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All rights reserved, The Audio Journey 2017

Introduction........................................................5
The 7 Key Elements of Music Production ..........6
Before we get started ................................................................................. 6

#1 - Software ......................................................7
Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs)................................................................ 7
Which DAW should I use? ............................................................................ 10
Logic Pro X ................................................................................................... 11
Pro Tools .......................................................................................................11
Propellerhead Reason ..................................................................................12
Ableton Live ................................................................................................. 12
Cubase ......................................................................................................... 13
Free Trial Of Software - Ableton Live ........................................................... 13
Plug Ins ......................................................................................................... 14

#2 - Hardware...................................................15
Starting out................................................................................................... 15
3 Things You Need to Start Making Music ................................................... 16
Studio Headphones - Recommendations .................................................... 17
Studio Monitors - Recommendations........................................................... 17
Putting The Equipment To Use .................................................................18
Do We Even Need Studios Anymore?! ........................................................19

#3 - Microphones and Recording.....................20


2 Main Types of Microphone ........................................................................20
The Basics Of Recording .............................................................................. 21

#4 - Music Theory (and why you dont need to


know it) ......................................................... 23
Anyone Can Do It, Really! ............................................................................ 23
What Does Writing In Key Mean? .............................................................. 24
How To Write In Key Consistently ................................................................26

#5 - Samplers ...................................................28
What Is A Sampler? ...................................................................................... 28

#6 - Synthesisers ..............................................29
What Is A Synthesiser? .................................................................................29
3 Main Parts Of A Synth ............................................................................... 30

#7 - Mixing And Mastering ..............................34


What Is Mixing? ............................................................................................34
What Is Mastering? ....................................................................................... 35
Whats The Difference Between The Two? ................................................... 37

Conclusion .......................................................38
Thats A Wrap! ..............................................................................................38
Get In Touch ................................................................................................. 38

Tuition ..............................................................39
Introduction
Hi there, and congratulations on taking the first and most important step on
your journey to becoming a music producer! Here at The Audio Journey, we
want to give you a structured, no-experience-necessary starters guide to
making your own music.

We will be jargon busting, we will be explaining the 7 key elements that


encompass everything you need for a solid understanding of the basics, and
I will be showing you my personal journey through this exciting industry, and
how other famous, successful people got into the business, hence The
Audio Journey.

We want you, yes YOU, to share this journey with us! Networking is a huge
part of this industry, so we are aiming to create a network for a whole host of
abilities. This will start with eager beginners like yourselves, intermediate
producers who are aiming to brush up on their skills, or advanced producers
who are still striving to learn and improve their craft, as well as share their
knowledge.

Very well, but what does that mean for me?

Good question

What this results in is an online community of like minded people, where


you can ask for support 24/7, share your progress and tap in to a wealth of
resources from all over the internet!

So congratulations, if youre here then you are dipping your toe in the
waters of music production.

Lets dive in
The 7 Key Elements of Music
Production

Before we get started

Here, I am going to give you 7 key elements to music production. Some


people may disagree, add or subtract elements, or have a totally different
view, but this is MY view, and I have based it on what I would have liked to
have as a guide when I started music production.

These categories can be delved into individually, and further categorised,


but as I say, this is an OVERVIEW of the key elements.
#1 - Software

Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs)

In order to produce music, you need to have software available to you to do


so. If you wanted to edit a photo, you would use Photoshop or something
similar. To write an essay, you would need word or pages, you get the
concept.

To briefly dissect that concept, we are working with DIGITAL audio. There
are 2 main ways to make digital audio: it is either produced electronically
with virtual instruments, which are software versions of something that exists
in real life, like a synth or drum machine, or it is audio that has been
recorded using a microphone, taking it from a sound wave (analogue) into a
recording of that (digital). Using one or the other, or both, is how we create
music.

In music production, we use digital audio workstations (DAW). A DAW is a


piece of software that you can use to record, make and edit music in many
different ways. There are many available, some are suited to certain styles of
music or genres, and some are easier to use than others. Let me give you a
run down of the main DAWs used in modern recording.

Logic Pro

Pro Tools

Ableton Live

Propellerhead Reason

Cubase
Logic Pro X

Pro Tools
Propellerhead Reason

Ableton Live
Cubase

Which DAW should I use?

