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.

Enhance Your Tracks with Delays and Reverbs: Essential Techniques in Cubase

Introduction

When it comes to music production, the use of delays and reverbs can elevate your tracks to new heights. In Cubase, a powerful digital audio workstation (DAW), you have a wide array of tools and techniques at your disposal to enhance your music with these essential effects. In this article, we’ll delve into the possibilities of adding reverbs and delays to your songs using multiple group busses. We’ll also explore the advantages of routing delays into room reverbs and creating a dedicated reverb mix bus to achieve a professional sound.

Watch “Enhance Your Tracks with Delays and Reverbs: Essential Techniques in Cubase” on YouTube:

The Basics of Delays and Reverbs in Cubase

Before we dive into advanced techniques, let’s start with the fundamentals. Delays and reverbs are crucial in creating depth, space, and character in your music. Cubase offers various built-in effects processors to achieve these effects. To get started:

Setting Up Delays and Reverbs

  1. Insert Delays and Reverbs on Individual Tracks: Begin by inserting delay and reverb plugins on the individual tracks where you want to apply these effects. Cubase provides a selection of high-quality plugins for this purpose.
  2. Adjust Parameters: Experiment with parameters like decay time, pre-delay, and wet/dry mix to tailor the effects to your liking.
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Advanced Techniques with Group Busses

Now, let’s explore more advanced techniques involving group busses. Group busses allow you to process multiple tracks together, which can be particularly useful for creating cohesive mixes and adding a sense of space to your songs.

Using Group Busses for Delays and Reverbs

  1. Grouping Instruments: Group together similar instruments, such as vocals, guitars, or drums, on their respective busses. This will allow you to apply consistent delays and reverbs to these groups, enhancing the overall coherence of your mix.
  2. Routing Delays into Room Reverbs: To create a sense of realism and space, consider routing your delays into room reverbs. This technique simulates the way sound bounces off walls and surfaces, making your music sound more organic.

The Power of Dedicated Reverb Mix Busses

Creating a Dedicated Reverb Mix Bus

  1. Dedicated Reverb Mix Bus: Instead of applying reverb directly to individual tracks, create a dedicated reverb mix bus. Send the desired tracks to this bus, allowing you to have more control over the overall reverb in your mix.
  2. Reverb Tailoring: With a dedicated reverb mix bus, you can fine-tune the reverb settings to perfection, ensuring that it complements your mix without overwhelming it.

Conclusion

In Cubase, harnessing the capabilities of delays and reverbs through group busses and dedicated mix buses can take your music production skills to a new level. By routing delays into room reverbs and creating dedicated reverb mix buses, you can achieve a professional and polished sound that captivates your listeners. Experiment with these techniques and elevate your music to its full potential.

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!

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!


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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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  • 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.

Studio Szene @ LEaTCon 2023 in Hamburg

Studio Szene @ LEaTcon 2023 in Hamburg

This year, for the first time, LEaT con will take place at the same time as the Studioszene and the Human X Work Conference. Benefit as visitor from the program of #leatcon23 and also visit interesting panels and brands all around the topics of Studioszene and Human x Work Conference.

https://www.leatcon.com/en/

Studio Szene 2023

Studio Szene 2023 is that community event for audio engineers & producers.

On site, professionals from the industry will show you how to improve your recording, mixing & mastering and producing sills in over 40 master classes, discussion groups and workshops. In addition, over 50 top audio brands present their gear for you to try out. | https://www.studioszene.de/

I’ve been at Studio Szene 2023 in Hamburg this week and all I can say is: It was an awesome event! Lots of outstanding speakers sharing their knowledge in some kind of a familiar environment. It was an absolute pleasure to watch pros at work and sharing some of their experience.

Hans-Martin Buff about producing in 3D & Atmos

The first master-class I have joined was about producing in 3D audio like dolby atmos. Hans-Martin Buff, who is working with Artists like Peter Gabriel, Prince …, explained his journey through the 3D audio world and showed some of his advanced techniques he uses to make 3D audio translate to different systems.

