Guitars sound too muffled and boxy

Problem Summary

Rock production, especially the rhythm guitars sound too muffled and boxy. They are lacking of presence.

Solution Preview

One part of the problem is also the dynamics of your rhythm guitars. Compress them a little more at least in the choruses to keep them consistently more upfront. The guitars are partially overlapping with bass frequencies, both fight each other. So another step in the solution is to lower the bass volume just a little and make sure that the bass is consistently in the mono middle, a mid/side EQ could help in this case. After that you might need to boost your rhythm guitars somewhere between 1-2 kHz, attenuate the area below that range and also add some air to them. For the exact details and settings unlock the complete solution by following the instructions below.

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Mixing / Mastering Problems?

Don’t waste your time searching for mixing tips that actually don’t fit your individual needs at all. Ask A Pro!

Kick does not cut through the mix enough

Problem Summary

Rock production, kick is not present enough and don’t cuts through the mix, especially on smaller speakers.

Solution Preview

There are a couple steps that help to make the kick more present and let it cut more through the mix: First of all low cut the kick a little to save energy for important frequencies. After that add a little bit more compression at least for the higher registers frequency wise that contains the snap of the kick. You can also boost the frequency in the high mids that make the kick hit a little better especially on smaller speakers. In this specific mix you could also add a sample which has a little more attack than the current kick. If you want to try this solutions follow the instructions below to get the complete guide including specific settings for EQ’s and compressors.

You can find the exact settings in the complete solution after unlocking the password:

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Mixing / Mastering Problems?

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Rock / Pop production sounds muddy

Problem Summary

Rock / Pop production does sound too muddy and don’t pass the car test.

Solution Preview

To solve this problem you need to add another EQ as insert on your Bass Mix Bus with a notch filter at a specific frequency. You also need to add one more EQ as insert on your Stereo Mix Bus with a wide dynamic m/s filter on a specific frequency area.

You can find the exact settings in the complete solution after unlocking the password:

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You`ll need a password to get the complete solution. To receive your password just send the amount listed below through PayPal.


Mixing / Mastering Problems?

Don’t waste your time searching for mixing tips that actually don’t fit your individual needs at all. Ask A Pro!

What is a “hybrid studio”?

First of all it´s about analog and digital equipment used in a studio. You can mix music entirely on a computer (aka “in the box”) these days. There is actually no need of analog gear except from a AD/DA converter (converts analog audio signals into digital audio signals and the other way around).

In the early days, when there have not been computers in a studio, it was all analog. Huge analog consoles and lots of analog audio processing electronics. So there are actually two domains: analog mixing and digital mixing.

The big benefits we have today is to combine best of both worlds. And in this case we are talking about a “hybrid studio”. In a hybrid studio setup is most commonly a computer the center of the whole production. But next to the computer there is also analog outboard gear used to take over on specific reasons.

Advantages of analog gear
Even we have lots of possibilities in recreating and emulating special sounds on a digital basis, there are always some reasons to use the original analog gear once in a time. And the main reason is “character”. Analog gear does react to the sound in another way than digital software does. Depending on how hard you hit analog gear with an incoming signal it may add distortion and / or saturation to the signal in a musical way. Especially when it comes to compressors for example. Using an analog compressor is something else than using an digital compressor. What does not mean that digital compressors aren´t good, they are just different.

Disadvantages of analog gear
The special character of analog gear has some disadvantages where working in the box is a lot easier. First of all it´s the possibility to recreate an earlier setting. Or just a recall of an earlier setting. When it comes to software driven equipment you can easily save your settings and reload it every time you need it. On analog gear you have to take notes or photos of the settings and you have to save them anywhere. To reset the settings you have to pull up these notes and you have to go through every single parameter to set it up the way it was before.

The next disadvantage is simply space. Analog gear might take a lot of space. And when you just need it once in a while it´s just a lot of dead space you could better use for something else. Next to the space, the price is also a big disadvantage. Real good analog gear just has still it´s price. It´s the purchase, the maintenance and the electricity.

