Unlocking Success: How Independent Artists Can Produce High-Quality Music Without Breaking the Bank

In the pursuit of a career as an independent artist, the dream of turning passion into a sustainable profession often feels like a distant goal. However, with the digital landscape providing unprecedented opportunities, realizing this dream is within reach for many. One of the core challenges faced by aspiring musicians is delivering high-quality content consistently without draining financial resources. Let’s delve into the intricacies of this challenge and explore innovative solutions that can revolutionize your journey as an independent artist.

The path to success in the music industry is paved with consistent releases. Experts advise releasing new music every four to five weeks to maintain relevance and engage your audience effectively. As an independent artist, I’ve experimented with this strategy myself, pushing boundaries by releasing cover versions, remixes, and alternate renditions of existing tracks alongside original compositions. Each release garnered incremental traction, highlighting the importance of a regular content schedule.

Yet, amidst the enthusiasm for frequent releases lies a formidable obstacle: the quest for high-quality production within tight timeframes and budget constraints. Many artists grapple with the dilemma of either investing substantial time to master the intricacies of music production or allocating significant financial resources to engage professional engineers. However, there exists a middle ground that offers a pragmatic solution to this conundrum.

Investing in a modest recording setup comprising a decent microphone, interface, and essential software can serve as a cost-effective foundation for your musical endeavors. With these tools at your disposal, you can embark on a journey of self-learning, gradually honing your recording and production skills from the comfort of your own space. This initial investment, typically around $1000, empowers you to take control of your creative process and eliminates the need for exorbitant studio fees.

However, recognizing the value of professional expertise is paramount. While self-production may suffice for preliminary recordings, enlisting the services of an experienced engineer or producer can elevate your tracks to industry standards. By focusing solely on mixing, mastering, and refining your raw recordings, you can significantly reduce production costs without compromising on quality. Additionally, exploring alternative resources such as pre-made beats or sample libraries can further streamline the production process and minimize expenses.

Embracing this hybrid approach not only optimizes your budget but also cultivates a symbiotic relationship between artistic autonomy and professional collaboration. By leveraging your skills and resources judiciously, you can navigate the competitive landscape of the music industry with confidence and resilience. Moreover, adopting a pragmatic mindset towards investment and innovation empowers you to adapt to evolving trends and seize opportunities for growth.

As you embark on your journey as an independent artist, remember that success is not defined solely by commercial acclaim or financial gain. It is a multifaceted pursuit fueled by passion, perseverance, and a commitment to artistic integrity. By embracing creativity, resourcefulness, and collaboration, you can defy conventional barriers and carve out a distinctive niche in the vibrant tapestry of the music industry. Together, let us embark on this transformative odyssey, fueled by the unwavering belief in the power of music to inspire, unite, and transcend.

If you found this article insightful, consider sharing it with fellow independent artists seeking to thrive in an ever-evolving landscape. Your support fuels our collective journey towards creative fulfillment and sustainable success. Stay tuned for more empowering insights, practical tips, and inspiring stories to fuel your artistic aspirations. Until then, keep creating, innovating, and embracing the limitless potential of your musical vision.

In conclusion, the journey of an independent artist is marked by numerous challenges, yet it is also brimming with boundless opportunities for innovation and growth. By embracing a strategic approach to production, leveraging technology, and nurturing collaborative partnerships, you can unlock the true potential of your musical aspirations. Remember, success is not a destination but a dynamic evolution fueled by passion, perseverance, and a relentless pursuit of excellence. As you navigate the intricate terrain of the music industry, may you find inspiration, fulfillment, and profound joy in every note, chord, and melody you create.

How to set up a Tape Effect in Cubase

Bringing in some cool effects grabs the listeners attention and adds some kind of new dimensions to your production. In this tutorial we are talking about a tape effect – more in detail a speeding up tape effect.

1. Add Tempo Track

First of all you need to add a tempo track to your session. This is where you can write tempo automations. For this effect we are starting with a very slow tempo and speeding it up to the original tempo the track was recorded in.

2. Adding a group bus

The next step is to add a group bus for all the tracks that should be effected from the tape effect. On this bus we are setting up some more effects to automate later to give the whole effect some more natural feeling.

