Arts & Entertainment

Producing Music? Connect With an Audio Engineer to Release Better Sounding Music

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For the independent artist, sounding great isn’t a rarity only available to major label artists anymore – it is essential. Music sales may have went down, 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 fans than ever before in history! Musicians 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 put out sub-par recordings.

To many, audio engineers are still conundrum. To others, they are ‘evil’ manipulators of music, creating fake, auto-tuned, machines out of untalented artists. This, however, is far from the truth. Every record, no matter the genre, gets handled by a tracking engineer, mix engineer, and mastering engineer. The recording engineer uses a plethora of microphones and technique to accurately capture and record the artist’s performance as it occurs in the recording studio. The mixing engineer takes all of the separate audio tracks and crafts the music to sound great and convey the song’s emotion. He sets the right levels, panning, EQ, compression, and adds creative effects where needed to enhance the musician’s vision. Lastly, the mastering engineer uses specialized tools and highly trained ears in an acoustically accurate room to subtly polish and prepare the music for final release and ensure the sound translates to a variety of playback systems. “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.

Recorded music is more often used as promotional tool for musicians. The most income these days is in live shows, publishing, film and TV placements, and merchandise. When a fan connects with an artist’s music, they’ll listen to their records, 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 artist through social media. As the musician grows in popularity, their music may be chosen for sync placements in movies and TV, which not only provides great exposure, it also pays quite well. To make it to this stage however, it all begins with well written song and convincing recording.

The rise of DIY recording has led to more bands releasing music than ever before. With a powerful PC, some mics, a digital audio workstation, and a little knowledge, anyone can create and distribute music. One area where many artists fall short is failing to recognize their weaknesses in mixing. An experienced engineer has the right gear, but most importantly the skills to make a recording reach its full potential. Though it can be hard for an artist, letting go and trusting your mixer will take your recordings 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 the proper time in pre-production, ensuring your composition and arrangement are as solid as possible. Then and only then, book time in the best studio you can afford to record your basic tracks. Hire a local or online mix engineer within your budget whose work and personality you like, and tweak the mixdown until you’re satisfied. Finally, send the songs off to mastering for that final polish. Once your production is finished, you can get the music into multiple retailers and into the ears of your listeners and fans.Scott Horton is the definition of today’s modern mixing engineer/producer/songwriter. He 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 artists and record labels with great sounding mixes which make impressions that count. Visit Scott at This article is copyright protected.