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10 HOME STUDIO PRODUCTIONS, MIXING & MASTERING TIPS

1. YOUR WORKFLOW.
This is one of the most important parts of the process, it shouldn’t be
underestimated. I keep things set up and ready to go at any given
notice. I can pick up an Electric Guitar, Bass, and Sing or sit behind my
Drum Kit and play at any time. Now for many of us that might not be
that
easy, primarily because you may only have a 1, 2, 4, 6 or 8 input IO.
That is where a Patch Bay comes into life! Having mics or DI’s patched
permanently into a Patch Bay makes it easy to patch directly into your
IO.
2. ORGANIZE YOUR DAW
This is as simple as having a very basic Template. Having your Drum
mic inputs ready to go, labeled Kick, Snare. HiHat, Rack, Floor,
Overheads etc, your Bass Guitar, Keys, Virtual Instruments, such as
Synths or Virtual Drums such as Addictive Drums, Easy Drummer,
Slate Trigger. Essentially all of the things you use regularly.

3. DON’T FOCUS TOO SOON ON SOUND DESIGN.


As you can see in the Little Empire Song I added some sound design,
some ‘swooshes’ and other noises and explosions! However they
came after I had written the chorus and wanted to enhance it.
Spending too much time on these early on would take time away
from the writing and Production stage.
4. TOO MUCH TIME TWEAKING
All of us are guilty of this!! There have been so many time where I
have spent hours tweaking an Electronic snare when I could have
spent 2 mins choosing one that fit better! This is where taking a break
from one area is a great idea! In a rut on the snare or Bass sound? Try
a different snare or Bass, or simply work on another part and come
back with fresh ears!

5. MONITOR IN MORE THAN ONE WAY


Speakers are the ideal way that most name Mixers Monitor. However,
most of the time they are in acoustically well treated rooms that they
probably know very well! Most people working at home won’t have
this option, it’s very likely you will have Acoustic issues in your Room
and that can affect the way you hear the mix, leading you to boost or
cut frequencies incorrectly. Head- phones, that you know well, are an
excellent way to check your mixes! AND do not underestimate the car
test, if you listen to music in your car frequently you will know how it
sounds, so triple check it there! Bottom end issues, in particular, will
be very evident with most Car Stereos!

6. USE STEREO ENHANCEMENT SPARINGLY


Stereo Enhance is fun, it’s also very dangerous, it can leave a mix
sending hollow and can
Cause all kinds of Phase/Polarity issues. I tend to only use Stereo
Enhancement on certain Pads or Synths that need to be widened to
create more space for the Vocal, Kick, Snare or Bass in the center of
the mix.

7. MONITOR AT LOWER LEVELS


Save you ears! They are your best tools!! Monitoring at high levels for
extended periods of time can not only give you completely the wrong
idea of how your mix sounds but can give you hearing damage. If you
have to listen loud, do it for very short periods of time and then
return to a lower level to do detailed, repetitive work.
8. KNOW YOUR PLUG INS
It’s better to have a handful of plugins that you know than 100’s
you’ve never tried! Of course you can expand your Plug in Library as
you progress; I love all the ones I have collected! How- ever, knows
the ones you have well? Especially with Effects One or Two reverb
plugins will give you many choices, many delays have multiple
emulations within just one plug in and with EQ and Saturation you can
adjust them dramatically.

9. HIGH PASS THE SUPER LOW FREQUENCIES


Just because your small monitors in your home studio don’t
reproduce 20, 30 or even 40 Hz doesn’t mean it’s not there! You can
tighten a kick drum by removing 20 Hz and below will really open up
and focus your low end. If you’re unsure of what’s going on in the low
end then use frequency analyzers and you’ll notice low end rumble
that’s taken energy away from your mix and causing an enormous
amount of mud.

10. DON’T OVERDO YOUR MASTER BUS PROCESSING


This is big subject! So many of us annihilate the Master Bus in order to
get volume! Be cautious, mix with just gentle compression and light
EQ on the Master bus and if you can ‘Master’ the song properly at a
alert date. If you can’t then be judicious how much Limiting you use, a
small amount will bring up the level nicely, shave a few harsh
transients, too much will flatten your mix and lose all sense of
dynamics and depth.