For the independent musician, sounding amazing isn’t a luxury only available to hit artists anymore – it is a must. Music sales may have tapered, but that doesn’t mean that recorded music is on its way out. Far from it. More music is being consumed on more devices by more listeners than ever before in history! Artists are making their music available on internet and satellite radio, online music streaming services such as Pandora, Spotify, Rdio, Deezer, and YouTube, selling on direct-to-fan sites such as CD Baby, Bandcamp, and ReverbNation, and still pushing sales through ‘traditional’ online retailers such as iTunes and Amazon MP3. Simply put, there is no excuse for an artist to release sub-par recordings.

To many, audio engineers are still conundrum. To others, they are ‘evil’ manipulators of sound, creating phony, auto-tuned, robots out of untalented artists. This, however, is far from the truth. Every recording, no matter the genre, gets taken care of by a recording engineer, mix engineer, and mastering engineer. The recording engineer utilizes a plethora of microphones and technique to accurately capture and record the artist’s performance as it happens in the recording studio. The mix engineer takes all of the separate audio tracks and crafts the music to sound convincing and convey the song’s emotion. He sets the right levels, panning, EQ, compression, and adds creative effects where needed to complement the artist’s vision. Lastly, the mastering engineer uses specialized equipment and highly trained ears in an acoustically sound room to subtly polish and prepare the track for final release and ensure the music plays back well on a variety of speakers. “While many audio techniques can enhance the final production, we engineers are not magicians and can’t replace a poor performance or terrible recording,” says Scott of Virtual Mix Engineer.

Recordings are more often used as promotional vessel for artists and labels. The real money currently is in touring, publishing, sync placements, and merchandise. When a fan connects with a band’s music, they’ll listen to their music, tweet, and share the music with their friends. The fans want to support the artist and buy tickets to their concerts, purchase apparel, and follow and interact with the band through social media. As the band grows in popularity, their music may be chosen for sync placements in movies and TV, which not only provides great exposure, it also pays very well. To make it to this stage however, it all begins with a great song and polished recording.

The rise of DIY recording has led to more bands releasing music than ever before. With a powerful laptop, some microphones, a digital audio workstation, and a little knowledge, anyone can create and distribute music. One area where many musicians fall short is failing to recognize their weaknesses in mixing. An experienced mixer has the right equipment, but most importantly the knowledge to make a production reach its full potential. Though it can be difficult for an artist, letting go and trusting your mixer will take your productions to the next level and help you stand out from the others. Listeners are instantly attracted to a well-written and performed song that sounds like a hit.

Spend a good amount of time in pre-production, ensuring your composition and arrangement are as strong as possible. Then and only then, go to the best studio you can afford to record your tracks. Hire a local or online mixing engineer within your budget whose work and personality you gel with, and tweak the mix until you’re satisfied. Lastly, send the songs off to mastering for that final polish. Once your production is complete, you can get the music into multiple sites and into the ears of your listeners and fans.Scott Horton is the epitome of today’s modern mixing engineer/producer/songwriter. Scott has worked with an endless number of music groups the world over in all musical genres ranging from Pop, Pop-Rock, Hip-Hop,RnB, Urban and more. His online mixing and mastering service, Virtual Mix Engineer, delivers recording artists with industry standard sounding mixes which make impressions that count. Get in touch with Scott at http://www.virtualmixengineer.com This article is copyright protected.

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