The way that you should decide which DAW to use can be down to a
number of different factors. These include what computer you have (PC or
Mac), what genre you want to produce as some are more suited to certain
genres that others, and what you can afford! Logic Pro X can be purchased
for 149.00 (at the time of writing), whereas Pro Tools, Ableton etc. can be
upwards of 300, its down to preference and you circumstance.

Let me run you through some brief pointers of each piece of software:
Logic Pro X

The best all-rounder in my opinion

Used by all manner of artists from Franz Ferdinand to Disclosure

Free audio loops, samples and lots of synths included

Fantastic audio recording qualities, as well as MIDI editing

ONLY available on MAC as this is an Apple product

It is a popular OPINION (I stress the opinion, not fact) that the Logic
interface (way it looks) is the most user friendly and intuitive

Guess what, its also the cheapest of the main DAWs!

Pro Tools

The industry standard for recording audio

If youre recording a band in a professional studio, 7 times out of 10 it will


be using Pro Tools

The audio plug ins included can give you a professional sound if used well

Generally not preferred for synthesisers and MIDI, although that is NOT a
rule and some may use it/like it for that

Available for both PC and Mac

You can subscribe to have the software on an annual basis to save forking
out before you know if you like it! A great new addition.
Propellerhead Reason

Generally just called Reason when talking about it, just to note

A fantastic piece of software for electronic music production

Great models of drum machines and classic synthesisers included in the


package of Reason

The mixer section is modelled on famous and professional mixing desks,


great practice for studio work

Extra sample packs and synths are available from Propellerhead

Available for PC and Mac

Ableton Live

Again, an electronic music based piece of software, but has great audio
recording capabilities also.

You can buy/download setting for synths that give you instant professional
sounds!

This software can be used for live performance which is its main difference
from the other software pieces

In my opinion, the most popular piece of electronic music production


software as it can be used live

Available for PC and Mac, plus a free trial is available!


Cubase

Taught in a lot of schools age 14-18

Easy interface, simple to use

Easy to learn the basics, whilst still capable of professional results

Similar to Logic, and great free trial!

Available for PC and Mac

Free Trial Of Software - Ableton Live

Here is a free trial of Ableton Live for you to use. Id recommend


downloading it, and then using the video for key element number one,
software, to learn the basics of it.
Plug Ins

Now that we are finished with DAWs, lets talk about plug ins. These are
downloadable, purchasable extra units. They work inside your DAW and are
extra tools to help you to make music.

Examples of plug ins are virtual instruments as we discussed earlier. You can
load these in to a DAW to help you make music.

They can also be audio editing tools, like EQ, compression, reverb, which
we look into later in this video series.

To check out plug ins in detail, head to Waves, they are the leading plug in
retailer online.
#2 - Hardware

Starting out

When youre just getting started with music production, its a total minefield
in terms of what to buy! There is marketing everywhere telling you that you
need this, or that is essential.

Take it with a pinch of salt people, theyre out for your cash, Im not.

On the other hand, I cant sit here and say you dont need a computer or
any software to produce music!, because you do.

BUT! This is much more affordable than people think. All you desperately
need to start is what I am about to tell you, as an unbiased opinion.

Here are the 3 purchases that will get you started with music production:
3 Things You Need to Start Making Music

1. Software - Take a look at the software section of this book and pick
yourself a DAW. I recommend getting a free trial (Ableton for electronic
music, Cubase for recording/guitar music) of software, which Ive put
link for later in the book.

2. Audio Interface and Microphone set - Essentially a box


that you plug microphones and guitars into, this allows you to get the
audio through into your DAW. Without this, no recording can happen.
Focusrite do fantastic starter packages for this (OR MIDI KEYBOARD)

3. Headphones or speakers - This depends on budget, I


started on headphones and stayed there for 1.5 years before I could
afford monitors, and you can still produce music to a high standard
using certain headphones, which I will recommend.

Watch the video on Equipment!


Studio Headphones - Recommendations

Audio Technica ATH-M20x (UK) (US) - These headphones will set you
back around 40/$40, and the brand is a very reliable one for
headphones. You will see this brand feature later in the suggestions as
well.

