Music Producing Tips for Beginners and Pros

music production how to
Music producer Tips, Tutorials 2019

Music Producing Tips for Beginners and Pros:

 

Learn more about electronic music production: How to mix and Master Audio to get better sound quality for Techno and House Music. If you are during the mixing process there are many possibly mistakes you can make. Read the following blog post to solve some of your mixing problems as a producer. 

 

I help you to optimize your sound, here you get Producing Music for Beginner tips and mixing tutorials. Because there can be many problems that you can easily optimize.

 

So that your music sounds even better in the future - Because your Music deserves brilliant sound

 


1. Better Room Acoustic & Treatment

Studio Monitor Placement

Best Studio monitor placement
Best Studio Monitor Placement

One of the most important music producing tips is the right Studio monitor positioning.

 

How to place your speakers in your music production studio

 

  • Don't put your Studio Monitors in the corner of your Room
  • Distance to the wall? Try to keep a meter distance between the wall and your studio monitors.
  • Why? Because you could hear to much bass while mixing your songs.
  • Position your speakers in the middle of the room so that the distances to the wall to the left and right are equal.
  • Positioning along the longer or shorter wall in your room? If possible, if your room is rectangular, place your speakers along the short wall
  • Studio Monitor alignment: Try to form a triangle. The distance between your speakers should be 1m / 1.5m. Next, place your studio monitors in an oblique position. So that the tweeters of your speakers are directed in the direction of your ears. This creates distances like a triangle: The distances between the speakers, and between the speakers and the listening position are equal.

Learn more about some of the best Studio monitors

Source: Studio Monitor illustration

acoustic treatment in a recording studio

 Do you feel that all the problems can arise and have to be considered and solved? Unfortunately, you don't learn to mix in a few weeks, it takes much practice and getting used to your monitor speakers and the room in which you produce. To make the right decisions while mixing your songs, one crucial point is to optimize your room acoustics. This includes the positioning of your speakers and the installation of absorbers, bass traps, and diffusers.

 

If the room is not optimized, your $10,000 speakers can also sound very bad. Flattered Echoes in the room should be reduced by installing objects in your room (plants, cupboards, sofas, etc.). Also, bass resonances should be dampened through acoustic treatment as well. Be aware that your speakers should not be placed in the corner of a room, consider placing them centered between the walls.  The distance between the loudspeakers and the back wall should also be at least 50cm. Otherwise, your monitors may sound far too boomy, and you have problems mixing the low-end correctly

 

 

 

 

Room Equalizer and Headphone correction

A useful tool to make your monitor speakers sound as flat and realistic as possible is Reference from Sonarworks. The weaknesses and strengths of your speakers and the room acoustics are measured by test tones, with a microphone. The measurement result or the frequency curve is then combined with an equalizer and routed between the DAW and the sound card. Frequencies that are too weak are raised, and frequencies that are too present will be tweaked and lowered.

 

In any case, I was stunned and positively impressed. Your monitors can sound almost like a new pair of speakers.

But most importantly, it helps you judge your mixes more accurately. The same software is also available for headphones to make them sound flattered and more balanced. Read more on the Sonarworks True-Fi page and think about optimizing you Studio. You will not regret it!

 

Learn more about Headphone correction plugins

 

 

2. Mixing Music Production Tips

LOudness levels Mixing: How loud should you Mix

Here is one of the secrets of the mixing engineers. To avoid squashing, if it doesn't sound loud enough to your ears, turn up the monitor! If you find that you've been forced to apply limiting or compression just to keep the meters from overloading, then you've been going about this backwards. Instead, turn down your individual mix levels several dB, then get rid of any compression you were using to "protect" the mix. Now your mix is at a lowered meter level, so turn up your monitor gain to arrive at the same loudness. But this time it won't sound squashed. Leave the monitor at that position as you continue to mix.

 

 

When you mix a 24-bit or 32-bit recording you can make a perfectly good mix that peaks between -3 and -6 dBFS with no loss of quality. So if the mix gets too loud by your ears, then turn down the elements that are too hot in the mix instead of turning down the monitor again, with no fear of mixing "too low". In other words, a high monitor gain gives you less temptation to over compress. High monitor gain does not necessarily mean high monitor output from the speakers. It means that the mix level had to be lower. Your dynamic mix should be sitting within -3 and -6 dB before mastering. So please do not try to ruin your song in the mix stage.