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3. Double the part where you want to add the tape effect

In the video I have double the whole first bar which should be affected from the tape effect. You don’t necessarily need to double that part, but it helps to keep an overview of what you are actually doing.

4. Resize the clips

This is the reason why we have doubled the first bar. After setting the tempo, cubase shortens the clips to fit the grid again. Grab the time stretching tool, to stretch the copied clips back to it’s original size.

5. Add pitch shifting plugin

Now add a pitch shifting plugin to the group bus you have set up earlier. Automate the pitch for the time the tempo needs to speed up. In this specific example through the whole first bar. Start with the pitch a whole octave down and bring the pitch back up to the original pitch.

6. Add filters

Finally add some filters like low and high cut filters and automate them as well.

This way you can set up a really cool effect that sounds like an old walkman for example that runs out of battery power and needs awhile until the tape reaches the original speed. That whole thing also works the other way around. Instead of speeding up the tempo at the beginning you would slow it down at the end.

The additional filters take care of some natural sounding experience. Without the filters that are changing pitch and the frequency range, this effect would sound unfamiliar. Because analog tape machines that don’t run the proper tempo would also change the pitch and frequency range. So we need to simulate that in a digital environment.

By the way: This whole process can also be a part of your own signature sound. Even audio engineering is an art form. It’s also about pushing boundaries and creating something new. If you need some more ideas about developing unique sounds download our FREE SIGNATURE SOUND CHEAT SHEET now!

Latest YouTube Videos:

Delays & Reverbs in Cubase
How to mix a solid low end on your bass guitar
How to mix a solid low end on your bass guitar
Analog Mix Bus
Analog Mix Bus

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    Embarking on the journey of home recording brings both excitement and a wealth of opportunities. This comprehensive guide takes you from the very basics to mastering advanced techniques. Whether you’re a novice eager to learn or a seasoned engineer seeking to refine your skills, our aim is to empower you with knowledge and tools that propel you toward success in the world of home recording.
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How to Make MIDI Drums Sound Realistic

How to make midi drums sound realistic

One of the biggest problems in homerecording is a really good drum sound. For most Homestudio owners it’s almost impossible to record an entire drum kit for a song. This is why most of us are forced to program midi drums. In this blog article you get some ideas on how to make MIDI drums sound realistic.

Watch “How to make MIDI drums sound realistic” on YouTube:

How to make midi drums sound realistic
How to make midi drums sound realistic

1. Converting MIDI to Audio:

Turning your MIDI drum patterns into audio is the first step towards achieving a lifelike sound. Here’s how to do it:

a. Choose Quality Drum Samples:

Begin by selecting high-quality drum samples. The quality of your samples plays a significant role in the realism of your drum tracks. Look for libraries that offer a wide range of articulations and velocity layers for each drum element.

b. Humanize Your MIDI Performance:

MIDI drum patterns can often sound too robotic. To make them sound more human, use velocity modulation to create variations in the strength of each hit. Additionally, slightly adjust the timing of each note to mimic the natural imperfections of a human drummer.

c. Add Realistic Articulations:

Real drummers use various techniques to create dynamic and realistic drumming patterns. Experiment with techniques like ghost notes, accenting certain hits, and using drum rolls to add expressiveness to your MIDI performance.

2. Simulating Room Microphones and Overheads:

Creating a convincing sense of space is essential for realism in drum sounds. Here’s how to simulate room microphones and overheads:

a. Room Ambience:

To emulate the sound of room microphones, consider using reverb plugins or convolution reverbs. These tools allow you to apply the characteristics of different acoustic spaces to your drum tracks, adding depth and realism.

b. Overhead Microphones:

Overhead microphones capture the overall sound of the drum kit. You can simulate this by panning two virtual microphones slightly left and right, capturing the stereo image of the kit. Adjust the levels to find the right balance between the close-miked drums and the overheads.

c. Bleed and Crosstalk:

To make your drum mix sound even more authentic, consider adding a touch of “bleed” or “crosstalk” between different drum tracks. This simulates the fact that microphones on a real drum kit will pick up some sound from adjacent drums.