Audio Technica ATH-M40x (UK) (US) - This pair of headphones will cost
you around double what the previous pair cost, coming in around
80/$80, and are a step up in terms of build/audio quality.

Beyerdynamic DT 770 - (UK) (US) - This pair of headphones are an


industry standard, you will have seen them if youve watched a Radio 1
Live Lounge performance, or footage of artists in recording studio. These
are what I use personally, and will set you back around 110 or $140

Studio Monitors - Recommendations


KRK RP5 Monitors Set (UK) (US) - KRK are a well known brand for entry
level studio monitors, and this set which comes with a pair of speakers (be
careful, monitors are often sold ad a single speaker, and you need two)
comes in just under 300 with cables and stands also included.

Yamaha HS7 Monitors Set (UK) (US) - This is the first set of monitors that I
bought personally, and I love them. Theyre similar to a set of all time
classic Yamaha monitors, called NS10s, youll see these in most
professional studios, and theyre notoriously tricky to get a good mix on,
because theyre so transparent and clear, but if you get a good mix on
these monitors, itll sound great everywhere that you play it. They cost
around 320 or $550 (sorry US!) but are worth every penny of youve got it
to spend.
Putting The Equipment To Use

Now having the equipment is like having a great pair of running shoes.
Getting all of the gear hooked up and ready to go is like getting to the
starting line, being full of motivation, and anticipation for what you can
achieve!

But, if you havent researched how long the race is, who your competition is,
what pace you should be setting and so on, then youre not going to see
very good results at all, even if you have spent 120 on the latest running
trainers!

You need to learn your craft. As a runner, youd need to put in at least
10-12 weeks training to be ready for a marathon, and each step of the way,
youll feel more and more confident that youre getting your body into a
healthier, stronger state to be able to finish the race in your target time.

It may feel challenging at points, but without wanting to digress into a


motivational monologue (believe me, I could), nothing worth achieving is
ever easy, or everyone would have achieved it! Now really take a minute
to process that, re-read it and take it in.

You need to invest time in to this video series, this channel in general, and
other resources from there on which will further your understanding of the
music making process. Because this series is very bite-size and digestible,
you can in fact get off to a great start with minimal time investment!

You also have direct access to me to ask any questions that you need to ask,
in one click! You can do this by clicking here (opens Facebook Chat)
Do We Even Need Studios Anymore?!

Once youve got the essential equipment that you need (which is really not a
lot), you need to spend time learning it. You do not want to be an all the
gear, no idea, you want to master what you own, and theres a very good
reason for that, beyond the obvious fact that youll get better results

The fact is, we are living through a recording revolution. The standard AND
affordability of equipment for home recording has risen to an incredible
level. The quality of the home studio that you could build with 500 is far
higher than it was 15 years ago, and this is only progressing.

The fact of the matter is, so many tracks today are being produced on
laptops in bedrooms. The days of a band needing to buy studio time, or
electronic artists needing to spend thousands on the best keyboards, synths
and drum machines to make professional music are gone.

I could guarantee that some of the music that you listen to was made on a
laptop in a bedroom, at least the demo that got the record deal. My point
is, dont feel like not having posh monitors, or a big fancy mixing desk is
going to stop you making amazing music. Its simply not true, and at the
end, Ill link up a few success stories from people that have done exactly
this!
#3 - Microphones and Recording

2 Main Types of Microphone

The 2 main types of microphones that are used to record music are dynamic
and condenser. Heres a table of the main used, pros and cons of both
types.

Main Uses Pros Cons

- Loud, boomy sounds - Strong and resilient


- Less high frequency
e.g. drums, guitar - Can cope with very (treble) picked up

amps
loud volumes

Dynamic - Almost exclusively - Captures good low


used in live shows frequency (bass)

- Requires no power
source

- Relatively cheap

- Vocals, acoustic - Very high build quality


- Expensive and
guitars, drum overhead - Deliver lots of high delicate

microphones, room frequency detail


- Less low frequency
Condenser microphones - Record more (bas) picked up

frequencies than - Require power source

dynamic mics - Can be damaged by


loud sounds/blowing
into them

There are 2 dynamic microphones that youll see in every studio in the
world: the Shure SM57 and the Shure SM58. They are commonly used on
guitar amps and snare drums among other things, and are worth being
familiar with.
2 very common condenser microphones are the Rode NT1-a, a great mic for
vocals, acoustic guitar and many other things, and is around 150 or $200, a
great quality home studio microphone. The next step up is an AKG C414,
this is an incredibly popular microphone, and will set you back around 600
or $800, so mainly seen in studios.