Hans-Martin Buff is a renowned engineer and producer who is known for his work on various albums and projects with Prince and the Scorpions, among others. He works with artists like Peter Gabriel and champions Dolby Atmos and 3D audio for headphones to provide an immersive listening experience. For this masterclass he brings a mix in Dolby Atmos, guides you step by step through the mix and answers your questions!

Hans-Martin Buff

Warren Huart & Jaycen Joshua about the future of AI in music production

The next point on my schedule was the discussion of Warren Huart & Jaycen Joshua about the future of AI in music production. It was very refreshened to hear their thoughts about that huge mystical thing called artificial intelligence and it’s indent into the audio world. That was a great talk about the pros and cons. There are lots of places where AI could carry the heavy lifting at audio engineering what gives us engineers more time and space to do the creative stuff. On the other hand there are a lot of issues that are not discovered yet. Whats about copyrights for instance?!

Jaycen Joshua

Jaycen Joshua is arguably one of the hottest mixing engineers in hip-hop and R’n’B today! He is known for his work on numerous hits by artists such as Beyoncé, Justin Timberlake, Rihanna and Jay-Z. He has participated in numerous songs that have won the Grammy Award, such as the song Empire State of Mind by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys from 2011 in the category “Best Rap Song”.

Jaycen Joshua at Studio Szene

Warren Huart

“Hey everybody, hope you are doing marvelously well!” Anyone who has seen a video by Warren Huart on his Produce Like A Pro channel knows this greeting. What many may not know is that the audio engineer and producer has worked with many well-known musicians such as Aerosmith, The Fray and James Blunt. He not only shows his expertise in music production and mixing on his YouTube channel, but also at the Studioszene in Hamburg this year!

Warren Huart at Studio Szene

Warren Huart about how to improve your mixing skills

Next stop on my list was a master-class with Warren Huart about how to improve your mixing skills. He gave us great insights into his way of working through tiny details which add up to an amazing mix. Warren was focused on the “why” of doing things more than on the “how”. There are lots of tutorials about how to dial in a specific snare sound, compression settings or how to EQ an acoustic guitar. So it’s not that difficult to figure out the technical part. But the when and why and how far to push it in each situation is a thing I’ve my troubles with as well. It was very helpful to learn more about Warren point of view in these situations.


Impressions

Produce like a pro” at the booth of dangerous music

Amazing gear from audio scape

The proof that I’ve been there 😜


Links:

Warren Huart

Jaycen Joshua

Hans-Martin Buff

Produce-Like-A-Pro

Dangerous Music

Audio Scape

Studio Szene 23

Sound & Recording


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Enhancing Your Bass Tracks: Bass track separation in music production

How to mix a solid low end on your bass guitar

Before we delve into the nitty-gritty of compression settings, let’s understand why Bass track separation in music productions is such a game-changer. Traditional bass processing involves applying EQ, compression, and other effects to the entire bass track as a whole. While this can yield satisfactory results, it often falls short when it comes to complete control and finesse.

Watch the YouTube Video:

How to mix a solid low end on your bass guitar
How to mix a solid low end on your bass guitar

Why Separate the Bass?

When you separate the bass into low and high-end channels, you gain several advantages:

  1. Clarity and Definition: Separation ensures that the low-end frequencies remain clean and tight, while the high-end retains its clarity. This results in a bassline that’s both powerful and articulate.
  2. Mixing Flexibility: With separate channels, you can adjust the volume, EQ, and effects on the low and high-end independently, making it easier to fit the bass into the mix.
  3. Dynamic Control: Precise compression settings can be applied to each channel, allowing you to control the dynamics of the bass with surgical precision.

Compression Settings for Low-End Bass

Now, let’s talk about the compression settings that work wonders for your low-end bass channel:

  • Ratio: Start with a moderate ratio, around 4:1 or 5:1. This maintains dynamics while taming any unruly peaks.
  • Threshold: Set the threshold so that compression is applied when the bassline’s low frequencies cross a certain level, usually around -3 to -6 dB.
  • Attack and Release: Aim for a relatively fast attack (around 10-20 ms) to catch initial transients, and a moderate release time (40-60 ms) to allow the compression to recover naturally.
  • Knee: Use a soft knee setting to ensure a smooth transition between compressed and uncompressed regions.

