Arts & Entertainment

Producing Music? Hire a Mix Engineer to Sound Your Best

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For the independent musician, sounding good isn’t a luxury only available to big time artists anymore – it is a necessity. Music sales may have wanted, but that doesn’t mean that recorded music is going away any time soon. 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. Let’s face it, there is no excuse for an artist to release poor recordings.

For many, audio engineers are still an enigma. To others, they are ‘evil’ manipulators of sound, creating fake, auto-tuned, machines out of untalented artists. This, however, is far from fact. Every recording, no matter the genre, gets touched by a tracking engineer, mixing 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 correct levels, panning, equalization, compression, and adds special effects where needed to enhance the artist’s vision. Finally, the mastering engineer uses special equipment and highly trained ears in an acoustically accurate room to subtly polish and prepare the song for final release and ensure the sound 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 tool for artists. The real money currently is in touring, publishing, film and TV placements, and merchandising. When a fan connects with an artist’s music, they’ll listen to their music, comment, 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 group grows in popularity, their music may be chosen for sync placements in film and TV, which not only provides great exposure, it also pays well. To make it to this stage however, it all begins with a great song and convincing recording.

The rise of do-it-yourself recording has led to more musicians releasing music than ever before. With a powerful laptop, some microphones, a DAW, and a little knowledge, anyone can create and release music. One area where many artists fall short is failing to recognize their weaknesses in mixing. An experienced engineer has the right tools, 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 engineer will take your recordings to the next level and help you stand out from the crowd. Fans 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 song and arrangement are as solid as possible. Then and only then, get into the best studio you can afford to lay down your tracks. Find a local or online mixing engineer within your budget whose work and personality you like, and tweak the mixdown until you’re satisfied. Finally, send the songs off to a mastering house for that final touch. Once your record is complete, you can get the music into multiple retailers and into the ears of your listeners and fans.Scott Horton is the epitome of the modern mixing engineer/producer/songwriter. Scott has worked with an endless number of recording artists 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. Visit Scott at http://www.virtualmixengineer.com This article is copyright protected.