The Basics Of Recording

When recording music, there are a few very basic concepts to learn to get
the best possible recording from the beginning. I shall give them to you in
elaborated bullet points:

Record dry - now this doesnt mean that you cant still have wet hear from
the shower when recording your vocals. Dry audio means sound/audio
that unprocessed, or has no effects on it. This means that you dont want
to have anything like reverb, delay, compression when recording, as these
are effects. You need to make sure that there is as little echo/reverb in the
room that youre recording as possible, and this can be done at home by
hanging up duvets in front of walls, as they absorb sound. You then have
the option to add the effects that you want later down the line, instead of
having a vocal recording with lots of room reverb that you cannot remove,
and doesnt fit the song/other instruments.

Gain stage - Gain staging means setting the right level to record at. On
an audio interface, there will be a gain (volume) dial for the input that
youre recording. What you need to do is get the performer to play/sing
as loud as they will be in the recording, and set the gain so that the
volume never goes above -8ish dB (decibels). The dB scale goes from -
(minus infinity) all the way up to 0, so -8 dB is 8 dB away from maximum
volume. Its very important not to hit 0 dB or above, as you will then clip or
distort your recording, which sounds bad and unprofessional, and isnt
repairable. The last thing you want is a singer to give a fantastic
performance, and have ti say Sorry, I distorted the recording because I
had the gain too loud, could you give me the performance of your life just
once more, please?.

Keep your project organised - This is so important. When recording


different elements, you should always make separate, names audio tracks.
The last thing you want after recording, is a bunch of un named tracks,
which you have to listen through, organise and name before you can even
start working on it. This is so quick to do, and although it sounds like a
nag that you might hear from your Mum if she was Pro-Tools-savvy, its well
worth taking 5 minutes before you record to save hours of headache, and
lost audio files.

If you follow these basics of recording audio, which take no skill whatsoever,
just a bit of knowledge which is all explained above, then you will come out
of recording sessions with fantastic recordings to go and mix with.

It really does set songs apart from each other, especially when starting out, if
you an hear that the recorded audio was in a bedroom with the window
open, and no sound absorption, and the recording keeps sounding clicky/
glitchy (results of clipping the recording), then you know it was recorded by
an amateur.

However, following the simple instructions above, as well as following the


guide in the video here, your recordings will avoid these classic pitfalls, ad
sound professional from the get-go.
#4 - Music Theory (and why
you dont need to know it)

Anyone Can Do It, Really!

Its often thought the if you want to be able to make your own music, that
you need to have taken music lessons as a child, and be able to read music
to be able to make songs, and that you must have a flare of creativity to be
able to put anything together that people will want to listen to.

This misconception is totally understandable, if you dont know the ins and
outs of the brain, you wont be a very good brain surgeon, right? Thats true.

However, when making a song, all you need to be able to do is write in key.
Now that may sound daunting, but, I have a method that Ive been using to
overcome my personal lack of music theory knowledge to write songs in key
without fail, and its so much easier than youd think!

Now I must stop here and clear something up before anybody gets the
wrong idea: I am not suggesting that music theory is not of any value to
music producers, quite the opposite. I also do not wish to take anything
away from the people that have had music lessons from a young age, and
have excellent theory knowledge. If anything, Im jealous! Theres no doubt
that youre in a slightly advantageous position right now.

But what I am here to offer is some very basic practices, that abide by
music theory rules, that allow people without that knowledge to conform the
rules that will make their music sound better if they werent perhaps
fortunate enough (like myself) to have lessons. I would actively encourage
you to learn music production if you have the chance, especially if you start
to take up production seriously.

What Does Writing In Key Mean?

You may or may not have heard the expression writing in key. Essentially
what it means, is writing a song using notes that go well together.