In conclusion, achieving realistic drum sounds from MIDI files is a combination of selecting the right samples, humanizing your performance, and simulating the natural acoustics of a drum kit. By following these techniques, you can elevate your music productions to a whole new level, making your MIDI drums sound like they were recorded by a seasoned pro. So go ahead, experiment, and create drum tracks that leave your listeners in awe. I hope this “how to make MIDI drums sound realistic” helps you a lot.

DAW used in this video: Cubase 12 Pro with Groove Agent and additional Sample Packs from steinberg. Get Cubase at musicstore.com

Most of the Plugins were Cubase Stock Plugins except from the Scheps Omni Channel and the CLA 1176 which are both available at waves.com

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How to make MIDI drums sound realistic

Creating Depth in a Mix: Pro Tips for a 3D Sound

creating depth in your mix like a pro

Creating depth in a mix is crucial for a three dimensional and atmospheric sound experience. Creating depth is one of the first steps in mixing as soon as the rough / static mix is done. The easiest ways to bring an instrument further back in a mix are:

  • lowering the higher frequency registers with a high shelf EQ or cutting the high end at all with a low pass / high cut filter.
  • adding reverb with shorter or no predelay
  • compression with longer release time

Learn exactly how to dial in the equalizer, compression and reverbs to bring an instrument further back in a mix in this blog article.

Watch “Creating depth in a mix” on YouTube:

Depth in audio mix refers to the spatial positioning of sound elements within a mix. When done correctly, it can make your audio content sound immersive and dynamic, drawing your audience deeper into the experience. To achieve this, you’ll need to employ various techniques and utilize specific tools. Let’s dive in.

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Understanding Depth in Audio Mix:

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of how to create depth, it’s essential to understand what depth means in the context of audio mixing. Depth is often divided into three main dimensions:

  1. Foreground: This is where the primary sound elements or instruments reside. It’s what the listener focuses on and is typically the loudest and clearest part of the mix.
  2. Midground: The midground contains supporting elements that provide context and texture to the mix. These elements are slightly quieter than the foreground but play a crucial role in creating depth.
  3. Background: These are the elements that sit furthest back in the mix, often providing ambience, space, and atmosphere. They add a sense of depth by placing the listener in a specific sonic environment.

When it’s about visual elements there is an obvious difference between objects that are closer and objects that are far away. Compared to the closer object the further back element is smaller and has blurry outlines. At some point it’s just kind of an spot left with a specific color.

When it comes to audio it’s almost the same. First of all you need some kind of reference. One instrument can only sound like further away, when another instrument is really close. Compared to the closer instrument the further back instrument seems blurred until there is only a small area of frequencies left to barely identify a specific instrument. The following techniques and tools are a good help to acheive more depth:

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Techniques for Creating Depth in your mix:

1. Panning and Stereo Imaging:

  • Experiment with panning to place instruments and sounds in the stereo field.
  • Use stereo imaging plugins to widen or narrow the perceived space of an audio element. But be careful with widening plugins, they might cause phase issues at some point.

2. Reverb and Delay:

  • Apply reverb to create the illusion of space, placing sounds in different acoustic environments.
  • Play with the predelay time. Imagine you are in a room with two guitarists. One is really close to you and the other one is at the other end of the room. The direct sonic from the close
  • Use delay to add depth by introducing echoes or reflections.

3. EQ and Frequency Separation:

  • Use EQ to carve out space for each instrument, preventing frequency clashes. At his point it might help to switch to mono on your monitoring chain. This helps to find points where frequency ranges of different elements cover each other.
  • Consider low-pass and high-pass filters to push certain elements into the background.

4. Automation:

  • Automate volume levels to make certain elements more prominent at specific points in the mix.
  • When it’s about the specific reference elements in your mix automation can help to change the distance between instrument throughout the mix to make it more dynamic and increase the feeling of depth in your mix.

5. Layering and Doubling:

  • Layer instruments to add richness and depth.
  • Double-track vocals or instruments to create a sense of space and width.

6. Depth through Arrangement:

  • Arrange your tracks thoughtfully, placing elements with similar frequencies apart from each other to prevent masking.
  • Even in the recording stage before the mixing you can create depth by placing microphones differently.

Tools for Creating Depth:

Most DAW’s come with really powerful stock plugin. You can try these first but just in case you’d like to try something more the following plugins a worth a try.