Advantages of mixing in the box
Mixing in a box has definitely it´s advantages these days. Once you are familiar with it and know your DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) in and out you really can make a lot of really good sounding music just on a laptop. The entrance into it isn´t that expensive as it would be on analog gear, you need less space and you can always save and open it up again.

Disadvantages of mixing in the box
But even when it´s so much easier in some cases in the box there are also some disadvantages. To get the best out of it you really need to know how to use it and how to create a good sound. Sure it is the same when it comes to analog gear but one of the problems of mixing in the box in this case is the huge amount of possibilities. Let´s take the example from above: a compressor. In an analog studio you might have a couple compressors and you have to decide about what could benefit the most from it. In the box you could easily use 10 different compressors on every single channel. But does that help? Certainly not.

When you use analog gear it adds a certain sound to a specific signal. It may do things to the audio that just sound good, even you don´t know what this thing is actually doing. An audio signal in the box is what it is. It sounds like the mic or the DI box has captured it and you need to dial a couple things in to make it sound really good. Don´t get me wrong both worlds assume some knowledge, but it feels like the analog domain is a little more natural than the digital domain what might make it a little more easier to achieve a sound that we are used to.

Combining both worlds
Luckily we are in a good situation these days. We don´t have to limit ourselves on one of both worlds. We can just hook them up together to mix in a box WITH analog outboard gear. And in my humble opinion this is the best we can do these days. When can mix a complete song in a box but when it´s necessary we can easily add analog character to it on the flight. And that is what a hybrid studio matters. A computer in the center of it all and some selected analog gear to add in to taste.

Corrective Room EQ

Corrective Room EQ

Monitor / Room Frequency Response Measurement

In some cases it absolutely makes sense to use an additional corrective room EQ even you have a well treated room from the audio perspective. A room EQ might be easier to set up than a very good acoustic treatment for your room but it also has it´s disadvantages.

How a room EQ works

A room EQ is set as the last peace in your output chain directly before the monitors. What the room EQ is than doing is to adjust the frequencies so that the result is an almost flat response. A corrective room EQ can not replace a good acoustic treatment in your room, but it should be seen as a additional supplement in some cases. To make it all possible you have to measure your room before to give the room EQ the proper information it needs to adjust the frequencies. For example it needs to know if you have any kind of standing waves in your room, the EQ can than disable by lowering the output for the specific frequency range.

So you need a measuring microphone and a software to measure the frequency response of your room. The software I use is “Sonarworks SoundID reference”. This is an all in one solution, depending on the package it also includes a measuring microphone. It also contains the measuring software as well as the final room EQ you can run as a standalone solution on your device but also as a VST Plugin within your DAW.

Sonarworks SoundID reference

If you want to check out Sonarworks SoundID reference software hit one of the following links depending on your location:

link for the USD offer

link for the EUR offer

Room Measuring

After you have installed the software you have to connect the microphone to your interface. Simply follow the instructions from the software for the proper setup for your system.

Is everything set up correctly the measurement can begin. The software will now send a click sound through your monitors which is caught by the microphone to locate the position of the microphone. Once the position is located the software runs a frequency sweep through the monitors. Now the microphone can measure the room response of the frequency sweep at a specific position. This progress will be repeated for about 30 locations in your room. This will bring enough data to the software to finally set up the room EQ.

Measuring Results

The picture above is the result of my latest room measurement. As you can see it is everything else than flat. As I have expected the is some trouble going on in the low end, as well as a build up in the top end. And even the mid range has it´s ups and downs.

This pictures shows you the calibration the EQ does with the data from the measurement to achieve an almost flat frequency resonse.

And this is the result of the measurement and the final room EQ. It´s almost completely flat from about 100 Hz up to the top. Everything below 80 Hz can´t be flat in my case because of the monitors. They can´t reproduce a solid low end and I´m not using an additional subwoofer. Something that isn´t there can´t be fixed with a room EQ.