There are different sets of notes that go well together that create certain
moods, and start at different notes. There are a 3 simple definitions that you
need to understand in order to master what a key is, and be able to use
them in your music. Here are those definitions:

1. Key - A key is a set of notes that musically go well together. They can be
played on any instrument, and an example is E minor

2. Root Note - This is the note at which the scale starts e.g. A, E, F# etc.

3. Scale Type - A set of rules for how many notes are in the key, and how far
apart each note is. The most common are major and minor.

This graphic shows you the name of a key, and breaks down each element
for you.
Here is how the key of E minor looks on a piano:

You can see that the first note is E, this is the root note. The scale type is
minor, and the minor scale determines the gaps between the notes. The
gaps are called steps, and there is one between each note, white or black.
So there are two steps between note one and two, there is one step
between note 2 and 3, there are two steps between note 3 and 4 an so on.
This stays the same regardless of the root note.

If you dont understand that last paragraph, then dont panic, thats a bit
more advanced information that isnt totally necessary to do what we want
to do. But if you do understand it, then the next step would be to memorise
what notes are in each scale, so that you can write quickly. You may have
heard of people that are doing music lessons having to learn their scales,
this is exactly what that means.
How To Write In Key Consistently

As I have confessed, I am not musically trained, yet I still manage to write all
of my songs in key. There is a really simple way to achieve this, and Im
going to share it with you now.

Its incredibly simple, almost too simple, but its rarely applied by beginners,
and it really does boost the quality of what you produce. So here is my 3
step process to writing songs in key:

1. Pick a key - If you have no idea which key to write in, then do a quick
Google search of what keys are commonly used in the genre of music
that you are writing, and try one of those. For example, the key of F#
minor is common in house music.

2. Make a note - Write down or leave a tab open of the notes (and chords)
that are in the scale that you have chosen. Make it easy to refer to, as this
will make the process quicker for you.
3. Use your findings! - Now that you know what key you should be writing
in to suit your genre, and you have a key selected with notes and chords
noted down for your reference, youre ready to start making music thats
in key!

Inside a DAW, you will have a piano roll, which is where you put MIDI in
(check out this video to learn what MIDI is if you dont know). For electronic
music, this is a great place to throw those notes at until something sticks,
which is how I overcome my lack of creativity, because you will often
accidentally come up with something that you like, and can build on.

Here is the video that explains this key element in detail

If you have any questions about this, then Id be happy to answer them, and
clicking here will open a Facebook Messenger chat with me directly. A core
value of The Audio Journey is being able to ask whatever you want,
whenever you want, and you will get an answer.
#5 - Samplers

What Is A Sampler?

Now you may have heard of samplers, samples, or a song using a sample
from another song, but in order to understand how samples are used in
music production, you must understand what a sampler is, and why they do.

A sampler is something that stores samples. A sample in music production,


is a piece of audio that can be very short ,like a drum hit, medium length like
a 5 second vocal sample, or even longer, like a one or two minute speech
etc.

Once samples are inside a sampler, the sampler allows you to trigger those
samples to use in your song, and you do this using MIDI. (Click here to learn
more about MIDI).

They are often used for rums, for example a drum rack in Ableton is a
sampler that is specifically made for drums. It has recordings of drum hits
(kick drum, snare drum etc.) pre-loaded in to it, and you can trigger these
drum samples by MIDI to add drums to your track.

Samplers can also be used for other instruments, for example, some
samplers contain recordings of each note being pressed on a piano, and
they are loaded in to a sampler so that you can play/record a MIDI keyboard
as if it is a piano. Sampling is a big part of music production nowadays, and
it is essential to know how to use them.

In the following video, I demonstrate a sampler inside Ableton, and to use


it. Click here for the video.
#6 - Synthesisers

What Is A Synthesiser?

A synthesiser, or synth, is an instrument, just like a guitar, piano and so forth,


however it is an electronic instrument. It is commonly used in electronic
music production, but is also used in a wider range of genres from electronic
music, all the way to rock, indie and even singer songwriter genres, and
everything in between, so its an important thing to have a good
understanding of.

Now in essence, a synth generates a sound electronically, and then lets you
shape and mould it in to anything that you want, and this process is called
synthesis or sound design. As long as you understand that basic concept,
then you will be in a good position to build upon this idea. A good analogy
for a synth is the voice. You make sounds with your vocal chords, and your
mouth filter the sound depending on how wide open it is.