An easier way to set up a compressor for the low end is to use some kind of compressor that I’ve used in the video. Like an MV2 from waves. This has just three settings: one for bringing up the quieter parts, another one for bringing down the louder parts so that the dynamic range between the loudest and the quietest parts gets smaller and finally a third fader to set the final output of the plugin.

MV2 compressor from waves.com for the low end

You can find the MV2 in waves.com library (click here!)

Mixing / Mastering Problems?

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Compression Settings for High-End Bass

When it comes to the high-end bass channel, the settings differ slightly:

  • Ratio: Start with a lower ratio, around 2:1 or 3:1, to preserve the dynamics and transients of the high frequencies.
  • Threshold: Adjust the threshold to catch peaks, but be more subtle than with the low-end channel, typically around -6 to -9 dB.
  • Attack and Release: Opt for a faster attack (5-10 ms) to capture the sharp transients of high frequencies, and a shorter release time (20-40 ms) to maintain their liveliness.
  • Knee: Again, a soft knee setting helps maintain a smooth, natural response.

You can also be really creative with the high bass track and add bass amp emulations or creative effects like choruses or flangers for example. Try whatever you want. This is one of the advantages of separating the bass tracks. You can really be creative with the bass while keeping the really low frequencies clean and avoid muddiness in that parts. This can also be part of your personal signature sound. Click here to find more ideas for your unique Signature Sound!

By applying these tailored compression settings to your separated bass channels, you can strike a perfect balance between the low-end power and high-end clarity, ensuring that your bassline not only rumbles but also cuts through the mix.

Bass Mix Channel

After bass track separation in music production – processing both bass parts differently it makes sense to rout them both together on a dedicated Bass Mix Channel. There you can add another compressor to glue the whole bass together and also add some more EQ to reduce muddiness or enhance the top frequencies to let them cut more through or even to keep the bass in place on smaller speakers.

Like in the video I like to use the Fabfilter ProQ3 for this to make precise cuts or add some dynamic EQ if necessary. You can also think about mid-side processing at this place to make sure the lower frequencies are close down the mono middle.

Fabfilter Pro Q3 for the Bass Mix Bus.

You can grab your Fabfilter Pro Q3 here!

Bass track separation in music production Conclusion

In conclusion, separating your bass track into two channels and employing specific compression settings for each can significantly elevate your music production game. The advantages of clarity, mixing flexibility, and dynamic control make this technique a go-to for producers looking to create powerful and precise basslines that leave a lasting impact on their audience.

So, the next time you’re working on a track that demands a killer bassline, remember the power of separation, and watch your music production soar to new heights.

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

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Keep THIS in mind next time you MIX BASS GUITAR

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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.

Unlocking the Power of Saturation in Music Production for Better Mixes on Any Device

What saturation is doing

In this video and blog article we are diving a little deeper into saturation to find out what saturation is actually doing and how it can help your mixes to translate better. Music production: saturation for better mixes!

Watch the YouTube Video:

What saturation is doing
What saturation is doing

Understanding Saturation in Music Production.

Saturation is a phenomenon that’s been cherished by audio engineers and producers for decades. It refers to the distortion or “coloring” of audio signals in a way that adds harmonics and warmth to the sound. This process can be applied subtly or aggressively, depending on the desired effect.

At its core, saturation mimics the analog warmth and character of vintage recording equipment like tube amplifiers and tape machines. In a digital world, where pristine clarity can sometimes feel sterile, saturation reintroduces that analog warmth and life to your tracks.


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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!

Why Is Saturation Crucial in Mixing?

Now that we understand what saturation is, let’s explore why it’s essential in the mixing stage. When you mix a song, your goal is to balance various elements, such as vocals, instruments, and effects, to create a cohesive and pleasing sonic experience.

Saturation can be your secret weapon in this process. Here’s how:

1. Enhanced Harmonics: Saturation adds harmonics to your audio, making it sound fuller and richer. This is especially beneficial for digital recordings that might sound thin or lacking in character.