Disadvantages from a room EQ

You have always to check back the room EQ. Because it can bring some problems in. For example phase problems. The more an EQ has to change frequencies, the more it can lead to phase cancellations.

The next thing is a small latency between the right and the left monitor for example. Sometimes there can be false information within the measurement process and when the room EQ tries to fix latency or delay problems, which hasn´t been a real problem before, can lead to problems with the stereo image and the perceived stereo center.

For example: to place a vocal directly into the middle between two speakers it´s necessary to reproduce the same signal at the same time on both speakers. When the room EQ tries to fix a delay problem, and delays a signal, even when it´s just a couple milliseconds, it will loose the perceived stereo center and it feels like the vocals appear more on the left and the right side.

Conclusion: Corrective Room EQ

All in all it really can help a lot and can make a huge difference in some circumstances. A room EQ can help to improve your monitor situation in your room and it can also identify some problems. But it also is very important to know your room and your monitors and to check back with reference tracks for example. When you have bad monitors in an untreated room, the room EQ can not hep you that much. The most important thing is the room treatment, the next important thing are the monitors itself and than afterwards you can bring the room EQ into the game.

What is an independent or indie artist?

home recording

An independent or indie artist is an artist who publish his music on his own. An independent artist is so to say self-employed, an entrepreneur, in the music business who is doing, next to the whole music thing, the management and the marketing for example.

Modern music industry

These days it is as easy to publish music as it never was before. Everyone who has a computer with an internet connection can upload music to the common music streaming platforms at almost zero costs.

Also music production became way easier than let’s say 20 years ago. Modern technology makes it possible, that these huge recording studios are not absolutely necessary.

That’s why many artists start to record their music on their own in the rehearsal room for example. That makes record deals almost unnecessary.

These artists who publish their own music on their own are called independent artists or easily indie artists (has nothing necessarily to do with the genre). Because that is what they are: independent.

The complete business

But that also means they have to do everything else what’s around the music as well on their own.

They have to be the songwriters, the Instrumentalists and vocalists, the producers and often also the engineers.

But next to it they have to be managers, booking agents, artwork creatives, marketing experts and so on.

It´s not just writing songs, playing an instrument and to sing along. You have also to record the songs in a quality that is comfortable to listen to and carries the emotion of the song. Also you have to mix and arrange the song in a good structure, that fits the art on the one hand but also makes it possible to sell the song. After that you have to make it fit to streaming platforms or CD formats and to be sure it sounds the best it can on all different devices. Not to forget that old kitchen radio and modern bluetooth speakers.

But after that the job ain´t done. Actually the hard works starts right now. Because all the work isn´t it worth when nobody listens to the songs. So you have to make sure to get it heard. You have to make the artwork for the song, the video(s), you have to provide the platforms with the lyrics and additional informations. You have to send it to curators for playlists and radio stations and so on. You have to manage the library so that the older songs are not forgotten over the newer releases. You have to engage with the fans.

I think you can slowly imagine what´s all connected to it.

A lot of hard work

All together is really a lot of work. It needs a lot of organisation to get it all done and stay creative at the same time.

It can also cost a lot of money. Especially in the beginning. And also especially in the beginning the return on investment is, let’s say, unavailable.

Let’s talk numbers

You know what an artist gets per stream? It’s currently about 0,003 $ per stream, but only when you listen to at least 30 seconds of the song. That has changed the whole structure of modern music and release strategies. It’s necessary to keep the intros short and to enter the first chorus within these first 30 seconds. Also the whole songs are getting shorter as what they used to be before the streaming era. When a song is about 6 minutes long you get also 0.003 $ per stream. So when a song would only be 3 minutes long you could double the amount of return when two streams are counted in the same time.