Another important thing to understand about synthesisers, is that they can


either be a physical object like a keyboard, or they can be a virtual
instrument. As previously discussed, a virtual instrument is a software
version/emulation of something that exists in real life.

Hardware synths can be very expensive, ranging from 100 to upwards of


5,000. You generally find that software synths cost around 50-200,
making them a much cheaper option. In this demonstration, we will be using
a synth called Serum, which is a virtual instrument. Feel free to click the link
and download a free trial of Serum, you can pay for it on a monthly basis
too, which is explained in depth here.
3 Main Parts Of A Synth

1 - Oscillators

The oscillator in a synth is the part that generates the sound.

Its the vocal chords if we refer back to the analogy of the human voice,
and just like the human voice

Lots of different sounds can be generated by the oscillators, and these are
in the form of electronic waves, like sine waves, square waves, sawtooth
waves, triangle waves and so on.

The main differences between these are the amount of harmonics they
have (how rich and full the sound is).

Now its not massively important when starting out to understand the
differences, just try out the different types and see what you like the sound
of!
2 - Filter

The filter in a synth is the part that, you guessed it, filters out elements of
the sound that you dont want to include

The way that this works is it allows you to cut out or boost certain
frequencies

Now you probably already have a better understanding of frequencies


than you think you might. The most basic 3 sets of frequencies are bass,
mids ad treble, with bass being the lowest up to treble being the highest

The idea is, if youre trying to make a bass sound for example, then youll
use the filter to cut out the high frequencies (the treble and mids)

Its good to experiment with filters, and see what sounds you can achieve
by cutting out different frequencies.
3 - Envelope

With an envelope, you can modify what a control does over time

All synths will have an amplitude (volume) envelope, which allows you to
control the volume of the sound over time

The amp envelope controls the volume of the sound from when the note
is pressed, to when it is released, and this is done using 4 controls: attack,
decay, sustain and release.

Attack: how long the sound takes to reach full volume, increasing this
gives a fade in effect. (Time based control, i.e. attack time)

Decay: The time taken to get from the full volume to the sustain volume.
(Time based control, i.e. decay time)

Sustain: The volume at which the note will remain while the note is held
down on the keyboard. (Volume based control i.e. sustain volume/level)

Release: The time taken for the note to fade out when it released.
Increasing this gives a fade out effect. (Time based control, i.e. attack
time)
For a clear explanation of what each of these controls do, with audio
examples of each, check out the video here!
#7 - Mixing And Mastering

What Is Mixing?

Once youve added all of the elements that you want in to your song, its
time to mix. Mixing, in a music production context, can be described in one
word: balance. You need to make all of the elements in your track balance
out with each other, and there are a few areas that we need to achieve this
balance in:

Volume - You need to ensure that all of the elements in your track are at
the correct level, so that you can hear all of the elements, and nothing is
too overpowering. On each track, you have a volume fader, which controls
the individual volume of that track. Also, there is a tool called compression
which allows volume to be controlled somewhat automatically. This will be
explained in another video, so keep an eye on my channel for that.

Frequencies - Many of the frequencies present in your song at the


moment do not need to be there. Even with just a few elements in your
track, things can overlap and this reduces the clarity of each element. The
kick drum and bass line for example are both made of low frequencies, so
in all of the other elements, you cut out some bass so that there arent to
many bass frequencies present. You can also boost things that you want to
hear more of, and all of this is done using an equaliser, or EQ, much like
the one on a car radio with bass, mids and treble control.

Position - Inside a DAW, you will have a control called a pan pot, this is a
dial that you have on each track that you can incrementally turn to the left,
right, or leave dead centre. Lets use an example of a cowbell sound: on
the cowbell track, as we turn the pan pot to the right, we hear the cow
bell in the right headphone/speaker more than the left, and if we turn the
pan pot to the left, we hear the cow bell more in the left.

Space - Another thing that youll want to achieve when mixing is making
the song sound like its happening in one space, so let me explain what I
mean by that. When you hear a recording, you can generally have a rough
idea of where it was recorded. For example, can you hear lots of
background noise? Wind? Then it must have been recorded outside. Do
you hear lots of echo? It must have been recorded in a large room, like a
church hall. Do you hear no background noise at all? It must have been
recorded in a small room with sound proofing. The latter is what we would
prefer, because what we can do is add something called reverb to each
track. If the same type of reverb is carefully applied to each track, then it
will sound as if the performance is happening in one space, and with little
exception, this is what you want to achieve when mixing.