1. Reverb Plugins:

  • Explore reverb plugins like Valhalla Room or FabFilter Pro-R for realistic spatial effects.

2. Delay Plugins:

  • Consider delay plugins such as Soundtoys Echoboy or Waves H-Delay for creative depth.

3. Equalization Plugins:

  • Use EQ plugins like iZotope Ozone EQ or Waves Q10 for precise frequency control.

4. Stereo Imaging Tools:

  • Experiment with stereo imaging plugins like iZotope Imager or Waves S1 Stereo Imager.






Creating depth in your audio mix is a crucial step in delivering a captivating and immersive listening experience. By understanding the dimensions of depth, employing the right techniques, and using the appropriate tools, you can take your audio content to the next level, leaving your audience in awe of your three-dimensional soundscapes. So, don’t hesitate to experiment and refine your skills to achieve the perfect audio mix with depth. With your unique way of creating depth you can develop your own signature sound as well. Your listeners will thank you for it.

THIS is how you REALLY create depth in your mix
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    Embarking on the journey of home recording brings both excitement and a wealth of opportunities. This comprehensive guide takes you from the very basics to mastering advanced techniques. Whether you’re a novice eager to learn or a seasoned engineer seeking to refine your skills, our aim is to empower you with knowledge and tools that propel you toward success in the world of home recording.

What no one tells you about mixing in mono

what no one tells you about mixing in mono

Mixing in mono is a technique often overlooked by many in the music production world. While it may sound like a simple process of converting your stereo mix into a mono one, it’s much more than that. Mixing in mono can be a game-changer for achieving a well-balanced and professional sound in your music. When mixing in mono it’s not just about the translation of your mix on a mono device. It’s more about to achieve a clean mix in general. When you switch to mono on your monitoring chain you can instantly find the spots where frequencies of different instruments are overlapping and canceling each other out. Let’s dive into why it matters and how it can transform your mixing skills.

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what no one tells you about mixing in mono
what no one tells you about mixing in mono

1. Beyond Mono Playback Devices

The first misconception about mixing in mono is that it’s only about ensuring your music sounds good on mono playback devices. While this is an essential aspect, the benefits of mixing in mono extend far beyond this. It helps you identify and resolve issues related to frequency overlap, phase cancellation, and muddiness, which ultimately improve the mix’s quality regardless of the playback system.

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2. Uncovering Frequency Overlaps

One of the significant advantages of mixing in mono is its ability to reveal frequency conflicts that are often masked in stereo listening. In stereo, the spatial separation can hide the fact that different elements of your mix may be competing for the same frequency range. Mixing in mono forces you to confront these issues head-on, leading to a cleaner and more defined sound.

3. Cleaning Up Your Mix

Mixing in mono compels you to pay closer attention to individual tracks and their sonic characteristics. You’ll find yourself making precise EQ adjustments and addressing issues like excessive reverb or delayed signals that can be more pronounced in mono. This meticulous approach leads to a cleaner mix with each element having its own space in the frequency spectrum.

4. Improved Separation Between Elements

The ultimate goal of mixing in mono is to achieve a high level of separation between each element in your mix. As you address frequency conflicts and clean up your mix, instruments and vocals can be heard distinctly, creating a sense of clarity and transparency. This separation is crucial for every element to shine and contribute to the overall sonic picture.

5. Better Mix Translation

Mixing in mono also enhances the translation of your mix across various playback systems. Since mono compatibility is ensured, you can be confident that your mix will sound good on mono devices while still maintaining its quality on stereo systems. This is essential for reaching a broader audience and ensuring your music sounds great everywhere.

By the way:

In this blog article we are talking about switching to mono in your monitoring chain. It’s often useful to use different filters in your monitoring chain. This way you can not only switch to mono, you can also simulate different listening devices such as small speakers, cars oder bluetooth speakers. A great tool to simulate different listening environments is Sonarworks ID Reference. Next to that it is a great tool to calibrate your monitors or headphones. If you would like to find out more, hit the following link:

US: Sonarworks ID Reference

EU: Sonarworks ID Reference

To read more about calibrating your monitors with a corrective EQ click here to find our dedicated blog article.