2. Glue and Cohesion: When applied correctly, saturation can act like sonic glue, helping different tracks and elements mesh together seamlessly. It can make your mix feel more coherent and natural.

3. Emotional Impact: Saturation can evoke emotions in your listeners. It can make your music sound nostalgic, warm, or edgy, depending on how you use it. This emotional connection can be the difference between a forgettable mix and a memorable one.

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

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Types of Saturation in Music Production

There are several types of saturation you can use in your mixes, each with its unique sonic characteristics:

1. Tape Saturation: Mimics the warm and slightly compressed sound of vintage tape machines. It’s great for adding warmth and subtle distortion.

2. Tube Saturation: Emulates the rich, harmonic saturation produced by tube amplifiers. It can add a pleasing “fatness” to your tracks.

3. Fuzz and Distortion: Offers a more aggressive form of saturation, perfect for creating gritty guitar tones or adding character to synths and vocals.

4. Analog Console Saturation: Replicates the warm, smooth sound of analog mixing consoles. It can bring a polished, professional sheen to your mix.

Conclusion

Saturation is a versatile and powerful tool in music production. When used thoughtfully, it can transform your mixes, making them translate beautifully on a wide range of listening devices. Whether you’re aiming for vintage warmth, modern edge, or simply want to add character to your tracks, saturation is a go-to technique every producer should have in their arsenal. So, don’t hesitate to experiment with different types of saturation and discover how it can take your music to new heights.


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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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Recent Articles:

  • 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.

Mixing Checklist

When your mix is nearly complete, use this mixing checklist to ensure it meets industry standards and sounds its best:

  1. Balance:
    • Check the balance of individual tracks in the mix.
    • Ensure no instruments are overpowering others.
  2. Panning:
    • Review the panning positions of instruments for a balanced stereo image.
    • Use panning to create separation and depth.
  3. Frequency Balance:
    • Verify that no frequencies are overly dominant or lacking in the mix.
    • Use EQ to address any imbalances.
  4. Dynamics Control:
    • Apply compression and limiting to control dynamics.
    • Ensure consistency without over-compression.
  5. Reverb and Delay:
    • Evaluate the use of reverb and delay for spatial enhancement.
    • Adjust wet/dry mix to create depth without overwhelming the mix.
  6. Automation:
    • Implement automation for volume, panning, and effect parameters.
    • Enhance the mix’s dynamics and transitions.
  7. Clarity and Separation:
    • Ensure each instrument has its sonic space in the mix.
    • Use EQ, panning, and level adjustments for separation.
  8. Mono Compatibility:
    • Check the mix in mono to ensure it translates well on all playback systems.
    • Address phase issues if detected.
  9. Reference Listening:
    • Compare the mix to reference tracks in a similar genre.
    • Match the tonal and dynamic qualities of professional mixes.
  10. Check Phase:
    • Review phase coherence between multi-miked instruments (e.g., drums).
    • Use phase inversion or alignment tools as needed.
  11. Final EQ and Compression:
    • Make subtle final EQ and compression adjustments to enhance the overall sound.
    • Avoid over-processing in the final stages.
  12. Level Matching:
    • Ensure consistent perceived loudness throughout the mix.
    • Use LUFS metering to match loudness levels if required.
  13. Bounce or Export:
    • Prepare the mix for final export or mastering.
    • Ensure proper file format, bit depth, and sample rate.
  14. Listen on Multiple Systems:
    • Listen to the mix on different playback devices (e.g., headphones, monitors, car stereo).
    • Make any necessary adjustments for different listening environments.
  15. Feedback and Revision:
    • Seek feedback from trusted ears or collaborators.
    • Make revisions based on feedback and personal evaluation.

Remember that mixing is both an art and a science, and personal preferences play a significant role. Use this checklist as a guide, but trust your ears and creative instincts when making final decisions in the mixing process.