What Is Mastering?

Once you have mixed your track, and you are happy with how it is sounding,
its time to enter the final stage of production, mastering. By this point, youll
be brimming with excitement to release your track yo your friends, family
and the rest of the world, but make sure you take care when completing
these last few steps, as it will help you achieve the best quality track
possible to show off.

Now before you start mastering, there are a couple of things that you have
to do. Once your track is mixed, youll be looking at a project with lots of
tracks for each element of your song. This is NOT where you will master your
track.
Firstly, you must check on your master output (the track that all of the sound
is going through) to make sure that the volume isnt going above -6dB, as
you need some headroom, or extra volume space, to be able to master your
track properly.

Next, you have to export the track so that you have your song in one file,
and I would always recommend doing this in wav. format, please avoid MP3
as the quality will not do your song justice.

This will give you your song in a file, and what you now need to do, is open
up a new session in your DAW, make an audio track, and drag and drop that
file on to the audio track. This is where you will master your track.

Now, you will be using EQ, compression, and limiting to make your track
sound as good as it possibly can. Now to learn this to a high standard, Id
recommend checking out The Recording Revolution - Graham has a range
of excellent videos that will help you to understand mixing and mastering
and so much more. His channel however does require some previous
knowledge or experience.

I am writing this e-book at the time of launching the channel (December


2016), and I have plans to make videos explaining the basics of EQ,
compression and more, so please, check those out and get comfortable with
what the tools are, and then Graham can show you how to use them
effectively.

We arent all about keeping you here as a captive audience if there is


somewhere else that you can gain knowledge from, we just want the best
for you and well do anything to help you get there, including
recommending other channels to further your learning.
Whats The Difference Between The Two?

Mixing and mastering have some similarities, and some differences, and its
important to understand what youre trying to achieve at both stages, so
here is a table thats going to explain some similarities and differences
between the two processes:

Similarities Dierences

- The aim of mixing is to


- Both done at the end of the achieve balance, the aim of
production process
mastering is to make the track
sound consistently good
- Both aiming to improve how across all playback systems

Mixing and Mastering the song sounds

- When mixing, you are making


- Both use plug ins/tools like edits to individual elements,
EQ and compression to shape whereas mastering is done to
the sound of the song the track as a whole

- More drastic edits are made


during mixing, mastering is
more subtle
Conclusion

Thats A Wrap!

Weve now come to the end of this e-book, The 7 Key Elements Of Music
Production, which accompanies the video series of the same title, available
on YouTube (links to follow).

Id like to take this chance to say a massive THANK YOU for taking the time
to read what I have to say, about a topic that I am so incredibly passionate
about. Being able to provide this guidance and content to people lights me
up, and I shall be striving to give cleat guidance, great content, and
accessible hep to anybody wishing to start making their own music.

Get In Touch

A core value here at The Audio Journey is that I am always just one message
away. I love interacting with you guys, hearing your progress, answering your
questions, answering burning or seemingly unanswerable questions (or
trying at least) or just a more informal chat about music, I want to get to
know you as individuals ultimately, and help you achieve what you
downloaded this e-book to achieve! So here are some links that put you in
direct contact with me:
- YouTube - Subscribe for weekly videos including tutorials, Q&A (get
involved!), case studies on famous artists/producers, and blogs on what Im
doing (Only 2 clicks to subscribe, mobile or desktop)

- Facebook Messenger (one click opens a chat window, mobile or desktop)

- Twitter - Tweet or DM me for reply

- Instagram - Follow me for bitesize, 30 second lessons

Tuition
If youd like some more focussed, personalised help regarding this video
series, or anything else for that matter, then I offer screen sharing remote
support thats fully tailored around what you want to learn.

Here is a video to explain the details, and an exclusive offer for readers of
The 7 Key Elements Of Music production!

I look forward to connecting with you, and as always, if there is anything that
I can do to help you, then please get in touch.

Until next time, Ive been John Holt with The Audio Journey. Take care.