So let’s say you need about 1,500 $ to make an average living. In streams it would be 500.000 streams. And to reach 500.000 streams on a monthly basis is really a lot of hard work. Especially when you think of that are about 60.000 new songs are uploaded to Spotify daily.

Everything has it’s pros and cons. It has never been easier to be an independent artist but to make a living out of it seems to be more difficult than it has ever been before. That’s why signing a contract on a huge label definitely has it’s right to exist.

What you can do to support your favorite independent artist

Software driven platforms

It’s all about the algorithms. Not only social media but streaming platforms as well are algorithm driven. All these platforms make a living of their users. So they will keep you on their platform as long as possible. To achieve this, it is necessary that you are given the content you are really interested in. And that is where the algorithms comes in. The software analysis you as the customer and the content to find the best next fit.

But the algorithms can not work without proper data. And that is where you come in turn. Because of there is not data available for new artists and new music. But you can help to gain that data without any costs.

What you can do for free

Hit the like buttons on the songs you like, share them with your friends and family and also in your own playlists. Feed the algorithms with proper data so that it can come to work and suggest the new songs to others listener that might like the music to gain streams.

It’s also important to make connections. Add new songs together with other artists that fit together in your playlist. Also cross over to social media, like and comment posts. A huge impact would be when you name artists together. For example in a story “hey I found this great track from artist a. It sounds a little similar to this track from artist b”. You know what I mean?

Follow your artists on their social media accounts and even better join their email lists because it also helps a lot to stay in tune on upcoming releases. It’s important how many streams and songs gets especially in the first hours. If there are enough streams in a short period of time the algorithms notice that and become aware of what is happening with this special song.

So it’s up to you to support your favorite artists and help them out to keep up with making and publishing new music. They don’t have these huge marketing budgets to buy into the proper data for the algorithms or drive huge campaigns on their releases. They are reliant on you, on their fans.

Talking for myself as being an independent artist as well: thank you very much for your support so far. You all make it possible for me to do what I love to do! Can´t say it often enough: Thank you 🙂

Human Mastering vs. AI Mastering

Introducing the Artistry of Human Mastering: Elevating Music to New Heights

In an era defined by technological advancements, the power of AI has undeniably made its mark across various domains. However, when it comes to the nuanced craft of music mastering, human expertise remains unparalleled. Here’s why:

1. Aesthetic Sensibility: Mastering music is not solely about achieving technical perfection; it involves infusing emotion, creativity, and subjective interpretation. Human mastering engineers possess an inherent ability to understand the artistic intent behind a composition, allowing them to tailor the mastering process to enhance the desired emotional impact. Their trained ears and musical sensibility enable them to make delicate adjustments, applying subtle nuances that AI algorithms may struggle to capture.

2. Contextual Understanding: Music is deeply influenced by cultural, historical, and genre-specific contexts. Human mastering engineers possess an extensive knowledge of diverse musical styles, ensuring that the mastering process respects and aligns with the conventions and expectations of the intended audience. This contextual understanding enables them to make informed decisions about tonal balance, dynamic range, and overall fidelity, resulting in a polished product that resonates with the listeners.

3. Collaboration and Communication: Mastering is a collaborative effort between the artist and the engineer. By working hand-in-hand, human mastering engineers build relationships with artists, gaining insight into their vision and aspirations. This collaborative approach allows for effective communication and the ability to adapt the mastering process to meet the artist’s specific needs. The invaluable exchange of ideas and feedback fosters an environment of mutual trust, where the artist’s unique identity is preserved and enhanced.

4. Flexibility and Adaptability: Music often calls for unconventional techniques, experimental sounds, and distinct sonic signatures. Human mastering engineers possess the flexibility to adapt their approach, thinking outside the box to bring out the best in each composition. They have the ability to experiment, iterate, and explore different possibilities, tailoring the mastering process to suit the unique characteristics of the music, resulting in a final product that is truly distinctive.

