Audio recording seems rife with complicated problems, but sometimes, just like number one, the problem is common sense. Here are three simple audio tips that could help you resolve some of the biggest problems in the history of audio production.
- Reference Tracks and ASIO
This problem is fairly common for producers working with ASIO drivers to record audio and mix their tracks. Most engineers want a reference track to align their instrument tracks and final mixdown to the same grade, but ASIO only supports one audio program per session. Switching to the primary sound driver, which disables recording that you do not need at this point, allows you to press play on both your DAW and player to see if frequencies are aligning.
- It Does not Want to Cut Through
Audio often piles up near the low-mid/mid-section of most mixdowns, and equalizers could help clear up the clutter a bit. However, the true fix is during the recording phase. But when all else fails, use a tube saturation that enhances the high-mid to treble frequencies of your audio. It will still have a natural sound while having a cut-through characteristic.
- EQs and Tone Sculpting
Equalizers are useful tools, but many forget that they are called equalizers because they help balance the sound. Tone sculpting can be difficult if you just understand cutting and boosting frequencies. Remember, every cut you create boosts certain frequencies, while boosting certain frequencies cuts some other frequencies. If you have an unexplainable EQ’d sound, this is your solution.
Reverberation gives your instruments a warm, spacious sound that removes the dryness and dullness of a recorded audio. While saturation emulators and light amounts of effect-based clipping are great for improving the sound of an audio, reverberation could also give the same effect, often with better results if used carefully.
1. Stereo Guitars
Reverberation could achieve a unique stereo guitar sound for a guitar. If you do not intend to double-track your guitars for rock music or you simply want a unique sound for your instrument, stereo reverberation could use the decay to make it sound like you are playing guitar in a different soundscape.
2. Widening the Sound of Your Mix
A master reverb is often ill-advisable, but used as a master side-chain, it could generate very unique effects in specific song parts. It also widens the sound of your mix, relieving it of tension and dryness. It also helps give your synthesizers more space to move.
No more time to re-record a sustained track? You could use the reverb with ample amounts of delay to extend the sustained note in a track. By using the early reflection and pre-damping options on your reverb and adding a consistent, linking delay effect, you could create very long sustains as quick fixes.
Germany-fan Rihanna said that she jumped up and down in joy after Germany Won the 2014 World Cup. She had updated her followers on Twitter and Facebook about the scores of the teams and her thoughts about the game.
Rihanna may have seemed inconspicuous a German fan during the start of the match, but she rejoiced after Germany’s Mario Gotze had scored a goal during the overtime, bringing the scores to 1-0 on Sunday.
Watching from the stands, she tweeted a photo with the team players in the field.
David Beckham was watching along with his three sons, Brooklyn, Romeo and Cruz to watch the finals.
Ryan Seacrest, the host of American Idol, had tweeted about the World Cup’s scores.
German Celebrity Candice Swanepoel had also tweeted her joys after Germany’s win in the 2014 World Cup.
Both sides in the World Cup had played aggressively, ensuring no goal from both sides. Germany had put Brazil’s team in shame during an exciting semi-final match, leaving the team with 7-0. Argentina then beat the Netherlands to progress to the finals.
As the audio engineer, your ears are your most valuable asset, but if you abuse it, your performance in areas clients expect may falter. A tracking session is taxing as a pre-production because you will be using your ears for hours. Do not attempt to mix your audio yet after a tracking session because you will not find the results you are looking for.
Ears suffer fatigue. Clearly, the ears have a system of its own compressors and limiters, and each pair of ears may have slightly different frequency attenuations with other pairs of ears. When you have mastered your equipment to work with your ear, you could spend more time in managing your audio, but clearly, you will have trouble trying to identify certain details of the tracks you are mixing with ear fatigue
The ears can also align itself with a certain frequency. As much as you would practice an instrument, your muscle memory serves to hold on to the movements that you have repetitively made while you played piano or guitar. Your ears do the same, and they may incline themselves to the tracking session sound that you have spent for hours.
Allow yourself enough rest, and sleep when you can. The best time to mix is when you wake up in the morning and have had breakfast.
Are you looking for that bigger drum sound or that meatier and punchy guitar rhythm? While proper mike phasing and equalization could help in this manner, in some cases, you will need to place some enhancements to make them sound a bit more natural and desirable. Here are a few things that could help improve your recording’s sound.
1. Tape Saturation
During the early days of recording, different recording machines used different mediums, each with their own characteristic. Tape recordings sound much warmer because of the natural midrange they add to certain tracks. Adding a high quality tape saturation plugin with your track could attenuate harsh dynamics brought by cleaner, digital recording present today, and provide you with a more natural, and realistic recording sound.
Using compression for actual uniformity of sound rather than exposing transients to “pump” the beat in your drums could thicken its sound as certain details mesh together with its dynamics. Do not overplay compression though; you will want to preserve some volume dynamics or else you risk having an unnecessarily high-energy drum track.
Modern technologies allow sample recording, and many companies, such as Toontrack for drums or IK Multimedia for guitars and other instruments, allow you to sculpt your sound further with recorded samples. These high-quality samples sound and play like their real equivalents, which they were based on. They can make your tracks sound thicker by blending samples that could help improve dynamics with proper equalization and mixing.
