Arts & Entertainment

Why Musicians Must Have an Awesome Mix Engineer

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For the independent artist, sounding amazing isn’t a rarity only available to major label artists anymore – it is a must. Music sales may have wanted, 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. Let’s face it, there is no excuse for an artist to release sub-par recordings.

To many, audio engineers are still mysterious. To others, they are ‘evil’ manipulators of music, creating fake, auto-tuned, robots out of untalented artists. This, however, is far from the truth. Every record, no matter the genre, gets touched by a recording 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 happens in the recording studio. The mix engineer takes all of the separate music tracks and crafts the music to sound convincing and convey the song’s emotion. He sets proper levels, panning, equalization, compression, and adds special effects where needed to enhance the musician’s vision. Finally, the mastering engineer uses special gear and highly trained ears in an acoustically accurate room to subtly polish and prepare the song 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 tool for artists and labels. The real money currently is in converts, publishing, film and TV placements, and merchandise. When a fan connects with a band’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 t-shirts, 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 quality recording.

The rise of do-it-yourself recording has led to more artists releasing music than ever before. With a powerful PC, some microphones, a digital audio workstation, and a little knowledge, anyone can record and distribute music. One area where many musicians 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 hard for an artist, letting go and trusting your engineer will take your recordings to the next level and help you stand out from the masses. 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 strong as possible. Then and only then, get into the best studio you can afford to record your tracks. Connect with a local or online mixing engineer within your budget whose work and personality you connect with, and tweak the mixdown until you’re satisfied. Lastly, send the songs off to the mastering engineer for that final polish. Once your recording is finished, you can get the music into multiple outlets and into the ears of your listeners and fans.Scott Horton is the definition of today’s modern mixing engineer/producer/songwriter. He has collaborated with countless 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 industry standard sounding mixes which make impressions that count. Visit Scott at http://www.virtualmixengineer.com This article is copyright protected.