Arts & Entertainment

Producing Music? Hire an Audio Engineer to Sound Your Best

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For the independent artist, sounding great isn’t a rarity only available to well-funded artists anymore – it is essential. Music sales may have diminished, 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! 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. Let’s face it, there is no excuse for an artist to put out sub-par recordings.

To many, audio engineers are still mysterious. To others, they are ‘evil’ manipulators of sound, creating false, auto-tuned, drones out of terrible artists. This, however, is far from fact. Every record, no matter the type, gets taken care of by a recording 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 happens 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 proper levels, panning, EQ, compression, and adds creative effects where needed to enhance the artist’s vision. Lastly, the mastering engineer uses special gear and highly trained ears in an acoustically sound room to subtly polish and prepare the track for final release and ensure the recording translates to 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 most income these days is in touring, publishing, sync placements, and merchandise. When a listener connects with a band’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 band through social media. As the artist grows in popularity, their music may be chosen for sync placements in movies 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 polished recording.

The rise of DIY recording has led to more musicians releasing music than ever before. With a powerful laptop, some mics, a digital audio workstation, and a little know-how, anyone can record and release music. One area where many musicians fall short is failing to recognize their weaknesses in mixing. An experienced mixer 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 productions to the next level and help you stand out from the masses. Fans are instantly attracted to a well-written and performed song that sounds like a hit.

Spend the proper time in pre-production, ensuring your song and arrangement are as solid as possible. Then and only then, go to the best studio you can afford to record your basic 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. Lastly, send the songs off to mastering for that final polish. Once your record is completed, you can get the music into multiple stores and into the ears of your listeners and fans.Scott Horton is the ultimate example of the contemporary mixing engineer/producer/songwriter. He has collaborated 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, provides artists and record labels with great sounding mixes which make impressions that count. Get in touch with Scott at This article is copyright protected.