 

 

Mixing Music: Perfect loudness levels with a VU meter
VU Meter for perfect loudness levels

Levels:

Start Mixing your loudest Instrument, after that add the other elements of your mix. Try to not exceed -3 dBFS peak on a peak meter on the highest peak of the mix. Low levels are perfectly acceptable in a 24 bit or 32 Bit System. Once you see that the highest peak is in the range of, say, -10 dBFS to -3 dBFS, then from that point on, if you can hear it, the low level passages are ok. Preserve dynamic range! Don't ruin the mix before the mastering process. If the mix sounds good, then soft passages automatically are not too soft. Of course, if you think a soft passage sounds too soft in the mixing, then of course try to fix that during the mixing. But these can easily be dealt with and often more efficiently in mastering.

 

If you have a VU meter, use it. Use the VU, ignore the peak Meter, and you'll start making better mixes. Because your Mixes will be more dynamic, and you have a better focus what you are actually doing with the sound. Many DAW's have a included VU meter, if you don't have one search for a free VST Meter VST Plugin.

Or download a Free VU meter on this site

 

*VU Meter Mixing Tip: You can reach the perfect loudness levels with a VU Meter on your Master Channel

 

Start mixing your Kick, that your Maximum hits about -3/-4VU on the VU-meter

Next add your Bass that your VU Meter reach about -2VU

After you added the rest of your Instruments and all the Drums and Hihats your should have about 0VU on the meter

Thats it, use this as a a starting point. But also use your ears and not just the meter 

 

Mixing in Mono

Try to mix your song in Mono and do the panning afterward.

If you can get the mix to sound good in mono first, it will sound great in stereo too.

 

Mixing in Mono is generally much harder, but it's excellent to improve your mixing skills. You can make better EQing decisions and hear balancing problems of your instruments.

 

save time with a DAW template

Save time and build your own DAW templates!

 

If you start to produce music it can be annoying to open a blank project. Build a template with your favorite tempo, drums and synth you like to use. Also create groups and channels with prebuild EQ, compressor, reverb or saturation combinations. This way you can be ready to produce music, as soon as your Daw project is loaded.

 

This way you can have a go-to sound, that you use for sketching out ideas. So you don't loose interest making music before you even started. 

 

Music Producing tips for Reverb

1. Sense of Depth

When mixing, use 3 different reverb rooms (small, medium, large) and create a single send effect channel for each one. Now mix your instruments into the different reverb effect vst plugins.

 

For example:

  • Bass and drums in the small reverb room
  • Synthies & Vocals in the middle reverb room
  • Effects, Pads and Percussions in the big reverb room

Mixing Tip 2: Pan a Instrument to the right, let's say 50%. Then create an effect-send channel and use the panning slider and set it to 50% to the left. Now place a delay and reverb vst plugin in the effect-send channel. Now send your instrument, which is panned to 50% to the right, into the effect channel.

 

Your instrument will be routed through the delay and reverb plugins and the sound will be much wider. Work with the Wet / Dry regulator to optimize the effects, because less reverb effects is sometimes more.

 

 

2. Bass and Reverb

To produce a clear bass that still has reverb and spatiality, no reverb should be on the sub and low frequencies. Make sure that the reverb is only activated from 100-300hz. Everything under the frequencies should be a completely dry audio signal. 

 

If your reverb does not include an equalizer, you need to create a send effect channel. Next send your bass to the effect channel. First you use an equalizer in the send channel. With this you make a low cut for the low frequencies of the bass. Then you can add the reverb and hear a better result.  Now mix the dry signal with the low cut reverb from the send effect channel. Mix these two tracks until you get the best result.

 

Also try to tame your bass  and Reverb using one or more compressors with a slight gain reduction of 3 to 5 db. The ratio can have an average value of 4:1 or 8:1. Your attack time should not be too short, as the attack phase of the bass should not be compressed. Test attack values between 40ms and 150ms.