In the world of audio production, the importance of mixing in mono cannot be overstated. It’s not just about making your music suitable for mono playback devices; it’s a powerful technique for addressing frequency conflicts, cleaning up your mix, and achieving a remarkable separation between elements. By integrating mixing in mono into your workflow, you can elevate the quality of your music productions and create mixes that truly stand out in the crowded music industry. Don’t let this valuable technique remain a secret any longer—start mixing in mono today and unlock its full potential.

Ask Audio Engineer Toby Schuetgens from Simple Life Studio to mix & master our song!

If you need your own tracks to be mixed or mastered, hit the button above and feel free to reach out.

What no one tells you about mixing in mono

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  • From Novice to Pro: Navigating the World of Home Recording for Audio Engineers
    Embarking on the journey of home recording brings both excitement and a wealth of opportunities. This comprehensive guide takes you from the very basics to mastering advanced techniques. Whether you’re a novice eager to learn or a seasoned engineer seeking to refine your skills, our aim is to empower you with knowledge and tools that propel you toward success in the world of home recording.

From Novice to Pro: Navigating the World of Home Recording for Audio Engineers

Embarking on a journey in home recording is an exciting endeavor that opens up a world of possibilities for audio engineers of all skill levels from novice to pro. Whether you’re taking your first steps or looking to elevate your expertise, this guide will serve as your compass through the intricate landscape of home recording. With clear and straightforward insights, we’ll navigate through essential concepts, gear recommendations, and practical techniques to help you transition from a novice to pro audio engineer.

The Foundation: Understanding Home Recording Basics

Before diving into the technical intricacies, let’s establish a solid foundation. Explore the purpose of home recording, the significance of capturing high-quality audio, and how it fits into the broader world of audio engineering.

Essential Gear for Your Home Recording Studio

Creating a functional home recording studio doesn’t require a multitude of equipment. Discover the key essentials that form the core of your setup. From microphones and headphones to audio interfaces and digital audio workstations (DAWs), we’ll guide you through smart gear choices that align with your goals.

When it comes to DAWs there is no good or bad anymore. It’s just about personal preferences and needs. When there is an audible difference between modern DAWs it does not play a significant role in the whole process. There are some kind of genre related industry standards. Or it’s more about engineers who are working with a lot of physical recorded stuff tend to use another DAW than engineers who do a lot of electronic / digital production.

Talking for myself: I’m a cubase user since my first hour. As a teenager I made a couple recordings during the guitar lessons. Starting out with an analog 8-track tape recorder we started with a very early cubase version. This happend during the 90’s. Since then I stuck to cubase for a comfort reason.

You can start with a cubase version like this (click here) and upgrade with your needs. Or you could try reaper. It’s a very good DAW and because of it’s an open source project it’s available at a cheap description model: Try reaper here.

Demystifying Acoustics and Room Treatment

Understanding acoustics is pivotal to achieving pristine sound recordings. Delve into the basics of sound waves, reflections, and resonances. Learn how to optimize your recording environment with simple and cost-effective room treatment solutions. Room treatment is important for multiple reasons but at the same time not too important at all. It’s almost more important to really know your room and it’s sonic behaviors. It really helps to listen to music a lot at the place you want to mix music. What also helps a lot is to measure your room. Take a look at the measurements and try to listen for the result when you just listen to music.

Recording Techniques for Every Situation

Recording different instruments and vocals demands versatile techniques. Explore step-by-step guides for recording vocals, acoustic instruments, electric guitars, and more. Gain the confidence to tackle any recording scenario and capture the essence of each performance.

Elevating Your Mix: Introduction to Mixing and Editing

Step into the world of mixing and editing with a beginner-friendly approach. Uncover the art of EQ adjustments, dynamic processing, and panning. Learn to edit audio clips, remove imperfections, and create seamless transitions. There are really a lot of possibilities in the modern world of audio production. It’s a big advantage of the digital age but can also be big disadvantage at the same time. Having too many possibilities can actually lead to lack of creativity. Limiting your digital toolbox helps to make creative decisions. It’s the same about timing and pitch editing. These days we can easily make vocals technically perfect, but technically perfect doesn’t sound natural and does not transport emotions very well. It might be necessary to edit vocals pitch and timing wise but making them perfect can be contra productive. Same when it’s about drums. Slightly off timing might give the whole performance some kind of a human touch every ow and then. It’s about finding the right amount that fits the song you’re working on.

