good your speakers are or the quality of the acoustic space. It’s how well you know what you’re hearing, because if you know what you’re hearing, you can make good-sounding records! - Steven Wilson, Porcupine Tree
If you had told me back in 2009 that I’d still be writing posts on The Recording Revolution four years later, I would have laughed in your face. Mostly because I didn’t think this site would amount to much, and partly because I figured I’d run out of things to talk about 3 months in.
And yet, here we are, exactly four years to the day that I sat down to write my first post for the world. That’s 600+ posts, 250+ videos, and just about 2 million visitors each year.
What You Have Learned
So to celebrate I thought it would be great to hear from YOU, my “students” from afar. I asked a couple of weeks ago on Facebook what was the biggest thing you had learned from your time so far with The Recording Revolution. Here are some of my favorite responses.
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Do your mixes sound like small and underwhelming? Do pro mixes sound much more open and larger than life than yours? It might be that you’re crowding the mix box with too many tracks, but also might be that you’re not using these simple mix moves to open them up to their full potential. In this two part video series I want to show you how to get more depth, width, and height out of your mixes and free them from the mix box’s confines.
The other day I received an email from TRR reader, Sam. He asked if mixing on studio monitors was pointless, seeing as how most people aren’t ever going to listen to your mixes on nice studio monitors, but rather consumer headphones, laptop speakers, care stereos, and mobile phones. Shouldn’t we just mix for the worst case or lowest common denominator? In essence, here’s what I replied back and said.
Crappy Speakers Are Important
I think what Sam was getting at in his email was that just because you mix something on “nice” studio monitors in your studio doesn’t mean it will sound good on consumer grade speakers. And he’d be correct in saying that. We have to remember that we aren’t mixing for our studio, we’re mixing for translatability. We want our tracks to play nice out in the real world. And this is why having some crappy speakers in your studio is so critical.
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Are you afraid of failing at this whole home studio thing? Do you fear that you’ll never be able to deliver a great recording or mix that sounds pro? You’re not alone. I’ve been there, done that, and got the t-shirt.
The idea that one could fail in the studio suggests that there is a one-size-fits-all goal for recording and mixing. A target, if you will, that you might come up short of. The truth is, if you view everything you do as an experiment, you can never fail.
Everything Is An Experiment
At a recent conference, I heard financial author and radio personality Dave Ramsey say in regards to running a business, that “if everything you try is an experiment, then you can never fail.” His point is all about perspective, how you see the world. (Isn’t everything about our perspective by the way?) If you see every idea, challenge, project, or session as an experiment, then there is no way to lose.
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Pro Tools 11 is a huge update, not because of crazy new features, but rather a major under the hood rewrite. For the first time in maybe 20 years, Avid has built Pro Tools from the ground up with fresh code running as a 64 bit application. The result? A much slimmer, sleeker, and more powerful version of Pro Tools that will give you way more power on your current audio Mac or PC. It’s almost like getting a new computer.