 

Also the choice of the compressor is not unimportant for the final result, try an opto compressor for a soft groovy listening experience. *Tip: use the same compressor with the same values a 2nd time on your bass = Tighter Sound

 

 

3. Contrary Mixing with Reverb

When you use Reverb on your mix, try to create contrast to make your mix sound more interesting. For example, use small rooms for vocals and large rooms for one of your instruments.  

 

Or try the other way around, be creative and test how you get interesting results. Play with the Pre-Delay and Dry / Wet controls to make the sound sound closer or further away.

 

You can also bring life into your mix by automating the reverb as it changes during the track. Give less or more reverb in the individual passages of your song, by that I mean hook/chorus, bridge and verse.

 

 

4. reverb Settings for Vocals

Here are some music producing tips for vocals and reverb . Often less is more, also when mixing reverb and vocals. Don't give 100% of the wet signal when using the Dry/Wet settings, but choose values that make the reverb less audible.

 

Be sure to use the pre-delay function on your reverb settings, this will cause your vocal reverb to start a bit delayed.  Try pre-delay setting between 50ms and 120ms, but listen for yourself and find the best way. The result is a cleaner result when mixing to prevent muddy sounds. 

 

Another mixing tip for reverb on vocals is to use the lowcut or low-shelf filter on an Equalizer. Play with your reverb settings and try to lower frequencie values between 200hz and 800hz and hear how it sounds best.

 

If you want your reverb to sound really wide, it usually makes sense to use a delay. With a reverb effect you can send your vocal track into the background quite fast. But mostly vocals should sound very direct and close during mixing.

 

5. Creative reverb mixing techniques

To creatively use reverb effects and create a unique sound you can combine your reverb with other plugins. Try a chorus effect before reverb or a saturation effect after reverb to make your reverb tail sound different. 

 

As mentioned above, reverb automation is another way to make your song sound more interesting while arranging. Use the reverb only partially or change the room size at breaks in the reverb settings. 

 

Maybe you've heard of Auto Panning Vst plugins before? So you could let your reverb tail wander and move in the stereo image

 

 

How to get Depth in your Mix

The stereo image and depth of your final product will be determined by your skill in mixdown at using delays, reverberation, effects, and your skills in tracking, how you tracked your instruments. Try to make a plan beforehand of how your soundstage might look, where the instruments might be placed.

 

 


3.BEST USB AUDIO INTERFACES FOR UNDER $ 1000

  • Audient ID14
  • Audient ID22
  • Audient ID44
  • Antelope Audio Zen 
  • RME Babyface Pro
  • Focusrite Scarlett 2i2
  • Focusrite Scarlett 4i4
  • SSL 2+
  • UAD Apollo
  • Universal Audio Volt
  • TwinKeith McMillen K-Mix
  • DiGiGrid D
  • Motu M2
  • Motu M4
  • Presonus Studio 26
  • Steinberg UR22
  • MK2Apogee Duet

4. Best Midi keyboards for Producing

 

Music producing tips to find the right keyboard.

 

One of the important things to consider when choosing a midi-keyboard is the amount of functionality that it offers. This will determine the type of things you'll be able to do. The features you'll need to look for depending on how you intend to use the technology. For example, those planning to create electronic music often require more advanced features. But those who only intend to use the tool to lightly edit the tracks might not need a technologically advanced midi-keyboard.

 

 

TYPE OF MIDI-KEYBOARD KEYS

Another important thing you need to consider is the type of keys you choose. For example, some midi-keyboards might have fewer keys and a larger key size. Others might have the kind of key size that you might find on a piano. You might also want to consider how the keys can measure the pressure you put on them and act accordingly. This can give you more control over the type of effects that you are producing. In other cases, the keys might have been weighted slightly. People who have experience playing the piano often find them easier to handle.

 

Because there are so many different midi keyboards for producing music, you might want to visit a music store to try them out. This will give you a great sense of what you feel comfortable using. This will make sure that you get a midi-keyboard that you will enjoy.

 

 

If you're new to the world of midi-keyboards, these can be a very intimidating device, with plenty of functionality for you to explore. Often, you might want to consider choosing something that comes with a manual. This will explain what all the buttons mean and what they are used for. It will also explain how to connect the midi-keyboard to your DAW. In some cases, you might also be able to find online videos that can explain how this works. Thankfully, most modern midi-keyboards will come with plenty of support, making it easy for you to learn how to use the device.