The Art of Polishing: Mastering Your Recordings

Mastering adds the final touch to your recordings, ensuring they sound consistent and professional across different platforms. Explore the basics of mastering, from maximizing loudness to finalizing the track order for an album or EP release.

Troubleshooting and Optimizing Your Home Recordings

As you progress, challenges may arise. Learn to troubleshoot common issues like background noise, phase problems, and clipping. Discover optimization techniques to streamline your workflow and enhance your productivity. Keep in mind that’s not all about right’s and wrong’s or technical do’s and don’ts. It’s still art, we are producing music. Trust your ears, train your ears and develop your own style. Learn about the industry standards but see them as a kind of frame you can really be creative within. Download our Free Signature Sound Cheat Sheet here to learn more about some steps that might help you creating your own individual style.

Creating Studio-Quality Sound at Home: A Comprehensive Guide for Audio Engineers

The dream of achieving studio-quality sound right from the comfort of your home is now a reality for audio engineers. With advancements in technology and a wealth of knowledge at your fingertips, creating impeccable recordings in your bedroom studio has never been more attainable. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll take you through a step-by-step journey to help you craft studio-grade soundscapes that rival professional recording studios.

The Fundamentals of Sound Quality

Before diving into the technical aspects, it’s essential to understand the core principles of sound quality. Explore concepts like frequency, amplitude, and dynamic range. Learn how these elements interact to shape the sonic character of your recordings. You don’t necessarily have to study audio engineering at an dedicated school. You can also learn the basic yourself due to YouTube tutorials for example. But you need any kind of system and some basic fundamentals about sound processing, sonic behaviors and such to really understand what you are actually doing.

Building a Budget-Friendly Home Recording Setup

Creating a high-quality home recording setup doesn’t necessarily require breaking the bank. Discover cost-effective alternatives for microphones, audio interfaces, and other essential equipment. Uncover strategies to make the most of your budget while still achieving exceptional results.

Our recommendations when it comes to audio interfaces is the Steinberg series. One of it’s benefits is that it has Digital Sound Processors (DSP’s) build in. This helps you at recording because the Interface DSP’s handele Plugins without latency. The size of the interface you need depends on what you are about to do it with it. How many mics you’d like to record simultaneously or how many outboard gear you’d like to run later on. Just a little side-note: plan bigger than you might think you need. We all grow and with that our needs get bigger. Click here to learn more about the Steinberg Interfaces.

Recording Techniques for Crystal-Clear Audio

Effective recording techniques are at the heart of capturing pristine audio. Delve into microphone placement techniques for various instruments and vocal recordings. Understand the significance of proper gain staging and how it affects the clarity of your recordings.

Mixing and Mastering Like a Pro

Take your recordings to the next level by mastering the art of mixing and mastering. Explore techniques for EQ, compression, panning, and more to create a balanced and immersive mix. Learn the intricacies of mastering to ensure your tracks sound polished and consistent across different playback systems.

But keep in mind: producing music is an art form. It’s not only about technicalities or right and wrong. It’s about music. Try to develop your own signature sound. Click here to learn how to develop your own signature sound.

Troubleshooting Common Sound Issues

Even the most skilled audio engineers encounter challenges along the way. This section will help you troubleshoot common sound issues such as background noise, phase cancellation, and unwanted resonances. Equip yourself with problem-solving skills to overcome obstacles and achieve top-notch recordings.

How to find a good starting point for the vocal volume

After we went through some point to find a good bass volume in the previous blog article / video, we are heading over to find a good starting point for the vocal volume right now.

Hit the following link just in case you missed the previous blog post / video:

How to find a good starting point for the bass volume

Vocal Volume – where to start

First of all make sure your vocals are a little more consistent when it comes to dynamics. Even when we are in the static mix phase right now get rid of some unwanted frequencies in your vocal tracks and make sure the wanted frequencies are audible. After that compress your vocals a little do get some control about the dynamics. When your vocals are reasonably stable and not jumping up and down in volume too much, you can get over to the next step.

Just a quick reminder: this is not about finally polishing your vocals, this is just about finding a good starting point. So don’t play around with that too much. Just make quick decisions that feel good to you.

