For the independent musician, sounding great isn't a rarity only available to big time artists anymore - it is a necessity. Music sales may have tapered, 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. Simply put, there is no excuse for an artist to put out poor recordings.
For many, audio engineers are still an enigma. To others, they are ‘evil' manipulators of sound, creating phony, auto-tuned, drones out of untalented artists. This, however, is far from fact. Every recording, no matter the genre, gets touched by a recording engineer, mixing engineer, and mastering engineer. The recording engineer utilizes 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 correct and convey the song's emotion. He sets proper levels, panning, equalization, compression, and adds special effects where needed to enhance the artist's vision. Finally, the mastering engineer uses specialized tools and highly trained ears in an acoustically accurate room to subtly polish and prepare the track for final release and ensure the sound plays back well on a variety of playback systems. "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.
Recorded music is more often used as promotional vessel for musicians. The big dough these days is in converts, 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 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 very well. To make it to this stage however, it all starts with well written song and quality recording.
The rise of do-it-yourself recording has led to more bands releasing music than ever before. With a powerful computer, some mics, a DAW, and a little know-how, anyone can create and release music. One area where many musicians fall short is failing to recognize their weaknesses in audio engineering. An experienced mixer has the right equipment, but most importantly the skills to make a production reach its full potential. Though it can be hard for an artist, letting go and trusting your mixer will take your productions to the next level and help you stand out from the crowd. 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 strong as possible. Then and only then, go to 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 gel with, and tweak the mixdown until you're happy. Lastly, send the songs off to mastering for that final touch. Once your record is finished, you can get the music into multiple retailers and into the phones and computers of your listeners and fans.
Scott Horton is the epitome of today's cutting-edge mixing engineer/producer/songwriter. He has mixed for 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 artists and record labels with superb sounding mixes which make impressions that count. Come say hi to Scott at http://www.virtualmixengineer.com
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