Do you know what sample rate and bit depth you should be recording at? Does it really matter? What do each of those settings mean and what affect do they have on your audio when recording and mixing? Today’s video will help clear things up for you…
What you hear out of your studio monitors has a huge impact on how your final mix will turn out. It affects your recording and mixing decisions, which ultimately sculpt the sound of your tracks. And with many of us recording and mixing in non-ideal spaces, what we hear isn’t normally the truth of the matter. Enter the ARC 2 Room Correction system from IK Multimedia. Is it the savior of your mixes? Let’s find out.
Could The ARC Help Me?
Your speakers don’t tell you the whole truth. I’ve written about speaker placement being a critical move to accuracy. I also recommend some basic acoustic treatment to tighten up your room. Both of these in tandem will tremendously help you balance out and tighten up the reflections in your room to get a more accurate sound in your room, helping you make better mixing decisions.
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Probably the most obvious desire in a mastering session is to get your mix nice and loud. But how to we get more volume out of our mix? The answer is a limiting. How loud is loud enough? The answer is, it depends. We don’t want to crush our mix, but we do want it to have plenty of gain. Today I’ll show you how to take a stock peak limiter and get your final mix to a competitive volume.
Compression is one of the coolest tools you can use in mastering to help bring punch and energy to your mix. Last week we looked at using an EQ to balance out the mix a bit more, and today I want to enhance that track even more with a touch of compression.
Confused about the mastering process? Wonder what plugins you really need to start mastering your mixes to perfection? Have no fear. Today I’m introducing one of three simple videos on how to master your tracks in any DAW with stock plugins. We’ll cover the big three in mastering: EQ, compression, and limiting. Today I want to start with the power of EQ.
These days, everything in the studio seems to blend together. From recording, to mixing, to arranging, to songwriting. Some people are even trying to master while they mix. It can get confusing and convoluted. So the question for today will be: is it OK to mix while you record? And if so what does that look like?
In fact recently a TRR reader emailed this quandry, and I’m sure many of you can identify with his situation:
I might pan some of the guitars, turn them down, etc while I get ready to track another guitar, keyboard part, bass, etc. Is that normal or should I not touch anything on the mixer until the song is pretty much done in the recording phase? – Doug (TRR reader)
If you happen to record guitars through a virtual amp plugin or box, then you’d be wise to done thing: commit to your sound on the way in. That’s right. None of this, recording the effected sound plus the direct sound, “just in case.”
Just in case of what? Just in case you completely change your mind on how guitars should sound while in the mixing phase? Bad idea.
You Have To Make A Decision
I’ve been pretty blown away by how realistic the Eleven Rack sounds as a virtual amp box. And it has the ability to record wet and dry signals into your DAW. But I would never do that. Why? At some point in the studio you must make a decision. At some point before your song hits a CD or MP3 for download you must decide what the guitars are going to sound like.
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So just this week my band released our most recent EP entitled Lower. It’s a simple 5 song album that was tracked, mixed, and mastered in my own project studio. I thought today I would not only share it with you, but highlight a few lessons (good and bad) that I learned from this specific project.
Less Is More
I would say the biggest lesson that was re-enforced on this project was that less is more in the recording phase. I think I did this well when it came to guitars. During the tracking process I kept stripping away guitar parts until we were left with the absolute foundational parts. This made the songs easier to mix and they sounded bigger in the long run. Go figure.
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Part 4 of 31 - The mix buss (or master fader) is both your friend and your enemy. With a single plugin you can easily spruce up your entire mix. At the same time you can just as easily destroy it if you aren’t careful.
Cut Your Processing In Half
Here’s the idea: whatever processing you want to do on your mix buss, cut it in half and learn to live with it. As you start dialing in some compression, eq, or saturation, when you finally start hearing the effect you’ve likely gone a bit too far. Cut the amount of processing in half and you’ll be just fine.
One of the best ways to get better at recording or mixing is to learn a few new things, use them like crazy, and then repeat the process. But with so much information out there (good and bad) it’s far to easy to have “learned” hundreds of tips and techniques in a given year, but not really know what you learned.
As this year draws to a close, I’m personally looking back to think about the one, two, or maybe three things that I learned and benefited from the most. I want to cement these in my mind so that next year I can use them like crazy. Sure I may have learned more than 3 things this year, but I can’t remember them all, so instead I’m focusing on three. Today I’d like to briefly list three things I learned, but then I want to hear what YOU learned this year.
Kill My Pride And Use Reference Tracks
I’ve always known I should use professional reference tracks in the studio, but up until this year I’ve only used them sparingly. Big mistake. Reference tracks give you instant perspective on your recording, mix, or master. They help you know if your bass is out of wack, if your snare drum is too loud, or if your vocals sound muffled. Why do we hate reference tracks? Because we’re prideful. We don’t want to hear how bad we are and think we can do it on our own, without any outside “help.” Ironically, if I want to get better I should simply pull in some other pro tracks and reference them in all three stages.
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