5. Legacy and Expertise: Throughout history, music has been shaped and elevated by the hands of skilled mastering engineers. They carry with them a rich legacy of experience, knowledge, and techniques passed down through generations. This accumulated wisdom, combined with their adaptability to modern tools and technology, allows human mastering engineers to provide a holistic approach that respects tradition while embracing innovation.

While AI mastering undoubtedly offers convenience and efficiency, the human touch remains an irreplaceable aspect of the mastering process. It is this blend of technical mastery, artistic sensibility, and collaborative spirit that enables human mastering engineers to bring out the full potential of every musical composition, creating an immersive and transcendent listening experience.

Free Mastering

Simple Life Studio Mixing and Mastering country and rock online!

You have just finished your mix and now you need somebody with fresh ears to get the most out of it, to help it translate to any possible listening device and to bring it up to the desired volume?

We are here to master your song & to polish your latest hard work for your fans!

An AI can only reproduce what already exists!
Humans can create something completely new!

We are offering a special service exclusively to new customers. We are mastering one track per new customer for free.

Try before you buy!

It´s easy as that:

  • sign up with your email address
  • send us your final mixdown via WeTransfer*
  • get back your final master you can instantly upload to streaming platforms for example

It will cost you: nothing!

If you like what we have done to your mix you have a great master you can instantly publish. Just in case you don´t like it: you’ve nothing lost!

Free Mastering

Sign up with your email address via the following form.

After your signup you´ll get a confirmation mail (also check your spam folder) with a link that will direct you to a page where you can upload your final mixdown via WeTransfer*.

As soon as we have received your audio file we will do the final touches and send back your master, which you can then publish on streaming platforms for example.

Sign up with your email address to get your free master!

Our Mastering is absolutely for free!
The first song will cost you nothing!

Your benefits:

  • easy workflow – all you need to do is upload your mixdown file.
  • quick workaround – you’ll get back your mastered file within two days
  • you get a great sounding track you can instantly show your friends & fans – for free!

BUT don’t wait too long – there are only a couple limited slots for free mastering left!

Mastering Sample

There is a snippet of a song called “Ride Or Die” running through the mixing console below. The left version is just the finished mix before the mastering and the right version is the finally mastered version.


What is Mastering?

Mastering is the final step in music production. It’s about adding the last tweaks, bringing it up to a proper volume and make it translate to any music listening device. For mastering we just need the final stereo mixdown file, except when it comes to stem mastering, what’s not a part of the “free mastering offer”!

Difference between Mixing and Mastering?

Mixing is like bringing it all together. All recordings, all Instruments and additional effects were brought together to one single piece of music. It’s about setting the right volumes for each track as well as placing them throughout the panorama. It’s also about adding effects like reverbs and such. (Mixing is not included in the “free mastering offer”)
Mastering is just about the final stereo mixdown of the mix. It’s adding the final tweaks, brings up the volume and makes the song translate to any listening device.

* What is WeTransfer?

WeTransfer is an online service to send large files all over the world. You don´t need an account to send us your mix and it´s completely for free on your side!


Recording Acoustic Guitar

We are here for independent artist – and nothing else!
Professional sounding productions for any possible budgets!

Toby Schuetgens – Audio Engineer

Talking about prices when it comes to mixing and mastering country & rock music is quite difficult. We don’t have any fix rates, but there are several possibilities for all budgets. It’s depending on the size of your project, the number of additional changes / reviews etc. We have also done complete projects for free or projects where the artists paid what they could.

A common price range:

Just to set up a rough price range here is what we usually charge about for a typical production per song:

Mixing: ~ $350 | Mastering: ~ $75

Don’t get too attached to these numbers. These can vary extremely in one direction or the other depending on the size of your project, necessary edits like vocal tuning and time alignment, number of reviews etc.

The easiest way to realize your project while keeping it on budget is to talk about it first.

Just shoot us a message via the following form and tell us as much possible about what you plan to do and what services you need to inquire for an individual offer.

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