Download a free mixing checklist to place it on your desk

I’ve created multiple checklists and cheat sheets over time and you can now get free access to all of them for a limited time. It includes:

  • 7-Step Mix Guide
  • General EQing Cheat Sheet
  • Recording Checklist
  • Mixing Checklist
  • File Preparation Cheat Sheet
  • Home Studio Necessities
  • Signature Sound Cheat Sheet

All you have to do is signing up with your email address for one of the cheat sheets / checklists. You’ll then get access to the complete library.

How to use analog mic pre’s on a mixbus

Analog Mix Bus

You can completely mix in the box these days. It absolutely has a lot of benefits to mix in an digital environment. But on the other hand it can add a special flavor to a mix when some analog processing gets added. An easy and effective way of adding analog flavor to a mix is just to mix through a pair of analog mic preamps. How to use analog mic pre’s on a mix bus and what the differences are, I’ll explain in this article.

Watch the YouTube Video:

Analog Mix Bus
Analog Mix Bus

What are the benefits?

Let’s first have a look on what the benefits actually are. The most obvious stuff is the extra analog flavor. It seems to sound a little more natural when going through some analog outboard gear at on point. A digital environment is very linear. Even this has it’s benefits for example this is very reliable. But nature ain’t linear and reliable. This is where analog gear comes in to play. Every piece of analog gear sound a tiny bit different. And even this tiny differences on the left and right channel can make sound music a little more natural. even when it’s not audible on the first impression.

Another benefit is the additional saturation which makes a mix sound fuller, bigger and more three-dimensional. This is often considered as “warmer”. The additional saturation can also be some kind of compression. Which rounds of the transients a little and reduces the digital harshness on the top end frequencies.

Together with this, it’s also about loudness. You can get a bigger perceived loudness with some additional saturation at the same peak level loudness. Compared two of the same tracks one with additional saturation and one without and level matched to the same peak levels the track with additional saturation seems to be louder even when it’s technically at the same volume.

Compare the sample from the video


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On the mix console you have on the first channel a sample from the mix ran through the analog mix preamps and on the second channel is the pure digital mix. You can compare these by playing around with the SOLO & MUTE buttons or panning one mix to the left and the other one to the right for example.

What mic preamps should I use?

What kind of mic preamps to choose absolutely depends on the style you want to mix. A good starting point could be a couple clean sounding mic preamps. They should not be too colorful as long as you are not know exactly which direction you want to go. Another advantage of a clean sounding mic pre is that it is versatile and you could mix a lot of different songs through them.

In my studio I’m using two PreSonus Channel Strips for this kind of stuff. The compressor and EQ sections are both bypassed on my mix bus and I’m just using the mic pre section for this. Another benefit of this channel strip is that I can add analog tube saturation to taste.

PreSonus Studio Channel Analog Channel Strip with Mic Preamp, Tube Saturation, Compressor and Equalizer

How to set this up?

In cubase we have the possibility to add external outboard gear in the insert section of each channel. At this point cubase is routing the signal out through the interface out at the point where the external chain is inserted in your signal chain and back in. This way you can use the external outboard gear the same way you would insert a software plugin. Cubase is handling the latency and stuff automatically in the background.

The only thing you need for this kind of routing is an interface with additional inputs and outputs. I’m using a UR44C from Steinberg for this setup. This is the most versatile way of doing it.

UR44C USB Audio Interface by Steinberg

Another way

If you haven’t multiple inputs and outputs on your interface you can run the signal through the normal outputs you have and back in through the normal inputs. But this can be a little tricky and you would need to plug the whole chain in and out every time you need it or not. This is way more effort to dialing this in every time than jut to leave it as it is on a couple extra Inputs and outputs.

How to use analog mic pre’s on a mix bus conclusion

Using analog mic preamps on a digital mix bus is an easy and affordable way to add analog flavor to a digital mix. This way you can get rid of some digital harshness, increase the perceived volume and add a little more warmth and three dimensional atmosphere to it.

If you have found your way to mix through analog outboard gear you can make it a part of your individual signature sound. For more ideas for your unique signature sound download our FREE SIGNATURE SOUND CHEAT SHEET!

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.

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Analog Mix Bus

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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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Recent Articles:

  • 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.

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.

