Arts & Entertainment

Why Musicians Must Have a Great Audio Engineer

Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr

For the independent recording artist, sounding great isn’t a luxury only available to big time artists anymore – it is a requirement. Music sales may have went down, 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! 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 a mystery. To others, they are ‘evil’ manipulators of music, creating phony, auto-tuned, robots out of unskilled artists. This, however, is far from the truth. Every recording, no matter the genre, gets touched by a tracking engineer, mix engineer, and mastering engineer. The recording engineer uses many 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 correct and convey the song’s emotion. He sets proper levels, panning, equalization, compression, and adds special effects where possible to complement the artist’s vision. Finally, the mastering engineer uses special gear and highly trained ears in an acoustically accurate room to subtly polish and prepare the music 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 artists. The big dough these days is in live shows, publishing, film and TV placements, and merchandise. When a listener connects with an artist’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 shows, purchase apparel, and follow and interact with the group through social media. As the artist 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 starts with a great song and convincing recording.

The rise of do-it-yourself recording has led to more artists releasing music than ever before. With a powerful laptop, some microphones, a digital audio workstation, 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 mixer has the right tools, but most importantly the knowledge to make a recording reach its full potential. Though it can be difficult for an artist, letting go and trusting your mix engineer 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 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. Hire a local or online mix engineer within your budget whose work and personality you gel with, and tweak the mixdown until you’re satisfied. Finally, send the songs off to the mastering engineer for that final touch. Once your record is completed, you can get the music into multiple stores and into the phones and computers of your listeners and fans.Scott Horton is the ultimate example of today’s modern mixing engineer/producer/songwriter. Scott has collaborated with multitudes of artists and labels from around the world 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 great sounding mixes which make impressions that count. Visit Scott at http://www.virtualmixengineer.com This article is copyright protected.