 

 

CONSIDER THE SIZE AND PRICE

You might want to think about many things when deciding which type of midi-keyboard you would prefer. However, the two most important factors are the device's size and price. If you're looking for an essential device, you might be able to find a few good ones for less than $150. When choosing a cheaper option, make sure to read the reviews. You should expect to pay a little more if you want something more advanced.

 

 

You might also want to consider the size of the device. In most cases, when working from a home studio, you will have limited space to dedicate to music production. Because of this, you might need to choose a more compact midi-keyboard. However, you might need a more effective option for more advanced music productions to give you all the necessary functionality.

 

 

BEST MIDI KEYBOARDS 

 

AKAI PROFESSIONAL MPK249

 

This is one of the best midi-keyboards available on the market, with the keys having the same feel as a traditional keyboard. It also comes with an aftertouch and velocity enabled. These features can change the type of sound you produce based on how you hit the keys. Another significant benefit is that it comes with the software you need to use, making it easier to set up.

 

However, there are a few potential downsides that you might want to keep in mind. First, this midi-keyboard comes with a lot of features. Because of this, it can take a while to understand how to work them all correctly. Thankfully, you should be able to overcome this by reading the owner's manual and watching a few online tutorials. There are plenty of free resources online to help beginners learn how to use this device properly. 

 

NOVATION LAUNCHKEY MINI [MK3]

 

Another popular midi-keyboard for you to explore is the Novation Launchkey Mini [MK3]. One of the most significant benefits of this model is its compact size. This makes it perfect for your home studio, where space is limited. Despite being smaller, it doesn't sacrifice functionality. For example, you'll be able to get RPG pads, eight rotary controls, mod touch, and pitch touch. There's also an arpeggiator, which makes it easy for you to go through a cycle of notes. All of these features tend to be very easy to use. Despite the numerous benefits, the price is relatively affordable.

 

The biggest potential issue is that the midi-keyboard was built to work with Ableton Live. If you prefer another type of software, you might encounter some compatibility issues. However, this could be the perfect option for you if you're just starting to experiment with a midi-keyboard.

 

 

 

SAMSON CARBON 61 USB MIDI CONTROLLER

 

Finally, you might be looking for a midi-keyboard that will be affordable. Try the Samson Carbon 61 USB MIDI Controller if this is the case. This device is a cheap option available while providing many valuable features. For example, it has 61 keys, giving plenty of different options when editing your songs. You can also use a sustain pedal, allowing you to extend the time you play the note for. There are also buttons dedicated to specific controls, like changing the pitch.

Another significant benefit is the way that you can connect the device to an iPad. This will make editing much more straightforward, mainly if you typically use Apple products. However, if you don't use iPads, you'll be able to connect the midi-keyboard to your DAW using a USB.

 

The biggest downside is the way that the keys react when played. Some users have reported issues with the velocity of the keys, which can make it harder to get the sound you want. The keys might also respond poorly. Despite this, for the low price, you should be able to get a great experience with this midi-keyboard.

 

5. Difference Between Condenser and Dynamic Microphones

Sound is a crucial element of producing a great recording. Unfortunately, the overwhelming amount of microphones and sound equipment available for many musicians and artists can be challenging to choose from since there are multiple brands, styles, and types available. 

 

If you are a musician and looking to create an at-home recording, specific equipment is necessary to develop a professional-sounding master mix. Specific equipment involves mixing audio software and a decent microphone for recording. In other cases, such as being a member of a band where you will perform live, a microphone will be necessary to produce sound from each instrument and vocal. 

 

Since the overarching production of sound from a recording is objective, it also creates a dilemma for musicians on which microphone they need to choose to make the sounds they want. There are two types of microphones - the Condenser and the Dynamic microphone. 

 

These terms describe the operating principle utilized within the microphone or how the microphone picks up the sound and converts it into an electric audio signal - the transducer being the device that changes the energy from one form to another. These are the two most common types of microphones.

 

But which microphone is going to work best for your music production?