Links:

Waves

FabFilter

Soundtoys

Conclusion:

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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  • 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.

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.

Watch “What no one tells you about mixing in mono” on YouTube:

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.

Conclusion

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.

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What no one tells you about mixing in mono

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Easy way to record electric guitars

Easy way to record electric guitars

There is an easy way to record electric guitars these days. Yes, you can record the signal from your electric guitar directly to your audio interface and you don’t necessarily need to set up an amp with a cabinet and a lot of mics to get good sounding guitar recordings. All you need is some additional processing in the box to make your recordings sound really good. In the following article we are going to dive a little deeper into this.


Recording electric guitars traditionally involves miking up amplifiers and cabinets to capture the desired tone. However, this process can be cumbersome, especially for home studios with limited space or those seeking a more streamlined workflow. Fortunately, there is an easy way to record electric guitars – using amp simulations and impulse responses.

Choosing the Right Amp Simulation and Impulse Response

Amp simulations replicate the sound of real amplifiers and can be inserted directly into your recording software. Impulse responses (IRs), on the other hand, capture the unique sonic characteristics of guitar cabinets and rooms, allowing you to add realistic ambience to your recordings. Begin by selecting an amp simulation and IRs that complement your musical style. Many software plugins offer a wide range of options, from classic tube amps to modern high-gain stacks.

Setting Up Your DAW

After installing your chosen amp simulation and IR plugins, it’s time to set up your Digital Audio Workstation (DAW). Create a new audio track and insert the amp simulation plugin. This virtual amp will serve as your primary tone-shaping tool. Then, add another track and insert the IR plugin. This track will blend the direct guitar signal with the sonic characteristics of a cabinet and room.

Direct Signal Recording

Connect your electric guitar directly to your audio interface using a high-quality instrument cable. This direct signal eliminates the need for microphones and physical amplifiers. Adjust the input gain on your interface to ensure a clean and distortion-free signal. With amp simulations, you have the freedom to experiment with various amp models, tweak settings, and find the perfect tone for your track.

Adding Realism with Impulse Responses

To enhance the realism of your recorded guitar sound, insert the IR plugin on the corresponding track. Impulse responses can emulate the acoustics of different spaces, from tight studios to vast concert halls. Blend the direct signal and the IR-processed signal to achieve a balanced and three-dimensional guitar sound. Adjust the mix until you’re satisfied with the sonic character and spatial depth.

Fine-Tuning and Mixing

Once you’ve dialed in the desired tone using the amp simulation and impulse response, it’s time to fine-tune your mix. Apply any necessary equalization, compression, and effects to shape the guitar’s place in the overall mix. Since you’re working with direct signals and virtual processing, you have the flexibility to make adjustments without being locked into a specific room or microphone placement.

Using Plugins

There is a huge amount of plugin you can choose from and especially for beginners it’s quite difficult to figure out where to start. First of all most DAW’s these days are equipped with a lot of professional sounding plugins. You can go through them first and find plugins you could work with and start to learn to to use them properly.

The next stop could be the huge library from waves.com. They have tons of really good plugins with all kind of effects even the pro’s in the audio world use a lot. Hit the following link to take a look at the waves library:

Go to waves.com

Try to develop your own sound

It helps a lot trying to copy vocal effects from established productions. This gives you a great feeling on how dial in specific effects. But as soon as you feel comfortable with vocal effects you should start to experiment with them. go beyond the borders and try stuff that is actually ‘wrong’ from a technical perspective but sound good. Trust your ears: when it sounds good – it is good. If you would like to dive deeper into creating your own signature sound our free signature sound cheat sheet could be a good help.

Download you free copy of our signature sound cheat sheet here

Conclusion

Recording electric guitars with just a direct signal into your interface and utilizing amp simulations and impulse responses is an easy and efficient method to achieve professional-quality results. By sidestepping the need for physical amplifiers and cabinets, you can focus on crafting the perfect tone and mix, all within the confines of your digital workspace. Embrace this modern approach, and you’ll be well on your way to creating outstanding guitar tracks that stand out in any production.

Recent Articles:

  • 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.