According to Charlie Boyle, a Financial Reconciliations Team Leader, his department was crippled by a “political and target-obsessed approach” reflected on the numbers on the PPI claim taxations of interest that had many errors. According to Boyle, the figures might possibly have been misreported to Barclays board, including the Senior Officials of the company.
Barclays had agreed to make an investigation regarding the claim of the Team Leader. Boyle estimates that the clear-up operation may take at least two years despite the PPI claims fiasco possibly stopping in the next half decade.
Boyle described that the taxations of interest were “a haemorrhaging of exceptions”, which helped reduce the taxation of interest in the payments. He describe the working environment of Barclays as full of politics, back-biting and bullying by the Human Resources department. He said that the bank never valued its employees
The Taxation of Interest clause is when banks deduct tax on the interest of PPI payments to consumers. Barclays has systems to meet the requirements, and Boyle’s team, the Financial Reconciliations, will need to re-check if the right amount of tax was paid.
Barclays said that Boyle only voiced the matters regarding the taxation of interests upon his decision to leave.
I cannot stress enough the need for multiple headphones and maybe speakers in pre-production, mixing and mastering audio. Like any good set of ears, yours may be working perfectly, but it will be troublesome if you made a mix that sounded good in one pair of speakers and sounded bad in another.
We all know that monitors are designed to ensure we hear all the details of the song’s instruments, including the dynamics and nuances. With different headphones, you can get different sounds. Sometimes, the bass might sound too high; in some instances, the low-mid frequencies might be troublesome.
You can make a great sounding track in one pair of headphones, but you forget that it might have a built in compression that allows you to hear all the details of your mix. Testing it at the lower bar of headphone and speaker pairs, you find the sound to be quite perfect, but at the higher bar of audio hardware, your mix might lack some bass or treble, affecting its entire sound.
It is important that you have different headphones and references when mixing tracks. A monitor could only let you hear details of your mix, but its aesthetic value in different headphones and speakers will differ as well.
Before you test your song on different headphones, ensure that you have mastered using the equalizer before making any attempts.
It is normal for us musicians to lose inspiration in songwriting. I’m a game scorer myself, and I could only find inspiration only if I’ve played a game before I write the music score for it. There’s a certain feel to the intensity of the game, the rhythm it has and its aesthetics that will allow the music to complement all these ideas by marvellous game makers. However, sometimes, this does not work. Sometimes, I also don’t have time to play their games because we are simultaneously developing the parts.
If you’re lacking some inspiration in songwriting, I have a few tips for you.
I took a walk outside without wearing any headphones. Sometimes, musicians just like walking around a block or the park while listening to music to encourage scenarios to form in their head. However, if your mind is in another place due to the music you are listening to, you won’t get the inspiration you could get from your surroundings. Take those cans off the ears for at least a week.
Determine the things you fear. Every musician fears something. Some worry about the quality, the theme, if it lives up to the former album or if it will just end up in the shelves and not sell. Worrying too much about these parlous details will hamper your creative process. Leave this to your manager, or just worry about this the next day.
Last, create the scenario. Every form of music creates a scenario based on rhythm and melody. A groovy song might indicate a scene of happiness. A jittery melody that sounds broken may mean something is wrong in a situation. Sometimes, I create music that sounds sad and I imagine a scenario of sadness, further complementing the music. Do not deny that scenario is very important for songs because titles would be useless if it was not.
You have probably used an equalizer when listening to songs in your mobile phone or player to set the sound of songs to your liking. This is also the first plugin you encounter when using digital audio workstations and is fairly easy to use. However, mastering this plugin is crucial in producing better instrument sounds and in audio mixing.
You will need a good pair of monitors that allow you to hear the natural sound of your instruments and the mix itself. A full range consumer grade speaker will not give you a good evaluating sound because consumer speakers normally flatten out certain frequencies to make its sound appealing to consumers.
2. EQ Familiarization
You do not only adjust sliders to your liking in using equalizers. Your ears must also know the sound of the frequency slider you are adding or attenuating. Here are some exercises your ears could use in training for equalization.
3. Instrument “Sweet Spot”
An instrument “sweet spot” is where the instrument’s root frequency lies. Finding this sweet spot may involve adding a dip and moving the dip around the frequencies. The most pronounced frequency is the probable sweet spot of the instrument and the construction or deconstruction of its frequency using the equqlizer will be vital in mixing.
Listening to today’s music, you might notice that many band, singer or any other music group’s music sounds a bit unnatural and rigid. While you may recognize dynamics, the exciting kick drum, the booming bass and the great-sounding vocals, you may notice that some of the sounds in the songs are “heaving” or not breathing properly.
For audio producers, compression is a necessary tool for competitive loudness in today’s musical genre. Added compression “seals” the audio to protect it from destroying audio equipment by attenuating loud signals and boosting quiet parts. However, it is also killing the dynamics and transients of some recordings.
Louder could get your audiences to listen to your music and appreciate it with all the parts being heard. However, it can tire out the ears and it can sound “dead” or cold as song dynamics, namely the loudness and quietness of instruments, get lost.
Compression can boost the level of audio. Preferred by most metal musicians, many compress their songs to increase the volume without harming audio equipment. However, without compression, metal music could sound dull.
Loud is not necessarily prouder in music, not unless it is necessary. Contemporary dance music compresses loudly to ensure audiences feel the beat and drops to have them dance. However, there is such a thing as being overly too loud and making audio sound dull.