 

 

Condenser and Dynamic microphones contain some differences that should be pointed out about each and how they produce music. The characteristics involved for each type depend on the device's functionality and how they are constructed. Let's explore these microphones so that you can discover which one will be your best choice.

 

MICROPHONE BASICS

Microphones are made to convert sound waves. That is the simplest way to put it. The sound can come from anywhere, and a microphone's job is to convert it into a form for a recording device, app, or software to understand and playback as a recording. 

 

Many types of microphones exist, which can feel overwhelming for musicians. Hopefully, focusing on these two more largely utilized types will help you choose the best one for your needs. In addition, many microphones are reasonably simple to use - you point one at the sound you want to broadcast, and that is all there is to it.

 

 

No matter where you are when needing to record, you usually utilize what is known as the "close-mic" technique. Close miking involves placing the microphone no more than 12 inches away from the sound source so that it can pick up sound directly from the source and lessen noise from anything else in the surrounding area.

 

MICROPHONE SOUND PATTERNS

However, there are ways that you can use a microphone to change the sound that is picked up without changing the direction that the microphone is pointed, known as pickup patterns. Pickup patterns are typically focused on cardioid patterns.

 

What is a cardioid pattern? If a microphone does not allow you to change how the sound is picked up, this is called cardioid - it is the most common pattern of sound. It picks up a wide field of sound in front of the mic but blocks any noise from behind it.

 

This pattern is proper for many singers and performers on stage. You wouldn't want to hear the noise from behind the microphone, where the audience is, would you? The noises from the crowd would interfere with the noise that is produced on the stage.

 

Though audio software can help to manipulate the sound, the purest form of the sound from the microphone will be your foundation. That is why choosing a proper microphone for your use is vital.

 

The three basic sound patterns that are utilized are:

  • Unidirectional - the microphone records sounds from the front
  • Bidirectional - the microphone records sounds from two directions, front and back
  • Omnidirectional - the microphone can cover picking up sounds from all the way around (full 360 degrees)

 

The most typical direction that sound patterns are created from microphones is unidirectional. It will mainly pick up its sound from the front but still capture some sound coming from the sides, usually at a lesser volume. 

 

 

The pickup patterns are sensitive, depending on the type of microphone you work with for your project or performance. You can get a feel for the patterns where the sounds are most effective at being picked up. Again, sound or music studio engineers do have the capability to change and optimize the sound during the mixing and mastering process.

 

THE MICROPHONE DIAPHRAGM

Every microphone contains what is known as the diaphragm. And, much like the diaphragm that we use to gain energy for our breath support while singing, a microphone's diaphragm is the small, thin speakers that vibrate and produce voltage. 

 

Two types of diaphragms are found within condenser microphones:

 

SMALL DIAPHRAGM MICROPHONES

 

The small-diaphragm microphones (also called "pencil" microphones) are made to pick up higher frequencies. These are primarily utilized for smaller rooms or instruments like snare drums, acoustic guitars, or pianos. They are made to be more specific to one instrument or device. They are also very good at keeping consistent polar patterns due to their size and weight, so the sounds coming from various angles are picked up quite quickly.

 

LARGE DIAPHRAGM MICROPHONES

 

The larger diaphragm microphones will have a less consistent polar pattern but can still capture and pick up varying sounds from all directions with clarity. These microphones have higher sensitivity, giving it a bigger sound, and are typically used for vocals or bass drums. You can damage the larger diaphragm or tube within a microphone by recording from a far too loud sound or dropping the microphone. 

 

DYNAMIC MICROPHONES

The job of a dynamic microphone is to work in reverse as a speaker does. These microphones rely on sound waves that vibrate the internal diaphragm and create electricity through a magnet. A transformer will increase the electricity, and it will be sent to the microphone's output, which puts out the sound.

 

Dynamic microphones use a diaphragm, a voice coil, and a magnet assembly. These features form the electrical generator. The voice coil is small and attaches to the end of the diaphragm so that it vibrates with it. It is surrounded by a magnetic field that generates the electrical signal in response to the sound picked up.

 

The dynamic microphones are considered the 'plug and play' since it doesn't need to be powered. The industry-standard term is 'phantom power.' It will automatically work if you plug a dynamic microphone into an active speaker. They use a diaphragm, voice coil, and magnet to pick up and convert sound waves into electrical signals.