Vocal fader down

Now turn down your vocal fader. After that bring down your monitoring volume that much, that you can barely hear the snare drum and the most important parts of the song so far.

Now you are ready to bring up the vocals again. Listen for the snare drum compared to the overall vocal level. You want to bring up the vocals so far that they are just about the same level like the snare drum. But even when your monitoring volume is that quiet your snare and the vocals should not compete each other. Both should be about the same level but the snare drum should not distract you from listening to the vocals.

If so, you can bring up the monitoring volume again to your normal level. Now your vocals should have a good place to be in the mix as your starting point. The vocals should be audible right in the mix, not on top and it should not compete with the snare or any other element.

And that’s it

If you have followed these steps from the blog posts / videos, you should now have a rough drum mix, a proper starting point for your bass and now also a good starting point for your vocal volume.

Important: check these balances all the time through further mixing. Every step you do next, might also affect these balances. For example when you add some saturation to your vocals it might make them a significant amount louder. Same thing when you compress your bass mix bus to make it even more consistent for example. It might bring up the bass volume.

But keep also in mind: these are just ideas for the starting point. When you have dialed in your vocal volume like I’ve explained above and it doesn’t feel right for you and that particular song because the vocals seems to be very quiet, go for it ant make them louder. Trust your ears and not what you someone else might tell you, even when it’s me 🙂

Vocal Volume YouTube Video

Bass Volume YouTube Video

Sheps Omni Channel 2 for vocal volume

In the video I’ve used the Sheps Omni Channel 2 Plugin for my goto channel strip plugin to quickly dial in an EQ and a Compressor for the vocals. If you want to try the Sheps Omni Channel, you can find it here at waves.com

How to find a good starting point for the bass volume

How to find a good starting point for the bass volume

One of the most important parts of mixing is setting up a really good rough / static mix right at the beginning. But sometimes it’s not that easy to find the right balances. Especially the bass volume can be hard to place right.

Here is a simple method to find a good starting point for the bass. The trick is so et up the kick and the bass in a way that they add up together about 3db.

And here is how to to it:

Do the drums first

Start with the drums and do a quick rough mix just for the drums. Set up a dedicated drums mix bus and keep in mind to not exceed -14 db on the drums mix bus to leave enough head room for the actual mixing.

Double the bass

The next step is to double the bass track and set up another mix bus for both bass tracks. One of the bass tracks is just for the low end so you need to set up low pass / high cut filter at the frequency that is about the double frequency of the fundamental root note. Let’s say your fundamental root note is at about 49 hz, you need to set up the low pass / high cut filter at about 100 hz. You need to do the opposite thing at the other bass track for the high end.

Set up a low cut / high pass filter for the high bass track at 100 hz too. Choose steep flanks for both filters, something about 24db/octave.

splitting the bass onto to tracks. One for the low end and one for the high frequencies.
Use high pass / low cut and low pass / high cut filters to just let through the frequencies you need for each channel.

PreOut Channel

Set up another group bus for the drums mix and the bass mix together. On this PreOut mix bus you need a VU meter. In best cases a VU meter with an input volume knob.

Setting the bass volume

Now solo the kick drum and set up the VU meter on the preout bus that the kick is peaking at about -3db. After that bring in the bass, but with the fader on the bass mix bus all the way down. Now bring up the fader to a point that the VU meter where kick and bass together peak at about 0db.

After that remove the VU meter plugin from the preout bus so that you are at it’s original volume again.

Now you have a good starting point for your bass volume to move on

Now you’re bass should be at a good starting point to move on with the mixing process. It might not be the final level and for sure there are a couple steps more to go through, but now your bass is at a level where you can make good decisions for the rest of the mix.

Plugins I’ve used in the video

As VU Meter Plugin I have used the “CLA Mixdown” Plugin from waves. This Plugin has an input control. But any other VU meter plugin should also work for this. Even when it has no input control. In that case you can increase the pregain of the channel in cubase or use another gain plugin for other DAW’s.

In the video I’ve also used the MV2 compressor plugin from waves for the low end channel of the bass to get it more consistent.

You can find both plugins here (click here)

Other Gear from the video

DAW Controller

Cubase 12 Pro

Yamaha AG06


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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.