Arts & Entertainment

Why Artists NEED a Great Mixing Engineer

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For the independent artist, sounding good isn’t a rarity only available to big time 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! 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 put out sub-par recordings.

For some people, audio engineers are still a mystery. To others, they are ‘evil’ manipulators of sound, creating fake, auto-tuned, drones out of unskilled artists. This, however, is far from the truth. Every recording, no matter the genre, gets taken care of 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 music tracks and crafts the music to sound convincing and convey the song’s emotion. He sets correct levels, panning, EQ, compression, and adds creative effects where needed to enhance the artist’s vision. Finally, the mastering engineer uses unique gear and highly trained ears in an acoustically accurate room to subtly polish and prepare the track for final release and ensure the music 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 musicians. The big dough these days is in live shows, publishing, sync placements, and merchandise. When a fan connects with an artist’s music, they’ll listen to their records, 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 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 well. To make it to this stage however, it all starts with a great song and polished recording.

The rise of do-it-yourself recording has led to more artists releasing music than ever before. With a powerful PC, some mics, a DAW, and a little knowledge, anyone can record and distribute music. One area where many artists fall short is failing to recognize their weaknesses in mixing. An experienced engineer has the right equipment, but most importantly the skills 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 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, go to the best studio you can afford to lay down your basic tracks. Connect with a local or online mixing engineer within your budget whose work and personality you like, and tweak the mixdown until you’re happy. Lastly, send the songs off to the mastering engineer for that final polish. 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 ultimate example of the cutting-edge mixing engineer/producer/songwriter. He has mixed for a myriad of recording artists world-wide 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 musicians with superb sounding mixes which make impressions that count. Visit Scott at http://www.virtualmixengineer.com This article is copyright protected.