 

Dynamic microphones are most typically used for:

 

 

  • Amps (electric guitar/bass)
  • Loud vocals
  • Drums
  • Keyboards
  • Brass Instruments

 

CONDENSER MICROPHONES

The condenser microphones work by powering or charging them first before plugging it into a speaker for sound. The large-diaphragm condenser microphones are susceptible and can pick up very detailed sounds. Used during the record sessions by the likes of Marmoset's music production studio, these are widely used with acoustic instruments. More and more artists are using condenser microphones for at-home recording sessions, thereby increasing demand.

 

Condenser microphones are based on an electric-charged diaphragm and backplate assembly that forms the sound. These types of microphones work on a battery. The sound waves vibrate a very thin metal where the diaphragm is, which is right in front of the backplate and can store voltage. The electric field is generated between the two pieces, making the electrical signal corresponding to the sound.

 

The structure in which a condenser microphone is made includes the additional provision of holding and maintaining electrical voltage. An electric condenser microphone can hold a permanent charge with the material on the backplate or diaphragm. All condensers also have active circuits that allow electrical outputs to be used with microphone inputs. The power comes from either batteries or phantom (charging). 

 

Some limitations condense microphones have due to the additional circuits. First, they typically produce a small amount of noise (have you ever noticed that "hum"?) And the second is that there is a limit to the max signal level for the electronics to handle. As a result, condenser microphones always have a maximum sound level, but you can still possess a broad, dynamic range of sound with a good design.

 

Condenser microphones most typically used for:

 

 

  • Voice recordings or live vocals
  • Acoustic guitar
  • Large Rooms/Conferences/Speaker Events
  • Piano
  • Bass drums

 

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DYNAMIC AND CONDENSER MICROPHONES

The fundamental difference between the two microphones is that dynamic microphones are utilized more for live recordings, such as concerts and gigs, or in any capacity where the sound needs to be reinforced, such as big conferences or rallies. On the other hand,  condenser microphones are used more for projects like films or studio recordings of music.

 

Another noticeable difference in the microphones is that condenser microphones are more complex in structure and features, so they tend to be more expensive than dynamic ones, which are relatively simple in their construction. Condenser microphones are also affected more by temperature changes, such as extreme colds and humidity, which can cause them to malfunction.

 

On the other hand, the benefit of a condenser microphone is the high sensitivity so that you produce a more smooth and natural sound, even at high frequencies. They also can be made very small and portable. 

 

 

Dynamic microphones also provide exceptional sound quality in many areas of performance. They can handle very high levels of sound. It is challenging to overwhelm the level on a dynamic microphone, and they are unaffected by changes in temperature. For this reason, dynamic microphones tend to be used more widely in general.

 

recording Levels

An important tip, especially for musicians, is to monitor your sound levels. Levels coming in need to ensure you do not push up to the dreaded "red line" because it will manipulate the output sound(clipping). Preamplifiers found in particular software and equipment you buy will be essential to the quality of your recordings.

 

 

It is crucial to adjust the volume of your microphone gains to the level you desire for adequate sound. It may take some trial and error, but it is precisely what stage musicians do when they are "warming up" before they go live in their performance. Specialized equipment and knowledge of stage gains will come in handy, so take some time to review and research if you plan to perform on stage with microphones. 

 

WHICH MICROPHONE TO CHOOSE?

The truth is that the microphone you choose will ultimately depend on what you need to use it for because it may influence your decision based on the space allotted or the access to power. And because there are so many different tastes out there when it comes to sound, what is typically used for recording may not be what you desire, and vice versa. 

 

You have to choose from many applications for your microphone so you may require more than one type. The best thing you can do is experiment with both microphones and look into different brands and styles. It may be challenging to do this, but if there is any return policy on a microphone that you can try for an extended time, then take advantage of it and see if it works for you. 

 

 

Once you have taken the time to test and experiment with the different sounds produced by the microphones, you can decide which microphone you prefer more for your projects in the future and which will best help you promote your music. Of course, the best decision is informed, so hopefully, you have gained some insight about microphones to help you in your quest.

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